Ask Leah Renee: Juicing vs. Blending, which is healthier?

Ask Leah Renee: Juicing vs. Blending, which is healthier?

We are excited to introduce Leah Renee, a health food enthusiast and a member of the Irwin Naturals team. Every month Leah Renee will answer a question from our Irwin Life community, and you can check out her blog here.

Dear Leah Renee, 

Could you please explain the difference between a juicer and a blender?  Thanks for all the great information you provide! –Lee E., Sun City, CA 

Funny enough, just yesterday I was at Trader Joe’s where the upbeat young man helping me informed me he will be going on a juice fast in 5 days time, for 10 days.  He was excited, and I got excited for him and asked him what kind of juicer he had.  He told me he had a great high speed blender that “really mashes everything well and makes it real smooth”.  I sadly informed him that was not in fact a juice fast, that he’d actually be eating all the vegetables.

That is the difference in a nutshell: A juicer extracts the juice from the items you put in it, rejecting the rind, or pulp (basically the fibrous part of the fruit or vegetable) making the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants readily available to the body.  A blender blends and emulsifies the ingredients, rejecting nothing but simply mashing it all up creating a thick, voluminous beverage.  Both are largely beneficial and equally good to have for different reasons.

Juicing and blending are not interchangeable and shouldn’t be chosen one over the other;  they are simply two completely different forms of reaping beneficial nutrients from food.  It’s like spinning vs. yoga.  They are comparable in the sense that they are both effective ways to challenge your body and good for you, but two very different forms of exercise that are really nothing alike.  You can choose to do them both, even in the same day!  Here are all the great reasons you should juice, and blend, and what you’ll get from both:

Juicing

  • Immediate nutrient absorption
  • No digestion needed (to break down fibers)
  • A fast, healthy way to drink your daily vitamins
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Can reduce acidity and toxicity in the body
  • Can act as a natural detoxifier and aid in weight loss
  • The ability to consume the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in as many as 5 carrots, an entire stalk of kale, a whole apple, 5 stalks of celery, half a bunch of parsley, and an entire cucumber–all at once.  To eat that would take awhile!

Be aware!

  • Juices need to be consumed right away for the maximum benefit.  If you have some leftover, and simply wanted to make a larger batch, store in an air tight, dark container so the juice will not have any exposure to air or light, and refrigerate immediately.  Light and air destroys much of the antioxidants and enzymes which is the reason juicing is so beneficial to us.
  • Certain combinations of fruits and vegetables do not go well together because of how they’re processed in the digestive system.  The easiest to remember is the one fruit that combines the best with any vegetable is an apple.  Other fruit/vegetable combinations can be disruptive.  The sweetest veggies to juice are carrots and beets.  Add some to all the green goodness to make it more palatable if you don’t like green juices and other veggies alone.
  • Juices are not to be mistaken for a meal.  These are not meal replacements, so unless you are going on a proper juice fast cleared by your doctor, make sure to only keep in mind the additional benefits its bringing to you health-wise with some additional calories and, depending on the type of juice, some sugar too (natural from the fruits/veggies).
  • If you are doing a straight carrot, apple, or juicing any other item that is higher in sugar, keep in mind this will elevate blood sugar levels and prepare accordingly (like eating something with it).

Blending

  • Blending helps with digestion because it has been converted to liquid form.  It is still different to juicing because the fruit or vegetable has simply been liquefied, all remaining parts there.
  • Depending on what is being blended, the option is there to make a nutrient dense drink chock full of nourishing vitamins and minerals.
  • Blending can be used for smoothies and soups, both plentiful and used as a meal replacement.  Unlike juicing, blending is in fact filling and good to have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Blending is an easy way to increase the amount of vegetables, especially those greens, into your diet without having to make of meal of it or tasting it either (for those who do not enjoy them so much!).
  • Many options are available and combinations are endless.  Here is a chart I made for a recent post on “Scrumptious Smoothies–Every Time“:
  • Combine one, none, or more than one from each category for a great tasting, nutritious drinkable meal!

It’s good to know the difference between the two, because both have their unique advantages everyone can benefit from.  It’s not a matter of choosing one over the other, but incorporating them both into your life as much as you choose!

What is your favorite way to drink your fruits and vegetables?

11 Comments

  1. Avatar of Anna H
    November 9, 2012, 12:21 pm   /  Report user

    Leah – this is terrific. I have been juicing in the morning (Kale, chard, cucumber, carrot, apple, coconut water and the occasional ginger) but never considered it wouldn’t be enough for a meal replacement.

    I just acquired a monster blender so I’m intrigued by the suggestion of making a smoothie with the greens. “Smoothie” has always meant fruit and yogurt to me so I’ve stayed away. I’ll give it whirl!

    I am looking forward to your continued contributions!

  2. Avatar of Leah (Ask Leah Renee)
    November 9, 2012, 12:45 pm   /  Report user

    Thanks, Anna!

    Juicing alone is not enough to replace a meal unless you are doing an actual juice fast (which should usually be done with caution or checked with a doc first!), but it’s a great addition to a meal and calories should be considered even though it’s good for ya! The juice you make mentioned above sounds delightful.

    I love smoothies and it’s SUCH a great way to incorporate greens into your diet–without tasting them at all! Spinach is actually pretty sweet when ground up, so mixing it into a smoothie is unnoticeable other than the color :) So if you can handle that, it’s all ‘smooth’ sailing from there! Can’t wait to hear all about what recipes you create!

