Green Drink phenomenon — to juice or blend?

The famous Green Drink at the Leucadia Farmers Market.   Photo by David Boylan

The famous Green Drink at the Leucadia Farmers Market. Photo by David Boylan


Anyone who has been to the Leucadia Farmers Market on a given Sunday has seen the steady flow of customers purchasing the Green Drink from the Morning Star Ranch/Yellow Deli folks. I’ve seen people walk away with a dozen or more liters of it frozen and at $9 a pop, that’s a nice chunk of change. Nobody seems to know the exact number they sell every Sunday, but it is in the hundreds and they consistently generate the most revenue of any farmers market vendor.

The Green Drink itself consists of grapefruit, orange, kale, collards, chard, apple, wild spinach, blue algae, yerba matte and flax. That’s a lot of goodness in a pint and it actually tastes delicious. They also have a variety that is orange juice-based instead of grapefruit and I tend to prefer that, as it’s a bit smoother. All I know is when I pour a glass with my morning breakfast I feel very good about doing so. The Morning Star folks have developed a formula that stands high above anything that can be purchased in a grocery store or one of the several juice or smoothie joints around town.

I should also mention that the Green Drink is a blended drink, meaning you get all the benefits of the whole plants mentioned above. This has been my preferred way to make my own similar concoction at home for years but there are those in the juicing camp who feel very strongly about their position on juicing over blending.

This is what the juicing folks have to say about their preferred method. They describe juicing as a process that extracts water and nutrients from produce and discards the indigestible fiber. Without all the fiber, your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down the food and absorb the nutrients and it makes the nutrients more readily available to the body in much larger quantities than if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables whole. They say this is especially helpful if you have a sensitive digestive system or illness that inhibits your body from processing fiber.

The fiber in produce helps slow down the digestive process and provides a steady release of nutrients into the blood stream. They also want you to buy their expensive, messy and wasteful juicers, I’m not buying it. OK, maybe if you really do have such a sensitive digestive system that you can’t eat fruits and vegetables in your daily life, then yes, juicing is an option for you. I myself want that fiber in my diet.

On the other side of the ring is the blended or smoothie camp. Unlike juices, smoothies consist of the entire fruit or vegetable, skin and all, and contain all of the fiber from the vegetables. That said, they say the blending process breaks the fiber apart (which makes the fruit and vegetables easier to digest) but also helps create a slow, even release of nutrients into the blood stream and avoids blood sugar spikes. Smoothies tend to be more filling, because of the fiber, and are generally faster to make, less wasteful and easier to clean up than juice, so they can be great to drink first thing in the morning as your breakfast, or for snacks throughout the day.

By including the fiber in your smoothie, the volume will increase and you can pack more servings of fruits and veggies into a single serving of juice than you can into a smoothie. Just seems logical to me but hey, if people want to juice for whatever reason I’m fine with that, just seems like they are making it a much more complex and expensive process than it needs to be.

So, I’ll wrap this up with my super-deluxe morning smoothie that consists of equal parts Morning Star Green Drink and basically whatever fruits and veggies I have in the fridge or in the garden. I’ve even taken to adding the greens from my winter crop of broccoli or cauliflower as they are packed full of nutrients plus a bit of my own flax seed meal. It helps to stretch the Green Drink through the week and I get the added bonus of even more vitamins and fiber.

Learn more about the Yellow Deli and the people who make the Green Drink at yellowdeli.com/vista.

Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday – Friday during at 4:10 and 7:10 p.m.  David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at david@artichoke-creative.com or             ( 858) 395-6905. 

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