Each day we are bombarded by good marketing. Billboards, magazines, TV commercials, TV shows, movies, commercials on the radio, in the schools, in our workplaces....everywhere you turn you are being told what you need to eat, how happy it will make you, how good it tastes. There is a war taking place that most people aren't aware of. Most of us are losing the battle. Americans are getting larger and larger, sicker and sicker, and aren't sure where to turn.
So how do we fight? How do we take our health back from those who are trying to make money off us? Anyone in the military will tell you the first step of battle is preparation. When we find ourselves tired, hungry, emotional - we turn to food. If we don't have anything premade - we turn to what is inexpensive and quick to satisfy our immediate needs. So we need to be prepared...equipped properly to fight our own weaknesses that others prey on.
What are our weapons that will equip us? We have food in our houses that we can turn to when we are hungry that are nutritious and life-giving. We do NOT have food in our house that will perpetuate our weigh gain or our illnesses.
How do we become that muscle-bound warrior? We build our strength of saying no to tempting food that only makes us larger and sicker. We build our self-control only one way...we practice it over and over. We make mistakes, but they don't stop us...we press forward and continue to say no.
Haley, this all sound well and good, but what does this look like? I'll share with you how I equip my own family.
1. I educate them on what is in their food, what it does to their bodies, why it's being sold to us, why others eat it but why we do not. No "because I said so"...I want my kids to be able to make their own choices when they are not with me because they have the knowledge to do so. It's also amazing to hear them tell their friends or each other why certain foods are better than others and what they need to eat when they don't feel well. I didn't have to do as much educating with my husband, in fact he asks questions that make me do more and more research and verify if what I'm spouting is fact.
2. I don't allow certain foods in the house. It's not a hard and fast rule - you don't get a lashing if you bring cheetos into the house. But "snacky" type food - chips, pretzels, etc...I'll only purchase healthier ones with fewer ingredients and they are rationed out for treats. You won't find desserts in my house, unless they are raw vegan. Those are the trickiest - you will eat an entire gallon of ice cream and still want more - it's designed to enable you to do so. If you bring candy into the house...keep a close eye on it as it will make its way to the trash can very quickly and sneakily.
3. I make sure that everyone has food available to them. I make 128 ounces of Green Smoothie for my husband every morning to take with him to work. That's all he drinks (most of the time) until evening. Ask him sometime how his health has improved. I pack my children lunches for school every day. There are three components to every meal they eat: 1. Fruit 2. Vegetable. 3. Other. For example, today's lunch was 1. Orange slices and Bananas 2. Cherry tomatoes 3. Dry Cereal (one got a healthy form of honey nut cheerios, the other got cracklin' oat bran)...I try to buy ones that mimic what's out there, but healthier versions. After school they will get home and I'll make them Raw Vegan Ice Cream for snack. It's my oldest's turn to pick the flavor. ;) The third category is usually smaller than the first two and I try to find things my children look forward to - which empowers them to eat their fruits and vegetables. Oh yes, you must eat them in order. Vegetables, Fruits, and THEN other. Fill up on the good stuff first. As with many patterns, we do what we dislike first and then move to what we like. Chores first, play second. Vegetables first, pasta second. Homework first, socializing second.
4. When we are out and about (birthday party, Disney on Ice, Ball game, etc.), nothing is forbidden, nothing is taboo - they can choose what they want (within reason of cost and availability). If they ask, I'll educate them, but I won't lecture them on their food choices. I do gently remind them when they are hyperactive, can't sleep, can't go to the bathroom, can't focus, or other lovely side effects...why we don't eat those foods on a regular basis. The choice must be theirs in the long run, not mine. You need to give your kids room to stretch their wings and make their own choices sometimes (but just like chores and homework...they need guidance at home). Likewise, I don't nag my husband, I don't tell him what he should and shouldn't eat, it is his choice as an adult. I try to provide options for him as well - although he's a little more entrenched in the snack foods that he turns to. Start young - it will pay off! ;)
Needless to say, it's a life-long war. Some battles you win, some you don't...don't beat yourself up, just get back up and fight another day. When all else fails...call me. :) I'll be your drill sergeant, your coach, your muse. Contact me if you need a battle plan.
