Homemade Spicy V8 Juice

January 9, 2014

Breville Juicer

I’M IN LOVE! :-)

I never would have invested in a juicer, but BigSis bought us this bad boy for our Anniversary back in August and when she came back to So Cal this past November for her birthday, she gave me a little tutorial. I admit that I was more than I little intimidated.

I wish that I liked raw cucumber and celery; but I don’t. I actually can’t stand it. If BigSis hadn’t practically forced it down my throat, I never would have tried it. But; I’m glad that I did.  I LOVE it!  I’ve always loved V-8, but even the low sodium version has too much sodium for me; that’s why it’s so nice to be able to make it myself, to my own taste.

BigSis published her Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe back in April but mine is a little different, so here goes. I don’t care for beet or red pepper so you won’t find that in my recipe.

For my version of Spicy V-8, these are my veggies of choice.

veggies3

Gorgeous fresh veggies.

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice

4 or 5 Romaine leaves
Handful spinach leaves
2-3 curly Kale leaves
2 cucumbers
4-5 celery stalks
5 or 6 Roma tomatoes
2 lemons
2 carrots
3 small purple carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/4 – 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 – 1/2 t. salt; to taste

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Cut ends from carrots and cut into chunks; cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery in half; peel the lemons and cut into quarters. Juice everything together, and season to taste.

A great tip from BigSis  is to remove this lovely pulp from the pulp bin and run it back through the juicer.

Pretty, huh?

Pretty, huh?

 Look at how much extra juice you get from juicing the pulp!

pitcher-juice

 So far, this is the best batch of V-8 that I’ve made.

In my opinion; PERFECT!!!

juice-glass

As BigSis and I call it;  ”Green Gold”!

~LilSis

Happy New Year from Even More of Us!

January 1, 2014

Big Fat Pig Butt

Photo credit: pmarkham via flickr

Happy New Year!

We’ve been out of touch for a while, but are really excited to get back to our favorite little blog baby! While we were gone taking care of some of life’s plot twists, something happened that we have to fess up to.

We both gained an extra 10 pounds and now we feel like our backside resembles the porkie guy above, but not nearly as cute! I can’t imagine why we’d see the scale shoot up though…

Coronado Pizza

Coronado Brew

Coronado Mexican

Coronado Cheese Soup

Coronado Biscuits

Coronado Omelette

Coronado Guacamole

BigSis Birthday

Ok, so we did take an indulgent trip to Coronado Island for my birthday, and from our camera roll, it would appear that we ate our way from one side of the island to the other, wrapping up with an awesome birthday cherry pie! We enjoyed every single bite but now we’re paying the piper, even though we have never stopped exercising.

We’re going to do something about this ASAP, and will be doing a series of posts on the challenges and successes we find along the way. The goal is to get rid of this excess hiney by the end of February, and we’re putting together a plan to get us there. You know the old saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Maybe corny, but true.

These are the common sense things we KNOW we have to do in order to lose 10 pounds as 50+ women:

  • Eat less, move more
  • Cut out the processed foods, sugar, simple carbs, chips
  • No evening snacking
  • No alcohol except occasionally on weekends
  • Continue our vegetable juicing
  • Cardio workouts at least 3 days a week
  • Get back to strength training and yoga
  • Shake up our workout routines with something new since they aren’t working any more

Starting on Monday, I’ll be jump-starting my challenge with 3 weeks of the Clean Program detox, and will then continue with a slightly less restrictive version of it afterwards. LilSis has a family to cook for, and will be going with the Mediterranean diet which is more guy-friendly. We’re going to have a little competition to see which approach works better. Any bets?

Stick with us through the series, and hopefully we’ll have some tips to share that might be helpful if you’re feeling a little porkie right now too!

Note from LilSis: In reviewing this post, I notice that BigSis is very kind to say that I’ll be doing the Mediterranean diet because it’s more guy-friendly. That is true; because I live with two meat and potato eating “big guys” who don’t consider a veggie or a salad to be a real meal. But; in all honesty, even if I lived alone, I think the Clean Program detox is more strict than I could possibly adhere to, even if for a week. Hats off to BigSis for being able to do it! She’s done it before so I know she can do it again!

I think I need to have a talk with myself,  because right now, all I want is a piece of that pizza! :-)

~BigSis

The Benefits of Juicing: Why Should You Juice?

