Juicing vs Blending: Which is Better for You?

rock em sock em robots
Photo used under Creative Commons by _limoe

The juicing vs blending debate has plagued mankind since the beginning of time. Well, okay, not really. But it’s still pretty controversial. I mean, I thought I was doing just fine, juicing every morning with my handy dandy Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Centrifugal Juicer, drinking a glass-full of veggie goodness, then happily tossing the pulp into the garbage.

Then I saw an infomercial for the Nutribullet, in which they tossed all the veggies and fruits into a little blendy-majig, added some water and whirled it all into a thick, seemingly delicious shake. (It must have been delicious. The lady on TV said, “mmm,” like fifty times.) And none of the produce went to waste. What the . . . ?

Suddenly, everything I thought I knew about veggie drinking was in question. All this time,  I thought you had to extract the juice from the fiber and now these cheerful people on TV are telling me I can leave the fiber in?

So, What’s the Deal with Fiber?

Everybody loves fiber.  It makes us “regular,” it sweeps out our intestines and it makes us feel full. What’s not to love? Fiber is so popular, many food manufacturers go out of their way to stuff it in where it doesn’t even belong.

bottle of asian beer with added fiber
Photo used under creative commons by mental.masala

So why, in the name of all that’s holy, would anyone want to juice away all that precious, precious fiber?

Give up? All right, I’ll tell you.

The thing about fiber is, the body can’t really digest it. So, by extracting the juice and eliminating the fiber, the body has a much easier time assimilating the pure nutrients from our fruits and veggies. This way, the nutrients go directly into the blood stream, giving us a quick infusion of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Kinda like nutrient mainlining. And without having to waste its energy on digestion, the body can focus on more important things like healing our immune systems and detoxing from all the crap we put into our bodies. Well, not us, other people.

With juicing, we can consume mass quantities of healthy veggies and fruit without having to try to chomp through ‘em all. I mean, do you wanna sit down at the breakfast table and try to much through all this?

big pile of vegetables at a farmers market
Photo used under Creative Commons from uma2005

I didn’t think so.

The downside of juicing is that, without all that nice, filling fiber, it leaves you hungry in about an hour. Kinda like Chinese food. Plus, you have to burn through a bunch of produce (‘spensive), and  a lot of people feel guilty about tossing all that perfectly good pulp away. But, hey, you don’t have to waste it you can use it for mulch or to clean up oil slicks.

Blending, on the other hand, uses all of the fruit and veggies. It leaves the fiber in, which helps to slow down the digestion process, keeping you fuller longer, and pacing the release of sugar so you don’t spike and crash. And, as we said before and can’t seem to ever stop saying, fiber is good for you. It aids in digestion and sweeps those nasty toxins out of our system, which we really oughta kiss fiber’s butt for doing.

The downside of blending is, although you still get to forgo the unpleasant task of having to chew your vegetables, you can only drink so much smoothie. Don’t try to cram a full day’s supply of leafy greens into one serving like you would with juicing or you’ll be on a one-way trip to bloatsville.

puffer fish all puffed up
Photo used under Creative Commons from ashlibean

Also, in order to really break down that fiber and glean the maximum nutritional benefits from the food, you need a really powerful blender, not some frat-room margarita maker. Don’t get me wrong, I love margies, but, for our purposes, we need a blender that can really annihilate those leafy greens, pulling out as much nutritional value as possible and rendering them undetectable to our unsuspecting loved ones.

“Here’s your smoothie, honey.”

“Why’s it green?”

“Huh? Oh, um . . . it’s a Shamrock Shake®. Yeah, that’s it. Go on, drink it.”

The good news is there are some excellent blenders that are very much up to the task. The Vitamix Professional Series, if you’ve got a few hundred to spare, are beloved by their owners to the point of fandom. On the other hand if you’ve got a more modest budget Ninja owners give their babies rave reviews at a fraction of the price.

Bottom line: to get the best of both worlds, it’s best to try to incorporate both pure extracted juice as well as blending. I know what you’re thinking, “Now you want me to buy two machines?” (Actually, yes. I mean, if you wouldn’t mind. And be sure to use my Amazon affiliate links. Thank you!) All right, all right. Let’s not go crazy. You can start with one machine, then work your way up.

Just remember, whether juicing or blending, try to use as little fruit as possible. The point is to get as much veggie into our systems as humanly possible. Fruit should be used sparingly, for taste-disguising only.

Like my great-great-grandmother, Lucy used to say, “Eat your fruit, juice your veggies.” Okay, I do not have a great-great-grandmother Lucy, and I can’t remember who I heard say that. But, it is still very good advice.

Thanks for making it all the way to the end. Woo hoo!

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