I reviewed the Vitamix, Blendtec, and the Healthmaster in a previous blog post here, however that was over a year ago and needs to be updated! My experiences with each machine have evolved and I've used a new appliance, the Ninja, which I need to add to the mix!
This is the cream of the crop - the ultimate blender that everyone should own. My use of my Vitamix (I've had both the 5000 and the 5200) over the past four years has cemented my unwavering loyalty to this brilliant machine. I bought my high powered blender the instant I decided the raw lifestyle was worth investing into. I've taken it on trips, on airplanes (checked & carry-on!), even on my honeymoon! Not only does it help me create all my raw vegan dishes, but it saves me tons of time. It grinds nuts and seeds, completely bursts the cell walls of plants to release that incredible chlorophyll, breaks down frozen fruit to make ice cream, in fact I haven’t found anything my Vitamix cannot do. When people ask if I miss hot foods (as I don't cook anything), I demonstrated how my Vitamix warms up my food. There is no heating element, but it runs at 240 mph and the friction heats up my soups, sauces, dips, etc.
The only problem with the Vitamix? It’s expensive!!!!! If you buy a new Deluxe Vitamix 5200
, with all the bells and whistles, it comes out to $650. HOWEVER! You can also buy a Vitamix that has been “factory reconditioned” for $329.00!
I always recommend buying Factory Reconditioned! If you put in this code when you check out, you get free shipping ($25 savings!): 06-005351.
People are always asking if there are other blenders out there that are cheaper, yet have the same performance. I have personally used three others that come close, but I will stress that NO BLENDER have the same performance as the Vitamix, in my experiences. Now mind you, I use my Vitamix 3-8 times a day, and have used each of the following blenders at least a half dozen times each while teaching classes.
The first is a Blendtec
, the rival to the Vitamix. It’s slightly more affordable, coming in at $454 for the “Wild Side” (deluxe version), $434 for the Basic Version, and $384 for the Factory Reconditioned Basic. It’s slightly more powerful than the Vitamix, coming in at 1560 Watts vs. the Vitamix’s 1380 Watts. The Basic comes with a 32 oz. pitcher, the Wild Side has a 44 oz. pitcher, and the Vitamix has a 64 oz. pitcher. The Blendtec has a broader based pitcher – easier to get your food out and nothing gets trapped under the blades. Lastly, the Blendtec is programmable and you can set it and walk away and it will shut itself off The Blendtec can also warm up your liquids and dips, which is awesome for a raw foodist. All in all, the Blendtec is a GREAT BUY. If you can find one, go for it.
BUT…there are some major drawbacks. First, it does not come with a tamper – an instrument to push food into the blades. Therefore, you need to cut and dice your food smaller so it will move AND you CANNOT make Raw Vegan Banana Ice Cream in this blender. :/ That’s a big part of my diet, so I cannot imagine having the Blendtec permanently. Second, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), it has problems with small amounts of food. The blades will spin if there isn't enough food to move around - and while it's difficult to do small amounts in the Vitamix, the tamper makes it possible. Also you cannot fill it to the top with food and expect it to blend. I can make a full 64 ounces of Green Smoothie in my Vitamix, but you can only fill the 44 oz container half way! Third, the larger motor doesn’t do any more than I need, but it is a LOT louder – which is not so good when you have kids with sensitive hearing, babies, or need to do any food prep when people are sleeping. And fourth, with all its settings (ice cream, dips, smoothies, etc.), it's much harder to work manually. When trying to make a dip out of cashews, for example, you need to run the dip setting two to four times to get the same consistency with the Vitamix.
It's a good machine, but you can get a Vitamix for roughly the same price. I'd spend the money on the Vitamix.
I have had the opportunity to try out Montel William’s HealthMaster.
