|Melissa Danielle brings blending to the people of Brooklyn!|
Fortunately, I've got Melissa Danielle (aka The Badass Blender Woman) on my side. She was kind enough to share her enthusiasm and knowledge about creating whole food based smoothies with us.
How long have you been the Badass Blender Woman? What made you start?
Ha! That name was given to me about a year or two ago. I've been blending seriously since 2004, when I bought my first Vitamix.
You are quite the online and community advocate for smoothies. Where does this passion come from?
I don't believe there should be a such thing as eating healthy or eating junk. People should just eat (real food). I want people to choose green smoothies like it's no big thing, like, this is what I felt like today. Tomorrow I might feel like a slice of pizza, and later that day I'll have a green smoothie because it's just a regular part of the meals I prepare for myself. No dogma, no food police.
Green smoothies can give you up to half the daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables, so if you can drink it, why not go for it? It's easy and doesn't take a lot of time to make or clean up. I love cooking, but I hate the clean up part. There's very little to clean after a smoothie.
What are some of the benefits of making your own smoothies as opposed to just picking up a packaged bottle of Naked or grabbing something at a juice bar?
Blending is a whole food method of food prep, and there's very little to no food waste. If there is, you can compost it. Most packaged smoothies and juices are concentrates blended together with a banana, if you're lucky, and some of them add sugar. Then there's the pasteurization and preservatives to keep the product shelf stable. So you have all this sugar from the juices, with more sugar, on top of the other stuff you probably can't pronounce, and your body is going to freak out.
When you make your own smoothies, you can add as little or as much as you want to it - you can go crazy. But you know what all went into it. The fiber's still intact. There will be a slow release of the fructose so your body will enjoy the energy boost without the crazy sugar crash and burn you can experience when you eat processed foods. And since most of us don't chew our foods properly anyway, blending gives your stomach and intestines a rest with having to break down everything. Which also means you poop better and faster, but that's a story for another time. :-)
|Vitmix TurboBlend Two Speed (Image via Vitamix.com)|
They discontinued my model years ago. I really haven't been able to figure out what makes any of the newer models better than another, aside from the bells and whistles they add to the package, like extra containers, spatulas, and a mug.
I say start with a reconditioned model, which is usually a demonstration model that just gets tuned up and made all shiny and (like-) new again. It's at the lowest price point of the models and comes with a five-year warranty. [Visit BlendedNYC for a free shipping discount!]
The Turboblend Series is the next price up from the reconditioned model and is great for folks just starting out with plant-based meals.
As Vitamix is out of budget for some of us, what are some features we should look for in lower priced blenders to indicate quality? How can we help out budget blenders perform their best?
I can't help you here. Several of my recent converts burned through two blenders in the time I've had mine, making green smoothies. I use my Vitamix to turn kale, collard greens, carrots, beets, and squash into mush. I use it to grind nuts, seeds, and peppercorns. I make soup, from cold water to boiling with several ingredients I barely cut. I've made confectioner's sugar in it. I even tried scrambled eggs in it once (not recommended. vinegar became my best friend after that :-/). For seven years I did all of that with no problems until I did something I wasn't supposed to do. Then I fixed it and it almost feels like it's working better.
So I say, stop buying the one thing you buy the most that is really nonessential to your health and well-being (like coffee or cigarettes) and save your duckets. Sign up for the payment plan, like I did, and get a Vitamix. I bought a Vitamix when I saw that the place I was buying smoothies from everyday used it. I'd already spent a little over 300 bucks in smoothies that summer. The Vitamix was only about 100 bucks more. It made more sense to get the Vitamix then to shell out another 5 bucks a day. I've met people who've owned a Vitamix for 20 years and all they had to replace was the container.
|Melissa inspired me to make my first green smoothie in March.|
Take a handful of your favorite leafy green and a handful of your favorite fruit, add water, 100% fruit juice, yogurt, or kefir to taste (dairy or non-dairy, whatever). And blend until you get the consistency that you want. Don't add sweetener. Just add more fruit. Over time, add more greens and less fruit until your palate adjusts.
Since this is a cleaning blog, I need to know: How do you clean your blender?
I add hot water with a little dishwashing soap and blend for about 60 seconds, then rinse. If I am blending something that leaves behind an oil or strong scent, I'll add a little vinegar.
Also, what's the easiest way to get dirt off greens?
Clean your kitchen sink well (yay vinegar!), stop it up, and fill it with cold water. Separate the bunch, swish the greens around in the water for a few seconds, then leave it alone for a few minutes. Come back, pull the leaves out, and give them a good shake. Drain the sink. All the sand/dirt should be in the bottom of the sink. With spinach, you may have to do it twice.
|Melissa visits KitchenSurfing Office. (Image via KitchenSurfing.com)|
I signed up with Kitchensurfing back in the spring. It's a social networking site for people who like to cook and people who like to eat. If you're hosting a party and you want someone else to do hors d'oeuvres or the cocktails, you create an account on Kitchensurfing.com, find someone who can do what you want, negotiate the price, and you're good to go.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I love what you're doing with your blog. And, if folks want to learn more about green smoothies and how to incorporate them into their diet, they can sign up for my online Green Smoothie Challenge.
Learn more about The Badass Blender Woman:
Visit BlendedNYC.com, for more info on everything, including the Green Smoothie Challenge and free shipping discount on a Vitamix.
Follow @BlendedNYC on Twitter.
Connect with The Badass Blender Woman on KitchenSurfing. Hire her to make smoothies at your next event!
Melissa Danielle is a Jill-of-All Trades. She's a life coach, a nutrition coach, an advocate for farmers, a food justice advocate, a yoga instructor, a social media guru... She's basically the Martha Stewart of getting your sh*t together. See all of what she is up to at HoneybeeHolistic.info