My experience with a 3-day juice cleanse

I’m a sucker for freebies, BOGO offers and gifts with purchase. I used to buy things from Sephora just to get the free samples. I love trading Booty Barre® classes for massages, haircuts, acupuncture—if don’t have to pay for it, who cares if I need it or not? I want it!

A perk for enrolling in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition school this spring was a gift certificate for a Pressed Juicery cleanse. Located in California, Pressed Juicery was created by an IIN graduate and is popular with the celebrity set. While I’m no celeb, I’m no stranger to juicing. I’ve owned several juicers and worked at a juice and smoothie stand in high school. Over the last years, the juicer has taken a backseat to my VitaMix as I’ve wanted the benefits of the fiber of the whole vegetable or fruit rather than just the juice (plus it’s so easy to clean). But, since this was essentially free (and a $200 value), I decided to give it a try.

The Pressed Juicery cleanse comes with six juices (well, really five plus one almond milk) and I splurged on the extra chlorophyll and aloe vera waters. Hey, if I’m going to make a commitment, I go for it. I ordered level two, their most popular and balanced cleanse and scheduled delivery for last Tuesday. All 24 bottles were shipped overnight in a big box with a disposable cooler lining and ice packs. The raw, unpasteurized juice can last up to three days refrigerated.

Day one: Not too bad…hungry at times but I get hungry when I eat real food, too. I noticed the juice was very clean tasting with a smooth mouth feel, not gritty like at-home juices I’ve made before. The PJ website talks about the difference between their juicing process and others. I like it.

I had a green juice to start my day, a pineapple-based juice, another green juice (this time with ginger—yum), a beet ginger lemon concoction (tasted like lemonade), a pineapple coconut water and to end the day, a delicious almond milk with dates and vanilla. Throughout the day, I sipped the chlorophyll water and before bed, I drank the aloe vera water. While it’s recommended you listen to your body and ease up on your normal exercise routine if need be, I had energy to teach a few classes and go on a shorter run.

Day two: I miss fat. I crave roasted root vegetables cooked in butter or coconut oil. Or nuts—lots of nuts. The juices, even the green ones, taste so sweet to me. I have energy as I’m still consuming enough calories but I feel as if I’m vibrating at a difference frequency (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing). I think I’m craving foods to ground me.

Day three: My most hungry-feeling, lowest energy day. I tried to scrape every last ounce of almond “paste” at the bottom of the bottle. But my tongue looks so pink and clean! I And while I don’t think I lost any weight my body feels lighter. Giving your digestive system a bit of a break is one of the main benefits of doing a juice cleanse.

I actually miss how I felt after drinking the juice. Was it the sugar rush (although natural—still a lot!) or the flood of nutrients? Surprisingly, I still haven’t eaten meat as I’m more inclined to go for veggies and nuts. I’m even eating less eggs than normal as they don’t sound as good. If you have ever heard me talk about my hard boiled eggs, you know this is a big statement.

Bottom line: although this was quite different to my current way of eating (loosely Paleo-inspired—veggies, limited fruits, healthy fats, eggs and meat) I could almost feel the surge of nutrients from the juice. I’m always open to experimenting as there is no one perfect diet. Plus it was nice not to have to think about my meals or snacks for three days. I want to make this recipe and next time I’m at Studio Blue, the host location of my Pilates teacher training, I’ll try Portland Juice Company. I wonder if they give out free samples.

Vegetable juice, tomato, carrot, cucumber and beetroot

Disclaimer: This is just my personal experience and does not qualify as medical advice. Please discuss any diets with your doctor or healthcare professional.

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Sugar Detox

People who don’t like dessert are like people who have the “pushed six times and then he was out” birth stories or complain pants don’t fit because their booty is too small. I know they exist, but I cannot wrap my mind around any of those concepts as actual reality. I just don’t get it. It’s too far beyond my personal experience and what I know and feel at the very core of my being.

Unfortunately, my sugar addiction really does go so deep that, in a way, it almost defines me. “The Reetz and her treats,” has been my motto, my mantra for so long. I should feel lucky I’ve stayed in my current physical shape with how much sugar (even “healthy” sugar) I’ve consumed on a daily basis, let alone the weekend free-for-all baking extravaganzas. I’m an addict through and through. As a child, I remember feeling anxiety during parties with piñatas or cake because I had a hard time waiting for my sugar fix—I wanted it NOW! I didn’t understand why my brother was fine with having a piece or two of Halloween candy when I wanted to finish the whole bag. At one point my parents found quite the collection of Skittles wrappers under my bed. We lived a few houses down from the corner market and I’d walk there once or twice a day for a treat to eat while I read my Babysitter Club books.

Monday I started another 21-day sugar detox alongside my pal Jessie at www.myselfimprovementkick.com. I first completed the sugar detox in January with great success. It was actually the most in control I have ever felt with sweets. Since then, I have been able to keep my sugar monster somewhat in line with healthier versions of treats and the occasional splurge. With the past holiday/birthday weekend, White Rabbit cinnamon roll, Silver Grille meal and then more White Rabbit cake, I felt the need to check myself.

