Photo by Laura Burns (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons; click on photo to go to source page)
Blend or juice?
In my last post I mentioned my wife’s downhill slide as her cancer started to consume her and how I believe the many dietary and lifestyle changes we started and our use of green smoothies were of help in slowing, stopping and eventually reversing her slide.
Some may wonder why we chose to blend instead of juice. In the book The Green Smoothie Revolution, Victoria Boutenko gives her take on the subject in one chapter entitled Blending Versus Juicing. One of the biggest pros for blending she points out is that it retains the fiber and antioxidents and phytonutrients in that portion of the fruits and vegetables. Fiber acts as a natural broom for the colon and a sponge for cholesterol and some undesirable toxins found in our diet.
Some other pros of blending versus juicing: 1. Because of a lack of fiber juices are less filling. 2. According to Ms. Boutenko smoothies are a complete food which we can live on whereas juices are not (although many people have gone on extended juice fasts). 3. In experiments she found that smoothies with the same ingredients as juice will last two to three days in the fridge whereas juices start to oxidize (change color) fairly quickly.
What blender should you use?
So which blender do you use? That depends on your budget. If you start blending and picture using it as a regular part of your diet for a long time I’d recommend investing in the best unit you can afford. The difference in a smoothie made with a conventional blender and one with sufficient power to liquify things is very noticeable. The grit left after using a standard kitchen blender is annoying once you’ve used a better one.
1. Vitamix is considered a top of the line blender. If I could afford one I would buy it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately they are priced in the $400 to $600 range. But if you try blending using a cheaper unit and like it enough to picture doing it for a long time I recommend investing in one if your budget comfortably allows. It’s on my “someday maybe” list.
2. Blendtec is Vitamix’s closest competitor. You can save a good amount of money on a unit that’s comparable to a Vitamix (depending on which models you compare). Blendtec made its name by posting videos blending an assortment of objects you wouldn’t think can be blended (golf balls, iPads, etc, etc.). If you want to see a demo go to YouTube and type in “Will it blend?”. If it looks like I can never afford a Vitamix, a Blendtec is probably what I’ll end up with “someday”.
3. Nutribullet is the smoothie blender we started with and a brand you might consider if you’re like me and my family and on a budget (Go to nutribullet.com and see the inspiring testimonials if you want to be sold on blending in general.) It’s a relatively economical model but stronger than a standard kitchen blender. It does a pretty good job of liquifying smoothie contents with its 600 watt motor. Unfortunately we were using our unit three times a day (my son started making weight gain shakes) and the blade started to noticeably wobble about six months after we bought it. You can buy it online at the Nutribullet website but if you’d like to save $20 to $30 bucks you can buy an identical unit at Walmart.com. If you buy a Nutribullet be sure and carefully read the instruction booklet. Some people have found out the hard way that they can only fill the blending containers up to the “maximum” line and you shouldn’t constantly blend too far beyond one minute at a time. I guess it eventually burns out the motor sooner than usual if you always blend several minutes at a time.
4. The Oster “beehive” blender. This is the blender we’re using now. It’s nicknamed a beehive blender because the lower portion of it looks like a silver beehive. After our Nutribullet wore out I searched the internet for reviews of stronger than average blenders and found good reviews for this one on a green smoothie website. It’s got an all metal drive and, and like the Nutribullet, a 600 watt motor. It’s about as basic of a model as you can get. It’s got one speed and one switch (which the caveman in me loves); a toggle switch which allows you to do bursts of blending (by toggling down) or keeping it going constantly (by toggling up). It’s roughly about $40 cheaper than the Nutribullet when both are bought at Walmart.com. Go to Walmart.com and type in “Oster beehive blender” in kitchen appliances department. I’ve been using ours since July 3rd of this year and have no complaints. I find it very easy to disassemble, clean and reassemble. Don’t take my word for it. Check out buyer comments at Amazon or Walmart.com to see if any comments are red flags for you. Just know that there will be “haters” for any product; someone probably even gave the wheel bad reviews when it was invented.
I recommend trying blending green smoothies with one of the economical models and, if you like making and drinking them and enjoy the benefits and can see doing it for a long time, then invest in a Vitamix or Blendtec (if your budget allows).
Sources of other (non anti-cancer) green smoothie recipes
Also, if you can picture doing this for a long time, you might also invest in a book or two of green smoothie recipes for variety (non “anticancer” smoothies for you, your friends and family). I can recommend Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko as a good starting point. Victoria was one of the “pioneers” of green smoothies. In addition to recipes the book’s got some good information about green smoothies. It’s also got the fascinating story of Clent Manich and his lifelong struggle to control his weight (and later in life diabetes). He had tried everything and failed. Using green smoothies he was able to drop his weight from over 447 pounds down to 170 pounds. The pictures are pretty amazing (Google his name to see).
Also go to Amazon book department and type “green smoothies” in the search box to see other book options. I’d recommend buying a title with a lot of positive reviews.
I do not advocate use of green smoothies as a substitute for conventional care in treating and managing cancer, much less advanced stage cancer. My wife made many dietary changes and some lifestyle changes (most notably regular walking for exercise) and started using certain supplements for my wife as recommended in Dr. Keith Block’s book Life Over Cancer and later recommended by a Block Center physician after tests. I believe that all these combined steps have been a valuable complement to my wife’s conventional treatment and has helped improve the management of her illness.
I strongly recommend cancer patients keep their oncologists informed of the addition of any supplements to their diet to prevent any adverse reactions with medicines being used in their conventional cancer treatment.