Dyson DC25 Animal Review

I can imagine you’re asking yourself “why is this dude reviewing a vacuum cleaner on a health and fitness website?” Well, because your home is important to your health, right? Think about it. If you workout at home chances are you’re going to be on the floor at some point in time (push-ups, crunches, collapsing after a good workout). And when you workout you breathe a lot more air, right? So, naturally I would think outside the box and do a review of a vacuum cleaner! Duh :p

Last weekend my girlfriend and I brought home the space ship of vacuums. Everything about the box screamed “High tech vacuum! Take me home!” I’ve owned many vacuums over the years. When I moved into my first house I think I dropped about $200 on this fabulous, multi-surface pet vac that didn’t have a bag and promised me the world. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. Since then I’ve gone from dual-chamber bagless uprights to slim and trim “sharks” that never lose suction. Until you turn them on, anyway. Having been a Dyson skeptic for years, it was time to jump in with both feet.

Out of the box I was immediately impressed. I’ve never had to really “assemble” a vacuum before. We ended up with the purple DC25 Animal with the ball. I had to clip the cleaning head on the unit and clip the “wand” to the handle. I’ll get into the directions in my pros/cons section, but needless to say they weren’t very clear. Good thing the vacuum itself is pretty intuitive! Once it was assembled it was time to fire it up.

Design

I am REALLY impressed with the design of the DC25. The motor for the suction chamber is in the actual ball of the vacuum. This means it has a really low center of gravity, which means it’s easier to push around! The ball isn’t just great for sharp turns and manuevering around all those forgotten dog toys. It let’s me actually vacuum with my wrist at a natural angle. I was able to vacuum the whole house without any wrist or elbow jarring.

The brush itself has it’s own motor, which is really nice! Anyone with a 4-cylinder car knows that when you turn on your A/C in the summer you lose a lot of power. Same with vacuums. Most have one motor that drives the suction and the brush. Not so with the DC25. This also means no belts to break and replace! Another great feature is the low-profile of the brush part of the vac. I was able to get it under the lip of my couch, under the bed, and closer to the walls. And speaking of walls, one thing I noticed is that this has so much suction it was actually pulling in debris from outside my vacuum path! That was really handy for getting the stuff against the wall that you usually miss because you just can’t get the vacuum close enough. Another great feature is that you can you remove the whole brush assembly with the turn of a dial. After vacuuming the house a few times I got hair wrapped all around the brush tube. Well, normally this is a PITA because you can’t really get it all off! All I had to do with unclip the brush head, turn a screw, and pull out the tube. Then I was able to go to my trash can and pull all the hair off. Good as new!

Another nice design feature is the telescoping wand. I’ll get to the cons of the wand itself later, but as far as the design with the handle it’s pretty sweet. The wand slides into the handle and automatically transfers suction from the brushes to the hose. It’s hard to explain, but just trust me that it’s a sweet setup.

Performance

Ok, so how does it perform? Exactly like a $550 vacuum should! I try to vacuum once a week since I workout at home. It took no less than three complete passes around my 10×10 living room before this thing stopped picking stuff up. It was pulling up dog hair that I couldn’t even see on the carpet! And the amount of sand and small particulates was amazing. It really did a great job and cleaning the rug. It actually “feels” cleaner, if that makes sense.

I’ve owned a lot of “multi-floor” vacuums that claim they do well on hard surfaces. I’ve also found that all of them tend to just kick the dirt and kitty litter all over my feet (some up on the counters!). I didn’t expect anything great from the DC25, but I was shocked! From a pile of litter in front of the cat box to dog hair in the kitchen, it got everything and I didn’t feel anything kicking back at me! I was shocked. And, since you can transition from carpet to floors with the push of a button on the wand it made going from living room to kitchen and back again a breeze!

I’ve read that some people complain about the size of the canister. I don’t think the canister is an issue, I think it’s just the amount of debris this baby picks up! Like I said above, it took three passes in my 10×10 living room before it stopped catching a significant amount of debris. Over my entire house (1800sqft) I think I had to empty it 4 times. Sure, some people may complain that the canister is too small. I think of the positive, it’s just picking up that much crap!!!!

Animal

So what makes this DC25 different from other DC25’s? Well, about $50! And a motorized pet brush that attaches to the wand. Again, I’ve never had one of these that actually works well. Usually, you go to use it and the brushes stop spinning as soon as you hit couch. Not so with the DC25! This thing has almost too much suction! It worked really well on the dog bed. It got up a ton of crap. However, when I went to do the area rugs in our bathroom it ended up sucking the rug into the brushes!

Cons

So far I’ve had a pretty glowing review, but there are cons to this unit. The first is the instructions. They are obviously meant for multiple languages since all you really get are pictures of how to assemble it. Not actual pictures, but drawings. And very general ones at that. For example, to connect the brush head it just says “click!”. Well, where to I click? Do I slide the unit straight on, up, rotate it?

Another issue is the wand itself. The last 3 feet of it are rigid plastic tube. It’s truly meant for stairs, but trying to get anywhere close to where the vacuum is means you’re going to have to fight. Just trying to do my base boards was a chore until I moved the vacuum about 10 feet away.

My last issue, and this is a shock, is that on the Animal there’s no storage for the animal brush! The Animal is the exact same as the DC25 “multi-floor”. You just pay another $50 for this animal brush. But where do you put it? This seems very unlike Dyson, who prides himself in designing easier vacuums to solve problems. Well, I have a problem. I can’t store this tool on the unit!

