vegan

All About The Juice, Part 2

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Well, I made it through the 3-Day Juice Cleanse! This post will discuss the reactions my partner and I had to the cleanse and it will contain the recipes I used for our dinners. For a full description of the cleanse, including tips and recipes, check out my previous post “All About The Juice, Part 1“.

Reactions:

Goals

My partner and I did this cleanse together. My goal was to clean out my digestive tract after being wishy-washy with my food allergy diet over the winter. I also wanted to see what a juice cleanse was like. His goal was purely to experience the juice cleanse.

His Experience

My partner chose not to do any prep work for this cleanse (which is not advisable) so day 1 for him was also day 1 with no caffeine. This makes it a little tough to decipher the difference between the juice cleanse and caffeine withdrawal. He was very tired the first two days. He felt his sense of smell was heightened as soon as day 1 and that his skin was clearer. He experienced feeling cold the first two days. He also said he had an overall feeling of being healthier but that he couldn’t describe that in specific terms.

He said if he felt the diet was sustainable he would stay on it because he liked how it made him feel. He did experience food cravings though overall he felt like it was such a large quantity of juice that he wasn’t hungry, he was just wishing his food intake was something other than juice. ūüėČ He also questioned the amount of sugar he was consuming and how that was effecting his body. He experienced bad breath throughout the cleanse (more on that later) and a slight metallic taste in the mouth. He did not weigh himself before/after.

Her Experience

I prepped for 1.5 weeks in advance by getting back on my food allergy diet (no gluten, dairy, cane sugar, coffee, and a few misc. items) and also stopped processed foods and alcohol. It should probably be noted that I’ve been off caffeine for over a year now so there were no issues with withdrawal. In just the 1.5 weeks before the cleanse I had lost 5 lbs, showing how much bloating/inflammation I was getting from eating things I was allergic to (when I first was diagnosed with food allergies I lost 30lbs).

Day 1 I was pretty grumpy. I agree with my partner that the amount of juice we were consuming was a little ridiculous; it was about 20 cups worth per day. I felt like I hardly had a chance to drink water because it took me so long to drink all the juice. Calorie-wise though we were under average for the day so I also felt compelled to drink it all. I was not hungry, though just like my partner I had cravings for fatty foods. I was very glad to have warm foods at night as I was feeling very cold, though I couldn’t finish my (very small) dinner because I felt so full. I also had periods during the day of feeling like I was high and I attribute that to the gut-punch of nutrients in my system.

Day 2 it continued to feel like a chore to make and drink the juices, but the food cravings went away. I still battled with feeling cold so I drank hot water and tried to get some sun. I drank the juices faster so I would have some time in between to digest. As with my partner, my sense of smell seemed heightened and my skin seemed healthy and glowing. I did have a strong metal taste in my mouth and it was bothering me a bit. I still felt very full until after dinner when I finally had a great purging experience. ūüėČ I feel like I got that colon cleanse I was looking for! After that things got a lot better.

Day 3 I had no problem with the juices. I had a ton of energy and was in a great mood. I felt like if I had the money to afford all those fruits and veggies that I could have continued with the cleanse. I had no food cravings and still felt full most of the day. I continued to have the metallic taste in my mouth until after dinner and in researching it I believe my partner and I were in a state of ketosis. I had not heard of that before and it was a little disturbing but after reading up about it it makes sense. In very brief terms it’s the body’s natural reaction to being starved of fats. That also made me wonder if¬†the sugar intake was actually ok. My partner combated this by taking chlorella often (over the daily recommended dose), which he believed helped. I was taking normal daily doses of chlorella and didn’t notice a difference.

Today I was happy to break the fast with some eggs over easy fried in coconut oil, avocado, berries¬†and a green smoothie. I’m curious to see how I digest that and I intend to eat light healthy meals for lunch and dinner. (*Edit: no problem digesting it, though I didn’t have the appetite for large meals during the day and now, three days later, I still loose appetite faster than usual.u)

Breaking the juice cleanse!
Breaking the juice cleanse!

Dinner Recipes

It’s recommended to eat small meals consisting of just fruits and veggies for dinner while doing the juice cleanse. Tim and I chose to add some healthy fats in as well since our goal was not weight-loss and adding in healthy fats really helps with food cravings. We were also feeling cold during the cleanse so we cooked hot meals. Raw meals are a great option if you don’t feel chilly. These are just the three basic meals¬†I made, there are certainly hundreds of others out there.

