The cleanse (days two and three)

My bounty of fruit and veggies for juicing.

My bounty of fruit and veggies for juicing.

I finished my cleanse! It was actually a lot easier than I was expecting it to be. I had a lunch meeting on Monday with my new team mates (I got a promotion, woo!) and I was a bit concerned about what I was going to eat. I need not have worried though – the café had a beautiful sweet corn and basil soup. It was to die for!

The biggest challenge I faced was caffeine withdrawals. I had conveniently convinced myself that I wasn’t addicted! How wrong was I? So wrong.

I woke up on Monday with a thumping headache that wouldn’t dissipate, regardless of how much water I drank. It took all of my strength not to head to the coffee machine at 10am. I fought my impulses though the day (and through Tuesday) without caving in. By midday Tuesday, my headache had all but disappeared and the fuzziness I had been experiencing was gone too.

I was also wondering how I’d go drinking so much juice but this turned out to be the part I enjoyed the most about the cleanse. I started each day with about 700ml of juice and it gave me a lot of energy for the day. My juices were mostly based around greens, like celery, cucumber, kale, silver beet, and herbs. Juicing is a fantastic way to give your cells a nutrient soak because it is quickly absorbed into your system. This does, however, mean that you need to be careful about how much fruit you put in to ensure you don’t OD on sugar! While it’s natural sugar, too much sugar in any form is toxic and acid-forming (and acid = illness). Adding lemon to your juice is a good way to help alkalise it. If you are looking for a bit of sweetness, try adding some carrot or a bit of orange or green apple. Just make sure the majority of the juice is veggies and you will be fine.

I had soup again for dinner on Monday night and again for lunch on Tuesday. If I ever decided to do a longer cleanse, I think I would need to do a bit of research into what alternatives there are to soup. Don’t get me wrong, I love soup but there’s only so much one girl can consume. Tuesday night I had roast carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin, plus mushies and asparagus for dinner. I had just been for a run and was pretty hungry, so I also whizzed up a cacao, banana and hemp seed smoothie for dessert.

Would I do a cleanse again? Definitely! It was great to be able to give my body a bit of a break and to also top up my vitamin and mineral stores. I would recommend doing a cleanse if you are feeling a bit sluggish, always tired or just feel that your digestive system is having a bit of a hard time processing the food you eat. The only equipment you will need to do a cleanse is a blender and a juicer. I like the cold press slow-extraction juicers because they keep more of the nutrients intact.

If you decide to do a cleanse, I’d love to hear how you go!

Laura

The cleanse (day one)

Supergreens shots

Supergreens shots, from The Whole Pantry app.

The first valuable lesson I have learned from doing a cleanse is that starting it the day after a night out and one too many beers is probably not the ideal scenario. Nevertheless, this was the situation I put myself in and I was determined to still commence the cleanse as planned.

Upon re-reading my post last week where I announced I’d be doing a three-day cleanse, I realised that I had focussed entirely too much on the juice component, which may or may not have been the direct result of my excitement over finally getting a juicer. While juice is certainly a key feature of cleansing, I want to clarify that I am also consuming other food. I have simply stripped out anything that is processed so that my body can have a bit of a break.

Chia pudding: one of the non-juice components of the cleanse.

Chia pudding, with strawberries, cashews and cacao nibs: one of the non-juice components of the cleanse.

So, what did day one look like? The first thing I had was a throw-it-all-in juice that consisted of carrot, celery, silver beet, parsley, mint, orange and ginger. Starting the day with a freshly squeezed vegetable juice is a great way to alkalise your system and set your digestive tract up for the day. Consuming juice on an empty stomach also means that more of the nutrients get absorbed. You are practically soaking your cells with vitamins and minerals!

I then went and stocked up on all of the fruit and veggies I will need for the cleanse. While I was out, I decided that I wanted a blueberry and hemp seed smoothie for lunch. It was so tasty! I made enough so that I could have it for breakfast this morning too. Forward planning is the key to getting through a cleanse without starving yourself. The last thing you want is to be stuck out somewhere with no healthy options because you forgot to pack some food.

One for now and one for later.

One for now and one for later.

While I was preparing dinner, I sipped on a beetroot, carrot, green apple, celery and parsley juice to give my cells another vitamin soak. Dinner was veggie soup, consisting of leek, carrot, celery, zucchini, garlic and sweet potato. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a textbook example of someone is Vata dominant. This means I need to make sure I am including grounding foods in my diet, such as root vegetables. It also means I don’t do well on all-raw, all-cold-food diets. I need the warmth of cooked food to keep me energised and stop me from being so flighty. Soup is an easy way for me to ensure I’m balanced.

I am back and work today and have brought all of my juices and smoothies with me. The only challenge I see is that I love my morning coffee. I have it black to avoid the nasty effects of soy or cow milk but it still isn’t the best thing for my body and it definitely isn’t included on the list of cleanse-appropriate foods. I know my body will thank me for giving it a break from coffee.

Oh, I forgot to explain what the green shots are at the top of the post. They are intense nutrient bombs of juiced broccoli, parsley, mint, kale and lemon. These little guys are great additions to a cleanse (or to your regular diet) – your immune system will pay you back in spades for consuming them. Surprisingly, they’re actually quite nice to drink too. Give them a go if you feel like you need a vitamin boost.