April 27, 2013

Benefits of Green Juicing

I’ve been pretty juicy lately. You have my recipe for spicy healing green juice, and homemade spicy V8 juice. Maybe now you’re wondering why you would go to all this trouble and expense to make something that might not even sound good to you? I think that’s a good question!

I won’t lie; juicing isn’t cheap and it isn’t quick. I calculate that my spicy healing green juice costs me close to $5 per 16 ounce glass if I’m able to buy all organic produce. You can buy a soda for a fraction of that price, and it won’t take you an hour to shop for it either. Shoot, you could buy a whole fast food meal for that price and in less time. To juice you have to shop for organic ingredients, prep the produce, make the juice, and clean up your mess. That’s a process you’ll go through at least every couple of days.

So, why juice? These are my thoughts on the benefits of juicing, especially green juicing, and why I choose to do it. I should also add that I’m enjoying 1 or 2 glasses of fresh vegetable juice a day; I’m not suggesting that juicing replace a healthy balanced diet including some cooked and lots of raw veggies.

  • Greens combat inflammation, which is believed to be the source of many ailments we face, including cancer, arthritis, heart conditions, joint pain, and Alzheimers. Inflammation can be created by processed food, food cooked at a high temperature, alcohol, smoking, stress, pollution, chemicals, pesticides, trans fats, meat, sugar, dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, poor sleep, and pretty much just living in this world. Green juicing gives us a weapon to fight back against those powerful forces. We need it!
  • Greens also help create an alkaline environment, which is the opposite of acid in our systems. Disease loves an acidic environment, so maintaining a balanced pH in our body is crucial. Excessive acidity weakens the body overall, and contributes to accelerated aging, kidney problems, immune problems, cardiovascular issues, and low energy. Acidity can be caused by many of the same lifestyle and diet factors that cause inflammation.
  • Greens are healing. In my spicy green juice recipe, the greens provide vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, folate, iron, chlorophyll, potassium, and magnesium to name just a few. You get antioxidants, cancer fighters, and detoxifying benefits for your liver and kidneys. There are also benefits for your cardiovascular system, circulation, digestion and relief from water retention. Green juicing is low-glycemic too, so you won’t have a blood sugar spike.
  • Nutrients are more efficiently absorbed from juice, as opposed to piles of produce. It makes sense that it’s easier on your system to soak up vitamins, minerals and enzymes from juicing, instead of going to all the trouble of digesting the veggies before the nutrients are accessible. Also, many beneficial enzymes in fruits and vegetables are destroyed by cooking. Keep in mind that if you include too much fruit in your juice, all that sugar is going into your bloodstream at turbo speed too.
  • There is a place for both smoothies and juices in our day. With a smoothie, you get the fiber you need, but you get filled up because of it. With a juice, you get the benefit of ALL that produce that you could never eat in one meal or in one entire day. Can you eat 6 to 8 servings of produce a day? I’m vegan, so veggies and fruits are my bread and butter (so to speak), but I know I don’t always succeed at that quantity. By juicing, you get the healing benefit of the micro-nutrients without having to spend your entire day chewing, chewing, chewing.
  • I’m consuming a wider variety of produce than I ever would have without juicing. I don’t even like cucumber or celery, but I can enjoy their juice if it’s masked with other flavors. The wider variety of veggies we have in our day, the better chance we have of getting all of the nutrients we need.
  • Juicing is not cheap and it does take time, but it’s not an expenditure that we’ll never recoup. It is absolutely a commitment, like anything else you do that’s important and valuable. It’s also an investment; not  just an outflow of money and time, but an investment into your health. I’m gambling that spending $5 on a glass of green juice right now will ultimately pay huge dividends in my quality of health. That could mean fewer doctor bills, fewer prescription drugs, fewer hospitalizations, and less missed work time. I’m pretty sure this gamble is a sure thing.
  • Most of all, the bottom line for me is that after 3 weeks of having 1 or 2 glasses of fresh juice daily, I just feel better right now than I have in probably 3 years. Menopause has been doing it’s darndest to suck the life outta me, cause that’s what it does. It’s made me exhausted, grumpy, moody, blue and just generally out of whack. I’ve found some great ways to manage the annoying side effects of it (I should share those with you another time), but I can honestly say that nothing has made a real difference in my energy and my mood until I started juicing. Because of that I can enjoy my life more today. Who can say they don’t want that?

