Smoothies Vs. Juice? Plus The Most Delicious (Almost) Fruitless Smoothie Recipe
I’m not sure if I’ve talked about my preference for smoothies over juices yet, but here’s my verdict: smoothies. Yes, juice looks so clean, so healthy, and its just packaged and marketed so well—there are juice bars and juicing at fabulous restaurants, etc. To be beautiful and healthy, all you need to do is drink green juice, right? Wrong.
The Juice Vs. Smoothie Standoff
Juicing takes all the fiber away from the vegetables and fruits you consume. Fiber is critical because it slows down the rate of blood sugar increase and ensures you consume whole foods in the right way. For example, in many an 8oz juice, you could be drinking several leaves of kale (even a bunch of kale), two cucumbers, a lemon, two apples, a carrot, and parsley (all in one fell swoop!). This is not how are bodies are intended to enjoy fruits and vegetables. If we ate whole foods (the correct way to eat) in one sitting, we could probably take in only one leaf of kale, a single apple, and half a cucumber. Smoothies are whole foods. Juices are not. That said, there are certainly some good reasons to drink juice from time to time, and I will list these at the bottom of this post. But for now we're talking smoothies.
The Best Smoothies Are Practically Fruitless
Not all smoothies are created equal. In my opinion, the best juices for health, strength, and staying lean are smoothies without lots of fruit and add-ins like nut milks and nut butters. Fruits, although they make smoothies taste amazing, release more insulin in our bodies and therefore raise our blood sugar levels, which has the propensity to lead to fat storage. Nut milks, if not homemade, tend to contain a lot of preservatives, and the consumption of nuts negatively skews our 0mega-6 to omega-3 ratio (it raises omega-6). Nut butters can do the same thing. If I opt to add nut milks or nut butters to my smoothies (almost always butters), I use freshly made butter from cashews, because it has a better antinutrient and omega-6 profile relative to other nuts. (Antinutrients occur naturally in plants and can inhibit normal absorption and functioning of nutrients in your body.) So if I want a truly healthy smoothie, (which is the reason we drink smoothies anyway, isn’t it?) I’ll go for the recipe I share below. It contains no nut milks or butters, and the only fruit I’ll add is a green apple.
Scheduling Your Smoothie Time
I can’t have smoothies first thing in the morning. My body is after protein and fat in the morning—it doesn’t want only carbs (even if I add some grass-fed whey protein powder, my protein supplement of choice, it doesn’t satisfy me). So I tend to have a smoothie around 3pm or later in the evening. But every body is different.
As Promised: When Does Juice Win?
Here are some scenarios in which juice trumps smoothies:
You're fasting or on a detox/cleanse for a certain period and want to allow your digestion to do as little work as possible to rest. You're not hungry, but need a quick boost of energy and don’t want to go for coffee or tea. You're thirsty and want to quench your thirst with a drink that is more flavorful and nutrient-dense than water.
THE RECIPE: LOW INSULIN & LOW FRUIT GREEN SMOOTHIE
1 green apple, peeled
small handful parsley, stems removed
½ ripe avocado
3-4 inch piece cucumber, peeled
1 small handful watercress, stems removed (start with a little bit and taste; watercress can be pungent)
¾ of 1 leaf of curly kale
leaves of 3 sprigs of mint
juice of 1 ½ lemons
3 large ice cubes (or 6 or 7 small cubes)
Add all ingredients into a strong blender and blend until smooth and all ingredients have been fully incorporated. This smoothie will be a bit thick for some, but it contains some powerful immune-boosting, cancer-fighting ingredients that make it worth trying. If you do want to thin it out, add water or raw, fresh coconut water. I love drinking this smoothie from a Mason jar with a straw (preferably a fun, colorful one).
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