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The Great Juicing Paradox (Plus A Book Giveaway)


Photo credit: Kate Lewis

I once juiced an onion. Yes AN ONION! What was I thinking???? Blood cleanser?! DO NOT DO THIS.

This is just one…let’s say telling…example of my many experiments with smoothies and juicing. And my experience has given me a different viewpoint than most.

Today we are going to laser in on this juicy subject in celebration of Kris Carr’s new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. We have a recipe to share from the book, as well as a free copy to give away!

For starters, it’s important to understand the difference between blending and juicing. Here’s a handy infographic from Kris that outlines the differences.

Now that we know the difference between these two methods, the essential questions remain: Should we be juicing? Should we be making smoothies? Or should we skip them altogether?

Some say yes, others say no. For me, I say it depends on your goal. Let’s dive in.

Are Smoothies and Juicing Good For Weight Loss?

One of the most common arguments against smoothies and juicing is that it is better to eat whole foods in their natural state, particularly when it comes to weight loss.

For example, a typical smoothie may contain 2 bananas, 3 cups of spinach, 20 almonds worth of almond butter, and a cup of blueberries.

If you were to pour those smoothie ingredients out of the blender and onto a plate, it would take at least 20 minutes of fastidious chewing to finish your meal. I’d also wager that you’d feel quite full afterwards.

Once blended, you can slurp it all down in about 30 seconds, and here’s the important part: You may or may not feel full.

Typically a smoothie will fill me up for about 15 minutes before I’m hunting for something else to munch on, so I rarely use them as a meal replacement.

This is based on the concept of satiety and caloric density. When weight loss is your goal, it’s best to choose foods that leave you feeling the most satisfied for the least amount of calories.

For example, Chef AJ talks about the value of eating 1 pound of veggies for breakfast. Are you going to feel (and stay) full after eating a pound of veggies? You better believe it.

So if weight loss is your goal and you have the luxury of choosing between a smoothie and a pound of veggies, make the veggies your top choice.

However, most of us are insanely busy and overwhelmed as it is.

Our mornings are often a race against the clock to get the kids ready for school, put some food on the table and get out the door in time for work.

In fact, we created our minimalist food prep course the 12 Minute Kitchen in order to provide quick and easy plant-based meal options for just these kinds of situations.

If you are overwhelmed trying to prepare plant-based meals and continually falling short, green smoothies are a fantastic (and realistic) option. It’s one of the best ways to fill your belly with delicious nutrient dense plant foods in a hurry.

Here’s the take away: Choose green smoothies if you are having trouble getting your greens, are not yet 80-100% plant-based, or have trouble finding the time or energy to prepare a plant-based meal.

If you find yourself going through the drive through, or indulging in junk food because you didn’t manage to make the perfect breakfast, then go for the green smoothies!

If your primary goal is weight loss, you aren’t seeing the results you want, and you’ve already cut oil, then skip the green smoothies in favor of a whole food plant-based meal that will leave you feeling fuller, longer.

When Should You Drink Smoothies and When Should You Juice?

Photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/7429094062/in/photolist-cju3QE-5HVmU6-dgnCJV-biHh74-biHh5D-jrKRxa-eTVfZs-acjFjj-2RqBQx-jJdv2G-jrKVnp-jrJnuR-dovpBk-beVdS4-dwAhwA-4vTjKM-7yuNCv-beVdPT-4K1S6r-4K66FG-7VfTtz-cWEMSA-bm6qi4-cZfn2u-boVsST-782yXM-bbvpg2-9toe8v-dgnEUj-dgnCPt-dgnESA-eTGXnR-eTHrdF-9ipy7z-62cVWj-eTHSjR-eTH9BR-aWfoXD-biHh34-beVdTB-9esntf-aoLXwC-9xhYDE-gAo2CB-x3YCC2-e4VTXT-jrJu9x-jrMPXf-dgnEL7-noGLbg">Stacy Spensley</a>

Photo credit: Stacy Spensley

As I mentioned above, I love smoothies because they are just so darn realistic.