Happy cleansing!

Laura

My blueberry and hemp seed super smoothie

Such pretty colours!

Such pretty colours!

That I love green smoothies will come as no surprise to those who have spent any amount of time with me; however, there is enough space in my life (or blender) for many other types of smoothies too. I mean, who am I to turn down the veritable smorgasbord of amazing fruit, superfoods and crunchy seeds that Mother Nature has given us!

It was Dad’s birthday on Sunday so I headed back up to the country to celebrate with him, my sister and Mum. Before leaving Melbourne, I loaded up my car with a heap of fresh organic produce from my favourite grocer so I could make smoothies and juices while I was away. Dad has a Champion juicer, so I always take advantage of having access to it while I’m visiting and make lots of green juices. I don’t currently have a juicer so it’s a novelty to be able to use one but, you guys, guess what? I’M GETTING A JUICER! Yes, I know I didn’t need to shout but I am so excited! It should arrive in a fortnight and I can’t wait for its shiny new goodness to be in my kitchen. If you never see me again, it’s because I drowned in an ocean of juice. I’ll make sure I post some delicious juice recipes here first though.

Anyway, back to my smoothie story. So, I didn’t arrive until late on Friday night, which meant that come Saturday I was feeling a bit sleepy and needed a pick-me-up. I hunted through my stack of goodies and pulled out some frozen blueberries, almond milk and hemp seeds. I then raided the kitchen and found an avocado, a few strawberries and some chia seeds.

The Ingredients*

So much goodness in one photo!

So much goodness in one photo!

  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • tbsp. of chia seeds
  • 1/2 a cup of hemp seeds
  • Enough almond milk to cover everything once it’s in the blender (‘enough’ is a measurement, right?!)

* Makes one large glass

The Process

Waiting to be blitzed up.

Waiting to be blitzed up (featuring the Champion juicer in the background).

That heading is a bit deceiving, right? It promises in-depth steps when the reality of it is that I just dumped everything in the blender and turned up the dial. So, erm, just do that, OK?

The Finished Product

Purple love.

Purple love.

Chuck in some more strawberries because they look pretty and sprinkle on some more hemp seeds because, well, do you really need me to explain why (hint: they are crazy delicious) and Bob’s your uncle. Or something.

Enjoy, kids!

Laura

Why I love green smoothies (and a recipe)

A green smoothie in the making.

A green smoothie in the making.

Green smoothies. The drink of choice for health nuts all around the world. Their green nature can insight looks of confusion (and sometimes disgust) from those who are yet to be introduced to the powerful drink that is the green smoothie. Once tried, most people find it very hard to go back to plain ol’ fruit smoothies.

Like I did when my friend first told me about green smoothies you may be thinking, ‘What on Earth is a green smoothie?’ Green smoothies are essentially regular smoothies that have been souped up with leafy green vegies, which means that aside from tasting delicious (which, they do!) they help you top up your daily vegie consumption. Win win.

If you are worried about the taste, start off slowly by adding a handle of baby spinach leaves to your favourite smoothie. I promise you won’t even taste them! If you stick with it, you will soon find that the ratio of greens to fruit quickly tips in favour of the greens and you may even find yourself craving the more bitter flavour of things like kale.

I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that green smoothies were a game changer for me. Before I introduced them to my protocol, I was struggling to find new and interesting ways to up my consumption of leafy greens. I mean, come on, there is only so much salad one girl can eat! Green smoothies made it so easy to get my daily dose of greens that, three years on, I am yet to find a more convenient method of getting more spinach and its friends into me.

In terms of flavour combinations, the world (or blender, as it were) really is your oyster. In Winter, I like kale, pear and banana, and in the warmer months parsley, baby spinach and mango is my go-to recipe. I find myself naturally favouring lighter fruits in the Summer and denser fruits in the cooler months. Just listen to your body – it will guide you in the right direction.

Just listen to your body – it will guide you in the right direction.

I also love experimenting with nut-milk bases. I combine almond milk with  frozen raspberries, coconut oil, cacao powder and a handful of baby spinach to make a Cherry Ripe inspired drink. This one is great in Winter!

Green smoothies also provide a great method for getting more superfoods and supplements into your daily routine. My pantry is chockers with things like lucuma, mesquite, cacao, chlorella, chia seeds, hemp seeds and maca. I don’t add all of these to one smoothie (although you certainly could) – I pick and choose based on what I feel my body needs that day. For milk-based smoothies, lucuma, maca and mesquite powders combine to give your smoothie a nutty caramel flavour.

So, there you have it. Green smoothies really are one of the easiest ways to show your body some love.

One final note: wherever possible, I try to use organic produce in my smoothie to give an extra kick of nutrients and to avoid throwing nasties like pesticides and fungicides in.

Now, for the recipe:

Avocado and Berry Heaven

You will need:

1/2 an avocado

One banana

A handful of mixed berries (frozen or fresh)

A handful of baby spinach

One tablespoon of chia seeds

Throw all of the ingredients in the blender with enough water, coconut water or milk to cover everything and whiz it all up. Easy!

Laura