Note: we paid for our juicer fair and square. Omega is not paying me to write this post. This is me, spewing mad love for my Omega VRT350HD since so many people have emailed and Facebooked me about what’s what and what kind of juicer they should get.
I don’t know if it’s just because we’ve been juicing for a few months now or if it’s the new year or if I’ve always had a bunch of friends interested in juicing and just never realized it, but I’ve had an influx of emails and Facebook messages and tweets about which juicer to get and why we chose the one we did. I figured I’d write a post about why we went with the Omega VRT350HD over the others and talk a bit about the pros and cons of the juicer, now that we’re almost two months into this journey.
Why Did We Choose This Juicer?
When we got to Lake Elsinore, we met two fellow skydivers/staff members that would bring juice to work with them. They talked about it in the mornings and it was fascinating to me. I love juice but I’ve never enjoyed the store-bought stuff because it’s so processed or sugary or full of sodium. When I started changing my lifestyle in August, my doctor recommended a nutrition plan and said that if I ever found myself in a plateau, to do a day where I drink only juice or a day where I eat only protein, nothing else. This worked, and I’d do one protein-only day a week when I needed a metabolism boost. She recommended buying a juicer but I couldn’t justify it at the time, so I supplemented with Bolthouse Farms Carrot Juice, Green Goodness juice and the Vanilla Chai protein shakes.
Given the availability of fresh produce year round here, as well as knowing people (besides my doctor) who had juicers and swore by them, I started doing research. Both of my coworkers recommended a masticating juicer versus a centrifugal juicer, and that is where I started as a basis for the research.
When comparing a centrifugal juicer to a masticating juicer, there are a couple of variables to consider:
- Volume of juice produced
- Dry pulp vs. wet pulp
- Quality of juice produced
- Speed at which the juice is produced (Higher RPM = more heat)
- Noise level of the juicer
- Oxidation of the juice after it is made
We started watching videos, there is site called Discount Juicers and it is full of different information and their YouTube channel is full of comparison videos between different brands and styles of juicers. Some of them show how much volume can come from the same amount of produce using the different machines, and some of them just highlight how they work.
This is the video that got us interested in the Omega VRT350. It’s 30 minutes long, so it’s a bit extensive, but we watched several of these after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. (In case the video doesn’t load below, click here to view it)
The juicer used in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is the Breville Juice Fountain. No doubt an awesome juicer, but after doing research so we didn’t go into the purchase blind, the quality of the juice, the yield and the dryness of the pulp was what sold us. We knew that this could potentially be a big investment, to add juicing to our lifestyle, and to dryer pulp = more juice = more bang for your buck. Obviously the difference isn’t THAT much, because John still lost a ton of weight and is super healthy now, but there are little nuances to what kind of juicer works for what you need it for.
The price is high. We ended up choosing the VRT model over the Omega J8000-series because of the counter space issues. They’re essentially the same juicer but counter space is a hot commodity at our house.
A masticating juicer is also called a slow juicer. Slow juicing = more nutrients because it is squeezing the juice, not cutting it = lower RPM = less oxidizing = more nutrients. And it’s much more quiet than the centrifugal juicers. You can see in the video that a centrifugal juicer sounds like a blender. Not a huge deal, and we definitely didn’t weigh this heavily when deciding what to purchase, but if you have roommates that would be pissed if you were blending all the time, it might be a factor for you.
I think the only thing we would change is that it cleans itself. But, cleanup is done in 5 minutes or less. You disassemble it, rinse the parts, and there’s a brush that looks like an oversized toothbrush that comes with the machine to help clean the basket.
Some pro-tips for the Omega VRT350HD:
- It comes with two baskets that help filter the juice from the pulp. Use the basket with the smaller holes unless you like REALLY pulpy juice. If you don’t like pulp at all, you’ll need to filter it and your volume will decrease significantly. I consider the juice produced by this juicer to be a “well-bodied” juice – similar to the consistency of V8.
- To speed up cleaning time, fill up a glass of water and pour it through the juicer before you take it apart to clean it. It helps speed things up and clear some of the debris from the basket.
- Rotate greens, softer vegetables or fruits and harder vegetables or frutis to prevent the basket from clogging. For example, start with spinach, then do a cucumber, then a carrot, etc.