Those are the reasons I’m juicing. In a nutshell, I just like it. No, actually, I love it. The process is really fun, and I love that I’m doing something that I know is great for my body and my future. That’s as good as it gets! :-)

 

~BigSis

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

April 20, 2013

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

I’ve always wanted to find a good homemade spicy V8 juice recipe, since the store-bought juice is just too darn salty. I absolutely love it, but the sodium level gives me salt bags of epic proportions. Not a good look, and definitely not good for you.

I’m a total juice fiend lately – ever since I started having green juice every day – so I decided to try my hand at a homemade spicy V8 juice recipe. I have to tell you that I’m thrilled with the results!

Store-bought V8 juice is made of reconstituted juices of carrot, tomato, watercress, lettuce, parsley, beet, celery and spinach. I didn’t have any watercress, my spicy healing green juice used all my lettuce up, and I don’t like the flavor of parsley, so I used spinach for all the greens this first go-round.

I think using a variety of greens would give the juice even more depth of flavor, so that will be the first change I make in the next batch o’ BigSis V8. Technically, what I have here is V7. :)  Next time, I’m going to use romaine and a few kale leaves for part of the spinach, so I guess I’ll have V9 juice then.

I love the balance of tomato to carrot to beet, and the celery and bell pepper are adding in the right touches of flavor too. The spinach and lemon bring it all together.

This first version leans a little spicy, but it’s not quite as zippy as my green juice. Feel free to leave out the garlic, horseradish and cayenne to make a more pure V8.

One last note about this recipe is that it’s raw. I’ve seen some homemade V8 recipes online that were cooked, which baffles me a little. Cooking the veggies defeats the purpose of juicing for me, so we’re going raw here. I betcha you could lightly run some tomatoes through the blender and mix them into the fresh juice if you really want a thicker texture to your juice.

Homemade Spicy V8 Juice Recipe

6 carrots
1 very small beet
8 Roma tomatoes (you want a firm tomato for juicing)
1 red bell pepper
3 huge handfuls of spinach
3 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
4 small or 2 large lemons
1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (not creamed)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Wash all the produce thoroughly. Remove seeds and stem from pepper, and cut into large chunks. Cut ends from carrots and beet, and cut into chunks. Peel the lemons and cut into quarters. Half the tomatoes, and cut celery into big pieces. Juice everything together, and season to taste.

This recipe makes round 32 ounces. Drink within 2 days for maximum nutrition.

I don’t drink vodka, but I also think this juice would make a heck of a Bloody Mary! :)

~BigSis

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe

April 14, 2013

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Produce

I’m obsessed with this spicy healing green juice recipe. I’m one of those people who is either all in or all out. I know nothing of moderation, so it’s no surprise that when I juice, I really juice!

I bought my Breville Juicer a couple of years ago, and started juicing every day. I even dove into green juice. I was new to it though, and made some mistakes. To start with, I couldn’t really figure out how to integrate juicing into my day, so it didn’t become part of my routine.

I like to have a blueberry smoothie every morning. I’m a morning person and I have to have breakfast, so the smoothie gives me something in my tummy first thing, and provides the energy I need to do the things I want to do. I can also take my morning supplements with a smoothie, but they’d be too harsh with just juice, especially green juice.

Then when I get to work, I automatically gravitate toward the Keurig and have 2 or 3 cups of coffee during the morning. So where did juice fit in? Nowhere really. I felt like I was trying to cram it into the day when I didn’t even want it.

Besides scheduling, the other challenge I had with my first attempt at juicing was the fruit/veggie balance. I made a rookie mistake and used too much fruit. You know what that means…too much sugar! It’s natural sugar but it’s still sugar, and that leads to blood sugar peaks and crashes, and cravings for more sugar. Not good. Not what I was going for with juicing.

The bottom line was juicing wasn’t working for me. I felt kind of guilty that I had this nice new juicer, but I wasn’t seeing the health benefits I was hoping for. I just generally didn’t feel great about the whole experience.

So I quit. I told you; I’m all in or all out. My pretty Breville Juicer sat and collected dust for almost 2 years. It stayed on my counter though, and I knew that eventually I’d come back around to it.

Fast forward 2 years. I’d been reading about this new juicing company in town called Vim + Vigor. When they ran a special coupon recently, I grabbed the chance to buy some of their juices and do a 3-day juice cleanse. My favorite of all the blends I got to try was the detoxifying No. 01, which is kale, spinach, romaine, celery, cucumber, apple and lemon. I was shocked at how much I loved that juice.

When the 3 days passed and I was out of Vim + Vigor juice, my body was screaming at me. Get me some green juice now! I was kind of shocked at how good I felt on this juice, whereas my previous juicing experience left me feeling crummy.

The difference? Green juice was a necessary part of my day now. First, a smoothie and supplements. Second, not more than one cup of coffee. Third, green juice mid-morning when my energy starts to wane. Then a healthy big lunch and a light dinner; often raw like a salad or my favorite raw spinach and avocado soup.

The other major difference? I’m using lots of veggies, and just enough fruit to make the juice taste delicious. The general rule – I know now – is 3 veggie parts to every 1 part fruit. That limits the impact on your blood sugar.

Off to the interwebs I went in search of green juice recipes with the ingredients I fell for in No. 01. Finally I came up with the perfect combination for me, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. My green juice recipe is super spicy, healing, delicious and addictive. I’m using ginger, cayenne, lots of lemon, and a touch of salt…all working together to create something I want to drink and actually enjoy the taste of, rather than just choking down a glass of grassy flavors.

I recommend buying organic produce whenever you can, especially with these juice ingredients since all of them (except for lemons) are very susceptible to contamination from pesticides.

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe

Spicy Healing Green Juice
(makes about 32 ounces or 2 large servings)

8 large leaves kale
2 giant handfuls spinach
8 large leaves romaine
8 stalks celery
1 large seedless cucumber
2 small Granny Smith apples
2 large lemons
1 small piece ginger
Salt and cayenne to taste, about 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp each

Wash all the produce. Remove tough ribs from the kale. Chop the celery and cucumber into big chunks. Core the apples and cut into chunks. Peel the lemons and cut into quarters.

 Spicy Healing Green Juice Prep Recipe

Start juicing! I think I get better yield from everything by juicing slowly, and also by mixing up ingredients with a similar texture. I start with the leafy greens, mixing kale with romaine and spinach. This is what the juice looks like after all the leafies are juiced. Pretty concentrated stuff, right? That’s a micro-nutrient powerhouse just chomping at the bit to attack any bad stuff in my system!

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Greens

Once the leafy greens are done, I move onto lemon, cucumber, celery and finally apple.

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe ToDo

This recipe makes around 32 ounces, depending on how big your items are. I drink half of the recipe one day and have the rest the next day. Ideally, you’d consume your juice fresh as soon as it’s made, but that’s just not practical for all of us. If you store your leftover juice in a glass jar, refrigerate it immediately, and use some citrus in the recipe, you’ll cut down on the oxidation a little bit.

It’s definitely a lot of work to juice, so every other day works best for me. It takes me around 30 minutes to prep the produce and juice it, and then another 15 minutes to take the juicer apart and clean all the components and dishes…

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Mess

and you have this leftover stuff to deal with too:

Spicy Healing Green Juice Recipe Waste

There’s actually not that much of it, which makes me really happy! Some people are creative enough to use the pulp in recipes, but I usually donate it to a friend who composts.

I’m really excited about this green juice, and think I’m going to stick with it this time since I’m doing it the right way. If you try my spicy juice or have a favorite recipe of your own, please share! To your health!

~BigSis

Spring Forward for Daylight Savings Time

March 9, 2013

Daylight Savings Time

I always look forward to getting that extra hour of light in the evening once we move our clocks forward for daylight savings time in the Spring. The hard part for most of us though is adapting to getting up in the morning since we feel like we’ve lost an hour of sleep. There have actually been studies done that indicate more car accidents, heart attacks and injuries on the job occur immediately after this Spring transition due to sleep deprivation.

As we spring ahead into daylight savings time, it’s important to try to maintain a consistent bedtime and waking schedule.  Since I already have some “pre-menopausal” sleep issues, I really have to make a conscious effort to try and get at least 6 hours of sleep even though 7  hours is supposed to be the amount we really need each night.

Here are just a few tips that might help you get some quality ZZZs during this transition to daylight savings time.

  • If at all possible, go to bed an hour earlier than your normal time starting on Saturday night. If you normally go to bed at 10:00, try going to bed at 9:00 for the first week or so after we move the clocks forward.
  • Try not to drink any alcohol or caffeinated beverages close to bedtime.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine, whether it’s a hot bubble bath or just reading for a few minutes. Try not to work or watch TV in bed and unplug from social networking by leaving your cell phone in another room.
  • I find essential lavender oil to be soothing and relaxing. Just rub some on your pulse points before nighttime. I also love putting on lavender foot cream before bed.
  • Wear an eye mask if you have any light at all coming into your room.
  • If you sleep next to a snorer, like I do, use ear plugs or put a pillow over your head. (That trick works for me if I don’t have earplugs handy.) Having a fan on for some white noise definitely helps too.

