What It’s Like to Do a Juice Cleanse

Juice cleanses are EXTREMELY popular these days.  In general, I try to shy away from fad diets (oh yeah remember, Paleo? No thanks!), but I decided to give a juice cleanse a try for one reason: I don’t really see it as a fad diet, because you don’t generally do it for more than a few days.

I see juice cleanses as more of a reset button.  A way to get you back on track.  A lot of people concentrate on the healthy eating reset aspect of a juice cleanse, but I was reading The Juice Cleanse Reset Diet and one of the authors mentioned how she was over-worked, stressed and not feeling great and juicing really helped her.

That really spoke to me.  I usually try to avoid talking about work on my blog, but recently, it’s been really stressful.  I haven’t been sleeping well, I’ve had terrible headaches for days on end, and it’s been affecting my mood and energy level.  This morning when I woke up (after yet again sleeping through Crossfit, something that makes me really angry at myself), I knew I needed to change something.

Now before I go any further, I should tell you, I work at Ritual Wellness on the weekends.  So I’m very familiar with their cleanses and their juices.  All their juices are cold-pressed and certified organic, which in my opinion is important.  Why bother to do a juice cleanse if you’re going to concentrate pesticides along with your nutrients?

Ritual is a pretty awesome company owned and operated by two inspiring women.  I’ve been working there for a few months, not really wanting to do a juice cleanse, but enjoying the positive healthy environment.  But then yesterday, I decided I needed something to reset myself.

Just as a full disclaimer: I am an employee of Ritual Wellness, but I purchased this cleanse on my own and the opinions are my own.

1 Day Cleanse

That morning I woke up with big dark bags under my eyes and I knew something had to change.  So I drove over to the Ritual JuiceBox at the CAMP on my way to work (job #1, NOT at Ritual) and picked up a one-day Seasonal Reset Cleanse.  If you’re in the OC area, you can stop by any one of the 3 locations and pick up a cleanse (if not you can order online and have it delivered to your door).  It’s super easy.  At the store, you can sample all the flavors to make sure you like them and go home with a cleanse you’ll like.  I picked up the Season Reset Cleanse, but instead of the seasonal flavor, which is Cranberry Orange right now, I chose Red Energy because I like it better.   So here it goes…

8:30am: Juice #1: Green Lemon: Lemon, Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Celery, Cucumber, Green Apple

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I started drinking this in the car right after picking it up.  I really like this juice, but I’ll be honest, you might not.  That’s true for all the juices, not just this one.  Green juices are an acquired taste, because they don’t taste like the boxed crap from concentrate that we’re used to.

The good thing is, the more you drink them, the more you love them.  If you rarely eat vegetables and are a little picky, you probably won’t think they taste amazing, but really that’s the whole point of the cleanse for many: to reset your palate so you learn to like fruits and vegetables.

I also had a cup of black coffee when I got to work, because I’m addicted. I already had a headache when I woke up, so I didn’t want to make it worse.

10:30am: Juice #2: Red Energy: Beet, Apple, Carrot, Pear, Celery

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I love Red Energy.  It’s just plain tasty (in my opinion). It was a welcome treat mid-morning.  I realized it takes me about 30-45 minutes to get through a bottle, so I constantly feel like I’m consuming something.  I’m generally not hungry in the mornings so this was no problem for me.

1:00pm: Juice #3: Spicy Greens: Romaine, Ginger, Pineapple, Turmeric, Cucumber, Celery, Lime, Parsley

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Probably my least favorite of the juices, but still tasty.  Started to feel mildly hungry around this hour (or maybe it just feels like lunch time?), the juice and water helped.

Note: by this point I’ve had about 30 ounces of water in addition to the juice.  I’ve peed probably 10 times… TMI?

3:30pm: Juice #4: Spicy Lemonade: Alkaline Water, Raw Agave, Lemon, Cayenne

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I meant to have this one at 3:00pm, but I had a meeting from 3-:330, so I held off until after.  I think since I was busy I haven’t had a chance to think about hunger at all.  But surprisingly I’m not that hungry and I definitely don’t feel sluggish.  So that’s a plus!

