With 2011 officially upon us, it’s time to kick off another round of new-year resolutions, and if you’re anything like me, being a little healthier is always on the list. And while there’s certainly no shortage of ways to get healthy, changing your diet to include healthy options is probably the easiest, best thing you can do for yourself. Last year, one of my key resolutions was to compete in a triathlon, and while training, changing the way I ate was one of the key elements to helping me complete my goal. I found myself depending on a variety of blended foods – fruits, vegetables, protein powders, etc. – and quickly realized that I needed a blender that could handle the variety of things I was consuming on a daily basis. My wife’s $100 KitchenAid just wasn’t cutting it, as I ended up chewing half the items I was blending. Seeking out the ultimate home blender, I settled on the Vitamix Professional Series 500, and the rest, as they say, is blending history.
Firstly, let’s talk a bit about build quality. The Vitamix Professional Series 500 is, quite simply, a tank. A blender serves a single purpose… to blend… so the most important factor when choosing a blender is finding a high horsepower motor that can blend anything you can throw at it. Thanks to its commercial grade 2+ peak horsepower motor along with the highest RPM’s in the industry, the Professional Series 500 does exactly that, churning out smoothies, soups, and sauces with no (and I mean no) chunks. With most blenders, you blend ice and end up with a collection of granular chunks, but with the Vitamix, smoothies and drinks involving ice come out completely smooth. It’s like having the ability to make ice cream in any flavor in 30 seconds. Just add ice, milk, berries (or whatever other flavor you prefer), blend, and you have instant ice cream – it’s incredible. In addition to its high powered motor, the Vitamix Professional Series 500 also boasts a huge 64-ounce BPA free Eastman Tritan copolyester container along with an included tamper and no-spill lid. During operation, the container serves to create a vortex in the center of the container, pushing ingredients that have been blended up from the blades and then down the center back to the blades – with this constant circulation being one of the key reasons the Vitamix is able to perform so well. When mixing something thicker, the included tamper offers convenient access to the blender, allowing you to move your mixture quickly and easily during operation (as opposed to having to turn the blender off and making adjustments).
In purchasing the Vitamix Professional Series 500, I originally planned on using it simply for smoothies. During my triathlon training, I found myself drinking at least two a day, so I wanted something that would hold up to daily use day-in and day-out. But when the Vitamix arrived, it came with a roughly 350-page recipe book demonstrating the plethora of ways the Vitamix could be used in the kitchen – drinks, milk substitutes (soy milk, almond milk, etc.), soups, dips, sauces, dressings, even breakfast recipes (pancakes, waffles, quiche, breads, etc.). The sheer number of uses for the Vitamix was overwhelming, and to be honest, I had no idea how much it was capable of before I purchased it. It didn’t take long for the Professional Series 500 to go to work in my kitchen, churning out restaurant quality sauces on a nightly basis. With lesser blenders, a strainer is required for many sauces, but with the Vitamix, everything (including seeds and skin on fruits/vegetables) is blended completely smooth. Ever want to try making your own peanut butter? How about grinding your own spices and/or coffee? New parent? The Vitamix is absolutely perfect for baby food. And for soups, the Vitamix’s blade rotation is so fast (240 mph), it actually heats soup to serving temperature. Simply add your fresh ingredients, blend for a few minutes, and serve. If you spend any amount of time in the kitchen, the Vitamix Professional Series 500 is simply phenomenal.
As for operating the Vitamix, the Professional Series 500 has almost no learning curve. Built into the Vitamix are three pre-programmed settings for smoothies, hot soups and frozen deserts, meaning operation is as simple as selecting the right option. In addition, there’s a variable speed setting that allows you to vary blending speed smoothly during use to fine-tune your desired results, along with a pulse function to further enhance blending control. Making operation even easier, the included Vitamix recipe book specifies precisely which settings and speeds to blend at to achieve your desired results, so if you want to make chunky salsa, for instance, the book describes precisely how to avoid turning your tomato chunks into tomato soup. Having used the Vitamix Professional Series 500 extensively, I have to say, operation really couldn’t be any easier. Once you follow a few recipes in the recipe book, operation becomes almost second nature, and you can churn out restaurant quality results pretty much immediately.
Do I love the Vitamix Professional Series 500? Absolutely, I adore it. If I could think of a higher praise, I would bestow it with that as well. It’s one of those rare things that before you own it, you don’t realize you need it, but once you have it, you don’t know how you ever lived without it. With a street price of $600, the Vitamix Professional Series 500 does cost more than many of the other blenders on the market, but the results it produces are simply in a league of their own. In addition, with its impressively robust build quality and 7-year warranty, this is likely the last blender you’re going to be buying for a very, very long time. The Vitamix Professional Series 500 is hands down the best consumer blender on the market, period. Buy one, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.