If you have been following Andy and I since the release of the first of our five books, The Gold Coast Cure (HCI Books), back in 2005 then you know how our nutrition recommendations have evolved over the years. Because of my own health issues that started in 1998 when I was twenty-two years old, our initial focus was on adopting an anti-inflammatory “whole foods” based diet, which included limiting our consumption of animal foods (especially animal-based saturated fat) and totally eliminating processed foods.
Back in 2005 this was actually a pretty big step. I still remember how many people were awe struck that our family did not buy or eat the standard basic American pantry staple foods such as Cheerios and pretzels. People would always ask me the same question, “What exactly do you eat?!”
With the release of our first book we were on CNN, Fox News, Martha Stewart Radio, the Montel Williams Show, etc. and I had pretty much gotten my answer down to an elevator pitch: “I eat unrefined and anti-inflammatory whole foods packaged in their most natural and nutrient rich form and I limit my consumption of animal foods, with the exception of omega-3 rich fish, which I make a point of eating at least a few times a week.”
The anti-inflammatory “whole foods” diet we recommended was not —and still is not—low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie or anything like that.
Instead, it was a way of eating that focused on consuming foods in their most natural and nutrient rich form. For example, I would tell the television producers that I liked to eat corn instead of corn flakes. Or that I would go for whole apples instead of commercial apple sauce that was pumped with sugar and missing the fiber. I would eat a bowl of oatmeal instead of a sugar and oil-laden granola bar that was “made with oats.”
My “whole foods” diet was a great start and it was far better than the foods I ate when I got sick in my early twenties, but it still had room for improvement…
From “Whole Foods Diet” to “Clean Cuisine”
It was thanks to Lenore Pinello, owner of my favorite culinary shop in the Palm Beach area, In the Kitchen, who introduced me to the Vitamix in 2009. I had just released my third cookbook and was preparing to teach a cooking class at In the Kitchen. We only had about 20 minute before the class was scheduled to begin when I realized we were missing the soy milk I had planned to use in my Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse. Dread.
Lenore suggested I try using raw cashews mixed with water in the store’s Vitamix as a substitute for the soy milk. To be honest, I was never totally in love with soy milk to begin with, but because the diet I followed was not only “whole foods” based but also anti-inflammatory, it was low in animal-based saturated fat; creamy dairy foods such as butter, sour cream, cheese and full-fat milk were used very sparingly. Nuts however were slotted into a superfood category and I was always on the lookout for how to add more nuts to my diet in creative ways. Blending cashews with water to make a “milk” certainly sounded creative, I just wasn’t totally convinced it would work. I said ok to Lenore though only because I didn’t really have a better option.
To cut a very long story short, I will just say that my mousse tasted like the most decadent dessert I had ever made since I had started my whole foods diet and cut way back on animal-based creamy foods. After tasting the decadent mousse I realized full-fat and nutrient-dense “nut creams” were the ultimate culinary solution to making rich and creamy recipes without the use of pro-inflammatory dairy.
It was that one single experience with a Vitamix at In the Kitchen that opened my eyes to the possibility of a whole new world of super healthy and ultra “clean” culinary creations. I left the class that night with my first Vitamix and by the next morning I was already doing breakfast differently.
Within a month or so I had totally changed the way I cooked. I stopped buying milk. I no longer needed to purchase yogurt. I started sweetening my desserts with “whole” dates. I no longer used soy milk. I made my first oil-free, creamy salad dressing and my first “No Milk” Shake.
I was cooking up a storm, eating clean and loving every minute of it! I was absolutely amazed a the incredible number of truly delicious and nutritious “clean food recipes” I was able to make with what soon became–and still is—my favorite kitchen appliance.
The Vitamix Enables Health Conscious Foodies to Eat Clean with Zero Compromise in Taste
Our latest book, Clean Cuisine, is definitely nutritionally superior to our original Gold Coast Cure. However,with Clean Cuisine we still place every bit as much importance on taste and the whole dining experience as we do on nutrition. The thing is, we would not be able to maintain the nutritional integrity of our recipes and actually make them taste good if it were not for the Vitamix.
