This is by far the best blender for smoothies right now!

The BlendTec WildSide is possibly the best blender for smoothies at this time.When buying a new blender, the highest quality model differs according to lots of different factors. What I mean by this is that different people will have their own perceptions on which model has more quality about it. Ideally, there should be a criterion when it comes to choosing the best blender for smoothies. If you’re planning on using this in your own kitchen then it should be designed in a way that it is easy to handle and easy to store. In this case, you should look for a product that isn’t too heavy and can be moved from one place to another.

Additionally, it shouldn’t be designed in such a way that will prevent you from putting it away under your kitchen counter for example. Alongside these factors, of course it needs to be sufficiently powerful to smash through tough ingredients and it also must be easy to use. With a combination of all of these factors, you might think that the blender will end up being quite costly. Well, if it’s quality that you’re looking after then yes, you will need to pay quite a bit. But as long as the value for money is there you shouldn’t have too much of an issue. There are also lots and lots of different products available these days that combine all of the above factors. As a result of this, finding the best smoothie blender for your own personal needs can be a lot more challenging than first thought.

Smoothie blenders like the Vitamix 5200 have gained huge attention due to their perfection. However, when it comes to the design features that are mentioned above, the best smoothie blender has to be the BlendTec Designer Series WildSide. Costing over 350 dollars, this model will cost you quite a bit so you need to take account of this. If you’re looking for the best blender for smoothies within a lower price range then it might be worth spending a little more time on the research stage. But if the BlendTec WildSide blender is a model that you find appealing then read this review to see how well this has done for me.

The Vitamix 5200 is a top quality smoothie blender.If you have already read about other models within this price range then you should be made aware that the WildSide model is a lot smaller and lighter in weight when compared to some of the competitors within this price range. This definitely makes it an ideal smoothie blender especially if you have a small kitchen that doesn’t have too much space. You will easily be able to store this under the cabinets or your kitchen counter. The same cannot be said of the Vitamix 5200. The WildSide model has been made with great durability and you will be able to notice this straight away when you inspect the machine. It’s quite easy to use though clicking on image buttons must operate all the settings and presets rather than buttons with words. This can often be confusing to get your head around. Speaking of presets, there are lots of different ones that you can use. These can range from making smoothies and ice cream to making soup and crushing ice. I mentioned buttons but the machine actually has a sensor surface rather than physical buttons and this is something that really impressed me.

This is a very powerful machine and this is shown by the fact that it literally turns ice into powder. It really is that good! I’ve made all kinds of things ranging from nut butter to whipped cream in this and it has always performed admirably. And when it comes to smoothies, it really is magic to use. It literally works just as well as the most expensive smoothie blenders.

Despite the excellent performance, you need to decide whether you need to spend so much on the best blender for smoothies like this one. Can you settle for a cheaper product that is associated with good performance or do you really need one that has so many presets. Obviously if you want the performance to be perfect and you’re also up for impressing some of your friends then the WildSide blender would be the one to go for. However, 350 dollars is a lot of money and you need to decide whether this would be better off being spent on something else.

Children (and Parents) of the Corn

Industrialized food has taken over our diet.It has been said that if you are what you eat, and you eat industrialized food made in the USA (think packaged chips, crackers, cookies, cereal and soft drinks) you are, in one word, corn.

The penetrance of corn into what we eat, touch, buy and discard each day isn’t exactly news to me, ever since I saw Food Inc years ago — it’s fed to cows who can’t digest it, causing illness and infection; it’s made into high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is, arguably, a metabolic poison; it’s being genetically modified and injected into new “Franken-foods” that contain toxic pesticides in every bite.

Being corn sounds about as attractive as getting trampled to death by a thousand screaming Justin Beiber fans.

And yet as I said, this is nothing new — you can trace our nation’s issues with corn back to the Great Depression, if you really want to get technical. So you may be wondering, like I did, What’s wrong with corn? Is it so evil? Isn’t refined sugar the devil? We eat corn, and it’s also used for a multitude of other things, so why is that so bad?

There is no short answer, unfortunately. But for the first time in history, last year more of our nation’s corn supply was used for ethanol than livestock. Suspect, to say the least; a cause of rising food prices, most probable. And in my town, where gas has already passed $4/gallon, spending more to drive to where I’m going to be spending more on food really doesn’t make me happy.