They are a fantastic way to get the good stuff into your diet, are quick and easy to prepare, and you don’t have to be a chef to make a delicious smoothie.

So when should you choose a green juice over a smoothie?

If you haven’t yet had your first juicing experience, you’ll quickly find that it takes considerable more time, effort and produce to make a glass of juice.

When is it worth it to invest all that additional energy? When you need to pull out the big guns.

A green juice is like a concentrated injection of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. You are delivering the nutritional potency of several pounds worth of veggies directly into your system.

This can help create and maintain the systemic conditions that promote health and healing, such as creating an alkaline environment and reducing inflammation.

The body is a complex system, and modern life presents many obstacles to radiant health. Between depleted soils, questionable food production practices, and more toxins in the environment than ever before, sometimes we need a boost beyond healthy food.

Do you have a chronic health condition or health crisis? Are you already eating 100% plant-based and not losing weight? Struggling with food addiction?

These are the situations when it becomes especially worthwhile to invest the time and energy in juicing.

When I first went plant-based, I drank a minimum of 16 oz of green juice a day for close to two years.

I have no doubt that this accelerated the change towards a physiology of health and well-being that began when I put plants first.

And during my time at the Tree of Life Center in Patagonia, Arizona, I watched hundreds of people experience profound healing and transformation on a 7-day green juice fast.

But here’s the catch: I spent close to an hour every morning making my daily juice, and it was not an inexpensive endeavor.

I, of course, saw it as a valuable investment, but it just may not be possible for everyone to devote that kind of time and energy towards juicing.

If you’d like to learn more about the ins and outs of juicing, check out the Ultimate Guide To Green Juice.


Photo credit: Kate Lewis

Here’s the takeaway:

Green juice is a powerful tool, but it requires a large investment of time and energy.

When changing our diets, we usually have limited time, energy and willpower. If you are exceptionally busy or overwhelmed just trying to put healthy food on the table, focus on eating more plant-based meals and don’t worry about juicing for now.

If you are in the midst of a health crisis, doing everything right and still not losing weight, or struggling with severe cravings then it’s especially worthwhile to invest in juicing.

Juicing Disclaimer:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, this is a less than scientific explanation of juicing. I’m still not a doctor or nutritionist, and I am just relating my personal experience and observations.

Consult a qualified medical professional before adopting any of these practices, and do not attempt a green juice fast without medical supervision. Especially if you are on medications.

Smoothie and Juicing Pro Tips

Smoothies are a great medium for superfoods and supplements

Smoothies are a great way to get in superfoods, such as protein powder, tonic chinese herbs, or any other supplements or superfoods you are including in your diet.

Increase satiety with flax and chia or slowly sipping your smoothies.

According to a study mentioned by Dr. Greger, adding a tablespoon of flaxseed to your green smoothies can increase satiety and suppress appetite up to four hours after consumption.

And according to Regan, too much flax or chia can ruin a tasty smoothie so it’s best to start with a teaspoon or two. Also the longer the flax or chia sits the more gelatinous it will become, so add it in just prior to drinking or grab a spoon.

Sipping your smoothie, rather than gulping it down, can also increase satiety and leave you feeling full longer.

Watch out for sugar

Juicing and blending concentrates the natural sugar content in fruit and makes it more absorbable. You can end up consuming a large amount of sugar very quickly and spike your blood sugar.

Be mindful of the amount of fruit (or other sources of sugar) that you are including in your juice and smoothies. Make it palatable with the least possible amount of sugar, and aim to reduce the sugar content as your taste buds adjust.

I used to include a whole apple in every green juice, but I now think that green juice is incredibly delicious without any sweetener at all.

Up Your Smoothie and Juice Game with Kris Carr’s New Book — Crazy Sexy Juice!


Learn more about Crazy Sexy Juice

Regan and I have had a crush on Kris Carr for a long time. Her Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipe book is one of our favorites, and we are super excited for her new release Crazy Sexy Juice.

We asked for a sneak peek recipe to share with you and Kris came through. Not only do we have a recipe to share, but Kris also has a number of bonuses available if you purchase the book, and we have copy of Crazy Sexy Juice to give away! Details on how to enter the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.

