Juice Detox: Day 2

day2

How did day two go? Today made me question a couple of things, mainly my relationship with food. You see the funny thing with this Detox is that you aren’t really hungry as the juices are actually filling and provide you with all the nutrients you need but I’m just experiencing this empty feeling. Like I feel l have nothing to look forward in the day- no yummy cheesy lunch, nothing to plan and look forward to for dinner, no homemade flapjacks to veg on the couch with. My tummy feels bored and lonely. Which is stupid as I have lots of fun things going on in my life but it’s just funny realising the emphasis I place on food and it’s significance in my day.

Myself and the fella decided we feel like we’ve broken up with food and we’re going through the after effects of a breakup. Not a nasty breakup where you feel physical pain and cry yourself to sleep, but more of a you- were- dating- for- a- couple- of- weeks- and- they- were- fun- to- have- around kind of feeling.

I keep thinking of food and the good times we had together and what I’d do with food if I could get my hands on it again… those kinds of feelings.

Other than that today I felt a little bit ‘light’, like I could fall over or fly away, just not grounded and secure. Also by the end of the day I was feeling a bit blue and sorry for myself. Hopefully tomorrow’s new juices put me in a better frame of mind.

What were the juices like? Today’s juices were exactly the same as the previous day, which was pretty boring and maybe where all the above feelings came from.

What was your energy levels like? OK although I did feel slightly less motivated at work then usual. Again we found time and energy to go for an evening walk (which helps to keep us out of the house and away from the fridge!). I also slept like a rock which was nice (they are known to sleep even sounder then logs).

Day 2 Verdict: I miss you Food but Juice is good for me, and to me, so I’m going to keep going.

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Juice Master Detox: Day One

jason vale

I realise I’m a month delayed starting Jason Vales Summer Juice Detox, but better late than never eh?

Myself and my boyfriend have decided to try the 5 day Detox (as the 7 day just isn’t feasible at the mo), his aim is to lose a few pounds and mine is to flush out my insides- they’ve gotten a bit murky looking over the summer.

We did a massive shopping hall in Aldi on Sunday and bought the Wheatgrass powder in The Hopsack, everything came to a rather affordable €30 (but then we did have the Spirulina at home and were only buying the 1-3 day stuff), and so I very skeptically and gingerly started my first juice detox…

day-one

 

Day 1, I have to admit that I was presently surprised…

  • What do you need? A juicer (here’s my baby), a shed load of fruit and veg, some super-foods to add to the drinks, a blender and either the 7lbs in 7 Days book (I picked mine up from the local library) or the App.
  • How many juices do you have a day? You are supposed to have 5 juices a day but today we only had 4 as we were stuffed after our ‘dinner’ juice (seriously! OK we were also a little ‘juiced out of it’ and couldn’t face making another one)
  • What did the juices taste like? They were all actually really yummy. I’m OK with green, kale filled smoothies and juices at this stage, but I was still pleasantly surprised to find these juices include lots of pineapples and apples in them so that masks the taste of most of the veggies.
  • Where they difficult to make? Nope, time consuming sure but not difficult. We made all the AM smoothie the night before in a bit of a production line which definitely helped speed up proceedings.
  • Can you drink anything other then the juices? You are allowed all the water/ herbal teas you want. Just nothing caffeinated- so my Green Tea and morning Lattee was out 😦
  • How did you feel? Surprisingly OK. I had a sudden and all consuming hunger pang at about 16:30 when in work but by the time I got home and drank my ‘dinner’ juice it had subsided. I also wasn’t as tired and cranky as I normally get when hungry (h-angry as it’s known round here). We even found time and energy to go for an evening walk- which is unusual for us. Then to top it all off, I slept like a log last night (and as we all know, logs sleep super deep). One thing, I did notice that I had this kind of woolly jumper effect on my teeth and a kind of gross coating on my tongue all day (apparently that’s a recognised side effect of the Detox) mingin but bearable.

