Scraping your insides clean: Cleansing

The first few months of the new year is the time when people decide to get healthy. Usually this also means that they decide to do a cleanse in order to “reboot” before they (hypothetically) completely change their diet and lifestyle. Cleansing is a great idea if you’re doing it the right way and for the right reasons.

If all you want is to lose weight, DON’T cleanse. A successfully completed cleanse will only allow you to lose up to 3 pounds. If you lose anymore than this in such a short amount of time, it’s because you are literally starving your body and it’s using your muscles as energy instead, causing you to waste away. You don’t want to lose muscle. You want to lose fat. Fat won’t be lost through starvation, muscle will. To lose weight, you have to alter your diet and increase the exercise. Another post on that later.

Today we’re talking about cleansing in order to boost your health. If done properly, a cleanse can help boost your immune system, rid you of certain ailments, help with allergies and arthritis, cure bloating and many many other benefits.

There are many different ways to clean your body out to fit all sorts of lifestyles. I’m actually currently doing a three day cleanse through my job at Kreation Organics. You can do cleanses on your own and make fresh juices each day, but it can be tedious and it might just be easier to buy the juices (organic and raw, please!).

So, back to the types of cleanses:

1. All Juice:

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This type of cleanse generally has 6-8 16 oz juices that you drink through out the day. You drink juice and eat NOTHING. You can have as much (non-caffeinated) tea and water as you want as well. This type of cleanse is great because it gives your digestive system a total rest. Like any machine, if it is in constant use, then it will  break down. In today’s society, we are constantly snacking throughout the day and never really giving our GI tracts a break. A juice cleanse gives the GI tract a rest while still absorbing the important nutrients your body needs. This cleanse is kind of intense for beginners. It’s do-able, but be prepared to be incredibly hangry. PS, don’t do this cleanse for longer than 7 days. Ideally, you would do this for 3-7 days.

2. Juice and Food Cleanse:

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In this cleanse, you will drink 3-5 juices with one meal in the middle of the day. The idea is that you are still giving your body a good 20 hours of rest per day while still allowing yourself some substance. The meals you eat should follow “clean” guidelines. So no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, meat, etc. If you choose to do this type of cleanse and have more questions about what to eat at lunch, comment below or shoot me an email for more information!

This is the cleanse that I’m doing. I don’t want to lose any weight and I am choosing to still lightly work out so the higher calories work better for me. If you are a newbie to cleansing, have an active job or are still opting to work out, then this would be a good choice for you.

Since we’re on the topic of working out… Here are some general guidelines for working out while cleansing:

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1. Keep it light and simple. Don’t do heavy muscle workouts. Don’t run five miles. You’re taking in about half of the calories you normally would. Just use common sense. Workouts like a light jog, walking or yoga are all good ideas. Just don’t go all gym-rat on me and hit the gym at your normal pace. The action of working out breaks down your muscles. Normally, you would have enough protein and nutrients to build it back up. While cleansing, you don’t. So you end up just tearing down your muscle and not rebuilding it. This is not good. Just do me a favor, and keep it light and simple.

2. You should still be at least a little active. I know I said to keep it light and simple, but that doesn’t mean avoid exercise. You should still at the very least be walking about 5.000-10,000 steps.

My Cleanse:

Today is day one of my cleanse. Yay! I’m doing four juices plus a lunch. I’ve done cleanses before and had a terrible experience because I didn’t consume enough juices in general. I was BEYOND hangry the last few times of cleansing. I was the hulk and I was on the verge of smashing everything in sight. But the whole adding food thing really works for me. I’m still cleansing, the juices plus the water I’m drinking really fill me up and I’m not scary, hangry Autumn! I already feel less “icky” inside from this first day. I eat really well on a fairly regular basis already, so I’m not experiencing much of the “detox” symptoms, but some people may. This would be caused from drinking too much alcohol on a daily basis, consuming too many simple and refined sugars daily or depending on coffee to get your day going.

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I’m also taking a probiotic during this time to help restore my gut flora. This is always a good idea to implement into your daily life even when you’re not cleansing. Probiotics are a huge field in nutrition that are linked to curing or aiding in treatment for a wide range of diseases and ailments: Crohns, IBS, depression, allergies, nutrient absorption, etc.

