A few weeks after the cleansing experience…

Although the cleansing experience really made me appreciate healthy living, I haven’t had the easiest time staying away from sweets. Over the past week, I’ve been premenstrual and CRAVING sweets like there is no tomorrow. I’ve had ice cream, donuts, cookies, brownies, hot chocolate, tiramisu, and more, I’m sure. I can’t stop and I feel like crap the next day. Why!?!?

I think part of it was the restriction of sugar for the full 3 weeks on the BePure cleanse. I think being an emotional female for the past week has also played its part. I want to try to cut down on sugar. Now…I said I’ve eaten all these things, but I’ve also continued to eat healthy meals throughout the week. It isn’t like I’m only eating the sugar…I’m eating healthy and THEN I eat all the sugar…

Currently, I’m slightly under the weather. Saturday morning I woke up feeling slightly sick. I started feeling that tickle in my throat, the one that means….EAT WELL OR YOU’RE GONNA REGRET IT! If I have that feeling and continue to eat sugar and dairy, I definitely get worse. So, I’ve been trying not to eat anything unhealthy for the past 24 hours. I haven’t noticed a worsening of my feelings, so I guess it is working. I’m going to take a shot of echinacea and hope that makes it a bit better!

So…I don’t want to post a negative thing on here…but today I’m feeling a big negative. I was doing well with going to hot yoga, but haven’t gone in almost a week. I know I’d feel a lot better if I went, but it’s just getting hard to drive out there and work out…I think the sweets are adding to my laziness.

Anywhooo… I’ll keep posting my random rants, raves, recipes, and more! So, a quick idea for breakfast, lunch, or dinner…

What you need: black refried beans (I used Amy’s organic, but you can make your own), diced tomatoes, a few chili peppers, cheddar cheese, a whole wheat tortilla, 2 slices organic bacon (I used Applegate Farms and cook it in the oven, on parchment paper), 2 farm fresh eggs, and green peppers. I eat up the tortilla with slices of cheese and the mixture of tomatoes, beans, and chili peppers. I let that get warmed up while I cook the eggs with the green peppers. After this, I layer the bacon on top of the beans, then add the eggs on top of that. Delish! So easy. So quick. So good. You can add in hot sauce if you want – I like the flavor I had in it already!

I’m going to try to mess around with a chili paste I bought. I’m a little nervous, as I’ve never used chili paste in cooking before. I want ethnically flavored food. I want spice, warmth, and comfort from hearty and nutritious foods. I find that hard to come by in the American cuisine…and I don’t even know if I want to call American cuisine a cuisine…as half of it isn’t even real food. Well…another topic for a future post!

BePure Cleanse Ending & A New Beginning…

Well, today is the first day off of the BePure cleanse! I’ve had a great experience, as I’ve talked about in all the other posts. I wanted to do a quick highlight of the changes I experienced.

Obvious Benefits:

  • Sleep schedule – I’ve been able to go to bed/wake up as desired . (Before midnight, up before 9am.)
  • No caffeine dependence – I have been drinking caffeine (coffee/green tea) for the past 3 years. 21 days without use allowed me to see my productivity and energy without any enhancements
  • Energy – improvement in all over energy levels – day-to-day activities were easy, fun, and done with energy!
  • Less sugar cravings – maintained the elimination of unnatural sugars, sweet goodies, chocolate, and others for full 21 days! AMAZING! and cravings were easy to mute with my Friendly Chocolate Milkshake :)
  • Body/weight – Loss of about 5 lbs over the 3 weeks – could be diet related, water weight, or just detoxing with BePure and hot yoga! I feel like I look the best I ever have! Perfect for bathing suit season!
Slight improvements:
  • Clear skin – no noticeable additional blemishes, skin did need lots of lotion (same as usual), but overall a good “glow”
  • Digestion – maintained good digestion, no noticeable changes, 1 or 2 BM a day (as usual), but less bloating and feeling “too full” from over-eating
  • Mucus – I normally tend to spit out mucus from my lungs and throat more than most people. I’ve been experiencing that for years now, but this was slightly reduced during the BePure cleanse
  • Tonsils/Glands – I’ve had slightly swollen tonsils since I was younger, and especially enlarged after having Mono when I was in high school. They have been swollen ever since, but never enough to need them removed (nor do I feel that is a good option, I’d rather build my immune system). I didn’t notice them much during this cleanse. I think they get more inflamed with sugar, so I’m going to try to record this and see if eliminating sugar for good is my best option.

Now…let me share with you what I’ve done since I stopped cleansing! Last night was a friend’s birthday, and I went out and have 3 beers. I had some ContversiALE by Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire, MI. AMAZING! A great beer to end my cleanse with. I didn’t really get drunk though, as I was just trying to keep it a chill night. I had a BIG morning ahead of me.

