Website Review:

When I think of a piece of raw nature that’s been processed and warped by modern technology into a strained derivative of its true self, I think of Jack LaLanne and I think of his Power Juicer.

For those of you who may have been living underwater for the last 50 years (perhaps with a large fish strapped to your back and your ankles bound in chains), Jack LaLanne is the near-centenarian who was the original exercise guru. After transforming himself from a scrawny, boil-infested teenager in 1920s California into the well-built muscleman who defined the concept of high-waisted fitness in the fifties and sixties, LaLanne has reached the ripe old age of 95 and now rules an army of food processors on steroids. His commercials advertising this product are a common sight on late-night television.

LaLanne is still alive and kicking – though some might define it more as a twitching and spasming – despite a career that would’ve killed lesser men. He opened the nation’s first modern health club in 1936, his Physical Culture Studio of  Oakland. After premiering the imaginatively titled “Jack LaLanne Television Show” in 1951, he kept himself in the limelight with a series of physical feats that seemed both impossible and ridiculous. He towed a 13-ton boat through the Golden Gate Channel and later swam the entire length of the bridge twice underwater. He swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf with his hands cuffed and his feet shackled. At age 66, he filled ten boats with 77 people and dragged these through the water for over a mile in less than an hour.

Now, in an achievement that puts these insane exercises to shame, LaLanne can claim to have sold over 2 million Power Juicers to an American public starving for pulverized spinach and asparagus sap. To see how it’s done, I’m visiting the Internet’s “official ultimate juicing site,”, for this week’s Website Review.

The home page shows the three best-selling models of juicers – the Pro, the Classic and the Deluxe – and a mom introducing her young children to the joys of juice. The 3600-RPM induction-powered appliance sits on a counter in the foreground while the kids pose with their juice glasses bottoms-up. Despite the fact that the boy’s left hand, or gnarled stump, is hidden behind a bowl of fruit, the juicer claims to be so safe that not one person has ever died in its whirring maw of “surgical quality stainless steel blades.”

There are actually five models offered for sale at the site. In addition to the three mentioned above, there’s also the Express and the Elite, and sell for between $100 and $150. Though the many features of all five are painstakingly bullet-pointed, I’m having a hard time figuring out what’s different about them. All seem to advertise whisper-quiet operation, non-drip spouts, extra-large chutes to accommodate any fruit short of a watermelon, and special patented extraction technology. The only standout I see is that the Elite comes with something called “soy technology.” If you pay your entire bill upfront, you also qualify for a bonus accessory pack that includes a platform, fruit-based skincare treatments and juice club “mermbership.”

The pulldown of frequently asked questions covers routine information such as how to order, shipping times and weight, and warranty specs, but also contains some fairly disturbing actual customer queries. “Why won’t the power turn on?” asks one. It may have overheated. “Why is my Power Juicer clogged?” We hope you didn’t try to put bananas or avocados in there. “How can I make smoothies if you can’t add milk, yogurt or ice?” You can’t. “How can I juice carrots?” These can be a bit challenging. “Can I use wheatgrass in my Power Juicer?” Why would you want to do that? “Can I put melon rind in the Juicer?” Yes, but no: “we don’t recommend leaving the rind on due to recent cases of salmonella contamination,” but they add “this is a personal preference.”

There’s a “Healthy Living” section with generic tips such as “think local!” and how to get the most out of your compost pile. They suggest you line the bottom of your pile with sticks and twigs to help the organic material break down, and avoid putting meat scraps or bones in your compost because they tend to attract scavengers, not to mention local police detectives.

There are some “reviews,” though they’re really more like testimonials from happy juicers. A soldier in Iraq, in an email described as “unclassified,” says her husband dropped 30 pounds when he “started juicing daily.” (Hard to imagine a fully equipped infantryman lugging a kitchen appliance under his body armor, but combat stress does strange things to people.) Another writes they “want to thank you for making a great juicer, I juice every days, I mix all kinds of fruit and veg. I feel great been juicer with Jack LaLanne juicer since I got about 5 years ago thank again.” “I have had a burning desire to buy this juicer,” says another correspondent. “I forgot to mention that I was told I have level 2 invasive melanoma” (hopefully not from the soy technology), writes a customer who still watches the infomercials. “Thank you Jack LaLanne! You are a blessing to humanity.”

The rest of the pulldowns are considerably less inspirational. The “Press” section quotes InStyle Magazine as saying that Paula Abdul’s prized piece of equipment is a Power Juicer. Terrance Howard juices beets, carrots, celery and ginger with grape juice, according to a 2006 issue of Stuff. There’s Kelly Ripa on the cover of OK! telling how she’ll save her marriage, and Angelina Jolie talking about how she’ll be getting another adopted child, presumably in exchange for pulp. The “Juice Club” part encourages members to “go raw,” and claims that colorful citrus fruits will give the “carcinogens in you a swift kick.” (Personally, I’d rather not make them mad.) A “Juicing Tips” part touts the benefits of not having to use enzymes to digest and break down your food, and offers Bobbi Sue’s Pineapple Wheatgrass recipe – a pineapple spear, a handful of wheatgrass and a handful of spinach.

Ultimately, though, I keep coming back to the “About Jack LaLanne” section to find the true essence of what makes the story of the Power Juicer so powerful, and so juicy. He tells how his first juicer was over a yard wide and weighed 60 pounds. He describes how, when first introduced to good nutrition as a teenager, he went home that night and prayed “Dear God or somebody, I need help.” He talks about how giving your body the right fuel is like giving your automobile the right gas, but stops short of endorsing an ethanol-based energy policy.

In the end, it’s all about being an example for our children, though it’s not clear whether Jack and his wife, Elaine LaLanne (seriously), had any offspring. “Too many (children) are living on hot dogs, candy bars, ice cream and fast food,” he says. “Why not get them juicing? Make them frozen treats out of juice. Get juicing! I cannot stress enough the benefits of juicing.”

Jack with pulleys (NOT David Carradine)

Jack with pulleys (NOT David Carradine)


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2 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. thedailyuplift Says:

    I need that juicer. He does look pretty good, and I love the pic.

  2. Rosemarie Mabery Says:

    I wish I could have a successful blog like you. How did you get to the point where you got so much traffic and participation on your site. What was the most important thing you did or are doing right now if you don’t mind me asking?

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