Monday, March 25, 2013

But I Want My COFFEE!!!

Oh the dreaded question... "Can I drink coffee while I juice?"  Imagine someone asking me this question while cringing with a desperate glint of hope in their eyes... the hope that I might say, "Yes."

So here is my answer - Yes and No.

To help answer the question more effectively, you need to answer this preliminary question, "Are you juicing or juice cleansing/fasting?"  In my world, juicing is the act of incorporating fresh, alive and active juice into your regular routine.  Juice cleansing/fasting is when you make the short-term commitment to ONLY drink fresh, alive and active juice thus flushing the body and basically "rebooting" your metabolism.  It is the difference between maintaining vs. cleansing/fasting.

My final answer...

  • Juicing = yes you can have coffee in moderation (no "pots" a day!)
  • Juice cleansing/fasting = no you can not have coffee... not even a little bit!

Why would I be so cruel as to take coffee away from "innocent juice cleansers" such as yourself?  The answer is simple... you are trying to cleanse the body of any toxins and agents in that are working against the natural inclinations and health of the body.  Sorry, but caffeine is one of those agents.  So, to reap the full and rapid benefits of a juice cleanse/fast, it is critical to eliminate extraneous substances that would otherwise tax the body and defeat your goal.

See... I'm not so mean after all!  I'm just trying to ensure that whether you are embarking on a lifestyle change such as juicing or are ready to dive into a juice cleanse/fast, that you will achieve maximum results. I want you to be as excited about this as I am!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Nuts for Coconuts!

Some say the sweet smell of coconuts take them to a lounge chair on the beach... piƱa colada in hand.  Some say it reminds them of the pool on a hot summer day.  Either way, coconut usually sparks a positive nostalgic reaction in most individuals.

The focus for today... Coconut water.

Usually harvested from young, green coconuts, the water can be found at the very center.  Fresh coconut water is different from most store bought coconut drinks for two reasons:
  1. Fresh coconut water contains active enzymes that both repair and detox the body, whereas most store bought products have been pasteurized and/or are from concentrate.  
  2. Fresh coconut water is NOT the same as coconut milk.  Coconut milk is actually the meat of the coconut  finely processed, filtered and mixed with flavors and fillers such as water.  Coconut milk is not bad, it is just different than fresh coconut water.
Fresh coconut water has surprising and fantastic health benefits!  
  • Is extremely hydrating for the body
  • Contains essential minerals and electrolytes (predominately potassium)
  • Helps generate energy within the body and musculature
  • Combats high sodium diets while trying to cleanse
  • Detoxes and repairs tissues within the body
Besides its miraculously health affect on the body, it is naturally sweet and nutty without the added sugar of most juices.  This can make a yummy and beneficial addition to any juicing regimen.  

Personally I like to incorporate it as a "snack filler" to help fill me up and curb hunter.  It works wonders and really does help boost energy and hydration throughout the day.

Now... if only this blog post could bring some "beach weather" our way!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The "Master?"

Oh the infamous "Master Cleanse."  It has been branded and re-branded by independent juicers and corporations for years... and I mean years!

This so-called "master of all cleanses" was originally created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940's.  You read that right... 1940's!  He went on to author The Master Cleanse which gave the details regarding the recipe and program to execute.  The ingredients are simple:
  1. Water
  2. Fresh lemon juice
  3. Grade B maple syrup
  4. Cayenne pepper
Users claim that they have been able to lose weight fast.  The results varied across dieters, body types, intake amounts, potency of each juice... etc.  

So... I thought, "I'm in the business of trying juice cleanses, I should probably check this out!"  I did a 2 day "Master Cleanse." 

This is what I found...

The first morning I felt great!  The juice tasted great and it invigorated me to a point where I didn't even want to drink coffee.  By that afternoon, I was feeling a bit light headed and nauseous   Now consider that I am an avid juicer, so I shouldn't be going through any major symptoms as my system is pretty "clean." By that night, I was so hungry I felt like I wanted to down an entire pizza!

I know the drill when trying a new cleanse, so I stuck to the plan, had a big cup of tea before bed and made the commitment to continue on the next day.  I woke up and had a big glass of the "lemonade."  It again, tasted good and was invigorating in the morning.  As the previous day predicted, I saw the same symptoms by the end of the day.

I did lose 2 lbs by the end of the second day, but I felt depleted and had an extreme hunger that I had a hard time satisfying... not a good result if you are looking to lose weight overtime.  

So, what did this tell me? 

This cleanse may allow you to lose weight quick, but it isn't sustaining.  It is not a cleanse you want to do for long periods of time or as your only, regular cleansing agent.  Why?  The simple truth, it doesn't sustain you nutritionally.  It may have all the makings of a fast cleanse, but it doesn't hold up over the long haul.  

