A Rather Delayed Review of Clean Green Food & Drink Cleanse Part Two

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The results are finally IN! If you don’t know what results I’m speaking of, check out part one.

I weighed myself before the start of the cleanse because although I didn’t expect a miracle and I’ve generally never had great results from dieting alone, I obviously was very interested in what the numbers on the scale would have to say after a week of doing the Clean Green Cleanse. As I stated in part one, I was not the strictest with following the portions and I did allow myself a few little cheats here and there because even though it was only a week, a week is long enough to drive a person crazy! So because of that, I did want to add that I snacked on popcorn in the evenings when my cravings were really bad but I made sure the popcorn was butter-free and only very lightly salted. To ensure this I made my own popcorn instead of using the oh-so-convenient prepackaged kind. I also had a piece of dark chocolate with tea if my sweet tooth was getting too out of control. But mostly the smoothies kept those cravings under control because a lot of them were naturally sweet.

And after a week of resisting the urge to weigh myself the scale said……

I had lost 4 pounds! 

I was convinced most of it was water weight and I would certainly gain it back but I was still so excited about those 4 pounds because it was the jump start I was looking for. I also felt less bloated, which as most of you already know, makes such a difference in how you feel and how your pants feel on you. So if you’re feeling extra sluggish, particularly bloated or full, a week of eating clean and green CAN actually make you feel better!

I got so excited about the 4 lbs that I decided to keep up the smoothies if I could. The following week I had between 1 or 2 smoothies a day, either replacing breakfast or lunch or both, and kept eating a ton of veggies and greens with my meals. I also tried to limit the amount of carbs I consumed and always tried to choose healthier options like sweet potatoes which I just looove with all my heart or a piece of my favorite Ezekiel 4:9 bread. By the end of this week I noticed how much more energy I had. I didn’t feel extra tired mid-afternoon and rarely even wanted a second cup of coffee (this part is truly insane for me since I am a huge coffee addict).

The third week, I had to travel a bit and was definitely no longer on a strict diet but still was incorporating a lot of smoothies and greens. It was around this week that I noticed how much my skin had cleared up. Now this I was NOT expecting. I have heard of course that eating clean can do wonders for your skin, energy, and waistline, but as I didn’t really have horrible acne and just the standard monthly flare-ups and small zits near my hairline I thought my skin was as good as it would ever get. It really was such a pleasant surprise that once I realized what was happening, I never wanted to stop eating this way!

Of course, because I stopped being so strict about the diet after the first week was over, and my exercise was very minimal at that time because of a previous injury, I did not lose anymore weight the following two weeks. I did however manage to keep the 4 lbs off! Now I’m back to a regular diet, my smoothie intake is practically non-existent, and I could be making better choices especially at night when my cravings are all over the place…. but the 4 lbs still have not returned. I’m very happy about this and am even considering doing this cleanse again for another week or making it a part of my life sort of like spring cleaning, “jump-starting” my diet with this cleanse once every 3 months or so. It would certainly be easy enough now that I have the hang of it and still have hemp protein left over.

As for whether I would recommend the cleanse? Yes, of course I would! I’ve been telling a lot of people about it. What I wouldn’t recommend though is being super strict about it and following it to every tiniest detail because if I had purchased all those recommended supplements I might be broke right now and because I just don’t think they are all necessary. If you are vegan/vegetarian already then it might be something to look into but that is a personal choice.

Also, you may need to find the supplements that taste the best to you. I am not that picky about my food when I know what I am ingesting is good for me and nourishing. Now if I was cooking a feast for a fun get together or holiday I certainly wouldn’t be using grainy supplements or serving them this type of food. The hemp protein I used was kind of “grassy” and had some grain to it but I didn’t mind and I did feel like the smoothies were a bit more filling when I used it. The Green Superfood I got was in berry flavor so I mostly added this to the smoothies which I was already putting berries in which helped the flavors work well together.

