Ask Eden // The Quickie Guide To Blending Vs. Juicing

Hopping from Easter to a post-chocolate cleanse?
 
I hope you all had a holistically healthy holiday yesterday but if chocolate and sweets jumped their way onto the menu, you may be feeling in need of a little reboot today! A great place to start is to increase the amount of vegetables and leafy greens you consume to alkalinize the body and provide valuable fibre to push out the toxins. But what if you already feel pressed to incorporate enough into your diet on any given day? One of my favourite holistic life hacks to increasing your intake of greens is through green smoothies and juices, which leafs us with this week’s Ask Eden and one of the questions I’m quite frequently asked from clients;
“Which is better; juicing or blending?” 
 
The answer? I love them both! Both are beneficial when applied properly.
Saturday morning, for instance, I blended a large smoothie for a quick breakfast on the go as my best friend and I set off for a mini road trip.
A blend of; banana | coconut water | chaga | cinnamon | spirulina | acai | cacao (I love chocolate as an energy boost!)
Smoothie on the go
Last night, on the other hand, I was spoiled with a buffet of delicious food and veggie trays at my grandparents’ house in the country and woke this morning not feeling the need for a big meal. Instead of reaching for my regular green smoothie, I dusted off my juicer and pressed my favourite sunrise juice of orange, carrot and ginger and added romaine lettuce and lemon. The orange being graciously supplied by the Holistic Easter basket left for me with equal parts Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate and fresh fruit!
Holistic easter
So what is the difference? Is one more beneficial than the other? And how do you eat them to reap the most benefit from them?
It’s not the first time I’ve had this question asked and it’s a great one so without further ado, this is
your quickie guide to smoothies vs juices:
The WHOLE story
  • When you eat a smoothie, you are consuming the whole food and keeping the fibre intact to reap its full spectrum of benefits.
  • When you juice, you extract the water and nutrients and discard of the fibre. This allows you to make the nutrients more readily available to your body in much larger quantities. For instance, you could easily use an entire head of lettuce in a juice as opposed to a few leaves you might pack in your smoothie. However, you lose the beneficial properties of the fibre.

Smoothies are full of it

  • The fibre in smoothies will help to fill you faster and keep you satiated for longer as it provides bulk. This makes smoothies filling and suitable as a light meal. It is also the fibre that will bind to toxins to excrete them from the body when cleansing.
  • Without the fibre content in juices, you are likely feeling hungry faster. However, this makes a juice an ideal snack or addition to a meal when consumed 20 minutes beforehand (drinking too close to your meals will dilute your natural digestive juices).

Digest This

  • Smoothies are fantastic for digestion as they do much of the “breakdown” for your body. Blending your smoothie with a powerful blender (I use a Vitamix), breaks down the cell walls and pulverizes the food, taking a load off of your system which means more energy for you to go about your day. The high fibre content of a good smoothie will also help to regulate your bowels that may be compromised from poor diegstion.
  • With the fibre removed from juicing, it’s that extra step to make it even easier on your body  to digest and absorb the nutrients making it an ideal, energizing option when digestion is sluggish (after a delicious Easter dinner perhaps?).

 

The Nutrient Zap

  • The fibre in smoothies assists in slowing the digestive process to steady the flow of nutrients that hit your blood stream.
  • Without fibre, juicing creates a rapid surge of nutrients straight to the bloodstream so that you get the instant nutrient zap. The warning: this means that without the fibre, fruit will rapidly spike blood sugar and must be balanced with greens to avoid the potential jitters, mood swings, energy slumps and so forth that may result from imbalanced blood sugar.
Pressed for time 
  • With smoothies you simply blend and go with only the need to quickly wash out your blender.
  • Juices take more time to cut veggies and funnel through the nozzle into the blade. Then comes the washing of all of the separate parts, including the mesh cylinder.

 

Sunrise Juice

The above is this morning’s sunrise juice and the official sign that spring has sprung in our flower garden!

To Juice or to Blend, That is the Question!

My main beverage of choice? A smoothie! Quick, filling, and a whole food, smoothies are a staple of my diet and my number one go to through busy days. However, if I need a big dose of greens or my digestion is feeling a little sluggish, I will pull out my quality juicer and give it a go.

The key to blending or juicing? It is all about the right time, for the right person, in the right amounts.

A few keys:

  • Juices must, I repeat MUST be organic! Without the fibre to steady and bind to the toxic pesticides, you are absorbing those straight into your bloodstream. Be very careful of this when going to juice bars.
  • Because of the ability to jam pack juices with nutrients, it can be easy to overdo it on a given nutrient and aggravate certain conditions of the body. Be aware of this and practise moderation and variety.
  • Juices should be consumed ideally within the first 15 minutes of being made as light and air will destroy the vulnerable and valuable nutrients.
  • Smoothies MUST be chewed as drinking makes the body think that there is nothing to digest. The act of chewing stimulates the entire digestive system to prepare to digest food.

So, to juice or to blend, hopefully this post answers that question and whichever you choose for today, I wish you all an Easter Monday packed with green leaves and green hikes full of spring’s budding blooms!

