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 looking to build up strength in you legs, you need not join a gym or buy any expensive exercise equipment either. One of the best ways to give your legs a quick yet effective workout wherever you are is with body weight or Hindu squats. While the idea of them may sound relatively easy, a handful of them will bring you to your knees.
To perform a Hindu squat, start with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground. Inhale while pulling your hands straight back behind your body. Next, exhale as you bend your knees, stand on the balls of your feet while crouching to the ground, squatting above your ankles. Stand back up and repeat the process as many times as you can.
Depending on how in shape you are, you should be able to do around 50 or so your first time. Add Hindu squats to your daily exercise regime and you should be able to increase that number by five or 10 each day or two. Incredibly, doing multiple hundred at one time is not uncommon, though it may seem impossible after your first try.
This is an exercise that is great for any man who wants to increase power and endurance in his legs. Women will want to give it a shot too if they’re looking for an easy way to work their legs each day. The end result, regardless of sex, will be toned and strong legs you’ll want to show off.
Check out an example of a Hindu squat below:
Like everyone else, I start out the new year with a resolution. Mine’s not on such a grand scale as many others’ resolutions, such as to quit smoking, lose 100 lbs., get into a bikini by this summer, etc. My one goal was to simply become a little more organized. For me this meant making a list of tasks each day and tackling them.
Sure, there are an endless number of apps that can handle to-do lists, such as Apple’s own Reminders app, Remember the Milk, or Evernote. But personally, I hate having to type things into an app. I’m not sure if it’s just too easy to ignore, or I can’t be bothered typing something down, I’m not exactly sure. But I know that swiping and deleting a task just isn’t as satisfying as crossing it off a list.
This is why for 2013 I opted to buy a pocket-sized notebook, write down a list of tasks I want to accomplish by the end of the day, and then cross them off one by one as they’re done. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with a cell phone and am used to doing things the traditional way. Maybe it’s the fact that I can easily glance at past weeks and months to see everything I’ve completed over the course of a year.
When choosing a notebook for this, there was only one choice: the Moleskine. I won’t get into its detailed history, but these little leather-bound books have been around for centuries. They come in hard cover and soft, large and small varieties, in daily, monthly, and plain paper styles, and in an assortment of colors as well. What I’m saying is simple: if you’re looking for an antiquated yet new way to manage your life, consider writing things down. You might find it a little more rewarding than yet another app on your cell phone.
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: