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.

Merry Christmas

Some would say this post is a little belated. But not the Ukrainians (or many other Slavic and non-Slavic orthodox believers). Now I’m not personally orthodox, but it’s still fun to celebrate a little bit of the old traditions. While everyone has already taken their trees and decorations down and is thinking about Valentine’s day, my family is sending each other Christmas wishes today.

Although this year the trees are indeed already down, it is only because we put them up soo early. Day after Thanksgiving to be exact. As a little token of this day, I thought I would revisit Christmas trees past and present 🙂

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Christmas 2012

This Christmas tree above was cut down near our house and isn’t the standard type of Christmas tree. It isn’t quite as sad as the Charlie Brown tree but it does certainly remind me of it. It’s particularly special because at this time I was living alone in a city where I knew no one and was working my first nursing job. It was only a few hours from home so I could visit often. I didn’t have a tree at my place because I worked the most INSANE job ever and why bother for just me. I did however, beg my mom to get a tree at her house and she was reluctant because of the mess they make especially with two dogs in the house. Luckily my grandpa had just moved in and he knew the importance of having a tree and cut this beauty down. I will always think of him when I look at this photo.

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Christmas 2013

2013 saw me moving to another city where I knew no one and working a not quite as insane job, but nonetheless 100% night shifts. This time I was much further from home, but much closer to my fiance. I worked practically every holiday and only made it home after driving all day on Christmas to spend Christmas night with my family. It was a hard time for my parents with my grandpa being really ill and there was no tree at home. The only tree I spent a lot of time passing was the one above, in the lobby of my workplace.

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Christmas 2014

And finally, this past Christmas’ tree! I actually got to help decorate this one and it was a pleasant surprise from my relatively new mother-in-law. All of the ornaments are from my husband’s side of the family and it was so awesome looking through them and just imagining all the memories of the past years. We had a fair share of issues getting the lights to function but once they did – wow! I have never seen a tree so colorful and bright. I spent a good amount of evenings sitting next to the tree and feeling like it might actually really be Christmas time.

Reflecting on Christmases past certainly brings back a lot of emotions I never expected to feel when I started writing this post. My grandpa wasn’t here this year, and it’s hard to think that it’s been almost a year since he passed. Just like my grandmother 10 years prior, we buried him in NY in the middle of a blizzard. He wasn’t able to make it to see our wedding, but at the same time I’m a bit relieved he wasn’t here to see everything that took place after. 2014 was a hard year for my family, and for me personally, but I am so grateful to be here now in 2015 and look forward to many more years of Christmas trees.

Time Off

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I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands the past few months. I had wanted to have such a period in my life so desperately, but not the way I got it. It’s alright though, I’m alive and I’m mostly enjoying this “time off” from work.

During this time I have started reconnecting with my crafty side. I have always been crafty but never considered myself so. In kindergarten, I drew princesses like it was my job. When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite things to do was make amazing over-the-top blinged out greeting cards. I would hack apart old cards, find bits of paper, buttons, lace, wood, stickers, glitter, etc. and reconstruct to make new intriguing one-of-a-kind cards for my friends and teachers. I also thoroughly enjoyed sewing new clothes for my barbies, so much so that I would steal fabric from my mom and spend a good amount of time in trouble because of it, yet would do it again the next chance I got. As most children, I had an incredible love of life, not just for arts but for learning new things in general. By the time high school came around I was starting to realize that with growing up came a lot of responsibility, and less time for trying new things and barely any time at all for useless crafts.

Although over the past 10 years I have continued to explore new fun activities and crafts, (tried skiing, volunteered as a document translator, went sky diving, left the country for the first time since my family immigrated to the U.S. in 1991 (not counting Canada;), explored Judaism, learned to knit, took a semester long yoga class, explored different styles of dance, belly danced in front of a full auditorium, volunteered for a month building sustainable Earthships, the list does go on…) throughout most of those experiences I felt like I was not supposed to be doing them. I wasn’t supposed to be having fun. I was supposed to be studying, getting good grades, getting into medical school and becoming a responsible, respectable, independent adult.

With this bout of free time came some difficult life lessons. Life is hard. Life is painful. More people love me than I ever realized. The people that love me, they push me to do great things with my life, but they also love me because of my personality not because of my accomplishments. Luckily, not everything that came out of this period of time was a huge life lesson, but a lot of the time even the little things were, such as reconnecting with my crafty side.

With a little Pinterest love, sister support, and wanting to get my mind off some serious life matters, I started to learn how to crochet. Then I decided to build something for my upcoming niece’s birthday, instead of buying her an already made item that she probably wanted really badly. Then I did more pinteresting and did more crafts. Then I realized, this stuff made me HAPPY. It made the hours pass, yes, but it also was exciting to learn new things again, things that had nothing to do with medicine or science or responsibilities. These things made me happier than watching a marathon of shows online. Although they are not making me rich, and they are not as useful as say knowing how to build an entire house, I’m pretty sure one day one of these useless things I learn to do will save a life 😉

This blog is to document those new fun things I’ve been doing. Perhaps a little bit of dreaming of new fun things I want to do in the future. Most of all, I want to keep doing things that make me happy and not lose sight of that, even when I start working again, start being busier, no matter what life brings my way. Hopefully this blog will remind me that it’s okay for such pointless, simple things to bring me happiness and I don’t have to feel guilty about it. And maybe any readers might enjoy it just a little bit, too. I saved the pictured quote below from yoga_girl ‘s Instagram and it kind of says it all. Life is taken to the highest level when you do things from the heart ❤

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