This morning I met up with a few of my friends and went to Food Dance. I really wanted some Zingermann’s Challah french toast, bacon, coffee, and a mimosa. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera so none of this is captured. However, I was disappointed in the presentation and decided I could do a better job at home…so a brunch party is my next adventure! The food was pretty good, the mimosa was wonderful, but the coffee was just okay. Later in the day I felt weird. I was slightly clammy, distractible, and somewhat drowsy. I didn’t like how I felt and I’m not sure if it was the consumption of all the things at breakfast or just the coffee. However, Food Dance does a great job using local, organic, and quality ingredients, so I feel like my body could handle some bacon, sugar, and bread. I really feel that keeping away from caffeine is going to be good for me. I’m going to buy some decaf coffee from the People’s Food Coop tomorrow and hope that does the trick!

Tomorrow is the beginning of Owner’s Appreciation Week at the People’s Food Coop  and I’ll be doing some shopping. I need some groceries and most of my list is BePure diet allowed! I’m going to maintain the principles in this cleansing diet – lots of veggies, fruit, and plant proteins. I’m going to continue to limit animal products in my diet. I hope to stay away from non-food foods, for the most part.

Throughout this experience, I detoxified my life a lot. I have kept my apartment pretty clean. My room is cleaner than it has been since I was an elementary student. My jewelry are organized, myfloor is swept, my refrigerator is spotless, and all my laundry is done! It feels great to have been so productive in all areas of my life. Now it’s time for the final kick in this semester! I’ve got a term paper to finish before Friday, a few finals to study for, and a schedule change to anticipate! Exciting :) But I’m off to watch Harry Potter! Ta-ta for now!

Petrochemical toxins? Ingredients you can’t pronounce? Does that belong on your body?

I just wanted to quickly touch on a subject that I have yet to examine in this blog. As we become more aware of what we put into our body, whether during a cleanse, or just in our day-to-day lives, we desire to make some changes! I know that I have. Over the past year, I’ve stopped using commercial face-wash, astringent, and eye-makeup remover. I use completely organic, free-trade Shea butter lotion and body wash. I’ll be purchasing their shampoo and conditioner with my next Owner’s Appreciation discount (at our local People’s Food Co-op). My favorite brand is Affailia, check them out! – http://www.alaffia.com/ I even have their curling enhancing spray and it works wonders on my frizzy waves! Great to spray on after a day on the beach to rejuvenate your locks – and it smells yummy!

For my face wash, I mixed together 1 part raw, local honey, and 1 part baking soda. I leave these in a little glass jar in my shower for a week. When I wash my face, I get some of the moist baking soda and exfoliate my face, neck, and chest. I use a little bit of the liquid honey to rinse, followed by warm water. After this, I use apple cider vinegar (mostly this, with a 1/2 cup of water in a bottle) as an astringent. You don’t have to use it all over your face – but I do most of mine. This combination of wash and astringent have helped me reduce my breakouts, heal, and even out my skin.

When I do wear makeup, I use extra virgin olive oil to take off my mascara and eye shadow. This allows for moisture and antioxidants to be soaked into your eye lashes, eye lids, and under your eyes (my trouble area). I’ve noticed a reduction in my under-eye circles, as well as fuller lashes.

However, I never had thought about my toothpaste use. My mom always bought us organic toothpaste when we were little, but it never tasted good. Although I currently use Crest Whitening toothpaste, I’m going to switch. I read this article and was immediately interested in trying this recipe out. I’m going to borrow some essential oils from my mom (she’s a massage therapist and recently took a class in essential oil use).  But please check this out – Rethinking Oral Health Care: A Homemade Toothpaste Recipe for Tooth Remineralization.

Today is Day 19 of the cleanse! I’m feeling great. My diet has stayed intact and I’m happy with that. I’ve been craving chocolate lately, or just anything sweet, but I’m resisting. I think that I’ll enjoy a yummy brunch Saturday morning, including some Challah bread french toast, butter, maple syrup, coffee, and a mimosa! That just sounds divine, doesn’t it?!?