I’ll be posting the next two days about my experience so you can understand what to expect during your own cleanse!

If you have any questions at all about cleansing, just comment below or email me at healthyfoodylife@gmail.com

Happy Cleansing!

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The new year resolution conundrum.

Have you been doing too much of this?

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Or eating too much of that?

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Yeah, I’m in that same boat. New years resolutions are interesting like that. You have SO MUCH ambition and excitement that this year will be the year that you lose 10 pounds, start eating veggies, quit smoking, drink less, etc etc etc. But then there’s New Years Eve. And you drink a bottle (or two) of champagne. There is no way in hell you’re passing up those greasy hang over cure potatoes the next morning on January 1st. So you tell yourself that January 2nd is the start of your new year. And then it’s Nana’s birthday and the cake is from that new trendy awesome bakery so you have to have a slice (or two). THIS WEEKEND. I SWEAR TO GOD THIS WEEKEND IS WHEN MY NEW YEAR STARTS. And then you get that call from your friend who just found out she got a raise/got engaged/broke up with the awful boyfriend/got a pedicure and needs to go out and celebrate. Well.. it would be rude of you to NOT do something to celebrate your friend’s newly painted toe nails. So you close down the local dive bars and leave your debit card with the bartender.

Basically, the new year isn’t what you planned it to be.

It’s not a lot of this.

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Or this.

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And definitely not that.

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You’re not alone, my friend. Everyone starts off the new year exactly the opposite of the way we had planned. I think the problem is we put our expectations for ourselves too high for such an immediate change. I’m a big believer in gradual change. You won’t stick with something that is drastic and uncomfortable, but small changes made over time can be easy to implement and stick with.

I’m actually doing a three day cleanse to reboot my body starting next Monday, so look forward to a post on picking a cleanse that’s right for your body and goals coming soon! But for now, lets pick out a few new “new years resolutions” that aren’t so extravagant and can be achieved and make you feel great about yourself!

My “Mini” NY Resolutions:

1. Drink more water.

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This sounds silly and typical and too easy but is SO GOD DAMN IMPORTANT. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. That’s a scary big number. Especially since dehydration, even the mild every day type, can cause shriveled and dry skin, rapid heart beat, heart palpitations, dizziness, inability to absorb nutrients, fatigue and lack of energy.

So here’s an easy way to drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you constantly and make sure you drink 8 oz/ hour starting right when you wake up. Make little marks on the side of the bottle so you know exactly how much 8 oz is. This alone will help detox your liver and kidneys, increase your energy levels and improve the appearance of your skin. Obviously, if you live in a very hot area or you work out a lot, this number will have to be increased, but try and maintain a minimum of 8 oz/hour.

2. Do something active (and fun) at least once a week.

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This is in addition to your workout routine. Get outside and do SOMETHING fun that’s active as well. Remember when we were kids and our idea of “fun” was running around for hours playing tag, sliding down slides and chasing groups of birds? Rediscover that inner child of yours and teach yourself how to do fun things that are active again. It’ll be great for your physical and mental health and help break up your routine of work, gym, sleep.

Here are some ideas: hike, walk the dogs, join an adult for fun sports team, get your friends together to play a pick up game of dodgeball, join your kids in games of tag, do a yoga class or go dancing with your friends! The opportunities are endless!

3. Spend the first hour that you wake up NOT on your phone.

Trust me. I know how hard this is. I love my phone like it’s my child. But try and get up at your normal time, make breakfast, read the paper, take a walk with a cup of tea, etc all without craning your head down to look at a little glowing screen. Just breaking the habit of starting your day with technology is a great feat. All day we’re bombarded by technology at work, at home, at dinner, with friends, and taking an hour in the morning to just enjoy the morning will do your mental health some good.

Happy February 3rd! Good luck with your new “new years resolutions”!

UrthBox made my case of the Mondays a whole lot better

I just discovered something that I wish I had when I was a freshman in college so that I could have used it my entire 4 (and a half..) years at school. Let me preface this with the fact that I get through my day because of snacking and I’m sure that’s the case with most students. When you’re a student, you don’t really have the time (or desire) to cook full meals and so quickly grabbing a snack from the store on the way to school is usually what you have to do. If you’re especially unlucky and forget to grab something at the store, you’re usually stuck buying “convenience” crap food on campus that typically consist of a coffee to keep the hunger away and a bag of chips or a muffin that has an expiration date that’s further out than your own.

