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?
Since we got the juicer earlier in the month, we’ve been hitting up the Plowboys Market in Murrieta, CA, twice a week for our produce fix.
In the Adventures in Juicing, Day 1 post, I rattled off an extensive list that cost us just $30-something. I’m half surprised to say that juicing has been an affordable experience, if not something we’re saving a bit of money on. I’ll have to wait to see how my Mint reports compare to months previous, but I’m pretty sure we’re coming out ahead on this one.
The rest of this post is strictly photos because the place is so amazing. If you’re local to the area, I’d recommend stopping by. Total steals on produce and they have a variety of non-produc-ey things like rice and beans and some local breads and honey. But for the most part, straight up fruits and veggies at Plowboys.
Now that you know where we get our produce, it’s probably time to start posting some recipes, amiright? Ask and you shall receive!
Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks for being here, and thanks for staying. I’m thankful for each and every one of you. Okay, all two of you.
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?