To Juice or to Blend…That IS the Question! (Part 2)

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In my last post, I discussed the on-going debate between juice and smoothies. Now that I’ve clearly stated my loyalty to Team Smoothie, I have to answer the question I get asked most:

Is it really necessary to spend $400 on a blender?!? Vitamix

….No and yes.

If you don’t mind chunks of kale and beets in your concoction, then no- have at it with any blender your heart desires. Otherwise…yes. Lol.

Let me explain- I share my devotion to straw-sippin’ smoothies with a strong loyalty to my favorite kitchen gadget: all hail the Vitamix! Why have I invested so much money into a blender? Let me explain.

Seriously, most regular blenders do not have a strong enough motor to break down the raw fruits and veggies that are vital to the success of the smoothie. In addition, the constant strain is more than a typical blender can handle. Frequent use of an average blender will result in not just lumpy smoothies, but also frustrated consumers who have to keep purchasing a new blender each time the kale goes down wrong.

Besides blending my drinks up as smooth as butta, the Vitamix is also extremely versatile and can make dips, soups, spreads, nut butter (HELLO homemade almond butter!), flours, dough, and sweet summer-time sorbets. Still not convinced? Every machine comes with a 5 to 7 year warranty (depending on the model), so if you do the math, your Vitamix costs less than $100/year. I think that’s a pretty fair investment for my and my family’s health. But, if Vitamix just isn’t the right fit for you now, the market has plenty of other comparable options.

Have a look at Vitamix’s closest competitor, the Blendtec. Though the price is quite similar, the technology and design is just a little bit different, taking on a sleeker design to rival the Vitamix’s classic look. The Blendtec’s refined design also makes it a bit more compact, so it takes up less counter space. Its touch screen interface speaks to those who love a more modern feel- but for what each one can actually do- it’s pretty much the same.

blendtec-vs-vitamix

If you’re still looking to spend a little less money and don’t need all of the extras that the previously mentioned blenders allow, one reasonable choice is the Nutribullet. I just recently purchased this snazzy instrument and I am impressed. While the capacity makes it difficult to make large batches at a time (which is an important consideration for me), I am very happy with the smoothies it makes. When I’m in a rush, I can make a quick drink on the go. 🙂

Finally, I think everyone has heard about the Ninja. This is another tool that’s similar in price and reliability for the Nutribullet. You can buy one with a larger pitcher to make smoothies for 2-3 people, and there are many options to fit versatile needs. I would recommend doing a little extra prep work on your raw produce before throwing it into either one of these blenders though- meaning, chop ’em up a bit more and allow frozen goods to slightly thaw before the blend-off.

Whatever option you choose, be happy knowing that you are taking care of yourself with a little bit more love. Cheers- to smoothies and health!

smoothieteam

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Resignation (A Love poem)

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Nikki Giovanni (my favorite poet) celebrated her birthday this weekend. My husband and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this week.  From the beginning, he and I have shared poetry with each other. We have given each other collections and have even read poems to each other. Poetry has a way of  opening a window into the heart. Nikki Giovanni speaks to me us so I thought I’d share her with you. 🙂images-5

Resignation

I love you
because the earth turns round the sun
because the North wind blows north
sometimes
because the Pope is Catholic
and most Rabbis Jewish
because winters flow into springs
and the air clears after a storm
because only my love for you
despite the charms of gravity
keeps me from falling off this Earth
into another dimension
I love you
because it is the natural order of things

I love you
like the habit I picked up in college
of sleeping through lectures
or saying I’m sorry
when I get stopped for speeding
because I drink a glass of water
in the morning
and chain-smoke cigarettes
all through the day
because I take my coffee Black
and my milk with chocolate
because you keep my feet warm
though my life a mess
I love you
because I don’t want it
any other way.

