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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
- Sign up for the email list using the form below. If you are already subscribed, you do NOT have to subscribe again.
- 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
We will never sell your information or spam you, ever.
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.