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When I discovered UrthBox, I felt like all of those years of abuse from grabbing junk food on the go when I was too unorganized to have healthy snacks available could have been avoided. Even as a nutrition major, I know it takes a ridiculous amount of time to go through the grocery store and read every snack label to make sure that there isn’t anything bad in it. My friends really hate grocery shopping with me because of this… so it can cause social issues as well. Just ask any roommate I’ve ever lived with and they’ll explain the methods they’ve used to entertain themselves at the store while I desperately scan every food label for healthy snacks–basically, the process isn’t fun for anyone.

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UrthBox is everything I’ve ever needed, especially as a student (Plus, it makes a great monthly care package for family members to send to their kids! *cough* Hi mom *cough*). They provide a monthly box of goodies that have passed their strict criteria for calorie and nutrition content, ingredient source and manufacturing reviews. Only the best reach your doorstep. So not only do you get to try a bunch of new products that were delivered straight to you every month, you also don’t have to worry about checking the food labels because they’ve already done it for you!! Praise the lord! Think of all the sleeping.. I mean studying.. you could do instead of wasting time checking food labels!

UrthBox has four different types of boxes to order based off of your dietary needs as well: Classic, Gluten-free, Diet, and Vegan. I got the classic. It was delicious. But more on that later. You can also get different sized boxes delivered to you depending on the type of “snacker” you are. You can get the small discovery box which is only $19 per month and has 7-10 products, the “part time snacker” box which is $29 per month and has 12-15 products or the Happy snacker which has 20-24 products and is only $49 per month. You can do the math, but I’ll just explain this to you: This is way cheaper than if you were to actually go out and buy all of the products that they sell. And it’s delivered to your door. Every month. I really shouldn’t have to say more because those facts alone got me beyond excited about UrthBox. But one more fun fact: You can get discounts and gift cards on the products that they sent you online or at local stores.

STUDENTS and PARENTS: It’s cheap. It’s healthy. It’s convenient. It’s delicious. It’s always fun getting mail. Do yourselves or your kids a favor and sign them up for this. I’m a student and a nutrition expert and this passes both the need for something easy as well as the body’s requirement for something healthy.

I can’t possibly explain all of the perks of UrthBox in this post, so to sign up or to get more information, check them out on facebook, their website, instagram or twitter:

www.urthbox.com

www.facebook.com/urthbox (like them and you’ll get a $10 off coupon code! Score.)

Instagram and Twitter: @Urthbox

Let me tell you about my experience with UrthBox:

I first received an email saying my UrthBox should arrive in 1-3 business days. So obviously, I immediately checked my mailbox to see if somehow the magical folks at UrthBox were able to teleport my package of snacks to me. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet discovered how to do this but I didn’t have to wait long for my UrthBox to arrive because two days later (when I again over-eagerly checked my mailbox) I had my box of goodies in my hands.

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Which is when I took this picture. You’re lucky you even got a picture of the unopened box. It took a lot of will power for me to take the time to snap this picture before tearing it open.

It was like Christmas in November. Which Christmas basically is in November now with Starbucks blasting Christmas music and using their holiday cups-very confusing- but I digress.

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I first see the UrthBox card saying “You are what you eat! So don’t be fast and cheap”. Oh, UrthBox. How did you know I require humor in my relationships? I can already tell this is going to work out really well.

When I brought the box into my apartment, I suddenly had the urge to artistically display the products around a pumpkin because, you know, it’s fall and food makes me inspired.

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My roommates were eyeing all of my snacks and looking down at their own barren sections of the kitchen with extreme sadness (Again, students have ZERO time to buy their own snacks. It’s just a fact of life.).

I now have a full stash of snacks to bring to class with me so that I don’t starve/resort to snickers bars or bags of chips. You guys. Listen to me and sign up for UrthBox. It’s probably the best thing that could happen to a student. Just do it. You’ll be happy, just like me and my satiated little belly.

PS: I’m writing this while snacking on the “Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips” from my box. I’ve never tried them before until now and I’m hooked. Non-Gmo and all! God, I love snacks.