Mashed Cauliflower with Kale

Mashed Cauliflower with Kale
Mashed Cauliflower with Kale

This is a great comfort meal, not dissimilar to mashed potatoes. In fact, when I’m not cleansing I make them with either butter or ghee instead of coconut oil and it often fools people into thinking they’re potatoes! Note, I couldn’t eat my whole bowl, but my partner had no trouble eating his. I saved the rest and threw it into the last recipe listed here.

Ingredients (for two):

  • 2 heads Cauliflower
  • half¬†bunch of Kale, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Unrefined¬†Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp¬†Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Steam cauliflower until tender (~15 minutes).
  2. Steam kale until tender (~5 minutes).
  3. Add cauliflower and all remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. I like to leave mine just a little chunky so it has that mashed-potato feel to it.
  4. Toss with kale, top with additional paprika for color.

Simple Skillet Kale with Portobellos

Ingredients (for two):

  • large bunch Kale, chopped into large slices
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms, sliced into 1/4″ strips
  • 1/2 large Vidalia Onion (or a whole small one), peeled and chopped.
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 large Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt + Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat until fully melted.
  2. Add onions and mushrooms, season with cumin, salt and pepper and sauté until the onions begin to appear translucent and the mushrooms are a bit browned on each side.
  3. Add kale, garlic and additional salt and pepper as desired. Fold the onions/mushrooms and oil over the kale. Cover and let steam for a few minutes, or until the kale is bright green and slightly wilted.
  4. Remove from heat, squeeze with lemon, enjoy!

Veggie Pasta

Veggie Pasta
Veggie Pasta

I make this meal often in the summer and usually add in chickpeas. It’s versatile, quick and delicious!!

Ingredients (for two):

  • 2 small Zucchini, either spiraled or use a peeler to create thin slices
  • ¬†2 small Summer Squash,¬†either spiraled or use a peeler to create thin slices
  • 1 Portobello mushroom, chopped
  • 1/2 a Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until fully melted.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, lemon, parsley and salt and pepper.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onions begin to appear translucent and the mushrooms are a bit browned on each side.
  4. Add zucchini and¬†saut√© for 2-3 minutes, until it’s warm and bright.
  5. Add whisked dressing and stir to coat. Let cook another 30-60 seconds. Enjoy!
  6. *Note: Mine looks a little creamy in the picture because I threw in the leftover mashed cauliflower that I had. ūüôā

If you try a juice cleanse I’d love to know¬†how the experience goes for you!

All About The Juice, Part 1

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Back in January I made a large post on cleansing. Spring is often a valuable time to cleanse to help the body make the transition from winter hibernation mode, which often involves indulging in comfort foods and drink, to the Spring Cleaning¬†mode of enjoying more light and¬†activity. As I mentioned in my post, there are several types of cleanses. Since I keep a fairly “clean” diet due to my food allergies, I decided to go with one of the more intense cleanses and try a three day juice cleanse. Fresh homemade juice is extremely nutrient-dense and a great way to load up your body on nutrients and give your digestive organs a little break by only processing¬†liquid. Even if you have no interest in cleansing, this post will include several tips on juicing and the juice recipes can be used any time in addition to your regular diet.

For any new readers, I want to be very clear that I am not a nutritionist. I have personally learned quite a bit about nutrition over the years from a combination of working with healthcare professionals and dealing with my own food allergies, but by no means do I claim to be a professional. This is all my personal educated opinions.

I’ve been making fresh juices for several years now, but this is the first time I’ve done an actual juice cleanse. I’m doing a very short juice cleanse, just three days, but I began the¬†dietary changes to prepare for the cleanse about 1.5 weeks ago and once I’m done juicing it will still be at least a few days of easing out of it. So if you’d like to do a juice cleanse I recommend thinking of it as a 2.5-3 week process, not just three days. By taking the time to do the prep and post work it’s a smoother transition for the body and I believe it helps make the results longer-lasting instead of just using this as a quick crash diet and going back to eating crap afterwards.

