May 16, 2013

Springtime Cleansing: Juice or Smoothie? ~ Jennifer Radhika Lung

Spring is an optimal season to add more fresh whole foods to your diet.

When strolling through your local farmer’s market, or even your backyard garden, it is evident that the spring harvest is abounding with lots of fresh fruit, leafy greens and delicious crisp vegetables. In this cornucopia of succulents, it can be a bit overwhelming to determine what and equally important, how, to add the nutritious goodies to your diet.

This is where the all too popular green juice and green smoothies come in; both break down raw foods into a liquid and more digestible form and are great ways to nourish your body.

Which is for you?

Let’s take a closer look at the processes of juicing and blending:

Juicing extracts the liquid and nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables while discarding all the fiber.

Without the fiber, the digestive system can take a break and not work as much and nutrients from the juice are readily absorbed into the body and bloodstream.The drawback to this is that it may cause a sudden spike in blood sugar, so be sure to not add too many sweet fruits and vegetables if you want to avoid this. Since the pulp is removed, let it be known that juicing requires a lot more fresh produce than blending.

Blending is the process of finely chopping and pureeing raw fruits and vegetables—including its skin—into a pulpy liquid drink; this is what we like to call a smoothie.

Smoothies retain all the fiber from the produce which helps slow down the digestive process and provides a steady release of nutrients into the body. Smoothies are generally very filling, but are less nutrient dense than the same size juice counterpart. You can get pretty creative in what you put into smoothies: raw seeds, superfood powders and better yet, raw cacao beans.

So which is better for you? It really depends. Juices are good for those who want a nutrient dense, energy-boosting drink. Smoothies are good for those seeking a filling and nutritious, fiber-packed drink and are ideal as a meal replacement.

Both homemade smoothies and juices are much more cost effective than the bottled stuff you buy in the stores, most of which is pasteurized—a process which robs a good portion of the nutrient factor. Some commercial juice and smoothie products even have added sugar.

The initial investment of a good blender or juicer is a bit high, but it will pay off in no time. You will know it’s fresh, not pasteurized, and also customized to suit your taste buds and your body’s needs. Oh, and it can be really fun too!

Here’s a recipe from The Bhakti Kitchen—A yogic way to vegan cooking ©2012 for you to try at home.

Green Jolly Rancher

16 oz serving


8 oz fresh pressed apple juice

2 medium bananas, ripe

1 cup spinach or shredded kale

½ tsp spirulina

splash of lemon juice

2 medjool dates, pitted


Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy with abandon!

Radhika serves as a karma yogini as a vegan chef and cooking instructor at both the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Northern California and the Sivananda Yoga Center in San Francisco. Radhika has also trained as a raw food chef at the Tree of Life resort and has been the lead vegan chef in a corporate café for three years. Her cooking style fuses the practice of Bhakti—giving light, energy, and love. She is the author of The Bhakti Kitchen—A yogic way to vegan cooking. She is a lifetime student of yoga and shares her on the mat passion as a certified yoga instructor.

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Ed: Sara Crolick/Kate Bartolotta


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