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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No-Bake Hiking Cookies!!

HIKING COOKIES! Not volleyball cookies… but hiking cookies. They obviously can be eaten where ever you want, but I was trying to force my friend into going hiking with me today so I was bribing her with these non-bake “hiking” cookies. She insisted that they could be volleyball cookies (because she wanted to play volleyball) and I insisted that no, they were hiking cookies. So now, in tribute to my stubborn-ness, these cookies will forever be known as HIKING COOKIES!!

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They are ridiculously easy to make and packed with superfoods. When I eventually went on my hike today up at Runyon Canyon, I had just one of them for my “lunch-snack” and it completely filled me up. Because it isn’t baked, the enzymes and heat sensitive vitamins contained in the ingredients of the cookies are retained and therefore accessible for your body to soak up! Part of the ingredients must be heated slightly just to maintain a correct consistency, but its only for a minute and on a very low heat. The rest of the ingredients have no heat applied to them whatsoever.

 

Because of the hemp seeds and chia seeds, these “cookies” are high in protein and omega 3 to help power you through your day. Plus, it contains maca which not only regulates your hormones, but also boosts your fertility and libido. I bring these with me to work paired with a small piece of chicken and salad and it provides the perfect amount of sustained energy. Plus, they taste spectacular which is always a plus!

This recipe makes 12-13 cookies so it will easily last you a week of bringing them to work or school. Just make them on Sunday and enjoy your little healthy treat the rest of the week!

No-Bake Hiking Cookies

makes 12-13 cookies

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Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)

1/4 cup maple syrup (real maple syrup. not aunt jemimas)

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons maca powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

 

1. In a large bowl, mix the oats, cranberries, coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt.

oatmeal pour

 

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2. In a pan over low heat, mix the almond butter (or peanut butter) with the maple syrup and almond milk. It might be easiest to use a fork with this because it helps break apart the almond butter and  combine the ingredients.

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3. Once the ingredients are combined, turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla extract and maca powder.

4. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry and stir until combined.

5. Put a parchment paper sheet on a cookie sheet. Scoop two heaping tablespoons of the mixture and form into a cookie shape. Put onto the cookie sheet and repeat until the batter is gone.

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6. Once the cookies are all done, put them into the freezer for 1-2 hours and then transfer to a sealed container and put them into the fridge. They can be eaten for up to a month as long as they are kept in the fridge! Enjoy!

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I brought my cookies along during my hike with a friend and my dog on Runyon Canyon. Such a great hike on a beautiful Saturday morning! My friend (not typically a healthy food eater) LOVED the cookies! Go take a hike and bring the hiking cookies along with you!

Let’s pretend this is a panzanella

I lived in Italy this summer for five weeks and I ate a lot of pasta. There isn’t exactly a whole love of big veggie dishes in Italy (trust me, I searched) unless you’re on the coast. I’m spoiled and grew up in Southern California where we have arguably the best produce in the world. I eat tons of veggies, so this overdose of pasta was quite the culture shock. However, panzanella was an occasional awesome find. It’s basically a plethora of veggies that are grilled or cooked with some toasted pita or bread of some sort. I dig it.
I was feeling a little nostalgic of my travels through Italy and whipped up my own version of Panzanella! Mine is light, limited on the bread, and very flavorful considering how few ingredients it has. Whip it up, pour yourself a glass of red and pretend you’re sitting in a piazza in Florence!

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Panzanella
serves 1
ingredients
1 green bell pepper, thickly cut
1 zucchini, thickly cut
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chickpeas
1 whole wheat pita cut into 8 triangles
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons goat cheese

1. Put the olive oil into a pan and turn to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add in the first four ingredients along with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and the dried basil. Toss the veggies with a spoon and let them cook for 7 minutes , stirring occasionally.
2. While the vegetables cook, heat the oven to 300 and assemble the pita pieces on a cookie sheet. Put them into the oven and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly crispy.
3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas and remainder of the salt to the veggies. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. Assemble the vegetables on a plate with the pita pieces around them. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

Don’t forget your glass of red! You aren’t in Italy until you have your wine!

A bagel every now and then isn’t that bad…

Happy Veteran’s Day, everyone! I hope you celebrated it with someone who served our country or at least said thank you to someone who did 🙂

As some of you know, I’m training for another half-marathon. One of the many benefits of running an obscene amount of miles each week is that you get to eat a little (lot) more. And I love to eat. I usually make a ridiculously healthy smoothie or chia seed pudding (recipe coming very soon) or almond butter pancake for breakfast, but every now and then… I need a bagel. This morning was one of those days. Before my workout, I stopped off at my local coop and picked up an everything bagel that they make in house. I feel at least a little better about myself if I buy a bagel made from organic and local ingredients. I tried to make this little bad boy as healthy as possible so everything is organic, local and fresh!  You might think I’m being ridiculous by saying this serves 2 with only one bagel… but this bagel is really loaded. You’ll only want 1/2 of it. And even if you are still hungry, just eat the second half! No one has to know!

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Loaded Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

serves 2

Ingredients

1 everything bagel

1 cream cheese packet or about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese (I used an organic one)

2 eggs, scrambled

8 slices of cucumber

1/4 of an avocado, sliced into four thin slices

2 slices of red onion, or about 2 tablespoons finely chopped

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1. Cut the bagel in half, straight down the center, then turn it on it’s side and cut it down the middle forming four equal pieces.

2. Prepare all of your vegetables while you toast your bagel pieces (it’s easier to use a toaster oven for this one. If you only have a regular toaster, don’t cut the bagel in half or it’ll get lost in the toaster!) and cook your eggs.

3. When the bagel is toasted and the eggs are cooked, start to assemble the breakfast sando. First, spread the cream cheese on one side of the bagel. Then add all of the vegetables on this same side. On the other side, layer the egg pieces.

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4. Now comes the tricky part.. hold onto your egg pieces on the bagel and flip it over on top of other half of the bagel. Now you’re ready to eat this masterpiece! Just make sure you hold the insides in while you take bites… it’s a pretty big mouthful.

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!