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Juice vs Smoothie: Which is Better?

Adapted & Excepted from “Jamaican Green Smoothies: The Essential Guide To Transforming Your Life, One Cup At A Time, With The Leafy Greens & Fruits In Your Backyard” By Didan Ashanta


Most people are familiar with fruit juices, vegetable juices and green juices, but a juice is very different from a smoothie. To make juice, for example carrot juice, some persons may grate the carrot then use a sieve or muslin cloth to squeeze out the liquids. However, most persons just blend the carrot then strain away the pulp or trash, while other persons use a juice extractor to get the job done. In all three (3) cases, the fibrous matter from the fruit, vegetable or green leaves, is separated from the liquids and frequently dumped. But when making smoothies, the ingredients are not strained, sieved nor the fibre extracted in any way. Instead, the ingredients are all blended together until they make a smooth and creamy drink – no waste to discard and no time lost cleaning up.


What’s the Difference?

In her article, “To Juice or Blend?” Kristine Miles, author of “The Green Smoothie Bible” and writer at, explains the difference between a juice and a smoothie this way, “Juices do not contain fibre, so their nutrients are absorbed very quickly, high in the digestive tract… Smoothies are essentially juices with blended fibre – and it is the presence of fibre in smoothies that proponents of the drinks point to as their main virtue.” 4 She went on to further expand the point by showing how a commonly eaten fruit moves through the digestive system depending on the form in which it is consumed:

“Let’s look at an orange consumed three ways: juiced, blended, and eaten. Orange juice requires no chewing and little or no energy beyond the stomach, and all of the sugars, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are available immediately and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. A blended orange requires no chewing and minimal energy in the stomach and intestines, since the fibre has already been broken down into very small and functional pieces. The same nutrients as in the juice are absorbed more slowly, and the sugars are released more slowly into the bloodstream because of the presence of soluble fibre. By comparison, eating an orange requires breaking down all of the constituents into smaller pieces, starting with chewing, then churning in the stomach, and further liquefying in the intestines so the fibre is small enough to do its job and the nutrients and sugars are small enough to be absorbed.”


Fibre: Is it a Big Deal?

Yanique Rodgers, a Jamaican Nutritionist and Food Product Research & Development Scientist, pointed out that an excellent way to understand the role of fibre in the diet (when comparing the juiced and blended oranges) is to consider that since our bodies use up less energy to digest the blended fruit, it further reduces the likelihood of post prandial apathy – popularly known as niggaritis. Although post prandial apathy is not usually a problem with plant based food (since we get dietary fibre from plant foods), it is a great way to understand the importance of fibre in our diet. You may read the rest of Kristine Miles’ article for more details on the benefits that one gains from both juices and smoothies. But, she isn’t the first or only person to discuss juicing versus blending. Dr. Wigmore wrote of juicing:

“Juices do not contain fiber. Separating the fiber and other elements from the juice results in a food that is not as balanced as Nature would have it. Nature provides us with complete foods in a perfectly complete package. ” (Wigmore, A. Rebuild Your Health: With High Energy Enzyme Nourishment, 1991.)

While Victoria Boutenko wrote:

“One of the main advantages of juice is that it requires next to no digestion and can be absorbed and assimilated immediately into the bloodstream, allowing the digestive system to rest. This important quality of juice allows it to be used by people who suffer from severe nutritional deficiencies or have highly irritable digestive system. People with these conditions often cannot tolerate any fiber at all, and juice may provide invaluable nourishment for them. Later, when their health will improve, these people can switch to drinking smoothies…
I agree with Dr. Doug Graham that juices are a fractured food, which is missing an essential component – fiber. When we consume enough fiber, we take a load off of our organism by improving our elimination. Toxins often build up in the colon and fiber cleans them out. When most toxins have been removed by fiber, then the body has a greater ability to absorb nutrients, thus improving digestion. Humans could not live on juices alone, whereas green smoothies are a complete food.”

