You love the idea of green drinks.
I mean come on… What’s not to love about them?!
They’re healthy, seemingly easy to make, and you can cram a ton of fruit and veggies into your diet.
Not to mention, after drinking them you feel pretty ding dang good – from the inside out!
You want to start making them on your own…
…but where the heck do you start?!
We know the learning curve can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help.
We’ve consolidated all the useful information on this matter into one, user friendly guide:
Our handy juicer vs. blender guide.
We’ll answer the most commonly asked questions such as:
- The differences between a juicer vs. blender? (skip to this section)
- The pros and cons of juicing vs. blending (skip to this section)
- What new kitchen accessories you should acquire to get started! (skip to this section)
Use the table of contents below to quickly browse through this article and skip to whatever section you might be looking for:
Table of Contents:
- Health Benefits of Green Juices and Smoothies
- What’s the Difference Between Juicing vs. Blending?
- Pros & Cons of Juicing vs. Blending
- Which is Better for Your Health: Juicing vs. Blending
- Best Juicers – Top 3
- Best Blenders – Top 3
Juicer vs. Blender
Ok ok, you’re on board and ready to get started making your own green drinks!
So now you’re left with one final, life altering question…
What’s a better fit for you and your lifestyle? A juicer vs. blender.
Before we delve into the nitty gritty of each, let’s take a step back and look at some of the basics…
First, here is some necessary lingo that’ll help you better understand the processes:
Next… let’s see what all the buzz behind this green juice/smoothie craze is about and why so many health conscious people swear by it!
Health Benefits of Green Juices and Smoothies
Ok, obviously green drinks are good for you.
I mean come on… it doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you that drinking a cup full of raw produce will benefit your health!
Well guess what… it gets better.
And we guarantee the news below will make drinking green drinks even more enticing…
Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. You can sneak in healthy foods you wouldn't eat otherwise.
For example… beet greens. Who likes them? I sure don’t!
However the CDC has declared them one of the top 5 healthiest vegetables (read more here).
So I try to eat them.
The easiest way I’ve found to get these nutrients into my diet is to toss them in the blender with other green drink ingredients.
Once they’re all blended together you won’t even taste the beet greens! But you’ll reap the benefits of their nutrients 🙂
2. Eating healthy takes time. LOTS OF TIME. Reap the benefits of eating healthy in one painless meal!
From purchasing, to rinsing, to chopping, to cooking, even eating veggies takes time!
And let’s be honest, you don’t have a lot of spare time.
So why waste time focusing on your next meal?
This may shock you… (given the title of the article) but if you want to eat healthy and save time, quickly whip up a green drink.
3. Eat a ridiculous amount of produce in one quick and easy sitting.
It’s well established that eating fruits and vegetables is good for your health…
…but honestly, few of us have the discipline to meet our daily veggie eating goals.
Besides it takes a lot of time to eat them the “old school way” (with a fork).
If you simply juice or blend these ingredients, you can cram most of your daily requirements into one meal!
4. A juice or smoothie is made of raw vegetable.
The fruit and vegetables used in a green drink are raw. In other words they haven’t been steamed, roasted or fried – they are in their natural state.
Does this matter? Do different styles of preparation effect the nutritional value of the food we eat?
The answer is yes…
Each type of produce supplies your body with different nutrients, depending on how they’re prepared!
For example cooking “Carrots, asparagus and even tomatoes, because cooking makes it easier for our bodies to benefit from some of their protective antioxidants, specifically ferulic acid from asparagus, and beta-carotene, which we convert to vitamin A, from carrots” (source)
On the contrary… it’s beneficial to eat some veggies raw such as “broccoli and watercress (both members of the cruciferous family). When these veg are heated an important enzyme is damaged, which means the potency of helpful anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates, are reduced.” (source)
Moral of the story?
Diversify the way you eat your produce so you can benefit from both styles of preparation!
And if you tend to eat steamed or cooked veggies, then juicing/blending is great means of getting in your raw veggies!
What’s the Difference Between Juicing vs. Blending?
Alright, alright we get it.
Both juicing (juice) and blending (smoothies) are great ways to add more produce into your diet.
So why choose one over the other?
Blended drinks (smoothies) include the entire piece of produce.
Basically what you put into a blender, you will consume (this skin, pulp and the juice).
Smoothies are high in fiber, thicker and tend to be more filling.
While juicers (or a juice) separate the pulp from the juice, leaving you with only the juice from the produce.
The pulp that’s extracted when juicing is actually the insoluble fiber of the produce.
Ergo, juices don’t contain fiber.
There are many pros and cons to this…
Pros & Cons of Juicing vs. Blending
There are countless benefits, and some negatives, to both juicing and blending.
