Sunday, March 21, 2010

Juicing or Blending?

I received a note from a friend and reader this week that many people have when they first become interested in raw foods:

Hey Andrea,

So I read a book that you recommended and have a quick the book, the author includes a number of recipes for juices that she makes using a juicer. I make various fruit and vegetable smoothies everyday (usually for breakfast) but I use a blender. Is there a difference? Do I need to buy a juicer?

Also, at first pass, it looks like there are bunch of different juicers out there, at a wide range of there a particular model or brand you'd recommend or any certain features I should be looking for? Will a basic, small model suffice or is there anything I should consider that might lean me toward saving up for something bigger?

Thanks & hope you're well!

Hey K,

That is such a great question! In fact, I'm going to turn my answer into a blog post this afternoon. While juicing and blending both have an important place in a high-raw diet, juicing is by far the best way to alkalinize the body and deliver high quality nutrients and enzymes to the system. There are several reasons for this.

First, juices require absolutely no digestion, lengthening the amount of time the body has to repair, cleanse and restore itself before expending energy digesting food. In fact, consuming juices on an empty stomach delivers plant nutrition straight to your cells.

Second, the volume of vegetables that you consume through juice is much higher than the volume of vegetables in a green shake. Since vegetables are the one food where the motto "more is better" does apply, juicing wins on volume as well.

Third, blending damages the plant enzymes ever so slightly, whereas juicing does less damages to the enzymes.

Blending still has its place in a raw diet though. Most people really don't chew very well, and this makes even high quality plant foods difficult to digest. Blending takes care of the chewing, giving the digestive system a hand. Raw food counselors dealing with complicated health issues often "prescribe" juicing and blending so that the body can devote most of its attention to healing while still offering some of the emotional/psychological satisfaction of eating. Also, smoothies are just plain tasty and hydrating.

I would definitely suggest buying a juicer, but it's awesome that you're getting smoothies in your diet!

As for what juicer to buy, for the first few months I juiced, I used a small, Waring Pro juicer that runs about $70, and worked fine. It was, however, a pain to clean and I dropped the filter basket down my trash chute. Now, I use a Breville that costs about $149 (but you can usually get 20% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It is really, really easy to clean, and handles everything that I juice. Anything fancier or more expensive than that really depends on how much you like juicing. If you want to juice for a few days at once, a masticating juicer like the Omega or Greenstar is a good investment. If you are okay with juicing in the morning and keeping the juice cold in a stainless steel bottle, the Breville is more than adequate.

I hope this helped answer your questions!


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