When asked to pick a team, namely, smoothie or juice, I'm totally on team smoothie. I know everyone reading this thought 'Oh, crunchy-granola-mat-wielding-whole-food-fanatic Tandy probably is alllllll about juicing'. Not so much. This is a classic example of how the power of a beautiful photo, 'quick tips', PR and marketing can sell us a false bill of goods when it comes to our fitness and wellness. Please ditch your juice cleanses and detox. Head for whole real foods, embark on my M&K 41 Day Food Reset (available to subscribers here) and, please, grab a smoothie, not a juice, when your schedule needs a quick nutrient-dense fix.
Here's the breakdown:
Juicing strips the fruits and vegetables of their miraculous fiber.
Smoothies retain the fiber. Fiber promotes beneficial gut bacteria, prevents constipation and plays a major role in bolstering the immune and digestive system. Fiber aids in nutrient absorption and makes you feel fuller longer and aids in absorption of nutrients, especially calcium. YOU WANT THE FIBER!
Juicing can disrupt digestive health and bowel movements because it floods the system with sugars, and it is stripped of said fiber. Juicing Packs in (and potentially on) the calories. Most juices container 4 or more whole fruits. Have you ever tried to eat 4 apples in one setting? That's about 400 calories in 4 oz of juice. And when there's no fiber in that juice, you're going to be hungry...soon... and still have consumed 400 calories (not that I'm big on calories but they do exist and they are a way to understand your food).
Now here's the doozy.
Juicing is a straight-up sugar fest. We know, cognitively at least, to stay away from refined sugars and treats, but most people think that if it comes from a fruit or veggie you can OD on sugars all you like. Sadly that is not correct. Sugar is sugar no matter the source and yes, although #betterisbetter and I'd rather you eat or drink real sugar from fruit them slug a Dr. Pepper, your body registers it all the same. Because you're smashing, crushing and pressing fruits and veggies into juice and stripping them of their fiber, these 'natural' sugars actually absorb faster into your system than if you ate them or drank them in a smoothie along with their fiber (eating or drinking it with their fiber as nature intended allows the sugars to break down and absorb slower). You're literally setting your system up for sugar shock with juice.
No wonder you feel so fab on a juice cleanse..... you're high on sugar!
When sugar heads into your body it's a signal for your system to release insulin thus potentially creating hormonal imbalance (depending on the amount and frequency). This is the exact opposite of what you want internally from your body when you are trying to get fit & healthy. High doses of sugar from fruits or otherwise sets you off balance in your hormones which is exactly the opposite of what you want to loose weight or to see true wellness and fitness results.
If you create these insulin spikes frequently over long periods of time you are tempting fate to become insulin resistant, increasing your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. And where there is a sugar issue there is also a potential tooth decay issue...as my youngest son would say 'The mom bad news train is rollin' in! TOOT TOOOOOT'!
Now you can clearly see the picture of Juices vs. Smoothies. This in no way means smoothies are perfect for you either, but whole, real food that is veggie based is always best for your body body. Smoothies can be a fabulous way to get nutrients in when you might normally skip a meal. They can also be a wonderful way to give your digestion a rest periodically from breaking down so many dense nutrients (like animal protein). This is important for those of us with sensitive bellies or those who are healing digestive issues like IBS, Celiac etc. Soups are wonderful for this as well.
As in everything, balance is key. Don't go overboard with a full out fruit smoothie every darn day (those of you who have done my M&K Food Reset now see why there is a green, a veggie and a single fruit smoothie that is super low in sugars).
Here's how to do intelligent smoothies:
Keep your fruitiest/sweetest ones to the a.m. in a fasting state (when you haven't eaten in 8-16 hours) or after high intensity workouts.
Add proteins or fats to slow the absorption of the sugars. In my opinion, do NOT throw in a protein powder. Keep it real: nuts, nut butters, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee or coconut butter.
Sprinkle in some pink salt for electrolyte balance and hydration.
GO GREEN! You can read all the ways I'm a fan of a green smoothie and get my favorite green smoothie recipe here. Greens keep things nutrient dense minus the sugar.
You'll see pictures and posts of me and my family with our smoothies (that's my actual messy backyard in the pic above) - all over M&K. For goodness sake there are pages of smoothie recipes on the site available to M&K members! It's all about balance, joy and knowing what and why you're doing it. I simply hate to see people guzzling down smoothies packed with fruit, trying to do something fabulous for their health and getting whammied without even knowing it. If you're going to make the effort to get fit & well it should at least produce results!
That's why I'm on team smoothie. Are you?
As always, if you have questions about anything I write about simply email me to ask or head over to my Facebook Fan Page to communicate there!