Things we’ve juiced & they juice well:
- Greens: Kale, spinach, chard, parsley, cilantro, romaine, etc
- Veggies: Carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes (a fruit?), parsnips, bell peppers, beets, jalapenos, serranos, garlic, zucchini, ginger
- Fruits: apples, oranges, grapefruit (a whole one is way too bitter for my taste), satsuma, lemons, limes, kiwi, pineapple, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries
Things you can’t juice: mango, avocado, banana. But, you can juice whatever you want to juice, then add the juice and the soft fruits to a blender and blend it up. But don’t put avocado or mango or banana in a juicer. We haven’t tried it but I hear it’s a disaster.
One of the biggest things I was concerned about was how everything would taste. This blog helped me figure out what the different flavor profiles are of various fruits and veggies. The formatting on Juicing for Health is enough to give you a headache, but you can cure that headache by clicking through the fruit juicing and veggie juicing links and seeing what the healing properties are of each on the right hand side of the screen. Pretty interesting stuff!
Now, if the peeps from Omega are listening, I definitely wouldn’t mind having a juicer to give away to someone…
Do you juice? What kind of juicer do you use? What are some of your favorite recipes?
I am going to venture to say that I would probably be okay drinking juice for the rest of my life. Chewing is totally overrated.
Since we moved to California and met a handful of colleagues who have juicers, we’ve been doing some research. If you are considering the whole juicing thing, there’s a lot to consider. I’ll let the juicing-specific websites like Discount Juicers help you decide which one to get. Amazon.com also has a ton of reviews on damn near every kind of juicer out there. And believe me, there is a lot of information about which kind to get. Do your research.
We watched countless YouTube videos demonstrating the differences in yield (how much juice it makes), pulp (the dryer the better bc then you know you’re getting more juice), and what kind of juicers are better for different kinds of juicing. We decided to get the Omega VRT350 HD. It’s self-feeding, and a slow juicer, which allows us to juice the leafy green vegetables as well as hard produce like carrots and apples. We were torn between this one and the J8006, and went with the VRT350HD because it takes up less counter space.
So what is the motivation for all this juicing shenanigans?
I’m not sure where my sudden obsession started. I think part of it was listening to a couple of instructors talk about juicing, or maybe it was this video. Then I started researching. THEN I was looking for a good documentary to put me to sleep and found Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It sounded like something along the lines of Super Size Me, but in a healthy way. Turns out, it’s all about juicing. I had no idea!
So we watch the documentary and the boy is all “you didn’t need to watch that to make me want to get this juicer, I like juice, let’s do this.”
And so, the research was stepped up a bit. I checked out the Reboot program that spawned off of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. We decided we want to do a 10-day juice fast, and then continue to juice daily as a supplement to our regular meals. But, realistically, this week in particular, we have an Ugly Sweater party on Friday and the work holiday party next Monday. So once we get through that, we’ll start the fast. This gives us time to sort out some recipes, figure out how much produce we can buy at one time without it going bad, and get an idea of how much all this produce will cost.
This is just the beginning. We’ll likely start the juice fast next Thursday. Between now and then, I’ll post recipes and pics and all that fun stuff. And if you have questions along the way, feel free to ask! Sweet!
For $32 and change, we got the following:
- 2 heads of celery (two big bunches of stalks, not sure if they’re actually called “heads” or not)
- 3 jalapenos
- 3 bunches of kale
- 1 bunch of green chard
- 2 bags of grapes
- 4 cucumbers
- 1 bag of cranberries
- 5 kiwis
- 7 granny smith apples
- 4 lemons
- 5 lbs of carrots
- 9 oranges
- 16 roma tomatoes
- 4 boxes of blackberries
For our first juice, we decided to do a fruit blend.
Fruit Juice #1
We set aside the fruit above. Since we didn’t know how much juice we’d get out of everything, we ended up pulling out more than we actually used.
What you’ll need, to fill up the 32 ounce juice pitcher:
- 2 boxes of blackberries
- 1/2 bag of cranberries
- 1/2 bag of grapes
- 2 apples
- 1 kiwi
Be sure to alternate soft fruit and hard fruit. Do a handful of grapes, then a piece of apple. Makes two 16-ounce servings. Surprisingly, I could really taste the kiwi out of all of it. So good. And the cranberries weren’t bitter at all.