It was particularly important for me to try the juice cleanse right now because since moving back to the Boston area I’ve been cheating on my food allergy diet ~2-3 times/wk and I was really feeling my symptoms coming back. By just going back on my food allergy diet (which is not calorie restrictive) for a week I literally lost 5 lbs and my seasonal allergies (congestion) went away . That’s just a hint¬†of how much bloating and inflammation I get when I’m eating foods I’m allergic to. My hope is that this juice cleanse helps me reset things further by giving me a big boost of nutrients and letting my digestive organs rest a bit.

Pre Cleanse Checklist:

  • Most healthy adults have no trouble with a short juice cleanse. That said, if you have chronic health issues or have not had a physical in a while I recommend checking with your doctor before starting any cleanse. It’s also important to understand that these juices often contain a lot of sugar (albeit fast-processing sugars) so those who are diabetic or prone to yeast may need to alter recipes and be careful to monitor sugar levels.
  • About a week before the cleanse (I did 1.5 weeks) cut out caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods. I personally also cut out dairy and gluten (among other things) due to food allergies. You can wean yourself off things like caffeine to make the transition easier, but I really encourage you to get off it before juicing.
  • Pick a time for the juice cleanse when you can take it easy. There really isn’t much protein or fat in the juice diet so it’s recommended to stop any intense physical activity for the three days that you’re cleansing.
  • Consider taking supplements to support digestion while cleansing. There are several options and you may want to check with a nutritionist to see what’s best for you. I take milk thistle, chlorella, acidophilus, and pancreatic enzymes for digestion, and I also take flax seed oil because my body really doesn’t do well without a healthy fat intake. For those of you doing a juice cleanse in prep for a liver cleanse you would want to skip all fats.
  • Budget. As you can see below in the “Shopping” section, this involves buying A TON of fresh fruits and veggies. Depending on the time of year and where you’re located, this is most likely very expensive. Save up! My partner and I chose to go all organic and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it cost about $150 per person, not including suppliments.

Cleansing

I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with my cleanse, so after reviewing several options I decided to go with “The Weekend Juice Cleanse” from Dr. Oz and Joe Cross. For those who don’t know Joe Cross, he’s the guy who did “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead“, a great documentary on the benefits of juicing. Now, I’m not a huge follower of Dr. Oz, but I will say that after reviewing the recipes and trying the cleanse (I’m on day 2 right now) they are quite nutrient-dense, they don’t all overload on sugar, and there’s a lot of variety to the juices. Again, these could be used as just really great every-day recipes. The only thing I’m noticing is that the quantity of juice seems like it might be too much for me, but I’ll post again once I’ve completed the cleanse and have a better handle on it. I will say this, I haven’t been hungry on this cleanse yet. It’s SO MUCH JUICE!!

You can grab all recipes and a great shopping list here. I’ll also include each recipe in this post.

Three Day Juice Cleanse for Two People!
Three Day Juice Cleanse for Two People!

Shopping List

For 1 Person for Three Days of Cleansing:

  • 12¬†Carrots
  • 12 Granny Smith Apples
  • 6 Golden Delicious Apples
  • 1 large Ginger Root (at least 6″)
  • 9 Cucumbers
  • 18 Celery Stalks
  • 42 Kale Stalks
  • 3¬†Lemons
  • 3 Limes
  • 12 Plum Tomatoes
  • 6 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 Small Red Onion
  • 6 Cups Fresh Parsley
  • 3 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 6 Large Red Beets
  • 3 Oranges (optional, skip if you have sugar issues)
  • 24 leaves Swiss Chard
  • 18 Clementines, Mandarins or Tangerines

That is A TON of fruits and veggies!

