FOOD & DRINK

AN UPDATE: POST-CLEANSE

06/14/2017

C96A9074I have officially been off of my cleanse for just about two weeks. I’ve stayed pretty true to the eating guidelines of the Clean Program, but have reintroduced some things here and there. During the first week that you complete the cleanse, you are encouraged to reintroduce gluten and dairy. I tried gluten first and ended up with terrible stomach cramping and bloating. I’ve decided not to continue gluten (at least for awhile) because I was miserable; read: doubled over in pain, crazy amounts of bloat, upset stomach, restlessness, etc. Dairy also upset my stomach and caused bloating, so I have been trying to avoid it as much as I can.

I have yet to reintroduce eggs, except for a small amount of aioli I had, while out to dinner one night. I miss eggs very much (crave them daily!), and do plan on incorporating eggs back into my diet one day soon. I have successfully eaten corn, peanuts, and soy again with little to no side effects. I have also indulged in the occasional glass of rosé and tequila soda and have felt fine, although I am trying to limit drinking to special occasions only. I have not had coffee and although the cravings for it are present, I have no plans on starting to drink it again. I can’t help but think that my anxiety is a side effect from it. I have been drinking tea, decaf or green, and have been enjoying a daily coconut matcha latte (self-made at home) and have not experienced any anxiety as a result.

I’m still drinking one smoothie per day—usually for breakfast, and then having a large protein and veggie packed lunch and a small healthy dinner. I’ve also been sticking to the 12-hour-rule (if I have my last meal at 7pm, then I do not have breakfast until 7am) that the cleanse recommends. Late-night snacking has always been a major comfort for me, but I am keeping it to a minimum. Although, there are times when I just want something and try to stick to fruit, nuts, or a smoothie. I’ve also continued taking the probiotics each morning to aid in digestion.

One thing that has really kept me motivated to keep up with the clean eating is staying organized—in the kitchen that is. I keep a very clean and orderly refrigerator and have two cupboards that I call my “wellness cabinets” full of all of my healthy foods, adaptogens, supplements, and protein powders. This way, I don’t need to search inside the family pantry and be tempted to grab a bag of chips or a cookie. Maybe it’s silly, but temptation is real and it works for me. It also helps me remember to use all of the things I have on a daily basis.

I’ve been sharing a look into my wellness practices on my Instagram Stories (I’m kind of addicted!), and have had so many questions and requests to share more and to go into more detail here.

Coming soon: A look into my wellness cabinet, my cliff notes to the 21-day cleanse I recently completed, favorite supplements and adaptogens, recent recipes and new eating habits, meal prep suggestions, an updated skincare and beauty routine, a peek into my newly renovated closet, and more. If you have any requests, let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

xxJ

P.S. Clean Program saw my cleanse recap and is offering $40 off of the 21-day cleanse. If you’re interested in trying it out (and I highly recommend it), use this link.

MY SUMMER OF WELLNESS

06/05/2017

A few months ago, I was in L.A. and some friends of mine raved about this incredibly difficult, but incredibly rewarding cleanse that they had successfully done several times over the past few years. The cleanse cut out alcohol, caffeine, and specific foods and food groups. I immediately thought “Yeah right!”, but as they kept talking, the more intrigued I became. “I’ve never felt better!” “I dropped 15 pounds.” “I had the energy of a nine-year-old!” Once home, I looked it up, did plenty of research, and decided to give it a go. I pressured my husband and my assistant/life-saver Tiana into joining me. We all decided to start on the same day and work through it together and be a support system for one another. I highly recommend having a partner during a strict regimen like this. It’s a great way to stick with it and to help hold each other accountable.

The gist: It’s a 21-day cleanse that completely removes any and all foods that could potentially contain allergens, so no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no soy, no eggs, no peanuts, no white rice, no nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, goji berries, peppers), no oranges, strawberries, or bananas—there are literally so many noes! But, there are also so many yeses. You are replacing two meals a day with a smoothie. You have a smoothie for breakfast, a cleanse-compliant lunch, and a smoothie for dinner.