Just like in January, I’m following Diane Sanfilippo’s plan laid out in her book “The 21 Day Sugar Detox.” She’s also written “Practical Paleo” and both are awesome in explaining how sugar reacts in your body. Her detox program is strict—no sweeteners of any kind (natural or not) and no foods that act like sugar in the body (wheat, other gluten containing grains, legumes). Peanuts and cashews are also out. Fruit is limited to one piece a day of a green banana, green apple or grapefruit. Even sweet potatoes, a paleo staple, aren’t allowed unless you’ve completed a hard workout or are pregnant. Depending on which of the three levels you choose, you may also cut out all grains (gluten containing or not) and dairy. I bit the bullet and committed to Level 3 (no grains of any kind and no dairy). Be mindful that if you decide to keep dairy in the mix, you’ll eat only full fat varieties.

One thing about having a blog, even if I have no readership, is that I feel held accountable for things I write. Even if no one reads or cares, I feel compelled to follow through. I do need to throw this out there, one loophole or clause in my agreement to you: I will only deviate from my detox if J and the in-laws decide to celebrate a special occasion at the Silver Grille at the end of this month. I will splurge, I will have gluten, I will have sugar, and I will enjoy every last bite of the life-changing Strawberry Cheesecake. Because a treat shouldn’t be a pack of Skittles you eat alone and hope no one finds the evidence. It should be something savored and enjoyed with family and friends. I’m learning that there is no “bad” or “good” but rather “balanced” and “unbalanced,” when it comes to food or life. But believe me—if put my detox on pause for that one meal, I’ll back at it, starting the 21 days over again.

Jelly Beans

Birthday Cake

Damn you, Peppa Pig.

Not only has my son’s interest in puddle jumping skyrocketed to an obsession-like level (he even says ‘muddy puddle’ in a British accent) but he asks me, “You Mommy Pig, right mom?” and calls J, “Daddy Pig.” That would be fine, I suppose, if he didn’t say “Daddy Pig has big, big tummy,” like they do in the show (J is not amused). And now, thanks to you Peppa (and probably Daniel Tiger and Peg + Cat), Lil’ D keeps asking for cake—more specifically, a birthday cake.

For the last two years I chose not to give D a traditional cake. Year one, I still wanted the obligatory cake smash photos so I adopted a sweetener-free oatmeal banana baby cookie recipe and frosted the “cake” with coconut milk “whipped cream.” Year two, I still wasn’t giving D processed sugar treats so he celebrated with his favorite fruits (he’s still my little fruit bat).

This year D asked about a birthday cake and even showed me how to blow out the candles. While I love to bake (eat?) treats, I wanted this first cake to be special (and since I battle my own sugar demons, baking can sometimes—okay, always—leads to overeating).  I ordered a small chocolate cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting from my favorite White Rabbit Bakery in Aurora (home of lots of gluten-free, vegan and even paleo goodies).

Even during pregnancy, both my husband and I were adamant that our child would be refined sugar free for as long as we felt was possible. Although I love all things sweet, it’s pretty obvious that sugar is detrimental to optimum health. Numerous studies prove that sugar feeds disease like cancer and is as addictive as crack but people still ask why I choose to feed (or not feed) my son in this way. I’m told he only “likes” healthier food because he doesn’t know better. My response, simply: D will get to eat his fair share of cookies, candy, cake, ice cream and other treats in his lifetime but why start now? I don’t want to prime his palette to choose sugar over whole, nutritious food.

Now that he’s close to three, I’m much more lax: D loves ketchup (he’s even had the regular kind with—gasp— high fructose corn syrup) and jelly and likes to go on Mom/Dom dates for coffee and hot chocolate. He loves cookies but I try to make a healthier version with almond flour and coconut sugar or honey. He may only like them because he doesn’t know better but I’m happy he doesn’t know worse.

I want to clarify: this was important to me and my husband—I do not judge the parents of babies given sweets in moderation. With my relationship with sugar (more on that at a later date), this was really the only way I could feed my son. It makes me feel, at least in one area, like good mom—not a better mom than anyone else but a good mom. And I hope that cancels out some of my bad parenting habits, because, let’s face it; I obviously let D watch way too much Peppa Pig!

Cake2

 

Update:

D ate his first cake! He liked it, but seemed to like the show if it more: the presenting of the platter, singing “Happy Birthday,” blowing out the candles (“I blow really really hard,” he said) and slicing the cake.

With every bite, he’d point to a different layer and ask, “What’s this?” I’d answer (chocolate cake, frosting or raspberry filling) and he’d nod his head in a why-of-course-it-is kind of way. I asked him if it tasted good and he answered, “Tastes like birthday.” D ate about half a slice before wanting to play, but I made sure his cake didn’t go to waste. I did leave him another bite for when he woke from his nap.

His first cake experienced was exactly what I had hoped for—utterly yummy, but without the crazy sugar high and crash. He ate a bit, but wanted to play with his birthday puzzle more. I hovered over his plate like a sugar vulture, swiping finger-fulls of frosting when no one was looking.