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I really liked almost all of the smoothies. The berry ones tended to have a lot of seeds which were a little annoying but to be expected. The ones that had apple and pumpkin added were certainly different but still quite tasty and a nice change up. I also noticed those were a little bit more watery. The only smoothie that I did not care for was the Chocolate Avocado Goddess which used an entire avocado to create a creamy smoothie but for me the texture and taste just did not work and I actually had trouble finishing that one. Most of the recipes did not call for hemp seeds but I usually added a tablespoon or so on top because I wanted to.

I loved the brussel sprout clean green salad and have made it several times since, even tweaking it a little bit here and there and trying new versions by adding kale and different types of dressings. It’s a great fall or even winter salad when delicate greens aren’t exactly in season. The avocado and quinoa salad also quickly became a family favorite. Honestly, writing about the salads and thinking about them is making me want to go make one right now! Maybe I will 🙂

Overall the recipes from this cleanse were great! I loved trying them and started looking forward to making a new recipe the next day. Some were a little weird but if there was something I didn’t care for too much I would just omit it or substitute it with something that was of equal caloric value, and of course with something that went along with the clean green theme. I was never hungry because I made sure to always consume enough even if it was two portions. I do think that if I followed the plan exactly it would be too little food for me and I would have been hungry and cranky and would have ultimately quit the cleanse. Of course this depends on each individual person, their metabolism and appetite, as well as their body type and weight, as all of these affect how many calories you should be consuming so just make sure to be smart and make the best decisions for yourself.

Hope you enjoyed this review of the Clean Green Food & Drink Cleanse! I would love to hear from you and would be more than happy to answer any questions! Thanks for reading 🙂

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A Rather Delayed Review of Clean Green Food & Drink Cleanse

As I’m sure many can relate, I gorged myself with delicious sweets and overeating during the holidays. The “holidays” continued through January (my birthday month), February (Valentine’s Day, my dad’s birthday), and March (’cause it’s too hard to stop now!). I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, so don’t even ask me if I kept any! One day in March I found a scale in one of the other bathrooms and weighed myself. No wonder none of my clothes were fitting! Now, I must say that my clothes have not been fitting since last summer because of other reasons, but I always assumed I would naturally go back to fitting into the same pants I have been wearing for years. Looking at that number and knowing my strength building has been quite minimal, I knew the holiday snacking and binge eating was to blame. But seeing that number on the scale made me snap back to reality and realize it was almost April and the holiday season was long gone!

Wanting to do a cleansing diet that wasn’t a complete juice cleanse or starvation diet, I started doing some Google research and came across the Clean Green Food & Drink Cleanse by Candice Kumai. This seemed like a reasonable plan, to substitute breakfast and lunch with smoothies and eat a non-liquified dinner. ‘Cause seriously, I need energy and I need to not be having hunger pains when I’m trying to live and sleep! I really can’t fall asleep when my stomach is grumbling.

If you visit shape.com where I found this cleanse here: 7 Day Clean Green Cleanse you will notice the top comments are not very endearing of the cleanse. A picture is worth a thousand words, and apparently Candice is just too thin? Frankly, I paid those comments no attention. I was not there to judge her appearance or her lifestyle choice or any of that, I just wanted to do exactly what that plan was saying: jump start a new phase of clean eating and jump start my weight loss process. But I didn’t want to do it alone. So I recruited a friend, who I knew wanted to lose some weight as well. He agreed and we made plans to begin the cleanse on the following Monday and track our progress and keep each other motivated via Snapchat, as we live 6 hours away from each other.

Firstly, I must say, the grocery shopping part of preparing for this week of smoothies and clean green meals was intimidating, for my wallet. I never use supplements such as protein powders in my drinks or meals and feel rather uncomfortable using a product which I haven’t studied thoroughly. Because of this, I did not use the exact supplements and additives Candice recommends and substituted appropriately as I saw fit for myself. I’m not sure if following her recommendations to a T would have changed anything, but I really don’t think that it would have. I also split my grocery shopping up into two trips for the week, as I truly detest when spinach begins to rot in the packaging and would rather make an extra grocery trip than deal with that grossness!

I purchased from Amazon three basic supplements: Amazing Grass Green SuperFood in Berry, Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder, and Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts . Thank you Amazon Prime.