My advice?

Give this a go as a morning tonic once in a while or even as a 2-3 day cleanse a couple or few times a year.  Just don't rely on this as a long term solution or as a long term cleanse.  The cleanse just doesn't have enough nutrients to sustain the human body or to create a healthier body.  This cleanse is ONLY for immediate, NOT sustained, weight loss or health. I'm not for or against this approach... I just want my followers to know what this cleanse is "good for" and what it "lacks!"

I'm available if you need help navigating this one... I've witnessed it first hand!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Smile...

Wow, the power of a smile! When you catch eyes with someone and their face lights up... Eyes brighten, face opens and finally... An ear to ear grin.

Today I was on my way to the gym, stopped at a stoplight, window down and tunes pumping. 28 degrees F is a relative heat-wave for Wisconsin... Spring is in the air. I was feeling that energy pulsing through my veins, breathing in the freshness, feeling sun warm my bare arms... Divine!

I look over to find "Mr. Orange Coat," I've so dubbed him anyways. I see him walking miles and miles a day, everyday, in all weather. He looks up and gives me a slight head nod and then that smile! As if the smile leapt from his face and gave me a big hug, surrounding me in even more positive energy.

I felt a zing travel to my own smile reflex and blurted out a giggle. If you know me at all, I don't just "giggle," I'm a belly laugher through and through. I look to the car next to me, smiling and laughing. This man couldn't even help himself, he started smiling. Another zing!

I went to the gym and made a stop at the gas station. As I was paying at the pump, I saw the man from the car. He did a double take and then b-lined it at high speed... Towards me!

I pretended to be working with the credit card machine when I heard a laugh. "I just wanted to say, thank you. I woke up in a foul mood this morning... Then I saw this woman, you, laughing to yourself... Well, you made my day." He smiled and then ran off.

Confused, happy and feeling a little vulnerable, I got into my car and thought... I HAVE to share this...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

For Kids' Sake!

For those who have or influence our younger generations, this post is for you!

Our children are learning from such a young age about how to treat their own bodies.  They are watching their older role models with the eyes of a hawk... taking in every decision and every action we make.  Just the other day I dropped a cup of water on the ground, watching it splash all over the floor I mumbled, "Crap!"  Not even skipping a beat, my 1 1/2 year old daughter mimics, "Crap," and then looks up at me and smiles... parent fail on my part.

I did make a "note-to-self" to keep such words to myself next time, but hey, we are real people with real lives which makes us REAL role models of today's children.  So, I took that experience and I applied my lessons-learned to how I am role modeling my nutrition habits.

We may not be able to control the world's views on health.  Schools, museums, other kids' houses and public areas are notorious for fast, easy and filling foods.  Usually ridden with salt, sugar and empty calories. Of course kids LOVE this kind of food.  It sparks feelings of euphoria as the stimulants hit their sensitive little systems, catapulting them into shock.  Yet, you can't always control this.  Sometimes kids just have to eat and you are the one there to feed them on the spot.

To offset society's lack of health-sense (though I have to say things are getting better... just not there yet), it is important that WE as role models are providing consistent and adequate nutrition.  So, why not try introducing juice into their diet!  The kids are seeing you do it, so why not let them try it?

Kids love the entire process:

  1. Shopping for or growing the fresh produce
  2. Washing and preparing the fruits and vegetables... even taking a taste before the juicing begins
  3. Learning to run the juicer, listening to the sounds and watching the juice fill up the pitcher
  4. Finally... drinking and enjoying!
Kids feel pride in this type of approach.  Give them some credit!  Kids are usually smart and engaging, they will most likely surprise you with how much they've learned and retained.

Another point is that you can do almost anything with the juice to get them to intake:
  1. Try to make it with more fruit or sweet vegetables while "hiding" the bitter or bland vegetables   It will be more palatable for them.  You want them to have good experiences so they keep drinking it!
  2. Get fun jars and/or cups for them to drink out of.
  3. Try freezing them into ice cubes with Popsicle sticks.  You have healthy, frozen treats ready to go!
  4. Try mixing whole berries or fruit in the cup of juice.  Kids love surprises and seeing mysterious things floating around in their drinks.
  5. Have their friends over to experience and love it together.
  6. Show by example.  It is important that you are "walking your talk" by drinking your juice too!
Some things to be aware of when introducing juice into children's diets:
  1. Dilute juice at first until their system and taste buds acclimate.
  2. Cup feed, do NOT bottle feed.  The sugars and acids may erode the backs of the front teeth over time with a bottle feeding method.
  3. Moderation... don't overload a child's system.
  4. Juicing should be "in addition to" and not "in place of" a nutritious, whole-food diet.
  5. Always consult a primary physician or health care professional with questions.
The idea, is that you want to get nutrition-packed food into kids' systems so that their bodies recognize what true health is.  They can then better combat the ebbs and flows of society's health views and stay true to those they know are true and good for them.  