Let’s take a look on the bright side first:
Juicing (Juice) : Pros
Blending (Smoothie) : Pros
Here’s a look at each of their ugly sides…
Juicing (Juice) : Cons
Blending (Smoothie) : Cons
Juicing : Pros (in more detail)
1. Eliminating the fiber means more produce is needed to make a cup of juice. Ergo, more minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients with every sip.
When you extract the pulp from your produce, you’re left with very little juice.
Which means it takes A LOT of fruit and veggies to produce an entire cup of juice… this can be good and bad. (the bad we’ll discuss below)
Good because it allows you to cram mass quantities of produce into one cup (especially when compared to the amount of produce that goes into a smoothie).
Allowing you to drink up tons of vitamins and phytonutrients in one highly concentrated cup is liquid gold!
2. Veggie pulp – your new favorite ingredient.
Veggie pulp is the free bi-product of juicing.
It’s that container of pulp (aka insoluble fiber) that your juicer so conveniently separated from your juice!
Most people don’t know how to utilize it, however it happens to be one of the most delicious ingredients I use when making vegan/vegetarian meals!
I’ve made everything from crackers to burgers to meatballs with veggie pulp.
If you don’t have time to use it right away, toss it in your freezer and get creative by using it in a new recipe when you have more time.
3. Trying to avoid fiber but want to get the vitamins and minerals from produce into your diet?
Vegetables contain essential nutrients our bodies need.
However, with the nutrients comes the fiber; and for those trying to eat less fiber, it’s difficult to get these nutrients into your diet.
“If gastrointestinal issues have you shunning fiber-rich produce, juicing is a smart way to get your vitamins and minerals without too much gas or cramping” (source).
Blending : Pros (in more detail)
1. It’s all about fiber!
Blended drinks process produce so it includes both the juice and the fiber.
Fiber is one of the most important food components in our diets.
And Americans simply don’t eat enough of it.
Dietary fiber is the “bulk” in fruit and vegetables. Your body can’t digest or absorb it.
“It passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body” (source).
Although it may not sounds important, it is! It helps overall health, keeps us full longer and promotes a healthy digestive system (more below).
A recent study found that Americans are eating an average of 15 grams of fiber a day, which is simply not enough! (source)
The daily fiber recommendations are:
– 25 grams for women
– 38 grams for men
Here are a few of the many reasons why not eating enough fiber is of concern:
1. Fiber is good for your health, and not just your digestive health.
A recent government study found that people who eat high fiber diets tend to live longer!
This study was conducted on people from ages 50-71, and studied the health effects of their diets over 9 years.
It found that:
“The men and women who ate the highest amount of fiber were 22 percent less likely to die from any cause compared to those who ate the lowest amount” (source).
Researches are unsure why fiber rich foods help those live longer, however a theory is that “Fiber’s benefits also may come from its theorized ability to bind to toxins and move them out of the body quicker” (source).
Note: The lower risks found in these studies are more closely related to the fiber found in grains.
2. Fiber keeps you full and satiated longer.
High-fiber foods are typically more filling, keeping you full longer than low fiber foods.
“High-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less ‘energy dense,’ which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food” (source).
Eating fiber rich foods is a great way to maintain a healthy weight!
3. Fiber promotes healthy digestion.
Fiber supports digestive health and helps to keep bowels healthy.
Fiber adds the “bulk” or “roughage” to your bowels.
This helps it to pass through your digestive tract, and encourages movement of bulkier stools. (source)
2. Blenders make eating healthy ridiculously quick and easy
My morning breakfast (a green smoothie) only takes a few minutes to make.
I toss all the produce I’m craving into a blender, press the button and presto! Breakfast is served.
Cleaning the blender is a breeze as there are few pieces (mine has 3) that need to be individually cleaned.
3. You use 100% of what you put into the blender. Waste less by blending your next meal!
Let’s be honest… We all have lofty goals.
Freeze everything so you may, someday, in the future, use it.
Life gets busy, you get hungry, and 5 years later when you clean out your freezer you have no idea what those baggies of green “smoosh” (ie veggie pulp you saved from juicing) are.
Blend! This leaves you zero waste and zero baggies of questionable greens to tend to.
4. Remember me saying that you can turn your green smoothies into a meal!?
With todays’ nifty technology, high speed blenders such as a Vitamix or Blendtec allow you to blend just about any food!
In fact… check out this Blendtec video where they turned an iPhone into dust (however, do not, I repeat do not add you iPhone to your green smoothies:))
Here are some of my favorite add-ons that will turn your smoothie into a meal:
– Nuts: Every nut supplies your body with different nutrients, so check out which nutrients you would like to use before adding.
