All the hype surrounding juicing has many asking the question: what IS juicing? I am asked this question often, and as I shared last week, in the next few weeks we’ll be digging into juicing, helping you really understand what this juicing craze is all about. Have questions? Please ask them in the comments.
What is Juicing?
Juicing is the process of extracting the juice from a fruit, vegetable or herb and drinking it instead of eating the fruit or vegetable raw or cooked. Juicing is best done with raw, organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and allows the body to consume a large number of healthy nutrients at one time. This is different from eating the same item raw. When you eat fruits, vegetables, or herbs, the body has to digest and break the item down to pull the nutrients out. When you’ve juiced an item, it’s already been broken down so the nutrients are ready for your body to absorb and utilize immediately. I love what the San Francisco based Living Greens Juices shares:
We would need to eat 2 pounds of carrots, 10-12 apples, or 8 lbs of spinach to get the same amount of nutrients you receive in one 16 oz juice.
Whoa! Can you image eating that in one sitting? I’d rather drink it up in a few yummy minutes!
The process of juicing seperates the juice from the fiber, which is how juicing is different from blending (or making smoothies), which I will touch on below.
Juicing is not the “answer” to your daily requirement for fruit and vegetable intake. I look at fresh juice as a supplement to what I am already consuming. Your body still needs to eat (chew) real, fresh produce. Juicing is not a replacement for eating, but it helps many meet or surpass the minimum daily requirement for fruits and vegetables, among other benefits.
What are the Benefits to Juicing?
Many people notice weight loss, better digestion and a healthy glow when they begin regularly juicing. Many often take in nutrients from foods they wouldn’t normally eat. For instance, you might be able to tolerate kale, swiss chard or ginger in your juice, but you’re not ready to eat them raw or cooked.
Here are some of the benefits Justin and I have seen with regular juicing:
- Better digestion
- Healthier skin
- More energy
- Decreased Appetite
- Desire for more healthy food
Can I use my blender?
Plainly, no. Juicers are designed to separate the juice from the fibers or pulp. Juicers use blades to cut and shred the food. It then uses a filter to separate the juice from the pulp. When you are done juicing, you will have two containers: the pulp and the juice.
With a blender, all your food is placed in one glass jar and mixed together. Your blender is an excellent option for making smoothies.
Juice vs. Smoothies
A smoothie can be a meal replacement. We often have smoothies for breakfast. We blend fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, almond or coconut milk to create a smoothie that will be breakfast. We are getting the nutrients and the fiber as the entire piece of produce is going in the blender. There are fruits we use in the blender that you cannot juice, such as bananas and avocados.
A juice is a supplement to a meal or is a snack replacement. We often will drink a juice and a smoothie for breakfast. Or we will have juice and eggs or juice and oatmeal. It is something we consume in addition to our regular meal. Sometimes I have a juice mid-morning or mid-afternoon when I need a pick-me-up instead of eating a small snack, but it’s not a replacement (for me) for breakfast, lunch or dinner. These are often easier to drink than a thick smoothie.
Because many have asked, I just want to share that I have never done a juice fast and (currently) don’t intend to. I have considered a 3-day cleanse, but I’m not sure I could do much more than that. I believe our bodies are capable of detoxifying if we are consuming life-giving food.
Note: If you are drinking juice with a meal, drink your juice first, before eating. You should consume juice on an empty stomach so that it is able to be absorbed quickly, instead of battling your food in the digestion process.
What’s Better? Juicing or Smoothies?
To me, this is like comparing apples to spinach. They are just different! I believe there is room in every diet for both juice and smoothies.
In future posts we’ll address the following questions:
- What should I look for in a juicer?
- What can I juice? What items should I not juice? Do I have to peel and pit items?
- Are there basic recipes to get me going?
Do you have additional questions?