Juice Cleanse – What I have Learnt

As some of you may know this past weekend with the support of my husband and a good friend and running buddy of mine I decided to give a three day juice cleanse a go.

I did my research, looked in my school books, on the all reliable Internet and read testimonial after ridiculous testimonial and figured I would toss my own experience into the ring.IMG_0632.JPGSo first I will explain why I thought this would be a good idea. There are two reasons really the first being that it is supposed to make you feel better and more energized so why the heck no. The second being I am studying to become a holistic nutritionist and I figured if I may one day recommend someone do this I should have an idea of what they will be experiencing.

Once I had it in my mind that I would be doing this I started looking up smart ways to go about it. I am still training for a half and practice yoga regularly so I wanted to make sure that I would be absorbing benefits not hindering my progress in any area. So the first thing I did for the cleanse was to take a step back from too much activity, no biking or rollerblading and I stuck to Yin/ Restorative yoga.

IMG_0630.JPGThen it was all about figuring out what to drink. I decided after my research that aiming for 4-6 juices a day and more if I was still hungry would be a good amount. I wanted to be sure to get my protein in and seeing how I am allergic to nuts I used a vegan protein powder instead of the recommended cashew nut “juice”. Then I went grocery shopping and stocked up on organic produce from both my grocery store and local farmers market. Then came the easy part of drinking the fruits of my labour.

IMG_0640.JPGDay 1:

The first day of the juice cleanse wasn’t so bad. Still all pumped up with motivation and determination the first two juices were no big deal. I am pretty used to starting my day with a protein shake or something of the sort it wasn’t such a huge change from my norm.  However, by the third and fourth juice I was pretty much ready to sink my teeth into something.

It wasn’t that I was hungry per say but I was definitely feeling unfulfilled from not being able to actually chew my food. On top of the insatiable urge to chew something I had been nursing a ridiculous headache for most of the day, which was most likely a symptom of detox or due to lack of calories could be either or.

After I drank down my protein shake and put a different program on the TV so I wouldn’t have to watch others eat, I soon decided it was time for bed so I wouldn’t have to be awake and thinking about all the food I would much prefer to drink than to eat.

Day 2:

I woke up in the morning pretty jazzed up, my headache was gone and I was feeling pretty energized after having slept about 11 hours (which is completely unlike me).  It was farmer’s market day (which is always a good time) and I had one day under my belt so I was feeling pretty confident.

Everything I had read said that day 2 would be the most challenging, that when stuff starts to move through your body, you really feel the detox and it is when the hunger really hits.  Well to keep this polite things didn’t start to “move for me” which is quite unnatural for me, My hunger and desire to chew wasn’t worse than it was on day 1 and my headache had left me so I kind of felt like I was ahead of the game.

However, by the time juice 3 rolled around my body wasn’t havin’ none of it! I started to feel a little nauseous, light head and all around disgusting. I texted my girlfriend and husband who kindly reminded me that it was my idea to do this and to keep powering through.   Their love and support worked until my body completely rejected that last juice.

IMG_0660.JPGAfter losing my lunch (literally) I decided that I had put in a valiant effort and there was no shame or embarrassment in having to break the fast. I emailed my husband a grocery list of items to pick up from the store so we could eat solids (and yes meat was on this list), and then laid myself down on the couch to relax, drink some water and love my body.

Now through my research it was also strongly recommended not to eat meat or dairy for at least three days after such a cleanse because your body might have a hard time processing it. So sure I was a little weary of chowing down on some red meat, but when it came down to it, but this wasn’t the case for me and my body.

Day 3:

I had already broken the cleanse and eaten food, however when I woke up on what would have been day 3 of the cleanse I was actually craving a juice.  My body welcomed the delicious strawberry, beet and carrot beverage.   The rest of my day was spent normally having solid meals, lots of veggies and fruits and being all around satisfied with my meals.

What I learn:

I learnt that juice cleanses are bananas.  I mean I was coming from a place of curiosity and wanting to do good for my body and I honestly think I did.  Although I didn’t finish my cleanse I did come out of it with a renewed sense of mindfulness when it comes to what I put into my body.

I will continue to include homemade veggie juices in my life and was grateful to have the opportunity to find out what it would be like, however I don’t think I would ever attempt a 100% juice all day every day cleanse again it didn’t work so great for me any my personal body make up.

Have you ever tried a juice cleanse or something of the sort?  How did it pan out for you?

 

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Jello Legs – Running Hills

Lately my posts have been focused on the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge seeing how it is the big thing I have going on right now, but I don’t want to forget about our Run Club. The Gingersneezes Run Club has been going great, and remember it is never too late to join in! The club started as a learn to run and 10k training clinic and the women who joined are quickly becoming great strong runners, it is so exciting to see each and everyone of them excel week after week.