I stick with Almonds, Walnuts or Pecans.
Be cautious not to add too many nuts – although they’re healthy, nuts are high in healthy fats and calories.
– Hempseed: I love hemp because it’s almost a complete protein (which means it’s a food that contains the 9 essential amino acids our bodies cannot produce on their own, therefore these amino acids need to be consumed in food).
That being said, hempseed helps to keep me full and tastes great!
The only amino acid hempseed is low in is lysine (source), which can be added with other foods.
– Spirulina: Ok, it may not taste the best – but this stuff is so friggin’ good for you!
It’s a blue-green algae that’s rich in protein and nutrients!
Keep in mind, it’s important to purchase Spirulina from a trusted manufacture as it “can be contaminated with toxic substances called microcystins. It can also absorb heavy metals from the water where it is grown.” (source)
Juicing : Cons (in more detail)
1. Can spike your blood sugar
Juicing lets you jam a ton of produce into one cup… Believe it or not, this isn’t always good.
Since juicing extracts the fiber from produce, the remaining calories are highly concentrated. These concentrated calories include sugar calories.
This isn’t a huge concern when we talk about celery and cucumbers… it becomes a concern when we start talking about fruits with high sugar content.
For example, 3 apples contain “roughly 200 calories… Those three apples also contain about 40 grams of sugar—more than a Snickers bar” (source).
Yes, apples do contain vitamins and minerals that a snicker bar doesn’t, but your body reads the sugar calories as just that, sugar.
“Whether it’s in a piece of fruit, soda or a pastry, sugar is made up of the same two components: fructose and glucose. The molecular structure and composition of sugar molecules is the same no matter where they come from” (source).
The absorption of glucose is slowed down by the body when consumed with fiber, however as stated previously there is no fiber in a juice.
Therefore no vehicle to slow down the absorption of sugar calories – which creates a spike in insulin. (source)
2. Juicing takes time. A lot of time.
When compared to the simplicity of blended drinks, juicing is far less convenient and much more hands on.
You can’t just toss all your produce into a container and press a button…
First the produce needs to be pealed and chopped into small enough pieces to fit into the juicer. Then, each individual piece needs to be hand fed into the machine.
When you’re done making a juice, the juicers needs to be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned.
3. No Fiber!!
Fiber is one of the most crucial food components in you diet!
As previously discussed in our blending pros section, (click here to jump to this section) there are many reasons fiber is important to your health.
Here are a few of the reasons why:
– When mixed with water, fiber can keep your digestive system regular.
– Studies have shown that people who eat high fiber diets tend to live longer!
– Fiber is a great source of prebiotics. Prebiotics “are essential fibers that help… probiotics [“good” bacteria] flourish inside your intestines” (source).
–Fiber is a great way to help control your hunger.
Fiber rich foods tend to be more filling, keeping you satiated far longer than low-fiber foods.
Since you’re extracting the fiber from the produce, you’re loosing the bulk of your fruit and veggies.
Therefore, juicing requires a LOT of produce to make one measly cup of juice!
This means your grocery cart will be filled to the brim with the produce you need for your morning juices.
Great because your filling your body with a lot of nutrients! Not so great for your wallet 🙂
5. Hard to clean
Juicers have a billion pieces (ok, not literally a billion. Depending on your juicer there can be quite a few!) that need to be taken apart and cleaned.
After each and every use!
These individual pieces are a breeding ground for mold and bacteria!
And nobody wants that…
Make sure you take apart your machine and wash each piece with warm water and soap.
Blending : Cons (in more detail)
1. Less produce is used in green smoothies when compared to green juices.
This is because smoothies include fiber.
Including fiber significantly bulks up the quantity of liquid produced.
Therefore, less produce is needed to produce the same 12 oz cup of a smoothie when compared to a juice.
2. Green smoothies include the fiber from produce.
Some are trying to reduce the amount of fiber in their diets…
For example, “You may need to be on a low-fiber diet if you have conditions such as:
– Crohn’s disease
– Ulcerative colitis
– Bowel inflammation” (source)
For people who need to follow a low fiber diet, “Fruit and vegetable juice with little or no pulp [or] fruit-flavored drinks” (source) would be a better choice.
Which is Better for Your Health: Juicing vs. Blending
The short answer? Both are great for you!
And how could they not be?
Bottom line, both beverages allow you to drink a cup full of nutrients from produce… what could possibly be wrong with that?!
However as we discussed above, once the produce has been modified by a juicer or blender, the end product is completely different.
Making the nutrients offered by the drink different.
Some people feel blending is better for you because blended drinks include the fiber from the blended produce.
The health benefits of blended smoothies were demonstrated in a study conducted by scientists at Texas A&M.
