Juicing and Smoothies For Dummies
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Juices and juice smoothies can be nutritious and delicious additions to your diet, and you don't need to go to a smoothie shop to get them. With very little equipment and time, you can make your own juices and smoothies at home.

First, you need to know the difference between juices and smoothies. Then you need to know the benefits of juices and smoothies. Finally, if you’re thinking about cleansing, detoxing, or fasting with juices, you need to know how and why they work.

What's the difference between juices and smoothies?

Smoothies and juices are pure nutrients in a glass. They’re both loaded with nutrients, give you an energy boost, and taste fabulous. But they’re not the same thing. The difference lie in the machines used to make each drink:

  • Juice: To make fresh homemade fruit or vegetable juice, you need a juice extractor. Juice is the water and most of the nutrients that have been separated from the fibrous pulp in fruits and vegetables.

    You can squeeze or press citrus fruit without the aid of a juicing machine, but the only way to juice harder fruits and vegetables is to run them through a juice extractor that presses or cuts and spins them so that the juice is extracted from the pulp.

  • Smoothies: Smoothies require a traditional or high-performance blender. When a liquid (such as fresh juice, milk, or broth) and fresh fruits and/or vegetables are processed into a purée in a blender, the resulting drink is thick and smooth — in other words, a smoothie.

    Cored pieces of whole fruits and vegetables with the skin (if organic) are blended with juice or yogurt or other ingredients until the cells in the fruits/vegetables and other ingredients are so small that they’re transformed into a drinkable liquid. Smoothies are thicker and more filling than juices because they have all the pulp and fibrous cellulose that’s removed from juice.

What juicing will do for you

Juices are bursting with pure nutrients that bypass your digestive organs and go right to your bloodstream and your cells to start repairing and healing. They’re high in antioxidants that scour your insides to find and destroy free radicals, those destructive molecules that weaken your immune system and set you up for disease. In fact, juices can do the following for you:

  • Reduce the risk of modern diseases such as cancer, obesity, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, macular degeneration, and diverticulosis: Antioxidants found mostly in vibrantly colored red, purple, and orange fruits and vegetables reduce cell damage and, thus, prevent aging and disease.

  • Build a stronger immune system by protecting the cells and helping to build white blood cells.

  • Improve memory: A general decline in mental performance is caused most often by free radical damage. Juicing with fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants (such as pomegranates, black plums, blueberries, cabbage, and cauliflower) protects all the body’s cells, including the brain, from the ravishing effects of the unstable oxidizing free radicals.

  • Increase energy: When you drink pure raw fruit or vegetable juice, no digestive process has to take place because the nutrients and water have already been extracted from the fiber. So, the energy that would have gone into breaking down the food goes to repairing and protecting cells.

  • Improve sex drive: Raw foods, especially vegetables, contribute to hormone health and a healthy libido.

  • Cleanse and detox: Fruit juice for cleansing and vegetable juice for fueling and restoring are the best possible drinks for flushing and repairing cells, organs, and systems.

  • Lose weight: Fruit and vegetable juices are virtually fat free, and juice from vegetables is low in sugar. Drink them on a regular basis and two things happen: You start to lose your appetite for high-fat, high-calorie junk foods, and you start to feel better, with more energy to get up and get active.

If you suffer from candidiasis or dysbiosis, follow your doctor’s advice and refrain from drinking pure fruit juice.

The health benefits of smoothies

Unlike juices, smoothies retain all the fiber of whole raw fruits and vegetables. Eating fiber is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to prevent disease because it helps the body to eliminate waste materials and deadly toxins. Benefits of smoothies include the following:

  • Improved digestion and elimination: Fiber is the one key factor in the body’s ability to eliminate waste on a regular basis.

  • Weight loss: When used as part of a low-fat, low-sugar diet, vegetable smoothies provide pure nutrients to your cells and bulk from the fiber, which makes you feel full.

  • Healthy substitute for empty-calorie drinks and snacks: Smoothies’ fiber and other slow-digesting ingredients (like nuts, seeds, or yogurt) allow them to stay with you longer and satisfy you more than coffee, soda, or other drinks.

  • Meal replacement: Smoothies are high-nutrient options. If you add small amounts of protein and even some grain to a vegetable smoothie, you can build that drink into a satisfying meal replacement.

Cleansing, detoxing, and fasting with juices

If you want to experience high-level wellness, your body must be able to clear away internal debris and be toxin-free. But toxins are everywhere: in the water, in the soil, in the air, and in the foods we eat. Even the normal metabolic functions that go on inside your body create waste. Eating organic food and avoiding processed and refined foods helps, but for people living in this fast-paced, stress-filled, modern society, regular juice cleansing and detoxing has become a necessary part of a healthy way of life.

The accumulation of toxins starts at birth and burdens the body by being stored in fat and organs. It’s linked with hormonal imbalance, impaired immune function, nutritional deficiency, and an inefficient metabolism. Toxins are stored in fat cells because this is the safest place to keep them stable. When the body detects a buildup of toxins, it begins to retain water as a precaution for diluting the toxins within its tissues. It follows that the more toxic you are, the more weight you gain and retain.

So, what’s the difference between cleansing, fasting, and detoxing?

  • Cleansing: Cleansing is usually done with herbal teas and fresh fruit juices, and it doesn’t necessarily involve complete abstinence from food. Gentle cleansing may be undertaken right away, but if a whole-food diet is not part of the process, results will be marginal.

  • Detoxing: Detoxing is a deep cleansing program that targets specific toxins and areas of the body and is usually longer and more intense than a two- to three-day cleanse.

  • Fasting: Fasting in the strictest sense of the term is abstaining from all food while drinking only water. Fasting with only water is a severe step and should only be undertaken with the help and consent of your health practitioner.

    Juice fasting, on the other hand, is an ideal preventive measure that requires you to abstain from cooked and raw food, so that you’re having only raw fruit and/or vegetable juices (as well as water) for a short period of time (two to three days). Technically, you aren’t fasting if you’re drinking juice, but because you’re absorbing nutrients directly into the bloodstream, feeding and reconstituting the cells, and bypassing the digestive system, juice fasting is considered to be fasting.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Pat Crocker is a professional home economist specializing in herbs and healthy foods. She has been growing, photographing, teaching, and writing about herbs, food, and healthy diets for more than two decades. Pat lectures at international conventions and is a seasoned television and radio guest.

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