Victoria also did some excellent research that you may find worth reading in the “Blending vs. Juicing” which is excerpted on the Green Smoothie Revolution website. So, hopefully you now have a clearer understanding of what a green juice and a green smoothie are, how they differ and who should extract juices versus who should blend smoothies.


For more green smoothie info and recipes, purchase a copy of Jamaican Green Smoothies, now available from major online book retailers like Amazon and in branches of Kingston Bookshop & Bryan’s Bookstores throughout Jamaica.

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How the Green Smoothie Was Invented 

Excepted from “Jamaican Green Smoothies: The Essential Guide To Transforming Your Life, One Cup At A Time, With The Leafy Greens & Fruits In Your Backyard” By Didan Ashanta 

Life in old time Jamaica saw us enjoying a Sky Juice (shaved ice and water topped with brightly coloured, fruit-flavoured syrup in a bag with a straw) on a sweltering, hot day. But, as our consciousness of health and wellness increased, we changed old habits and today, we’ve grown accustomed to consuming Fruit Slush, instead – those thick, sweet blends of fruit, fruit juice or fruit-flavoured syrup and ice. This refreshing blend is popularly known as a smoothie in the United States of America; and smoothies are an easy and delicious way to incorporate more fruit in our diets. Many persons blend them up every morning – even as a breakfast replacement. But, the wellness industry still encouraged us to develop even healthier habits, by increasing our consumption of dark green, leafy vegetables. So, very quickly green juices became popular and soon after, the green smoothie was born and it has been trending since.

Dr. Ann Wigmore, known as “the mother of living foods”, was a pioneer in the raw food movement and she developed wonderful nut milks and seed cheeses that are still popular today. This Lithuanian Holistic Medical Practitioner also introduced the world to the wonders of wheatgrass, and according to the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute, Inc., she promoted fresh wheatgrass juice as “an effective healer because it contains chlorophyll, all minerals known to man, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K.” Dr. Wigmore also developed the Hippocrates diet, and advocated juicing fruits and vegetables as a way to obtain optimal nourishment. But, in her later years in life, she wrote:

“You may have noticed that I no longer advocate juicing, except for wheatgrass and watermelon juice. Juices such as green drinks can be too cleansing for most people’s bodies which have become extremely toxic from environmental and dietary abuse. Blending helps the body to clean itself and thus it restores health much quicker than just eating the foods as salads, yet it does not overtax the system with the rapid cleansing action of juices. Eating nutritionally balanced food in a blended form is a big help to the immune system and thus even seems to overcome “incurable” health problems.”

This little bit of history is the reason many green smoothie experts recognise Dr. Wigmore as the inventor of the blending concept behind the green smoothie. However, it was Victoria Boutenko whose pioneering made the ‘green smoothie’ famous. In 2004, while researching the perfect diet for humans, Victoria tried to liquefy her green leaves, but she didn’t like the taste. It was only after observing a chimpanzee wrap some fruit in the green leaves before eating them, that she thought of adding fruit to her blended green leaves. Her book, Green for Life: The Updated Classic on Green Smoothie Nutrition, and the follow-up, Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap Toward Natural Health, are excellent reference tools for anyone wanting to dive deep into the world of green smoothies.

It seems that while health-food enthusiasts were busy chugging down bitter-tasting green juices and the rest of us were experimenting with small salads, the first green smoothie was being blended up by Victoria Boutenko, just by adding ripe bananas to her blender full of liquefied green leaves. This minor discovery has resulted in a major revolution and I have also come to agree that green smoothies are the perfect dietary habit for everyone and anyone who hopes to adopt and maintain a healthy diet without making sacrifices to the taste of their food or to their lifestyle.

For more green smoothie info and recipes, purchase a copy of Jamaican Green Smoothies, now available from major online book retailers like Amazon and in branches of Kingston Bookshop & Bryan’s Bookstores throughout Jamaica.