I think it would be glorious to get a solid 8 or 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night but for most of us that’s not really practical due to our busy lives. For now, if I get 6 or 7 hours, I can wake up feeling pretty rested. I hope some of these tips help you get a good night’s sleep.

So, don’t forget to move your clocks forward for daylight savings time before you go to bed tonight. Happy snoozing!

~LilSis

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How to Make the Best Blueberry Smoothie

February 24, 2013

The best blueberry smoothie is the perfect way to start my day. My body craves it. Even in the winter, I have to have it. If I include protein powder, a big smoothie will last me for 3 hours until I get hungry for second breakfast.

You do know about second breakfast, right? (Sorry for the dorky “Lord of the Rings” reference. I love those movies.)

Best Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

 

You can throw whatever you like into the blender, but here’s my basic recipe for what I think is the best blueberry smoothie.

Best Blueberry Smoothie

1-1/2 cups frozen organic blueberries
1-1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1 heaping scoop unsweetened vanilla brown rice protein powder
1/2 tsp maca powder
1 tblsp coconut oil
Splash of homemade vanilla extract (see note below)
Optional: a tiny bit of chlorella powder

Place everything into a blender and mix until thoroughly blended, adding a little water if the mixture gets too thick. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I use blueberries because they’re such a nutritional powerhouse, but you can use any fruit. I used to mix in some strawberries, but I’ve been reading that even organic strawberries are likely to contain pesticide residue. I prefer frozen fruit because then I don’t need ice cubes to get a nice freezy texture.
  • My usual liquid is Almond Breeze, but I’ve added a splash of orange juice for flavor when I had it around. I don’t like using much juice though because of the high natural sugar content. If I wanted a sugar buzz, I’d rather have a piece of chocolate.
  • Instead of the flax seeds or in addition to them, I’ve also used hemp seeds and chia seeds. They’re all good in smoothies.
  • Maca is one of my favorite little foods, and I think it’s highly underrated. Google it and see. It’s a powdered Peruvian root that I first read about it in Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive. It helps balance out hormonal issues for menopausal women, and is said to have a variety of other benefits including increasing energy and endurance, and reducing stress and adrenal fatigue. I don’t know about all of the claims, but I can tell you that my hormonal issues are lessened when I use it and I just feel better. I like the Royal Maca brand. It is gelatinized, which means it is less starchy, more potent, more concentrated and easier to digest than raw maca.
  • Coconut oil is another little jewel that I love. It’s supposed to reduce night sweats and other hot flashy problems, as well as helping to prevent Alzheimer’s and provide quick energy since it doesn’t have to be metabolized through the liver first like most other fats. I’d really like to get one more tablespoon of it in my diet each day.
  • Homemade vanilla extract is pretty complicated, so pay close attention. Once I finish a bottle of my favorite vanilla extract, Penzey’s Mexican Vanilla, I keep the vanilla bean inside the bottle and fill it up with the cheapest vodka I can find. Then I just store it in the back of the pantry for a few weeks. I have 3 bottles in rotation, so while I’m using the oldest bottle, I have 2 others marinating in the pantry. Why do this? Because I’m a vanilla extract snob; I like the good stuff which is pricey. There’s no need for it in a smoothie though and this cheap version works perfectly fine.
  • Chlorella is another food I learned about from Thrive. It’s a freshwater algae that is a detoxifying super hero! It helps speed up the rate at which toxins are removed from our bodies, and is even used in cases of mercury overload. You have to respect chlorella for the power it possesses, and add it into your smoothie very, very gradually, otherwise you’re likely to experience bloating and real discomfort. I don’t add in chlorella all of the time, and when I do it’s usually 1/4 tsp or less.

I hope you’ll give the Best Blueberry Smoothie a try, and start your morning with a team of super nutrients that will go to battle for you throughout the day!

~BigSis

Clean Program Wrap-Up and Raw Green Soup Recipe

January 29, 2012

My 21-day Clean Program cleanse is complete, and I’m happy to report that it went great!  I lost 6.5 pounds, and over 3 inches from my waist, hips and thighs. I continued to do cardio 5 or 6 days a week, but this wasn’t the time to ramp up the exercise so the weight loss wasn’t due to more workouts. Weight loss was not the main goal, although it’s nice to be rid of that post-holiday puffy bloaty feeling that most of us end up with in January.

