Loren: I've recently switched to a raw lifestyle as well. After having done a lot of research and read what raw and non raw foodists have written, I made the decision to purchase a Vitamix. Yes, it's definitely an investment but in my opinion I'm worth the extra money. It performs well and has an awesome 7 year warranty. The company's been around for ages so that's pretty comforting. My naturopath has had one for over 10 years and she tells me it runs like new. I use if several times a day and I'm totally thrilled with it. Because it is so powerful, it's able to break down the cell walls of your food releasing more nutrients which means your body's able to better absorb all its goodness with a lot less effort on your part. If money is tight right now, just buy a blender and start blending; it's a good start. Blendtec is also another one that the raw and non-raw community recommends very highly. I bought one initially but returned it for the Vitamix because I like the manual controls of the latter. Hope this helps.