I talk about green juices and green smoothies a lot. A lot. I often find myself answering friend’s questions about anything and everything green juice and smoothie related. What are they? Why drink them? Where can I get one? And most importantly… what is the difference between a green juice and a green smoothie? Since juicing vs. blending can be a vexing question for many I thought I would talk a little about the difference between the two and the benefits of each. That’s right, juicing and blending both have their benefits IMHO. Many people are either juice or smoothie monogamists. Juicers won’t blend and blenders won’t juice. I am not one of them. I am an equal opportunity green beverage lover and both smoothies and juices play a vital role in my day.
Today, let’s start with green juice. Green juice is made by running vegetables such as kale, romaine, spinach, cucumber, celery etc. through a juicer. Some people include some fruit in their green juice- I usually don’t with the exception of lemon or lime. The juicer separates the bulk/fiber of the vegetables away from the juice. The bottled juices you see labeled as “cold pressed” are made on a snazzy machine that slowly presses the juice out of ground veggie pulp. Pressed juice last about 3 days. Juice from a traditional juice bar or from the juicer you got for your wedding (unless some amazingly kind relative gave you a Norwalk press!) should be consumed immediately. Pressed juice is also higher in nutrient content, and tastes better if you ask me. Now that we have covered the basics, let’s talk about the benefits of juicing:
Gives Your System a Break
Digestion is hard work for your body. By eliminating the fiber from the veggies you are juicing your body is able to get a direct influx of nutrients without having to expend energy. The energy your body would have spent digesting those veggies can now be spent on much needed internal house keeping!
So Many Greens
If you have ever made juice you know just how many vegetables it takes to make one 16oz glass. Think a head of romaine, 6 or so kale leaves, 4 stalks of celery, 1 whole cucumber etc. etc. That’s a lot of veggies! To eat all of those veggies would take you a huge amount of time and energy. By drinking them in a juice you can load your body up with tons of nutrients easily and quickly.
Internal House Keeping
Green juice is an amazing detoxification aide. I like to think of it as “Scrubbing Bubbles” for your insides. Drinking green juice daily helps your body awaken internal waste and sludge. You know those Sour Patch Kids you ate in the 3rd grade? Chances are they are still in your gut somewhere. Green juice can help clean them and all sorts of other nasties out of your body!
Consuming dark leafy green helps your body stay alkaline. An alkaline body is a happy one. When your internal system becomes acidic you leave yourself open to disease, weight gain, skin breakouts, and general malaise to name a few!
Pretty awesome huh? Green juice is amazing stuff!
- A few notes about green juice consumption:
- Green juices should always, always, always be consumed on an empty stomach. They are lighting fast to digest and if there is anything lingering in you stomach when you have your green juice you will get bloated, gassy and generally miserable immediately.
- Be careful not to have too much fruit in your green juice. A little apple for taste is o.k., but mainlining too much fruit juice can spike your blood sugar in a not great way. I personally prefer to chew my fruit as it slows down the sugar absorption into my system.
- Don’t drink pasteurized juice. Most of the juice you find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store has been pasteurized aka cooked until all the nutrients are totally dead. Real, live, raw, pressed green juice will be labeled as such! Don’t be fooled!
I rarely make my own green juice. I do own a juicer but I find that other people do it better than me. Also, since pressed juice lasts three days I can stock up and keep my favorites on hand in my fridge! Speaking of favorites, these are my current favorite green juices. I have tried many, many, many and these ones really stand out to me!
My friend, nutritionist Christian Henderson recently started making pressed juices for her clients. Her Lime Aide is hands down my most favorite green juice ever. It is loaded with lime and cilantro and has wonderful zing to it!
Liqueteria All Greens with Lemon and Ginger
Liqueteria is an NYC juicing institution. Their All Greens with Lemon and Ginger is just spicy enough. And the best part is they deliver- usually within an hour! Thanks to them I never find myself stranded without a green juice!
This deep green juice is awesome and intense. The addition of parsley and cilantro really make it!
If you live in LA you have to try this juice. The combination of cucumber, celery, watercress, lemon, ginger, and cayenne is incredibly unique and delicious.
Hopefully that helped clear up any questions you may have had about green juice. Next time it’s all about green smoothies!