Now before anyone starts jumping to conclusions about juicing or thinks “Geez, there is something wrong with everything” (I hate that feeling)—I want to make one thing clear: There is certainly nothing wrong with drinking vegetable juices. But there are a few reasons why I haven’t personally jumped on the juicing bandwagon myself —even after borrowing a friend’s juicer and actually trying it out for a week—which is what I’d like to explain today.
Juice Is Not a Whole Food
First and foremost, my main dietary goal is to eat whole foods or what I call “real food” (i.e. 5 or less whole ingredients). Did you know that when you drink juiced vegetables and fruits you are not eating the whole food?
The first time I saw a juicer in action I was actually a little surprised when I saw all this stuff being spit out the side. It turns out that stuff is the pulp (basically the fiber) and not included in the juice you are about to drink!
Now you could technically bake that pulp into a homemade baked good or something (and still consume it), but I am going to tell you right now I would never be “Betty Homemakerish” enough to keep up with something like that. Plus I felt like the kale, celery, cucumber, and other ingredients I purchased to make the juice could have nicely supplemented several meals for the whole family, when instead the juicer transformed these ingredients into 2 glasses (about 10 ounces each) of not very filling juice.
If you aren’t careful, juicing could seriously blow the roof off your budget. The first day I shopped for juicing ingredients I spent $13—on just 2 servings of organic juice! I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad if it could actually constitute a meal, but after drinking our morning juice (my husband tried it with me) we were both still hungry enough for our regular breakfast of homemade granola. So during our week of juicing I found myself buying loads of extra veggies to juice in addition to all the groceries I would have normally purchased anyway. Cha-ching!
It Takes Time
When you drink a daily green juice in addition to eating your regular meals it ends up taking extra time out of your day. Imagine having to make a fresh juice and clean the machine on top of cooking and cleaning those three square real food meals each day.
I say that because a juicer is not just any regular appliance—there are 7 different parts that all need to be washed immediately. Which means unless you are about to start your dishwasher right at that very moment you need to stop what you are doing and wash each and every part of the juicer by hand. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a big fan of hand washing dishes? Well, some days I truly avoid it like the plague—so this is officially reason #3 that juicing is not personally for me.
Like I said at the beginning there is certainly nothing wrong with juicing, and some say it makes them feel great (we didn’t personally notice a difference). BUT—as with most food choices—I feel that variety is key. That means variety in both what you eat and how you eat it. If you find that you are getting so much more green in your body through juicing then that is fabulous, but I wouldn’t suggest having that be the only way you get your veggies.
And that’s because eating the whole food is pretty important as well. Nature actually does a great job of packaging up the perfect combination of vitamins and minerals in each and every whole food. When you start removing parts (like the fiber) it is just not the same. The takeaway I got from my juicing experiment is that —probably like most people—I have room for improvement and could stand to consume more vegetables. So I am glad to be given that reminder.
Now if I suddenly found myself with health issues or was just overall not feeling very well—I would definitely give juicing another chance. At first I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about the taste of a green juice, but it actually grew on me fairly quickly, and I came to enjoy it (and drink it much faster) by the end of the week. But for the foreseeable future I can only see myself being a smoothie girl, and here’s why.
I honestly never made (or probably even drank a smoothie) before our switch to real food, but now they make their way into our diet about once or twice a week.
And these are the reasons I like smoothies so much:
- No special expensive equipment needed —any old blender will do!
- When you blend fruits and vegetables together to make a smoothie you are consuming the whole food.
- As a result, I find smoothies to be much more filling than juice.
- My kids like smoothies (they gave the green juice a fair chance, but were not fans).
- A little bit of veggies can go a long way in a smoothie—when I juiced a bunch of kale it seemed that only a couple tablespoons of juice came out.
So what do you prefer…juicing or making smoothies? And why?