General Veggie Handling Rules

  • Buy organic fruits and veggies when possible.
  • Keeping your fruits and veggies refrigerated¬†will mean your juice comes out nice and cool so there’s no need for ice!
  • Always wash your fruits and veggies before juicing! Juice is raw so it’s important to cold rinse all fruits and veggies and for the root vegetables (i.e. beets) you may want to scrub them.
  • Most veggies do not need to be peeled before putting them in the juicer. It’s really only citrus fruit that need to have the peel removed because it’s bitter.
  • Apples can be put in to the juicer whole (if they fit, I had¬†to quarter mine), though some prefer to core them first since the seeds technically contain amygdalin, which is a cyanide and sugar compound. In small amounts this isn’t a big deal (and you’re not really eating the seeds since the juicer keeps them, but traces could be in the juice), but if you’re juicing daily I would recommend coring first.
  • For peppers, I recommend removing the stem, seeds and ribs as they’re bitter.
  • For lemons and limes I use a hand juicer to squeeze the juice out. If you have an electric citrus juicer that’s an even better option. I just find it’s more of a hassle to peel them and throw them in the juicer than it is to juice the separately.
  • Oranges and clementines/mandarines/tangerines should be peeled before adding them to the juicer. Again, if you have a separate citrus juicer that’s a great option too.
  • The red onion should be peeled before juicing.
  • When adding the leafy greens to the juicer use small batches to not overload the blade and get the juice pusher on fast so you don’t end up with leaves blowing around your kitchen. ūüėČ

Choosing a Juicer

I’m not affiliated with any products, but I can give you my personal opinion that after researching juicers I went with a Breville¬†BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain¬†which has proven to be a good personal juicer (I’ve had it since 1/2012 and it’s still going strong). The benefit is it doesn’t take up a ton of counter space, it’s very easy to clean and it’s powerful. The biggest con I’ve found comes when making large quantities of juice. It stores the pulp in the juicer, so if I’m making a lot of juice I sometimes have to stop and clean it out before I move on. This has made making juice for my partner and myself during this cleanse a little more tedious. Breville does have beefier models (i.e.¬†JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus,¬†BJE510XL Juice Fountain Multi-Speed, 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite)¬† that excrete the pulp to a separate container which makes it easier to make large quantities of juice. I’d really recommend those if you’re making juice for your family.

DITL (Day in The Life) of Juicing

  • Start each day with hot water with lemon and ginger.
  • Breakfast Juice
  • Drink¬†at least one glass of water.
  • Mid Morning Juice
  • Drink at least one glass of water.
  • Lunch Juice
  • Drink at least one glass of water.
  • Afternoon Snack
  • Drink at least one glass of water.
  • Pre Dinner Juice
  • Drink at least one glass of water.
  • Small dinner of just fruits and veggies (I’ll include¬†recipes in my next post)
  • Drink at least one glass of water.
  • Drink a glass of hot water before going to bed.

Notes:

  • Yes, you will have to pee all day ūüôā
  • You can make all of the juices ahead of time in the morning but give yourself a good hour to do so. It takes a long time to prep the foods and clean out the juicer. I wouldn’t make juices more than a day in advance.
  • It’s common to feel cold when doing a juice cleanse. It’s always ok to drink hot water in between juices to keep warm. You can also have hot dinners, recipe ideas will be in my next post.

Recipes

Carrot Apple Ginger Juice
Carrot Apple Ginger Juice

Carrot Apple Ginger Juice (Breakfast)

  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 Apples
  • 1″ Ginger
Mean Green Juice
Mean Green Juice

Mean Green Juice (Mid Morning)

  • 1 Cucumber
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 2 Apples
  • 6-8 leaves Kale
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1″ Ginger
Gazpacho Juice
Gazpacho Juice

Gazpacho Juice (Lunch)

This one really does taste like gazpacho. It’s delicious, and when not cleansing if you add some vodka or gin it’d make a mean Bloody Mary. ūüėČ

  • 4 Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 lg Cucumber
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 sm Red Onion
  • 2 cups Parsley*
  • 1 Lime

*I suggest greatly cutting down the parsley if you’re pregnant. Parsley in large quantities is used to stimulate the shedding of the uterine lining (e.g. inducing periods). This is usually done via drinking parley tea so in raw form I’m not sure it would have the same effect but if it were me I’d skip it.