Our particular juicer has two different screens you can use, one with small holes and one with larger holes. We opted to try the one with the larger holes first, so we could see the consistency of the juice, and determine if it was too pulpy or too fine for us. It was kind of a mix between juice and a smoothie-like thickness. A little bit more pulp than “really pulpy” OJ, but not quite as thick as a smoothie. But it was refreshing and delicious.Of course we’re on a roll so we kept going. For the next juice we did a little fruit and vegetable combo.
Fruit and Veggie #1
- 1 granny smith apple
- 1 cucumber
- 4 stalks of celery
- 1.5 cups of baby carrots (we wanted to use these up before we got into the 5 lb bag of whole carrots)
- 1-inch slice of ginger
The boy wasn’t too crazy about this one. I thought it was absolutely delightful, but for the vegetable juices like this one, I think I’ll use the finer screen to keep some of the pulp out.
And then, the boy loving V8 as much as he does, we opted to try an all-vegetable juice.
Vegetable Juice #1 (aka “Swamp Water”)
- 7 Roma tomatoes (we added one more at the end)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 jalapeno, cut in half, seeds removed (left the ribs)
- 2 stalks of celery
- 4 kale leaves
The boy was weary of the leafy greens, but he really enjoyed this one. “The jalapeno saved it,” he says. This would make for a great Bloody Mary Mix. Once we were done juicing the vegetables, the juice was quite thick. I thinned mine out with a bit of water. The boy let his sit and he took his time with it, and by the time he was about halfway through, sipping casually, it had thinned itself out. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s not like it separated and all the pulp was at the top or something, but it just… calmed down, or something.
- The Roma tomatoes didn’t juice very well. A friend said to try green tomatoes.
- We had to disassemble the juicer in the middle of the Swamp Water juicing. To be fair, we didn’t clean the basket at all during the first juicing session. We did three full pitchers of juice without cleaning the screen.
- The screen with the bigger holes makes very thick, pulpy juice. Which, for fruit juice and vegetable juice, at least for my taste, is great. For the fruit and veggie combos, I’ll probably use the screen with the smaller holes.
- Jalpeno + all things vegetable juice = amazing.
- Swamp Water is one of the juices I’ll crave. It’s so savory and it’s quite filling.
- Fruit juice is going to be dangerous, I think, only because it’s so freaking delicious. I need to make sure I do a nice balance of fruit juices and vegetable juices. Granted, it’s not like I’m juicing poptarts and adding sugar cubes to the mix, but I know I need to watch the all-fruit juice combos.
- In the instance of the Swamp Water, I can drink that one a bit more casually, as time tends to calm that juice down so it’s not so thick. Is there a term for this?
Looking forward to trying out some different combinations, combing Google for recipes, and easing our way into this new world.
Do any of you juice? Any favorite recipes?
Facebook = Accountability at its finest. And I’m down a whopping 18 pounds. And holy shit 3Ring Media logos!
No but really, as the title would suggest, Facebook has done a tremendous job of holding me accountable for staying on track with this new healthy lifestyle thing. Not kidding. I’d like to give you a demonstration.
I think it is abundantly clear that of the 18 (YES 18 HOLY SHIT POUNDS) pounds I’ve lost so far – a good chunk of that is in my face. Granted, I’m pretty sure I was even more fat in the face than I was in that picture because it wasn’t until the end of July that I was totally disgusted with how I’d let myself go and decided I need a change. But regardless, you can see the progress. Both of these photos, both horrendous and delightful, courtesy of THEE Becky Johns (see also: Becky Johns Photography).
I’ve been holding steady around 17-18 pounds lost for a week now. I had a few beers last Monday when we were in the city and it was crazy how much I could tell a difference on Tuesday. I’d never been able to actually see how bloated drinking makes me until earlier this week. Tuesday was ridiculous. I felt like absolute garbage and I was all puffy and gross. I had zero energy on Tuesday and skipped my workout – which made me feel even worse. By Wednesday I was still feeling bad about Tuesday, and we received some news about the boy’s best friend being in ICU up in New England, so I skipped Wednesday’s workout as well. Then Thursday morning, after a very long and emotional Wednesday night (his friend isn’t out of the woods yet, but making huge strides considering he was in a coma last week) I had a mini meltdown because our kitchen was a disaster and I had gotten off schedule with the workouts. Here I was, freaking out because two things I know I have control over in my life and I wasn’t doing either one of them.