The main goal was to detox; to get rid of all the nasty free radicals roaming around, along with the mucus (sorry, gross) that is formed by the body to try to isolate the toxins. I feel great, as Dr. Junger promised. My achy knees are happier, I’m sleeping much better, I have better energy and mental clarity, and I feel calmer. I can’t explain it all, but it’s all documented in Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself, and everything that Dr. Junger said would happen, did happen.

The only problem is, I want to stay on this program forever! I love it. One of the things I love most about it is the Raw Green Soup I had for dinner almost every night, and am now totally addicted to. I’m still making it a couple of times a week even though the cleanse has been officially over for a week. SisMama said she would upchuck if she had to eat this, but I promise it’s delicious. It does take a slightly adventurous palate to try it for the first time, but after the first taste I think you’ll agree. It’s yummy and addictive.

I based my soup on a recipe from Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier, but I tweaked the flavors quite a bit since I like a little zippety-do-dah in my food. It’s essentially spinach blended with water, avocado, lemon, protein powder and some seasonings. I know, I know, I know! It’s sounds like it would be horrible. I can’t explain it, just trust me. Here’s my version.

Raw Green Soup

1/2 large avocado (or 1 whole small one)
2 cups baby spinach, very tightly packed
3 cups water
2 tblsp hemp protein powder
1 tblsp hemp oil
2 tblsp raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 raw garlic clove
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or to taste; I use a lot)
2 tblsp fresh chives
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to taste
Dash sea salt
Dash black pepper

Pile all ingredients into a blender and whirl around until it looks creamy and you don’t see any dark green spinach bits spinning by.

This recipe makes 2 servings. Store leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge and use the next day if possible. It doesn’t darken, but the avocado will start to take on that old guacamole taste.

Note: I use my KitchenAid blender to make this and it works like a champ.You don’t need an expensive Vitamix to pull this off. A good blender or food processor should be fine.

~BigSis

Detoxing with the Clean Program

January 8, 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope your year has gotten off to a fabulous start!  Did you resolve to do anything differently this year? I don’t call myself a resolution maker, but I do like to take a quick look back to see what worked the previous year, and what I’d like to do better. Maybe that’s the definition of making resolutions, and I’m just kidding myself that I don’t go there?

Anyway, the main bugaboo in my life for the last few weeks has been devouring things I don’t usually eat, in addition to getting less rest, and succumbing to a lot of holiday stress. You know what that all adds up to…time to detox!

Clean ProgramI personally love a good cleanse, and have done several over the years. The detox of choice this year is the Clean Program. It’s a 21-day nutritional cleanse based on the best-selling book Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Dr. Alejandro Junger.

You might have heard Gwyneth Paltrow talk about this book, like I did. I’ve had the book for a while but just pulled it out on New Years Eve as I was deciding on which cleanse route to take. I know; I’m quite the party animal, right?

I’m not gonna lie; the Clean Program is not for the faint of heart. I’m wrapping up my first week, and it’s going surprisingly well, but you have to get your mojo on before you start. I absolutely believe that this program is at least 50% mental, if not more!

Here is my amateur paraphrasing of the rules:

  • Eat none of this bad stuff: dairy, eggs, soy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, evening nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers), strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, grapes, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, pork, beef, veal, processed oils, etc, etc, etc. The list is long and a little daunting!
  • Have liquid meals for breakfast and dinner: soup (preferably raw to maintain the healthy enzymes), fresh juices (from allowed fruits and veggies), or smoothies.
  • Enjoy one solid meal each day at lunch. That’s right; I said ONE.
  • There must be a twelve-hour fast between dinner and breakfast.
  • Additional goodies: eat a raw garlic clove each day, take two tablespoons of olive oil before bed, brush your skin each day (exfoliation helps the toxins exit), drink a TON of water, and exercise moderately every day if you can (walking’s great). You also have to make sure you do a #2 every day (make SURE you do, even if you need some “help” with it. You know what I mean.). If the released toxins linger in your system, you could re-absorb them, and you definitely don’t want to do that!
  • If you haven’t purchased the official Clean kit ($425), you’ll need to purchase some supplements to help your body with the detox. I already had a lot of this stuff so I didn’t buy it. I’m using ground flaxseed, rice and pea protein powders, Maca, Chlorella, a powerful probiotic, Milk Thistle, PGX and Oil of Oregano.

