‘Tis the season for new years resolutions! For many, that means detoxing from a season of indulgence with a juice fast. But is juicing the healthiest way to load up on antioxidants?
When cutting back on soda, some people use juice as a “healthier” way to satisfy their cravings for sweet beverages, as well as a tasty way to sneak in some extra vegetables. While juice is a natural source of many vitamins and minerals, and definitely a step up from soda, it is not a necessary part of a healthy diet, and in fact, is less healthy than eating the fruits and vegetables themselves.
By discarding the pulp and solids (the difference between juicing and making a smoothie), you are missing out on the fiber and some of the micronutrients. This is one reason that I am not a huge proponent of “juice fasts”. If you are looking to consume a diet high in fiber and antioxidants, don’t just sip nature’s sugar water; eat the whole fruit! Additionally, do not be fooled into thinking that juice is a low calorie or no calorie beverage. Many juices pack just as much sugar and calories per cup as soda.
Smoothies, on the other hand, contain the whole fruit, rather than just the sugary juice. And contrary to popular opinion, blending fruits and greens up in a blender does not make the fiber disappear. The tip to keeping a smoothie healthy is to keep the ingredients healthy: whole fruits (berries, bananas, mango, etc), greens (kale, spinach), and optional healthy extras (organic, plain yogurt, unsweetened almond milk, organic cottage cheese, chia seeds, ground flaxseed). Don’t add juice or sweetened yogurt to your smoothie, as that defeats the purpose. With all of these solid ingredients, a heavy duty blender (such as a Vitamix) works best. However, I make smoothies in my knock-off magic bullet, and it works just fine.
Looking for healthy smoothie recipes to get you started?
- Velvety Butternut Cinnamon Date Smoothie
- Green Apple Spinach Smoothie
- Honeydew Green Monster Smoothie
- Stripped Green Smoothie
- Peachy Green Smoothie
- Kale Peach Mango Smoothie
And for those of you that would still like to give juicing a try, these six fruit and veggie combos look delicious!