Chocolate cravings? Read this, and you may change your mind…

I love chocolate. Most girls love chocolate, lots of guys love chocolate, dogs love chocolate, even if it hurts them. Chocolate has become a staple in many of our diets. I have been facing a chocolate craving this afternoon and evening. A mug of hot chocolate sounds divine…a little chili powder, mmm. I checked my school email and saw a link sent by my Culinary Tourism professor. It was a chocolate trade world map. And then I remember an article I read in Grist, regarding the chocolate slave trade industry. I want to share with you, whoever may read this, some things I’ve read about chocolate.

http://www.icco.org/about/chocolate.aspx – a look into the major players in the chocolate trade

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/apr/05/chocolate-world-map#_ – the world map of chocolate!

http://grist.org/food/2011-10-25-scare-trade/ – the original article I read, and why I haven’t eaten a chocolate bar that wasn’t Equal Exchange or fair-trade since. vote with your money?

http://vision.ucsd.edu/%7Ekbranson/stopchocolateslavery/atasteofslavery.html – and the regulation for limiting fair-trade has stalled since 2001, even after this study was published. That’s just not right.

If you have the time, and love chocolate, think about buying smart when it comes to chocolate (and everything you can). And by smart, I don’t mean cheap, I mean holistically smart. What is best for you, your family, the environment, the world population, the economy, and your neighbor? Things that are done fairly. Goods that are made by people who are paid what they deserve. Money going to companies that protect their workers, here and abroad.

I don’t mean to get on a pedestal here, it’s just helping  me get over my sugar craving! I think I’ll have a cup of tea; organic, and caffeine free. Buenas noches!

BePure Day 17 – Back at home and starting my final week!

We’re almost done with the spring cleaning! I’ve really enjoyed my experience with BePure, thus far. Spending a weekend away, with my family, made the second week have a beautiful ending. Luckily, traveling to Washington, D.C. from Kalamazoo, isn’t a long journey. We were able to leave earlier Friday morning, so I had some yummy fruit and oatmeal at my parents house. I packed almonds and walnuts, an orange, and celery & carrots to snack on for the plane ride. Arriving on Friday, our Passover Seder was that evening. I did have the required wine with our seder, however, I drank slowly and consumed less than two full servings throughout the night.

Many experts say that eating should be an activity that involves all sense. Many of us use taste and smell in every meal, but we don’t always think of the other senses. A seder meal consists of using all of our senses. We eat the food for taste, but also consume bitter herbs in salt water to represent the struggles of the Israelites in bondage. The scent of Matzo Ball Soup brings back fond memories of childhood and my wonderful Grandmother. My grandfather’s table presentation highlights the use of visual appeal to meals. The sound of chat from the large gathering of family and friends allows our minds to wander from our day to day stresses and focus on the people we love.

The rest of my weekend consisted of family time. My cousins, sister, and I explored an area of D.C. called the Eastern Market, located in the Capitol Hill district. The Eastern Market is an indoor/outdoor market, operating daily, and offering a wide variety of fresh and local venders.

They have everything from fresh produce, to local and organic meat, to beautiful flowers. The outdoor area hosted artists, vintage clothing, jewelry, and more food! If anyone reading this gets the chance to experience D.C., you MUST check out the Eastern Market (Metro station just a block away).

After our shopping adventure, we enjoyed a dinner of Thai cuisine – yellow curried tofu, veggies, and brown rice. We flew back Sunday afternoon and had dinner at Zingermann’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor. I had a delightful salad and bowl of Matzo Ball Soup (yes, again).

Arriving home, after a delicious dinner and an off-the-beaten-path drive home, brought about relief and relaxation. I started some laundry, made a cup of Sleepytime tea, and fell asleep early. This morning, I woke up to my 17th day of the BePure cleanse! I went to breakfast with a good friend and ordered two eggs, whole wheat toast, and a cup of fresh fruit, alongside a mug of decaf coffee. I only drank half of my cup, as this was my first time having coffee in 17 days. It didn’t taste as good as I remember, which I guess is a good thing?! Anyways, I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep caffeine and sugars eliminated for this long. Although I consumed alcohol, it was good red wine, and a requirement by our religious practices.

Furthermore, I decided that I’m going to plan a trip to go to D.C. for a longer time period. My hometown, and now home-away-from-home, has only been visited in long weekend trips. I want to take a long trip down there in order to experience parts of DC that I haven’t been able to. After going there for 22 years, I had never even heard of the Eastern Market. Sometimes, when we go on trips to see family, we aren’t able to be tourists. I’ve seen the museums and monuments, but I haven’t experienced life in the city. I want that experience, especially in a place that I call home.

Well, I really am enjoying my cleansing experience. Although I hoped to notice some major changes, I feel that the internal changes are very beneficial. Being able to go to sleep, get a full nights rest, and wake up energized, at an early hour, is my biggest change! However, this was also my weakest link – so this slight change that has been so much appreciated. I’ve always had strong digestion, so I haven’t noticed any significant changes. I feel energized, healthy, and happy everyday! Although this is my usual attitude, it has been much easier to maintain this attitude through stressful times, long days, and traveling!