A diet rich in whole foods is the key to living a healthy lifestyle. Today, fruits and vegetables don’t contain nearly the amount of nutrients they did 20 years ago due to the use of pesticides, genetically modified seeds, and soil being nutritionally depleted, along with conventional farming practices.
Fresh juice and smoothies allow us to consume more fruits and vegetables in a day than we could trying to chew the same amount of fruits and vegetables, providing us with more nutrition and all the health benefits that go along with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
The Key Difference Between a Juicer vs Vitamix
The main differences between using a juicer vs Vitamix is that a juicer will extract the pulp and fiber from the fruits and vegetables, leaving only liquid juice. While a Vitamix blends fruits and vegetables in their entirety, keeping the fiber in the smoothie. They both are able to make additional foods as well.
Cold Press juicers with the appropriate attachments, which will depend on the manufacturer and model, can make delicious juice, smoothies, nut and seed milks, baby food, soup, tofu, and sorbets.
A Vitamix blender can make smoothies, hot soups, baby food, flours, doughs, nut butters, sorbet, batter, dressings, sauces, seed and nut milks, juices, and dips.
Key Differences Between Juices and Smoothies
The way I like to think of the differences between juices and smoothies is that juices are a way to flood your body with vitamins and minerals; it’s the best daily multivitamin you can give your body. When you drink fresh juice on an empty stomach, the vitamins and minerals in the juice go straight into your bloodstream as it’s easy to digest. Because a juicer extracts fiber, you can consume more nutrients than you can with a smoothie or chewing whole fruits and vegetables.
Smoothies also allow you to consume more fruits and vegetables than you would be able to chew. However, because smoothies retain fiber and pulp, they are more filling and have more bulk, so you aren’t getting as much of the nutrients as you would by juicing.
In a 32 oz morning juice, I may consume (minus the fiber) 1/4 pound of spinach, 3 apples, 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 fennel bulb, and a lime. That’s a lot of vitamins and minerals to start my day with! It would be about double the size if I were to blend it over juicing it. However, juices are not as filling as smoothies because they are missing fiber.
A general rule of thumb is that fresh juices are best consumed on an empty stomach as they are quickly and easily digested. Drinking juice after a meal may digestive issues or heartburn for some individuals. It also backs up the digestion process as whole foods will take longer to break down and digest than green vegetable juice does.
Smoothies are much more filling than juices as they contain beneficial fiber, which helps support a healthy digestive tract. What I also like about smoothies is that I can easily add protein powder and green powder, both of which help support optimal health.
I like to start my day with fresh juice, followed by a smoothie containing protein powder and leafy greens, and then whole foods that require chewing for the rest of the day. It’s what I have found works best for my body to ensure that I am consuming a plethora of fruits and vegetables daily. Experiment and do what feels best for your body.
Juicers and Juicing
A juicer is the best option if you want to primarily make juice. Depending on the juice extractors’ brand and model, some juicers also come with attachments or detachable parts that can be used to make a thicker juice that contain more pulp or a pulp-free juice. Some juicers can also be used to make baby food, tofu, healthy ice cream sorbets, seed or nut milks, and soups.
There are an array of different juicers you can buy. If you are juicing once in a while and drinking your juice the same day, a centrifugal juicer will suffice as they tend to be less expensive. If you drink juice regularly or want to make your juice ahead of time, the best juicer is a cold-press or slow juicer. Cold press juices tend to last 48 hours or longer when stored properly. Slow juicers also help to preserve more nutrients during the juicing process than centrifugal juicers do.
As a general rule of thumb, fresh juices are the most nutritious juices. When juice is exposed to air, the live enzymes begin to degrade, which diminishes the nutritional content. This is why it’s essential to store juice properly in an airtight container and use a slow juicer to keep juice fresh longer.
It’s important to note that juicing may not be for everyone; it’s always best to consult with your doctor in making any significant dietary changes and are looking to consume more than a glass of juice a day regularly. You also may want to monitor the number of fruits you juice if you have any blood sugar concerns or other health issues.
Vitamix and Smoothies
A Vitamix is the best blender out there; with a powerful motor, it’s the gold standard of blenders. A Vitamix is a high-speed blender that gives you more options than a juicer. Much like fresh juice, fresh smoothies are always the best and most nutritious as smoothies will begin to oxidize and nutritionally degrade over time.
The added benefit nutritionally that smoothies have over juices is that you can add protein and other nutritional supplements to your smoothie. I like to add a protein powder along with collagen and a greens powder to my smoothies. In my opinion, you can never have enough greens in your life!
A Vitamix allows you to make smoothies, hot soups, nut butters, salsas, ice creams, sorbet, and more. You can also make juice with a Vitamix, although it is more complicated than using an actual juicer.
A Vitamix is great for food prep and making foods from whole foods. For instance, I’ll make a large batch of soup with my Vitamix, pour it into glass Mason jars and freeze it for later. I will also make a large batch of green smoothies and freeze them for later. A Vitamix can allow you to make so many of your own foods at home- like nut butter, salad dressings, dips, and baby foods that can help save you money while providing you with fresh food without additives or sugars.
Should you Buy a Juicer or a Vitamix?
In an ideal world, you have both. I am a big advocate of eating whole foods. Juicing and blending are both great ways to get more fruits, vegetables, and other real foods into your diet.
However, I understand that having both is not always an option for people between the financial investment and storage space, in which case a Vitamix may be the better option as it is more versatile.
It really comes down to personal preference, though. What do you enjoy more fresh juice or fresh smoothies? You may even try a few days of buying ready-made juices and smoothies to see which you want more of.
In general, a Vitamix is more versatile than a juicer as you can make more foods, including juice, using a Vitamix with the added step of straining the thick juice/smoothie blend using a nut milk bag.
One thing to note as you consider your financial investment is that both pieces of equipment will last you years! I have a Hurom juicer and a Vitamix and have had both for over five years, and both are still going strong. They both have excellent warranties. Hurom offers a 10-year warranty on the motor and a 2-year warranty on the parts. Vitamix has a 10-year warranty on new blenders and excellent customer service from my experience.
I chose to purchase a reconditioned Vitamix blender; it arrived like it was brand new. I would’ve never known it was “reconditioned.” They come with a five-year warranty and are a great option to get a Vitamix blender at a great price point, which can save you money and maybe even put money towards getting a juicer too! Hurom also offers refurbished juicers, although I had chosen to buy mine in new condition as the reconditioned juicer wasn’t an option when I purchased mine. In the future, I would certainly buy a refurbished juicer as it saves money, and they come with a warranty, so it’s a win-win all around!
Whether you prefer green smoothies, fruit juices, green juice, or soup, using a juicer or a Vitamix blender to make a smoothie, juice, or soup is an easy way to consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables daily, which helps to lead to better health. While a Vitamix can make juice with the added step of straining the smoothie using a nut milk bag, having a dedicated juicer takes less time and provides ease of use.
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.