Smoothies and Juice (Part 2)

I decided to re-word my focus for the title of the second smoothies/juice post compared to the first one, The Great Debate: Smoothies vs. Juice because I really do want to take the edge off the debate aspect of this topic.

Smoothies and Juice

1. They’re two different things

2. They really shouldn’t be pitted against each other (but I labeled the first post that way, because it’s a common practice to compare them)—they should be each valued for their strengths (and they do have some strengths in common!)

So before I get to examples of how to choose, I wanted to back up a bit…

Why smoothies or juice at all?

The most common question I get regarding this topic is this: Why don’t we just eat the produce? Why drink it?

The answer is simple, and I’m going to quote Jason Vale (of the Juice Master) from the documentary Hungry for Change:

“Why don’t we just eat it? The answer is, ‘We don’t.'”

Seriously, how many veggies can you eat in a day….probably a lot. But, the real question is, how many vegetables DO you eat in a day?

{By the way, I watched Hungry for Change online today and it’s a great documentary! It’s online for free until the end of March 31—-watch it!}

Through juice and smoothies you can add a couple pounds-worth of produce a day to your diet quite easily, and this multiplies your nutrient intake exponentially. The result? You have more energy, feel better, look better, have a higher quality of life, and live longer…

In the end, as your friend, I don’t care which you choose—-smoothies or juice….(and you may do both…or you may even make juice and then use it as a base for a smoothie!). The key is that you ingest the veggies—smoothies and juice are just two efficient and effective ways to do this.

I was thinking about doing this case study style, but I think I’ll just share examples of considerations for how to choose smoothies or juice:

  • If you hate vegetables – start with smoothies because you probably need more fiber, and you can hide veggie tastes easily!
  • If you are constipated – start with either one, but if your constipation is extreme, you may want to choose juice with aloe vera included (adding more fiber to concrete in your intestines can be disastrous and make the problem worse). If constipation is mild to moderate, you can probably get things moving with a high fiber smoothie (adding aloe works here too)
  • If you want to do a cleanse or detox – consider starting with a “juice till lunch” or “juice till dinner” approach. The longer you put off digestion during the day, the more your body can work on detox—the key is to include things like: parsley, cilantro, dark leafies. If you feel you’ll have a LOT of detoxing to do (how polluted are you?!), you may want to do green smoothies—add parsley, cilantro, chia, dark leafies. This will slow the circulation of toxins because your body is balancing its tasks of detoxing and digestion, and the high fiber and gel (chia) content will trap toxins and carry them out (rather than risking recirculation).
  • If you have skin problems – start with juice and a detox approach, but have smoothies too—the point with this one is that the ingredients are most important. Consider adding MSM, aloe, watercress, onion (!), peppers (unless you’re sensitive to nightshades), lots of greens (all the detox ingredients), and only minimal fruit/sugar. Consider using stevia to sweeten.
  • If you want to lose weight – either one, just make sure you keep your caloric intake in mind—if you’re worried about not being full, stick with smoothies. Always keep fruit content low, but consider adding healthy fats and proteins and use it as a meal substitution.
  • If you’re drinking it before a workout – juice!
  • If you’re drinking it after a workout – smoothie with high quality protein powder (my current fave is whole goat milk protein—whey content helps repair muscle, and casein content helps preserve muscle)
  • If you’re drinking it in the morning with breakfast – smoothie (the idea being that you want nutrients to fill you up–it will take space away from your cereal and other less nutritious breakfast foods)
  • If you’re drinking it in the morning as breakfast – juice (you may be hungry for the first couple days, but it’s only out of habit–in a few days you’ll have more energy than ever!)

Ok, those are the considerations I thought of just now, if you have others, ask!

Other thoughts:

I love to eat and chew…much more than I enjoy drinking. But I have a very good friend who loves to drink thin smooth liquids….her smoothies are thin, blended without ice. Mine are thick, with ice and/or not much liquid.

