This is a short article on why I love my Nutribullet for daily healthy smoothies, based on its excellent design and ease of use, and the benefits I’ve had from it!
It was in August of 2016 that I decided to go vegan after being “nearly vegan” for the last 4 or 5 years. I won’t go into the reasons now (I’m sure I’ll post something on that at some point!), but it was a relatively simple evolution for me to avoid eggs and dairy as these were foods that I only really ate in fairly small quantities anyway, and somewhat reluctantly (I’ve always thought of eggs as “nearly” meat (I understand that the ancient Egyptians used to describe eggs as “liquid meat”, which seems about right) and dairy always recalled my father’s comic term for milk: “cow squeezings”).
So, now that I was leaving more things out of my diet, I decided that I would make a concerted effort to replace them with more healthy items. I’ve always (and especially in Singapore) enjoyed a great variety of fresh, healthy plant-based food, but thought that I could do with a regular dietary boost to make sure I was covering all the bases.
I’ve had medical tests annually over the last 3-4 years and noted from the results of tests in 2013 and 2015 that, despite my allegedly healthy vegetarian lifestyle, I had a somewhat high cholesterol ratio: 4.5 in 2013, 4.4 in 2015 (compared with a “<4.0” target). Removing dairy from my diet entirely, and replacing it with good, plant-derived and seed-derived fats (avocado, flax seed etc) could only help with that, I thought. The issue was how to find a way to easily work this additional “good” stuff into my daily diet. Remember this… I’ll come back to it!
I had experimented previously with juicing (creating mostly green juices from a variety of leafy greens, along with some fruits to make things palatable) earlier in 2016. For this, I used a Bosch MES4000GB juicer. Three clear issues occurred to me with this:
- It’s a relatively large chunk of gadget, so takes up considerable kitchen work surface real estate
- It has many parts which need cleaning, post-juicing
- It’s wasteful: I was conscious of throwing away a LOT of perfectly good and beneficial fibre as part of the process of extracting the magical “green juice”
After a month or two of soldiering on and using the juicer religiously, points 2 and 3 eventually got to me, and I put the juicer in a cupboard.
And then I came across the gadget which perfectly addresses all of the above points!
The Nutribullet – what is it?
The Nutribullet is a bit of a triumph of engineering and design. Yes, really. Basically, it’s a blender, but its design means that it outperforms “normal” blenders in terms of pulverising anything you put in it (even fairly tiny seeds don’t remain intact…). It takes up almost no space on your kitchen work surface (the base unit is 20cm tall, with a 13cm diameter).
But the real clincher is just how effortless and quick it is to clean: this is because, besides the base unit, the only other parts are the plastic container that the blending occurs in (and which you drink the tasty result out of) and a circular blade unit, which screws on to the plastic container. Hence, once you’ve made your smoothie, you unscrew the blade unit and rinse it for 5-10 seconds under a tap, and you’re done. It really is that quick and simple, hence the mental blocker to using it (the “oh god, I’ll have to take it apart and wash 6 different bits afterwards” blocker) just doesn’t apply.
It’s worth emphasising the word “smoothie” here too. You end up getting ALL of the benefit of the vegetables, fruit and seeds that you put into it; there is zero waste. It blows my “juicer” out of the water, entirely, just on that one benefit alone.
The Nutribullet – how do I use it?
I have a default smoothie that I make pretty much every day. It takes around 5 minutes preparation time (and less that a minute to clean up afterwards). The Nutribullet comes with a very useful little brochure that lays out the principle of each smoothie containing 50% leafy greens and 50% fruit, ideally along with a (mathematically impossible, I know) “boost” of seeds, so this is the ratio I stick to.
Recipe is as follows:
- 1 banana
- 1/2″ section of pineapple
- 1/2 avocado
- ~20 blueberries
- big handful of spinach and/or kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons of mixed seeds *
- unsweetened almond milk
(* mixed seeds = sesame, chia, sunflower, flax, dried goji berries)
Having these ingredients to hand does take a little bit of forward planning, but it’s manageable (see “shopping list” use of Evernote here!). I keep the pineapple in an airtight box in the refrigerator and work through it over 5-6 days. Similarly, an avocado cut in half will keep for a day in the refrigerator before going off. I make sure I have 5-6 bananas “in stock” and ripening at any point in time, and maybe 2-3 avocados (it takes a few days usually for these to ripen to the right level, and I can slow this process down, if necessary, by putting them in the refrigerator). I keep a lot of blueberries in the freezer (I’m always buying these when I see them on sale!). And, for the spinach/kale leaves: a bag of these usually lasts around 3 days, so I need to buy these twice a week. For the seeds: I have an airtight plastic box which I fill with my chosen mixture, and I keep this just next to the Nutribullet.
Here’s how it all looks, just pre-blending:
The Nutribullet – health benefits
Now, let’s go back to my cholesterol. I had my most recent (and first, as a vegan) medical test in December 2016, around 5 months after starting this daily smoothie-making/drinking process.
In December 2015, results were as follows:
And in December 2016:
The big changes to note are:
- HDL (“healthy cholesterol”): up 25% (from 44 to 55)
- Triglycerides (a component of “unhealthy cholesterol”): down 60% (from 154 to 63)
Resulting in: cholesterol ratio of 3.6 compared with 4.4 the previous year!
Now, I’ll admit that my daily smoothie is just one lifestyle element that’s changed over the last year. I’m also making a concerted effort to do more daily steps (thanks to my FitBit). But I’m convinced that the dietary change has been the major contributor here, based on my own view that health is “80% diet, 20% exercise” (in turn, based on the well-known mantra that you “can’t out-train a bad diet”). I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. But, do remember that I’m correct 🙂
If you’ve been looking for one lifestyle change you can make, regardless of your current dietary or health regimen, I’d highly recommend the Nutribullet for all the reasons of convenience and potential health benefits described above. They seem to be almost universally available after a massively successful (and deservedly so) infomercial. I’d suggest, though, that you try buy one in an actual retailer rather than online, if you can, as some online versions available on budget websites are fake. If you’re in the UK, buy one at Argos. If you’re in Singapore, buy one in Robinsons. Google for local retailers, and get on with getting one… you won’t regret it.