Any blender works, however less expensive ones will break down sooner. The popular, expensive and very effective brands are Vitamix and Blendtec. Personally I use a Thermomix, which is a multi-purpose kitchen appliance that blends, food processes, cooks if you want it to, steams, warms or melts at 37 degrees Celsius, weighs, times, crushes ice, mills grain and more. Food processors will not work for smoothies. For traveling, the Tribest personal blender is a great tool as it is small, portable and includes drinking vessels.
Green smoothies need to be blended longer than a conventional smoothie (e.g. banana and milk), due to the fibre that needs incorporating. For the blending of vegetables like celery and high fibre parts of fruit like the core of pineapples, a heavy duty blender is required such as a Thermomix, Blendtec or Vitamix. These blenders can also easily handle ice, which if included, helps to incorporate the fibre into the liquid. However, ice also keeps the temperature of the blended liquid down in the Vitamix or Blendtec, which are also marketed as capable of making hot soup via friction from the blade in the absence of a heating element.
Vitamix and Blendtec customers report that without the addition of ice, smoothies blended beyond a minute are warm, by two mins very warm and recipes from 3 to 9 mins reportedly come out steaming hot. Having a warm smoothie is unpleasant, and runs the risk of destroying nutrients and enzymes if heating is beyond 105 degrees F or 48 degrees C. I will blend my green smoothies and juices for up to 2 mins in my Thermomix and they never come out warm. Furthermore, if I want warm food or I want to cook, the Thermomix has a heating element and sophisticated temperature control at intervals of 37, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 degrees Celsius. If I want to warm up a raw soup or melt cacao butter, I can use the 37 degree button and with confidence, know enzymes will stay intact. If my smoothie became warm from friction alone the temperature light would activate.
Less expensive blenders can make the contents warm too, however lengthy blending also tends to make the motor warm up and sometimes an associated electrical burning smell. This will make you rest your blender which may avoid your smoothie getting warm, however it is rather annoying! The use of frozen ingredients should also be used with caution. It is true that it’s convenient to freeze excess ingredients, to buy frozen ingredients out of season and there is no doubt that frozen bananas in a smoothie is like adding ice-cream!
In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, the consumption of very cold foods and drinks is not recommended. They describe digestion as being a warm event and warmth increases activity. Hence the consumption of cold foods and drinks supposedly slows digestion and requires more and unnecessary energy to heat food up to body temperature. Issues with this are clearly more obvious when foods and drinks are really cold, as opposed to room temperature, which will be closer to body temperature than something frozen. I know that I am not a fan of ice in drinks and I really dislike water that is cold from the fridge. I also know that if I have used frozen ingredients in my smoothies, that my smoothie can be quite cold (because the Thermomix does not warm with friction), my solution to this is adding warm water to my smoothie instead of cool.
In summary my tops tips are:
- Thermomix is number one for quality, power and temperature control
- If using a Vitamix or Blendtec, use minimal ice/frozen fruit or none, blend as little as possible and experiment with the settings to avoid a warm smoothie
- For less expensive blenders, rest the blender if it smells or the base feels warm. Chop the ingredients up into small pieces before adding to the jug. Ensure there is enough liquid for the solids to move, a very think smoothie will be very hard work for a cheap blender. Blend the greens and liquid first before adding the fruit
- Overall, minimise the use of frozen ingredients and certainly not daily to avoid unnecessary strain on your digestive fire!
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