Another side of the story would have you believe that corn, in the form of HFCS, has contributed enormously to the obesity epidemic in our nation, in turn leading to a host of other serious health problems in a sort of domino effect — and trust me, I do believe it. Think for a moment about “unhealthy” foods. Foods you know do nothing for you nutritionally; foods that, good or bad, may leave you feeling guilty afterward for having eaten them. Cookies? Cupcakes? French fries? Donuts? If you’ve already guessed that all of these foods have HFCS in common, you’re catching on quickly. I dare you to try to go to the supermarket and fill your cart with your standard shopping list — whatever that includes, from sandwich bread to breakfast pastries to fruit snacks — and not find HFCS on the labels of your favorite stand-bys. Even so-called “healthier” options that dietitians and nutritionists might suggest you eat in order to reduce calorie consumption and lose weight will contain the additive — it can be found in 100-calorie packs, iced tea, bran cereal, ketchup, protein bars, cottage cheese and more. Why should that worry you? Because HFCS has actually been linked to weight gain, dental problems, poor nutrition (simply put) and high triglycerides, increasing your risk for heart attack. Ain’t none of that good, sweetheart.

Of course, the list continues. Genetically modified corn can contribute to your risk for cancer; all kinds of corn are grown with petroleum-based fertilizer; consumption in the livestock world basically boils down to animal cruelty, if you have even a tiny little speck of a conscience inside of you somewhere.

So like many issues we face today in the food world, the economic world, the world of health and wellness, it can seem pointless and overwhelming to try to change anything. I know. I get this. But you don’t have to think of it on a global perspective to actually have an effect; just modifying what and how you eat, step by step, can be a conscious act every day as you vote with both your dollar and your fork and affect change within your own home, if nothing else. Stick to the outer aisles of the supermarket, where organic dairy products and produce are found (as opposed to the inner aisles, which are chock full of pre-packaged calorie bombs pumped full of HFCS and other dangerous food additives). Reduce your consumption of sweets — or at least make them yourself — because although I’ve pointed out that corn syrup is found in a variety of foods, it is, after all, a sweetener at its core and will more often be found in a poundcake as opposed to a jar of almonds. Avoid fried foods (do I even need to say unless you fry them yourself?), which, yes, can be fried in a wide variety of fat, oil and/or lard, but corn oil is at the top of the list.

These may seem like age-old, obvious tips — and they are. Well before sick cows and meatless Mondays, we knew these things because our mothers told us to eat our vegetables. Unless you’re one of those sad kids on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution who don’t know what pears and eggplants are, you know an apple is better than an apple chip, apple pie or even apple juice. So don’t feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. The industrial food system as it exists in our culture now is unsustainable. Instead of contributing to its eventual demise anyways, start funding and fueling a movement in the opposite direction, one that ultimately leads to better health for both you and the planet.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

Summer is approaching quickly and I was inspired to create these “Apple Pie” overnight oats to celebrate the new season.

Overnight oats is one of my favourite breakfasts and I probably have it at least three times a week. I love it because you make it the night before and in the morning a beautiful bowl of oatmeal is sitting in your fridge waiting for you!

The other great thing about overnight oats is that you can create so many different flavours using various spices, fruits, nut butters, or in this case apple spread!

I spotted this apple spread at my local grocery store and I was very surprised to see this type of product in the regular grocery store. I was even more surprised when I looked at the list of ingredients and found that there was no added sugar. The price was also very reasonable so I went out on a limb and bought it.

When I got home I stared at this container of apple goodness and was wondering what to do with it. Then it hit me: the thick consistency would go great in a bowl of overnight oats and the flavour would give a fall spin to the dish.

For overnight oats, you need old-fashioned oats, some type of liquid, a thick binder like yogurt, applesauce, or a mashed banana, and a pinch of salt. That is the base, and I added the “apple pie” inspired which were the apple spread, cinnamon, chopped apple, and all spice.

The mashed banana adds natural sweetness to the oatmeal along with the apple spread. I still added Greek yogurt to the mix because I like the added protein. For the spices, feel free to add as much or as little as you like. I added a sprinkle of each.