Although my “elevator pitch” has not changed, what HAS changed over the last few years is the percentage of plant-based foods that I now eat. I am still not vegan (click HERE to read why not), but because I now eat even a smaller amount of select, high-quality animal foods than before, my diet is considerably “cleaner.” (Note: keep in mind, animal foods are highest on the food chain ladder and will always contain more toxins than plant foods. If eating clean is one of your goals then you should know that unrefined plant foods are the absolute “cleanest” foods on the planet.)
In reducing my animal food consumption I ditched pretty much all dairy. I no longer eat cow’s milk or yogurt (you can read why HERE.) I do however still indulge in a bit of gourmet cheese—and this is for no other reason other than cheese tastes good. But because I am now able to make incredibly creamy and decadent sauces, soups, dips, “No Milk” shakes, desserts and more with nuts and seed milks / creams I do not miss the cows milk or the yogurt. Not one bit.
These days I also eat considerably more fruits and vegetables. Green drinks like the one my son, Blake, made in the photo above are a staple part of my daily diet. I do all sorts of frozen fruit desserts too (including my favorite Strawberry-Banana Popsicles.) And because I can now whip up velvety creamy vegetable soups that have the very same taste and “mouth-feel” of being made with full-fat cream, I eat lots of vegetable soups too.
While I had never followed a “low fat” diet, I had previously eliminated all processed and pro-inflammatory omega-6 rich vegetable oils. However, by cooking with a Vtiamix I have now been able to dramatically cut down on ALL oils altogether and instead get more of my fats in their more nutritious “whole food” form. For example, olives are always going to be nutritionally superior to olive oil because olives contain all of the fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, etc. found in the “whole” olive. I now make an assortment of oil-free or reduced oil dips, dressings, spreads and sauces (such as my No-Oil Mayo and my Creamy Honey-Lime Dressing with Hemp Seeds) with a variety of different nuts and seeds. This would not be possible without my Vitamix.
In addition, I have been able to dramatically reduce the use of sweeteners by relying more heavily on “whole” fruits, especially dates and white raisins, in my different dessert recipes. One of my absolute favorite new recipes, a Chocolate “Cheesecake” tastes positively sinful and yet contains not one single bit of dairy or refined sugar—it is sweetened entirely with whole fruit, including a sweet but nutritious date puree. Again, I just couldn’t do this without my Vitamix.
I could go on and on about the various tweaks and changes I have made to my diet and recipes over the years and I could elaborate endlessly on my Vitamix-inspired culinary creations, but I will cut it all short simply by saying owning a Vitamix really did change the way I cook and how my family eats. I simply could not eat Clean Cuisine “all the way” without owning a Vitamix.
Below is just a sampling of the variety of different types of scrumptious superfood recipes I can make in my Vitamix…
Creamy, Oil-Free Dressings
Creamy, Oil-Free Dips
Creamy Oil-Free Sauces
Desserts with No Added Sugar
Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Dairy Free Popsicles
Dairy-Free / No-Sugar Added Custards
Nutritious Pie Crusts
Creamy Dairy Free Soups
“No Milk” Shakes
SuperGreen Smoothies (These taste so good that even kids—like my son in the photo above– happily drink them)
And So Much More!
An Economical Way to Own a Vitamix…
I recognize the cost of a Vitamix is a barrier for many people. But did you know you can get a certified reconditioned Vitamix for less than $300?
In fact, I recently purchased my second Vitamix for no other reason than we moved into a new house and I wanted a white base to go with my new white kitchen (along with my toaster, the Vitamix is the only appliance I like to keep on the counter top.) My sister-in-law had already purchased a reconditioned Vitamix, which came with a brand new blender container, and hers was absolutely beautiful and performed to perfection. With all of the expenses we have had moving into and furnishing our new home, I figured I would try to save a bit of money and buy a reconditioned one myself.
Well, I couldn’t be happier with my decision! My beautiful white certified reconditioned Vitamix (in the photo at the top of this post) looks and performs just like new.
I can say with certainty that once you own a Vitamix you will wonder how you ever lived without one…