Day 1 verdict: Generally fine- bar the woolly teeth.

woolly jumper

Super Trendy Super Food: Maca

MacaPowder660

This time last year if you had asked me if I knew what Maca was I would wonder whether we were talking about a person, place or thing. So let me break it down a bit before we jump in. Maca is an ugly looking root originally from Peru. It’s sold mainly in Health Food Shops and comes as a dried powder in baggies for about €10.

As per the title we’re talking about a super food here, however in my books this stuff is more than a super food- this stuff is magic.

The great thing about Maca is that it works with the needs of your body. So for some it can decrease stress levels, others it can be used to enhance stamina, energy and endurance and for some it can be used to help with their fertility.

The reason I love it though is the effects it has on our hormones. Maca works with the body to stabilise any hormone that is out of wack. So if you are struggling with general PMS, feeling anxious, irritable, low, experiencing irregular or painful periods there’s a strong possibility your hormones aren’t operating as they should and could do with a little helping hand. That’s where Maca comes in.

Because of it’s lovely malty flavour I normally add mine to smoothies or use it when doing some raw cooking. Here’s two of my favourite Maca recipes:

1. Natasha’s Raw Living Food Energiser Smoothie: Throw all off the following into a smoothie maker or blender:

  • ¼ pineapples
  • 2 oranges peeled
  • ½ organic lemon whole (yup, throw the rind in too!)
  • 1tsp maca
  • 1 cup coconut water

 2. My New Roots Nut Butter Cups

 

My Juicing Adventure: My First Juice Detox

Juice-Land

Following on from a previous blog post about the wonders of juice, I have decided to try one of Jason Vales famous Juicing detox weeks starting next weekend. The detox follows Jason’s ‘7 Lbs in 7 Days’ book, starts on Saturday 13th July and lasts, ahem, 7 days. I’m not doing this detox to lose weight (actually, scrap that I wouldn’t mind losing 3/4 pounds) but my main aim is to scrub out my system, get all the junk and gunk outta there and get it all shinny and new- just in time for the onslaught that will be a week with four other couples in a villa in Tuscany, Italy!!

All details for this Juicing week can be found here, but in a nut shell:

  • I’ve gone the cheapo route and rented Jason’s book ‘7 Lbs in 7 Days‘ from my local library, this has all the juice recipes etc.
  • I’ve downloaded the App for my iphone and have my trusty list of juicing ingredients printed out and read for purchasing

I must admit I’m excited at the thought of doing this detox and getting to use my new juicer but I’m also well aware this it’s going to be difficult and I recommend people make a concerted effort to steer clear of me for the first few days at least! 😉

Any chance you are interested in trying it out too? I would love a little group of us to attempt it together- as they say, there is safety in numbers!! Although last year, over 28,000 people from 60 countries took part so I’m sure I’ll have a good support network! If you’re unsure about it I recommend giving this Lizze Fit’s blog post a read for more info- she breaks down what happens over the course of the week very nicely and is the reason I’ve decided to try it in the first place- thanks Lizze!

Anyways, I’ll keep you all updated on how I get on- wish me luck! 🙂

Juicing: The drink that packs a punch

green-juice

As per my past blog posts coffee is bad, soft drinks are bad, fruit juices are bad, alcohol is bad, tap water is bad (actually I haven’t done a blog on that yet, but I will, ooooh I will). At this stage your thinking ‘well what in the bleedin heck can I bloody well drink‘?  Good point, I’ve been a bit of a Negative Nancy of late harping on about all the things I’ve given up on this here ‘Wellness Journey’, so I’m going to change tact and talk about all the loverly things I’ve introduced to my diet instead. Numero Uno: Veggie Juice!

Veggie Juice is ‘so hot right now’ mainly cos it’s one of the best ways to extract all the vitamins, minerals and plain old goodness that comes from vegetables. Let’s face it, who wants to be eating 2 cucumbers, 3 handfuls of spinach and kale at 7am- but juicing enables us to get a healthy amount of vegetables in one go to start the day off with a bang!

