Class is in session

photo via VIM + VIGOR

photo via VIM + VIGOR

I’ve been thinking about about going back to school for nutrition, but the timing is not quite right…..yet.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to put my interests on hold, instead the internet, books, blogs and as I recently found out, regular old websites can provide a wealth of super helpful information (and it’s free).  I was researching the latest juice place to come to town and was really impressed by the information on their site.  Ready class, this information brought to you by Vim + Vigor:

First, a short explanation on how juicing can help clean things up:

What is a juice cleanse?

A juice cleanse is the effective removal of waste in the body that has been accumulated over the years due to improper diet, pharmaceuticals, and internal pollutants in the human body. Our goal in juice cleansing and a clean diet is to alkalize the system. Our green vegetable juices are completely alkaline, balancing acidity in the body.

Why is there a lack of fruit juice in your cleanses?

Fruit and its juices are ideal human food and some of the cleanest food on the planet. That being said, the modern human has been eating a mainstream diet laden with improper foods, chemicals, alcohol, drugs, etc. which has caused most human bodies to be systemically yeasted. Yeast in the body is fed by sugar in any form such as fruit, fruit juices, maple syrup and agave nectar (which are used in programs like the “Master Cleanse”). By eliminating the fruit sugar from the green juices you begin to “starve the yeast” which can lead to the most success in your cleanse. In fact, the addition of fruit juices in a cleanse are one reason why most cleanses fail because they actually “feed” already overwhelming colonies of yeast in the body. Yeast lives on sugar and fruit juices and maple syrup in lemon juice water will cause the proliferation of yeast and further putrefaction and fermentation of waste matter in the body.

Why do the majority of your juices for cleansing contain greens?

The alkalinity and chlorophyll in green plants give the body all it needs to make healthy blood and thus creating a healthy body. The greens act as “soap” in the body and help clean the system as a whole while providing the most optimal and assimilated form of nutrition. The green juices contribute alkaline minerals and are the MOST important ingredient in the juice. The greens are the cleaners!

Now the juicing/blending/snacking ingredient cheat sheet:

Almonds

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease due to cholesterol lowering effects. High in magnesium, almonds improve the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

Contains:

Manganese, Vitamin E, Magnesium

Apples

Apples are a fantastic addition to nearly all juices due to their high mineral content. Benefits of daily apple consumption include healthy hair, skin, nails and digestion, as well as overall immune support.

Contains:

Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B-Complex, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur

Beets

Beets are an excellent diuretic, blood toner and builder, which makes them fantastic for detoxification and cleanse protocols.

Contains:

Rich in Betaine (helps reduce inflammation), Folates, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Carotenoids, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium.

Carrots

Carrot juice provides the enzymes and nutrients to assist in the production of energy, has the necessary essential minerals to help regulate digestion and promotes healthy skin, teeth, tissue and eyes.

Contains:

Beta Carotene (precursor to vitamin A), Thiamin, Niacin, B6, Folate, Manganese, Vitamin C, K and Potassium, Dietary Fiber

Celery

Celery has been used extensively as a mild laxative and diuretic, to heal wounds, to sooth irritated nerves and to break up gallstones. It’s also now being used as a treatment in the chemical imbalance of arthritis.

Contains:

Complex B Vitamins, Fiber, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Manganese

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are very similar to beets in many ways as it’s one of nature’s best diuretics promoting cleansing throughout the body. Being that it also has such a high sulphur and silicon content it’s extremely beneficial for increasing the health of the hair and nails.

Contains:

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Potassium

Ginger

Ginger is a very special root. Used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years it effect on digestive function and as an anti-inflammatory are well documented. It is also known to be anti-bacterial as well as anti-pyretic.

Contains:

Antioxidants, Essential Oils, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, Magnesium

Grapefruit

Grapefruit is high in enzymes that burn fats, contains high water content and is low in sodium. These three characteristics make grapefruit the ideal food for increasing metabolism and reducing cholesterol levels.  The immune boosting fruit also contains Pectin, a dietary fiber that promotes better digestion and liver function.

Contains:

Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Lycopene

Kale

Kale is the king of juicing as it has benefits as it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Loaded with rich sources of antioxidants as well as anti cancer/tumor compounds it’s can be used as a great daily tonic to your morning routine.

Contains:

Calcium, Chlorophyll, Vitamin A, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Beta Carotene, Vitamin K, B-Complex

Lemons

Lemons are quite possibly one of the most versatile foods available, including it’s ability to alkalize, detoxify and improve overall digestive function. Since free radicals can damage blood vessels and can change cholesterol to make it more likely to build up in artery walls, vitamin C can be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.

Contains:

Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Trace Elements

Limes

Limes are quite possibly one of the most versatile foods available, including it’s ability to alkalize, detoxify and improve overall digestive function. Since free radicals can damage blood vessels and can change cholesterol to make it more likely to build up in artery walls, vitamin C can be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.