But first, here’s a great recipe to get you started with green juice.

Get Started With This Recipe — A Classic Green Lemonade

Green lemonade is the Cadillac of juicing recipes. This is my take on the beloved classic. The juice is a little sweet (thanks to the apple) and a little spicy (gracias to the ginger). The natural bitterness of leafy greens is cut by a bright squeeze of lemon.

You can use almost any type of leafy green in place of chard or kale. Romaine, baby spinach, collard, bok choy, broccoli—you name it! In fact, I love adding broccoli stems to this recipe. Get creative.

This juice is a perfect vehicle for all of your greenest fridge scraps.


Photo credit: Kate Lewis

Classic Green Lemonade

Yield: Makes 2 Servings (16 to 20 Ounces)


  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 apple, cored and seeded
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 3 leaves Swiss chard or kale
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled


  1. Wash and prep all ingredients.
  2. Juice all ingredients.

Enter to Win a Copy of Crazy Sexy Juice

UPDATE: The giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Anna, the winner of the Crazy Sexy Juice giveaway!

We’ll be randomly selecting one recipient (see entry details below) and notifying the winner on Thursday, November 5th.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Sign up for the email list using the form below. If you are already subscribed, you do NOT have to subscribe again.
  2. Leave a comment below letting us know the following: Do you make smoothies or juice? Which do you prefer and why? Give an example and be specific.

*Note: Only open to residents of the US and Canada

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Matt Jager is a wellness activist, yogi and co-founder of True Wellth. His life mission is to transform the healthcare and food system in this country, so that every single person has access to the tools and support they need to look and feel their best, control their health, own their happiness and revolutionize their well-being.
  • I prefer smoothies, but that is probably because I only have a blender. I do try to make sure that I don’t have to chew my smoothie.

    • Haha, yeah I’m always happier if I don’t have to chew my smoothie 🙂 You can juice with a blender, you just strain the pulp through a nut milk bag. But again it takes a little more effort.

  • Kathryn Polster

    I make smoothies and juice for the EXACT reasons you wrote about. I’m actually doing a juice cleanse right now (3 days down, 2 to go). We opted to pay for it from a local place because we are moving and we don’t even have time to worry about food and work and moving. Leading up to moving and packing we were so busy it just seemed easier to get vegan take out all the time or rely on tader tots and Gardein nuggets. This led us to continue to crave junk! We felt gross and then I got an awful cold. So we are resetting with the juices and I feel so much better. A flood of nutrients what just what I needed. Gave my digestion a break and I’m getting so much done. And now I’m craving salads and soups and I can’t wait to get back to cooking healthy food! Sometimes we just need to remind our bodies what really feels good!

    • Very cool Kathryn, is this your first fast? I did a seven day fast last year, and it always provides such a great reset. Like you said, sometimes we just need to remind our bodies what feels good 🙂

      • Kathryn Polster

        We’ve done a couple before but it has been a while. First time we did a 10 day and it was amazing. I tend to notice that when I need it, it is easy. When I attempt it for vanity reasons (weight loss) but I don’t need it it is incredibly difficult!

  • Krista Convey

    Hi, I actually go back and forth between juicing and smoothies. I have the ability to do both and based on what I have been reading I go back and forth as to which is right or which is going to help me loose weight.. I wish someone would just tell me what to do. it would be so much easier to just follow along. I don’t have her book so this would be great. When I do juice – I love to use green apples, ginger, beets and carrots, although I know the sugar content is high. When I do smoothies, I often do frozen banana, couple of handfuls of spinach, some water or unsweetened almond milk, sometimes peanut butter and sometimes cocoa powder. thanks for the opportunity. Krista

    • Hi Krista, I hear ya…it’s hard to navigate all the conflicting advice and figure out what to do to move forward. Are you making progress with the weight loss? Feel free to send us a message via the contact form on the site, and we might be able to provide some direction. Hope to hear from you!