Veggie Juicing  also delivers the zesty goodness  directly into your blood stream in the quickest way possible as juicing removes fiber, leaving the nutrients with nothing better to do but zoom right into your cells- pow!

pow- juice

Finally green veggie juice oxygenates the body due to the addition of chlorophyll and enables us to release stored toxins in our bodies, increase our energy reserves and cleanse our system.

Until now I have been getting my Veggie Juice from the lovely people in The Hopsack, Rathmines (mine is the apple, beetroot and ginger one please) or else getting it delivered to my door by the beautiful Fiona from Rawfi. However a little birdie tells me I might be getting my very own juicer for my birthday this year (t-minus two weeks people!) which I’m unbelievably excited about.

(Side Point: it’s funny how life works, if my boyfriend had tried to buy me a kitchen appliance for my birthday last year I would have probably hit him over the head with it, but this year I’m only delighra!)

I’ll be back with more on my Juicing Adventure later, but for now, if you are lucky enough to own a juicer or would like to know more, I recommend having a lookie at this short video by the gorgeous Kris Carr.

My Social Media Blackout

social-media-profiles

Before I go any further I just want to give you a little taster to what my Social Media addiction looked like — warning: this ain’t going to be pretty. I was the person who checked either Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram (or all 3 on a really bad day) the minute I woke up, I was the person who would check Facebook if I had to wait for even a moment, be it in a line, waiting on someone to arrive, in traffic (totally illegal I know!), while I ate, while I watched TV, while I was supposed to be working, while I was supposed to be working out, and then again, ‘just in case’ before going asleep. There just did not seem to be any designated ‘Facebook time’, it was a flippen free for all!

So, before I graduated and became one of those people who need to check their Facebook account while in meetings or while practicing Yoga I decided to quit, to press the ‘reset button’ on my addiction and remind myself how ludicrous it is to crave seeing that little red digit

social media The Year of Doing: June’s Verdict

I expected this would be a painful and lonely month, however the funny thing was that once I deactivated my Facebook account, deleted my Twitter and Instagram Apps from my phone and ipad I felt a sudden surge of calm and release rush over me. I felt relieved to have ‘opted out’ of the constant contact and stimulation.

I found myself using life’s pauses, whether it was in traffic, waiting on a lunch order, waiting on the kettle to boil to actually take stock of my surroundings, check in with myself and generally just let my brain have free reign and just be (deep or what?!).

vintage-social-networking

A surprising aside of this experiment was that meditation was a lot easier than it used to be. My brain just seemed to be more accepting of alone time, not quieter (never quieter), but calmer.

However I definitely missed the human interaction that comes from Facebook and found myself sending pointless texts and emails to people just to have some kind of contact with friends I don’t physically see too often, you know, just to make sure they are still alive and that something momentous hadn’t happened to them which I didn’t know about!

In conclusion, as of this afternoon I’ve reactivated my Social Media accounts, but I’ve deleted all ‘notifications’ and aim to use it sparingly and (hopefully) not get sucked back in… fingers crossed!

My Wellness Cloud Bookshelf- Part 2

Books

Happy rainy Monday morning to you- things can only get better I suppose!

Here’s a round up of a few more books I love and would recommend to any budding Wellness Warriors…

No More Dirty Looks: I’ve discussed this book in past blogs (here and here) so I’ll just quickly say here how this book opened my eyes to all the crap we are lathering on to ourselves on a daily basis.  I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you- but some of the products on your bathroom shelf and make up bag have chemicals which are hormone disturbing at the very least and carcinogenic at the worst- eeeeeek :-/!

Since reading this book I’ve become one of those annoyingly smug people who doesn’t buy any ‘unclean’ beauty products. I preach about the joys of using coconut oil for everything (‘I use it as a face and body moisturiser, eye make up remover and hair defuzzer don’t you know?’) and it makes me happy, so I’m planning to keep it that way.

Even if you love your beauty products (as I once did), I’d recommend this book as it’ll arm you with a fighting chance when trying to decide between shower gels so you can pick the less offensive one.

