By Michael Andre Adams
Oprah calls it her favorite spa. And in an episode of her final season, she sent the entire audience there.
During my recent stay at Arizona’s renowned, life changing, all inclusive luxury destination spa–Miraval, I experienced the joy of juicing. Each day the juice bar opened at 6:30am, with a menu of fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies made right before your very eyes. And each day by 6:35am, I was there–front and center.
Concoctions created to perfect the skin including the juice of celery, romaine lettuce, lemons, cucumbers and I believe a pears, while other berry laden, high in anti-oxidents blends and more were the perfect jump start to a great day. And if none of their receipes seemed appealing, you could always build your own fresh fruit and vegetable juice or smoothie, made before your very eyes.
The Power of Commercial Juicers/Blenders
The machinery used at Miraval to juice and blend are a far cry from my little KitchenAid blender at home, or the Juiceman juicers I used in the 90′s. Back then I used my little juicer everyday—for about the first six months. Once the honeymoon was over that remained hidden in the very bottom cabinet. Why? Mainly because it was a total pain in the butt to clean! And if I did not take the time to clean it right away, I knew that a nightmare awaited by the time I got home!
Miraval uses an industrial size juicer–the centrifugal type, which separates the juice from the pulp by quikcly spinning the produce against a strainer at a very high speed. Their blenders–made by Vitamix, have a very industrial look as well. But the outcome was always a smooth blend in less than a minute, versus my KitchenAid at home that I’d leave running for 2-3 minutes in an effort to crush the ice and fruit to a smooth consistensy, which didn’t always work. Lesson learned, Vitamix has the power!
Juicing and Blending at Home
Realizing the value and appreciation of a fresh glass of nutrituous juice or smoothy throughop the day, I decided to research the thought of being able to do the same at home. Real quick, I discovered that real juicers and blenders with power come at a premium. For example, Vitamix blenders start at approximately $400, with a warranty for five to seven years. It’s far less industrial looking competitor–Blendtec, whose jar technology Vitamix at one point infringed upon prior to losing a law suit and being forced to back down–also starts around the same price. Each offers a reconditioned model at about $300 and some change.
As for juicers, it seems Omega (priced from $99 to $249)–who also makes a blender with a 10-year warranty and competes with the power of Vitamix and Blendtec—is top dog in centrifugal juicers! Their perhaps closest overall competitor—Breville (priced from $99 to approximately $450), was made popular as a result of the former fat guy who wrote the book, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” But when it comes to standing up for its own product, Breville’s one year warranty can’t hold a candle to Omega’s 10 to 15 year standard warranties on its juicers. To me that speaks volumes when you’re willing to back your product for 10-15 years, versus a company who says–”Give me your money and I’ll be responsible for one year.”
But is it really is necessary to spend that kind of money to make it “do what it do.” I wondered the same thing. In fact, when I left Miraval, I opted for the $159 Kitchen Ninja blender and a centrifugal type juicer I found on eBay for $41. The pulp that came out of the juicer was drippign wet, which meant I was throwing away juice and my money! As for the Kitchen Ninja, it looks great–heavy duty with lots of blades and a great suction system that adheres to the counter top. Nevertheless, it just doesn’t have the power of a real blender, as in a blender by Blendtec, Vitamix or Omega. I ended up returning the Kiitchen Ninja blender and giving away the $41 juicer to a friend who was merely interested in the thought of juicing. And once she gets committed, she too will probably buy a real juicer.
The Right Juicer for You
So for weeks now I’ve been juicing with both the centrifugal and the masticating style of juicers. In case the word masticating sounds unfamiliar, think of the type of juicers used to juice wheatgrass. Omega’s Vert Juicer ($329 to $379) uses the same technology. It slowly smashes the produce against a screen to extrapolate the juice. However, Omega’s Vert juicer stands upright to occupy far less counter top space for an awesome juicer for the home.
Omegas Pulp Ejector line ($99 to $249) of centrifugal juicers quickly reduces produce to juice that comes out of one end, ejecting bone dry pulp out the other end. The mouth of the feed chute is large enough to place an entire apple or orange in at one time.
The difference between the two:
1. Juice from a centrifugal juicer often separates. If you don’t drink it right away, it also spoils.
2. A masticating juicer operates at a much slower speed in comparison to the centrifugal style.Operating at a slower speed incorporates less oxygen into the juice for far less foam and juice separation.
3. With Omega’s Vert Juicer, I can make a batch of fresh juice every two days, storing sealed in the refrigerator for optimum freshness.
4. In both the masticating and centrifugal style of juicers I can juice ALMOST all of the same fruits and vegetables. However, I get a far better yield from greens and wheatgrass in the masticating style.
While both styles of juicers are great to have, considering the freshness factor–less the preservatives found in the fresh juices that sit on the grocery store’s refrigerator shelves, the must have, can’t live withouth (for me) is definitely the masticating style of juicer over the centrifugal. In fact, while writing this story yesterday during an episode of Dr. Oz on NBC, Omega’s Vert Juicer was one of his recommendations to combat the ills of aging.
The Importance of Fresh Produce for Juicing
Another key factor to juicing is the freshness of the produce. I’ll never forget the words of an Ayuvedic doctor I once saw at an Ayurvedic spa on the island of Gozo–sister island to Malta. There at the Kempinski Resort, he told me that eating old produce will make you lethargic.
In the community where you reside and surrounding areas, seek to find weekly farmers markets. In mot cases the farmers who come to town–usually once a week, pick their produce the day before. The result if the ultimate in freshness. Because many local farmers opt out of harmful pesticides, which does not always make for the best looking produce, your body will appreciate your efforts in the long run.
Stay tuned for part two of my series when I’ll spend more time on the best blenders on the market and their ability to put to the more popular home brands we buy and replace numerous times throughout a lifetime.