Now that I have gotten my gushing out of the way I figured I would do a bit of an informative post on hill training and why it is important to a balanced running program. There are other forms of training (tempo and interval) that are important too, but today I want to focus on hills because I personally think they are so very important to good form, strong legs, glutes and abs and good performance as a runner.

Yesterday because of my bum ankle instead of going on a 60 minute run of 5:1 intervals we (running partner and I) decided to take the group over to a magnificent hill. We figured at least everyone would still be getting in a good workout, and they wouldn’t be penalized by my bum ankle. It also gave me the chance to see everyone’s form and encourage the group from the bottom of the hill while Susan (my running buddy and co-leader of the group) ran the hills with the group to keep them moving.

Hills CollageThe hills maybe weren’t loved by everyone but it was a nice way to shake things up and a way to give the group a little taste of things to come as training progresses.

Why are hills so great for you as a runner? Besides me loving hills just because I personally find them challenging, they do a whole load of great things for you. One of the main things is that hills (either hilly runs or hill repeats) help remind you of your form. As runners we sometimes take our form for granted or we get a little stuck on what “perfect form” looks like. With hills you have no choice but to straighten up a bit and remind yourself of your abdominal and glute muscles so that you can power through each hill.

If you exercise poor form while running hills your body will let you know almost immediately, everything will feel much more challenging, and you are likely to become winded much more rapidly. But a quick reminder to engage your core and glutes will have you up right and taking on those hills in no time.

running form

Hills are great for your form, but are they great for anything else? The short answer is YES! The longer answer is that by doing hills and being mindful of engaging the appropriate muscles you are actually working those muscles out much more than you would be had you done the same run on a flat surface. Hill running allows you to build your running muscles (quads, calves and glutes primarily). Building these muscles helps you to avoid injury and to make you a faster stronger runner.

The run is shorter am I still burning enough calories? Hill running is awesome for torching calories. The high intensity of the hills challenges your body to rev it up, more than it would if you were just running on a flat surface. The quick bursts of energy are completely exhausting for a reason, you are burning up your fuel source like no one’s business and the steeper the hill the harder the workout.

Now that you are all super excited about running hills and are all itching to lace up and test it out yourself. I have a wonderful beginner’s exercise to share with you.

running hills

Test it out and let me know what you thought.

Happy Tuesday! The sun is peeking out. I am hopeful that it is warming up!

P.S. remember to be careful when running hills. It is important to watch your footing and to stay alert, you don’t want to slip and then stall your progress from an injury that could have been avoided.

And We’re Off!!! – day 1

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So it is here day one of the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge I hope you are all ready for it with pantries and fridges full of healthy fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats. If you have already cleaned out your pantry didn’t it feel great? Almost like making a new space to create delicious foods in, right?

Now for the next 50 days I will be sharing my meals and planning strategies to help you on your journey and if there is anything specific that you think will help just fire off an email or post in the comments and I will look into it for everyone because chances are you aren’t the only one with a question. I will also be posting healthy clean recipes and would love to hear about what you’re all eating.  I will also promise to share my struggles as well as my successes during the challenge and I hope you all do too.

During the next 50 days I really want everyone to remember that this is about eating fresh, healthy, home-made food, and not about restricting yourself and cutting out food groups.  Clean eating is not about eating less it is about eating healthier and smarter.  It is about seeking out the best possible foods for you and your body and being sure to incorporate them into your daily life.  This challenge will also give us all the opportunity to hopefully try some foods we never had before and to get creative with the fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats we will be eating.

If during the next 50 days you are craving something let me know, I love a challenge and an excuse to get into the kitchen to create, and hopefully I will be able to whip something up that might satisfy your cravings in a healthy and clean way.

And remember most importantly have fun with it.

I hope you all have a fabulous Day 1 of Gingersneezes Eats Clean! 

Happy Wednesday!

So You’ve Started To Run

With the Gingersneezes Running Group in full swing I am finding out there are so many things that I need to work on personally to help make it a great running experience for everyone. My main thing is that I have to work on properly relaying information, I find that I often get into this mode where I just want to run (which isn’t bad) but in a beginners running groups it is also a good idea to make sure to explain why we are doing what we are doing, and what some best practices are. With that in mind I have been reading a lot, doing a lot of googling and chatting with other physical fitness and running experts/enthusiasts.

Through some of my research it became obvious that I have done an alright job at explaining how to fuel after a run (I will post on this a little later), but it might also be helpful, maybe even more helpful, to know what to eat before you hit the pavement.