Citrus Inspired Green Juice
Citrus Inspired Green Juice

Citrus Inspired Green Juice (Afternoon Snack)

  • 6-8 leaves Kale
  • 8 leaves Swiss Chard
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 6 Clementines (I used mandarines since clementines aren’t in season this time of year)
Sunset Blend Juice
Sunset Blend Juice

Sunset Blend Juice (Pre Dinner Juice)

  • 1 lg Sweet Potato
  • 1 med Carrot
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 lg Red Beets
  • 2 Golden Delicious Apples
  • 1 Orange (optional, skip if you’re sensitive to sugar, it’s sweet without the orange)

Post-Cleanse

It’s important to be mindful of what you eat when you’re breaking your cleanse. If you run out and get a pizza as soon as your three days are up you will probably get sick. Even if you don’t feel sick, you’re shocking your body and basically undoing what you just worked hard to clean out. It’s recommended to stick with small meals of just fruits and veggies for the first 1-2 days off the cleanse and continue to have at least 1 juice per day. Then I recommend adding foods back slowly and notice how they effect your body. For example, if you stopped eating dairy add that back in, see how it effects you, and wait at least two days before adding back another food group.

The overall hope here is that cravings for unhealthy food (food filled with fat, sugar, and salt) will diminish and with the added nutrients from the juice your body will be healthier and digest food faster thanks to speeding up your metabolism. It’s recommended to continue having at least one glass of fresh juice each day to keep your nutrient level up and your cravings for junk food away.

I’m finishing up my cleanse and my next post will include my personal reactions to it along with recipes for dinners during the cleanse. If you try this I’d really love to know about your experience!

Recipe-A-Rama

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Since coming back from the Lomilomi retreat, I’ve been trying to cook more vegetarian meals for dinner. ¬†My goal is eating vegetarian 3-4 times per week. ¬†This is challenging since I really enjoy getting a lot of protein and don’t enjoy the gassiness from most legumes but I’m giving it a go. ¬†Since I’m also dairy-free, most of my veg meals are vegan, though I do use ghee or eggs in some of my dishes. ¬†It is not my intent to become vegetarian or vegan, both due to how my system does well with meat and that I have access to local meats from small farms that I trust. ¬†BUT, the American diet has definitely become a meat-fest and I think I’ll both be healthier and will eat more sustainably for our planet if don’t eat meat in every meal and eat it in smaller portions when I do.

Last night I was particularly pleased with the concoction I made up. ¬†I bought some great organic veggies at Sweet Pea¬†in Waitsfield, VT, which included tomatillos, a veggie I’ve had in Mexican dishes but hadn’t really cooked with. ¬†I decided to see if they worked in a Coconut Curry, and holy crap I think tomatillos might be a perfect pairing for Indian food. ¬†I can’t wait to try them in my bhindi masala once my okra is ready to pick! ¬†This is an easy recipe with a lot of warmth and a good mix of tart and sweet.

Image
Tomatillo Coconut Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-7 sliced baby bella mushrooms (or 3 portobello mushrooms)
  • 6-7 tomatillos, sliced thin
  • 1 handful of snap peas
  • 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. red curry powder
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • dash of cardamom powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: toasted coconut flake (throw some coconut flake under the broiler or in the toaster oven for just a few minutes, watch it, it burns fast!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the flax and mustard seeds, once they are starting to pop add the chopped onion and cook for just a minute or two.
  3. Before the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms (this is if you like your mushrooms well done, like I do, otherwise wait until the onions are translucent).
  4. Cook mushrooms to desired doneness, then add tomatillos, garlic and all spices. ¬†Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until tomatillos have softened and there’s some juice in the pan.
  5. Add snap peas and broccoli, cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add coconut milk and stir well.  Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring, then reduce heat to low.  Adjust spices as desired.  Simmer covered on low 5-7 minutes or until veggies have softened a bit but snap peas still have some crunch to them.
  7. Serve over rice or quinoa, optionally top with coconut flake.  Enjoy!

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This morning I finally tried making almond milk from scratch.  It was not only incredibly creamy and delicious, but it was also SUPER easy!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked 8-12 hours and rinsed (optional: remove skins by pinching then after they’ve soaked*)
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. honey (or sweetener of your choice, or 3-4 large dates)
  1. Toss all ingredients in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. ¬†Blend on high for two-minutes (if you’re not using a Vitamix you may need to blend longer and also may need to strain the final result for optimum creaminess). ¬†
  2. Enjoy!  

Now, wasn’t that easy? ¬†Why have I been buying pre-made almond milk with preservatives and cane sugar?! ¬†Well, now I know. ūüėČ ¬†I also have to brag and say that I’ve found many store-bought brands are watery and either too sweet or flavorless. ¬†This was a nice mild nuttiness, very rich and creamy, and for me it was just the right sweetness. ¬†

Next up, making my own coconut milk! ¬†Now that I know how easy it is, the sky’s the limit!