So I got back on track last week. Surprisingly, the one thing that wasn’t really slipping was what I’m eating. I was still making smart choices on that side of things. This weekend, for the first time in months, I had some pizza, and it really just wasn’t as good as I remember it. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t splitting at 20″ “Party Pizza” with Barry in one sitting. #willpower
The Bucktown 5k is coming up quickly! Not this weekend, but the following, I’ll be headed out to the city for my first 5k. A couple people from the dropzone are racing as well, which will be awesome. And there is a ton of awesome stuff happening between now and then. Today is the 2nd Annual Freefall University Tattoo Party at Twisted Tattoo in Chicago. Our friend and fellow skydiver, Pete, owns the shop and shuts it down for skydivers only around this time each year. I have a super sweet design in mind and can’t wait to see how Ben takes it and runs with it. He does the boy’s tattoos as well as our friend Tim’s masterpieces, so I’m familiar with his style and I think he could really run with this. But I’ll let the suspense get to you, pictures to come after it’s done.
Next Thursday and Friday is the Freefall University Tunnel Camp, which also happens to coincide with the Great American Beer Festival. Coincidence? I think not. The boy and I and several recent graduates and experienced jumpers at CSC are headed out to visit our friends at SkyVenture Colorado to fly in the indoor wind tunnel. Wind tunnels are great for people who want to experience the feeling of freefall without the whole jumping out of planes thing, as well as a very valuable training tool for experienced jumpers. The boy and I will be flying together for 30 minutes, which is like doing 30 skydives. He’s working up a training program for us to go through during each of our sessions. I remember I went last year with 40-something jumps and it was absolutely amazing to see the progress I made after 30 minutes. I can’t wait to see that again, especially now that I’m more familiar with how to fly in the sky and I’ve already done some tunnel time so I don’t have to use the first couple of minutes getting used to flying in one.
18 pounds. That’s more than 1/10th of my starting body weight. When you put it into perspective like that, it makes it feel that much better. 30 pounds is the original goal, but after meeting with the doctor, she thinks an additional 10 is doable and would put me in my absolute best position ever. That’s why I like this doctor, she isn’t like “okay, drop 10 and you won’t be ‘at risk’ anymore” but she tells me, “okay, 30 pounds total is great, but make it 40 and you’re in optimal condition.”
Optimal sounds pretty awesome.
So what’s new with you guys? I know Pat ran his first 5k, what is everyone else up to? If you’re on the weight loss train, how is it going? Even if you’re not, have you tried anything new lately? If you’re a runner, do you have recommendations for gloves and something to keep my ears warm?
So I weighed myself last week and I’m down 13 pounds. Which is almost halfway to my 30 pound goal. Which may eventually turn into a 40 pound goal but more on that later.
I’m not weighing myself this week because it’s that week (you’re welcome for the TMI) and I’m pretty sure that getting on the scale this week wouldn’t be productive for anyone, so I’ll check back in next week when I’m not bloated beyond recognition and all that jazz. Also, next week is my one-month follow up to my first doctor’s appointment, so that’s exciting.
In other news, I was working at the Chicago Triathlon Expo for CSC and seeing all these ridiculously fit people was a total inspiration overload. I mean, there were the people where you could totally tell they’re a triathlete because they’re so hot and toned and just LOOK like they enjoy all of the multisport activities that they dedicate their life to. And then there were all of these other people who, if I was being shallow and totally stereotypical, don’t look like triathletes. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t think they couldn’t do it, but more like “holy shit, anyone can be a triathlete.”
No, I’m not registering for a triathlon. Baby steps.
But I did register for the Bucktown 5k yesterday. Partly because Martha, one of the women that PROskydiving sponsored for a 5k earlier this summer, is running it and asked me to join. Also partly because the race packet includes a track jacket that is pretty sweet looking. But also because I’ve been working on this walking turned jogging turned running routine in the morning and it’s not THAT BAD and I think I could totally do it.
I registered yesterday and said “okay, the routine I do in the morning is a 5k, now I just need to work on running the whole thing instead of warming up, jogging, walking, jogging and walking again.”
