Maybe you’ve noticed the new juice shops popping up, and thought, why would someone drink vegetable juice? If you’re in the Kansas City area, maybe you’ve seen or read that Simple Science Juices has opened another shop here.
Why do we want to drink vegetable juice? Steve Spangler, the owner of Simple Science Juices, and former professional athlete, told me about the dramatic change in his life when he began including juices and eliminating fast food from his diet. The simple explanation he offers for incorporating juice is that juicing leaves you with the most nutrient dense form of the ingredients.
Let’s look a little closer at both juices and smoothies:
Juicing extracts the juice from fruits and vegetables. There are two types of juicers: centrifugal and cold-pressed (or masticating). Centrifugal juicers grind the fruits and vegetables and spin them through a mesh strainer. The spinning strainer separates the pulp and the juice, leaving you with just the juice and nutrients. Cold-pressed juicers crush the fruits and vegetables and then press them to squeeze all of the juice out.
Karen Kipp, a holistic health practitioner who has lead juice cleanses for the past 15 years, explains that juicing can pack the nutrients from three to four pounds of fruit and vegetables into one glass. All of those nutrients can be assimilated into the body very quickly.
Smoothies are prepared in a blender. Nothing is removed, instead, the ingredients are just blended together.
Karen explains that smoothies are just a different item from juices. In a smoothie, you can get about one pound of fruits and vegetables. Because you are still consuming the entire fruit or vegetable, just in a blended form, smoothies are often used as meal replacements.
What are the benefits?
Vegetable juices and smoothies offer many benefits. One benefit is simply from the amount of vegetables that you can add to your diet through either a juice or a smoothie. We know that fruit and vegetables offer important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But it is hard to sit down and eat a pound of vegetables for lunch, let alone three or four! Juice gets you all the important nutrients from the 3 – 4 pounds of vegetables in one simple glass.
In addition to the amount of nutrients, juices and smoothies allow you to get a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. You may discover you enjoy kale in your breakfast smoothie, even if you don’t prefer its flavor raw.
- A stronger immune system
- Healthier intestinal flora
- More balanced blood sugar
- More energy and better mood
- Lower risk of cancer
Karen has been leading three-day cleanses for the past 15 years. During these cleanses her clients only drink vegetable juices. She explains the effect that juice cleanses can have on her clients:
“Within the three day cleanse, people have been able to go off medications and had symptoms disappear that they’ve had for many years. They often don’t even realize they feel bad until they feel good. When people can finally experience having more energy, then they’re inspired to continue doing all types of things in their life, mind, body, and spirit, to continue down that path to improve their health.”
For her clients, not only does the juice cleanse change how they feel right now, but it changes the way they want to treat their body.
How can you do it at home?
Smoothies are often the easier drink to incorporate at home because the only equipment required is a regular blender. If you are just starting, this is a simple recipe that you can customize for your taste.
1 cup of water or almond milk
1 cup – 1 ¼ cup of frozen fruit
2 handfuls of leafy greens
1 tbsp coconut oil or avocado
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Juices can also be easily prepared at home if you have a juicer. If your produce is organic, you can just push it through the juicer. If not, you can peel it and then push it through the juicer.
Karen offers a simple juice recipe that everyone enjoys:
1 green apple
A handful of kale
Push all ingredients through the juicer.
With my small changes approach, I believe that the best approach to our diet is to add healthy food. Adding a smoothie or juice each day can be a small change that helps our health.