I love vegetable juice! It’s something I could drink every day, but going out and buying one of those $10 cold-press juices is the epitome of luxury for me and doesn’t happen very often. So, I make juice at home instead.
I own both a Vitamix A3500 and a juicer Omega J8008. Both appliances are capable of making juice but the way they do so is different.
In this review, I dive into the differences between a high-speed blender and a juicer, what type of juice they are capable of making, and which appliance is better for you.
Blending vs Juicing
There is an everlasting debate in the health food community about the benefits of blending vs juicing. They may seem like the same process, but there are a lot of differences between the two.
- Requires little produce (e.g. it takes ~ 2 medium carrots – plus water and ice – to make 1 cup/240 ml carrot juice), which means:
- Less vegetables/fruit packed in one serving.
- More cost-effective.
- Pulverizes whole foods, keeping insoluble fiber intact.
- Creates slow, even release of nutrients into the bloodstream.
- Produces filling drinks that can be an adequate substitute for a meal.
- Reduces food waste.
- Requires a lot of produce (e.g. it takes ~ 9 medium carrots to produce 1 cup/240 ml carrot juice), which means:
- More vegetables/fruit packed in one serving.
- More cost-prohibitive.
- Extracts water and nutrients from produce and leaves insoluble (indigestible) fiber behind.
- Makes nutrients readily available to the body in large quantities.
- Produces light refreshing drinks that nourish and restore the body at a cellular level.
- Increases food waste (unless you use the fibrous pulp in other recipes or for a compost).
Blending and juicing both have their advantages and disadvantages and one is not necessarily better than the other. What’s great about Vitamix is that it can do both.
Differences Between a Blender vs Juicer
Both blenders and juicers process fruits and vegetables into drinks. However, the way they do so, and the end result, is not quite the same.
There are three types of blenders – regular (counter-top) blenders, high-speed (counter-top) blenders, and immersion (hand) blenders. The only blenders that are capable of making juice are high-speed blenders, such as the Vitamix.
Similar to centrifugal juicers, Vitamix blenders have a very powerful motor (my Vitamix A3500 has a 2.2-HP motor), which allows the blades to spin at a very fast speed (28,500 RPM). This is why high-speed blenders are able to achieve the silky-smooth texture so characteristic of blended foods. Unlike ordinary blenders that have either sharp blades or dull blades, Vitamix blades are precision engineered to provide both actions. First, the sharp edge cuts and breaks down whole foods, then the flat edge works like a hammermill to smash and pulverize the tiniest bits and seeds.
This is why even though Vitamix is primarily a blender (and a food processor, if you have the food processor attachment), it can also act as a juicer.
There are three types of juicers – cold-press (masticating) juicers, triturating juicers, and centrifugal juicers. The main difference between these juicers is how fast they extract juice. Cold-press and triturating juicers operate at a very low speed (40-100 RPM) whereas centrifugal juicer are fast (3,000 – 10,000 RPM).
It takes a considerable amount of power to rip through tough fibers of vegetables, so the motor of juicers is typically quite powerful (the Omega 8008 has a 2-HP motor). Slow juicers don’t have any blades – they extract juice by slow crushing – while fast juicers have very sharp blades – they extract juice by fast chopping.
Using Vitamix as a juicer has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. It makes sense since a juicer is a single-function machine whereas a Vitamix is a multi-functional machine.
While Vitamix is not a traditional juice extractor (meaning, it doesn’t squeeze juice out of the fruits and vegetables), it makes juice by pulverizing and liquifying whole foods – skin, seeds, and pulp included. The entire food is broken down to a cellular level, making all the valuable vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients readily digestible without rapid blood sugar spikes. It’s fast, easy, and healthy.
Juicing purists insist that the whole point of juicing is to remove fiber, and thus make the juice easier to digest – you get all of the vital nutrients without activating the digestive process. True. However, it’s not just nutrients that get rapidly into the bloodstream, but also sugar, causing blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Whole Food Juicing vs Traditional Juicing
So, which one is better – whole food juicing (with a high-speed blender) or traditional juicing (with a juicer)?
It depends on your goals and current state of health. If you have imbalanced blood sugar levels, need to increase volume of nutrients as well as fiber, and want to replace a meal or two for a whole foods drink, a high-speed blender is a better choice. If you have a delicate digestive system, need to maximize volume of nutrient intake, or are undergoing a detox program, you will benefit from a juicer.
Health aside, other factors to consider are time and convenience. If you are looking for something fast and easy, then Vitamix is the answer. A lot of juicers can’t handle whole fruits and vegetables (there is no way I could fit a whole apple into the juicer chute opening without slicing it first), so certain amount of food prep is required. There is also no denying that it is easier to clean a blender than a juicer. My Vitamix practically cleans itself by simply adding warm water and a drop of dish soap into the container and running the cleaning cycle whereas my juicer has up to 10 detachable parts to clean.
How to Make Juice in a Vitamix
Using Vitamix as a juicer is easier than you may think. Add all the ingredients into the Vitamix. Turn it on and gradually work up to the highest speed, blending until the drink takes on a smooth texture. Play around with adding more liquid until you get the right consistency. If your model comes with preset programs, you can also select the “whole juice” feature.
If you enjoy juice with pulp, blending is all you have to do. To make completely smooth juice, strain it using a nut milk bag or a few layers of cheesecloth.
Vitamix Juicer vs Cold-Press Juicer
Making the choice between using your Vitamix for juicing or investing in a juicer really comes down to what type of juice you want to make. Both methods are exceptional ways of consuming more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
If you can afford to have both in your home, go for it and enjoy all the benefits of both. However, if you don’t want to invest in two different appliances, owning a Vitamix can give you the advantages of both a blender and a juicer.