MeatlessMonday

Juicing & Blending Explained: Ingesting Natural Food In Drink Form

Juicing and Blending have slowly evolved to be much more than a fad or fringe practice espoused by health gurus, yoginis, yogis and generally, members of that social or spiritual ilk - it is a now movement, a lifestyle, whether it be an element of the greater Vegan and/or Vegetarian Consciousness.

It is part and parcel of our everyday contemporary life. Juice as a food source is as old as civilization itself. Essentially and scientifically, we human beings are nourished by juice in physical form as part of our initial metabolic digestive stage. 

Juicing is simply the process of extracting by pressing, squeezing or grinding liquid matter from plant tissue, specifically fruits and vegetables. It can be as simple as squeezing an orange with your bare hands to using a sophisticated cold-press machine. 

Blending on the other hand – as directly relates fruits and vegetables – is the combining by mixing different ingredients, and homogenizing them into a drink using (more often than not) a blender.

To a large extent, the above explanations detail their core differences. The former separates the pulp (fiber) by extracting juice, whilst the latter mixes and combines everything by pulverizing – and thus produces a thick, creamy, fibrous and homogenized drink.

Their nutritional/scientific differences are more pronounced and a little more complex in understanding but I will touch and provide an overview that succinctly analyses it without requiring biochemistry credentials.

Benefits & Limits

Each drink-making method has its respective pluses and minuses.

Blending tends to have a lower nutritional output than juicing – more vitamins, phytonutrients, minerals are generally lost via oxidation and longer processing times. Vitamin C, for example, is markedly higher in live juices than in smoothies.

However, that is not the same for every mineral or nutrient.

Calcium (Ca+) is more ubiquitous in juice blends and/or smoothies than in Live (yes, there are actually living) juices or cold-pressed juices. Insoluble fiber necessary for stomach cleaning and proper bowel movement is also lost in juiced drinks.

  • Blending such as with (non-dairy) smoothies retains more calcium than juicing

Smoothies and Juice blends can last longer and are more filling due to their fibrous nature.

Live and/or cold pressed juices are like a shot to the blood – giving you that instant blast of energy, owing to their light but concentrated nature (non-fibrous composition), and are thus better suited for leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and chard, in addition to fruit vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes etc.

This reasoning is supported by close review of our anatomical structure which suggests that we are innately frugivores/herbivores. Unlike primary herbivores whose GI (Gastro-Intestinal) tract is more than 30 times the length of its spine, ours is only 12 times longer. We also do not possess that complex of a stomach and teeth grinding ability to efficiently process leafy greens the same way a cow, horse or sheep may, for example.

Juicing allows for fast and rapid absorption of all the veggie goodies, without having to chew and breakdown cellulose plant fiber that are still present in smoothies and blends – although when making smoothies there is the added advantage of adding other nutrient-rich foods that cannot necessarily be juiced, i.e. seeds, nuts, powders.

Food Combinations

One oft-unlooked or overlooked concern is the issue of food combinations.

Whether on the dinner table, snacking, juicing or blending, what we eat with what should always be considered and taken into account. In the world of fresh fruit and vegetable juice, this holds true even more.

Mixing different fruits and veggies haphazardly and as one feels, is ill-advised.

A general rule of thumb has it that fruits and vegetables should be eaten separately. However, apples and pineapples tend to contain within them digestive enzymes that permit them to be harmlessly mixed with vegetables. Whew! 

The Importance of Juicing & Blending

I have been involved in juicing and blending for well over a decade-and-a-half now, for several reasons, all of which appear to converge holistically.

Drinking and eating a plant-based diet has tremendously changed my life and opened a world previously unimaginable and quite revolutionary.

And so it was, by personal sentient edict, to become a Vegetarian/Vegan and progressively use it as a gateway to my ultimate objective of becoming a raw food Vegan, and encompass the spiritual, physical and vocational.

Secondly, and perhaps just as importantly, it is now my primary bread-earner and career life path.

Luckily and tragically – as a result of the explosion in chronic and degenerative disease – our society has now gotten wind of juicing and blending as a viable, if not optimal food source. Practically everyone in the modern world has heard of, or tasted, a freshly-made vegetable or fruit juice blend.

There are numerous instances when people, for one reason or another, cannot “eat” or physically/physiologically ingest solid food but are wanting or in need of “nutrition”. Juicing is the one natural solution to that by eliminating fiber and dispensing all the rest in a drinkable form – thus nourishing the body.

An invalid may not be able to eat an apple, at the very least, but would gladly chug five or six apples in one sitting.

The utility and importance of this cannot be understated especially in a world dominated by chronic, degenerative conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease et al. An otherwise healthy person who regularly and consistently drinks fresh juice and smoothies only becomes healthier by doing so.

Generally, based on one’s access to fresh produce and their overall lifestyle, it’s recommended to have at least 2 to 3 glasses of vegetable and/or fruit juices/blends a day. Furthermore, one would be well advised to prepare them just before you intend to consume.

In as much as that may not always be practically feasible in these modern times, we suggest juicing/blending for the day and storing in a glass jar in a refrigerator, for not more than 2 days.

  • Live and/or cold pressed juices are like a shot to the blood – giving you that instant blast of energy

The highest nutritional and electrical-energy inducing foods on the planet are fresh raw fruits, vegetables, herbs, seaweeds, nuts and seeds.

These are naturally imbued with “life force energy”, also known as “chi”, “energy”, and the “power of life.”

It is basically constitutes “Human Food,” loaded with naturally-occurring enzymes, vitamins, minerals (tissue salts), amino acids, antioxidants, simple sugars, water, electricity – in addition to more. Juicing and/or blending is a sure way of getting the above without the fuss and nutrient-loss of cooking.

In the not so distant future we will further underscore the tremendous benefits of fresh juice during a Cleanse or Fast. It (the juice) feeds us on an intra-cellular level by directly feeding the brain, nerve and glands. Fruits are cleansers whilst veggie juices rebuild the physical constitution, especially bone, muscle and connective tissue.

Indeed Juicing and Blending are Art Sciences.

Mugabo “Fire” Rwiliriza is a trained Naturopath whose passion for Life and Nature has found expression in promoting and facilitating Natural Healing through Fasting, Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs.  He is the founder and owner of IGITURAGE Botanicals/ More Love Juice Bar in Gishushu, whose movement and practice simply aims to reverse destructive health habits, and serve as a Gateway to a whole new World and Consciousness.

{Featured image by Dieter Joel Jagnow}

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