This study observed the effects of the nutrients in a grapefruit after it had been processed 3 ways: blended, hand juiced, and high speed juiced.
Their research found that the blended grapefruit had significantly higher levels of flavonoids and limonin when compared to either method of juicing. (see the entire study here)
Conversely, some argue that fiber in smoothies has a negative effect.
They claim that fiber slows down the absorption of nutrients in your digestive tract.
And that juicing is better for you because your digestive tract “doesn’t have to work as hard to break down the food and absorb the nutrients” (source).
Therefore, they claim that juicing is the most efficient way for your body to reap the benefits of produce.
So let’s look into the scientific evidence behind these claims.
There’s ample evidence to prove that:
The juice extracted from fresh fruits and vegetables contains most of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in the produce (source).
However, little research has been done on whether or not:
Fiber slows down the absorption of nutrients in your digestive tract.
According to Dr. Oz, “Your digestive system is designed to handle fiber and extract nutrients from a variety of foods. Plus, fiber is important for digestive function and has a multitude of health benefits” (source).
That’s NOT to say that juicing is in anyway bad for you.
The bottom line?
Consuming both juiced and blended drinks supply your body with the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
Your body will thank you for trying either method!
Best Juicers – Top 3
So, you’ve decided juicing is the best option for you.
Congrats! The hard part is officially over 🙂
Now let us show you some of the best juicers out there.
You’re joining the juicing world at the perfect time. Thanks to modern technology, juicers are getting easier to clean, smaller and not as loud!
1. Breville® Juice Fountain Plus
There’s a reason why this juicer is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon for Centrifugal Juicers.
It’s said to be the perfect entry level juicer.
It’s powerful and uses the latest in juicing technology for a fraction of the cost.
One of it’s best features is the extra large feeder shoot.
Thanks to this, you hardly need to chop ingredients before placing them into the juicer – trust me, this convenience alone is worth the investment!
This juicer has 2-speeds. Fast for hard fruits & veggies such as apples and beets – and slow for soft ingredients like spinach and cantaloupe.
Another huge benefit to Breville juicers is that their system “transfers less than 1.8F of heat to protect enzymes and maximize nutrient absorption of select nutrients.” (source)
2. Breville® Juice Fountain Elite
Yet another incredible Breville product…
This juicer is claimed to be the “Rolls Royce” of juicers… and is a commercial grade juicer.
It is a little more costly ($299.95 @ Amazon), due to it’s heavy duty 1000-watt motor.
This juicer includes the same features as the juicer above, such as the wide shoot, 2-speeds and minimal heating system.
3. Omega J8004 Nutrition Juicer
If you’re looking for a masticating juicer, here’s you guy.
It’s ultra slow speed of 80 RPMs leaves you with no foam, clogging or heating of your produce.
The pulp that’s extracted from this juicer is ultra dry – thanks to it’s two step process of extracting juice from the pulp.
Best Blenders – Top 3
Yay! You decided to purchase a blender.
I simply can’t live without my blender!
Some people can’t start their day without coffee? I can’t start my day without a green smoothie.
So I am stoked you made this decision and can’t wait to share with you some of the best blenders on the market:
1. Blendtec Classic 575
Now that I’ve shared this information as subjectively as possible, I can be honest…
This is the blender I use, I swear by, and I couldn’t spend a day without!
This blender is extremely powerful. In fact, it’s motor has more horsepower then the Vitamix!
Which allows you to blend ingredients much more quickly!
I also prefer the body style of the Blendtec to the Vitamix. It’s wider and shorter, which allows the produce to get to the blade quickly and blend more easily.
The preset blending options are great and allow you to multitask in the kitchen while you’re trying to take care of other things.
The only negative I’ve found to the Blendtec is that it’s significantly louder then the Vitamix.
I live in a super old apartment complex with very thin walls. Let’s just say my neighbors hate me because of my Blender obsession.
Another huge benefit of the Blendtec is that it’s significantly cheaper!! And you can purchase a refurbished version with the same features…
2. Total Blender Certified Refurbished
Enjoy all the same features with the Blendtec refurbished blenders at an extremely low cost of just $279.95.
The perfect blender for beginners and experts alike!
Although the motor is refurbished, this product comes with a brand new jar and you get a 7-year warranty with it!
3. Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender
Vitamix blenders are another great option for high-speed blenders.
This specific Vitamix comes with preset blending settings, and a 7 year warranty.
I love that the Vitamix is a much quieter machine to use!
Whether it’s blending or juicing, sipping your greens is an easy way to cram a ton of veggies into one quick and painless meal. Follow the pro’s and con’s listed above to see which is a better fit for your lifestyle!
If you have any questions, leave a comment below 🙂