Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting Acquainted With My Vegan Vitamix

I've been trying to get to know Vita, my vegan Vitamix.  In the first month of having her, I admit I didn't use her much; she just sat on my counter glaring at me with imposing menace.  Everyone I knew who loved their Vitamix also loved smoothies...and I didn't.  So, I began to think- again, that I'd made a mistake.   Then, when a non-vegan friend said she was considering doing a cleanse of sorts, I decided to do it with her; I can always stand to eat more healthfully.  Drawing on things we know we should do (but don't) and vice versa, as well as information gained from my previous cleanse, we came up with some rules*.  I took the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Vita.

more on this later

This recipe for curry carrot soup was the turning point; it made Vita worth every penny.  I actually used berbere instead of curry, so in my case it was an Ethiopian carrot soup and it was outstanding.  I sauteed the carrots and onions first for extra flavor (this was a suggestion in the search results, but oddly not within the recipe).

Using the same recipe, the very next night I skipped the carrots and berbere and made zucchini and jalapeno soup.  It wasn't as good as the carrot soup, but it was still really good.

My ratio of one, giant jalapeno with seeds to one medium zucchini may not have been proportionate; I had to have a handful of these to dull the burn.


In between, I made my first green smoothie (ok, maybe it was the second); you may recall that green juices do not go over well with me.  But my friend was a sport; she'd already made two by the time I finally got around to it.  I first used this cinnamon banana green smoothie recipe, because it didn't seem too weird.  I had enough anxiety about drinking green, nevermind the fact that I didn't want to think more specifically about mixing greens with milk.  It wasn't awful; I mostly tasted the banana and I was able to drink about 75% of the large portion before my gag reflex said enough.  It's really mind over matter with me and I have to keep in mind what my friend BYOL told me, " can benefit from adding just a little bit of greens to a non-green smoothie if the color is what is throwing you off."  Indeed!

After that I wanted to try a green smoothie recipe that didn't include milk, so I chose this kale, cucumber, and pineapple smoothie from Nava Atlas' Veg Kitchen.  I used orange juice and mango instead of pineapple because that's what I had; I could definitely taste the cucumber and mango the most.  Also, this time I halved the recipe; what it is about green smoothie recipes that assumes you're making them for two? 

I feeling really smug from starting each morning with a green smoothie knew was doing well healthwise, but nothing really stood out as far as taste was concerned until Julie Morris' raw mint chip superfood smoothie.  There was no flavor so discernible that I found myself wondering what it was; it just tasted like a cooling, mint shake.  That's exactly what I want in a smoothie!  Of course the first time I made it I wound up with a mere 8 ounces when I was striving for 12 (math, you are my enemy), but all day I kept thinking about how I'd have another one to look forward to the next morning.  Mind you, I had this thought on what was supposed to be the last day of the cleanse; eery, right?  But still, the next day....a weekend no less.

not a bagel

This has been going on for a couple of weeks now and I haven't died.  Not only am I feeling good about eating more healthfully (and glad to finally be getting my money's worth on Vita), but I'm also enjoying it enough to want to continue to do so.  Stay tuned. 

In case you're wondering, these were our tenets:

processed foods
prepared foods
animal products (in her case)

everything else (fruits, veggies, beans/legumes, nuts/seed, spices, etc.)

I HIGHLY recommend doing this type of thing with a friend; it made it fun, relatable, and easier to face everyday- knowing someone else was choking down unusual smoothies in an effort to get it right as well.  We're both still going strong, and I dare say my friend is teetering on the precipice of vegetarianism.  Woo hoo!


  1. Doing cleanses with a friend DEFINITELY make them easier. I ought to do another one soon.
    I love berbere; I'm sure the soup was wonderful.
    There are a lot of great green smoothies out there. IF I may, the Rising Sun smoothie I (used to) make is really delicious, though maybe spirulina isn't for the anti-green smoothiesters. The Nava Atlas pineapple one sounds great, the mint chip one does as well.
    Also, I love those marys gone crackers but I usually buy the black pepper ones, which wouldn't help quench with the heat.
    How long was the cleanse for?

  2. foodfeud- That Rising Sun Smoothie is nuts! I've never heard of putting most of those ingredients in a smoothie, but I bet it packed a punch. Seriously try that mint one; I don't even have cacao nibs and it's great on it's own. The cleanse had a revolving cycle. It went from 30 days to 7, to 5, to 12 and counting. I did have a slice of pizza and a cookie (ok, 2) on day 6, but other than that it's been smooth sailing. Or, shall I say, clean eating.

  3. Abby, you should have asked me, I would have done the "cleanse" with you. ;)

  4. BYOL- Thanks, Mr. "diluting oil doesn't make it any healthier..."! And FYI, I've decided to try and sub my Magic Bullet!

  5. ha! it doesn't make it any healthier!!!

    And why in the world would you go back to that piece of scrap? That is like trading in a lambo for a 1989 chevy chevett!

  6. ps- those crackers are roughly 32% calories from fat... not exactly cleanse material...

  7. BYOL, re-quoting yourself is unflattering! The Bullet happens to be very handy for small things like dressing. As for the crackers, the fat is from the seeds. Also, MY MOUTH WAS ON FIRE. At least it wasn't a Ritz. Yum, Ritz.

  8. that carrot soup looks AMAZING! and heck yeah, to Ethiopian spices.

  9. It all looks good! I noticed your smoothie looks a little chunky - switch that vitamix to high and give it 30 seconds chunk free gagless smoothies :D

  10. Olivia- it was restaurant quality!

    Sarah- thanks! Every since I made the soup I've been hesitant to run my smoothie on high for fear of heating it up. But with so much frozen fruit, it works like a charm.

  11. This cleanse isn't going to be going on tomorrow is it??

  12. Pecan, I would never do that to you: I won't let you down.

  13. Perfect timing for me to read that YOU are drinking green smoothies. A while ago someone asked me to review her green smoothie book and I politely declined, saying I couldn't get my head around green smoothies. I eat and love tons of green veggies, and I drink green juices on occasion — but green smoothies — ugh.

    So yesterday someone I know asked if I'd review her new cookbook. I knew she was high-raw, vegan and GF, and I said sure, so she got a book out of her car trunk and gave it to me. I didn't realize it was a green smoothie book but, for various reasons, it was too late to back down. Maybe it will be OK. I mean, if you can do it, I can too, right?

  14. I am so jealous of your vitamix!! Sounds like a good cleanse, without weird extremes like so many of them. I make a mild not green "green" smoothie that will win you over- use a frozen banana if you want (i hate them and don't), plus frozen blueberries, big handful of spinach, almond milk, a date if you omit the banana, a gob of almond butter (prob a big tablespoon) and a few ice cubes. Its a dark blue-ish color and taste mostly of almond butter.

  15. Andrea, I'm sure some people don't mind an earthy taste, but as for me: I've been making green smoothies that do not TASTE green! Start from there! (You sure do know a lot of green smoothie cookbook authors!)

    Unknown, thanks for the tip. Since I've been drinking them at least 5 days/week, all suggestions are welcome.


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