When it comes to beverages that are good for gut healing, smoothies and juicing always comes up. What could be bad about an infusion of fruits and vegetables? Well, it turns out there’s a lot more to making your gut healing beverages healthy than I originally thought.
And I can’t wait to share with you what I found out.
In this episode, I’m sharing the key health differences between juicing and blending smoothies, the pros and cons of each, and then ultimately, which is better for your gut health.
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After the episode, you’ll know exactly when to juice, when to blend, and how to do both so that they benefit the health of your gut and your entire body (and of course, you can bring all that knowledge to your family’s health too!)
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode:
Register for the Eating for IBD Training (2/18/21)
Additional Resources from the Episode:
Hey there, Karyn here, jumping on before the intro to let you know that time’s running out. Today is the last day to register for my brand new training, Eating for IBD: Finding the Right Diet to Heal Your Crohn’s or Colitis in 3 SIMPLE STEPS. It’s all going down LIVE tomorrow. Yes, we’re going live tomorrow February 18th @ 8pm EST to talk about gut healing diets that actually work and how to figure out which diet is the best one for you. Link to register is above the video.
And I’ll give you just a little sneak peek into the training with one of the concepts we’re talking about—there is no one size fits all diet for Crohn’s or colitis—quieting your IBD symptoms is about finding the best IBD diet for you. I’m talking all about how you can find the best diet for your IBD on the training tomorrow night.
Now if you can’t join live, no worries, I’ll be sending a replay to everyone who’s registered. So sign up and you’ll get the replay. Also, if you’re listening to the podcast a few days after Feb 18th, because that’s the cool thing about a podcast, you can listen to it whenever, wherever… no worries, I’ve got you covered too. Shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’ll send the replay out to you as well. It should still be available for a few more days after the 18th. I’ve to tell you though mama. I hope I get to see you there and connect with you live! There’s an energy and a connection in live that I just LOVE. Can’t wait.
And on with the show we go–[Music]
[02:42] INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.[music]
Well, hello dear listener and welcome to the show. I bet the chances are almost 100% that you’ve tried either juicing or even more likely, you’ve made a smoothie before. It’s a massive tread in the health food industry today. Restaurants that only sell smoothies, juice bars, and even premade fresh pressed juice options are available at grocery stores. The thing about these so called “health foods” though is that they aren’t always good for those of us with Crohn’s or colitis. Often times, health trends lack real scientific evidence to any health benefit they have whatsoever, let alone gut healing benefits, which is of course what we’re looking for.
[04:00] I was recently asked by a GLC mama (that’s our free and fabulous Gut Love Community of moms) if I do an episode to help clear up the confusion about juicing vs smoothies—which is better for gut health? This led me to ponder the question, are either of these the best option when we’re in gut healing mode? And the answer to that question, I’ve got a not so easy answer for you. And my answer is that it depends on what you put in them, how they’re made, and where you’re at on your healing journey.
Let me explain.
ARE SMOOTHIES AND FRESH JUICES THE SAME THING?
While juicing a fresh juice and blending a smoothie often have some of the same ingredients, they really are not the same thing at all. Today on the podcast, I’m going to break this down for you, once and for all, so that you know when a smoothie is the best option vs when juicing is better for you. And, of course, we’ve got to talk about how to best make them for our gut health too, because if either of these health foods are made incorrectly, you’re not only, not going to help your Crohn’s or colitis, but you could be making it worse.
Now, I’m going to be sharing lots of how-to information today. Actionable insights so you might want to take notes on this one. So, if you have a doc open on your computer or a pen and paper, make sure it’s handy. Whether you do or not, I’ve got both juicing and smoothie recipes I’m sharing a link for in the show notes, so feel free to go karynhaley.com/drinks if you want to jazz up your juice or smoothie life. We’re just going into a lot more detail here than in our recipe booklet so you may want to take some notes you can go back to later.