5:30pm: Juice #5: Sweet Greens: Kale, Romaine, Cucumber, Spinach, Celery, Green Apple

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I had this one a little bit after I got home.  I do this thing where I walk in the door and set the timer for 10-15 minutes.  In those 10-15 minutes I pick up or clean something.  Then after those things are done, I can relax.

The first sip I had of sweet greens was amazing.  I love that you can taste the apple (although you might not notice it at first).  I had been looking forward to sweet greens all day, because I know I like it.

7:30pm: Juice #6: Cashew Crunch: Cashews, Vanilla, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Raw Agave

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The last one of the day.  I was totally ready to have this and be set for the night.  Then Jesse came over and ate a burrito in front of me.  #FML

The smell made my stomach growl, but the cashew crunch was very satisfying so I resisted the burrito.  I’ve had Cashew Crunch a lot for breakfast.  It usually does a good job of keeping me satisfied through lunch.  So as the last juice on the cleanse it was great to have something so satisfying.

I slept well and the next morning I woke up feeling like I could do another day.  For me the decision to only do a 1-day cleanse was largely a cost factor.  I’m currently in money-saving mode, but otherwise I would have liked to try another day or two.  If we’re being honest, yes the juices are expensive, but what do you expect with 3lb of organic produce in each bottle?

I’m sure to get the full benefits of a reset palate and more detoxing, 3-5 days is more the ideal cleanse length, but I still think I benefitted from a 1 day cleanse.  I got the feeling of reseting my body (as cheesy as that sounds) and de-stress for a day.  I think the fact that I didn’t have to think about meals or anything was great, the juices were packed and ready to consume.

I was surprised that I wasn’t hungrier throughout the day (and I didn’t crave anything).  But I suppose that makes sense, you’re consuming something every few hours.

Overall, I’d love to try this again.  And maybe I’ll decided to do a longer cleanse in the future, but right now my budget is keeping me at a 1-day cleanse.

What about you? Have you ever tried a juice cleanse or wanted to try one? 

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January: Five Favorites

I’m a little shamed to tell you, but I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey.  Well really, I read the first two and can’t bring myself to finish the 3rd book.

You’re probably wondering, why I feel the need to tell you if I’m “a little ashamed.”  Well, I like to think of this blog as a safe space. We’re all friends.  We can talk about 50 Shades of Grey, spoonfuls of peanut butter after dinner and bowel issues if we really wanted to.

But I know ladies have loved 50 Shades of Grey, and I get it.  I see the appeal, I just wasn’t that into it.  But I will tell you 5 things I was super into this month…

1. Telenovela: Lo Que La Vida Me Robo

Image Source: filmaffinity.com

This is proof that I love cheesy things and would NOT dare judge anyone for liking 50 Shades of Grey.  When I was home for two days for Christmas, my mom turned me on to a new telenovela.  Now I’m obsessed.  It’s dramatic. The men are super good-looking. What’s not to like?

I grew up watching telenovelas and still love them.  So if you’re looking to improve your Spanish skillz, check it out.  You can watch the most recent episodes on Hulu.

2.  Steamed Broccoli

I’ve eaten so much steam broccoli recently that I think my head is going to turn into a broccoli crown.  Seriously, it’s crazy delicious.  I steam it and put nothing on it, but recently I’ve been dipping it in guacamole and it’s probably the best thing on the planet.  True story. Try it!

P.S. I’m convinced broccoli that comes from a whole crown that you chop on your own tastes better than the pre-chopped bagged kind.  Anyone else think this?

3. Dark Horse and Talk Dirty

At work, I listen to music.  These two songs have been on repeat all month.  I forgot how much I appreciate Jason De Rulo.

These songs just make me want to dance, especially Talk Dirty. I hope you’re listening now too.

4. Not Getting Injured, because getting hurt sucks. Right?

Earlier this month, I hurt my arm doing too many pull-ups at Crossfit.  I took 4 days off and it was healed, but ever since I’ve been sort of scared to push myself.  I like not getting injured.  Moral of the story: listen to your body, even if your coach says you can handle it.  If it hurts, don’t do it. 