We all have different ways of fueling which work for us and once you start running more and testing things out you will find something that works for you. It personally took me a long time, to figure out what was good for my temperamental stomach. Because my stomach is so finicky I didn’t think I was able to eat anything less than 2-3 hours before any form of exercise, once I started running longer distances and I increased my weight training I found it next to impossible not to eat something sooner to when I was working out. If I didn’t eat a small something before a workout I would become exhausted half-way through and the workout would feel next to impossible. I started off small trying a handful of baby carrots, different sugary veggies, a tsp of peanut butter (PB didn’t pan out for me unfortunately) and eventually over time I found something that worked for me. Every once in awhile I will toss something new in the mix to see how my stomach holds up, but I save my testing for gym days instead of long runs, for obvious reasons.

So it is all fine and dandy that I have found something that works for me but what about you? Well I have attempted to put together some guidelines that might help you in your own experimentation and hopefully help to keep you energized and cramp free throughout your workouts.

1. It is good to be satisfied but not stuffed. You don’t want to start your run feeling stuffed to the gills. Everyone has done it, gone a little crazy on the pasta or the cheese and crackers before a run, and the inevitable always happens cramps and indigestion, so do your best to nourish your body without over doing it, your body will thank you for it, and you will have a more pleasant workout.

2. Timing is everything. It is important to find out what times work for you, can your stomach handle food 30 minutes before a run or is it safer to stick to the one or two hour marker. Here are some handy guidelines for testing it out:

  • 30 minutes before: try something small and easy to digest like a banana or half an apple. They are high in carbs and sugar, but your body has an easy time processing them so you will be able to get the best out of your workout.
  • 1 hour before: try to keep your snack at around 150 calories, because your body has a bit more time try and make your snack a combo of carbs and a little bit of protein. Something like half a whole wheat bagel with some peanut butter, or crackers and cheese are great snacks and will help fuel you for a longer run.
  • 2 or more hours before: Have a small meal, be cautious of putting in too many fibrous fruits or veggies and stay away from high fat foods because they can definitely cause some difficulties later on in your run. But having a meal with carbs, protein and healthy fats is totally fine at this point, but remember guideline #1.

3. Hydrate. Yes, I know it isn’t food but water is essential in any workout routine, heck it is essential to life! It is important to make sure that you keep yourself well hydrated throughout your day if you are running in the evening. If you are running in the morning it is important to have some water before your run, and to bring some with you if you are going on a longer run or it is super hot out. Then of course it is very important to drink some more water after your run or workout.

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When it all gets broken down feuling for successful workouts and runs isn’t all that complicated, unless you are an athlete I assume there is a lot more intensity involved in that planning. I hope these tips help you to find something that works for you so you can have the most productive and beneficial workouts possible.

Happy Tuesday Everyone.

What type of fuel do you normally use to make sure you get an optimal workout?

Food Time Friday – Kale

So I have experimented with kale in the past and I have never really been able to get it right. So I ended up reserving it for cooked casseroles and some of our juice cocktails.  But I had all but given up on making delicious salads with it.  I could never seem to quiet get the leaves to be as soft as I had read they could be or as delicious as my sister had made them this past summer, so I just gave up.

Last weekend however I had a girlfriend over who had a particular set of food restrictions for the weekend (she was cleansing) so I figured that I would test it out again and see if I could get it right this time.  Being successful in my attempt to make a kale salad I decided to give it another go and add some quinoa.  As it turns out the secret is to be a little unforgiving with the leaves and to give them some time to absorb the beating you have just given them.

So for any of you out there that have faced the same failures in your attempts to make delicious kale salads, don’t lose hope it is possible!

Kale and Quinoa Salad:

1 cup Quinoa
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 Bunch of Kale
1 Lemon juiced
3 tsp Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper diced
1/2 Cucumber diced
3 Green Onions diced
4 Radishes, thinly sliced

1. Rinse quinoa using a colander, try and get off as much starch out as possible.  It also helps to soak it a bit so that it cooks more evenly and comes out less gritty.  Once quinoa is rinse place in a small sauce pan with vegetable broth (I use organic low sodium broth because it is gluten free and less salt is great for the heart).   Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to allow quinoa to simmer, stirring often to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.   Quinoa should take about 15 minutes, you will know it is done when all the liquid has been absorbed.   Remove from stove and allow to cool completely.

Quinoa Collage

2. In a non-reactive bowl (glass is great) add cleaned kale.  I use a salad spinner to soak and dry off the torn up kale and it works great.  Once the kale is in the bowl add juice from 1 lemon and really message the leaves.  They will turn from a pale green colour to a bright green as some of the tough fibers start to break down.

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3. Add pepper, cucumber, onion and radishes to the kale and mix in, being sure that all the vegetables are coated in the lemon juice.  Once all the vegetables are mixed in add oil and work it in with your hands. Working in the oil with your hands gives you another chance to massage the kale leaves, further tenderizing them.