My experience: The first week was rough. Day 1, I felt motivated and ready to conquer! Truth is, I eat pretty clean most of the time, so I figured eating a little extra-clean for 21 days would be a challenge, but I could do it. By day 2 the migraines set in. I think mine were much less than my cleansing buddies because I stopped drinking coffee a week before we started, to help make the detox stage easier, but I still had headaches. Headaches for days. I was so tired. I had literally no energy, I was hungry and cranky. I craved all of the things. Scrolling through Instagram was rough because you realize just how many food posts there are when you are limiting yourself. Having kids in the house while you cleanse is also not easy. They still eat all of the things you can’t have. You still have to buy those things, while at the grocery store. You still have to cook those things and touch them and serve them to your offspring. It’s a mild form of torture.

Fast-forward to the one week mark. I felt better. Normal. I was getting the hang of this. I was in a rhythm. I was so sick of smoothies. But, I felt more energized. I was sleeping sound. And, I had zero anxiety. ZERO! I also had no bloating, no upset stomach, very regular bowels, and felt clean. During week two it was much of the same; feeling good, feeling confident, and minimal cravings. My oldest daughter baked cupcakes and cookies that week, which was rude, but I survived.

Week three: My husband Aubrey had lost ten pounds! That’s HUGE! I refuse to weigh myself because I tend to be one of those people who becomes fixated on a number, so I refrained from measuring my success based on weight and instead went off of how I felt and how my clothes fit. Some of my tight-fitting jeans were fitting quite nicely. I was hooked! We decided to add in some workouts during the third week. (The cleanse recommends refraining from strenuous workouts in the beginning.) We worked out every other day to build our stamina. We felt so good. We were almost done.

Then day 21 came. The day we had all been waiting for. It was finally here and I was feeling a mix of emotions. I was proud that I had made it, but I was not excited to be finished like I expected. Instead I was feeling a little sad and emotional. I didn’t want the cleanse to end. With my support system gone, how would I refrain from all of the temptations? How would I hold myself accountable? I do not want to go back to my old habits (I’m a late-night snacker), but I also really want a margarita. I realize that I needed to find a healthy balance between that cleanse life and real life. I needed to make some longterm changes in my diet and set some boundaries for myself. I’m still figuring that part out.

Something to note: My period started a week early. It came with no warning, no cramps, no fatigue, no nothing. The next couple of days, my cramps were bad and my period lasted for TWELVE DAYS! Yikes! Tiana started a week early, as well, but she mentioned that hers was much lighter than usual an lasted the normal length of time. Interesting!

Post cleanse: I have decided that this summer is my summer of wellness. I plan to continue to cut out many of the things eliminated on the cleanse, adding some back in moderation, having the occasional drink, staying active, and challenging myself all summer long. I love food. I love to eat at fancy restaurants and order everything. All the cheese, all the bread, all the pasta—I love it all. It’s going to be hard to turn those things down, but I think I can live without them most of the time and allow myself some slack in moderation. Today we start the reintroduction phase of the program, which is a very important step. I am supposed to eat gluten to see how my body reacts. I am hesitant to do so, but I also just received the most thoughtful package in the mail from Teri Turner over at No Crumbs Left (she’s my favorite on Instagram. Her Stories are the best!!!) filled with fresh baked English muffins from Napa. I think I’ll give one a try. Will keep you posted on the how the reintroduction goes.

I have had a ton of questions about my experience, what I ate, how I did it, and more over the past 21 days. I plan to address some more of those here, soon. Feel free to ask any questions below and I will do my best to shed some light.

I also plan on posting my cliff notes to the process soon, as I know not everyone can afford the steep price tag, so stay tuned! This is not sponsored! But, if you are able, I think it’s 100% worth it to do the real deal. You get the support of their highly-trained team every step of the way. They email you daily, they answer any and all questions you may have, and that is really nice to have because this ain’t easy.

 

QUICK CURRY CHICKEN SALAD

03/06/2017

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My ex-mother-in-law taught me how to make this incredibly easy curry chicken salad over 15 years ago. It’s really good and also a hit with the kids! Since I made bone broth last week, I decided to whip up this dish with the chicken I had left over. I hope you like it!

You will need:

One roasted chicken, you can roast your own or buy one pre-roasted, which I usually do for convenience
Two green granny smith apples
Two celery stalks
Cashews halves
2 heaping spoonfuls of mayo, I use Nayonaise or Just Mayo (my favorite!)
1-2 Tbsp. curry powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to tase

Roast chicken if not pre-roasted. Remove breasts from whole chicken and cut into bite-size cubes. Chop all remaining ingredients and combine in a large mixing bowl. Stir in mayo and spices, to taste. Tip: Wait to add cashews until immediately before serving to avoid them softening.

