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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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!

Farm Fresh to You: Get Produced Delivered, Eat More Vegetables

I’m going to be honest. This is not what I had in mind for dinner tonight.

salad

I had a salad for lunch and because I’m all about balance, I’m generally of the belief that if I had a salad for lunch, I’m certainly not having one for dinner.  But here I am.  Having a salad for dinner after I had one for lunch.  I don’t want to be one of those girls.  I’m not one of those girls.

Let me tell you the story of this salad, because really it started a few weeks ago.

Several weeks ago, Living Social was running a deal for Farm Fresh to You. It’s like a CSA delivered to your house, but instead of buying in at the beginning of the season, you can just order whenever you want it and pay weekly.  So I saw the deal: $15 for a delivery box of vegetables.

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If you used to read my blog when I was in grad school, you’ll know that I had a CSA share in Ithaca, NY from the Early Morning Farm and I absolutely loved it.  Every week I was so excited to pick up my share at the farmer’s market.  I got to try new and exciting vegetables like rhubarb and kohlrabi.  For a foodie writing her thesis on Sustainable Food Systems, you can probably imagine how amazing that was for me.

When I left Ithaca, I was sad that I wouldn’t have a CSA share to pick up weekly anymore. CSA shares in Southern California are basically twice as expensive as my share was in Ithaca (I paid about $20 per week back then).  So I was bummed.  I couldn’t afford to get one.  Let’s be honest, healthy living can be expensive.  (Remember how I got a second job to pay for Crossfit… omm yeah).

So when I saw this Living Social deal for Farm Fresh to You, I was all over it.  Last week, I placed my order and my box arrived today.  I had it delivered to my office because I was worried I wouldn’t be home when they delivered it and the heat wave here has been rough.  Now let me tell you, during my drive home, I was thinking about all the possible things to have for dinner, completely forgetting the box was in the backseat.

By the time I got home I had pretty much decided I wanted polenta with a poached egg.  But then I remembered the box full of vegetables.  I unpacked them and saw everything that was inside:

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 2 delicata squash
  • 1lb potatoes
  • 3 apples
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 pears
  • 1 pack of Berry Kiwi
  • 1/2 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch of carrots

That’s when I remembered: Oh yeah, I used to eat salads all the time because that shit goes bad real fast AND I hate to waste food. There’s no two ways around it, you have to be a voracious vegetable eater if the box is just for you (and that’s the case for me, since I live alone).

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And you know what goes bad first?  Lettuce.  You can wrap it in a paper towel to keep it crisper longer, but let’s be honest, it’s not making it past 4 days.  I wish the box included kale instead of lettuce… but alas not reality.  So that’s when I knew salad was for dinner.

Instead of that polenta and poached egg dinner I had in mind, I threw together a salad of lettuce, carrot, edamame and a Moringstar Farms Veggie Patty.  For dressing, I mixed together some natural peanut butter, hoisin sauce, sriracha and vegetable broth, for a little Asian inspiration (Note: that’s basically how you make the dipping sauce for Vietnamese Spring Rolls).

So you’re probably thinking… good for you! Pat on the back for having a salad! Who gives a crap!?! 

Well really the whole point of all this was to tell you one of the top benefits of having one of these produce delivery services (or a CSA share) and why I’m considering getting it again: it forces you to eat more vegetables.  And not just that… organic vegetables, even better!

Farm Fresh to You brought my count of vegetables for the day from 4 to 6 (plus 3 servings of fruit).  While I probably would have added spinach to my polenta with poached eggs, the box diversified my vegetable intake, because I already had spinach in my smoothie this morning.  Even better, different nutrients!

Overall: I was pleased with what was in the box.  It had a little too much fruit for my liking, but I love the idea.  I think in the future I’ll just choose the vegetable-only box.  I’m all for eating more organic vegetables, because with a sweet tooth like mine, I can always use extra vegetables to balance it out (I’ll be completely honest, after the salad I had a spoonful of peanut butter mixed with sweetened condensed milk for dessert… I know… we won’t talk about it anymore).

Oh and just so you know, I was not compensated by Farm Fresh to You.  I bought the Living Social deal on my own and these are just my opinions.

Have you tried a produce delivery service?  Did you like it?