And that is how apple pie overnight oats was born. Now, go make it for breakfast tomorrow!

Apple Pie Overnight Oats


  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1/2 of a mashed ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of apple spread
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Half of an apple chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of all spice


  • Mash the banana with a fork.
  • Add oats, yogurt, apple spread, milk, chia seeds, salt, and spices to the banana.
  • Chop the apple into small pieces.
  • Stir apple into the oatmeal mixture.
  • Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, stir and add any desired toppings.

Thinking Like a Vegetarian

Okay, so now that my rage has passed somewhat, I’m really taking advantage of this new drive to eliminate meat (and sugar, white flour and fried foods) from my diet. Last night, for example, we went out for both lunch and dinner with a friend, and because I had had a super yummy salad with spinach, tomatoes, capers and hearts of palm at lunch, I knew I should try to get in some legumes at dinner.

It’s funny to me that legumes have become a part of my daily vernacular, but I like it, too.

So we ate a late lunch, and no one was really that hungry for dinner, but we had to eat relatively early so that the baby could get home and get to bed. I was actually thinking about pasta primavera, one of my favorites, but when the guys (yes, the guys!) started talking about salads and light plates, I realized that the Mediterranean Trio would be best: hummus (legumes! yeah!), tzatziki and red pepper salsa with toasted pita. It sounded small, and after, I of course realized that the pitas weren’t whole wheat, but you win some, and you lose some. I figured that was better than eating an unnecessarily huge plate of white noodles or pizza, and legumes won out over their vegetable platter, too.

Nothing related to meat, but my usual Starbucks order has changed, too, to avoid sugar: A giant iced green tea, unsweetened, and some almonds and a fruit cup on the side.

My jeans feel looser already!

What Defines a “Special Occasion”

A special occasion can be different for everyone.It’s Friday, today we have one of my son’s little buddy’s birthday parties. On Saturday, there is a party at a friend’s house along with a big family dinner, which means leftovers.

In the coming weeks, I have meetings, a hospital bag to pack, freezer dinners to plan, shop for and cook, my son’s very own 2nd birthday party.

It’s easy to see why I can get so stressed out! But that’s not my point, of course. My point, or question, is, which, if any, of these aforementioned “occasions” above count as special occasions? And by special occasions, I mean those rare times when I let my foodie freak flag flap away in the wind while I eat whatever’s offered, or whatever I want — ham, which I don’t normally eat; cake, which I may eat at a birthday party; pasta made with white noodles when someone kindly drops off a meal after the baby’s born; crackers made with refined flour because that’s all they give you once your water breaks in the hospital.

In a perfect world, nothing would get in my way of eating 100% clean 100% of the time. I’d make huge, nutrient-packed salads; I’d have access to organic meat, poultry, cheese, eggs and milk everywhere I shop and dine; I’d spend hours cooking detailed menus of ornately prepared ancient grains, fresh vegetables, doctored fruit concoctions as “dessert.” With all of these occasions and major life-changing events looming, however, I’m trying not to add Remember To Eat Clean to my to-do list. I’m trying to realize, actually, how far we’ve come.

I only buy organic ground beef and organic chicken breasts, thighs and legs; when I’m bringing an appetizer or a dessert to a gathering I consciously try to make something with whole wheat and/or no sugar. I pride myself on all the recipes I’ve tried and continue to experiment with that only use honey or maple syrup, and when I can get my kid to sit still in the shopping cart with a bunch of grapes instead of a box of cookies, I’m flying high. If you did an inventory of my kitchen right now, I wouldn’t be proud, however — said child was allowed 5 Easter eggs with 2 small chocolate bunnies inside each one. We also have a box of artificially orange crackers in the pantry as his “treat” at Target this week (sometimes I just can’t ignore the resounding “No!” as we cruise through the fruit aisle and the kicking and screaming tantrum as we pass the crackers, but I’m working on it) and the last of a container of ice cream in the freezer. None of which, I admit, were purchased for a special occasion, outing, party or gathering.

