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Chronicles of a juicing/smoothie neophyte

Posted Sunday, October 7, 2012, at 10:15 AM

I started a blog earlier asking about the value of different juicers and what people thought of the process. There are good comments and suggestions from respondents, so you might want to check it out. http://www.t-g.com/blogs/stevemills/entr...

I ended up not getting a "juicer", strictly speaking. Instead I went with a blender on steroids, Vitamix. Just to be clear for those who know about "affiliate links", there are none. I am not making anything for mentioning the name. :-)

I chose a blender because it includes the whole fruit or vegetable I am adding, not just the juice. When I started out I visited a number of retail juicers and smoothie stores, because I was undecided which way to go AND I wanted to see what I could actually "stick to" before I invested in equipment.

As I watched my drink be prepared in the juicing establishments. I could not help but notice the "pulp" being discarded and I immediately translated that to "fiber". All the benefits of fiber came flooding into my head and it did not take long for me to drift to the "blending" side.

Then, as I had my smoothies being made in a number of smoothie shops, I kept being asked if I wanted this or that additive and I quickly decided that I just wanted it natural, with no extra powder, etc.

Another thing I decided was to not get extreme about this. Some might think that bringing my mixer, cooler packed with yogurt, and other perishable, along with bags of vegetables into a hotel is getting extreme, I call it dedicated. Extreme to me was drinking smoothies only and going "cold turkey" with all other foods.

I started out replacing one meal a day, then two and now occasionally skip the third if I am just not hungry. I also chose to stay away from gluten (as much as possible), but I will go into more of this as I post more thoughts and let you know what is good and maybe not so good. (Not bad, just different)


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have had a Vita-Mix for over 30 years and agree that they work great. You should also try a quality immersion (stick) blender. I often make fruit smoothies with my stick blender with frozen fruits or berries and yogurt; and add protein powder from time to time as well. The major advantage with the stick is the super easy cleanup; just buzz it in hot water and you're good to go. Plus the stick also work great to puree soups like butternut squash and potato-leek right in the same pot that it cooked in. I couldn't live without my stick blender. It surely packs much easier than a standard blender for traveling.

-- Posted by bentryder on Sun, Oct 7, 2012, at 4:53 PM

I'm relatively new to juicing as well - started last year and try to do it daily for health reasons. I had no idea what kind of juicer or blender to buy. After much research I was impressed by the fact that high RPM devices like blenders add more oxygen and heat to the juice which causes some nutrient loss. So I settled for one of the new "slow" juicers (Hurom 100) - I, too, get no money for mentioning this. These juicers eject the pulp from one spout and the juice from another so you can add some pulp back to your juice if you want. I'm so into juicing now that like you I made a blog (www.facebook/juicingsecrets) with daily juicing tips, news, recipes, and discussion. I'm really enjoying my new juicing hobby!

-- Posted by rhannum on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 7:33 AM

Hmmm, I need to see if our daughter is using the stick blender we gave her. Your last comment about being easier when traveling got my attention.

Also, I just mashed potatoes last night and I plan on roasting some butternut tonight. I know, potatoes are starchy but there is a limit to my control.

Can the stick blender take raw fruit like apples, oranges or do they need to be frozen or canned?

I am sitting here with a banana, apple, orange, kiwi, grape and strawberry smoothy right now. I now look forward to this instead of eggs in the morning.

Some might ask why not just eat those items and not make it into a smoothie. Well, you can, but I would not find it as convenient eating all them at my desk as I do sipping the smoothie. Plus the flavor is different.

I often make more than my glass will hold and as a result make one to go if I am running to town or put it in the refrigerator for later.

In fact I did just that for an auction I attended this past Saturday. I used an "recycled" Smoothie King Styrofoam cup and I saw several folks with the question in their eyes about where I got the SK Smoothie. There isn't one in these parts.

I put my back-up in a clear water bottle "biking" container and got even more double takes on that since it sure did not look like water.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 7:33 AM

rhannum I'll visit your site. I know that "talking" about it adds to the excitement and as with any new adjustment, you need to stay "pumped up". Enjoy.

I know about the heat potential because we can make hot soup with the blender, but adding ice makes the drink so cold that I can get "mind freeze" form drinking too fast.

How does oxygen affect the smoothie? Does it oxidize the molecules or....?

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 8:39 AM

Salads just don't seem to last long and it was not different today so I just made me an orange creme smoothie. Nothing more than two oranges (peeled) a cup and a half of plain yogurt and a teaspoon of vanilla.

I happen to love orange/vanilla popsicles so this tastes just right and it is has no additives or preservatives. I even read the plain yogurt labels.

I am looking out at our fig trees and while I doubt the second crop will ripen before it is too cold, I can't wait to try fresh figs in my smoothie next year.

I know I'll be planting with this Vitamix in mind next year. It will bring a while new look at what I am growing.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 4:43 PM

I am backsliding. Plain and simple, I am starting to fudge on what I eat and it has resulted in two pounds coming back on.

I am publicly stating this to try to push myself back on track.

I am still drinking my smoothies, but it is in between that the cheating is taking place. I've eaten some cookies and justified it by thinking they will go bad if someone does not eat them. They ARE BAD already (nutrition wise) so I should have just thrown them out.

I have also been having a predominance of fruit smoothies and have neglected the vegetables. Of course I ate them in salads but I need to get back on track.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 9:03 AM

yep, a good stick blender will buzz just about anything a regular blender will. Just used mine today with some thawed peaches to make a batch of peach ice cream. One of my fav smoothies is a banana, frozen blue berries and yogurt with protein powder for breakfast. I can make real mayonnaise in about a minute with a stick blender, which beat the store stuff hands down.