 

Hopping into a juicy post Easter cleanse,

Suzanne Eden

Master The Green! (smoothie that is)

This is one “fad” I want everyone to hop on! It’s hard to get enough greens into our diets and smoothies are the perfect solution. To those of you who don’t know what a green smoothie is and just the thought of it makes you turn the colour of a green smoothie: I assure you, they can be made to taste delicious! Trust me. But first, here’s why green smoothies are such a super food:

1) An Energizing Zap Of Nutrients: When food is blended, digestive processes are eased allowing the food to pass through your system much quicker and for the nutrients to be absorbed more readily.
2) Skip The Metamucil: By blending (as opposed to juicing), the integrity of the whole food is maintained, thus making these drinks a fantastic source of fiber. Fiber not only helps to keep you feeling full longer, it also helps to push toxins out of your system, a beautiful thing indeed.
3) Green Machine: That is what you will become when having these, as so many more servings of greens can be incorporated into your diet when you compact them into a smoothie. That means more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for you!

green machine

That sounds good and all but this still means you’re drinking greens right? Yes, yes, and as promised, this can taste delicious! Take a moment to notice McGreggor (the bee) in the photo above. He’s wanting in on the action too 😉 Here are my best tips:

  1. Spinach, cucumber, and celery are great starting points as they have a very mild taste. You can add copious amounts of spinach without hardly even tasting it.
  2. Start with a half and half ratio of fruit to vegetables. As you ease your way into them, you’ll start to enjoy a more “green taste,” and can incorporate more greens into your smoothies.
  3. Use coconut water instead of regular water. I have found this to make a world of difference. I’m not even sure why this is so big. If you don’t have coconut water, plain water is fine but I would give it a shot. Plus with coconut water being so packed with potassium and electrolytes, how could you go wrong?
  4. Don’t monkey around with the banana, this is critical. A smoothie without a banana is no smoothie at all in my books! Perhaps it’s the inner year of the monkey in me talking..
  5. Liquid stevia and vanilla are two additions I’ve found to make my smoothie just that much more delicious. The stevia is a plant-based sweetener that you can now find in most supermarkets (but supporting local health food stores is always best).
  6. Adding a few tablespoons of fat to your smoothie in the way of avocado, chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds or flax-seed oil, will help you absorb the carotenoids in the greens. (learned this one from the book “Nourishing meals”, a fantastic read which I highly recommend)
  7. Lemon! Trust me, it goes a long way giving a little bit of tart to your smoothie and helping preserve the colour.
  8. A good blender. I love my Vitamix dearly but you don’t need to invest in one just yet. You do, however, want a decent one that makes your smoothies, well, smooth and breaks down the fibres of the greens.

Now before your run out of your seat to dust off your blender, here’s a few cautionary words of advice:

  • Switch up your greens. This is important as a build up of alkaloids can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as belly bloating etc. Doing a switch up every couple of days or so should do the trick.
  • Not all good things should find their way into your blender at once. I see a lot of instagrams with complex drinks. Keep it simple. Don’t add oats and chia seeds and too many heavy foods all at once because it will take longer for your body to digest it. At least for your morning green smoothies, keep it to fruits, greens and water based veggies like crisp celery or cucumber.
  • Remember that green smoothies are not food. You cannot just live off of green smoothies all day, once or twice a day is plenty. As well, chewing signals your body to begin the digestive process and this is lost when drinking a green smoothie. To counteract this, I usually eat a little something prior to drinking it. Sneak a few bites of that juicy apple! Or I “chew” the smoothie to signal my body that I’m eating. Simple way to get those juices flowing!

So there you have it. The 101 of green smoothies. Now for actually creating them, here’s a few recipes/guidelines:

The starter smoothie:

  • 1 banana
  •  1 1/2- 2+ cups greens of your choice
  • ½ cup berries (organic, frozen berries work as well) (more if needed)
  • 1/2 organic Cucumber
  • 1 crisp stalk of celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 whole lemon (seeds and all if you have a powerful blender) (minus the rind)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3+ drops liquid Stevia
  • 1/4 coconut water or until you have your desired consistency

The “I aint here to mess around” smoothie guideline (I add all this goodness in at once, go big or go home right? But you can do what appeals to you and experiment with proportions):

  • 1 banana
  • 2+ Cups greens/water based vegetables
  • 1 tbsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp chorella
  • coconut water
  • freshly grated ginger
  • fresh mint leaves
  • parsley or nearly any other herb
  • cayenne pepper
  •  1 whole lemon (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • cinnamon
  • stevia
  • vanilla extract

Starburst smoothie

 Starburst Smoothie

The starburst smoothie guideline:

Green smoothie on bottom. It should be thick so that the top smoothie won’t fall, this means using less liquid.
The top is a blend of frozen banana, fruit and some coconut milk.
Top With some cinnamon, raw cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes and you’ve got yourself a beautiful smoothie!

NOTE: I have made my fair share of nasty smoothies here and there, but there is nothing that can’t be fixed with a little fruit (another banana if you have it or lemon). Be playful and get drinking!