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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Juicing versus Blending, or: Why I am not buying a Juicer

Photo by *Solar ikon*

With my new immersion hand blender, I have been drinking more smoothies as a way to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet. I usually do banana + a sweet fruit, like strawberries, apples, or kiwis. If I feel like an extra boost, I also add a dash of cocoa and a handful of almonds.

After reading The Raw Food Detox Diet, which touted juicing as the foundation of eating raw (pp. 49-52), I started wondering what the differences were between juicing and blending as well as which one was better for me.

Here is what I found:

What is the difference between juicing and blending?

Juicing separates fiber from juice to make juices, while blending blends fiber and juice to make smoothies.

According to the Raw Food Detox Diet (pp.49-52), juicing releases organic water—or ‘hydration’ as Natalia Rose calls it, chlorophyll, and enzymes from the fibers. These we cannot absorb from the fibers without juicing. Without fiber in the way, all the fresh water, chlorophyll, and enzymes go straight to the cellular level.

Organic hydration is water from plant sources, not from a spring, well, or faucet. This organic water released by juicing contains all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from the plant. Furthermore, Rose asserts that no more water is needed on her diet because of organic hydration (!). And without the fiber to fill us up, we can drink even more organic water.

I don’t know if I believe everything Rose has to say about juicing. According to her, the minerals in mineral water and sea salt may even leach minerals from the body! Not that she provides documentation on this, however.

How are juicing and blending good for you?

Both blending and juicing saves you time on chewing, chopping, and digesting. By blending and juicing, you get to eat more and facilitate more and faster absorption in our ‘compromised’ intestines. Apparently, eating trashy food will compromise your intestines.

Freshly juiced and blended juices are better than bottled. Bottled juices are pasteurized, which kills live enzymes through heat. In fact, when Alissa Hamilton, author of the soon-to-be-published book Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice, explained pasteurization, she also revealed how ‘fresh’ Tropicana orange juice really is:

In the process of pasteurizing, juice is heated and stripped of oxygen, a process called deaeration, so it doesn't oxidize. Then it's put in huge storage tanks where it can be kept for upwards of a year. It gets stripped of flavor-providing chemicals, which are volatile. When it's ready for packaging, companies such as Tropicana hire flavor companies such as Firmenich to engineer flavor packs to make it taste fresh. People think not-from-concentrate is a fresher product, but it also sits in storage for quite a long time.”

Now who still wants to drink juice from a box?

So to juice or to blend?

Here is a summary of juicing and blending pros:

Juicing juices :

+ good for getting unpalatable greens into your diet by mixing with apples

+ high volume is possible

+ absorbed in 20 minutes, little energy to digest without fibers

Blending smoothies :

+ good also for mixing unpalatable greens with fruits

+ high volume also possible

+ whole food, no wasted fibers, but longer to digest

+ high-speed blender can also break cell walls for easier absorption

+ noisier than juicers

+ easier to clean because you eat all the fiber

Both blending and juicing are good for getting unpalatable greens at a high volume into your diet. But I already eat plenty of greens in my weekday salad lunch.

The main difference between the two is the fiber. Fiber is important roughage that is good for you, but a raw food diet already has a lot of fiber. Because I am only about 50% or less raw, it is important that I get fiber from whole vegetables and fruits.

Moreover, juicing refines vegetables and fruits so that they are no longer whole foods. Whenever possible, I try to choose the least-refined food.

I also don’t want to spend the money or the storage space on a high-speed blender or juicer.

In conclusion, I will continue to blend smoothies at home for my own food enjoyment and buy juices from the café downstairs if I need to digest some nutrients fast—like right before I head off to yoga.

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