At 4 easy payments of $49.99 (plus S&H), it’s by far the cheapest at $200. It comes in at 1100 watts of power, which isn’t much less than Vitamix’s 1380 watts. It has a monster 70 oz. pitcher that has a nice broad base where no food gets stuck. It comes with a tamper! Yaaay! Raw Vegan Ice cream, here we come! AND…the base is programmable just like the Blendtec.
Here come the con’s. First, like the Blendtec, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), I have problems doing small amounts of food. One cup of dip in the HealthMaster just spins…doesn’t mix, even with the tamper. Second, the lower wattage means that it just isn’t as powerful and doesn’t blend as smooth or creamy as the Vitamix or the Blendtec. I tried to make a pie crust (crushed nuts and fruit) in the HealthMaster and it got stuck in the pitcher, and I had to take it all out and use another appliance. The pitcher has pockets where food gets caught and I can’t just spatula it down to the bottom…I’m not sure if you can see from the picture. The motor is ridiculously loud and slightly smelly (which the manufacturer says will wear off within six months). Lastly, it has two locking mechanisms that sound like a wonderful safeguard but are actually quite annoying. The thing won’t run unless the pitcher is locked to the base and the lid is locked to the pitcher. Both locks are quite difficult to engage and after working with it for a half an hour, my fingers were starting to blister. I got used to it quickly, but my friend said she was less likely to work with it because of this feature. It also doesn't run at the speeds of the previous two machines, which means it won't warm up your food. It's a great machine for the price, at nearly half the price of the other two machines, so the frugal girl in me gives it one thumb up!
Lastly, I've had more experience with the Ninja than with the previous two machines because it's far more affordable, available, and everyone seems to be getting one! This machine is wonderfully unique in that it has multiple blades. Because of this, a tamper is less necessary to push food into the blades - there are blades in the middle and on top! It has a programmable base with 1000 watts of power (only 100 less than the HealthMaster!), has a wonderfully easy to use 72 ounce container. All in all, they have taken a little bit of everything and made a great machine. AND - it's only $100!!!! That's crazy!
I've also gotten to play with the Ninja Prep - which is even cheaper at $50-75, depending on where it's sold. However, it has more than HALF the wattage of the blender (400 watts!), and in turn cannot do many things (like make dips & sauces out of nuts) well. It does make small batches of things rather well and I was able to make a few dishes with ease (my Orange UnChicken
, Green Smoothies
!, and Pinky Pudding)
However, you get what you pay for. With the Ninja, you pay a fraction of the price for a fraction of the ability. I cannot make the same quality of dips, sauces, desserts, smoothies, and ice cream is out of the picture. It does many amazing things and is far better for making Green Smoothies than a traditional blender (Oster or Hamilton Beach).
Each of the machines listed come with recipe books that are definitely a part of the price - wonderful recipes that get you to use the machine and eat healthier. Sure, they aren't raw vegan, but they are homemade from scratch and encourage you to move away from processed foods. That's the first step - less processed, more whole foods!
So there we are. Four different high speed blenders. Each of the blenders tackled Green Smoothies with ease and are amazing blenders. I still recommend the Vitamix. It is worth the investment and even if you aren’t raw in any capacity it is wonderful for your kitchen. Not to mention, the Vitamix has been around since 1937 and is made in the US. If a machine has a warranty, I would trust a company that has been around more then ten years and has perfected the craft that they are in. Just my two cents...
If I have moved you toward the Vitamix and are interested in purchasing one, use this code for free shipping (06-005351) and go here
! I hope this helped!!!!
I made my first green smoothie without using my Vitamix this week. I used a hand blender, because that’s all I had to use. Now, because it was much smaller and less powerful, I made four batches. Smaller quantities and smaller pieces. I blended my greens with water first, and then I started to add fruit slowly. An apple and a pear, diced very fine. A banana, broken into small pieces. More water. Technically, in order to have a full liter of smoothie, I made four small ones. They all tasted slightly different; one had a pear in it, one had three bananas, one had more cabbage. They were all wonderful and very healthful. I loved my Green Smoothie, and I loved that I could make it no matter where I went, no matter what equipment I had at hand...