In addition, none of those items ARE special-occasion items, in my book. A special occasion means, for example, one of my sister’s cake pops decorated to look like a little chick for spring. One. Something I won’t have again for who knows how long. Another special-occasion food will be our “celebration meal” at the hospital after the baby’s born, which you only get to pick from a limited variety of items on the cafeteria menu — but you can put money on the fact that if I push a baby out of my hoo-ha, I’m having some chocolate cake after if that’s in the cards. And when it’s 10am and I’m home with my 2-week-old and 2-year-old and I realize I haven’t eaten anything yet after getting up to nurse every 2 hours for the past 14 days, let me tell you I’ll be looking forward to the chicken enchiladas someone made for us even if I don’t know how “organic” or “natural” that sauce is.

At this stage of my life, eating clean isn’t always easy. I try not to beat myself up when I slip, indulge or just don’t think before making a purchase or sampling the goods. But at the same time, these are the most special of occasions — celebrating my son’s last birthday before he’s a big brother, then celebrating the fact that he’s a big brother and, finally, praising God that I made it through another labor and that I have the most wonderful and generous friends and family who bring me juice and make me dinner when I haven’t showered or left the house in days.

This is not a special-occasion month, binge or slippery slope. Dinner tonight will be organic hamburgers on whole-wheat buns. Breakfast tomorrow will be my stand-by toast with tea and milk from a local dairy. My morning snack is still an organic apple, and if I feel like I need a decaf coffee “pick-me-up” in the afternoon that may be my one splurge — only because it’s processed with chemicals and there’s still some left in our kitchen (normally I wouldn’t touch decaf with a 10-foot pole). Today is not a special occasion because it’s Friday. You can fall into the trap of so-and-so’s office birthday party includes bagels and donuts, so that’s a special occasion. Have one of each. The smells wafting from the bakery downtown can suck you in. You can write a million and one calories, grams of sugar and ounces of fat off to cocktail parties, summer BBQs, Italian restaurants and spontaneous get-togethers.

Or you can set an example, and when one of these settings comes up, be that person who brings the fruit salad. Be that girl who doesn’t eat cake at the party. Stand by your food values as you hold your glass of wine, vote with your fork and share the recipe for the delicious whole-wheat muffins you brought to brunch. That will make the occasion that much more special.

Streamline your Kitchen and Diet

The first rule to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to streamline your kitchen.I know I talk about clutter all the time, so that’s the only time I’m going to mention the word in this entire post – just so you know what I’m talking about.

I can’t believe I’ve never done this before! Have you ever been procrastinating before a major deadline, or experienced writer’s block, or gone around in circles trying to find the answer to a question only to have it come to you at some random moment, in the shower, half asleep, or on a train or bus? I’m sure that’s a common occurrence for many people. And to me, one of the culprits in today’s modern world is stuff. I’ll be the first to admit, if Martha Stewart says that garam masala is one of the “it” products to cook with this spring, I’ll be the first to jam it into my already-packed cupboard. But, slowly, that’s changing. I’m starting to use up what I have, stick to what I know and try to live a more minimalist, simple life.

Which brings me back to my cupboard, and, really, my kitchen in general.

We all have the junk drawer; most of us probably also have the filled-to-the-brim Tupperware cabinet and maybe even the dusty old recipe box. Things, filled with more things, sometimes things that are supposed to hold other things, so that at least that thing isn’t always staring us in the face – everything in it’s right place. It’s a kitchen philosophy as much as it is an organizational philosophy that can be applied to almost anything in life — if it has no home, if it has no place to live, get rid of it.

So why is it that I end up doing this once every few months? I organize the plastic storage containers, the spice shelf, the salad bowls, and the serving dishes. I think, really, all this time I’ve been procrastinating, secretly avoiding the real gold mine: the refrigerator.

Think about it. Don’t know what to eat? Your hand begins to wander – from the grapes, to the pita and hummus, to the bite-sized chocolate cakes dipped in caramel covered in more chocolate, to the string cheese, to the orange juice. Before you know it, your boredom or anxiety or exhaustion has shoved about 500 calories in your face, and that’s all before dinner.

This is not to say that you can’t keep grapes, pitas and string cheese all in your fridge at once but how clean would that fruit drawer be if you took out the kale, old red onion, thyme and rotten pomegranates? How crusty would your shelves be if you peeled back the bottles of mustard, beer, vinegar and ketchup? It seems a little disrespectful to the food, don’t you think?