So get on out there and start juicing for kids' sake!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Toxic Overload!

When you finally make a decision to become healthy, to rid your body of toxins and begin a diet and exercise regimen that works for you, you are actually breaking old habits.  When you decide to juice, you are shaking your previous routine to the core!

In these initial stages, you are actually "fighting" with the poor habits that your body has grown to expect.  Anytime there is conflict within the body, there will be initial consequences before things get better.

How it works inside your body...

Your liver, adrenal glands and other vital organs were designed to cleanse the body and create the balance needed for overall functionality and health.  Yet these organs do have limits.  Just like the air filter on your car... everything needs to be cleaned.

What then happens, when these systems are overloaded, is that they start to "reject" toxins to other tissues.  Basically saying, "We are at full capacity, can you take this?"  The surrounding tissues, namely fat cells, have no choice but to absorb the toxic overflow and hang onto it for as long as the tissues and cells are functioning.  You essentially have a backlog of toxins just building up... slowly taking over your cells and organs and thus clogging your body.

This is exactly what causes symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Constant feeling of sickness in stomach
  • Headaches
  • Excess weight gain
  • Joint pain
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Digestive issues
  • Acne
  • And the list goes on...

Since our cleansing organs and functional systems do not allow us to "remove and replace" them, like a car filter, we have to take the approach of cleansing them and then allowing them to regenerate.  This means:

  1. Slowing the intake of toxins to an acceptable level, range and frequency.
  2. Giving these systems a break so that they can "self clean" and rejuvenate their own tissues.
The initial affects of such action may cause a slight increase in the above symptoms... meaning you will actually feel WORSE before you feel BETTER.  I know we've all heard that saying before, yet it rings true even in health and wellness.  When you shock your body into making this drastic and much-needed positive change, your body will rebel and you will probably feel "sick."  

This is OK and normal.  You are burning off and releasing toxins that your body has held onto for a long time.  Your body is finally having the capacity to break them down, process them and finally rid them through your immune and digestive systems.  

So... if you are just starting a major health shift in your life, take on the challenge!  Know that this is going to be a side affect and push on through.  It is temporary!  Here are some tips to help make this transition easier:
  1. Drink excess amounts of water
  2. Sweat it out - exercise
  3. Juice - juice according to your plan and don't let up
  4. Cut out the toxic intake - remove alcohol, caffeine, excess sugar, fats and oils... until your body is back on track
  5. Rest - rest - rest
Remember, your body is taking on a huge shift in it's normal routine.  Give yourself and your body a break and allow yourself to finally deal with and flush these toxic invaders.  You owe it to yourself to see this through... see through to the "New You!"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just As A Horse...

"Just as a horse will manufacture all the protein it needs for it's strong musculature from greens, so too will a human." ~Natalia Rose (Author of "The Raw Food Detox Diet")

This phrase has gotten a lot of hype on blog and discussion postings.  Raw food fanatics are raving about it's truths and the all-American meat and potato eaters are claiming it is made-up and false.  There are arguments both ways and in reality it is a statement that works to support how a body's metabolism and chemistry actually manufacture protein and nutrients from the very foods and liquids we intake.  

What a concept!

Plant-based proteins do in fact exist.  Examples are:
  • Asparagus
  • Dark greens (Beet greens, broccoli, collard, kale, mustard, spinach, chard, turnip greens)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • The list goes on...
A well rounded routine means that you must determine what works for you!  Each body is different.  Each body vibrates at a different frequency.  Each body requires it's own unique balance of energy, nutrients and exercise.  There is no magic formula to fit all.  

It is VITAL that we remove stigmas and false, blanket statements about health.  Wipe the slate clean and start doing your own research.  You will be amazed at what you find rings true for you.

One example is that last year I tried a high protein powder diet.  The idea was to match my body weight with 1 gram of protein each day.  What ended up happening is that I would fill up on any type of protein imaginable (powder, nuts, cheese, meat...) until I was too full to eat anything fresh.  My body was so dense and my system felt so "heavy."  My mood was gloomy and I felt "off."  After two months I had not lost a pound.  In fact I had gained 5 pounds.  This program was obviously not for me! 

So... I found a different way to get protein on a regular basis.  One that worked with my body.

