Saturday, May 26, 2012

{Transformed} Courtesy of Clean Eating

Where do I even begin? I guess I'll go back as far as I can recall before starting to EAT CLEAN.  I remember making a pact with a cousin of mine one October day in 2009 to lose weight.  Back then it was all about losing the weight and very little concern about getting healthy.  I didn't truly understand the meaning of HEALTHY back then!  This pact was before I was introduced to Tosca Reno and the world of Clean Eating.  As for exercise, I remember doing the elliptical machine many nights a week (hating it!), the Jillian Michael's 30 minute workout DVDs and jogging. As for eating, I was always hungry.  I remember eating Lean Cuisines (or similar low calorie foods) often and drinking diet coke on a daily basis. I ate chemicals, preservatives, added get the point.  A {dirty} lifestyle.  

Fast forward to almost a year after that pact to July 31st 2010 when I decided to give up Diet Coke. (trust me, you remember the exact day you give up soda) I am really not sure why I made that choice, but I would guess desperation. BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE for my health. That next month I went to the doctor and weighed in at 164lbs!!! I was defeated. My weight wasn't budging at all. I was clearly doing MANY things wrong. 

My doctor decided to order a cholesterol test. A couple days later I got the results that my cholesterol was higher than it should be.  Not extremely high, but enough for the doctor to suggest I go on medications for it. I wasn't going to cave to medications without a fight.  When I got the results my friend, Shawna, was at my house. I was devastated by the news.  High Cholesterol? Ugh.  Four months prior I had just lost a good friend, Megan, to Breast Cancer at the age of 34.  I was ready to get healthy. I remember this moment very vividly, Shawna explained {eating clean} to me and suggested I check out the book by Tosca Reno. I believe I immediately went out and bought the book and the education process began.  

My husband was on board right away. We had a date night scheduled for that Friday. We decided to skip eating out and took the book with us to the local grocery store and had "date night" there. We were in search of things I had no clue where they would be on the store shelves...Flaxseed, Wheat Germ, Oat Bran to name a few.  And what the heck is a Leek? :) It was very overwhelming but I was committed to change my life. I was committed to become a healthy mom for my kids and a healthy wife to my husband for decades to come. I was determined to make my family (and myself) proud.  And there folks is when the {eating clean} process began for our family. August 23rd 2010! 

In early 2011 I stumbled onto this success story of clean eating on Clean Cuisine and More's page. I read about Ivy Larson's success with eating clean and battling MS with food and exercise. I contacted Ivy and a friendship was born. I began to study her way of eating clean and the anti-inflammatory components of their "way".  I have never looked back. I embraced it.

I was VERY good at hiding how FAT I had gotten in pictures. It wasn't easy finding "good" before photos to share with you to really drive the point home (unless I was willing to share my true before pictures with sports bra and underwear) of my weight gain. But then I found these images from a trip to Disney in May of 2009. Yikes. I had found the images needed.

This {eat clean} journey was quite different from the pact I made with my cousin.  It wasn't about losing weight first. It was about getting healthy first and the weight should come off (at least I hoped it would).  I trusted Tosca. I focused on eating {clean} foods day in and day out (for the majority of the time). We ate out A LOT less.  I started doing Zumba two days a week. I started to stretch daily.  I spent more time being active with my kids.

I think by January 2011 my family was living 85% clean (my goal) and I decided to start this blog to share my journey with others. Hoping to inspire others to feel as great as I do right now!  I am blessed by many of your success stories and decisions to follow me in this {eat clean} journey. There is nothing more in life you should want than great health for you and your loved ones!

It's been 21 months since I made the decision to change my life.  It hasn't  always been easy.  The beginning is hard. Many people look at you like you are crazy to give up soda. Many people don't believe in {eating clean} and the results. Many people don't want to put in the work. Many people are scared of change.  Ignore those people for now. Prove to them it DOES work.  I AM that proof. I've done the work. You can see the results. I can feel the results. My family benefits from the results. 

Thank you Tosca Reno for sharing your story and changing my life. Thank you Shawna for simply sharing her message with me. Thank you to Megan for inspiring me to live life to the fullest in the healthiest way I know how.  I will be forever grateful.  