  • Michelle

    I juice every morning before work. I feel like that gives me more energy than coffee would. When I want a little more in the morning I will add a smoothie

    • Awesome Michelle! You are inspiring me to get back to juicing more regularly 🙂

  • alex

    Again, it’s both. Juicing is medicinal in nature and yes, while it’s a investment in time, it also doesn’t have to be. There’s a huge difference between being a perfectionist juicer and being a routine juicer. An example of this is buying a centrifugal juicer like a Breville or Kuvings and doing it once a day with easy cleanup, prep, and a overall quick process. An old adage says that “the best juicer is the one you use.” I agree, however the reason I agree is from experience, as I have had both a $150 juicer and a $650 dual-ager, and while I put hours of research into finding that ‘perfect juicer’, it is still sitting in my room..unused… Buy a juicer you’ll use, and then, if you want to, move up.
    This topic wasn’t about buying a juicer, so I’ll revert back. Juicing can and will change your mind (literally). We are physical beings comprised on mainly oxygen, water, and a few other components. Juice, in my opinion, is the most highly concentrated, least expensive way to give your body what it needs – minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll and all the nutrients from the sun and life. It directly implants those into your blood stream and you’re flowing with life – LITERALLY! There’s the topic of fiber which gets everyone confused, but again, you can do both. Juice bypasses the stomach and there is no need for digestion. Smoothies do this too, but on a different level.

    Smoothies are wonderful too. The consistency of a nice smoothie can be extremely delicious, and in ways, I feel that smoothies are more versatile (you can blend anything- powders, herbs, liquids, solids, fruits, veggies, etc). Like you said above, most people fall into smoothies using fruits so there is fructose involved, but hey, you can do both – smoothies and juice!
    I think using them for different purposes or “goal” as you call it is the way to go.

  • I mostly do juicing. I prefer drinking them over the thicker smoothies. I love the boost of immune-building nutrition. And for my son, who isn’t a huge veggie eater, it’s a great way to get those vitamins in. He loves to juice (he’s 14) and he knows the impact juicing has on his health. Since we started juicing 3 years ago, he has not had a single sick day from school. (Note: we do also eat a WFPB diet at home.) If we miss for any period of time, he’s quick to remind me that it’s time to get juicing again.

    • Awesome Michele, so cool that your son is into juicing, and quite the testament that you haven’t had a sick day since! Hope others will take note and follow suit.

  • Cherie Oden

    I make both smoothies AND juice. Depending on my mood, I generally prefer smoothies, only because it takes less time to make. 😉

    • Nice Cheri! I’m the same way, will typically go for smoothies just because they are easier.

  • vegyogini

    I make both! I mostly make smoothies because I can fit a lot of nutrients and add protein, probiotics, Omegas, etc., but I still love very green juice! One of my favorite smoothies includes greens, frozen banana, vegan protein powder, probiotics, mint, and cacao nibs.

    • Mmmm, sounds delicious! I’m a huge fan of cacao nibs as well.

  • Laurie Schroeder

    I have only made smoothies, we have not tried to juice at home. I have bought juice from local places on occasion. Our kids like to drink them too, so I will put blueberries, banana in with kale or spinach, ginger, carrots, etc.

    • So wonderful that your kids enjoy the smoothies. I haven’t tried carrot before, will have to give that a try.

  • Anna

    Smoothies. I just love the thick texture. It’s more satisfying.

    • Congratulations Anna, you’ve been selected as the winner of the giveaway! Please send your mailing address to info@dontlosethecow.com and we’ll send it out to you.

  • Kathy B

    I prefer juicing over smoothies. When I juice, I can feel almost instantly the good nutrition entering my system. It has a calming and at the same time invigorating effect on me. My thoughts become clearer and motivation improves. My juicer is hands down the best investment I have for my health.

    • So great the juicing is working so well for you Kathy! I love it too, though I haven’t been as diligent lately as I would like. Time to get back to it.

  • JoshandCharity

    Our family enjoys both, smoothies and juice. My favorite juice blend is made with cucumber, mint, kale, lemon, and apple. It is refreshing, and smells divine. My kids love smoothie bowls, instead of ice cream. Their favorite includes frozen banana, blueberries, acai powder, kale, cacao nibs, and cacao powder. Delicious!