I used the hemp protein powder when the smoothies called for protein powder, and the Green SuperFood when they were part of the recipe as well. I took an inventory of all the products for the entire week and realized this would suffice and the couple of times the recipes called for something different such as pea protein or spirulina supplementation, I didn’t think it worth it to spend money on those products that I would surely only use a handful of times in my life. I’m not that green….. yet 😉

As for the dinners, I tried very hard to stick to the meal plans and only sometimes made additions such as a lean protein (chicken breast, lean pork) because I still felt hungry. Also because I didn’t realize this whole meal plan was vegetarian at first and I simply don’t do well on vegetarian diets as I found out some years ago. My friend and I agreed that we would have one dinner that we could cheat on and replace with something else as he had already made plans to meet up with a friend for dinner before we decided to start this diet, and I really wanted to puke thinking of consuming the cold cucumber soup listed for Friday’s dinner (ew!). I still however tried to keep the cheat meal quite small, and at least half of it was green leafy veggies.

For drinks, I did allow myself a cup of coffee a day (because I cannot and do not want to live, breathe, think without it), drank lots of water in between meals, and made green tea in the afternoons and after dinner. I would also have one can a day of La Croix, my favorite new drink that has 0% everything! [Thank you to my new friends from Canada that introduced me to this lovely drink!] I just LOVE sparkling water but the hint of natural flavoring in this water is just the best!

Luckily for me, my family was happy to join in on those meals where the serving sizes were intended for 3-4 and my husband was always thrilled to share a smoothie with me. However, I always made sure that I had enough to actually be full, even if that meant I actually had 2 servings, because I am NOT about starving myself!

Now, I bet you are all wondering what the results were? …… to be continued in the next few days 🙂 Aren’t I the worst?!

Read Part Two.

Foraging Wild Violets

I have always had an interest in natural medicine, foraging, homesteading and herbalism. I believe my upbringing definitely helped cultivate these type of interests, as my family always had fruits and vegetables growing in our gardens, chickens in our yard, a general desire for organic home-grown food (even before we knew what “organic” was) and a pull towards physical labor.

This spring I find myself in a new location, and I am lucky that there happens to be acres of un-sprayed, pesticide-free land around here. When the weather started getting a little warmer, the first flowers I noticed (even before the dandelions) were tiny little purple and blue and white wild violets. Some people think these are an annoying weed, but myself personally, I wish the lawn never had to be mowed because I don’t want to destroy these little babies. Then it just clicked: this is the perfect land and perfect time in my life to start learning about foraging in my area and using the naturally growing plants around me to benefit my happiness and yes, health! These adorable little violets are the perfect place to start.

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Of course before I went crazy on the cute little flowers, I did a bit of reading on how to use them, and why. A good place to start is with the Herbal Academy of New England’s post on the Viola flowers which you can find here. Another site I enjoyed reading is Wild Foods & Medicines and her post on violets can be found here. I just love Elise’s site and posts! And of course, before ingesting large quantities of anything that could have interactions with medications that you’re on, or if you’re pregnant or have any kind of health concerns, please check with your provider first.

Now onto what I’m doing with my violets 🙂

There are two kinds scattered throughout our backyard, the common blue violet (which is actually purple) and the white and blue kind. They can also be yellow, pink, or a combination of those colors. A white and blue one is shown in the picture below and you can see the fuzzy hair-like part near the middle, as well a bug — all natural baby!

white & blue Viola

Today I gathered them for the first time as I had planned on doing but it really worked out quite nicely because it rained for hours last night but was nice and sunny today so I look at it like they were washed nicely with the rain and were dried for ideal picking by the sun. Because of the recent rain, once I picked the flower tops I only washed them lightly by spraying

Viola flowers picked from back yard

them with a spray bottle and laid out just the flower parts to dry on a towel. I plan on using these for tea later on. I would like to pick as much for tea as possible now, dry them and have them for later when they’re no longer growing in the yard. Once I have the quantities I want (obviously I plan on picking extra to give as gifts ’cause um why not?!), then I will work on picking the leaves and drying them for tea as well and from there I will take to enjoying them fresh in salads and such.

