Vitamix is the only blender trusted by the Culinary Institute of America to train its chef’s, so if it’s good enough for the professionals, it must be good for the average smoothie-making consumer right? Well, yes and no. Like with all products, my Vitamix 1363 CIA blender has its pros and cons, but fortunately, the good points outweigh the bad.
Let’s get started with the good points: the Vitamix is powerful enough to blend through fruits, vegetables, frozen food, and ice without issue. Even seeds from an apple or berries are completely pulverized, leaving you with a smoothie that’s just as good as something you’d buy at one of those expensive juice/smoothie stores. It has a BPA-free pitcher, a seven-year warranty, and includes a tamper, which is essentially a small stick that goes in the top of the blender to push down ingredients if they become stuck. The face of the blender has a dial which you can use to manually increase or decrease the speed of the blades.
The deal breaker for many people will be the height of the Vitamix. I believe they do sell smaller pitchers than the 64-ounce one that’s included with the Vitamix, but unless you purchase that one, the Vitamix will not fit under your kitchen cabinets. So your choices are to leave it on the counter, pushed out from the cabinets, buy the smaller pitcher, or put it away after each use. For those of us who use our blenders everyday, this is a bit of an inconvenience. Noise is also worth mentioning (the Vitamix is very loud!) but even less expensive blenders can be quite noisy.
Speaking of price, the cost may also be an issue. I touched on this previously in another blog post, but a Vitamix blender will cost anywhere from $350 up to $500 depending on the model chosen and where you purchase it. It may seem like an expensive investment at first, but a Vitamix can provide you with commerical-grade smoothies, puddings, salad dressings, ice cream, and even grind your coffee beans for you. Considering the versatility and the quality of the Vitamix, the cost certainly seems more reasonable.
If you’re tossing around the idea of adding a shake or smoothie into your daily routine, there are a few things to first consider. Most importantly is that not all blenders are the same. That $50 blender you bought at Wal-Mart designed for mixing up margaritas just won’t cut it (literally!) when it comes to blending up a fruit and vegetable-rich smoothie.
The problem with inexpensive countertop blenders is that they lack the horsepower to properly blend up fruits, vegetables, and even any type of protein powder you add to your shake. The end result is a smoothie with a texture that’s less than appetizing. And let’s be honest, a lot of smoothies aren’t exactly delicious, so the added factor of a chunky or grainy texture might lead you to dump your concoction down the drain.
This is why the most critical feature to look for is the wattage of the blender. The average blender is a few hundred watts, and is sufficient for occasional use. For turning chunks of ginger into dust and blending vegetables into liquid with no chunks or bits left behind, you’ll want a blender with at least 1,000-1,500 watts.
Be forewarned though, blenders this powerful also come with a powerful price tag rivaling the cost of a low-end dishwasher or stove. But, like they say, you get what you pay for. Blenders from companies like Blendtec and Vitamix are literally commercial-grade. You know those stores that sell smoothies and shakes? They use blenders from these two companies. At the very least, dropping four or five bills on a blender will certainly give you motivation to use it daily!
Anyone who listens to Joe Rogan’s podcast The Joe Rogan Experience knows that he starts each day with a kale shake. From time to time he mentions what ingredients these shakes include, such as ginger, pineapple, celery, and garlic. But unless you follow him on Twitter, you may not know exactly how he makes it. For you folks I present to you the recipe for Hulk Loads:
- four large kale leaves
- four stalkes of celery
- one cucumber
- one pager-sized hunk of ginger
- four cloves of garlic
- four slices of pineapple
The Meaning of Hulk Loads
Why you ask does Joe Rogan refer to his kale shakes as Hulk Loads? In his words, if you make the kale shake right, it will come out looking like one of the Hulk’s loads: green, thick, and frothy.
I can’t say that I’ve ever made a kale shake following his recipe, but I’ll take his word for it that it doesn’t taste that good. I tend to stick with more fruit to drown out the bitterness of the kale, but maybe I’ll work my way up to producing my own Hulk Loads once I purchase a more powerful blender.
Check out a video of Joe blending up some Hulk Loads in his Vitamix blender below:
I’ll admit that I went through the majority of my life having never tried kale. So when I heard Joe Rogan on his podcast talking about how he eats it everyday, I had to do a little investigating of my own to see what was so special about kale. Turns out it’s one of the most nutritious vegetables there is, packing an incredible amount of vitamins and nutrients into its thick green leaves.
When most people start dieting the things they look out for are fat and calories. Kale has zero fat and less than 40 calories for an entire cup, and provides you with five grams of fiber to help keep your digestive system moving along. Per calorie, kale also has more iron than beef, which is an integral component to a healthy body and mind, as iron aids in liver function and the transportation of oxygen throughout our bodies.
Sure, kale is starting to sound a lot better than beef if you’re concerned with iron, but what about calcium? Compared to milk, kale has more of that per calorie as well. Not to mention it’s packed with vitamin A (great for your vision and skin), vitamin C (for fighting off illness, boosting your metabolism, and keeping you hydrated), and vitamin K (fights cancer, blood clotting, and promotes bone strength).
Kale is also packed with antioxidants and is great for detoxifying your body. Its abundance of beta carotene makes kale the ideal choice for those with a distaste for carrots but still desire the cancer and heart disease-fighting benefits that beta carotene offers.
Despite appearing like a type of lettuce, kale is actually cabbage, though it doesn’t form a head like a green or purple cabbage does. Being a part of the cabbage family explains why kale has a much thicker texture than romaine or green leaf lettuce does, and why its bitter taste is a noticeably stronger than the aforementioned lettuces. For these reasons, kale is a less than ideal candidate for your next Caesar salad.
Ideas for Preparing Kale
That’s not to say that kale can’t be used in a salad. There are many ways to prepare kale to make it more appetizing to the palate. Blanching and freezing will cause the kale to become sweeter and more flavorful, and allow you to keep it longer. Blending kale in a smoothie or shake is another popular way to consume kale. It’s also possible to bake or dehydrate kale as a healthy alternative to potato chips.
On the topic of health, kale is a very nutrient-dense food, which is the reason why I added kale to my diet and start each day with a kale shake. As someone who rarely eats vegetables, I appreciate how affordable kale is, how much kale you actually get for just a few dollars, and how easily I can sneak it into my diet. In addition to shakes, I make wraps with it, kale chips, and I eat it raw with a little bit of olive oil and Himalayan salt.