Breville Active Blend Review


Okay, before I even begin this, a few comments. I am not on a 'de-tox, pre-tox, me-tox' anything. Also, reading around smoothies (or indeed any dietary topic) online seems to be chock-a-block full of insanity. I would encourage taking everything with a colossal pinch of salt (or not, I'm sure salt is killing you. I read it somewhere online...). Unfortunately the answers are not simple. Which is a shame because people love simple answers.

Smoothies have advantages and disadvantages. They're not ideal for a constant breakfast replacement. Smoothies alone are usually not a meal unless you balance their contents very well. Some evidence suggests that blending fruit and vegetables will keep you less full than if you ate those fruit and vegetables using your teeth. Additionally, the recipes packed with fruit can be hard on the teeth with all those fruit acids and fruit can cause fast spikes in blood sugar when drunk instead of eaten.

Smoothies are better than juicing as they retain fiber content, although fiber is changed by blending. What do I mean by changed? Well there are about a kabillion types of fiber, and they are changed in different ways by blending- some for the better, some not. Nice and complex. I have also read in numerous places that blending 'loses' nutrients. Yes, probably a little, but there are some crackpot claims of veggies somehow hemorrhaging nutrients when blended. They don't. Oxidation occurs when anything is done to a whole food that exposes it to air. Nutrients in food begin to degrade the instant they are harvested, exposed to light, or heat. So basically its impossible to retain all nutrients, and even if you snatched your spinach off the field, you would have degraded the nutrients from sun, air, and the heat of your hand. Additionally, like the fiber issue, blending may make certain nutrients more or less absorbable. So may have positives and negatives in this.*

Basically be clever about what you put in the blender and eat a decent chunk of non-blended healthy foods and you'll be just fine. By 'what you put in' I mean use real foods and don't put ice cream in it. As soon as you do that, its a sundae not a smoothie. Also the amount everyone is stressing over this will probably end their life long before the smoothies will. Seriously guys, stress kills. Now spend all evening obsessing over how to be less stressed.

Anyway, I will be using a blender ongoing- in this case the Breville Blend Active Personal Blender (300W). **

Why? Well firstly it was too good a deal to ignore. When I stayed with a friend in Aberdeen I loved her blender (a much posh-er NutriBullet), and I was desperate to get one myself. Then I met a friend whom had purchased his girlfriend this blender. Then I saw it on sale for £20 quid on Amazon, plus my existing Amazon voucher = free blender.  The planets aligned, you could say.

My face post run with maybe some fiber and nutrients
The way I intend to use it is to help me take in more greens, in a fast and efficient way, and encourage fast breakfast eating. These are needs for me as a) I find it difficult to choke down a lot of greens in salads or as mains and b) I skip a lot of breakfasts. I know these things are bad, so I am trying to remedy them. I in no way intend to use it everyday, the same way you shouldn't really be eating any food everyday. Basically I'm using it to put in things I would otherwise not have. Variety is key and I will mix it up with fast eggs breakfast, Whole Earth PB and banana toast, oats, and so on.  Any other fast breakfast suggestions appreciated.

Anyway, the blender. Its quite good. I was excited to get the box (love a parcel) and it seemed sleek and sturdy when unboxed. It did come in a huge box mind, Amazon you may wish to consider reducing packaging.

Pros
  • Nice neat design means it takes up little space and looks nice on a counter.
  • Seems fairly robust but not heavy either.
  • Its not noisy at all. I was flinching when I first went to press the button (in my office at a lunchtime),but its not bad at all. Obviously the noise in part relies on your ingredients.
  • The bottle design feature is neat- they are portable, they mean less washing, and the seal caps on them work well so they can go in a bag without fear. You also get a spare one. Overall I like the idea of blending in what you then use to drink from. Without being in fear of your tongue from the blades.
  • The blade and motor seem good but I stuck to chopping things quite finely, deliberately. If I can extend the lifespan by doing a bit more chopping, then that's great so that's what I will do. I wouldn't put ice in it (wouldn't for most blenders)- use frozen ingredients instead to keep it cool- and I'd make sure there's always some liquid in there too. 
  • It's really easy to clean. Blend, rinse blade. Drink, rinse bottle and top. Voila. Blend some soapy water for a slightly more in depth cleanse.
  • BPA free if that kind of thing worries you. 
Simples, very little to it, in a good way.

Cons
  • Only one speed setting and you have to hold the button. However, even I don't have that short an attention span- it isn't unbearable.
  • Its not as intuitive as they are suggesting, as I keep putting harder things in the bottle first... which is FURTHER from the blades when it goes on.
  • Its also kinda hard to shove anything without weight into the bottle. Spinach leaves are a good example of this- I had to shove them down with a knife.
  • The cable is short (2ft perhaps?), its going to need to be near an outlet.
  • The little caps for the bottle tops (you get two) are not that hardy and I broke one trying to screw the lid on tight. I've contacted them about this. ***
  • Apparently dishwashers fail to get the fruit totally out of the tall bottles (so says Google). So maybe requires a handwash. However a) I don't have a dishwasher and b) that implies they can go in the dishwasher so kudos on that?
I'll be pre-packing the ingredients for these smoothies into freezer bags (freezing! More nutrient murderrrr; please read that in the voice of The Andys from Hot Fuzz) for swift breakfasting. And hey, then I know I've had a ton of greens before I even got to work.



I made a pretty tasty smoothie in this thing after lunch on Tuesday (so as a snack, not a meal). It had 1 apple, a ton of spinach, 1/2 avocado and 1 small banana in it. So a bit too fruity (ooh la la!) but *shrug* it tasted good. It didn't seem to have any issues with the apple either. Also without doing stuff like this I wouldn't eat avocado, because I don't actually like it. Plus I felt exceptionally virtuous. That alone seems worth it.

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Do you like smoothies? Do you use or have a blender?

Any recipe suggestions?

*As with all my science chat, please feel free to (intelligently and politely) correct me if you have other information :)
** Not sponsored, paid, whatever-ed. Just wanted a blender so bought myself one and thought you folks may be interested.
*** Amazon are unable to replace parts and offered to replace the whole thing, but I thought that was a bit too far so chose to keep the one I have. They did give me a refund of £3; great customer service at Amazon given its a tiny part of the item that doesn't impair its function at all.

2 Comments:

  1. Now THAT's how you do a review! Great post. I have an incredibly basic little smoothie maker that I love and a big reason why I love it is because you also blend the smoothie in the same compartment that you drink from. Less washing up is a massive pro! The lid leaks a bit though. I should probably get a new one but I can't be arsed. Fave recipe has to be banana, some porridge oats, spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and a massive slosh of whole milk. Perfect recovery drink :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much autumn! Glad you liked the review

      Ooh that sounds amazingly tasty. I will definitely be doing that. Local brunch place here does a banana, peanut butter and honey one w almond milk which isn't that healthy in the end but is DELISH.

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