You Are What you Eat: There was a time I used to call this book my ‘Bible’, I’d bring it everywhere and refer to passages regularly, (‘Page 15, section 2: ‘thou shall not eat fruit after carbs’). It was my first introduction to ‘wellness’, although the movement didn’t have any fancy terms, blogs and quiona back then.

One of my favorite things is the way Gillian breaks everything down into individual body parts:

  • Pealing nails= Means you many have a weak and over worked liver and you are recommended to introduce Milk Thistle into your diet.
  • Stinky poo= Points to stagnation in the large intestine and that you’re in need of a digestive enzyme after meals
  • Spots on chin= Means you have an hormonal imbalance in the reproductive area and you could do with a herb like agnus castus to correct it.

womancode

Womancode: In the last few months I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that a lot of women’s health issues (physical, mental and emotional) are due to our hormones being unbalanced, or out of ‘whack’ as a lot of other bloggers seem to say.  This book cemented this theory for me. The book discusses some really important topics and I think it’s a book we should all read (my copy is available if anyone wants a lend!)

Some of the stuff I learnt:

  • PCOS, endometriosis, low libido, infertility, cystic acne, PMS, cramps and irregular menstruation are not normal and are not things we should be expected to live with (a say whaaat?!)
  • These are all symptoms of unbalanced hormones.
  • Amazingly interesting things (which I actually can’t believe we didn’t learn in school!) about our monthly cycles and how we have different ‘powers’ and qualities at different times of the month depending on the balance of hormones in our system (e.g. we are proven to be more creative the 7 to 10 days following our periods and that’s the time we should brainstorm and try new foods and sports as we will most likely enjoy them).

Mind Over Medicine: I am currently reading this fascinating book all about how we can heal ourselves with the power of our minds- sounds a bit ‘out there’ but apparently its all backed by medical research as Lissa is a qualified doctor. I’ll report back here once finished.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: This is next on the reading list and I’m pretty excited about it as it provides insights into the big business that is the Food Industry. 

So, have any recommendations of other wellness books for me to read? Any suggestions are much appreciated 🙂

My Wellness Cloud Bookshelf- Part 1

Books

I thought I would give you a lil lookie at the books I feel are guiding me on this here Wellness Journey on the off chance you will be inspired to pick one of them up.

Eat Pray Love: This is a funny one, I remember reading it a few years ago and only really enjoying or actually bothering to read the first section, where the author is prancing around Italy eating and drinking all she can get her hands on. I then kind of skipped over the section when she was in India on the 5 month long Ashram visit, feeling that I didn’t quite understand what she was discussing and then pretty much totally left out the last section on her trip to Bali, Indonesia and her search for God.

Then last month, after my month long struggle with meditation this book kind of fell off my bookshelf and I thought I’d give it another shot.

The universe works in really funny ways because this time around I kind of skipped through the first section as I wasn’t overly interested in all the food descriptions from Italy and found her tales of the Ashram, meditation, Gurus, shaktipat and the elusive tiny blue dot of energy to be absolutely fascinating. So much so that it reignited a new found passion and understanding of meditation in me and now I practice it twice a day (for only 10 minutes at a time but it’s still better than nothing!). I also love the way Elizabeth Gilbert writes, I found myself rereading whole paragraphs as her descriptions and imagery is so beautiful and profound.

The Power Of Now: Ehhhhh I have no idea why this book is even in the photo. I tried to read this a few times but each time I try to I can’t seem to get past chapter 2. It’s by the hugely famous Eckhart Tolle and he guides the reader through a journey to celebrate and live in the now instead of always reliving the past or planning the future (but you probably got that from the title!). I just found it to be a bit too ‘out there’ for me at the moment but I know I will get there some day.

Spirit Junkie: This is another one I bought months ago and again didn’t really connect with it initially. Then about 2 months ago I was sick from work and suddenly I was hit with the urge to read it. I ended up gobbling the majority of it up in one day!

