What's the difference?
Smoothies are used with a blender. You blend fruits and/or vegetables with water to get a smoothie. Juices are used with a juicer - an appliance that separates the juice from the pulp of fruits and vegetables. My experiences have led me to be a Blender/Smoothie Girl, although I do make juice now and then. I'll explain why I am, but first let's take a look at the Pros and Cons of both methods.
Fast: You place chopped fruits/vegetables and water into your blender and let it run for a few minutes. Then, you rinse your blender and you are done!
Simple: Since you are using the whole fruit/vegetable, you can only fit so much into your blender. When it is full - you are ready to blend! And there is usually only one component to clean with a blender, the canister that holds the smoothie.
Inexpensive: If you blend one apple with water, you can get up to 8 ounces of smoothie. The cost of that apple is minimal and the water is usually free = inexpensive drink/meal.
Fruity: You can enjoy tons of fruit in your smoothies, since the soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream into an even increase of energy.
Longevity: Since you blended the whole food, the fiber helps to protect the fragile nutrients, which means that it can last longer without losing nutrition. I usually recommend that you drink your smoothie in 36 hours of less, if it stays refrigerated.
Convenient: Making a smoothie full of fruits/vegetables is far faster than sitting down and chewing the same amount of produce.
Easier To Digest: Solid food needs to be broken down. Even if you chew your food remarkably well (and most of us do not), you still may not break down the fiber or cellulose of the green leafy vegetables as well as a blender does. Blending does the work that our jaws should do and the nutrition is available immediately. You receive more nutrition to absorb and your digestive system has far less to do. Instead of breaking down large chunks of food, it simply is absorbed, assimilated, and passes through.
It's Great For Children: A blended smoothie that tastes like fruit but has hidden leafy greens gets more nutrition into your children that may not have eaten a salad with spinach.
Satiety: All that fiber and juice combined in your belly keeps you full longer. While it slows down digestion slightly, it helps the hungry feeling stay away.
Blender Quality: makes a difference. In order to have a smooth texture, a high speed blender will do the best job. The Vitamix is my personal favorite (See the bottom of this post for the best deal!) and is the best machine I've used so far (I've already written a blog about it here: http://www.livingrawbygrace.com/1/post/2012/07/vitamix-vsblendtec-vs-healthmaster-vs-ninja.html)
Drink Slowly: If you drink it too fast, it will sit and ferment in your belly/gut, causing gas and bloating. Take your time, chew while you drink,
Texture: Some people find that the texture of smoothies is difficult to palate - too thick or pulpy. I usually tell people that they need to add more water if this is an issue, but I hear it every now and then.
Even Easier to Digest: Due to the lack of fiber in the juice - there is little to nothing to digest and your body can utilize the nutrients even easier.
Even More Nutrition: You get very large amounts of vitamins and minerals, due to the amount of produce that goes into the juice. You would not be able to eat this much produce in anywhere near the same amount of time.
Convenient: This is a great way to get the most amount of nutrition into your body without having to eat all the food all day long. It's difficult to put away several pound of green leafy vegetables in one sitting, but very easy to drink them and get the same nutrition.
Healing: Due to the high amount of vitamins and minerals - you are able to get nutrition where your body needs it most. Green Cabbage juice has been shown in studies to heal stomach ulcers on contact!
Expensive: Due to the amount of produce needed to create juice, you can spend a lot of money on one glass of juice. Quality Juicers are also expensive as well.
Time Consuming: Each piece of produce needs to be fed through the juicer separately, which takes time. Cleanup is also a lengthy procedure, as there are multiple pieces of the juicer to take apart and clean. Cleanup needs to happen immediately or the juicer will begin to degrade over time.
Spike in Blood Sugar: The soluble fiber of fruits and vegetables slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream. Juicing, unlike blending, removes that fiber so when you drink a juice that is high in fruit - your blood sugar will spike and then crash. When juicing for yourself, make your juices vegetable heavy, with small amounts of fruit. Your body will thank you later.
Short Shelf Life: The soluble fiber in your food also helps protect from oxidation and degradation. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you need to drink that juice almost immediately. The more expensive the juicer, the better it preserves nutrition. There are a few juicers out there (usually commercial grade) that preserve the nutrition so the nutrition is still available 2-3 days later. That being said, always try to drink your juice as soon as possible - you'll simply get more nutrition.
Wasteful: All that pulp that was extracted? Yeah, most people just throw that away. There is good nutrition in there, but after you juice...there is no purpose for it. Now there are recipes out there that you can use the pulp in...but that's a lot more work
Soooooo....should you juice or should you blend? I say, both! I juice on occasion and blend nearly every day. I will always be a blender girl simply because it's faster, cheaper, easier, and sweeter. I definitely have a sweet tooth! That being said, I absolutely adore a fresh juice now and then. My husband prefers the taste and consistency of juices so he consumes more, and he also needs less sweet than I do.
As for juicers, I love my slow masticating juicer. It takes a little longer, but you get a better juice than centrifugal juicers and you get less waste - I love not throwing away a ton of pulp. I started with a Breville, but have since moved onto a Hurom. Love it! Here's a blog I wrote about my adventures in juicing: http://www.livingrawbygrace.com/1/post/2013/06/my-juicing-adventures.html
While I juice now and then, I'd much rather just buy some fresh, cold pressed, raw juice. I found an amazing local company does all the work, buys all the ORGANIC produce, uses an amazing juicer that preserves the nutrition for several days, AND figures out how to make it delicious every time. Sounds like a steal! Local Organica - AND they deliver! :) http://www.localorganica.com/