Also, in the beginning, I’ll be giving you the facts about juicing and smoothies and I’ll try to keep my opinions to myself (not so sure how well I’ll be at that) but I want to do that first so we’re all on the same page when it comes to juicing and blending. Stay tuned until the end so we can compare the pros and cons of each method and so I can give you my final recommendations at the end.
IF THEY’RE NOT THE SAME, WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
[06:55] Let’s start out our juice/smoothie conversation right at the beginning by explaining the important differences between these two beverages- Smoothies and juices. You know I just can’t give you half the story and walk away. I have to lay it all out. So, here’s the complete lowdown on juicing and smoothies.
Juicing– is a way to drink your fruits and veggies. Unlike smoothies, it usually only contains fruits and veggies—maybe a little pinch or a dash of a spice after to mix in, but it’s not like smoothies where we love to whip up everything but the kitchen sink in there. Because of this, some people tend to think juicing is much or pure, true to the simplest form of the produce than smoothies.
When you use a juicer, and there’s 2 different types you can buy, the cold press, masticating type and the centrifugal kind. Cold press is slower, quieter, and it literally presses the juice out of the fruit or veg. Centrifugal uses a spinner method. It’s high-speed juicing, but it’s also louder. Cold press, masticating juicing is usually said to be a better option because it doesn’t have a motor that spins and heats through its process. This allows the juice to be completely raw, with its nutrients intact. The masticating juicer also produces a smoother juice. Either juicing process does strip the food of its skin so up to 90% of the fruit or vegetable’s fiber is removed in the juicing process.
THE RESEARCH BACK STUDIES TELL THE WHOLE STORY
One recent study I found on the benefits of juicing found that fresh juices increase antioxidants in the body, including beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate. I’ll link to the study in the show notes if you’re a research geek like me. You’ve probably heard juicing and detoxes linked together. Juicing is known for flushing the body’s toxins. Some people do 3-4 day juice cleanses where all they have is juice for those few days to detoxify their body.
WHAT’S THE BEST JUICER ON THE MARKET?
[09:46] In case you don’t have a juicer and want to invest in one after hearing about it today, I’ll also link to a few of the best juicers on the market in the show notes. My favorite is the Omega Ultimate Juicer and Nutrition System. It runs for a little under $300 and it’s the masticating type of juicer. This juicer is pretty fancy as it also makes nut butter, nut milk, and sorbet so it’s multi-functional. I don’t have one myself, but I have a friend who has one and she raves about it. I have about a 10-year-old Breville juicer collecting dust in my basement. It’s an oldie but a goodie and I’ll link to the Breville, another great juicer brand, in the show notes.
[10:40] Now, smoothies… They are made in a blender. Of course, when they’re made with health in mind, fruits and vegetables are at the center of these drinks as well. Usually, a smoothie contains some sort of liquid like water or non-dairy milk for us gut healers, it might have fruit in it, or contain greens and what I like to call health builders (like chia seeds, or hemp powder) and a good fat for energy.
With smoothies, placing something frozen in it is key. This is what makes it smooth and creamy and frothy. Although, I have to say, I’ve had a few clients that think of this froth factor as a downside, so it each her own. But if you want some smooth, creamy, froth in your smoothie, this can be accomplished with either using frozen fruit or veg, or even ice cubes. Smoothies boast a great way to get your fiber in because unlike the juicer, a blender keeps the skin of what you put in and blends it up into a digestible form. Ding ding “digestible” is always music to my ears for us with gut challenges!
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR, SPLURGE ON THE HIGH-SPEED BLENDER
With smoothies, using a high-speed blender is key. You just don’t want to taste the grit, or suck up chunks from food that didn’t blend enough. Plus, with the digestion challenges we have, a creamy, well blended smoothie is a must for digestion and absorption. You don’t want to see those pieces come out the way they went in. Am I right?