  3. Avatar of MamaJeansSouth
    November 10, 2012, 4:14 pm   /  Report user

    Great article! After I had a large brain tumor removed, juicing was a huge part of my recovery. Having never eaten anything healthy prior to the removal, flooding my body with nutrients was key! And even though I had to get adjusted for all these new “green” flavors, I couldn’t deny how great I felt. Here at Mama Jeans we have a juice bar, which helps keep me going while I’m at work. I’ve been recommending juicing to many of our customers as part of their natural tumor/cancer treatment. A great documentary to watch on using juicing as a healing tool is ‘The Gerson Miracle.’ If you have the chance to watch it, I’d highly recommend it. (I think it’s on Hulu.com fro free.) {Austin}

  4. Avatar of Leah (Ask Leah Renee)
    November 12, 2012, 10:36 am   /  Report user

    Thanks, Austin!!!
    Wow, I had no idea. You are a true survivor! Juicing definitely makes such a difference in how we feel and how much better it allows the body to operate.
    I love the Gerson Miracle–it’s amazing and so many people have remained cancer-free since. I have followed one girl’s blog in particular, she is a survivor and native Australian (The Wellness Warrior)–she has an amazing story as well and has overcome so much. You are all an inspiration!

  5. Avatar of Eva Smith-Furgason
    November 13, 2012, 8:06 pm   /  Report user

    I’ve been juicing on and off for a long time – lately it’s been more off then on – this may be the kick I need to get going again!

  6. Avatar of Mark Attebery
    February 23, 2013, 12:31 pm   /  Report user

    Re. the Gerson Miracle…The say to avoid the high speed spin juicers, which I have, and to use a $2,500 Juice-press machine. The price puts it out of reach. for most of us.
    I am a big fan of Charlotte Gerson and am reading her book. I have lost many friends to cancer in the last few years. If I had cancer I would go to her clinic or buy the juicer for sure.

    Are there juicers out there that will give the full nutritional value of juicing for health for a better price?

  7. Avatar of Stacey Moore
    February 23, 2013, 1:13 pm   /  Report user

    @mark-atteberry, I have a good friend who thoroughly researched juicers recently to make a purchase. I will ask him to post here about the ones he found that preserve the enzymes and are less costly than the $2,500 press you mentioned.

  8. Avatar of ingrid clausen
    May 19, 2013, 2:17 pm   /  Report user

    Hi Leah,
    I recently started to try and eat healthier and make better choices when it comes to food. I am doing it to feel better and specially cause I am trying to loose some weight in a healthy way. I got a juicer, but after doing a lot of research, I understood that I was loosing all the fiber… so I got a blender and started to replace breakfast with a green smoothie (kale, spinach, cucumber, apple, parsley, radish and ginger) I also add some flax seeds and wheat germ.
    what do you think about that? will it eventually help me loose some weight?
    I am not really getting fast results, which makes me wonder if I am not doing the correct thing…
    for weight lose purposes, do you have a preference between juicing and blending??
    thanks!!

  9. Avatar of Leah (Ask Leah Renee)
    May 23, 2013, 10:28 am   /  Report user

    Hi Ingrid,

    You are correct to say you are losing the fiber when juicing. The rind is in the machine which you could always use in a recipe (I’ve made crackers out of them by adding spices and flax seeds and dehydrating or baking). You are not total loss though–both juicing and blending are beneficial to ones health. It’s a good idea to incorporate both in your routine (and not necessarily every single day for benefits).

    When consuming a fresh juice, your body is absorbing all of those essential nutrients without having to use up a bunch of energy to digest it. Blending aka making smoothies does contain all the fiber–nothing is lost you’re just liquefying everything you’re tossing into the blender. It would take a really long time to sit there and eat 4 large carrots, 2 sticks of celery, and an apple–but blending them all together makes it easy to consume quickly.

    As far as weight loss is concerned–it’s all about calories. Yes, it is proven that we can burn quicker by cutting back on carbs, etc, but at the same time, weight loss is about calories in & calories out. If you are consuming more than you’re spending/burning you will not lose pounds. If you are making a smoothie chock full of ingredients, and not supplementing as a meal then that too will be quite a few calories added to your daily allowance (though you did mention it’s your breakfast, so that’s good). Another tip–other than apples, do NOT combine fruits and vegetables. This is more difficult to digest and requires different digestive enzymes. It’s not as beneficial as one might think (eating your fruits and veggies). Eat them separately (apple is OK) for optimal digestion. Fruits especially do not combine well with starchy vegetables such as carrots and beets.

    Other than that, weight loss seems quite simple except when other ailments throughout our body un-diagnosed could play a factor on our ability to lose pounds. For instance, a lot of women suffer from thyroid issues–a direct link to weight gain and loss. Diet can change dramatically if one has hypothyroidism such as steering clear of goitrogens which aggravate the issue (such as uncooked broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that are otherwise good for us). If you think this might be the case, or there are other things going on, I suggest a visit to the doctor to get tested!

    I hope that helps a little and keep enjoying those juices and smoothies!

  10. Avatar of ingrid clausen
    May 23, 2013, 3:15 pm   /  Report user

    Thank You SO much for your response!

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