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Juicing vs. Smoothies
Click to visit VeggieCooking.com I have a chapter on smoothies in my cookbook. And by smoothies, I don't mean the fruit milkshakes that some restaurant chains try to pass off as smoothies. In fact, when smoothies first started gaining popularity in health food stores, to qualify as a real "smoothie" the drink couldn't contain anything but fresh fruits and/or vegetables, thinned with juices. Admittedly, some of my smoothies blend water and ice into the fruits and vegetables because I don't want to corrupt their flavor with apple or grape juice -- two of the most common juices used in smoothies. I never liked the idea of having apple or grape juice in with my drinks. Their natural sugar content is so high, and their flavor often overpowers the other fruits & vegetables. Plus they're almost always out of a bottle instead of fresh. So I thought of water & ice as the lesser evil.

These days, people are throwing any junk into smoothies. Of course the dairy industry wants to exploit healthy implications the word "smoothie" has earned over the years, by trying to affiliate its products with the drink. So now the term "smoothie" is used to describe just about any blended drink, with the healthy connotations almost gone. But for the purpose of this article, I'm referring to the original blended drinks that primarily consisted of whole fruits and vegetables, thinned to drinking consistency with juices. The word "whole" is key here. I mean using the whole food instead of juicing the fruit or vegetable and throwing the pulp away.

I've always been of the opinion that using the whole fruit or vegetable is better than juicing it and discarding the pulp. That's because it seems logical that certain nutrients are discarded with the pulp, along with the fiber, and it's more natural for humans to eat the whole food instead of juice only. I mean, how many cave men had juicers? Others claim that juicing concentrates the natural nutrients of food, providing a way of super-charging nutrients.

Well, I found this quote on Vitamin P. I'll let it speak for itself:

VITAMIN P -- The bioflavonoids (rutin, hesperidin, and citrin) have been collectively dubbed vitamin P, because they exercise a strengthening effect on the permeability of the capillaries, the tiniest blood vessels. Bioflavonoids are essential for the efficient absorption and assimilation of vitamin C. They also work with vitamin C to keep collagen healthy. Collagen represents about 30 percent of the total protein content of the body. It is an important element of cellular connective tissue, promotes youthful elasticity of the skin, and is a vital part of ligaments, cartilage, and bone.

Food Sources of Vitamin P -- Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of the bioflavonoids, but they are missing in juices and the bioflavonoids are largely destroyed by cooking. It is the pulpy part (in vegetables and fruits), as well as the thin skin separating the sections in citrus, that provides the vitamin P. Mother Nature always provides vitamin C and vitamin P in the same foods, because each activates the other. Together, they are more potent and powerful than either is alone.
-- William L. Fischer, How to Fight Cancer & Win, p. 283. Baltimore: Agora Health Books, 2000.

Obviously, if people prefer juicing over smoothies, I'm sure they're obtaining concentrated nutrients of some kind. But this excerpt indicates that whole foods can't be neglected, whether in the form of smoothie drinks or fresh fruits and vegetables.

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[Original page posted 10 June 2005]
© 2005 by Pam Rotella

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