Don’t “waste” empty calories in a smoothie—you want this to be as nutrient packed as possible, so as a base for smoothies use nutritious liquids like water, coconut water, organic milk, or homemade almond milk. I think coconut water is a great choice for many people (too much sugar for me) because it adds some natural sweetness and you’ll be able to add more veggies and just a little sweet fruit! (I’ll talk about issues with too much fructose another time)

If you haven’t seen this documentary, you should:


My experience with smoothies and juice:

I love the idea of micronutrient overload, and starting about 6 years ago, I bought a juicer and drank lots of beet, ginger, lemon, and greens juice (and got more creative sometimes). I juiced almost everyday for breakfast for many months. Then I went in and out of the habit, all while reading Victoria Boutenko’s Green for Life (pushing green smoothies—I’ve since loaned it to someone and never got it back), Natalia Rose’s Detox Diet, Shazzie’s Detox Your World, David Wolfe’s Sunfood Diet Success System, Dr. Mark Hyman’s UltraSimple Diet….and a few hundred books and other things on the Internet about juicing, smoothies, and detoxing.

I’m a real believer in the power of chlorophyl for promoting health and energy—and I also do not love to eat salads and greens all the time. In 2008, I began using different protein powders (mostly plant-based, like SunWarrior), and then after reading Clean by Alejandro Junger, Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and many other good resources, I blended my plant-based approach with a more traditional nutrition (and fitness) approach. You know I’m grain-free and low-ish carb (and high fat), so I focus greatly on quality—juice and smoothies help me not have to eat more carbs than I want (I don’t use sweet fruits, but use stevia to sweeten). When so much of my diet comes from fat, I’m always full—so juicing for micronutrients makes a lot of sense for me. If I do make smoothies, I add coconut oil (finally figured out how to do it so it doesn’t solidify and have chunks!) and whey or goat milk protein powder—Also, I make them so thick I have to eat them with a spoon.

And there you have it.

Do you want to join me in a juice/smoothie challenge? The focus, as always for me, is on micronutrients.

Did you learn anything from this post? 🙂

News/Notes: I went to two yoga classes today, and because there were only 3 people at the second one we did a sort-of press handstand workshop—-that is my dream yoga class! I now have things to practice and a goal of doing press handstand by the end of summer.

I went to my favorite grocery store (Pittsford Wegmans)—I forget how much I love it, and try to justify that the one near my current home is just fine…till I go to Pitts again! I took it for granted when I lived around the corner from it, but they have everything! Who needs Whole Foods!!!

Joe and I are going to watch a couple episodes of The Killing tonight.
What are you up to?

7 thoughts on “Smoothies and Juice (Part 2)”

  1. GREAT info in this post, lisa, and yes i did learn that aloe vera is good for constipation! i can just tell how much you enjoy talking about this topic of juicing and smoothies…your enthusiasim comes through in your writing, as does your knowledge. i can tell it’s not “work” for you to compare juicing and smoothies, and i really liked your “if you are…” statements and suggestions.
    loaning books – i learned the hard way to NOT do this!!! because it matters not to whom you lend a read (friend, family member, stranger), you will never see it again!
    small yoga classes are THE BEST because you can get more personal attention and get more creative! good luck with the handstands!
    and yes, sometimes it is worth the drive to go to a grocery store that is better but further away…think of it as an “entertainment” outing!

  2. this is another fantastic post on smoothies an juice.incredible how many books you have read too! I know most of them and bits and pieces about the books but havent got far enough to actually read all of them. I am definitely on the bandwagon if you are doing a juice/smoothie challenge. just now looking into ordering a new juicer. 

    small yoga classes ARE THE BEST, even for teachers. good luck with handstand too, i have been trying to do one for a while but still stuck to my headstand (which i can hold forever). there is something i need to work out with the whole balancing thing… hmmm

  3. Interesting post! I like to throw spinach in my smoothies to get an extra veggie kick! To be honest though, I do consume a ton of fruits and veggies, but I know I’m in the minority! Have fun! We just went to eat and to Lowes

  4. I love your way of separating the two, they really are two different types of drinks. I love them both equally. I only have a blender though, so I would join you in a smoothie challenge!! This other documentary looks great too. 

  5. I eat a ton of vegetables every day, but I do think one way I would benefit from juicing/ smoothies is that I would get more fruit in. I love fruit but never crave it and so I have to remind myself, thus often I forget.

  6. Oooh I did that kind of workshop at a yoga class once! It was so cool and great to get so much individual attention from the instructor. I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying yoga so much lately – I have been too!

  7. I just started juicing for the purpose of getting more veggies & finally tried a couple of smoothies-even though the smoothies are very good I love the energy I get from the juicer & do not get that hungry til my first break & eat a snack-the smoothies seem very filling after having juiced for 3 wks-so I prefer juicing but will have a smoothie occasionally for fun

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