Alkaline Juices vs Smoothies – The Definitive Answer
To juice or to smoothie. It literally is the question!
It’s one of my top ten most asked alkaline diet questions and so I wanted to clear this up for you once and for all – especially with the 7-Day Juice Challenge just around the corner!
In this video I give you:
- The Anatomy of a Juice & Smoothie
- The Benefits of Juicing
- The Benefits of Smoothies (Blending)
- Which is Best, When and Why
- Which is best for YOU
Juices vs Smoothies – The Guide
First up – juices and smoothies are BOTH incredibly beneficial. I am never recommending one over the other, and I do love to have them both. They do have differences and there are strengths that both have that make them ‘better’ than the other.
Let’s get into it all now, so you can understand which to use, when and how often!
Which is Best: a Green Juice or Smoothie
Juices and smoothies are similar in many ways, but the big difference is, of course, that a juice is made with a juicer, and a smoothie is made with a blender.
Difference #1: The Fibre
The biggest difference is that the juice does not contain the fibre. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.
It is a benefit to the juice that it does not contain the fibre, because this means the nutrients can be much more efficiently and quickly delivered to your cells and everywhere they are needed in the body.
Consuming the foods WITH the fibre means that there is some waste, not all of the nutrients will be used, and also it’s a slower, more inefficient process for the body to utilise the nutrients.
However, of course, it means you’re not getting the fibre!
And one of the benefits of the smoothie is that it DOES contain the fibre too – which is so important for your digestive system, hormone balance and so much more.
This is why I recommend both, and of course eating a well balanced, alkaline diet (which is naturally very fibre-rich).
Difference #2: The Ingredients
Juices give you much more scope to use certain tougher vegetables like carrot and beets and more (ironically) fibrous vegetables like celery and wheatgrass.
Smoothies allow you to get, arguably, more creative with things like nuts, seeds, fats and oils, powders and supplement add-ins and so on. My smoothies will regularly contain things like almonds, cashews, chia, cacao, maca and softer ingredients like avocado (you can’t juice an avo!).
Generally speaking, you can’t blend carrots and celery too well, and too many leafy greens like kale don’t work as well in smoothies…and of course, juicing cacao powder, avocado or chia seeds isn’t really going to work either.
But all of those ingredients are beneficial and again, this is why I recommend you enjoy BOTH juices and smoothies in your lifestyle.
The Anatomy of a Juice
In general, an alkaline green juice/vegetable juice that I would have and recommend would include a base of:
That alone would be fantastic…
But I will also often add a selection from:
Cilantro / Coriander
Bell pepper / Capsicum
And if you’re feeling funky, you can also add a little extra boost with something like:
A scoop of green powder
MCT oil powder
Turmeric or ginger powder (if you’re not using fresh root)
And so on…
And I always recommend watering it down a little with:
Simply some filtered water
Coconut water to make it sweeter
Almond or coconut milk to make it rather different to normal!
These combinations give you endless possibilities!
The Anatomy of a Smoothie
There are kinda two directions you can go with alkaline smoothies:
– green; or
You’ll see what I mean as we go through some of the ingredients!
For a ‘green smoothie’ I will generally start with a base of:
Then add other veggies such as:
And then my ‘liquid’ using something like one of:
For a ‘creamy alkaline smoothie’, you can get a bit more funky and creative with things like:
A similar base of:
And then ingredients like:
Almond or cashew butter
Plant-based protein powder
And then your liquid:
There are so many options with these!
What NOT to Juice OR Smoothie
The biggest thing to highlight here is FRUIT!. Please don’t add fruit to your juice or smoothie!
The short version is this:
Fruit, as delicious as it is, contains fructose. And fructose is be a problem.
While most types of sugar can be metabolised by practically every cell in the body, fructose can ONLY be metabolised by the liver. We were not designed to eat the vast volumes of fructose we now eat.
Regular sugars – table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar – these are all 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
Don’t get me wrong, the glucose is acidic, oxidising, inflammatory and bad news – but if you’re moderately active, the body can use it.
Fructose cannot be used and it stresses the heck out of the liver, the pancreas and so much more.
People think of fructose as a ‘natural sugar’, ‘fruit sugar’ or ‘healthy sugar’ but this is just not the case. It’s not only as damaging as any other sugar, but in reality – it’s actually worse.
The direct effects of fructose metabolism include:
- 100% of the fructose being stored as fat cells – leading to weight gain, fatty liver disease & insulin resistance (and thus Type 2 Diabetes)
- Fructose being processed by the liver heavily interferes with our appetite hormones
- When our appetite hormones are out of balance, this metabolic shift to puts us into ‘starvation mode’ causing the body to store _all _food as fat
- Fructose raises the levels of our ‘hunger hormone’ ghrelin and when ghrelin is elevated our brain sends the signal that we’re always hungry, no matter how much we eat.
In short, fructose causes inflammation, liver stress, oxidative stress, uric acid formation, it makes us gain weight, we can’t stop eating it, and it makes us want to keep eating more. Not good.
And fruit contains a LOT of fructose.
And when you juice it and blend it it’s so much worse. With juicing it’s the worst as you remove the fibre, so all the fructose hits your liver very quickly, instantly stressing it.
With smoothies, you at least have the fibre in there to slow the process, but it’s still not beneficial. You are still consuming it way quicker (and usually in bigger quantities) than you’d have if you were simply eating it.
Keep your fruit to food and keep it to 1-2 pieces per day.
I explain it all a little more in this video too:
Keep your fruit to something you love EATING, and keep it out of your drinks.
(Note: if you want a little help making your green drink even more tasty, check out my guide here: The Green Juice Hacks)
Equipment Suggestions: Which Juicer and Blender to Buy?
Finally, I want to cover this for you quickly, because a lot of people ask about my recommendations for juicers and blenders. I want to say outright, I have no commercial relationship with any juice or blender company. I have included no links to products because you can research in your country and find a special deal. They come up a lot! It’s worth shopping around.
The Ideal Choice of Blender & Juicer
My personal choice that I use at home are Hurom juicers and Vitamix blenders.
They are a little more expensive up-front, but they will last for years and years. Cheaper juicers and blenders are not only not as good, but they also tend to break pretty easily, especially if you’re using them daily.
The Best of the Rest
For juicers my experience has shown me that if you can’t stretch to a Hurom (or Kuvings, also good) right now, it’s not worth spending more than $150-200. The quality of juicers between $50-$200 is negligible. You may as well save now, and put that money towards a Hurom later.
The benefit of the Hurom is that it gets you huge yield from your vegetables (in essence more juice per veg, which saves you money every day), it keeps more nutrients intact, and it’s really quiet and really easy to clean. Juicing can be a pain, so it’s worth it just to make the juicing experience more enjoyable!
With blenders it’s similar, but it’s also worth noting that going the extra mile for a blender is worthwhile because the cheaper ones can’t handle nuts, seeds or harder vegetables well. I love my Vitamix because I can throw ANYTHING in there and it makes it super-smooth. Cheaper blenders can’t do this.
Again, if you can’t stretch to a Vitamix (Nutribullet is also good, not as good, but good), then it’s not worth spending in the mid-range. Get a cheaper one now and save up for a Vitamix!
The Most Important Thing is To GET STARTED!
Whether you have just a juicer, or just a blender – or neither – the most important thing is to not let any of the minor details prevent you from taking action.
Having a fresh juice or smoothie daily is possibly the most powerful thing you can do for your health – the impact it makes is almost immediate!
GO FORTH AND DO IT NOW!