For me, juicing became "the way."  I found that juicing made me feel light, happy, energetic and more aware. I started thinking more clearly, sleeping regularly and am now able to focus on the important parts of my life.  

Based on results, my body is in-fact able to manufacture the nutrients (including protein) it needs based on what I intake.  The form from which it comes is obsolete... because it works for me!

What works for you?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Plateau Obliteration - What Worked

After 5 days of obliterating the infamous "plateau" of weight loss and progress, I figured out what worked and what didn't.  The overall theme was that I needed to tighten the reigns on my own habits.

I found that one of the key reasons I was in this rut was due to me giving myself too much leeway later in the day.  My self-created juicing maintenance plan is juice for breakfast, lunch and snack with a handful of raw nuts or a cup of almond or rice milk.  I also allowed myself raw fruits and vegetables but they are harder to come by during the workday, so juicing made it very easy and simple to maintain.

The evenings is where I began to give myself too much slack.  My motto was that if I was maintaining, then I could eat whatever I wanted at night.  After months of this regimen, I began to see more salty, cheesy and bready items creep their way onto my plate.  I have a toddler so our evenings are about quick meals and convenience.  Unfortunately, over time, this equals unhealthy eating habits.

In the end, I found the following to help me successfully break through the plateau!

  1. Get your attitude straight.  Having a "can-do" attitude with positive self-talk and optimistic views lightens your body, your mood and your energy.  By turning my attitude around, I was able to do more and was able to attract the things I needed to be successful.
  2. Kitchen clean-out.  I took an evening and gave away the chips, the breads, pastas, the cheeses, the dips, the chocolate... you get the idea.  It's not that I can't have any of these things.  But during times like this, I needed to remove all temptation and get back on track.
  3. Stock the fridge.  I then went to our local health-food coop and stocked up on alive food.  I stuck to produce and simple grains only (I like rice and quinoa).  I got fresh herbs and citrus to flavor.  If you have good things on hand, you are less likely to veer from the path.
  4. Make juice ahead of time.  I started making some juices with coconut, honey and almond milk just to have on hand.  These flavors really added a depth to my routine and allowed for a sweet treat later in the evening when I was craving more hearty snacks.
  5. Change up the routine.  I needed to desperately add some diversity into my activity routine.  So I decided to switch up my cardio and do some of my old-favorite resistance exercises.  Plus I added in some free-weights just to push myself a bit farther.  AMAZING results.  I could feel my muscles reacting within the first three days.
What didn't work?
  1. Making excuses.  I had to constantly convince myself that what I had been doing was not going to get me to the next level.  Being tired and unmotivated was not an option.  My internal voice kept battling this obvious statement, but in the end... I won!
  2. Not getting enough rest.  I had a sick kid and my mind kept racing with work related issues.  This was not helping me break through my plateau.  It actually had the opposite affect and resulted in bloating and general fatigue.  To stop this cycle, I started drops of Rescue Remedy and then introduced an earlier wind down routine with my daughter.  I would then do some light stretching and deep breathing right before snuggling in for the night.
  3. Saying "Yes" all the time.  I am notorious for saying "Yes" to everyone.  Yet, when I am working on healing myself, I needed to draw some boundaries and simply decline invitations that were self-sabotaging or pushing me past a healthy point.  Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do... no excuses!
After five days, I am back on track.  I lost 2 lbs to get me back to where I needed to be and I am feeling lighter, thinner and less bloated.  I still have some work to do and the daily grind doesn't always help.  But... That is exactly why I juice!  Because it is an easy way to progress to a healthy weight and overall lifestyle.  Without juicing, I would be 30 lbs heavier and still dreaming about what it would be like to be "back in those jeans."  

By the way... I'm wearing those jeans right now!

Friday, March 1, 2013

End of Winter Slump

I am looking outside at a sea of half-melted snow, salt covered cars and a cold wind that looks to rip these poor, barren trees right from their roots.  I'm looking at the "end of winter slump."  The time of year when you are watching the days tick off of your calendar, waiting for that first Robin to return, for the first crocus to pop through the snow and for that first sign that the sun is actually warming the earth!

It's the end of a very long week full of hard work and change.  The rigor of life has really taken it's toll this week and I am looking forward to a weekend of rest and recovery.  In doing so, I thought I'd share a great day brightening recipe.  Time to lift the spirits and power through the last weeks of winter!

Hey, if the sun isn't going to stay out... why not bring it out!  Happy Friday juicing everyone!

Day Bright
1 peeled grapefruit
1 peeled orange
1/4 pineapple
1/4 c fresh coconut juice
1 yam
1 apple
1/4 in ginger
(if you are adventurous... try a dash of cayenne chili powder!)