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BONE BROTH AKA LIQUID GOLD

02/28/2017

BoneBroth_BleubirdMy friend Rebecca impressively makes bone broth every single week. She also happens to be my superhero in the kitchen, making incredible dishes for her family and friends on a daily basis, that could easily be served up in a fancy restaurant. Rebecca, I’ve told you this before, you need to open up your own restaurant one day soon, please and thank you!

My kitchen hero passed along her incredible bone broth recipe to me last year, and it is by far the best I’ve had. I wish I could drink this every day, but I don’t have the discipline to make it regularly. It’s time consuming, but kicks every other bone broth recipe’s ass, at least that I’ve had—both homemade and store bought—and is totally worth the trouble.

I only make bone broth using poultry, since I have Alpha-Gal and cannot eat read meat (more on that later), but I imagine you could use virtually any kind of bones for this recipe. One tip I have: go big or go home! Make a large batch. It’s a lot of work, so the more you make, the more you have and can freeze off for later.

Liquid Gold by Rebecca Branan

Place two chicken carcasses or one turkey carcass—preferably after being roasted in the oven with most of the meat removed, but not all—into a large stock pot, add any juice from roasting pan, as well.

Next, add roasted veggies: 3 whole carrots (with stems); 2 large stalks of celery; a few shallots (halved with skin on); and 4-5 whole garlic cloves. Roast these in the oven (preferably with the chicken or turkey above) and add into the stock pot.

Cover bones and veggies with water (I use filtered) and bring to a low boil. Add two bay leaves, a couple sprigs of fresh parsley and reduce to a simmer for about an hour. Then add a Parmesan rind (optional, but oh-so good!) and a half-inch of tumeric root, unpeeled. Keep the pot on a super-low simmer and leave for about 6 hours more, uncovered, or overnight, partially covered. Add more water anytime the liquid gets too low.

Once your bone broth is ready, let it cool a bit and strain through a large mesh sieve into mason jars, if going into the fridge. If you’ve made more to freeze, place 1-2 servings into strong plastic baggies with some room to expand once frozen. I like to freeze mine laying flat, so they are easy to stack in a freezer drawer until use. To thaw, run a bag under hot water until the frozen broth can be easily poured into a pot for continued thawing—usually a couple of minutes. Heat on stove top, pour, and enjoy.

That’s it! Sounds simple enough, but trust me, it’s kind of a pain and really is time consuming, plus your house will smell like soup, which I’m not mad about, but yeah. Cheers!

MORNING SMOOTHIES

10/13/2016

c96a6233We are a smoothie and juice loving family right here. We either make or buy (from our favorite local spot!) various juices or smoothies at least 4-5 mornings per week. It’s a surefire way to get some good nutrition and vitamins into these picky eaters of mine, and makes for a quick and easy clean up. Plus, as someone who has always been prone to skipping breakfast, for those mornings when I don’t have time or am not hungry, it’s easy to make a smoothie alongside my cup of coffee.

We have been longtime OLLY multivitamin users (I love the Beauty Vitamins), so I was naturally excited to hear that the brand recently released a line of plant-based smoothie protein powders. OLLY created nine different flavor options each slated for different dietary and wellness needs. From probiotics to workout enhancers to energy boosters, there are plenty of options for just about anyone (even little ones!). Some of the flavors include chocolate peanut butter, creamy strawberry, and salted caramel.

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c96a6221We were sent three to try—the Kids Smoothie, the Workout Smoothie, and the Nourishing Smoothie protein powders. The unique blends are designed to only need water for mixing, but we doctored up each one a bit with a few ingredients for extra flavor and nourishment.

Kids PB&B Chocolate: 1/3 frozen banana, ½ tbsp peanut butter, 8 oz milk, 2 scoops of smoothie protein powder.

Workout PB&B Chocolate: ½ frozen banana, 10 oz. ice cold water, 2 scoops of smoothie protein powder.

Carrot Ginger Zinger: ½ of medium carrot, 1 tsp grated ginger, 1 cup cold water, 2 scoops smoothie protein powder.

Luckily, OLLY is offering a “Smoothie Style Sweeps” that includes over $1,000 in prizes. So, check it out and get to blending!

This post is in partnership with OLLY.

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