    • That juice blend sounds fantastic — right up my alley. Awesome to hear that your kids love the smoothie bowls too!

  • Laurie

    I prefer smoothies because I love the fiber! I would love to learn more about the power of juicing plants . . . I also have a crush on Kris and would love her new book!

  • Amy

    I currently don’t have a juicing or a smoothie machine. I am thinking of investing in one to make smoothies, any recommendation? I would loove to have a copy of this book, to help get things started. I’ve tried other recipes with a poor blender and I just couldnt handle the taste. I really need to game up because I feel like I am missing so much after reading how much you all love smoothies and juicings and the benefits.

    • Elevenarrows

      I’ve used a Vita Mix for 15 years and LOVE it! I have a very large family (11 kids) and have worked my Vita Mix hard multiple times a day. It makes my protein shakes and green smoothies taste like milk shakes. I find it easy to “hide” less yummy-tasting ingredients that are, nevertheless, healthy ingredients so my kids are more accepting of some crazy combinations. Vita Mix may seem pricey, but it is a workhorse that can easily last 25-30 years without servicing.

      • Couldn’t agree more, I love the vitamix.

    • Elissa

      Yes on the VitaMix…7 of us at home (5 kids).

    • I agree that Vitamix is the way to go. Blend tech works, but it doesn’t have the tamper which does come in handy. It can be a big investment, but as everyone has said they last years and are totally worth it. Good luck and let me know if you have more questions!

    • Eric Meunier

      We are uaing à Vitamix and we love it, totally worth the investment!

  • Pogonia

    I make a basic smoothie once in awhile with water kefir as my liquid. But I have been thinking of hauling out the big guns (my expensive juicer) and doing more for our health.

    • Sounds good Pogonia. I’d be curious to hear how you make the kefir. I used to make it from nut milk, but it’s been ages.

  • Terri Jones Cole

    I don’t have a juicer. I probably drink a green smoothie 5 days out of 7.

  • Jen

    Smoothies, don’t have a juicer. Usually it’s beets, kale, blueberries, a little lemon juice and water.

    • Sounds great Jen! Though I skip the beet because it doesn’t agree with me for some reason 🙂 Also you can make juice without a juicer by blending veggies and then straining through a nut milk bag.

  • Elissa

    Already on the list…I do both smoothies and juices. Smoothies are more common because I keep my VM on the counter. My kids love smoothies and I often freeze them as popsicles. I juice when I am trying to get back into my physical “A” game or having a problem with sickness. I find that juicing works better than smoothies for “rebooting” my body.

    • Same here Elissa, I go for the juice when I need a reboot. I lOVE the popsicle idea. Will have to give that a try.

  • Me & My House

    Already on the list. I do both and love both. We juice (almost) every morning, as a “vita/min supplement”, and a great start to a nutritious day. We do green smoothies most days, especially when on the run and need a quick, power packed meal/snack. I like both for different reasons and occasions. Carrot is our usual base for juice with whatever other veggies and greens on hand, and apple to sweeten if needed. Green smoothie is whatever we have on hand, but a fave is fresh coconut water (even better if I’ve made it into coconut water kefir), strawberries, banana, and baby spinach… then whatever I have that sounds good. Love cherry with fresh almond milk and cacao, and banana also.

  • Anita Brower

    I have a smoothie tendency. Enjoy it’s simplicity and use what is available in the fridgy. I do have a Jack Lalane juicer, which mostly sits. I’m way to lazy to deal with making a juice though when I do make up a juice I totally love it! Juicing hasn’t clicked for me at this time.

  • Cale Brehio

    “Make too much” to get free healthcare, (can barely afford rent etc) but one use of my employer-offered medical insurance and the co-pays threw my debt payments into a tailspin, and the punitive fees are stomping me further into the ground; I can’t even afford the greens, much less a juicer! Always the same…those with money get the healthcare, whether it be traditional or holistic.
    ***Frustrated Rant over, sorry***

  • Eric Meunier

    I prefer smoothies because with à family of 4 it can be done quickly but occasionnaly we would do juicing to add up more vitamines and boost our energy