Welcome to the world of green juices and green smoothies!
Whether you are a new-comer or you’ve been making green juices and green smoothies for a while, this guide will be beneficial to you. I am going to teach you the benefits of green juices and green smoothies (and this is what drives me to make them almost every single day, so pay close attention); then, we’ll talk (yes, I feel like I’m talking to ya here my friend) about the differences between green juices and green smoothies, some money and time-saving tips, and of course, recipes!
Do you have a favorite raw vegan juice, smoothie, or soup recipe? Post it in the comments below!
Green Juices and Green Smoothies: The Benefits
Making green juices and green smoothies is the cornerstone of the raw vegan lifestyle, and whether you’re 100% or 5% raw, you should definitely incorporate these. This is because these drinks contain greens, fruits, and veggies in a very easy-to-digest form.
- Their most important component is the greens, as they contain vital minerals and vitamins that raw vegans, vegans, and any other eaters hardly receive otherwise. They also contain these nutrients in large quantities, since it is easy to add many greens to a juice or smoothie, rather than any other food, especially in their raw form. Stay tuned, and I will show you how!
- Green juices and green smoothies are extremely cleansing and detoxifying. I want to share with you that they were one of the things that saved my mom’s life as she journeyed away from her IC (a painful bladder condition which she suffered from for 8 years). I feel their benefits in my body in the form of clearer skin, a boost of energy, better digestion, and overall vitality.
- Green juices and green smoothies are also extremely alkalizing to the body. An alkalizing body is not only disease-free, but is also calm, peaceful, and loving. When your insides are clean and happy, your intentions also become clean and happy! If you eat processed food of any kind, and especially if you consume animal products (which I recommend removing from your diet), you are consuming a very acidic diet, and it is critical to balance it out with these green babies. Your blood must always stay between 7.35 and 7.45, and these green juices/smoothies/soups help you do just that. So let’s see how we do this…
Green Juices and Green Smoothies: the Differences
- Green smoothies include blended drinks of greens and fruit, in differing ratios depending on your preferences. You must use a blender to make these, and you use the entire fruit and vegetable to make them, including the fiber. (I will mention which blender and juicer I recommend using in a later section).
- Green juices are juices made from mostly greens and some fruits (to better the taste). Because juicing removes the fiber, you need much more greens to produce the same amount of liquid as in a smoothie, which also means that you’re getting many more greens.
- From the point of view of digestion, nutrients from juices enter the bloodstream directly (because of the lack of fiber), while the digestion of smoothies and soups takes longer, and may not be as beneficial for those who have digestive issues.
- Green soups are similar to smoothies, but are more savory and can be made into a cold meal, adding spices, garlic, and chickpea miso (for example) for flavor.
Green Juices and Green Smoothies: Which One is Better?
I’ll give you the answer to this one right away: all 3 are awesome, it just depends on your preference, time, and equipment. The best one is the one you will drink every single day!
Upside to juicing: In my personal experience, juicing really helps move things around… you know… in the gut (that area that determines the health of your entire body, as well as your immune system). It helps me decrease bloating, as well as feel energized and refreshed. I believe juicing is the optimal way for people (who usually get enough fiber daily) to increase their intake of greens, and nutrition in general.
Downside to juicing: However, juicing is much more expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, on days when I’m really busy and don’t have much time in the morning, I make a smoothie to take with me.
Remember that smoothies contain all the fiber of the greens and fruit, and therefore if you’re sensitive to a lot of fiber, try juices first. At the same time, if your system needs the fiber (if your diet is currently fiber-poor), try smoothies. Heck, try both! See what fits you and your unique body.
The Busy People Guide to Green Juices and Green Smoothies
I don’t like to be home often, and I worked 9 to 5 for the first 4 years of being raw vegan, and I still made green juices and smoothies every single week. Yes, it can be done my friend. Juices and smoothies are awesome to take to work because they fill you up and you don’t have to sit there and chew all day. Plus, people ask you: “Can I just ask: what the hell is that?” And then you have the joy of introducing others to the benefits of this green magnificence!
- Purchase some super cheap glass jars with tight lids, or recycling old glass jars. I usually drink about a liter of juice or smoothie a day, and it fills me up at least until 12 or even later, so make sure your jars have plenty of room.
- Wake up 30 minutes before you have to to make your juice. If you’re absolutely pressed for time, make a green smoothie. It takes 10 minutes. Prepare your ingredients ahead of time in the fridge – wash them all and place them in a container in the fridge. You can also prepare your juice the night before, especially if you are using a slow juicer. More on that later…
- Make a calendar for the week! This is a great way to stay committed to that green habit. Figure out which days you are insanely busy and cannot make juices, which days you should make them the night before, and the days reserved for smoothies. Being prepared is absolutely key in succeeding on your health journey.
- And along with that… stick a photograph or written paragraph on your fridge that will remind you why you are doing this. Is it to prevent disease? To lose weight? To feel more energetic (instead of drinking the extremely acidic alternative, coffee)? That reminder will be extremely powerful in motivating you to do this.