Life After the Paleo Challenge

A few months ago, I was frustrated with my body and how I felt.  I’m a firm believer in the idea that your diet can affect how you feel about yourself. So I decided I wanted to try to do a 30 Day Paleo Challenge.

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Remember that?

Yeah I had a terrible time and ended the challenge after 14 days.  It’s funny because I was miserable but that post has become one of the most popular posts on my blog (after Samoas Bars and Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash).  Paleo really wasn’t for me, and I came to terms with the fact that I need to listen to my body and NOT force a lifestyle on myself just because it’s popular.

Today, I went to lunch with some co-workers to 118 Degrees.  It’s a raw, vegan restaurant.  Afterward, another co-worker who didn’t go with us, asked me what I thought.  I said it was tasty.  He suggested I try a vegan diet for 30 days.

I said no thanks.

I’m not against vegans.  As a former vegetarian, I’m ok with meat-free meals.  But the real reason I said no is I think I’ve finally figured out what works for me.  So I figured I’d go ahead and tell you a little bit about how I figured it out.

Note: this is just what I’ve found works for me.  I’m not a nutritionist or advocating you eat the way I do.  I’m just sharing what works for me in hopes it’ll help you figure out what works for you. 

It’s All About Balance

This is going to sound cheesy, but what works for me is balance.  I know you’ve heard it a million times, but really, being able to have everything in moderation keeps me sane.  So just to give you a little bit of a breakdown, this is what an average day look like:

Breakfast:

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Green Smoothie: 1/2 frozen banana, 5-6 frozen mango chunks, handful of spinach, handful of kale, protein powder, water and ice.

After I did my search for the best protein powder, I bought some Garden of Life Vanilla protein.  Then Garden of Life was nice enough to send me some Raw Fit to try, it has more protein and green coffee bean extract and a bunch of other stuff.  That stuff is seriously amazing.  Flavor-wise, the vanilla raw protein is better tasting, but Raw Fit seriously keeps me full for 4-5 hours.  And that’s even after crossfit.  I’m amazed.  I hate to sound like an ad for Garden of Life, but I’m definitely buying the Raw Fit as soon as I run out.

Lunch:

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I rarely ever buy lunch.  Honestly, most weeks I eat the exact same thing for lunch everyday, just because I cook once per week and eat leftovers.

When putting together my meals, I try to keep this ratio in mind: 2 parts vegetable, 1 part whole grain, 1 part protein.

So here are some examples of lunches I’ve been having recently:

  • Tilapia with cumin and paprika, with Quinoa Salad
  • Kale salad (just kale with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper) with ground turkey cooked in spices with bulgur wheat
  • Kale salad with rotisserie chicken and rice
  • Kale salad (can you tell I’m obsessed) with a veggie patty

Honestly, I eat a lot of kale salad because it holds up well and there’s no cooking involved.  I can throw it together in the morning, put dressing (really just olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper) on it and it’s not soggy and gross like other salads would be by lunch.  Also, I just think it tastes good, which is important.  Lunch should be fun, even if it’s healthy.

Dinner:

meatsauceoverpolentaOk I wish this was my dinner all the time but yeah right.

Especially now that it’s been hot, the last thing I want to do is cook, but I’ve been trying.  Either way, the fact that breakfast and lunch were so healthy makes me feel better about eating a banana with peanut butter and ice cream for dinner.  Not that I recommend that, but baby steps right?

But I’ve been working on it.  Recently I’ve made:

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  • Grilled Pizza and grilled corn
  • Grilled Tilapia

Now that it gets cooler, I’ll concentrate on making more stews (which I’m a huge fan of). Like:

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Caldo de Pollo

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Coconut Curry

In a Nutshell…

Overall, I feel better about life.  And honestly, making sure I go to Crossfit at least 3 times a week really helps.

But in terms of diet, I’ve found a few key things:

1. More protein early in the day helps keep me fuller longer.  Raw Fit has 28g of protein per serving.  That’s a lot.  I’m thinking of trying two scoops of the raw protein when I run out of Raw Fit to see how that tastes/feels (that would be 32g of protein, woah! too much?).

2. Whole grains help keep me full and satisfied.  I still try not to eat too much bread, because that’s processed but I’ve been having of whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, and barley.  But even then, I usually only have about 1/2 cup at a time.  Moderation is key.