5.  Arugula

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When I’m not eating broccoli, I’ve been eating my weight in arugula.  At work people know I’m the person who always has an enormous salad for lunch.  They don’t even need to ask.  I’m cool with that, but let’s be honest… lettuce gets boring, as does spinach.  Arugula is currently making my lunching a little bit happier.  Thank you, Earth, for giving me such peppery goodness to enjoy.

Those are the January favorites! What about you?

Did you love 50 Shades of Grey?  What are you into this month?

First Birthday Cake

Today is my nephew’s first birthday! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since he was born.  The kid just keeps getting cuter.

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This past week I’ve been agonizing over the fact that I was going to make him a birthday cake.  I started feeling extremely guilty that I was going to make a 1 year old a mini birthday cake full of sugar and fat, because at this point he’s too little to actually know he wants it. Earlier this week, my guilt got the best of me and I decided I was going to make a (refined) sugar-free cake.

I tried out a recipe, and it was a flop.  The next day I discussed it with the baby-daddy (aka my brother-in-law) and he made a good point: It’s his birthday.  He’s NEVER eaten cake. He probably won’t again until his next birthday.  It’s ok for him to have cake on his birthday.

That’s when I decided to make a regular cake.  Despite the fact that I felt like I was killing his little insides and firing up a sugar addiction, the reality is, that’s probably not true.

Graham is getting this cake.

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It’s the Little Banana Cake with some whipped cream as filling and icing.  I made this a few months ago, but this time even littler.  I think it’s kinda cute and I can’t wait to see him dig into it.

What do you think? Should we give One-Year-Olds a regular cake or a lower sugar version?

P.S. Obviously I don’t have kids and am not an expert. I’m just a loving aunt who doesn’t want her nephew to develop a sugar addiction.  So feel free to comment regardless of whether or not you have kids.

P.P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAHAM!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I’m thinking of changing my blog subtitle to:  A blog about balancing health with a constant desire to eat cake.

Because that’s really what it’s about.  I love baking and making deliciously fatty food, but I spend the better portion of my life trying to figure out how to be healthy and fit.  It seems like the two just don’t go together, but I think I’m making it work and this is a prime example.

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It’s not “skinny” anything.  It’s Cauliflower Pizza.

I’ve been seeing Cauliflower Pizza crusts all over the internet for a while.  Cauliflower is slowly becoming the new Kale.   You know, the healthy thing that we all need to be eating all the time.  I still eat kale all the time, but I’m seriously enjoying finding new ways to cook with cauliflower.  Let’s let this food trend continue!

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Cauliflower Pizza

12 oz cauliflower (1 bag from Trader Joe’s), grated
1/2 cup percorino romano cheese, finely grated
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste1/3-1/2 cup pizza/pasta sauce
1 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese, grated
Toppings: Caramelized Onions, Sausage, Any other toppings

Pre-heat oven to 425F.

In a bowl, mix together grated cauliflower, percorino romano, eggs salt and pepper.  Press onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Try to get it as thin as you can so the pizza turns out nice and crisp.  Bake about 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.

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Remove from oven, spread with pasta sauce, then sprinkle with cheese and desired toppings.  I used pre-cooked sausage, caramelized onions, and artichokes.  Put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until your pizza is nice and crispy and golden!

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Allow to cool a few minutes.  Then serve and enjoy! This recipe makes one large pizza.

I was a fan of this.  But let’s be clear.  Just like the two-ingredient paleo pancake DOESN’T actually taste like a pancake, this isn’t REALLY like pizza.  That said, it’s still super tasty!

Jesse and I agreed it really does taste like cauliflower and egg, which we were pleased with.  I think if I had pressed it more thinly throughout, it would have tasted better because the crispy edges were awesome!

So be sure to press it really thin when you try this!

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I definitely want to try making this again.  Next time I think I’ll do caramelized onions, goat cheese with prosciutto and arugula.  Sounds awesome right?  This is a good template recipe that you can adapt to fit basically any flavor profile, while staying a little bit healthier.

What would you put on your cauliflower pizza?

Soft Pretzels

I’m more sore than I can possibly explain.  Like so sore I can’t sleep.

Don’t worry, I’m not going crazy with resolutions.  I’ve been going to crossfit 3-4 times per week for the past few months.  This week I’ve gone twice, and my shoulders and back are killing me.  But enough about soreness, because aside from my aching shoulders something else is bothering me this time of year: diet-palooza.

