In this podcast I’ll be exploring Juicing and Blending:
- I’ll explain why consuming juices and smoothies are important for happiness and health
- I’ll talk about the differences and the pros and cons between juicing and blending vegetables and fruits
- Finally, I’ll share tips on how to turn your juices and smoothies into a healing elixir
CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO GET YOU LEAN
Everyone knows that vegetables and fruits are packed-full of phytonutrients, plant chemicals that have powerful medicinal and healing effects in your body. Plant power fuels and nourishes animal life on this planet. Without the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting benefits you get from consuming plant matter it becomes very difficult, but not impossible, just hard to give your body the nutritional, energetical, and informational support it needs to thrive.
Unless you live in the North and South poles where you’re exposed to cold with its own unique healing powers and are consuming a lot of nutritionally dense rich blubberous animal fats and their offal then plant foods are going to be a necessity in your diet.
Juicing and blending your vegetables and fruits into juices and smoothies are an excellent and simple way to get more plant medicine into your diet.
When you juice you’re making juices and when you blend you’re making smoothies. Juicing is very different to blending, which makes juices very different to smoothies.
Plants are made up of mostly water much like your own body and also a carbohydrate known as fibre. Fibre is indigestible by your body’s digestive system. This fibre though it is the perfect food for the trillions of microorganisms that live in your gut, in your digestive tract and your gut microbiome plays a huge role in your digestion and in keeping your immune system running optimally.
Fibre is the difference between juicing vegetables and fruits into juices verses blending them into smoothies. When you juice, using a juicer obviously, what you’re doing is separating the fibrous plant material from the water and this water contains a majority of the phytonutrients. This leaves you with a very watery drink and a lot of fibre leftover. When you blend, using a blender obviously, what you’re doing here is pulverising, chopping, mashing 100% of the plant material fibre and all leaving you with a thick drink.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both juicing and blending.
The primary benefit to having juices and smoothies is that they are a very simple, nutritious and delicious way to increase your consumption of vegetables. Not everyone can manage to eat 3 to 9 cups of vegetables a day, but you can easily get 3 cups of a variety of vegetables in one juice or smoothie.
For example in my green smoothie that I have for dinner most nights I put in a quarter cup of parsley. You have probably seen a tiny pinch of parsley used mainly as a garnish and sure that tiny amount tastes okay, but can you imagine eating 4 tablespoons worth of chopped parsley? Maybe spread out evenly over a day, but for me I like getting my parsley dose in one hit and it’s so much easier and tastier mixed into a smoothie.
Now the main benefit to juicing and drinking juices is that they are an easily digested and quickly absorbed source of nutrition and energy. For people with digestive issues, energy issues, and for those who are severely malnourished drinking green juices will be easier on your body allowing your body to absorb more of the nutrients in that juice. It takes about 20 minutes for a juice to be fully digested and absorbed compared to a few hours for a full-blown meal.
Also because your body doesn’t need to spend a lot of energy digesting your juice it will have more energy that can be used elsewhere such as for repairing damaged tissues, increasing detoxification processes, and producing more neurotransmitters and sex hormones.
The thing is the main benefit to juicing, easy digestion and quick absorption, is also one of its drawbacks. But this all depends on what you’re actually juicing. Fruit juices are not healing drinks like green juices are. This is because of the high amount of fruit sugars present in fruits. Remember juicing extracts the water and the nutrients and separates them from the fibre and fibre helps slow down the release of sugar from your gut into your bloodstream. Without the fibre in the juice that sugar is going to hit your system very quick and very hard causing a massive insulin response which is something you don’t want to happen on a regular basis. Listen to the previous podcast I did on the blood sugar rollercoaster for more info on that.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, but it’s natural sugar from real food. Whether sugar is found naturally in real food or refined and added by the spoonful once sugar hits your digestive tract your body doesn’t know the difference. Sugar is sugar. Except if there’s fibre present then your body and your gut microorganisms will deal with that sugar differently. Not just fibre, but fats and acids help with this as well, but I’ll talk more about those later. This is why eating fruits in their whole intact form is a lot better for you than fruit juices and it doesn’t matter if the juices are bought from the shop or made fresh at home. Sugar without fibre is processed sugar to your body.
The other downside to drinking juices is that you cannot extract all the water and nutrients bound to the fibre. Even with the slowest spinning masticating juicers you will always be missing out on nutrients when you juice.
