The whole juice bar thing has been trending for a while now, and with no shortage of juice joints cropping up in every city, I just wonder if this is a passing fad, or they are here to stay. But the big question that I want to address is: Which is healthier – a juice or a smoothie? Most of these juice bars offer both, but for those of you who are wanting to make your own at home – do you invest in a really good juicer, or a really good blender? Loads of questions, so let’s tease this out a bit.
The big con of juicing as far as a detox is concerned is that a juice is pretty much devoid of fiber. I would argue that fiber is one of the most important elements in a detox cleanse because it’s the fiber that helps move and eliminate many of the toxins from your body.
The other con is that juices, especially from fruits, can be very high in sugar.
The big pro of a juice is that you can easily get certain very important phytonutrients into your body in one quick shot. Moreover nutrient dense plants such as wheat grass and dandelion greens aren’t the most appetizing foods in the world due to their weird or bitter taste, which can easily be disguised in a juice along with lemon, ginger or the odd apple tossed in.
Another huge pro is that tough veggies such as beets, carrots and broccoli stalks, which are choc full of important nutrients can be juices and not smoothie’ed! I once tried to toss a chunk of raw beet into my high speed blender and it was disgusting.
The final pro of a juice is that they are refreshing and delicious.
So, now that you’ve decided that juicing is for you, you have quite a few choices of juicers. I want to try to make this really simple for you (because it is very confusing, right?) – there are basically 2 different kinds of juicers you can buy:
1. Centrifugal Juicer - This is the simplest and least effective. They are typically upright juicers with a mesh bowl and a plate with metal teeth that whir around at a terrific speed and tear up the produce, dumping the pulp in a separate container.
I have tested the Breville Juice Fountain, and think it does a great job. A huge advantage is that you can put a whole apple into the feed container! The clean-up is relatively easy.
2.Masticating Juicer (aka “Cold-Pressing” juicer) -Pieces of fruits and vegetables are pushed into the top of the tube (you have to cut them up small), and they are crushed and squeezed by the auger. Juice drains out of the underside of the tube, while the pulp is squeezed out at the end of the tube. Because of the slower crushing and squeezing action, masticating juicers can process leafy greens and wheat grass, and the juice that they produce will last much longer than juice made in a centrifugal juicer, which should be consumed right away as it starts losing nutrients nearly immediately.
I have just tested the Champion Juicer and really love it! It is expertly constructed and so heavy that you know the motor is serious business. I decided to test my favorite juice recipe, which I pay and arm and leg for from a local juice bar: beets, apple, ginger, and lemon (I have hundreds of Meyer lemons in my backyard).
The pieces were really easy to feed into the tube (I had to cut them up quite small to get them in there), and the motor, despite being so sturdy, was relatively quiet. The super cool thing is that the pulp comes out of the end in a sausage form! This makes clean very easy. The juice was the richest, darkest and most flavorsome juice I have had from any juicer to date. SOoooooo different from the one at the juice bar, which seems watery in comparison. This was so dense that I could literally water it down and it would still be delicious. I made it 2 days days ago, and the color and taste is still really great.
If you are serious about the health benefits of juicing, and want to commit to NOT buying from the juice bar anymore, this is would be a great choice.
The key to remember if you are a serious juicer is that the latter model (Masticating Juicer) is called cold-pressed because the motor doesn’t heat up unlike the Centrifugal model. The advantage of cold-pressing is that all of the important live enzymes stay alive – which is exactly what we want, right?
I am smoothie OBSESSED because I never cease to marvel at how I can get so many incredible nutrients into one glass (pro-biotics, protein, fiber, super foods etc). I can just keep adding, and my morning smoothie has become something of an art.
I also love to add rich juices (as in a beet juice or a greens juice) to dial my smoothie up to the next level.
If you are really serious about smoothies, I highly recommend you invest in a high-quality, high speed blender.
I recently tested out theBlentec Designer 675 “Wildside” and I am in love! Yes, a high-speed blender like this (and this is the Range Rover or the “Chanel” of Blenders), is a BIG investment, but it’s an investment in your health, which cannot be undervalued. Moreover you will save a bunch of money in the long run by not buying expensive smoothies at the store.
The Blendtec Designer 675 is also not just for smoothies, it makes hot soups, healthy ice creams, nut butters, and more.
What makes this blender different from its rivals is that when you press the digital “smoothie” button, it goes through a whole cycle, starting off slow, and then speeding up towards the end – which is what I call a “smart” blender because it knows exactly how long and at what speed your smoothie needs to go.
The other thing that I love about this blender is that the BPA-free jar is lightweight and designed in such a way that unlike other blenders, you can easily get your smoothie, soup etc out, despite its thickness/goopiness.
Juice and smoothie bars might be a fad, but theses serious kitchen gadgets are here to stay. Once you’ve been bitten by them morning smoothie routine, there’s no going back.
In the eating plan in my soon-to-be-released fourth book, Gorgeous For Good – 30 days to lasting beauty inside and out, I give you a bunch of my very favorite smoothie recipes – creations to suit every taste, occasion and health issue.
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy now!