Viola drying on a towel

There are soo many amazing things that can be done with wild violets such as candied violets for garnishing cakes, cookies, etc. Violet syrup, violet tea, violet leaf tea, crushed dried violet sprinkles for cookies or ice cream, violet jelly, violet honey. And of course medicinal tinctures and infusions (tea). The leaves can be cooked into lasagna, pastas, or eaten raw in salad along with the flowers. Honestly, if you couldn’t tell, I’m super excited to start trying these new recipes!

One other thing I decided to do with some of the flowers was to press them in a book until they dry and then use them for arts and crafts type of things. I love keeping pressed flowers as bookmarks in my bible to save favorite verses but they can also be used to decorate glass picture frames, or as an artistic way of displaying your favorite herbs and flowers within a frame. I placed two pieces of scrap printer paper on either side to prevent the colors from staining the books and will wait a week before checking them. Other ways to press flowers can be found here. There really are so many neat ideas for what to do with them! My niece even bought an iPhone cover with dried pressed flowers inside. I love it!

Hope you guys are inspired to do a little foraging yourselves! I will try to update any recipes I try or neat things I end up making with these cuties!

Apple Pie Biscuits

It has been a long time since I’ve posted. This is because something in my mind keeps telling me: people don’t care or want to care about the stupid stuff you do on a daily basis! On good days like today, I am reminded that this is for myself, not for others. So enjoy — or don’t! I definitely enjoyed making and eating these biscuits!

I found this recipe randomly on Pinterest and somehow it became the first baking recipe I made since The Left Turn AKA a huge life-changing event that took place in my life. My husband helped me make it and although it was a tad messy, it was easy enough and super tasty!

Since I don’t generally even like biscuits, the fact that I wanted to make these again means they were rather impressive. I have made them a total of three times over the past 5 months and each time they turned out great. Reliability is ever so fantastic in staple recipes. As of last night, this recipe has officially been added to my tested and true recipe book.

The recipe is from Joy the Baker. I didn’t have self-rising flour on hand and I was so happy she included a substitution in her post. I just love it when recipes are written out so well that you don’t doubt what you’re doing. She even included a gluten-free flour substitute. Of course, I didn’t have any Fuji apples so I just used any old apple I had lying around. Most of all I was just so happy that they barely took any time at all to make and were ready right as we finished dinner. They turned out fabulous! They were gone within a day.

Being biscuits, they’re not too sweet so they make a great breakfast, but can also pass for a dessert. I personally prefer mine with a nice hot coffee or tea. Or perhaps a flat white. 

Here is a link to her lovely recipe: Apple Pie Biscuits

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of these incredible biscuits. But if you follow the link to Joy’s page, she took plenty!

I hope if you do try these, you enjoy them as much as my family and I did!

Flat White What?

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My father recently emailed me an article that I completely did not expect him to share much less spend time reading. It was about the great Flat White. If you don’t know what that is, well then join the club ’cause I seriously had no idea. Sounds like a paint color name or perhaps an arctic tundra.

As soon as I began reading the article which you can read here, I immediately had an eye-opening moment about my own coffee drinking habits. For those of you who couldn’t care less about reading the article but still want to know what a flat white is, it’s pretty much a latte that proportionally has less milk and more espresso than a standard latte. That is exactly what I ask for every time I happen to splurge on buying coffee instead of making my own at home. Well… I usually say something rather puzzling like “is it possible to get a cappuccino just with less foam and more of the actual drink” or “can you make a latte that has more espresso and less milk”. Mostly the barista just stares back at me like why are you being so complicated and stupid. Thank you Starbucks, for recognizing that what I actually want is a legit thing and apparently rather normal in Australia/New Zealand. I knew there was a reason for my strong desire to move to Australia!

Next time I get coffee outside my home I plan on asking for a flat white. If they stare back at me with a blank expression and say they have never heard of such a thing then I most certainly plan on educating them ’cause c’mon — how is this not already a basic coffeehouse staple?! More than likely, however, I’m just going to have to learn to make them at home, and continue saving $4 to $8 every day 😉