3. I like eating a lot of vegetables.  If I concentrate on having 4-5 servings of vegetables per day, I feel great and usually end up eating pretty healthy.

4. Snacks aren’t essential and actually discouraged.  I can’t really snack.  Once I start, I have a hard time stopping the consumption process until I’m full.  I’d rather just eat meals.  Might not work for everyone but works for me.

5. Nothing is off limits.  I’m more likely to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full when I don’t feel like I can’t have a certain food.  On the Paleo challenge, I remember I was constantly thinking about what I could eat.  Lately, I just haven’t found myself worrying about that, which is great.  I mean, let’s be honest, as a foodie, I constantly think of food, but now it’s things I want to make, as opposed to thinks I want to eat.  That said, I am conscious to not over eat certain things.  I always want to eat 3 pieces of cake and 4 slices of pizza, but I stop myself because I can always have more later when I’m hungry if I still want it.  So while I can have everything, that doesn’t mean stuff my face to the point of feeling ill.  I’m definitely guilty of doing that at times, but I’m trying to keep it under wraps.

In retrospect, I’m still glad I tried Paleo for a few weeks (despite how miserable it was).  I still think if you haven’t found what works for you, you should definitely give it a try, because it could be amazing for you.

I just found that lots of vegetables with some grain and protein is the best strategy for me.  No labels, just real food.  Overall, I try to eat well 70-80 percent of the time.   That helps keep me happy and healthy.

The other 20-30 percent of the time involves things like this…

IMG_8958Oh wait, that was only true when I lived in Italy.  Now it looks more like this…

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Because Bacon = ‘Merika!

I’m sure I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to eat less of that stuff, but I guess that’s the lifelong struggle of a sugar addict?

Have you figured out what works for you? Do you love paleo? Is a vegetarian or vegan diet what keeps you happy or healthy? Are you still figuring it out?  Tell me where you’re at!

July: Birthday Month

Happy July 1st and Happy Canada Day to all my readers in Canada (Thanks for the reminder, Krista!)

July is also my birthday month.  You know me.  Normally the most important part of any birthday is cake

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Oh and piePie is very important.

 

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And I definitely don’t want to forget those two things.  But for my birthday month, I want to concentrate less on cake and pie and more on health.

I’ve decided this year to give myself the gift of wellness (and a new computer), because those are things no one else is going to do for me.  That’s not to say that health and wellness shouldn’t be a priority all the time.  They are, but recently I’ve caught myself slipping.  What better way to celebrate my birthday than to jumpstart my health.

My birthday is July 30th, but  this is not a 30 day challenge (we all know I don’t do well with those).  But I have a few goals for next month (that hopefully will go beyond 30 days):

1. Aim to exercise 5-7 days a week.  This is not an outrageous goal, but recently I found myself only working out 2-3 days a week.  Better than nothing but not ideal.

2.  Make sure sweets are a treat, not a way to fill me up.  Won’t a big piece of birthday pie taste amazing if I didn’t have a big fat piece the day before? Absolutely.  I’m going to aim for 1 sweet treat per week (as opposed to my current 1 sweet treat per day).

3.  Exfoliate 3-4 times per week.  I know this is totally a weird thing to strive for, but I forget to exfoliate all the time.  It’s good for your skin.  I should do it more often.

4. Hot Water with lemon.  At least 1 cup per day.  Cleansing and tasty!

5.  Think nice things about myself.  I’m my own worst critic.  This month, I’m going to stop myself from criticizing parts of my body or not believing in myself, because that’s just silly.  I have a few major things I want to accomplish and I think this is a great month to get started and be fearless in the process.

So that’s pretty much it.  Nothing too crazy, but I think these small changes will be great gifts to myself.

How about you? Do you have a birthday coming up?

What’s your gift to yourself this month?

June Goals: Meal Plan and Make Dinner

Hi All.  Remember wayyy back when, when I did the Paleo Challenge?  Oh yeah, who could forget… the two weeks I turned into a crazy bitch.

Well, I remember at the end of that whole debacle, one of the lessons I learned was that I need to make dinner more often.  I have a really hard time with that.  Usually, I kind of just snack on things: a tortilla with beans, random pieces of cheese, handfuls of chocolate chips, a yogurt, pretzels, any other random thing I can find.  I rarely ever have a meal.

