Juiced Up (Adventures in Cleansing)

Hello! Welcome to the first day of my juice cleanse. So far, so good!* I’m planning on doing three, possibly four days, depending on how I feel. And I thought I would blog about how it’s going along the way.

*It’s been about 7 hours…

I’ve wanted to try a juice cleanse for a while. I’ve done a couple of raw or semi-raw food detoxes in the past year, as you know if you read this thing regularly, but this time I wanted to step it up. I’ve said I want to amp up my efforts starting now, because it’s been a year and it’s time. First step of amping up? Juice cleanse.

The specifics of a juice cleanse are simple enough. Six bottles of juice a day, equal to roughly 96 ounces total. I am adding in an extra bottle of “spicy lemonade” which is like a lazier version of Master Cleanse (lazy because it is agave nectar instead of hardcore black tar pure maple syrup and more water).

When I decided I wanted to go this route, I was planning on ordering my cleanse. Juicing establishments often have cleansing programs. We have one local one in Indy, or there are several in LA or New York who will ship overnight to you. The national ones are crazy expensive, though, presumably because they are using LA or New York pricing. The local one was cheaper, so I decided to go with that, but when I went to place my order I was informed that they were booked for the next 8 days and I should have scheduled earlier. Something they could have mentioned on their website, which I read three times.

So, I was annoyed. I put a fair amount of effort into planning the cleanse, limiting my nutritional and caloric intakes for the week and limiting my number of work assignments for the weekend. But I was telling my mom about this problem and being the angel on earth she is, she suggested she buy me a juicer! I have been really missing my roommate’s juicer since I moved out a few months ago, so that was like the best solution I could think of.

After doing a little research on different juicers, I ended up with the Omega Vert 330. It juices at a low-speed, which is important because the high-speed ones heat up the juice and cook away some important nutrients. So far, it’s been pretty great.

The Omega Vert 330 Juicer! (Yes, I am blogging Instagrams. #noshame)
The Omega Vert 330 Juicer! (Yes, I am blogging Instagrams. #noshame)

But then the problem was the actual juice. The bottled programs have certain schedules to follow, and then often you pick the specific juices based on the category. For instance, you start with a green juice of your choosing, then mid-morning have a citrus. So that’s fine, I had some guidance there, but I still didn’t know specific recipes. I was on an hours long Internet scavenger hunt, looking for the perfect combo of juices, and if possible, recipes to go with them.

In the end, I found a few basic ingredient lists (e.g. Apple, Lemon & Ginger), a few actual recipes, and a couple that I made up myself (or already had in my repertoire). I spent quite a while mapping out which juices I would drink which days and in what order. Some of the standard ingredients were going to be duplicated (or quadruplicated) on any given day, but I didn’t want, like, three pineapple juices on day 1 and none the rest of the time. I also wanted to make sure if there was a juice I was really dreading that the one after it would be extra delish. That was another thing, I needed to make sure that I wasn’t cheating by using juices that sounded really tasty but weren’t necessarily as effective as others would have been.

Granted, I’m only halfway through the first day, so have had three out of eighteen juices, but I think I did a good job. I am starting out every day with the same super green juice (kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, celery, apple, lemon & ginger) but the second green juice of the day can be a little more innovative. In an hour or so I’m going to drink “Mojito Juice,” which came mostly from the link above.

The process has been really great so far. Aside from actually purchasing the juicer, it’s significantly cheaper to do it yourself. It was going to be about $160 to do the local bottled program, which is a lot. I spent about $115 at Whole Foods, which is still a lot, but it’s less than $160. Also, the amount of produce necessary for 18 16 oz bottles of juice is pretty substantial.

-This is what $115 of organic produce looks like.
-This is what $115 of organic produce looks like.

For bottles, I poured the water out of a bunch of 16.9 oz water bottles and into bigger 1.5 liter bottles, and am using the little ones for juice. Glass is better, and if I’d been thinking ahead I would have been saving up tea bottles over time, but live and learn. The plastic ones are fine!

The other good thing about doing it myself is it’s actually kind of fun. It’s quite a bit of work but I like seeing the whole process. There’s something so soothing about seeing the process, witnessing how it goes from a big leafy green to a juice I’ll be drinking. I like the creativity.

Day 1, Juices 2-5
Day 1, Juices 2-5

I’m going to keep updating the next couple of days, tracking my progress both physically and emotionally. And I’ll post my “meal plan,” but I’ll wait for a post that isn’t already so long. (I’m wordy, I’m sorry!)

In the meantime, here are some recipes:

Super Green Juice

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • 8 Leaves Romaine
  • 3 Stalks Celery
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Inch Ginger

Grapefruit-Ginger Juice

  • 2 Red Grapefruits
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Inch Ginger

Spicy Lemonade

  • 15 Ounces Filtered Water
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar

Spicy Lemonade

-Please don’t be mad if these do not taste good. Sadly deliciousness is not a requirement for juice cleanse. I think they are all tolerable though, particularly the first two.

Happy juicing!

Yet another delicious fruity breakfast recipe.

Well, getting back into clean eating mode has proven a little more difficult than I expected. Mostly because it’s freaking freezing outside and who wants to eat a cold salad when there’s a windchill of negative 10? Someone, maybe, but not me. Soup is a great alternative, but eating it every single day gets old real quick.

