My Vitamix and Me

There are times in all our lives when we need superheroes.

Photo: Rob Bertholf/Flickr

The first time I saw a Vitamix in person I knew I wanted one. A Vitamix is a really fancy blender that can make just about anything (soups! smoothies! juices!), and it had been on my wish list for awhile. I had never actually seen it in real life before though, (and honestly haven’t seen one since), but just from societal osmosis I knew it was expensive ($450.00) and at the same time, totally awesome. There were urban myths that people I knew had them, but it was so expensive I couldn’t imagine anyone actually owning one.

And then I saw one in the wild. My friends who had the Vitamix were married, a bit older than me, and successful writers/journalists, so it made sense they would have this kitchen device/lifestyle aspirational object. My eagerness to have a Vitamix became even more intense once I saw it in action. My friend put in several Macintosh apples and made the most crisp and refreshing apple juice I’ve ever had. “Imagine having fresh juice every day,” my friend said.

Oh, I did. All the time.

When it came right down to it, the Vitamix was a lifestyle aspiration, and I knew it. If I had a Vitamix, I thought, I could be That Girl, drinking green juice in her reusable bottle and wearing athleisure, as I walked around Park Slope on a sunny day. I thought about this a lot for awhile, and then I stopped. Buying a Vitamix was a lifestyle aspiration that I couldn’t afford, and it didn’t seem to be the best way to spend my money — all my disposable income goes to travel. And while in theory I was into veggie juices, I could never really get behind the whole kale thing, which at the time, I thought was at the crux of all of this. Also, I had recently had a very bad experience with an aspirational juice purchase: I decided it was a good idea to get a green juice at a health food store in Tel Aviv. I threw it out after a couple sips of trying to forget about how much it tasted like grass. It was so bad I couldn’t even carry it around and pretend I liked it. It was definitely Not My Thing.

But after a couple years of thinking of about a Vitamix on and off again, something changed my mind: I was diagnosed with severe anemia.

When I went to the doctor I told her I was feeling terrible all the time. The blood work came back and showed I was severely anemic. I’m a vegetarian, so it somewhat comes with the territory, if you’re a bit of a slacker when it comes to health, as I am. I had been anemic before but my doctor said that I was at a 7.7 level. The normal range is 12–16 and they start doing blood transfusions when women get as low as 7. I was so severely anemic that my doctor was surprised I wasn’t passing out. She asked how I was eating. The answer was, pretty terribly, actually. Every morning I was having homemade chocolate chip/coconut/lavender pancakes, and while delicious they didn’t give me (any of) the nutrients I needed. The rest of my day usually didn’t look much better.

Meal planning is hard, being a smart vegetarian is harder, and needing to get in a ton of iron and other nutrients, while being out for work and meetings, is almost impossible for me. I always had the best of intentions, and would buy the kale and butternut squash, determined to cook healthy meals, but I’m ashamed to say how often I threw out the vegetables. I was wasting food, which was wrong, so I stopped buying the things I knew I wouldn’t eat.

But after that doctor’s visit I realized I needed to get serious about nutrition, and after The Guardian reported that everyone should be getting 10 fruits and veggie servings a day (3 fruit, 7 veggie), I decided to take this as a challenge. I’ve started buying more veggies, some I’ve never even bought before (asparagus can be good, right?). I’m making a conscious effort to have my dinner consist of lots of veggies and whole grains, and at night after work, every time I pass the fridge I take out one carrot to eat, which amounts to about five or six carrots (almost a serving)!

But to really get the 10 servings of fruits and veggies, and start placating my body with nutrients from natural sources, in addition to the supplements, I’m going to have to seriously up my meal planning game. And when I was in Barcelona in the fall, I remembered how much I liked juices. I never buy them in New York because they’re so expensive, but Barcelona understands juice. I know everyone talks about the tapas and churros, but to be honest, the best part were the juices. There was always an interesting new one to try everywhere we went, like the Green Love juice from Flax & Kale (apple, spinach, cucumber, celery, ginger, lemon). Why wasn’t I always having these juices all the time?

There are times in all our lives when we need superheroes. Now I’m thinking of the Vitamix as a superhero, just waiting to swoop in and save the day. With a Vitamix, I could start my day with several servings of fruits and veggies, without even breaking a sweat. I’d get more iron, vitamin D, and could add in some of those powder things that seriously gross me out but my doctor assures me are good.

So I think it’s time to invest. I could buy the Vitamix when it’s on sale and save $25.00 or I could do the payment plan, and pay for it over the course of about a year and a half. I’d rather save the money and pay all at once, though (penny wise and all that). And while I know it won’t solve all of my health problems, and it probably won’t be as easy or glamorous as I’m imagining, it would be easier to mix in the things I don’t want but are good for me (kale, carrots, spinach, any kind of supplement) with the things that I do (beets, cucumber, pineapple, apple, ginger).

The Vitamix is a lot of money, but what better thing to invest in than my health? And now I want it for the right reasons. Instead of thinking of it as just for show, I would actually use it to get the nutrients I need. Though I can’t promise I still won’t go outside in the summer with my green juice and feel pretty cool.

Jaclyn Green-Stock is always looking for her next diversion. She lives in Brooklyn. Follow her on twitter @jaclynrachelpr.

This story is part of The Billfold’s I Want It Now series.

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