Today I did my little warmup and then RAN THE WHOLE DAMN THING. I was going to do my warmup, then jog, then walk routine after I cross the major road and then run again when I get to the end of that street, but I just kept going. Originally I was thinking, “hmm, get to the first driveway then you can walk” but that turned into “okay I’m here but I’m not dying so let’s go for the next driveway” and then that turned into “okay looks like we’re going to run the whole damn thing” and guess what? I didn’t die!
Who am I and what did I do with my “I only run if I’m chased” counterpart? This is bananas!
So, all things considered, I’m OBSESSED with the iMapMyRun+ iPhone app. If you’re not familiar, it uses GPS to track your runs and time and pace and thus calories burned and IT’S LIKE I AM COMPETING WITH MYSELF and it’s totally awesome.
I also purchased a snazzy new pair of Brooks Glycerin 9′s at the Triathlon Expo. They’re so hot looking it’s stupid. And they’re totally comfortable, it’s like running on clouds, which is handy, considering my other obsession that has to do with the sky and things of that nature.
Nicole wrote a post today about how she’s training for a half marathon and she’s writing about her training and it’s okay if your topics change as you change and all that. I say hell yes.
Right. So skydiving and running seem to be the focus here now.
If you run and have an iPhone – what kind of case do you use? There are a bajillion reviews on Amazon.com but I tend to trust what you guys say more than some Joe Schmo on Amazon… Help a sista out!
Current total weight lost: 9 pounds. And I weighed myself after breakfast and a ton of water following my walk/jog this morning, so maybe more like 10 pounds. But for the sake of talking, NINE POUNDS MOFOS!
I’m seeing it mostly in my face and around my ribs, and I feel dramatically better. My beer gut is decreasing since I cut out the booze, which makes my jumpsuit a little bit loose in the midsection, which is making me quite happy. It’s nice to not feel like a sausage in my gear, I can’t imagine how it will feel once I’m further along in this process.
On the skydiving side of things, I’ve been doing one-on-one coaching jumps with the boy, taking it back to basic skills of body flight and I have to say, I’ve done nine jumps so far (we’re doing a 20-jump program), and I can already see an improvement. My fall rate is slowing down (FINALLY) and I’m getting better at flying in the mantis position. This weekend, CSC’s local 4-way team, CSC Syndicate, is hosting a training camp, where three people jump with one of the members of the team and work on skills. I am so excited I could squeal! I hope the coaching jumps have prepared me for the camp, because I’d really like to do well and learn a lot this weekend.
As far as the cutting out/back on the booze, it’s funny when you go from being the party girl, who would go to the local watering hole and split a pitcher or four with her boyfriend and the boys, to the girl who orders pitchers of water. I went to the CSC staff outing last night and when I kept ordering water, one of the tandem instructors asked me if I was pregnant.
For the record: I am not pregnant. In the event of last night, I was designated driver for the boys and in the event of every other night, I’m dramatically cutting back on the drinking side of things. I’m doing this to lose weight, not to preserve a growing baby. Now that we’re clear. At least I don’t look like I’m pregnant. Could be worse.
So I’m waiting to hear back on my labs from last week, but I’ve been keeping up with the LoseIt app and have been doing my morning and sunset walks with the dog. Last week I’d walk the route we usually take in the morning, then walk and jog it at sunset. Today, I took a drive and extended the route, nearly doubling it, and this morning I jogged about half of it, alternating with the “old lady at the mall” superwalk.
I don’t know that I’ll ever be a runner, but I’m jogging and it’s not killing me, so that’s progress for sure. The morning/evening walk/jogs combined with jogging back from the landing area after every jump are definitely helping speed up the process.
Breakfast has been an egg white omelette with broccoli and feta cheese, which I usually only eat half of and have the rest around lunch or shortly thereafter. I’ve been on a chicken and vegetables kick lately, and since we’ve been going out to eat quite a bit as of late, it’s been kinda fun being a total pain in the ass at the restaurant when I ask for the chicken to be served with veggies instead of pasta or potatoes or fries or something. But, I don’t mind being that guy. I’m not nasty about it but I remember when I was working at Charley’s Steakhouse and I never personally got upset with people that made those requests, but I know a lot of my colleagues did.
So, 21 pounds to go. According to LoseIt.com, I should be at my goal of losing 30 lbs by November 10. Which puts me five days ahead of the end of the season. Perfect.