Tonight, I knew I was going to make

Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar (don’t worry recipe blog post about this is coming soon!) to photograph for a blog post.  Before I came home, I stopped by Subway to get a sandwich to avoid eating cake for dinner, because I know myself.  I would seriously just eat cake for dinner and call it a night.  But that’s not good for you.

So as I was eating my Subway sandwich

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I began to think…  I make myself get out of bed at 5:20am to get to the gym by 6am, even though I want to stay in bed more than anything.  Somehow I manage to get my butt up and move it.  I really can make myself have a real, healthy dinner at least 3 nights a week.  That shouldn’t be that hard, right?  I think it just comes down to habit.

Most days, I come home from work and just don’t really feel like making dinner for myself.  If Jesse is having dinner with me (usually once a week), then I have no problem making a meal.  But just for me.  No fun.

But that needs to change.

So I decided to make it a person and blog goal in June is to make healthy dinners a few times a week and blog about it.  I’m not talking about the usual desserts and ridiculous treats I think are fun to blog about… like pie

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I’m talking about quick and easy things that I should actually be eating… sort of like I did during the Paleo Challenge… like my epic paleo dinner of chicken and mushrooms over cauliflower puree

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and my quick and easy paleo dinner.

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It just takes a little bit of planning.  This won’t be paleo all over again, but I will try to keep it healthy.

Now I should say, I don’t see anything wrong with having a Subway sandwich for dinner.  It’s probably healthier than most things I would have been eating, but $5 for dinner is a little too much to spend every night in my opinion.

So here it goes… what should I make tomorrow night?

Does anyone else struggle with this?  Have any quick and easy recipes to share with me?

30 Day Paleo Challenge

I’m a firm believer in trying new things.  I’m also of the belief that if you’re not happy with something, change it.  So right now, these two beliefs are coming together to form this 30 Day Paleo Challenge.

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If you are at all into health/fitness, you’ve probably heard about the Paleo diet and the cult of Crossfit.  I hate to say it but I’ve drank the Kool Aid.  I think Crossfit is totally fun.  I feel like a total bad ass every time I do a power snatch.  But that’s not why I want to give Paleo a try.

Let’s be honest.  We all know I have a sugar problem.

Hi, my name is Karla and I’m a sugarddict. 

While I like to joke about it, it’s something I don’t like about myself.  I wish I could pass up a piece of cake, or look at a cookie and not really want it.  So instead of complaining about it, I’m going to try to do something to change it.

30 days. 

That’s not forever, but it might be long enough to help me break a less-than-desirable habit.

What does the 30 Day Paleo Challenge mean?

That means for 30 Days I will:

Avoid:
-Dairy
-Grains
-Legumes
-Alcohol
-Sugar (and sugar substitutes)
-Processed foods

Enjoy:
-Lean Meats
-Vegetables
-Fruits
-Nuts
-Healthy Fats

You’re probably thinking what about all the baked goods?

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I have a few that I’m committed to baking for events, but other than that I’ll try to feature Paleo-friendly recipes.

Like this Baingan Bharta I made wayyy back when

I don’t want to call this a diet, because I hate diets and I’m not necessarily desperate to lose weight.  What I am tired of is constantly wanting something sweet after lunch and dinner.  So this isn’t a diet.  Instead, I’m calling this a challenge and an experiment.

I’ve read tons of things about how Paleo has helped people crave less sugar and feel more energized.  Seems worth a shot to me.

I fully expect this to be challenging, and maybe even suck at first.  I’ve drank coffee with milk and splenda/sugar substitute every morning for as long as I can remember (literally since I was probably like 8 years old).  That will probably be the biggest challenge, but I’m willing to give it a try.

I’d love to have clearer skin, fewer headaches, fewer cravings and more energy!  Who wouldn’t?  I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be happy to lose a few pounds too.

I’ve got nothing to lose (except maybe a few pounds), so why not give it a try?

This week, I’m easing into it.  Finishing up any beans or cheese left in my fridge (because while I want to be healthy, I also don’t want to be wasteful) and transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle.

The full fledged challenge begins on Monday, March 4th!

What do you think? Do you have any experiences with Paleo?

Want to join in on the 30 Day Paleo Challenge? Interested in me documenting the journey on here?