This book introduces us to the ‘ego’ (or as I call it our ‘negative DJ’s’) that asshole who sits in our head and spends their time telling us how silly/ ugly/ useless/ unimportant/ unloved/ unpopular/ fat/ spotty/ stupid we are or reminds us of past failures and shows us scary images of us in the future.

This book helps the reader shine a light on this ‘Negative DJ’ and gives you the tools to deal with them in a positive and constructive way.

I really enjoyed Gabrielle’s book and now feel I have the knowledge and power to recognise when my ‘Negative DJ’ is talking and how to quieten her down.

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In summary I think when it comes to these types of books there’s no point in pushing yourself into reading them, if you are supposed to read them it will be an easy and enjoyable experience, if not, it won’t. Simples. Without wanting to sound too ‘new agey’ I’d recommend having a look around the spiritual/ self help sections of your book shop and library and seeing if anything in particular ‘talks’ to you as that’s the book for you in this moment in time.

I Quit Sugar (for a month)

sugarlips

There’s so much I want to say about this that I could type for hours, but I know you don’t want to read for hours so I’m going to keep it short and sweet (for want of a different word).

A normal day for me used to look like this:

Morning: Lemon and hot water, Porridge with full fat milk, 1 banana, honey and either chia seeds or linseed

Lunch: A salad left over from last night with cheese and some bread

Afternoon snack: A Jaffa Cake or two (my office is obsessed with them for some reason)/ A handful of homemade Trail Mix

When I get in from work: Green smoothie

Dinner: Some vegetarian and cheese based meal

TV Snack: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and maybe a glass of Red wine

The truly shocking thing is that all of this adds up to about 30 teaspoons of sugar a day and the thing is is we aren’t designed to consume as much as we do. The correct daily intake of sugar we should in fact be consuming is only 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.

I had no idea I was consuming this much but then you see it turns out that sugar doesn’t only come from a chocolate bar or a bag of Haribo… Glucose (carbs), fructose (fruit) and lactose (dairy) = Sugar

As Sarah Wilson discusses in her book, ‘I Quit Sugar’, the problem with sugar is 2 fold

Problemo #1: Fructose is a sneaky mo’ fo’…

Sugar makes us eat more.  Every other food we digest has a corresponding appetite hormone that registers the food in our bellies which results in us saying, ‘Jayzuz, I’m stuffed’, (or something a little more lady like!), but not sugar. As we all know we can gorge on sugary foods without feeling full (maybe sick but far from full)

And the thing is that the Coca Colas, Red Bulls, Mars and Nestles of this world know this fact.

They say their products should only be consumed in ‘moderation’ knowing full well that they have been designed to hit our ‘bliss point’- a point at which the product tastes sweet, but not so sweet that we can’t keep eating them- and cause us to over indulge.

It has been scientifically proven that we can’t consume these sugary foods in moderation. These ‘foods’ do something to our saliva glands that make them juice at the sight of them, they do something to our brains and taste buds that crave them when we see them advertised, they do something to our stomachs that make them gurgle when we see them for sale in the newsagents. Once you have a bite you’re hooked and want more.

Problemo #2: Sugar messes with our delicate hormones

Each consumption of sugar messes with our blood sugar levels, it sends them soaring high and then crashing low. When they’re up the hormone insulin has to kick in and regulate it and when it’s down the stress hormone Cortisol has to help out. Here are the effects this can have on our bodies if this happens a couple of times a day:

Insulin side effects: increased body fat, reduction in our bodies ability to burn fat, reduction in lean muscle, increase in inflammation, reduced energy, effects our mood, increased brain fog, increased oestrogen (which is a whole other story…)

Cortisol side effects: Digestive problems, inflammations, inability to repair, lower immune.

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April’s Challenge:

Give Up- Sugar

So that’s why I gave up Sugar (and all it’s little friends, including fructose) for April, I went Cold Turkey.

I  followed Sarah Wilson’s book, this is an 8 week process but as the first two weeks are a warm up and the last week is a warm down I squished it into a 5 week process.