-- Posted by bentryder on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 8:17 PM

try seriouoseats.com and do a "smoothie" search in the photograzing section; lots of inventive ideas there. for example:

http://www.willcookforfriends.com/2012/0...

-- Posted by bentryder on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 2:40 PM

Steve,

You're doing really great! It's virtually impossible to live continually in this mode unless you have the initiative of a major disease. Have you tried slipping greens and carrots into your fruit smoothies? We add parsley and kale to almost all our morning fruit drinks. The first day or two, you may be offended by the appearance, but the taste quickly grows on most devoted smoothie buffs.

On juicing and the fiber, noting, and I do mean nothing makes for better compost than the pulp from vegetable juice added in with the fall leaves and garden refuse.

-- Posted by dmcg on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 7:28 PM

Whoo! Who needs coffee when you mix a smoothie with one orange, one lemon a Granny Smith apple and a banana? My first taste was pure pucker power!

This was one of the few times I just had to go back and mellow it out and STILL it packed wallop! I have a cup of coffee sitting on the desk right next to the smoothie but I will probably drink it after, as a chill down.

I mellowed it with a cup of plain yogurt and some honey. It woke me up this morning and it is making sure I don't get any after-lunch drowsiness.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 1:26 PM

I have had a persistent, annoying cough for many years. Nothing major, just annoying.

When I am on a smoothie only diet, the cough goes away. When I cheat with a processed food of some sort, I cough.

Most cereal makes it happen and just now a slice of processed cheese brought it on again. I would suspect milk, but I am not sure how much is in the processed cheese. Maybe some preservative?

The cereal could be gluten, since I had this reaction when I ate a meat substitute at a vegetarian place that was made from wheat gluten.

I know this wasn't a post about my latest smoothie, but an interesting observation, none-the-less. Well, at least for me. :-)

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 10:52 PM

One of these days I need to actually use some of the recipes I have in two cookbooks I got with this Vitamix. I just keep throwing things in, but they have always come out interesting so....

This morning two bananas, yogurt, a little milk for starting the mix, almonds, flax seed, strawberries and white grapes. I was not disappointed although I actually planned on a mushroom, cheese omelet.

Now for a delicate question I have been asked. Other than having to tinkle a lot more, I have not had any experiences with diarrhea or constipation. Maybe that is because I am not strictly juicing, have fiber in my smoothies or have not cut our solid food altogether.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Oct 12, 2012, at 7:20 AM

Who might have the best selection of fresh vegetables in Shelbyville? I was less than impressed with Walmart.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Oct 12, 2012, at 12:06 PM

Well, I guess no one has the best fresh veggies and fruits, or everyone has fallen asleep.

I have to start learning how to make smaller quantities and that will entail not using the whole fruit. One that will be easy to start cutting back on is a whole lemon.

Wow, what a kick! I can't seem to tame it down with yogurt, honey or bananas. Best to just try half of one, maybe a fourth!

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Oct 13, 2012, at 9:57 AM

When you say whole lemon are you being literal? If it isn't an organic lemon, the peel is capable of storing immeasurable pesticides, fungicides, etc, etc, etc. The pith is full of beneficial bioflavonoids and very healthy, but we do not use the outer peel because of toxicity issues, unless it is an organic lemon.

Your cough issue is interesting and similar to my sister's exact same issue.

Our experience with the indelicate part, even on a complete juice fast, you never stop going. Have you read much about soluble vs insoluble fiber?

-- Posted by dmcg on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 8:24 AM

I've started losing weight again. Only 2 pounds but it is heading the right way again.

I am guessing, but my raid loss of size around my waist must have been my stomach shrinking. Now for the rest.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 8:55 AM

Well, I have been doing a modified smoothie regime for approximately six weeks now and while my weight loss has not been phenomenal and my energy level is not what I had hoped for, (yet) I am proud to say I have settled into a "natural diet" with very little "pain".

I find myself not craving my normal foods, not missing bread, or pasta as much as I thought and have stayed away from the "snack" shelf for several weeks now. No donuts, no cakes, no candy, and no soft drinks.

Before, a salad was just a warm-up to eating. Now, a salad can be my whole meal. I could have eaten a half a chicken with sides and now I lose interest with a leg and a thigh.

When looked at it that way, there is progress.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 17, 2012, at 7:00 AM

Actually, there is weight loss as well! I am back to 12 pounds lost and some folks are starting to notice. (a really nice reward and motivator) :-)

I really need to start adding more veggies. I've fallen into a fruit trend and while that is good, a balanced mix is better.

Last night I tried a carrot soup with garbanzo beans. I made it a little too spicy and the beans were needed to give me some texture.

The Vitamix emulsified the carrots, peppers, & celery. Next time I think I will stop it after a few seconds and heat it in the microwave. Also needed some tomatoes, which I did not have.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 17, 2012, at 2:42 PM

This morning I threw a carrot and some watercress in my fruit smoothie. A little different taste but more to the liking of my palate that just veggies.

I picked up some spinach and Nappa cabbage yesterday. I figure I'll mix those in as well. Spinach worked well before so no experiment there but not the Nappa.

I need to get my winter garden going. The veggies are getting expensive int he store and I can grow most of these in a cold frame.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Oct 18, 2012, at 10:14 AM

Guess I am going to stop this blog post. Not sure anymore if anyone is reading it but trust that I am continuing on with my smoothie program. I am liking it more each day.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Oct 19, 2012, at 7:33 AM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.