Autumn is sexy: Baked Apples

I swear, I’m not that vain. But the actual season is sexy! I love fall because, in my opinion, the food is the tastiest of all the seasons (yeah, I said it Summer). And because food is sexy, and fall has the best food, that means that Fall is sexy… or you could say Autumn is sexy. Either way, I don’t mind.

It has been a ridiculously busy past two weeks for me. I’ve had to fly home, go to a wedding, study for what feels like 7,000 tests, write/present a speech along with all of my other daily duties. And of course watch Scandal. Have to save time to binge watch Scandal. And Blacklist. And American Horror Story. But I digress.

Last weekend when I was back home, I actually had the time to get a little creative (A luxury that I haven’t really had the past two weeks) and make a DESSERT! I really needed this dessert. I’m in the process of training for another half marathon (there will soon be a post on how to train for a 1/2 or full marathon so stay posted!!), so I’m in desperate need of extra calories. Granted, this little bad boy really wasn’t too naughty considering it’s under 300 calories per apple. It is a great dessert, however, even if you aren’t expending the extra 500-1000 calories per day from working out and running. Plus it just SCREAMS fall, doesn’t it? Pair it up with some hot chocolate or mulled apple cider, cozy on up next to the fireplace and watch a horror movie or two while munching on these Baked Apples!!

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Baked Apples with a Nutty Filling

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 apples good for baking (I used honeycrisp. They’re in season and they don’t fall apart when baked)

1 cup cooked oatmeal

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (if possible, get organic), or you can swap out the heavy whipping cream for greek yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Using a melon baller, scoop out the core of each apple forming a 1.5 inch hole wide, and going down about 2-3 inches, depending on how big your apple is.

3. Combine the nuts, honey, oatmeal, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Once well, mixed, stuff each apple with the mixture and put into the oven for 20 minutes.

4. When the apples are slightly golden on the top, take them out and put them onto individual bowls or plates. Drizzle the heavy whipping cream over each apple and then enjoy! Make sure to eat while warm but let it cool for a few minutes!

Falling in love with fall… quinoa and pine nut stuffed acorn squash

Fall is by far my favorite season. A little biased? Maybe. But some of the tastiest and most complex food comes from this season. The squashes, root veggies and cruciferous plants!! All some of my faves. The common theme between all of these is that they taste absolutely incredible when roasted. Each different veggie has such a unique flavor that develops during the roasting process. Yams become sweeter, cauliflower becomes earthy-er and spaghetti squash becomes.. spaghetti (another post on that later this month)!

Roasting these veggies on their own is good… but stuffing them with some other awesome ingredients… even better!!

Acorn squash has a super ridiculously low glycemic load (4 on a scale that goes up to 250) which is good because it won’t give you high insulin spikes that cause a crash later on. It’s also known to be packed with magnesium, vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium and vitamin C. Plus, only 56 calories for a cup of the stuff.

Quinoa, as we know, is a complete protein which will help make you fuller faster.

This is a great side dish to meat, or a main meal if you pair it with some cooked veggies. Try it out!

 

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Baked quinoa and pine nut stuffed acorn squash

ingredients

1 small acorn squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut the acorn squash in half. Once you’ve cut it in half, take each part and cut about 1/2 inch off of the end so that it can stand up.

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3. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and drizzle the inside of both halves with olive oil. Then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt into both halves as well. Put this into the oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on how big your squash is. Mine was really small so it only took 25 minutes.

4. While the squash cooks, put your quinoa into a pot with 1 cup water. Cover and turn the heat to medium high until it starts to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.

5. When the quinoa is done cooking, sprinkle the garlic powder, remaining salt and butter into the pot with the heat off. Stir to combine.

6. Next, toast the pine nuts. Take a small, dry sauce pan and put it over medium high heat. Pour the pine nuts into the pan and constantly stir the nuts by shaking the pan. These burn VERY quickly so you can’t walk away from them. It should only take about 45 seconds to get properly toasted (if the pan is hot enough when you put them in).

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This is how the pine nuts will look when they are done.

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A shot of how the pine nuts and the acorn squash look when they are both done cooking.

7. Stir the toasted pine nuts into the quinoa.

8. Flip the acorn squash over so that the cut side is now facing up and put it onto your serving plate. Scoop the quinoa out of the pan and equally fill each half of the squash with the quinoa and you are ready to eat!

