Tuesday, December 2, 2014

HOLIDAY GIFTS-FOOD-Endurance Athletes

It may not be racing season-but chances are-the athletically inclined still have an eye on what they eat and how much-year round.

A great gift for anyone really-that will probably the most used appliance in many athletic households -a juicer/blender…

It's easy to find out a whole lot about AUTO iQ™ Nutri NINJA® BLENDERS with rather idiot proof user friendly design- as the informative infomercial even got our attention recently-with the MO of enabling all to easily make/ consume enticing nutritious usable/digestible, multi-ingredient liquids--focusing on- for us, anyway- its blending power-rendering vitamin packed nuts, frozen fruit/ice, vegetable/fruit skins and seeds- in edible form-with literally-just the touch of a button.

In the mix-Rachel Beller Eat To Lose, Eat To Win-with tv creds from The Biggest Loser…this easy to read (maybe 20-30 minutes cover to cover) provides nutritional tips and facts for all. Even we learned something-like the importance of  eating real fiber vs. the manufactured kind (yikes)-and what to look for on food labels with actual samples, energy revving spices, mini-food autopsies (as in the deceptively high calorie counts of so-called healthy choices-like suishi rolls... +what a serving actually looks like),  better protein choices (low mercury fish)---and easy to make tasty recipes for all hours of the day---without the added calories that add nothing to boost taste-but are typically included. 

There is a whole lot more going for this 2 in 1 machine- Nutri Ninja®, Ninja® AUTO IQ™ Blender-available online. (IMO)…and in stores like Sears and Walmart.

First thing ---it delivers well packaged…and altogether is surprisingly light-the hefty weight belonging to the powerful, warranty guaranteed- 1500 watt Blender base part…while the pitcher and nutrient extractor cups-are made of durable (dropped by mistake but emerged without a crack), dishwasher friendly, sturdy BPA Free plastic---and the blades-razor sharp steel (ice crushing) or some kind of plastic that is also sharp and excellent for shredding vegetables.

Three layers of items----

Important for us-there are eight pre-programmed Auto-iQ buttons- plus on/off- on the base of the Auto-iQ™ blender base unit-that clearly spells out which one to press, depending on desired blending pattern. Super important as we are the type to ask our 7 year old nephew how to turn on an oven ("...press the button…" DUH).
So smart-suction cups at the bottom of the base-so helpful if placed on uneven surfaces and prevents accidents-from wide swinging arms- from happening. Great feature.
Traveler friendly portable containers-and 3 sizes (18,24,32 ozs respectively)-also with appropriate to-go lids with ez touch openings. Grip friendly rubber holders too…use to make nutritious liquids…Nutri Ninja

in middle-Nutri Ninja Bullet-fits on the base-great for juicing-one-two servings vs entire pitcher.

easy to install and remove from the base…the blender pitcher's has press release button on top of lid-then  lid handle is raised - to unlock the featherweight  container. The lid has a pour spout---securely fits in. FYI-the numerous parts are sized perfectly so there is no chance to mistakenly use a wrong blade or container lid---for either the pitcher or the processor bowl--- 

72 oz Blending Pitcher marked for measuring- three tiered blade-slides on and off
the blades are easily removed for cleaning-and sized specifically for its task…so the juicer gets the PRO EXTRACTOR Blades™ on the left---pictured on the right-the Total Crushing Blades® PLUS the free processor bowl with lid upgrade ($50 value)-that can mix up ingredients for dough, or pulse to perfection-ingredients for chunky recipes-like salsa, guacamole etc…with bowl blade&dough hook.  Blades lift on and off-

without a blade…comes with lid that lift the handle-click on and off securely into the base.

this sharp blade-slides right on...

the rock hard metal blade is great for crushing ice…for frozen drinks
What we tried straight away… Rachel Beller's tip to chop up vegetables in the 64 ounce chopping food processor bowl-as suggested we sliced up some carrot chunks and green pepper-and after turning on -held down the "Pulse" button as suggested-for about 20 seconds-did it for us.  Useful-as we are not juice drinkers per se-but consume quantities of chopped up fruits and vegetables-and it's a lot more economical to do that chopping oneself.
Bullet shaped  Nutri Ninja with Auto iQ™ pitcher atop the AUTO IQ Bender base…

ALSO AVAILABLE and a great gift idea-the thoroughly portable Nutri Ninja  with Auto iQ® for competitors who travel to races and don't want to risk getting food poisoning from the local cuisine-and blowing all that training...
1000 Watt motor base Auto-iQ™

blade speeds correspond to texture desired

Probiotics have been written about a lot lately-as cures for a whole range of human negatives like obesity, indigestion, less than stellar immunity issues…and ALSO as an important daily necessity for living a long, healthy life.