Workouts, Strawberries and a Positive Body Image

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Another week, another workout!  Yesterday I had the day off for the US Independence Day.  In preparation of a few extra drinks I crafted a high-intensity full-body workout.  I was really happy with this one and felt it was pretty well-balanced.  It was also the first time I tried doing double kettlebell step-ups and I was surprised how much the 50lbs slowed me down.  It was a great exercise for legs, abs and balance; probably my favorite and the hardest of the whole workout.  Want to give it a try?

7/4/13 –¬†Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest. ¬†I used 25lb kettlebells and a 20lb free-weight for the ab twists.

  Buy-In: 1 min high knees
  1. Sumo Jumps
  2. Double KB step-ups
  3. KB Lunge-Row
  4. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  5. Pull-Ups
  6. Weighted Seated Ab Twists 
  7. Hanging leg-lifts
  Buy-Out: 1 min high knees
 
After that brutal workout (especially in the 90¬ļF weather we were having) I was ready for a reward. ¬†I found this¬†amazing recipe for vegan, gluten free, grain free strawberry icebox pie. ¬†I grabbed two pints of local strawberries and gave it a go! ¬†I added some raw chocolate to the crust but other than that I used the recipe as written, it is so delicious! ¬†And so healthy! ¬†You have to try it:
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I was really inspired by this blog post from¬†Marianne at myomytv.com. ¬†As someone who follows both her and Zuzka’s workouts it was interesting to see both in the same forum. ¬†I didn’t agree with all of Marianne’s points but I absolutely loved her sentiments about improving our bodies:
 
What do you LOVE? While achieving your strength goals, focus on what you love, not what you want to fix.”
 
THIS. ¬†Thisthisthis. ¬†I’ve mentioned before that I gained respect for exercise late in life, while attending school for Massage Therapy. ¬†I spent my childhood trying to feign illnesses to get out of gym class, and saying “I only run if someone’s chasing me.” ¬†
 
While I dabbled in sports in school, overall I had a very negative view of them. ¬†When I look at the reason for that it really came down to my values not seeming to fit in with the values being thrown on my in gym and on teams. ¬†For one thing, I never understood why people get so brutally invested in sporting events. ¬†I’m all for having fun and rooting for a team, but I can’t connect with the devastation feel when “my” team doesn’t win and how even when a team does win the reaction can be expressed by¬†rioting. ¬†I also don’t understand the amount of corruption in sports with athletes drugging themselves up, dramatically altering their diets to either gain or lose weight, and the perpetuated idea that if you don’t win you’re worthless. ¬†There seems to be a lot of shaming and negative reinforcement in our athletic fields. ¬†I could write a whole entry on this but this is not what’s really goading me right now. ¬†This is about body image.
 
The other issue that really bothers me in the athletic arena is the idea that people should exercise to lose weight, gain muscle, look like that trainer they’ve been ogling over, and basically that they have to change their body to fit some universal image of what “in shape” looks like. ¬†Now let me say right now, I’m not dissing the idea of exercising to lose weight or gain muscle, but I don’t think it should be the predominant driving factor. ¬†I believe that if we all took a more positive approach to diet and exercise as lifestyle choices that there would be higher success rates.
 
I work out and eat right because I love how it makes me feel. ¬†I love the increase in energy. ¬†I love feeling strong and flexible. ¬†I love seeing my body change in ways I didn’t know it could. ¬†It’s also AWESOME that weight loss and more muscle mass comes along with that but if I looked at those two as the defining factors of what makes me fit then I’d always be disappointed.
Image
 
Zuzka is gorgeous. ¬†But, if my goal was to look like Zuzka, I would be fighting an uphill battle that I can’t win. I heard a story on VPR recently that discussed a research study done with about 100 women. ¬†They were asked to record their daily diet in a notebook. ¬†Half were given a notebook with a slender woman on the cover and on each page, the other half were given a notebook with just a tape-measure on the cover and each page. ¬†The women given the notebook with the tape-measure lost weight on average. ¬†The women with the notebook with the slender woman GAINED weight on average. ¬†The group conducting the research study said that the women who gained weight just gave up when they realized they could never look like the slender woman. ¬†It actually caused them to over-eat. ¬†Body-shaming does not work.
 
