Juicing has enjoyed somewhat of a revolution, with various juicing bars and brands popping up on high streets and in supermarkets. Along with smoothies, juicing is a brilliant way to incorporate a wealth of goodness into your diet.
Juicing has really taken off in the past few years, and while it’s wonderful to see so many more people becoming passionate about their health, there are a few points that it’s worth being aware of when choosing your juices, as they’re not created equal and there tends to be a bit of confusion between smoothies and juices.
First of all, smoothies are made by blending all of the ingredients together, which keeps the fibre in the food. If you’re adding some fruit to it, then the fibre of the fruit remains in the drink, which slows down the rate that it gets absorbed into your bloodstream.
I love smoothies, and you will find plenty of recipes in the ‘mouths and Juices’ section of this site. They’re brilliant for getting loads of nutrition into your system, and make great filling snacks and energy-boosters.
However, when fruit is juiced, the fibre is removed and just the juice remains. This is not how nature intended fruit to be eaten, and such a concentrated amount of fructose can cause your blood sugar levels to sharply rise, which also causes your pancreas to release insulin.
Insulin is your fat storing hormone, and when it’s constantly circulating your system, it may prevent your body from burning fat stores efficiently, no matter how much you exercise, although regular exercise does help to improve insulin sensitivity. So fruit juice can be a disaster for weight loss efforts!
In the long term, chronically raised insulin levels may also lead to insulin resistance and even encourage type 2 diabetes to develop.
This simple chart may be helpful for explaining the difference between juices and smoothies…
Green juice is my favourite type of juice and the only one I drink, as it’s jam-packed with chlorophyll to encourage glowing skin, oxygen to regenerate your blood and body cells, living enzymes, vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. They help to boost energy, remove waste products and alkalise the blood.
Green juice is natural liquid vitality, delivered straight to your cells and brings with it numerous alkalising benefits, though it doesn’t keep you feeling full in the same way that a smoothie will due to the lack of fibre.
Green juice can be prepared in larger batches and frozen ahead of time, as the nutrients remain well intact in the freezer. When buying green juice, always make sure that it’s raw, cold-pressed and organic if possible. Unfortunately, many commercial vegetables juices are heat-treated, which destroys the valuable vitamins and denatures the living enzymes.
Some of the best veggies to juice include kale, celery, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, parsley, spinach, watercress and wheatgrass. Avocado and banana are best pureed and then added into the juice afterwards. I recommend minimising the fruit juice you drink because it hits the bloodstream too quickly and will cause insulin levels to spike. It’s best to enjoy fruit in its whole form or in smoothies, with the fibre remaining intact. I like to add ingredients like mint, ginger, lemon and lime to juices for plenty of flavour.
Always wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before juicing, removing tough skins, apple cores and pips, and if using non-organic produce, scrub them well to remove waxes and pesticides.
This recipe for homemade juice is really refreshing, easy to drink, and makes you feel so energised. Plus it doesn’t taste ‘green’! I make my juices at home using a masticating juice by Hotpoint from Arnott’s. My smoothies are made with a Vitamix Blender.
- 2 cucumbers, rinsed and cut into medium-size pieces. I leave the skin on and buy organic cucumbers when possible.
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
- 2 tsp fresh root ginger
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 1 lime, peeled and halved
- Prepare the ingredients and process them through the juicer, as instructed.
- Serve chilled in a tall glass or jar with a couple of ice cubes.
- The juice is best drank as soon as possible after pressing, but can be frozen for up to three months