Fin

All in all this is a GREAT vacuum. If you have pets, go for it! If you don’t think you’ll ever use the pet attachment, you could easily save $50 and get the DC25 Multi-Floor and be just as happy.

Vibrams… or how I learned to run naked.

About two years ago a friend of mine came over to watch a movie. he showed up at my door wearing these shoes that looked like gloves on his feet. I laughed at him. Today, I laugh no more.

He was wearing Vibram KSO’s (short for Keeps Stuff Out). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look them up! They’re “shoes” with pockets for each individual toe. They’re made of a meshy fabric on the top and the signature Vibram sole. Vibram has been making soles for regular shoes and workboots for years, so I definitely trust them for my casual wear.

Anyway! What am I getting at? I love these shoes!!! I saw them first in action at the Disney Princess Half Marathon this past February (2011). A lady next to me was wearing a pair and I thought “you must be mad to run 13 miles barefoot!” But, she said it was the best feeling! Well, after running most of that course in the grass because of the narrow roads, I promptly went out and bought a pair. Then I ran with them. Awkward! It was so weird. I had to shorten my stride and take more steps, but it felt like I was 10 again, running around my neighborhood barefoot. Only this time I wasn’t getting hurt on rocks and sticks!

So, they run well. yay! But what else can I use them for? Well, being a martial artist I am used to working out barefoot. My balance, my power, my speed all starts at my feet. When I started Turbo Kick and other group fitness classes my only option was to wear cross-trainers. Needless to say my balance went out the window. It was so awkward to wear big, clunky shoes to jump around and kick. Now that I have my Vibrams it’s just like doing it barefoot! I can balance better than ever since the sole provides stability yet flexes to my foot. And they aren’t heavy or clunky.

Not only do I wear them to workout. I wear them EVERYWHERE! They are so comfortable it’s like I’m not even wearing shoes. I have no more lower back pain or ankle fatigue. I’ve worn them all day at work, taken them to a theme park, traveled in the car. Just about everything you can think of.

Now, I do have some complaints. The first is that they do take a while to get used to. I had a few blisters the first few weeks until my toes got used to the pockets. I could feel my legs getting stronger, but it was like a workout for the first week or so. I did end up picking up a few pairs of the Injini socks to wear with them. Only downside there is they tend to slide up into the webbing of my toes. It’s not painful, just irritating when doing heavy plyometrics or cardio.

All in all they have easily become my favorite pair of shoes. If they made a dress version my wardrobe would be set!

Kashi’s Frozen Meals

As a rule I try to stay away from any frozen “TV Dinner” style food. They’re notorious for having high amounts of sodium (even the “healthy” ones) and just plain tasting bad.

When I saw a friend at lunch eating a Kashi meal, I was instantly curious. I love foods by Kashi, but I still had a bad taste in my mouth from products like Lean Cuisine and South Beach. The first thing that caught my eye was the Vegan label. Now, I am by no means a Vegan, or even Vegetarian. However, it’s generally considered a pretty healthy sign to see either stamped on a food. So I checked out the box. I thought “no way could this be healthy. It’s a pre-packaged meal! Well, this is what I found.

As you can see, the nutrition really isn’t that bad at all! Yes, sodium is still fairly high but WAY less than most other frozen dinners. Carbs are also up there, but a worthy sacrifice for convenience considering you’re eating beans, plantains, and sweet potatoes. And the meal has a decent amount of protein and fiber. The great part is the low calories. It’s rare to find a frozen meal that’s under 500.

One other thing that caught my eye was the “Minimally Processed” tag on the box. So, I checked out the ingredients and sure enough, most of the ingredients are actually decent for you. Whole grains, soy, etc. No syrups or funny-sounding preservatives!

There are two things that I always use to influence my meals. How they taste, and how well they fill me up. Well, this meal did both really well. The taste was great. It was full of flavor and actually tasted like it was supposed to. This is probably due to the natural ingredients and lack of preservatives. The meal also really did fill me up. It felt like I was eating lunch. In fact, if I had put it on a good ‘ole porcelain plate rather than the plastic container I could have convinced myself I’d just paid 9.99 for it at a local restaurant.

All in all, I am really happy with what Kashi has done here. They offer a great, natural, convenient meal that doesn’t taste bad. And I like the fact that it doesn’t say “Diet” this or “Weight” that on it. I want to feel like I’m EATING when I eat, not restricting my life. I’ll be looking out for more recipes for sure!

Eating Clean for 30 Days

 

 

 

 

This week I start a “30 Day Eating Clean Challenge”. What is “clean eating”? In a nutshell, it’s all about non-processed foods and keeping things basic. Sounds hard, right? Well the hardest part is trying to find clean foods in Titusville, FL where I live. We don’t have a Whole Foods or Sweetbay anywhere close, so we have to rely on Publix and Wal-Mart. They’re both getting better about carrying organic or healthier foods, but it’s still like a scavenger hunt.

For this challenge I’ll be following Michi’s Ladder. http://www.beachbody.com/category/michis_ladder.do The top two tiers is considered “clean” so that’s where I’ll be living!

If you’re interested in joining me for the challenge, you can join the Facebook group! http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_175283035854443