I coupled this with 100 squats a day as this is great at producing the growth hormone which is a natural way to stabilise our Blood Sugar and counteract the negative effects of insulin (more on that here)

Verdict

This month was a total eye opener for me and the effects have only really been felt since the month’s experiment was finished. I think my taste buds have changed (matured?) and I can no longer eat desert or even fruity smoothies as I find them too sweet and they give me a physical pain in my gums.  I also lost weight (the weight put on when I attempted to be a vegetarian and a little bit more). I also noticed my PMS and general lady time wasn’t as rough as once was.

Since then I have reintroduced fruit, honey and some sugary treats into my diet but I am largely trying to follow this lifestyle each day as it makes me feel so good.

So, do you think you can/want to try it? If so here’s a few resources to sink your teeth into:

A short 15 minute video

Some blog posts:

Some books:

  • Sarah Wilson, ‘I Quit Sugar’
  • Mark Moss, ‘Salt, Sugar, Fat’
  • David Gillspie, ‘Sweet Poison’

A piece of info I just have to leave you with: A glass of apple juice contains as much sugar as a glass of Coke… 10/ 12 teaspoons. I’m sorry but it’s true.

Ghastly Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

The Green Smoothie: Take 1
The first time I tried to drink a Green Smoothie was when we returned from a holier in Spain and France. We had spent two weeks eating cheese, bread and pizza, all washed down by a steady stream of red wine. (oh God I love cheese and pizza. Maybe this wellness thing isn’t for me?!… Focus Eimear focus!!)

My poor system was crying out for some fruit and veg. So I decided to try what my Wellness blogs were preaching and set out making this famous Green Smoothie they all rave about.  I mixed the following:

  • A handful of spinach
  • Kale (which, by the way, I had never seen before, never mind bought or tasted)
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley
  • Almond milk
  • A teaspoon of bee pollen
  • A teaspoon of spirulina
  • A teaspoon of Maca

I whizzed it together in my Smoothie maker and drank the greeny sludge as my boyfriend looked on in disgust. Well, sweet BLOODY HELL, it was revolting!! Like literally, the worst thing I have ever tasted. I made myself take 3 sups and then just had to fling the remainder down the sink. It was so awful that I actually thought I would never be able to eat anything again, that it had tainted my mouth forever. I was so disappointed as I really felt this Wellness thing was for me and I had fallen at the first hurdle. I then had a glass of white wine to make my failure less painful.

Green Smoothie

The Green Smoothie: Take 2
As with all heartbreaks, time was a great healer, and after a while (I’m talking months here) I began venturing back to the Green Smoothie. All the research I was doing was pointing away from fruit filled smoothies due to their high sugar content (know this: a regular fruit based smoothie can be equal to 6 spoonfuls of sugar!!) and pointing me towards the green plant based, ‘super smoothie’!

I started back by just building up the green content slowly, e.g. adding small handfuls of spinach to regular fruit smoothies. And I am now proud to officially say I’m a Green Smoothie Convert! I’m sneakily getting 3/4 of my 5 Fruit & Veg a day into my system in a fast, effective and fun way and they taste is amazing. Honestly! Don’t get put off by the green colour!

Green = Good!!

Today I make (on my Kenwood ‘Smoothie To Go’) and voluntarily drink a delicious Green Smoothie regularly, it consists of the following:

  • 1 glug or two of almond milk (sans sugar)/ or coconut water
  • 1 handful of washed spinach
  • Thumb length section of pealed cucumber
  • 1 Banana
  • Another fruit of choice (I add another from a peeled apple/ pear to mixed frozen berries from the freezer)
  • 1 spoonful of a Linwoods mix (I use the probiotic and flaxseed one and bought it for €7 in Dunnes)
  • 1 spoonful of chia seeds
  • 1 tbls of spirulina (a green superfood- found in most health food stores)

Kenwood- Smoothie 2 Go

Go ooooooon, give it a go!

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