If there’s one thing that takes a lot of shit on the chin, it’s juicing. Particularly with the advent of juice cleanses that prescribe nothing but juice for seven days with the promise of weight loss.
Well… erm, yes friend, if you have nothing but juice for a week then you’re for sure going to lose weight. If we put you on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and feed you on a cup of rice and beans a day you’re going to lose weight.
Due to this less than sensible practice, juicing is the baby that has been thrown out with the bath water. And why should you juice if you already smoothie? That’s providing that smoothie is even a verb.
It’s probably really good practice to both juice and smoothie as they both have their plus points. It’s not really a case of one versus the other in our opinion.
What’s the difference?
Juicing is a means of extracting juice from pulp and fibre. This means you’re getting all the minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients straight, minus the fibre. It’s a hit of pure vitality in a glass.
We’re not talking pineapple juice or orange juice here though. We’re talking cold pressed greens such as kale, spinach, cucumber, courgette, etc. Fruit juice without the fibre is a bad idea because of the sugar content. Leafy greens on the other hand are bursting with nutrients, that the majority of us are deficient in. With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with adding half an apple to your greens juice to lighten the flavour.
As an aside note, it’s important to be aware of something called oxalic acid which is found in all greens. In particular spinach, which has the highest levels of oxalic acid - 750 milligrams per 100 gram serving. Oh and soy is high in it too, but we wouldn’t touch soy with a shitty stick anyway.
Oxalic acid is a bad thing, but greens are good, right?
It’s one of those debated subjects where no-one really knows the answer. People with untreated kidney or gallbladder problems, a vulnerability to kidney disorders, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperoxaluria or certain forms of chronic vulvar pain need to be more aware of this fact.
Oxalates are in so much good stuff that they’re nigh on impossible to avoid whilst maintaining a healthy nutrient rich diet. If it does concern you then there are a few things you can do to mitigate the impact of oxalic acid; • Stay hydrated. • Rotate your greens - use more kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip tops and Bok Choy which are all much lower in oxalic acid. • Consume plenty of omega 3. • Use younger leafs such as baby spinach which are much lower in oxalates.
In our opinion a healthy gut will break down most oxalates, it’s only through poor gut health and digestion that they begin to become a problem, so for most people they are nothing to worry about.
Back to the juice itself, other interesting and useful additions to your juice are fresh roots such as ginger, turmeric, fenugreek and fennel.
Ginger is a winner for strength guys and serious athletes as it has anti inflammatory properties that will aid recovery.
Turmeric is so hot right now, studies are popping up everywhere on this brain boosting nutrient and the benefits seem to be exhaustive. The fresh root is best as opposed to powder although it’s fairly difficult to get hold of and it is possible to over dose so go easy with it.
Fenugreek leaves are high in vitamin C and iron making it fantastic for recovery. It also contains the compound 4-hydroxyisoleucine which assists glucose metabolism and numerous other elements that help to regulate blood sugar. Claims around fenugreek increasing testosterone production are still being tested.
Why fennel? It’s a heavy hitter on the vitamin C and has many phytonutrients including anethole, known to have anti cancer properties. A 2012 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found anethole has been shown to reduce NF-kappa B — a gene-altering and inflammation-triggering molecule — along with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) — a cancer-signaling molecule.
When juicing with greens it’s also better to use a masticating juicer as opposed to a centrifugal one. It’s more work and takes longer, but good things come to those who wait.
Here’s our favourite juice recipe: 4 kale leafs 1/4 cucumber 1/2 courgette 1 fennel bulb 1/2 apple 1/2 inch of ginger
Fibre is good for you too, it cleans the colon, keeps things moving along and helps with weight management. When you blend your veggies you keep the fibre whilst making a large quantity of the nutrients bioavailable. It’s a good option, particularly as you can throw in seeds, nut butters, fruits… all sorts of stuff… like… ahem… glutamine, spirulina, maca, psyllium husk, coconut oil and protein powder!
Smoothies are a great opportunity to be creative and play around with flavours, they’re fantastic post workout, as a snack or as a small meal if you’re not particularly hungry. You can make them in the morning and take them on the go if you’re in a rush. They’re quick to make… the possibilities are endless with smoothies, that’s why we love them. Just don’t be the douche that makes a tuna and broccoli smoothie, it’s not big and it’s not clever.
If you’re working with raw vegetables then ensure you have a high speed blender. Kale in particular has a very tough cell wall and if it’s not broken down by cooking or a high speed blender then it can cause digestive upsets.
Word of warning, don’t get too carried away with throwing everything but the kitchen sink in. It’s best to stick to 4-6 ingredients, any more than this and the risk for digestive upset increases.
A general rule of thumb for us is: A veg or two, a fruit, nut butter or seeds, protein powder or herbal powder and milk (almond, oat, coconut etc)
Here are some of our favourite smoothie recipes:
Colon cleanser 2 kale leaves Handful of raspberries 1 teaspoon of chia seeds 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk Top up with almond milk
Post Workout Muscle Builder 1 Banana 1 tablespoon of almond butter 1 teaspoon of flax seed 1 teaspoon of maca powder 1 scoop of Vanilla Primal 26 Milk as required
Big Green Breakfast 1/2 an avocado 1/2 banana 1 handful of baby leaf spinach 1 handful of blueberries 1 teaspoon of spirulina 1 teaspoon of almond butter 1 teaspoon of chia seeds 1 scoop of vanilla Primal26 Milk as required
If you have any awesome smoothie recipes yourself, then feel free to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!