Juicing on a Budget with Wild Greens
Isn’t it awesome that making smoothies and juices on a budget means that they also become healthier? Let me explain…
One of the healthiest type of greens for us (and I call them super-foods) are wild plants! And these are literally everywhere. In your backyard, on the street – everywhere! Because they literally have to fight for their existence (none of that convenient watering thing going on), they are survivors, and they make your body just that – a thriving machine. Their health benefits are even more powerful than store-bought greens.
- Some types of wild greens that I really like to put in my juices and smoothies, which are available in my neighborhood are: dandelions, milk thistles, fennel (hate the taste but bear it sometimes for the health benefits and such, you know…), aloe vera, mallow, and stinging nettle (which you must pick carefully because it will sting your hands, but don’t worry – it doesn’t sting when you eat it).
- Make sure not to pick greens on the side of the road, as they absorb all those toxic fumes from cars on the street.
- Wild greens are not sold in the supermarket because they wilt quickly. Therefore, be sure to use them right after you pick them. Also, their nutritional power wilts as they wilt, so it’s better to munch down on them right away.
- Some wild greens are poisonous. Therefore, it is extremely important that you do not try greens without knowing exactly what they are. For example, parsley, cilantro, wild carrot, and celery all have very similar flowers and leaves. And so does poison Hemlock.
- Use wild greens in your juices and smoothies just as you would store-bought. Stay tuned for exact recipes and tips below…
Green Juices and Green Smoothies: Organizational Tips
It is extremely important to be organized when juicing to make sure you get it done quickly. Since soups and smoothies are so quick to make, I won’t write about them as much in this section.
1) Right after you buy or pick your greens, wash them and cut off the ends. Doing this might create nutrient “run-off” (deplete some nutrients as they are exposed to oxidation), but if you’re very busy, it’s worth doing on a weekend.
2) Be sure to always store all your greens in plastic bags that will keep them fresh. Use the thin plastic bags from your grocery store’s produce isle, and reuse it each time.
3) It’s great to have two people juicing together. One can be in charge of washing the greens, the other can be in charge of chopping and washing the fruit, and then whoever finishes first can start juicing. When the juicing is done, the first person can sift the juice through the sifter (this is done to make the juice taste more smooth and remove all fiber, but not necessary). This really saves time!
4) Have two cutting boards or bowls (or any other container) ready: put all your greens on one and all your fruits on another. This helps because when you make the juice, you have to interchange between them so the process can go smoothly. What I mean is that if you have a slow juicer, it has a hard time with soft fruit. So what you need to do in the process of juicing itself, is insert a small piece of fruit, then greens, then fruit, then greens, etc. – this way, the machine will not get stuck.
5) Have your trash can right next to you, so you can quickly throw out all the garbage (in the form of pulp) right away. Alternatively, you can save your juice pulp (especially when carrots are involved), and make crackers out of it in a dehydrator.
6) If you’re making lots and lots of juice buy a ladle. This is the best way to put juice into cups. And also have a big tub or bowl to put your juice into and ladle out of.
7) Sift your juice – it’s a bit time consuming, but it really makes the juice taste must better and smoother. Again, if you need fiber, skip this step, and also consider adding more fruits and veggies into your diet ;).
8) Close the drain of your sink and put all the greens in there to wash them. Fill up the sink with some water and let them sit in there a bit. This will actually save water, and allow you to finish the washing very quickly. You can also use pre-washed greens.
9) Buy everything organic. While this is expensive, it actually saves you time because then you don’t have to peel the apples and carrots, for example. And yes, if it’s not organic, peel it. Most of the toxic residue is in the skin.
10) Save all your food scraps for juicing. For example, if you peel anything, save the peel for your juice. Whenever I use broccoli, I peel the stalk to make it more palatable. I always save those stalk peels for juicing. Same goes for kale stems, which I discard when making salads.
Be patient with yourself. It takes time to get into the groove of juicing. But once you do, you will find additional tricks and tips you can use to make the process quick and fun. Turn juicing and smoothie-making into a meditation. I like to put on guided positive affirmations in the background while I make juice, or even listen to podcasts.
Which Juicer and Blender Should I use?
- Juicer: I personally use the Omega 8006 juicer. I find that it is somewhere between a very slow juicer like the Green Star or the Norwalk, and a Tribest juicer. I love using it, and the clean up is very quick. Yes, it is still a slow juicer. This way, the nutrients are preserved. It is also expensive, but it is a great investment because they last a long time.
- Blender: nothing compares to my Vitamix. I am absolutely in love with it, and use it liteally daily! Invest in one, and t’ll change your life. You will not only use it for smoothies, but also for ice creams, desserts, dressings, and so much more!
How to: Green Juices and Green Smoothies
In this section, I will give you some guidance on how to structure your own juices and smoothies. This way, you can become your own green wizard in the kitchen. You will be able to build new recipes that suite your taste buds and ingredients. I will also give you some sample recipes to try out.
And a general tip: it is quite important to “chew” your smoothie, soup or juice so that your stomach can remember to produce digestive acids… take the time to chew a bit before you swallow. Carb digestion begins in the mouth, and without chewing, digestion worsens.
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