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 GreenSmoothieCommunity.com, 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.