I love all the salad recipes floating around, and I’m all for people getting healthy.  I wish it would happen year round, not just the first 3 weeks of January.

But can we call agree to stop calling lighter versions of fatty foods “skinny”?  You know what I’m talking about.

Skinny Vanilla Latte=  Latte with Low-Fat Milk and Sugar Free Syrup
Skinny Nacho Dip= Some sort of cheesy dip probably made with non-fat greek yogurt
Skinny Onion Rings= No, they’re not just cut thin. They’re probably FAT pieces of onion rolled in whole wheat bread crumbs and baked.

I absolutely hate the word “skinny” when it comes to people and food.  I’m going to avoid “skinny” and talk about something that will get you nowhere toward achieving the goal of “skinny”… Soft Pretzels

Carb-y. Delicious.  Thigh-gap’s worst nightmare.

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Soft Pretzel

from Chow

1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)    
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)    
Canola oil spray (like Pam or whatever)    
2 3/4 cups bread flour    
1 tablespoon sugar    
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling    
6 cups water    
1/4 cup baking soda

Place warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.  I don’t measure the temperature, I just turn the water on hot from the sink and that’s usually the right temperature.  Add yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.  If your yeast/water combo isn’t bubbley, throw it out.  It’s no good!

In another bowl, whisk together bread flour, sugar and salt.  Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer.  Add flour to yeast mixture and turn your mixer on low.  Mix for 10 minutes.   Transfer dough to a greased bowl.  Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for half an hour.

Prep your baking sheets by lining two baking sheets with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray.  Once your dough has risen, punch down and knead by hand for another minute.  Divide dough into 16 small balls.  Take each ball and roll into a long string, then twist into pretzel shape.  For photos on how to do this, check out Chow.

Place prepared pretzels on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat your oven to 425F and boil 6 cups of water.  Once water has boiled, add baking soda.  Add pretzels (depending on the size of your pot, you might be able to fit 4-5 pretzels at a time).  Boil one minute per side.  Then transfer to baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

Once you’ve boiled them all.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dark brown.  Allow to cool and serve!

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If you’re still feeling the resolutions, feel free to have this with some skinny cheese-beer dip.  I’m sure you can find that recipe somewhere on Pinterest.  Just kidding.

But for real.  These pretzels are awesome and surprisingly easier to make than I would have expected!

How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?

I’m slowly on my way to being able to do a pullup.  I did one with the thinnest red band this week! Woo!

New Years Resolutions or Why I Won’t Be Making Any This Year

This morning I woke up and felt fat.   So I went through every fad diet in my mind and for about 5 minutes resolved to be a vegan, paleo, juice cleanser who Crossfits and runs marathons in 2014.

Then I walked back into reality and decided that’s just dumb.

Every so often I feel the need to make drastic changes in my diet and time and time again it all reverts back to the same thing: don’t eat so much and move yourself.  The beginning of the year is the perfect time to pine over diets and dream about the possibilities of being skinny if we just cut out a few major food groups.

Everyone is in diet mode and we all decide we’re going to never eat another cookie again our lives.  Then we go on Pinterest, see this photo

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and get hungry and eat 15 cookies.  So let’s just skip that part and just try to be healthy.

That’s my resolution (slightly rephrased): eat when hungry, stop when full, move yourself.

But resolutions aside, I do have some goals for this New Year.  In 2014, I’d like to:

  1. Be able to do at least 1 unassisted pull-up and 10 unbroken double unders.
  2. Read at least 14 books.  Currently reading: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  Enjoyable. Up next will probably be: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.  After that… who knows.  But I took a step in the right direction and made a Good Reads account.
  3. Make cheese (something I said I would do last year but did only once).
  4. And bread! All sorts of bread would be fun!
    ChallahLike I used to! Challah! (lame pun intended)
  5. Go on vacation again.  Now is the time to travel. Peru and China were awesome the past two years.  I’d love to go to Thailand, Costa Rica, or Jamaica.  But I guess I’d compromise on this goal and save money instead.  We’ll see…

What are your goals for 2014?