Monday, January 17, 2022
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Food for Thought: The Juice or Smoothie Debate

By Janet Verney.

To Juice or to smoothie is the question…

I have heard so many debates on this and continue to hear much confusion about this topic, so here is my two cents for your consideration.

First, I believe they both have their benefits, when done right!

When done wrong, they can really mess with your health. I have even heard some “smoothier’s” say they are juicing because they make their smoothie less thick and waterier…. Um, no…. that isn’t juicing folks.

Ok, let’s start with JUICING! Juicing is not blending, it requires a juicing machine (I’m partial to my Omega J8006 – easy to use and easy clean-up). My first rule is to only use organic produce. My second rule is only juice low glycemic veggies, no fruit. When we juice we are removing the FIBER from the produce. When we remove the fiber we speed up the absorption of nutrients, which is like liquid gold to our cells when we only use the green stuff, of course. When you juice fruit it is like overdosing on sugar, spiking your blood sugars. You see, fiber slows down the sugar spike of fruit.

Juicing may take a little more time, but in my humble opinion, it is one of the key ingredients to improving your health. My go-to recipe is one cup of pea-shoots (a living raw food, high in protein), one cup of sunflower shoots (a living raw food, high in protein), one cucumber (super hydrating), and five celery stalks (a superfood in its own right, decreasing inflammation in joints, soothing gut issues, and supporting lung function). Sometimes I add lemon or ginger root (great anti-inflammatory and adds heat to your digestive fire). For newbies to juicing, adding ½ a green apple (no seeds) may make it more palatable. To me, my green juice says “I LOVE YOU!”

Now we are on to SMOOTHIES or SMOOTHIE BOWLS! When we blend organic produce, including fruit, it maintains the fiber, slowing down the glycemic spike to your blood sugar and it is a great way to get some high quality nutrition in a single serving. Having said all that it is important to choose your ingredients wisely. This is not an opportunity to throw in a scoop of ice-cream or other junk foods. I encourage low glycemic fruits, like berries to get you started, but get creative and try different combinations of fruits/veggies/nuts & seeds. My favorite go to blender is a Vita Mix, but they are expensive, unless you find a reconditioned one online. There are many mini blenders out there now that work pretty well for this purpose.

Smoothies can be healthy, but they do pack a lot of calories, so it’s best to make them a replacement for a meal when you are short on time. My favorite go to recipe is a cup of wild frozen blueberries, ½ of an avocado, one pitted date, a handful of greens (I like to mix them up, but my favorites are spinach & kale), a tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds, and organic almond milk to blend. This is packed with protein from the greens, the seeds, and the avocado! No need for those expensive, overly processed protein powders. If you do invest in protein powder, I suggest organic, vegan, and raw – my two favorites are Sunwarrior and Garden of Life, but be sure to read the labels and get only those sweetened with stevia and no other sugars!

One more thought while I have you on this subject… A common mistake folks make when consuming their smoothie or juice is to GULP it down… No, no, no, not a good thing! Did you know that your gut is responsible for 90% of disease? Ok, that’s a whole new topic, but for the sake of your gut, it is super important to swish or chew your juice and/or smoothie to stimulate those critical digestive enzymes in the mouth. I’ve had clients tell me that they often feel bloated after consuming a smoothie and when they make an effort to chew their smoothie that greatly improves.

I hope this helped to clarify juicing versus smoothies and how they can both play a role in your health. This is such a great time of year to get super fresh ingredients, either you’re your own garden, or from a local farmer’s market. So get out there and find something fun to create your next juice or smoothie! Please feel free to ask any questions you may have on this highly debated topic at


All Star Green Juice

  • 1 cup pea-shoots
  • 1 cup sunflower-shoots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 5 stalks celery
  • ½ inch gingerroot, ½ lemon, ½ green apple (optional)

Juice the softer veggies first, ending with the celery – this helps to move everything through the juicer shoot. Strain the juice to remove pulp. Best to drink within 10-15 minutes for highest nutrient value. Juice that sits for too long can ferment, which is not good for you.

Protein Packed Smoothie

  • 1 cup of wild frozen blueberries
  • ½ of an avocado
  • 1 pitted date
  • a handful of greens (I like to mix them up, but my favorites are spinach & kale)
  • 1 tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds
  • organic almond milk to desired consistency

Blend on low and then on high until smooth.

Superfood Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 cucumber
  • ¼ cup frozen pineapple
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • 1 handful of fresh or frozen spinach
  • ½ cup non-dairy yogurt
  • Toppings:
    • Chia seeds
    • Blueberries
    • Chopped strawberries
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Raw cacao nibs
    • Unsweetened shredded coconut

Blend the first five ingredients, using the blender plunger to make it smooth. Spoon into a bowl and top with the above ingredients, or choose your favorite toppings.

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at Until next time!

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives! Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at To learn more, visit her website at

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