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Decadent Desserts with Hidden Leafy Greens

“Greens for what?! Dessert? No!!”

Okay… You get the idea of a green smoothie for breakfast or a veggie stirfry for dinner. But, now you’re wondering why anyone would want to put leaves in their dessert?! LOL. Can’t a sweet treat just be left to its own guilty devices? Well, if you’ve never had an authentic green smoothie, I can understand why you struggle with the idea of sweet treats that include dark-green leafy vegetables. But, once you’ve enjoyed the dreamy, creamy blends – especially with frozen fruit, like mangoes – you could easily begin to rethink ‘dessert’. In fact, my book Jamaican Green Smoothies includes more than 8 different dessert recipes for feeding those cravings we often have for something sweet – especially on the weekend.

But, what kinds of dishes can we hide the greens in? You’d be amazed.

From frozen novelties to cakes and cookies. We can pack nutrition behind optimum flavour and decadent textures all the time. The following recipes are just the beginning.


Ice Cream

Everyone’s favourite dessert is cold, sweet and creamy. Best on a hot day, but still enjoyed when the days are cold. This might be the perfect way to get your family to ‘eat up their greens’, and if you avoid refined sweeteners you could serve this up often without the guilt. While a bright green hue works well for many people, in some cases, richly coloured fruit like raspberries may be essential to get other folk to be intrigued by licking leaf-filled ice cream.

Oh! For those of us who want to avoid dairy completely, coconut milk and tofu are great substitutes for the cow’s milk and yogurt in many recipes.

Creamy Avocado Ice Cream

Creamy Avocado Ice Cream



Cheese Cake

I’ve had an assortment of plantbased cheesecakes, including my sister’s cashew-based richness and even my personal specialty – which I have dubbed a “Teesecake” since I use tofu to make it. But, things get really potent when we can slip in some kale or callaloo leaves into these addictive bites. Not to mention when you don’t need an oven to pull this off! The recipe linked below might become your favourite raw food recipe to show off to your friends and loved ones.

Raw Sweet Kale Cheesecake

Raw Sweet Kale Cheesecake


A cross between a cake and a cookie, brownies are moist, chewy bars that should not be left in a room with a chocoholic. They have also been used to ‘hide’ vegetable matter for a long time now 😉 But, today I’m recommending you hide a different set of dark-green leaves in your brownies! Whether spinach or red leaf lettuce, you can add some greens to these sweet treats without worrying about hallucinations or sirens with flashing blue and red lights. LOL.

I can already imagine eating one of these babies, warm and toasty, with a frosty scoop of the Creamy Avocado Ice Cream linked above. *wipes away drool*

Kale Brownies

Kale Brownies

Freezer Pops

Another sweet treat that’s featured in my book and quite popular with the kiddies, would be freezer pops, ice lollies or icicles (as we call them in Jamaica). You can pour your favourite green smoothie or green ice cream blend into molds and enjoy them once they’re frozen. This way, when you or your little ones have a frozen novelty you can feel confident that it’s a nourishing treat and that you’re not filling up on refined sugar or artificial colours. If the green colour is not so appealing to your little ones, you could always add a fruit with strong pigment, like blueberries, raspberries or deep-purple otaheite apples.

Green Monster Ice Pops

Green Monster Ice Pops


Blueberry Kale Pops

Blueberry Kale Pops




Both of these recipes are easy! You can go hard and make your own pie crust or use a pre-made shell, but the soul of this pie will be all your doing. The best part? You make it all in your blender! How hard can that be? You can make a whole pie or use a muffin pan and make mini pies to impress your dinner guests or let your children go crazy after dinner is cleared away. If you prefer a less tart, more sweet version just add less lime juice and more of your favourite natural sweetener.

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie


Vegan Key Lime Pie Bites

Key Lime Pie Bites


So, what are you waiting for, get into the kitchen! Your sweet tooth is waiting.