Both fresh juices and healthy smoothies have surged in popularity over recent years, as detoxing and healthy eating become more and more trendy. You can’t even walk into a Tescos without seeing cold pressed juice, and no self respecting fitness/healthy eating fanatic’s Instagram feed can be without a pic or two of homemade smoothies. Are these drinks as good for us as we think, or is it all hype? Currys and Raw & Juicy have answers, and they invited myself and some other bloggers to Joe Blogs HQ to hear them.
The Good Stuff
1. Nutrients. Obviously fruit/veg juices are nutrient rich, but because so many have to be used to get even one glass of juice, the concentration of nutrients is far greater than you would think. One glass of green juice could have the nutrients from two handfuls of spinach, a few sticks of celery, half a pineapple, a couple of apples, a bunch of broccoli and half a lemon. That’s a whole lotta vitamins.
2. A Happy Stomach. Juices are easy to digest. There’s no troublesome fibre and the liquid is easy to absorb. This is great for people who have conditions that affect their digestive system but also good for the average person to give their system a bit of a break. The easier digestive process expends less energy, leaving you refreshed and ready to take on the world – not quite the same feeling you have after a huge bowl of pasta!
1. Full on fibre. What juice is missing is the fibre found in fruit and vegetables. Despite many people avoiding fibre at all costs, it is actually great for giving you slow release energy and keeping you full. A breakfast smoothie can keep you going right through the morning. My favourite is spinach, banana, strawberries, oats, flax seeds and almond milk (you can’t taste the spinach I promise!).
2. No waste. When blending fruits and veggies, you can use the whole product, more or less. This means that there is no waste at the end of the day, something which is a bit of a problem with juicing.
3. Cramming the calories. Smoothies are an excellent vehicle for getting extra calories into your body. If you’re trying to put on weight or if you are very active, it’s important to get those extra calories in, however, it’s pretty difficult to force yourself to have extra meals. Having a smoothie or 2 per day in addition to your main meals helps with ensuring a high calorie intake.
The Bad Stuff
1. Sugar high! As we all know, fruits are high in sugar. If, like me, you favour a fruit juice over a veggie juice, you need to be extra mindful of the amount of sugar you’re consuming. For me, this isn’t so much a weight issue, I’m more concerned about my teeth! To prevent your teeth from all falling out prematurely, try to increase the percentage of veg in your juices and don’t drink too many juices per day. How many is too many? It really depends on the rest of your diet – I’m trying to stick to two per day.
2. What a waste. The first time I juiced I couldn’t believe the amount of waste! It seemed that there was more pulp than there was juice in my cup 🙁 It pained me to throw it all away. But now, thanks to Stephanie from Raw & Juicy, I know that the pulp can go to a better place after juicing. Specifically, in soup, in ice lollies, or even in your garden as compost. Problem solved.
1. Pulp friction. Smoothies are actually not that smooth. They have a pulpy consistency and bits. This isn’t a problem for me but is an absolute no no for many. No matter how long you leave the blender on for, this can’t be avoided – so if pulp makes you want to vom, you’d better stick with the juices.
2. Scales say what?? Remember what I said about calories earlier? That’s not such a great thing if you’re trying to lose weight. Yes, smoothies are healthy and yes, you can replace meals with them but you probably won’t lose weight. Think about it. For dinner you might usually have a chicken breast, a bit of veg and some mash. In a smoothie, you have probably have the same amount of calories, if not more, plus the sugar of the fruits. So if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, you’re better off checking out the Raw & Juicy detox programme.
So, what do I do?
This is one of those frustrating ‘do what works for your body’ scenarios but there are a few basic principles to work with.
If you’re still confused as to whether you should invest in a juicer or a blender, I would go for a blender as you can use it for cooking in general if you decide smoothies are not your thing. The amazing blender we played around with at this event was the Philips HR2096/01 Advance, available at Currys for £79.99. It’s super sturdy, can blend ice like it ain’t nobody’s biniss and makes you feel like a pro chef. The guys from The Cocktail Service showed us how to use this blender to make the perfect mocktail – check out my Periscope video for the low down.
I have both a blender and a juicer and definitely got swept up by the hype. This event was a great educational experience and now I can modify my behaviour to ensure a happy, healthy body! For more information, check out Raw & Juicy, Currys blog post and the the #CurrysIntroJuicing hashtag on Twitter.
Do you juice or blend? Or both? Let me know in the comments!