Contains:

Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Trace Elements

Oranges

Oranges are known for their supportive action within the immune system by giving the body much needed antioxidants to counter the harmful effects of free radicals.

Contains:

Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Zeaxanthin, Lutein, B-Complex Vitamins, Potassium, Calcium

Pears

Pears are one of the highest sources of flavonols among all fruits and vegetables. As a very good source of dietary fiber, pears might logically be expected to help protect from development of type 2 diabetes as well heart disease due to the combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber in this fruit.

Contains:

Phytonutrients, Fiber, Vitamin C

Pineapple

Vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, defending all aqueous areas of the body against free radicals that attack and damage normal cells. Excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumor growth may all be reduced by therapeutic doses of bromelain in the diet.

Contains:

Vitamin C, Bromelain

Romaine

The vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber found in romaine lettuce are especially good for the prevention or alleviation of many common health complaints.  High in water context and low in calories. Hearth-healthy green.

Contains:

Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber

Spinach

Spinach truly is one of nature’s super foods. Loaded with rich phyto chemicals and large amounts of the bone building vitamin K it’s a great added benefit to any cleanse or detoxification protocol.

Contains:

Iron, B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Beta Carotene, Vitamin K, Zinc, Manganese, Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Turmeric

Turmeric is widely known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. A daily dose or shot of this vital root can help offer protection from many common modern ailments.

Contains:

Curcumin, B-Complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Zinc

Watercress

Watercress is a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid.  It also believed to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties. Watercress is a superfood – high in calcium, vitamin c and potassium.  Natural antibiotic.

Contains:

Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C


A case of cold feet

And hands too.  It seems if the temp. drops below 60, even just during the morning hours, I am struck down with cold hands and feet all day.  Since this is 1. no fun and 2. a symptom if a sluggish circulatory system, I’ve been up-ing my GINGER intake.  Ginger is terrific in a host of dishes but (and I know you are shocked), I’ve been putting it in my smoothie!

Here’s my “Spice it Up”:

1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk Unsweetened

1 tsp cinnamon

1″ fresh ginger (peeled)

1 tbs cacao

1 cup rasberries

1 scoop Vega (Vanilla Chai,  but I bet the chocolate would rock in this)

Another amazing ginger experience is in the bathtub using powdered ginger, I did this last winter and I’m looking forward to a repeat performance this winter.  I’m not gonna lie though, it’s INTENSE and although I’m not really prescribing this for anyone, you probably wouldn’t want to do this if you are pregnant or breast feeding…..possibly even if you are alone in your house.  That said, it was crazy effective, totally a modern day sweat lodge experience in the convenience in your own home.  Of course, you can add a bit of powdered ginger to a typical bath and you’ll feel some nice warming effects without the hallucinations “detox sweat”.

Happy heating.


I Feel so Fresh and CLEAN 3

Our Clean cleanse has come to a close, and as I wrote earlier, I’ve been a bit concerned about our next steps.  During the last week of the cleanse I had two dinners out and wasn’t able,  nor did I make myself follow the rules of the cleanse to the “T”.  I felt immediate differences after ingesting the “contraband” foods – bloating, gas, indigestion, irritability, even a nightmare. So, I continued marinating on how great I’ve been feeling while eating the foods prescribed on the cleanse and while thinking these thoughts, I mindlessly start typing to check out some of my blog regulars and here’s what they had to offer me:

Zen Habits – “A Guide to Eating a Plant Based Diet

Crazy Sexy Life – “Crazy Sexy Kitchen” book launch, a new book full of vegan, healthy recipes AND a reminder of her e-book offering, “Crazy Sexy Juices and Succulent Smoothies

D Moms Blog- “Achieving Work Life Balance (Sort Of) with The Gem’s Kale and Quinoa Salad“, an article about how one lunch filled with green goodness made a marked beneficial change in this woman’s day.

I am not kidding, three seemingly unrelated blogs/websites ALL expounding on the benefits of eating a “clean diet”. Pffff.  I get it universe, I get it, I don’t need any more messages from the Internet telling me that this way of eating can be more than an experiment.

After much discussion, my husband and I have decided not to live by any rules or standards or labels other than our own.  Our daily meals may look vegan or raw but that doesn’t mean you’ll never see grilled fish on our table again.  We are leading with health first and foremost but there will certainly be sprinkles of alcohol, sugary sweets, potato chips, etc. during the long and healthy life we are setting ourselves up for!

The details on the cleanse results:

1.  Weight loss – I’m not a scale girl but going by my clothes, I dropped at least a dress size, possibly a dress size an a half.  And remember weight loss was NOT a goal, I was packing in the calories.