There was one big difference, though. It wasn’t chunky, but it wasn’t smooth. Now this isn’t just a texture preference. Green leafy vegetables have remarkably strong cell walls. The life giving chlorophyll lives within these cell walls, unable to be crushed by our feeble jaws. That is where my Vitamix comes in. It runs at 240 mph and completely ruptures those cell walls, releasing the chlorophyll that is so life-changing and disease-fighting. As I was slightly chewing my hand blended smoothie, I realized that I was only getting part of the nutrition that was available to me.
Now, mind you, that smoothie was more nutrition than I had EVER gotten ten years ago. Just by drinking a daily Green Smoothie, you are filling your life with more DISEASE PREVENTION than almost any other addition into your lifestyle. So, I tip my smoothie to yours...whether it be a hand blended, high speed blended, commercially blended, or that inexpensive blender on your counter…let us fill our lives with more health! It’s delicious and just what your body has been craving…
Today’s Green Smoothie
After my class last night I went to my friend’s house. In order to withstand the incredible food they make, I made a Green Smoothie. Green Smoothies help me to conquer cravings and fill me up pleasantly. I’m eating a full meal when I have my Green Smoothie and when I am finished I am not hungry for anything else. Green Leafy Vegetables are powerful foods that fulfill nearly all your nutritional needs. Spinach, Kale, Turnip Greens, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, and all the rest of the greens have 2-3 times the amount of protein found in nuts and seeds (which are usually known for their high protein). Well, read all this and learn more about your Greens!!!
Check the bottom for my EASY Green Smoothie that I'm still sipping on...
Arugula - or also known as "rocket lettuce". You will understand the term once you taste the spicy nut-like flavor of this crucerferous green known for it's anti-cancer compounds. Great source of folic acid, Vit A, C, magnesium, calcium and manganese, potassium, riboflavin, copper, iron and zinc. I love the spicy flavor accented in salads.
Collard greens - amazing source of vitamins like: B6, C (one cup provides 70% RDA), carotenes, manganese, Vit. B1, B2 and E. Minerals: copper, calcium and copper. Awesome in Green Smoothies, Collard greens are also great to rolling raw burritos and their flavor is nicely balanced with savory seed cheeses, and nut pates.
Kale - their are many varieties of kale out there. My favorite by far is "dino kale", for it's super dark green color and rich taste. Kale is especially beneficial because of it's high calcium/lower phosphorus ratio, it helps conditions such as osteoporosis that tend to have an excess of phosphorus which leaches calcium from the body.
Mustard greens - this is a great leafy to add to Green Smoothies, but beware, it is on the spicy side. Use less than you usually would. Mustard is especially beneficial for woman in cases of menopause, breast and heart health. It provides quality bone support with it's high levels of calcium, magnesium and folic acid.
Bok Choy - VERY high in calcium and iron. The entire "brassica rapa" family including: tatsoi, mizuna, rapini, komatsuna, well known in European and Asian cuisine, are recently becoming popular around the world for their unique flavors and gourmet textures.
Spinach - known for it's high iron content, coming in at twice the amount of other greens, is also an incredibly alkaline food. It is one of the highest sources of lutein which help promote clear eye sight.
Lettuce - this green leafy vegetable is probably the most common in diets worldwide. There are many varieties to discover and choose from. Lettuce is a great mineralizer with high water content that is said to relax the body. I love Green Leaf Lettuce...it's a sweet, nutritious variety and still fabulous in Green Smoothies.
Parsley - high in folic acid, which is important in cell regeneration and repair. Help to cleanse the kidneys and assist in diabetes. It has a wonderful fresh taste which helps to cut spicier greens, like Mustard or Dandelion Greens.
Cilantro - has been well studied for it's effects at being able to detox mercury from the body. It's unique flavor is favored by many in salsa, pesto, and I just plain love it in a nice salad.
Easy Green Smoothie
Blend until smooth.
- 1 cup kale
- 3 apples
- 2 bananas
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup ice