[12:50] Over the years, I’ve used just about every blender on the market. My favorite blenders have always come from three companies: Vitamix, Blendtec and Ninja. I’ll link to these in the show notes. Right now, I have a Vitamix and it never disappoints. When you taste a smoothie from a Vitamix, you’ll never want to go back to one of the less well-made versions.
When I recommend smoothies to clients, I always recommend a combo of about 1 ½ cups of liquid, 1 cup of greens, ½ cup or less of fruit, 1 or 2 Tbsp of quality fat, and 1 to 2 health builders. That will make you 1-2 servings of a smoothie depending on if it’s a snack or part of your meal. For the liquid part of the smoothie, I recommend you use coconut water, or a non-dairy milk like coconut or almond milk. Water is also fine.
THE INGREDIENT TO BEWARE OF IF YOU’VE GOT HORMONE CHALLENGES
Greens like kale, beet greens, swiss chard, bok choy, collards, or spinach work well. Beware of greens though if you have hormonal challenges like hypothyroidism as many greens contain goitrogens which can affect your thyroid negatively. Lightly steaming or blanching your greens and then freezing them before adding them to the smoothie can decrease the goitrogenic effects. I’ll link to more info on hormones and goitrogens in the show notes in case you’re interested in finding out more.
For the fruit you add to your smoothie, I always recommend berries over any other fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries…they’re worth the sugar your putting in your body as they’re high in vitamins and antioxidants for our healing gut. Occasionally, for a treat you might want to try ½ a frozen banana instead of the berries. Just make sure it’s very ripe with brown spots.
Good fat is a must when it comes getting high powered energy and stamina for the day or as an afternoon pick me up smoothie. Coconut oil, nut butters, MCT oil, an avocado, or homemade yogurt are good options. Some people like to add a raw organic egg—not my cup of tea, but go for it if you are very comfortable with the quality of your egg source.
DON’T FORGET THE HEALTH BUILDERS IN YOUR SMOOTHIE
And I love adding in health builders to give your smoothie an extra punch of health factors. Chia seeds, flax seeds (which will be completely masticated in a high-speed blender so no worries about them having trouble passing through the intestine in seed form), hemp powder, raw cacao, acai powder, turmeric, ginger, fresh herbs like parsley– those can all be added as a bonus in your smoothie. 1 to 2 is fine. You don’t need them all to get benefits.
OK, crash course in juicing and smoothies complete. Now, which should you choose, and which is best for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each and make a final decision on these beverages.
[18:20] Juicing—remember I mentioned that many people use juicing to detox or cleanse for a few days? Well, this may not be the best option for you when you’ve got IBD. The rapid detox to the digestive system, the low caloric intake, the lack of crucial macronutrients like protein and quality fat we need to keep our weight up and give us energy is just not there during a strict cleanse. I’ve seen these detoxes lead to a flare ups in IBD mamas, so be careful with juice cleanses when you’ve got IBD.
What I think works much better with fresh juices for those with gut disorders is when they’re used in more of a supplemental form. A morning addition to your breakfast routine. An afternoon vitamin and mineral energy pick me up—they are great for that.
Another thought for your consideration is that juicing takes a ridiculous amount of veggies and fruits just to make one glass of juice. And produce is pricy, especially if you’re buying organic—and I highly recommend you buy organic. What’s the point of juicing for your health, if you’re just putting toxins in your body from the pesticides that are all throughout the fruit and veggies? So, when it comes to juicing, price can be a factor.
DON’T LET THIS PROBLEM KEEP YOU FROM GETTING YOUR SMOOTHIE BENEFIT
One of the reasons why I get down on juicing and especially smoothies is that most people make them with a crazy amount of fruit. They juice and apple and an orange, and a pear, add one stalk of celery and call it healthy. Or they blend 1 cup of frozen cherries, a whole banana in ½ cup of orange juice and call it a smoothie. To be healthy, a smoothie needs more veggie than fruit. The sugar in either of the beverages I just mentioned is just going to cause way too much bacteria to form in our precious guts. That’s a one-way ticket to inflammationville and continued digestive upset my friend.