So the trick, which I am far from mastering, is eating clean, energy dense foods that are still warm and satisfying. Mac and Cheese only satisfies one of these goals it turns out. I’ve had a couple of successes though.

My greatest accomplishment so far this winter is definitely a Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal, which has received rave reviews and requests for more. I’ve made it twice.

Here's the first batch.
Here’s the first batch.

Continue reading “Yet another delicious fruity breakfast recipe.”

Liquid Atonement

Well, today was not a banner day for nutritional quality. At lunch, I was unfairly peer pressured into eating a super delicious greasy deep dish cheese pizza.** And then, I ate a piece of the leftovers later in the afternoon! I think I might have been hypnotized at that point. After all that hard work last week, by early evening I was feeling some remorse. Especially when I went to input my calories so far for the day into my calorie counter. So, I decided to make my workout a little bit more intense than usual, focusing especially on extra core exercises. That helped a little. But I still didn’t feel like I wanted to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

**Okay, when I say unfair peer pressure I might mean casual suggestion….

The only problem with not eating anything else for the rest of the day was that I didn’t want my only nutrients coming from cooked canned tomatoes and the banana I ate for breakfast. Thus, I decided to turn to my old stand-by, the smoothie. I knew that it would give me more vitamins and nutrients, and might serve to counteract the bad things I put into my system with that Achilles’ heel, the pizza. Plus, I thought I could probably use several cleansing ingredients that might make me feel less greasy. And, even though I really wasn’t hungry, I knew my body (or my brain at least) would expect to have some dinner. Therefore, the smoothie was just the trick. I wanted to make it as packed as possible with macro and micro nutrients, so I tried to find ingredients that would compliment each other for tastiness and also would go well with the several “add-ons” I planned to use. The result was not necessarily an attractive mixture, but it did taste pretty dang delicious.

Never judge a smoothie by its color.

The smoothie consists of mango, fresh peach, frozen peach, banana, mango-peach flavored fish oil, vegan protein powder, kale, coconut water and chia seeds. In other words, it is nutrient DENSE! It has approximately 18 grams each of fiber, 20 grams of protein, plus crazy amounts of a lot of different vitamins and minerals, including significant amounts of vitamins E and K, niacin, potassium, iron and bank-breaking amounts of vitamins A and C. I will be honest, this smoothie is high in calories (600)…but it is so nutritious and so filling, I think it totally makes up for it, personally. Especially for a post-workout meal. Of course, that is assuming you drink the whole thing. There’s a lot going on, so drinking half and giving the other half to someone else or having the rest later would totally work! (Just keep in mind, they say you should drink smoothies and juice within 24 hours for the best nutrient retention.)

I should point out that whipping up this smoothie is not a spur of the moment activity. I like to use frozen banana and frozen kale, both of which need at least an hour in the freezer (more is better). The frozen banana adds a creaminess that you’d get from ice cream or frozen yogurt smoothies in a cafe. The kale is nice because it sort of disintegrates when blended frozen, so you don’t get much taste of it that way, while the nutrients stay in tact. I got that idea from a lady at the organic market and she was totally right! It’s a great move. So if you’re planning on having this smoothie, go ahead and put these two items in the freezer ahead of time. Like, at bedtime for a breakfast smoothie or before you go to the gym for a post-workout smoothie.

(protein powder not pictured)

Another caveat is that the fish oil is a pretty specific product. I was convinced to try it by a guy doing marketing inside Whole Foods. At first, I thought, this guy is literally trying to sell me snake oil, like it’s 1850 and I’m some dumb villager. But it tastes delicious and is a full day’s dose of fish oil, which is specifically recommended if you have joint issues. Since I injure myself fairly regularly, I thought it was a good investment. It is Barlean’s brand Omega Swirl, and ended up being totally worth the money because I’ve been using it in yogurt and smoothies several times a week since I bought it. For today’s purposes though, I’m sure if you skipped it, this smoothie would be fine (and probably mostly the same).

So, if I haven’t managed to scare you away yet, here is the recipe:

Mango-Peach Super Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 1 Large Mango
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peaches
  • 1 Medium Peach
  • 1 Banana, Sliced, Frozen
  • 1 Cup Kale, Chopped, Frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Peach-Mango Fish Oil (Barlean’s Omega Swirl)
  • 1 Scoop (or tbl) Vegan Protein Powder (I use Jarrow, not flavored)
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Water (Plain, not flavored)
  • 1/2 Cup Ice
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

Place everything except chia seeds in blender, blend on high until kale is mostly disintegrated and everything is liquified. You can add more ice or coconut water depending on how you like the consistency. Pour into a glass and add the chia seeds, mixing well. Enjoy!

I realize I post a fair amount about smoothies. But, even after several months they are still a staple in my diet. Especially for days like today, when I want to get as many nutrients as possible while still being kind to my body after a hard day of processing delicious Chicago-style pizza. They are still the best method I’ve found for consolidating important nutritional elements. And even when they look a little bit sketchy, they are almost always super tasty, which should also be a goal for any food preparation!

PS I found this fantastic website, health-alternatives.com, which provides a great database for daily vitamin and mineral goals and what foods have what quantities. I’m definitely bookmarking it for future frequent use!