I am helpless
in my love for you
It makes me so happy
to hear you call my name
I am amazed you can resist
locking me in an echo chamber
where your voice reverberates
through the four walls
sending me into spasmatic ecstasy
I love you
because it’s been so good
for so long
that if I didn’t love you
I’d have to be born again
and that is not a theological statement
I am pitiful in my love for you

The Dells tell me Love
is so simple
the thought though of you
sends indescribably delicious multitudinous
thrills throughout and through-in my body
I love you
because no two snowflakes are alike
and it is possible
if you stand tippy-toe
to walk between the raindrops
I love you
because I am afraid of the dark
and can’t sleep in the light
because I rub my eyes
when I wake up in the morning
and find you there
because you with all your magic powers were
determined that
I should love you
because there was nothing for you but that
I would love you

I love you
because you made me
want to love you
more than I love my privacy
my freedom my commitments
and responsibilities
I love you ’cause I changed my life
to love you
because you saw me one friday
afternoon and decided that I would
love you
I love you I love you I love you

To Juice or To Blend… That IS the Question! (Part 1)

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Adding large amounts of key fruits and vegetables to my diet was one of the first changes I made when i decided to eat clean.  I’ve never been big on raw salads (I seriously get bored with all that chewing), so I quickly found myself experimenting with juicing.  While I knew that it was really good for me, I had such a hard time throwing away all of the food juicing left behind- (and no, I am not one of those people who take the time to make muffins with the pulp or trek it down to my husband’s compost- don’t judge me). So I transitioned to making green smoothies.  Well wouldn’t you know it; everyone had an opinion. (Check out my vegan-vs- meat eaters post) :).

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Those who juice swear by it. While it does separates the juice from the pulp, you are left with a liquid that is full of vitamins, enzymes, and tons of micronutrients.  Some prefer this because the body is able to absorb the nutrients in minutes, while the extra bulk in a smoothie can slow digestion down significantly.

On the other hand, green smoothies have become rather en vogue in lately- and with good reason! Everyone seems to have figured out that kale+beets+pineapple+ ginger goes down more easily with a straw. But are there health benefits to smoothies over freshly-made juice?  Yes.

Remember how I said I didn’t feel comfortable throwing away perfectly good food? Turns out that pulp is made up of additional nutrients as well as fiber.  As a hungry girl, fiber makes me really happy. It takes a drink and transforms it into a meal replacement.  There just wasn’t enough substance when I was primarily juicing- I felt like I needed to eat something. With smoothies, however, I feel satisfied for hours.  I have also discovered that I can get a wider variety of ingredients in with a smoothie. I find that certain fruits and vegetables do not juice well or require a huge quantity, leaving a lot for the garbage.  Another thing,  using my blender (more about which machines I use in the next part of my series) is much easier in terms of clean up. My juicer has multiple parts and must be disassembled to clean. AND, some pieces have to be washed by hand *gasps*!  In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

All jokes aside, there is one more very important variable to consider in the juice/smoothie decision. There are certain health conditions that make juices preferred over smoothies. Conditions that create malabsorption concerns, like certain cancers, bariatric surgeries, Celiac disease, and Alcoholism, are all better paired with juicing; it does not put as much stress on the gut.  It is additionally important to note that juices or smoothies alone are typically not recommended as a complete treatment for any illness.  While I believe that much of my current wellness has come from high dose nutrition in the form of  fruits and vegetables, every case is different.  Please check with your health care provider before making any major changes in your diet.

In an ideal world, I would juice once a day and drink a fresh smoothie once a day.  However, I live in the real world with my kiddos who don’t seem to want to hang around while mommy polishes her juicer. For me, smoothies simply make sense given my lifestyle, hunger (I really can eat), and health. What makes the most sense for you? Answer on the poll below:

 

Whatever you choose, adding a veggie/fruit cocktail can add a boost to even the cruddiest of days!

Cheers!

As I began to Love Myself (a poem about self acceptance)

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I came across this poem this morning and decided to post it here so that I can come back to it often. As I remain a work in progress, pimages-1oems like this make me breathe deep. 🙂 Have a happy Monday.

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.
Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening.
Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!

This poem is attributed to Charlie Chaplin but it is unclear if he wrote it or simply recited it.  It is also attributed to Kim & Alison McMillen.