And smoothie bowls—don’t get me started on these huge candy bars in a bowl. If you’re smoothie is made up of loads of greens, avocado, cucumber, and healthy fats—go for it. But if it’s a fruit ladened sugar machine, it’s not doing you any good mama.
Some are against juicing and smoothies because they say it’s better to just eat the whole fruit or whole vegetable, raw. I’d have to agree with this as well in a perfect world, but for those of us with gut disorders, eating the whole fruit or veggie with skin on it can be too tough for our digestive system. We need a masticated approach to be able to break the structure down and digest it.
Many ladies love to use smoothies, and even juices, as a meal replacement. When we’ve got Crohn’s and colitis, this isn’t the wisest decision. We are starved for nutrients. Keep the fruit and veggie drinks to a snack or add them to a very nutrient dense meal. Then, they will give you the added nutritional benefit you need to feed the health of your gut.
IS THERE ANY FIBER IN THAT JUICE?
Proponents of smoothies over juicing talk about the lack of fiber in the juice. They just don’t see the health factor there, saying that we need the fiber in the smoothie because it helps us process the fruit sugar in the drink. This is certainly an interesting thought to consider. I’ll get back to this thought is just a sec.
And then there’s the juice bars, the smoothie only restaurants, and the store bought freshly pressed juices. What about these? Are they any good? Mostly likely no. Hey, I’ve had them a time or two myself so I’m not saying never. I just think it’s important to think of most of the options at places like this as a treat for the very reason I mentioned earlier. They contain so much sugar from the fruit that you’d almost be better eating a candy bar.
When it comes to the fresh pressed juices you see in health food stores, these might seem like a good option, especially if you choose one that’s an all veggie juice. The problem here is that the more time that goes by after they were juiced, the more nutrients you lose. As soon as we juice or blend, we start to lose the vitamins and minerals in the produce. To make up for having to sit in the store, brands will often add preservatives, and they are usually pasteurized, which degrades the nutrients as well.
Making a smoothie or a juice at home is your best option. Like I said, sometimes these restaurant or store bought are a nice treat, I’m not the food police afterall, but just know that homemade is best when it comes to juicing and smoothies.
[24:35] Perhaps the biggest factor we need to take into account in deciding between juicing and blending a smoothie is the state of your gut. When your IBD is in an active state, we have difficulty digesting and absorbing the nutrients in our food—especially the fiber. We know that juicing removes the fiber, but keeps lots of the nutrient profile of the food. This makes juicing a better option for those in gut repair mode.
With all of these juicing and smoothie observations, what’s the bottom line?
JUST GIVE IT TO ME STRAIGHT, MAMA!
When it comes to mixing juicing and smoothies with a gut disorder, be careful. Be mindful of how much fruit you put in, keep your purchasing of juices and smoothies outside to a minimum, make them at home, and be careful with all the fiber in smoothies. If you can’t tolerate the fiber in the greens you’re adding, it’s not the time for you to drink smoothies. Try juicing instead until your gut challenges improve. You’ll still get an amazing amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the juice.
Bottom, bottom line?
Choose juicing if you are in the beginning stages of gut healing and you’re still having strong symptoms.
Choose smoothies when you are in remission or maintenance mode. At that point, you’ll be able to tolerate the fiber and it will benefit your whole body.
And if you’re in super-duper, stealth health mode, choose fruit and veggies in their whole state, skin and all.
Questions? Comments? Let me know what you thought of the episode. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, that’s a wrap on juicing vs smoothies. Thanks for listening and for hanging out with me today. Remember, you can grab your smoothie and juicing recipe booklet by going to karynhaley.com/drinks. You’re going to love these recipes. They are healthy, healing, and delish!
Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy healing journey!
Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.
[24:45] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.
My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.
Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.T his is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.