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**This also tastes great with some finely chopped and sauteed veggies mixed in with the quinoa, like broccoli, zucchini or cauliflower.

**Feel free to add a meat into the quinoa mixture as well. Just make sure it’s already cooked when you add it in and that it is chopped into small pieces!

 

 

“Clean” iced vanilla latte sweetened with dates

I get by with a little help from my French press….

I’m in my last semester of college and I definitely rely on coffee to get me through those tough days and nights of studying and writing papers. It’s just a necessary evil sometimes. When I was a freshman in college, I had a friend who was 24 years old and he was coming back to school to get a second degree. We were both in science major classes that had three hour labs twice a week and tests that averaged out at 55%. I was struggling with my transition from high school studying to college binge studying and he was my study partner. I didn’t really drink coffee then but he was addicted and always had an ice coffee whenever I saw him. One day, he came to study with and had brought me an iced vanilla latte. I wanted to seem cool and pretend that I drank coffee all the time, so I downed it. All of the sudden, my mind was focused, my heart was racing and my head was determined to memorize the genus, class and species of every damn animal that we needed to know for our animal bio class. Needless to say, I got hooked on the beneficial effects on productivity that coffee provided me. I spent my first three years of college guzzling down pumpkin spice, vanilla and hazelnut lattes. All that junky crap that you’re not supposed to have on the daily because of the added sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Now that I’m much more health conscious but still in need for that caffeine boost, I’ve started making my occasional habit a little healthier. And I introduce to you the clean iced vanilla latte!!

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clean iced vanilla latte
ingredients
1 cup black coffee (preferable from freshly ground and organic beans)
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or less if you like your coffee stronger)
2 dates, pitted
Ice optional

1. Combine all of the ingredients other than the ice in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds.
2. Pour over ice in a cup and enjoy!! If you prefer it sweeter, just add more dates to the mixture.

**you can also blend in cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices for a little extra kick! Enjoy!

Quinoa for breakfast?!?!

When I was at the Tone It Up Retreat last week, I ate a lot of quinoa. I mean a LOT of quinoa. I’ve always been a fan of quinoa because it’s a complete protein and a good grain alternative (because it’s actually a seed, not a grain). I have quite a few recipes on my blog already that use quinoa as a staple but I’ve never really used quinoa for breakfast before until this morning.

Well, actually, technically I tried it for the first time at the retreat. I was definitely skeptical when I saw “oatmeal” made of quinoa. It seemed like an odd pairing, quinoa and breakfast. But I gave it a whirl and I’m glad I did! Having quinoa for breakfast really helps fill you up and keep you satisfied throughout the day (probably because it’s high in protein). Plus, it doesn’t really taste like anything, so it’s extremely versatile and you can add whatever you want to it.

I pre-made the quinoa last night so that it wouldn’t take as long to prepare. I suggest everyone do it that way too since most people don’t have ample time in the morning to leisurely cook quinoa for breakfast.

Try it out and let me know how you like it!

**OH and by the way… along with this quinoa oatmeal dish this morning, I made a “clean” latte. And holy mother of all delicious food… it was incredible. Don’t you worry though, I’ll be posting THAT recipe soon enough!**

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram at @healthyfoodylifestyle for more recipes, fitness and health updates. And be sure to post your creation and tag me in it so that I can see how yours turned out!

So what are you waiting for… go eat some quinoa for breakfast!

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Superfoods and Strawberries Quinoa Oatmeal

serves 3

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1.5 cups almond milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

3 tablespoons cacao nibs

3 tablespoons goji berries

3 teaspoons honey

1. Pour the quinoa, almond milk and cinnamon into a pan. Raise the heat to medium high until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Let this cook for 20 minutes. If the quinoa dries up before it is cooked all the way through, just add 1/4 cup more almond milk to moisten it again.

*This step can be done the night before. Once the quinoa is cooked, just wait for it to cool off and put it into tupperware and into the fridge. When you are ready to reheat it, take out the desired amount, put it into a pot, add 1/4 cup almond milk and put it over medium low heat while you prepare the other ingredients*

2. Separate the quinoa out into three bowls. Sprinkle the strawberries, goji berries, cacao, and honey on top of each bowl. Serve hot!