I will never look like Zuzka. ¬†I frankly don’t have the bone structure for it, let alone the genetics to get my body fat percentage that low without working out 5-6 hours per day. ¬†And you know what? ¬†That’s totally ok!! ¬†I look like ME and the more I work out the more I get to discover how my body feels when it’s strong. ¬†I get to explore what¬†I look like when I’m in shape and I get to push my own limits to see what I can physically do. ¬†
 
The line that I’m sure all of you have heard before is Love Your Body. ¬†That’s really it. ¬†If you love your body then you’re going to want to keep it in shape. ¬†You’re going to want to exercise. ¬†You’re going to want to eat right. ¬†LOVE YOUR BODY. ¬†No one else will ever look just like you. ¬†You have the privilege of exploring what your body can do when it’s well taken care of.
 
We all have an inner critic and I know it can be really hard to see past that. ¬†But remember you have a choice. ¬†It doesn’t¬†have to be hard. ¬†It can be really easy. ¬†And it’s a choice you can continue to make. ¬†Did you decide to have a Philly cheesesteak and now you feel like crap? ¬†That’s ok, you can make a different choice tomorrow. ¬†Did you skip your workout for a day? ¬†A week? ¬†A month? ¬†THAT’S OK, because you can choose to work out RIGHT NOW. ūüėČ ¬†
 
Just do me a favor and don’t let your main motivation to be out of shame. ¬†If you work you for YOU there’s a good chance You WILL lose weight and you WILL gain muscle but the bigger point is feeling good in your own skin and letting the pride that you take in yourself be your motivator. ¬†If you truly want to get out of the cycle of working out for a few months and then giving up for the next six months then you need to get past the “90-Day Challenges” and the quick-fix instant-gratification crash courses and really think about the positive effects eating well and exercising have on your body. ¬†Love your body and you won’t have to think about short-term goals, you will find yourself in a healthy long-lasting fitness routine not because society is telling you that’s what you should want, but because that’s what YOU want.

1200 down, 6900 to go & Warrior Food is not my friend

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I finally did the math. ¬†It’s not like it was hard, I just didn’t want it staring me in the face. ¬†So far I’ve done 1200 burpees (60 more to do today), which means I have 6900 to go and will have completed 8100 burpees by the end of my 90 day challenge. ¬†That’s assuming, of course, that I finish. ¬†But I BETTER finish! ¬†

I finally gave Warrior Food another try today and I’m sticking with my “C” rating. ¬†At this point I’d gladly give the rest of the bottle away. ¬†Today I tried mixing it with some of the strongest flavors I could:

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Ingredients:

  • handfull Spinach
  • 1c Cranberry Pomegranate juice (100% juice, no added sugar)
  • 1 banana
  • handful frozen strawberries
  • handful frozen peaches
  • 1tbsp spirulina
  • 1tbsp flax seeds
  • 1tbsp flax seed oil
  • 2tbsp Warrior Food

I’ve found that the cranberry pomegranate juice is a really nice base and makes smoothies a little thinner and sweeter. ¬†I will say for me it’s not the best choice for a morning drink. ¬†I have acid reflux and I think that on top of all the fruit is just too acidic. ¬†I’ll stick with my unsweetened coconut milk in the mornings but will keep using the juice for afternoon smoothies. ¬†

The big bummer is that even with all this flavor I can still taste whatever it is in the Warrior Food that’s making me cringe. ¬†I’m still not sure if it’s the cactus or the stevia. ¬†I know I don’t like most things with stevia but it doesn’t have the normal stevia taste. ¬†I’ve never eaten cactus by itself so that could definitely be it. ¬†Regardless, Warrior Food is not for me. It’s also thicker and mealier than the other powders I’ve tried.