4. Once the quinoa is completely cooled add it to the salad and mix.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and serve.

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Know that I know the secret of making a tasty kale salad you have better believe it will become a staple. Especially with the farmer’s market just around the corner!  Oh how I have missed the farmer’s market, I just can’t wait to see all the vendors again, and to have a fridge full of local, organic products!

Happy Friday everyone! 

Note: I have updated the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner pages so if you are short of some ideas for meals this weekend check them out. 

Running App In Review

So some time back I had downloaded the Zombie Run app since then I hadn’t gotten around to testing it out, seeing how shortly afterwards I had bought myself a GPS watch I was more excited about running light than I was about lugging around my iPhone to test out a new app.

But this past weekend due to my nano being dead I decided that I would test out the Zombie Run app. I laced up, set my watch and got ready to head out the door, I turned on my app and started my warm up. The Zombie Run app is a narrative and each of your runs is a mission where you pick up supplies and bring them back to the camp to keep the remaining humans happy, healthy and protected. The app also has the option of turning on zombie chase mode, which basically gets you to do some speed intervals throughout your run, so that you can outrun the zombies.

Before I get into the negatives of this app (I was not a fan) I will highlight some of the positives because I am sure there are many who will love this app and find it very motivating/ distracting for their run.
zombie CollageSo some of the positives, the zombie chase mode is actually pretty awesome. Sometimes it can be challenging to make sure you are doing speed bursts regularly enough or pushing yourself hard enough. With this app it decides for how long and how much you have to increase your speed, and because it is built into the game you don’t really have to think about it, and you still get the benefits.

The second thing I think is great is that you can put it on indoor mode. There are days when we are stuck inside on a treadmill and it is nice to have something that you can record your workout with and to have something to keep you amused while running on said treadmill. So that would be a double bonus in my books, anything to keep your mind off the fact that you are running in one spot is a huge plus in my book.

Lastly, I can see how the game component of this app would be a motivator for individuals to get out and run. In order to keep your compound safe you have to go on runs to collect supplies, you have to push yourself to outrun zombies or they will take your supplies and your hard work will be all for none. So making it a bit more interactive and game like definitely brings this running app to the next level.

Now for what made me seriously dislike this app. I am not sure if it was because it was my first run with it or what, but it felt like the story would never end. I get that the story needs ti be set up but my goodness, all I kept thinking was “when is my music going to kick in?” “is this air traffic control lady ever going to stop talking?” For me personally when running I am motivated by two things either silence or my music, some lady talking about a helicopter going down isn’t my idea of a running motivator. It was this chatter that made me turn off the app and I will probably never use it again.

The second thing I had an issue with is the price. Yes, I did get it on sale but the full price is around $8, which I think is asking too much for what the app provides you with. So if this app sounds like the app for you, or you need the additional motivation of a mission, I would recommend testing out the Nike mission (if you have a shoe chip, watch, fuelband or Nike+ app – I am not sure it will work if you don’t have any Nike products), it sets out goals and missions for your running. But if you love zombies, narrative and don’t mind paying the $8 go ahead and test out the app for yourself you might love it.
Nike MissionSorry to spend so much time on it, but with so many running apps, plans, schedules and other motivating tools I felt like a good rundown of this pretty expensive app was needed. I think in the future I will stick with my watch, and if something were ever to happen to my watch I would revert back to RunKeeper or iMapMyRun apps. They are more basic, but that seems to be what I like.

What tools do you use to get your running?

And They’re Gone

So yesterday was the day. The day that I donated all of my clothing. Okay not all of it was just adding a bit of dramatic flare but my closet and dresser drawers sure do feel and look pretty empty.

Yesterday evening I had some girlfriends come over for first pick at the clothing I would be donating, I figured it would be easier to see some of my prized possessions go to good homes than it would to see them all tossed into a garbage bag to await pick up. And it was, as hard as it was to say good bye to some great pieces of clothing, it also felt good.

Sure donating and helping others always feels great but this was different. The epic purge from my wardrobe was cathartic, by the end of the two hours of me sorting through my clothing making a keep and give pile I felt renewed. Lighter, happier, and it was all a little freeing. These articles of clothing had served me well but I am now at a point where they would be doing nothing but holding me back from realizing and appreciating all the hard work I have put in to date.

The whole process felt almost like a right of passage. It kind of felt like the best shopping trip ever. It was an experience where everything was either to big or fit perfectly, there was no soul crushing trying to squeeze yourself into that pair of pants you want business. So although my wardrobe was thinning out I got a bit of a confidence boost.

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When it was all said and done I had two clothing baskets full and I was proud that I was able to stay on course and not weaver when faced with some of my favorite pieces of clothing.

And now for the fun part I get to rebuild my closet!!

Happy Tuesday. What have you done for yourself latey?