2.  Energy surge – The energy I experienced from day 3 through the end to day 21 was incredible!  No afternoon dips, no groggy mornings, a steady flow all day that thankfully released me in time for bed.  I did notice a decrease in the amount of sleep needed the last week (about 6-7 hours, vs. my typical 8-9)

3.  Glow-y soft skin and bright eyes – “Did you change your make-up?”, “Did you get a facial?”, “You look so shiny and happy”, these are actual comments directed my way from unpaid individuals.

4.  Clarity of mind and overall feeling of lightness – Life seemed easier, removing some of the distractions that I now know food causes in my life was a completely unexpected insight and benefit.

We will certainly be repeating this experience, maybe in 6 months, maybe a year….I’ll let you know!

P.S. Here’s the recipe for the “Beeting Beauty” pictured at top:

2 beets

5 carrots

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 lemon (peel removed)

1 apple

Feed everything through a juicer.

P.P.S.  I only name my FAVORITE drink creations….. just thought you should know.


So fresh and CLEAN 2

We are finishing up week 2 of our Clean Cleanse (woo hoo) and it just keeps getting better.  I could extol the benefits of this experience for paragraphs but you can go to the website and read through hundreds of stories like mine and my husband’s going on about bright eyes, clear minds, boundless energy, slimmer hips and a peaceful heart.  So, here a couple of details, tips maybe, to acknowledge that like most good things, this experience also has it’s challenges.

1.  Just want to clarify my husband and I are not doing “Clean” through the pre-packaged program they sell on the website.  We are following the whole program based on the book, so $5.98 from the used book store makes this information accessible to most people.  That said, having a juicer and a high-powered blender (my choices are Breville and Vita-Mix) do make this process a whole lot easier!

2.  Defining your hunger and confronting the ugly truth – People have different goals when doing a cleanse, loosing weight wasn’t on my list so when I make my morning shake it is anything but low-calorie.  I’m talking half an avocado, almond butter, walnuts, cashews….and sometimes that’s all together in one shake.  SO, a few hours after ingesting said shake I know I’m not “hungry” but my body is craving something and sending signals that seem a lot like hunger.  Identifying that I’d been using food as a distraction or a comfort has made me face the truth that I need some additional stimulation in my life.  I need to “grow my garden” as a wise friend once told me.  This is easier said than done of course when parenting and lack of “free” time are the facts of my foreseeable future.

3.  Eating raw garlic and taking tablespoons of olive oil is hard and unpleasant.  ‘Nough said there.

4.  What goes in must come out…..right?  I, but not my husband, have experienced some traffic jams with the end of the digestion process – please don’t make me spell it out, I’m not that brave.  But my whole reason for doing this is to get the bad stuff out and that fact that that wasn’t happening as smoothly and effortlessly as I expected has been a challenge.

5.  Fast-forwarding to the finish line – We still have a week to go with this cleanse and I already find myself thinking, “I don’t want to loose this good feeling, what are we going to do when we are eating ‘normally’ again”.  Have I learned nothing?!  My job right now is to stay present in the process and to focus on getting the most out of this for my body to heal and restore itself……this too, I find difficult.

For more Do’s and Don’ts this is the Clean Food list:

image via Clean website


I feel so CLEAN

Week 1 into our cleanse and holy cow I feel so clean and so happy!  Like dancing on the ceiling happy…and light, I feel light.  This summer I wrote about my tendency to overindulge, especially in sweets and fats….I don’t think I was really overeating my salads if you know what I mean.  An intervention was in order, so my husband and I broke out the Clean cleanse.  We’ve done it before but this round we’re really following all the “extras” laid out in the book including daily meditation, banishing snacks whenever possible, dry brushing, and a nightly dose of olive oil to just name a few.  The basics are for 21 days we do two liquid meals, one at breakfast and one for dinner, lunch is a meal from their list of acceptable foods with the idea being as raw as possible and as organic as possible.

Changing up our food has already yielded huge benefits, we are sleeping better, my husband is so glow-y with his bright eyes – he looks 5 years younger, he says I too am sporting a youthful glow, I’ve mentioned the spike in happiness we are both experiencing – all of these things are wonderful BUT they are not my favorite part of my experience so far.

My favorite part is identifying that food and eating out had become a sort of hobby!

“Let’s grab a bite, have some coffee/tea, take the kids for an ice cream, etc., etc.”

So, during these three weeks (and I’m hoping for longer) we will get out and DO something instead of go out and EAT something.  One caveat, the “detox date”, my husband and I went out for a green juice at one of the few NEW juicing places that have opened after dropping the kids at school.  $15 bucks for two green drinks – DAMN, thank goodness it counts as breakfast.  But it was a really nice break from cleaning the juicer.

Not completely unlike traveling, this cleanse experience has changed up our daily routine, offering some awesome insights.

I should mention that neither my favorite part of the experience, nor all the benefits we are outwardly experiencing thus far are the point of our cleanse.  We are giving our bodies a break so they can clean themselves up and heal as needed……also to break my crack, I mean SUGAR addiction.  Has to be said, just in one week, I feel like the spell has been broken on that front!