I ordered a jar of the Fat Flush Body Protein I reviewed over here. ¬†While I wasn’t 100% keen on it the first time I tried it, comparatively it’s one of the best. ¬†I really like the minimal ingredients and it’s the only powder I tried that stays white so on the few days that I’d like a smoothie that’s neutral-colored I’ll go with that. ¬†I’m also going to continue using the Supreme Meal powder. ¬†I like the idea of rotating protein powders, just like I like the idea of rotating all of my smoothie ingredients. ¬†I had a nutritionist tell me once that the body likes [healthy] surprises. ¬†She recommended switching up supplements as well. ¬†That idea seems to work for me so I’ll keep rocking it.

I’m still looking for more protein powder ideas. ¬†Let me know if you have a favorite!

1080 Burpees in 12 Days, Green is GOOD

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1080 burpees down, more than I care to count to go! ¬†I’m hurting but not enough to complain about it here just yet. ¬†This is a quickie entry to share my latest Vitamix creation:

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Vegan Spinach “Cheese” dip. ¬†I swear, that might not look delicious but it TASTES delicious. ¬†Since I’m new to the world of Vitamix vegan cheeses I didn’t alter the recipe at all so you can find it in all it’s glory right over here. ¬†Next time I’d definitely blend it less so it’s chunkier and not quite all-over-green. ¬†I will say that neither my boyfriend nor I are vegan but we both thoroughly enjoyed this accompanied by lentil crackers, carrots, celery and snap peas. ¬†I’m also a huge fan with how much of this recipe is raw.

I also made a raw cashew “cheese” dip directly from the Vitamix Create recipe book but I have to say I wasn’t impressed. ¬†So unimpressed that I’m not even bothering to write about it here. ¬†My boyfriend liked it, I thought it was…funky. ¬†Like, ear funk funky. ¬†So tell me, blogosphere, what raw nut cheese recipes do you love? ¬†I’m on a quest!

 

810 Burpees in 9 Days. Let’s celebrate with ice cream!

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I made something so delicious last night that I just had to blog about it!

ImageBlackberry Peach Nicecream¬†(adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s “Secretly Healthy Red Velvet Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blackberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen peaches
  • Just under a 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder (note, I used a full two and it was STRONG)
  • A few drops of vanilla

The directions are easy, you throw it all in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender until it turns to the consistency of creamy ice-cream (about 1 minute in a Vitamix using the tamper). So a couple differences here between the recipe I made and the one from Katie’s blog. ¬†The biggest thing is the raw chocolate. ¬†Raw chocolate has a much stronger flavor than cocoa powder (what the original recipe calls for) which is why I ended up adding in some agave nectar. ¬†The agave cuts the bitter of the chocolate without making it overly sweet. ¬†The benefits of the raw chocolate are plentiful. ¬†It’s a killer antioxidant. ¬†It also has a big punch of nutrients:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber

I’m a fan! ¬†This low-calorie nutrient-rich snack is also so healthy that I had some for breakfast. ūüėõ

The one caveat I’ll admit is that this is no sissy’s ice cream. ¬†The flavor is STRONG, especially if you use the full 2tbs. ¬†Tone it down by using less raw chocolate, and add a little more agave if you’d like it to be sweeter. ¬†It was too much for my boyfriend but that just means more for me!

Before I leave you, I did try the Warrior Food protein powder in my smoothie this morning. ¬†I mentioned Warrior Food in yesterday’s post. ¬†I was really excited to try it since it has high reviews online and it’s the protein powder of choice of my favorite local raw foodie. ¬†I’ve got to say, I was not impressed but I’m going to give it another chance. ¬†Here was the recipe I used:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • handful of frozen pineapple
  • handful of frozen mango
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs flax seed oil
  • 2 tbs Warrior Food

Since I left out the spirulina and didn’t use much spinach I was surprised the drink was green. ¬†Green drinks don’t bother me one bit, I was just wondering where the color came from and my current hypothesis is the cactus, but perhaps hemp turns green? ¬†The thing that got me was the flavor. ¬†I can’t quite put my finger on it but there was something odd. ¬†I want to try it in one of my strawberry recipes because it’s possible the pineapple-mango just wasn’t a good partner for the mix. ¬†It was also grittier than the other powders I’ve tried. ¬†I will say I couldn’t taste the stevia at all and despite the not-so-great initial taste there was no aftertaste. ¬†That was enough to get me to keep drinking it but in full disclosure I winced on each gulp. ¬†So far I’m giving it a C, but if I change my mind I’ll let you know!