Not all probiotics are created equally however, so we learned---it's the amount of actual live cultures that aids the ability of the body to absorb the nutrients…that makes the difference. And imo-got to taste decent or forget it.

New to us-we were pleasantly surprised by how tasty Lifeway fruit, vanilla and even plain flavored LIFEWAY BioKefir™- and low-fat Kefir-probiotic loaded creamy -drinkable offerings (aka cultured milk'ish' smoothies) are…and easily exercise friendly too- we'd take a gulp- instead of some sugar loaded gel blocs-our usual go-to and previously, pretty much all our stomachs could handle.

3.5 oz size is all of 60 calories!!!!---four flavors of BioKefir-Vanilla (digestion), Blackberry and Black Cherry(heart health), Pomegranate-Blueberry (immunity), we dribbled on fresh-cut fruit and violà=dessert. Different fruits-provide different anti-oxidants-all are easy to digestion ( 99% lactose free) and deliver 20 BILLION ColonyFormingUnits-with 12 live+active kefir cultures. Grass fed dairy cows, GMO free, BPA free packaging...

Kefir fyi-is different than yogurt…and in particular-Lifeway Kefir has significantly more live and active cultures…including its "ProBoost"-an exclusive pair of probiotics. Plus- it's cultured for 14-16 hours versus most commercially available yogurt that clock in for just 2-3 hours…

other Lifeway Kefir products available-including organic, non-fat and low-fat, frozen and kid-friendly products (ProBugs™)
...that also makes the difference in the Kefir's high probiotic activity count.

Now part of our daily intake…we even use the plain flavor as substitute for mayonnaise in salads---it is surprising how much this one a day low calorie-beneficial must eat/drink became part of our daily meal routine. Def. a holiday must too- as a self-gift. That counts.


As the aforementioned Rachel Beller tome noted-who eats just one accurately sized tbsp of peanut butter? From the UK comes this peanut butter version of hot cocoa the Peanut Hottie ---mix with hot water/milk-or what we did-sprinkled atop freshly popped hot air popcorn-for that nutty taste we love without all the calories. Bonus-there's a Peanut Butter-Chocolate version----that  can be added to baking recipes too. FYI for the taste buds---not nutrition valuable imo- though there are no artificially baffling ingredients in this powdery product. Available on AMAZON and select Walmarts

CLIF® BARS holiday themed snack bars (limited edition)-are tasty bundles of energy made from mostly organic ingredients-that easily double as dessert…on their own-or crumbled over sliced fresh fruit. Yummy. 
These will go super fast - as all three flavors-Iced Gingerbread (personal fav-with ginger,cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg spices), Spiced Pumpkin Pie, and Pecan Pie (with pecan pieces of course)-are authentic tasting, ideal blends of crunchy/chewy (organic raisins or date paste,  soy rice crisps, organic rolled oats and ClifCrunch®), spicy sweet bites of goodness.
Warning...better to buy a bunch as one of each won't be enough! Available in a lot of places while they last, including online 12 bars box/$15

BONUS: 1% of net sales goes to non-profit PROTECT OUR WINTERS.

A bag of pistachios or cashews are a fast way to get second invites from recipient hosts. LOVE pistachios our fav-20-30 nuts are 100 calories---fun to crack out of the shell-plus good for you too. MADE (grown) in the USA-Setton Farms offers several packaging options including these burlap bags packed.. Just count on having one sent to your home address, too.

AND: indulgence perfect...

Talk about multi-tasking-the super friendly proprietor, TIM FERRIS-pouring a taste at a NEW YORK FASHION WEEK event (!)- of tasty and aromatic single malt DEFIANT whiskey-doubles as a rather risk taking salvage diver-with his DEFIANT MARINE other company- that helped pumped out Hurricane Sandy flooded tunnels. WOW. For the bottle liquid product-water, yeast, barley and American white oak barrels-carefully selected and matured by Blue Ridge Distillery-yielding award winning results---online for $46.19

For all of those -disconnecting from Facebook and Keurig machines…and embracing more time consuming/satisfying actual conversations and---the ultimate indulgence of coffee brewing---the way we lived in college on-one cup at a time through paper filter (non-bleached, nowadays) and a Melitta®  something. The Pour-Over One Cup Brew Cone and mug set… comes with a few filters to get it all going. Pair with a bag of java---and  it's all a nice gift for any one who does not mind standing in line for their shot of caffeine-including all those New York in under a  Minute types who yet-wait up to a quarter of an hour-for their hand-poured beverage- (think Blue Bottle Coffee- next to event driven Milk Studios during NYFW).