Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Vitamix Blender

Via ElissaGoodman.com
So I'm a bit of a smoothie enthusiast. I love just sticking stuff in a blender and ending up with a delicious drink that is yummy and full of good things for you.

So back probably 6 years ago or so, I was frustrated. I would put things in my blender (can't remember what type now but it was one of those $50 blenders you buy at super marts) and if they were too frozen, they wouldn't blend. I would actually have to thaw them out in the microwave in order to make the smoothie and there was no way I could have ice in there, and what was the point of the smoothie if it wasn't cold?

Enter the Vitamix blender. Best thing ever to happen to smoothies.

Where Did I Buy It?

I bought my Vitamix from Costco because they would have someone come to our neighborhood Costco every couple months to demonstrate them. They were cheaper than anywhere else and came with a 7-year warranty. Still, all-in-all, it came to a whopping $400 (after I believe a $100 discount)! Wow! Yeah, I was that desperate for a blender THAT ACTUALLY WORKED.

So now that I've owned it for a couple of years, what do I think? I LOVE IT! Yeah, it's true that it's expensive, and I don't know if it's worth the cost or if there are cheaper blenders that work as well, but I do love knowing I can put whatever in there and it will be smooth at the end. Oh, also, it's so much cheaper than buying a smoothie at Jamba Juice et al (and hey, you don't have to change out of your pajamas to do it!).

But Does It Do More Than Make Smoothies?

As for the other things that it can supposedly do, like make soups and chop up vegetables, I'm not sold. I've tried chopping up onions and green peppers in it and

it doesn't work all that great and can be frustrating, though it does okay and does save time (and tears.
Via ClaireCharters.com
I tear up so much chopping onions). Also, I should note it probably does about as well as my old food processor did. I've chopped up cabbage as well, and that worked all right assuming you want really finely chopped up cabbage.

I haven't tried nut butters with it yet, but I bought some organic peanuts recently, so I'm planning on trying it soon. I'll let you know how it goes, but I've heard homemade nut butters are amazing so I'm excited to try it. And it's got to be cheaper too. The store had organic peanuts for about $2.50/lb (is that a good price?) and their organic peanut butter was more than twice that for a 16-oz container (I'll have to check the next time I'm there, but as I recall it ranged from $5.50 to $7.50 a container!).

I know that raw food enthusiasts love the fact that although the friction from the blender causes heat, it never heats up food hot enough to destroy vitamins and nutrients in the food.

Why Does It Need a Stick?

I know that competitors of Vitamix claim that the blender is not as good because it has a stick, but I really like the stick. It helps make sure everything gets down to the blade when you have all of your whole foods in there at the beginning. If you notice, other similar blenders like Blendtec have shorter blending containers, and I believe the reason is they don't have sticks to push things down. In fact, I heard that having a stick is proprietary design and other blenders can't have them because of patents. Could be wrong, but that's what I heard.


It also is really easy to clean. If I clean it right after I make the smoothie, pretty much all I have to do is spray it down with my kitchen sink's sprayer and everything comes off (then if I want I can wait till later to do a once-over with some dish soap). Things just don't stick to the material that the blender is made of, so cleaning it is easy overall, especially if you don't let it sit.

Use the Whole Food

Often we can't use all of a food because it's not possible to just chew it up and eat it like the rest of the food, but these other parts having amazing nutrients for our body. One such example is the stem of a pineapple. That middle portion, which is too tough to chew, has an enzyme called bromelain that is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and helps break down other foods so we're able to digest them better without overworking the pancreas. While normally we can't eat pineapple stems, you can add them to the Vitamix where they're broken down and are made digestible.

There are other fruits and vegetables that can also be eaten when put into smoothies including orange peels (which has more vitamin C than the orange itself) and strawberry leaves (which contains tannins and other compounds that help with digestion). Rather than just eating parts of foods, you can get more nutrition out of smoothies made with blenders like a Vitamix.

I Love My Vitamix

Honestly, I'm in love with my Vitamix because it does what I want it to do the most: make awesome smoothies. I probably make 5 or more smoothies a week and knowing that I can grab it, stick whatever in there and have a smoothie is really nice. Since I haven't tried any of the other high end blenders, like Blendtec, I can't say for sure which one is better, but I can say that I don't regret getting a Vitamix one bit!

Just the Facts

Store: Costco
Price: $395
Date Purchased: February 2010
Rating: 4.8/5
Recommended: Yes!

Interested in Your Own Vitamix?

If you're a member of Costco, ask your local store about when they're having a Vitamix demonstrator come show them. Otherwise, you can check out deals online like this Vitamix Turboblend 4500 for only $385 (hey, that's less than what I paid!). There are a lot of different models out there, which is why they can range from around $400 up to almost $700 (for a professional one), so just be aware of that as you consider which one you want.

What's your favorite smoothie? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. Mine? Pineapple, banana and coconut. (Which is a blog post coming in the future.)

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