Final drawback to juicing I’ll mention is when you’re using a centrifugal juicer, one that spins at high-speed in the thousands of RPMs or revolutions per minute, a centrifugal juicer will suck in more oxygen which creates more oxidation or damage to the nutrients. Not only do high-speed juicers cause damage, but they also do not extract as much juice as slow masticating juicers do. Even if you do use a masticating juicer that can spin as low as 65 RPMs, as I talked about before you will not be able to extract all the water and nutrients from the fibre.
Moving onto smoothies.
The good thing about smoothies, besides being a simple way to increase your vegetable consumption, is that you are eating the whole food, the entire vegetable and fruit meaning you get the fibre, the nutrients, the water, the whole deal. You are not missing out on anything that may be lost when you juice. This means that even if you do add some fruit to your blended smoothies the release of sugar into your bloodstream will be a lot slower than fruit that’s been juiced.
There is a similar drawback to blending just as there is in juicing if your smoothie is made up mostly or 100% of fruit. For people with metabolic disorders meaning they are unable to digest and metabolise sugar properly due to hormonal imbalances, a fruit smoothie will be doing more harm than healing and can be just as bad as a fruit juice.
Last downside to blending again similar to juicing is that these blenders spin at super high speeds that will cause damage both physically by the blades and oxidatively by sucking in more oxygen.
Alright so how do you make healing juices and smoothies?
First things first – you got to reduce the sugar hit. When designing a juice or smoothie for healing, obviously you don’t want to add any additional sweeteners artificial or natural including maple syrup and honey due to sugars ability to upset your hormonal rhythms and to suppress your immune system.
When it comes to juices you want to be drinking healing green juices with little to no fruit added. I like using kale, cucumber, celery, and some ginger as a base for all my green juices. From here you can add whatever else you like. I recommend adding in some herbs as pound for pound herbs are more nutritionally dense than their larger plant cousins.
The only fruits I recommend for juicing are lemons, limes, kiwifruit, and a green apple. The acidity in lemon and lime help with your digestion and blood sugar balance. The gelatinous nature and compounds in kiwi also help with digestion and green apples are a bit of a compromise when it comes to taste. If you find green juices too bitter then adding one green apple including the apple seeds, especially the apple seeds, can help make the juice sweeter without being too heavy in fruit sugars, with the added bonus of having the low dose of cyanide that come from the apple seeds. No this cyanide isn’t going to kill you, but it’s a great cancer regulator. By that I mean cancer cells love sugar. So when you eat your juice (yes I said eat, not drink) a lot of the sugars will be picked up by cancer cells. The cyanide will piggyback on this metabolism and will also be taken up by those cancerous cells causing them to do what mainstream medicine fails to do – the cyanide causes cancerous cells to die.
Okay other vegetables to improve on taste while at the same time improve healing are carrots, beetroot, and orange kumara or orange sweet potato. The cool thing about the sweet potato is not only does it give you a bunch of beta-carotene and a touch of sweetness, but it also gives the juice a creamy texture. If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then a bit of lemon juice and sweet potato helps the green juice go down, no doubt about it.
To help lower the glycaemic response, the rate at which sugar gets released into your bloodstream, you can mix in some raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother. This means apple cider vinegar that hasn’t been pasteurised and that looks murky. The bottle should not be clear looking. You should see the mother, which is a collection of friendly bacteria and other beneficial compounds, you should see the mother at the bottom of the bottle so be sure to shake it up before mixing into your juice.
Another thing you want to do when consuming green juices is to eat some fat with your juice. I recommend eating a spoonful of coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil right before or right after your juice. There are a lot of fat-soluble micronutrients in vegetables and they need fat to be absorbed during digestion. So by eating some fat with your juice you can increase the amount of nutrients your body absorbs and assimilates.
Final tip for designing a very healing juice is that you must use a slow masticating horizontal juicer. A high-speed juicer is destroying a majority of the nutrients wasting a lot of that precious plant medicine. A vertical masticating juicer is much better and does more than just juice. It can make nut milks and sorbets as well. The difference between a vertical and horizontal juicer is that while the vertical is better for getting more juice out of fruits it doesn’t do a good job of extracting water and nutrients from non-starchy vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. Now a horizontal masticating juicer can also make nut milks and sorbets like the vertical one and it is the best juicer for healing as it gets more medicine out of vegetables. If you have the cash go for a juicer with twin juicing abilities to get more out of your vegetables. Or you can simply put the fibre or leftover pulp back into your juicer a second time to get even more medicine out of the plants.
I do have a tip relating to juicing, but not to do with the juice itself. The pulp, the fibre that’s leftover, don’t toss this in the trash. Use it in your compost for your garden or dehydrate the fibre to make healthy crackers.
Remember the base of the green juice I mentioned earlier and play around and make your own recipes from there.
When it comes to healing green smoothies similar guidelines apply.
I use as a liquid base for all my green smoothies one cup of water, a pinch of sea salt, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and a tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil. You can use any healthful animal or fruit fat you like and any liquid you like so long as there’s no added sweeteners and chemicals.
Coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk are okay substitutes for water, but even better than water (yes better than water if you can tolerate dairy that is) is raw yoghurt, specifically raw milk kefir. This gives your body more beneficial microorganisms or probiotics. But wait there’s more and something even better than water and kefir for healing (if you tolerate monosodium glutamate or MSG that is) and that’s bone broth made from bones from happy and healthy animals free to roam outdoors and eating their natural species appropriate diet.
“A good broth can raise the dead”
Is a South American proverb and by using bone broth in your healing green smoothie you will increase your body’s innate ability to heal exponentially. If you don’t have any bone broth handy you can always add a tablespoon or two of gelatine or collagen which have similar health benefits to bone broth including repairing your gut and improving joint and skin health.
You can add whatever non-starchy green-leafy cruciferous coloured sulphurous vegetables you want to your smoothie, but when it comes to fruit I would stick to berries and the juice of lemons or limes to keep your smoothie a healing drink. Celery I include as a base in all of my green smoothies. Celery helps normalise blood pressure and aids with digestion. Adding in herbs and spices is a must for the best tasting and healing green smoothie. Parsley and cinnamon are my go to herb and spice. Parsley is a great blood purifier and it reduces body odour and cinnamon will improve overall flavour and help stabilise blood sugar levels.
Oh and when I say green here, in terms of green juice or green smoothie, I don’t just mean literally green, I also mean a high vegetable low fruit drink. So even if your juice or smoothie isn’t the colour green it’s green in my book if there’s not high amounts of fruit and sugar in it.
A couple of taste and healing combinations I’ve found too good to be true when it comes to smoothies are avocado, a tiny amount of red onion, and coriander aka cilantro aka Chinese parsley. Think a guacamole drink. Also raw cacao powder with mint leaves. Yep a mint chocolate drink and when you add in an avocado to your mint chocolate you get a mint chocolate mousse. Mmm hmm, tasty!
Another taste enhancer, well really a texture enhancer is to add cacao nibs or coconut flakes to your smoothie near the end of blending to give it some crunch or sprinkle some crushed nuts or seeds on top of your drink after blending. And by the way peanuts are legumes, not nuts.
One final blending tip is to add a quarter to half a teaspoon of powdered vitamin C to your smoothie. This acts as an antioxidant and protects against oxidative damage that happens when you blend at high-speeds. Also it gives a little bit of tang to your smoothie.
If you really cannot do without fruits or starchy vegetables in your green drinks then you can still make these healing drinks by consuming them post workout. Your muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin after intense exercise so by timing the intake of your sweet green drink after a workout you reduce the impact the sugar will have on your body.
Final overall tip and this is an absolute requirement when it comes to turning a typical green drink into a healing elixir and I mentioned this earlier and that is you must eat your juice or smoothie, not drink it. Meaning you must chew the watery or thick liquid in your mouth for a few seconds, get your digestive enzyme containing saliva all up in that drink before you swallow. Chewing is one of the early stages of digestion, which I talked about back in episode 9, and without this crucial step you’re literally wasting most of the beneficial plant medicine in your drink as your body will quickly eliminate whatever isn’t covered in your digestive enzymes when it hits your digestive tract. Chewing your green drink will turn it into a more potent healing elixir. So no straws please. Drink it straight from the mug or cup.
I’ll put a couple of links to a juicer and blender I recommend in the blog post for this episode.
Look there’s no limits to how you make your juice or smoothie really. It’s up to you. Whatever floats your boat and makes your taste buds sing. However, there are limits to making your green drink a healing drink.
So remember keep the sugar low, add in some animal or fruit fats, move before you eat, and above all else listen to your body.
“If your green drink makes you feel stink or look green or pink, it’s time to rethink your green drink.”
Okay so which is better for healing? Juicing or blending? Well it depends on what you put in your drink, and also how and when you eat it.
Links and Resources
- WGP 040: Riding the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster to Hormone Hell
- WGP 009: Digestion – How to Eat Real Food
- Optimum Slow Juicer
- Optimum High Speed Vortex Blender
- Omega Horizontal Masticating Juicer
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