Smoothies vs. Juice


My sister-in-law, Amy, left a comment/question on my What Vegans Eat post yesterday, referencing the photo above, that prompted me to start getting into the nitty gritty of smoothies versus juice. It occurred to me that this could be something that others might be wondering about as well, and, true-to-form, my response was becoming long-winded.  So I asked and she gave me permission to re-post her comment and answer it in a post.  Thanks, Amy!


Jeff and I are looking to put a vitamix on our registry… Which one do you have? Did you make that juice with the vitamix or a juicer? We want to also put a juicer on our registry, unless the vitamix can juice too.

So first things first: that’s actually not a juice up there. It’s a smoothie! And yes, I made it with the Vitamix.

To answer your question, I’m first going to talk a little about the difference between smoothies and juice, which is this: Juice is extracted from fruits and vegetables, giving you a concentrated dose of water and nutrients, but leaving the fiber behind. A smoothie is some combination of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and liquids (water, juice, plant milk) blended together. This means that a smoothie still contains all the original components of the whole foods that went into it, fiber included. Smoothies can also contain spices, seasonings, sweeteners, and supplements like protein powder or spirulina.

For the smoothie above I used carrots, oranges, apple, and lemon, with water as the liquid. It’s one of my favorites, especially in the morning. I’ll post the recipe sometime.

The Vitamix makes awesome smoothies—I have recipes for some super green ones that taste like green juice, just with a little texture—but it won’t do “juices”. You could theoretically blend fruits and veggies into a smoothie, strain the result through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to remove the fiber, and you’d have juice. You would either need to use a high proportion of fruits and veggies with a lot of water content (think cucumbers, citrus fruits) or add a little water or pre-made juice to help things move in the blender, though. Also, keep in mind that, whether using this method or an actual juicer, since you’re removing the “bulk” from the produce, it will take a lot of it to yield a meaningful amount of juice.

When we first got the Vitamix, I seriously debated whether we should get a juicer as well. I did a lot of reading up on it, though, and the Vitamix-only option seemed to jive better with my personality. Even if I’m changing its shape, I like to keep my food in its “whole” context as much as possible, which smoothies allow. Also, juicers can be more of a chore to clean, and I could just see myself getting lazy and leaving veggie pulp in the juicer for a day or two. The Vitamix will often rinse totally clean after use. For times when it needs more attention (like after making cashew cream), it becomes its own dishwasher; you just add some water, a couple drops of dishsoap, and let it run on high for a minute or two. Rinse. Dry. Done.

Super Green Smoothie

I know this all sounds sort of anti-juice, but I swear it’s not! I love juice and think it’s fabulous. Green juice is the very first thing I grab whenever I feel like I might be getting sick—and I’ve only actually been sick once in over 3 ½ years! There are definitely people out there who love juicing at home and do it as part of their daily routine. I just happen to prefer letting someone else do it for me and stick to smoothies most of the time.

The model we have is the Vitamix 1732 TurboBlend VS. We’ve had it for almost 3 years and I go through periods where I not only use it daily, but multiple times a day. It has held up great, zero issues or disappointment. I sometimes joke that it’s as vital an appliance in our kitchen as the range—maybe even more! Between smoothies, salad dressings, aioli, plant milk, soups, sauces, etc, it’s the most versatile workhorse of a machine I’ve ever seen.

And just for the sake of being thorough: while I don’t have any personal experience with Blendtec’s products, Tess Masters (aka The Blender Girl) recently tweeted that she’s used “both machines extensively” and prefers the Vitamix.

Whatever else winds up on your registry is a matter of personal preference, but the Vitamix is definitely a must. I also sometimes joke to myself that—and I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud before—the vitamix isn’t just a blender. It’s a lifestyle. 😉

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