Bear with me here, because I’m serious. Consider the love and thoughtfulness that goes into the pancakes your child cooks for you on Mother’s Day. Or the care and precision with which the White House chef prepares President Obama’s breakfast every morning. Imagine, even, the painstaking clarity that someone close to you experiences while making you a meal, trying to avoid your peanut allergy, lest you have an allergic reaction, ruining the whole night.

Sits in stark contrast to the slimy blue cheese at the bottom of the deli drawer, doesn’t it.

It’s not just about respecting your food and where it comes from, however, even though that extends all the way through to how you calmly (or not) prepare dinner and how you peacefully (or not) enjoy every last morsel, over a glass of wine with your partner, asking each other about how the day went, chewing and conversing in an otherwise quiet, softly lit room. I’m also talking about that wandering hand, weaving its way through plastic packaging, greasy jars and tiny little packets of leftover soy sauce and hot mustard. What do you feel when you look inside your fridge? Is it so messy that you’d rather not peer inside? How does that translate to how you feel about cooking and eating in general? It’s like looking into a closet full of mismatched hangers, haphazardly tossed old sweaters and purses, and don’t even get me started on that shoe collection. Does that help you get dressed in the morning? I would say probably not. You probably stare at every last item in your wardrobe, cursing it 17 times before every big dinner or event.

So the message is twofold: streamlining your kitchen can help streamline your diet, number one by helping you to remember to take the time to respect and enjoy your food, and number two by taking all the stuff and anxiety and disorder out of preparing and eating a delicious and healthy meal. Your kitchen and dining room should be clean, simple, organized and peaceful. Why? Because it just may result in a more peaceful attitude and a greater appreciation for everything that goes in your mouth (and believe me, that can spill into other areas of your life, too).

It will take some hard work and elbow grease, but I’m hoping to pick what I resist today and not just toss the unused spices from the condiment cabinet but also scrub down those refrigerator shelves, clean out the freezer and finally get to the bottom of this.

To your Health

As the saying goes, everything is fine in moderation.In an indirect sort of way I work in the medical industry, and although I intimately review facts and figures about cancer drugs and side effects every day, it’s not often that a story will stop me in my tracks and make me think about the real benefits of a healthy diet and exercise and how all of that applies to me — rather, today, for example, it was a segment on the Today Show that got my wheels turning again in terms of how important it is to have the “my body is my temple” mindset as much as possible.

It was a story about a healthy, active 55-year-old man who developed prostate cancer without warning, as the disease rarely shows symptoms to the naked eye. This is the kind of guy who I imagine would coach soccer and little-league teams, hit the gym often enough to have “buddies” there, know how to cook a boneless, skinless chicken breast and not mind that side of broccoli. The kind of effortlessly active person I often wish I could be — perhaps am, on a good day.

It was caught at an early stage, so this is not really a sob story as he was telling it himself — everyone diagnosed should be so lucky — but it still gave me pause and, at least for the moment, encouraged me to make a few extra healthy choices today: Water instead of sugary juice; a handful of raspberries in my cereal bowl; hearty (and heart-healthy) lentil soup for lunch.

It’s not just an old saying: We ARE what we eat. And although the skeptic out there will say “But wasn’t this guy healthy? What’s the point of a healthy diet if you’re going to get cancer anyway?”, that’s not an excuse for our country’s obesity rate, including children, and all of the related diseases and complications, whether it be cancer or diabetes or heart disease. I don’t think anyone’s really eating fast food every day and thinking “So what if I get cancer.”

No one’s perfect; one of my favorite new (to me) sayings is “Everything in moderation” (including moderation). But the way I see it, if I can keep stories like these top of mind, and share them with you, it may urge us all to make even just one more healthy choice today, like just getting up and going for that walk instead of sitting on the couch and saying you should, or whipping up some home-made oil and vinegar dressing for your salad at dinner tonight instead of pouring on some gloppy, fatty, chemical-laden mess.

My husband would say it’s bad luck to toast with water, but do me a favor and raise a glass to your health this evening. Then chug it. All of those small choices add up — and they can either make you or break you.