What’s the POINT of all that and what CAN you actually eat?  Good questions!

The point is to take as much stress as you can off your body, including the work of processing a bunch of stuff that gets in the way of effective digestion and elimination. You want your body to spend that energy getting rid of the toxic garbage that causes a host of problems like fatigue, joint pain, constipation, and food cravings.

The supplements help your body to release the toxins and get them out of your system as efficiently and completely as possible. Did you know that a water or juice fast can help release toxins, but the nasty little buggers are best whisked out of your system when they can bind to (take a ride on) protein? I didn’t.

Another bit of news to me is that the olive oil helps your liver release bile, which is really helpful since your poor stressed liver is going to be working overtime to process all these toxins that are hopefully taking the fast track out of your bod.

So what can you actually EAT, you ask, for cryin’ out loud?

  • Gluten-free grains (sometimes called pseudo grains), like amaranth, teff, millet, quinoa and brown rice
  • Fruits with exceptions noted above
  • Vegetables with the exception of corn and nightshade family
  • Dairy substitutes like almond milk
  • Vegetable proteins: split peas, lentils, beans, spirulina, blue-green algae
  • Water, water, water!

As I said, the Clean Program isn’t a walk in the park. It’s serious about doing some seriously important work for your health. You’re eating pretty darn CLEAN for three weeks, and you have to be extremely motivated for better health, otherwise you’re going to be resentful and feel deprived. I was hoping to get a jump-start on losing some holiday poundage that crept up on my backside. More than that though, I wanted to get away from the sugar and salt cravings I’d given in to during the holidays, as well as getting back to only one cup of coffee a day rather than two or three. A little extra energy would be nice too.

To be fair, eating this way isn’t as hard for me as it might be for some folks since I’ve been vegetarian for over seventeen years and vegan for two years. I already do a morning smoothie and make fresh juices, and I try to eat intentionally. But even so, I still have LOTS of room for improvement. I eat too much processed stuff, too much soy, too much faux meat, too many crackers, too much caffeine, and during the holidays/bake sale time I consume too much sugar. And I can always improve on the amount of fresh veggies and fruits in my diet. Plus I’m exposed to toxins like everyone else from pesticides, exhaust fumes, smog, chemicals, stress; you name it.

So how’s the cleanse going, you ask?  The first three days I had a pretty bad headache, but surprisingly I haven’t been hungry at all, even at night when I tend to snack on crackers and nuts and whatever else I can get my tired hands on after work and a workout. I’ve definitely experienced some detox symptoms like tiredness, a mouth sore, and an inflamed/coated tongue and roof of mouth.

Some signs are good though!  I’m starting to feel clearer and strangely calm. My scale needs a new battery so I can’t quantify it, but I absolutely feel like I’ve lost some weight; probably a lot of bloaty water and maybe a pound of fat. I hope, I hope! I don’t have any cravings, even though I haven’t had a cracker or a single piece of bread in a week. Cool, huh? I feel very in control of what I eat right now, and not at the mercy of every bon bon or chip I walk by. That’s a huge improvement!

I still have fifteen more days to go, and I’m excited to see how it shakes out!  So far, I’m feeling pretty good about it and feel like I can go the distance. I’ll report back on the events of the next two weeks!

Note from BigSis added on 1-10-12: At the end of week one, I lost 4 pounds!  Yippee!  Hopefully more to come…

~BigSis

Komen Race for the Cure

October 10, 2011

I’ve mentioned several times that the Komen Race for the Cure is one of my favorite charity 5K races and it’s one that I try to participate in every year. Three years ago we formed a team of about 25 friends and neighbors and in addition to having a great time walking together, we were able to raise over $3000.00.

Since it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to get a few friends together to walk or run in your local Komen Race for the Cure.

For our Dallas readers, I thought I’d post this reminder that the Dallas Komen Race for the Cure is this Saturday, October 15th. For our San Diego friends, the San Diego Komen Race for the Cure is Sunday, November 6th. And for anyone interested in participating in the Global Race for the Cure, that race is scheduled for June 2, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

There are still races scheduled all over the country this month and in November, so if you’ve decided to participate this year, just go to the Komen site to find the local race near you. Every dollar you raise can make a difference.

~LilSis