The remainder of 2012 is dedicated to continuing my clean eating and toning, toning, toning!

The NEW and improved ME! Inside and out.
May 2012
21 lbs down
LOTS of inches lost
2 sizes down in clothing

May 2013 Update: I am still within 2-3 lbs from the weight I was in the pictures above (I think I'm down a couple lbs from the image). I am 5'-6" and I weigh 140-145 lbs. This has been the case for the past year or more. I truly don't weight myself often, but I find it important to point out that if you eat real food (not processed with added chemicals, preservatives, etc) you can keep the weight off! What a blessing! It's always nice for your doctor to tell you that you look great (and feel great too). 

October 2013 Update: My cholesterol numbers are FINALLY normal! YAY!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mini Ice Cream Cups

I saw this idea a while ago and I'm just now implementing it.  Who says ice cream is off limits when eating clean??? I sure don't preach that!

 {Eating Clean} isn't about giving up everything you once loved and considered "bad", but yet finding a {clean} version of it.  Of course the best choice is organic ice cream but that isn't always easily accessible.  For this time we used Breyers {all natural} ice cream found at my local Kroger. 

Ingredients: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Tara Gum, and Natural Flavor 
It's impressive to only have 5 items listed! Go spend some time reading labels in the ice cream section like me. Not only will you start to get cold, you will get disappointed at all the chemicals, trans fats, etc in most of them.

A serving size is 1/2 cup. Many people don't stick to these portions when scooping out a huge bowl or ordering ice cream at the local ice cream shop. My family understands the meaning behind "a little goes a long way". My kids love ice cream and frozen yogurt.  They enjoy having dessert with almost every meal.  This idea serves them up a small portion of ice cream with their predetermined toppings in a simple easy manner. I would estimate around 1/4 cup in each. They leave satisfied with it!

Simple get cupcake liners and line a muffin tin, then scoop ice cream into each spot and add whatever toppings you would like. We did dark chocolate chips, Barbara's Snackimals, and {all natural} peanut butter.  They weren't all the same.  If you are going to do this, make the time to do it right when you get home from the grocery store when the ice cream is super easy to scoop! 

Lastly, I covered with plastic wrap, let them firm up and then transferred them to a plastic freezer container. Now you have small sweet snacks to serve after a healthy {clean} dinner.  It's a win win in my book!

UPDATE 2013: I now only by Alden's Organic Ice Cream. Breyer's has changed their formula lately (of most) to be a Frozen Dairy Dessert (a cheaper product).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Juicin' On....

It's been a week since I ended my 7 day reboot and I am feeling great.  I forgot to mention before that I was down 4 lbs that week.  I can guarantee if you have weight to lose you will see some of it come off in a week of rebooting and have added energy. If you choose to move forward after the end of the reboot and eat clean and responsible you will keep it off.  Best of luck to you all that have purchased your first juicer and are embarking on the juice journey with me.

 The first morning after the reboot ended I woke up (after dreaming of green juice, odd, I know...must have been the two glasses of Riesling I consumed) and made myself a green juice. No joke. It just sounded good to me. In the days that have passed I noticed I didn't have the energy that I did on the juice (and I had my first headache in a week). I know I didn't notice much of a change when I went on it, but I can tell you with all certainty I missed it!  I'm shocked to let you know that I have been juicing daily. Having one glass a day of the green stuff.  

I've been juicing for my friends and family. I love spreading the love. However, juicing does make a big ole' dent in the pocketbook. It's not cheap to make organic glasses of juice, but it's not cheap either to be on multiple medications due to weight related illnesses. It's not cheap to take over the counter pain medications for headaches. It's not cheap to drink soda daily. It's not cheap to spend gas money traveling to and from doctors appointments. Juicing is an investment for tomorrow.  It gives you the energy you lack when you are on processed foods.  Instead of reaching for a caffeine fix of tea or coffee I've been making myself a green juice when I feel sluggish or have a headache. It truly works.

Many people ask if they can use a blender to get the same results. My answer is NO. By all means, if you don't want to get a juicer and are committed to blending spinach, fresh veggies and fruit and drinking it, DO IT! However, to get the full benefits of the reboot you must drink the juice. Juicing gives your body an incredible amount of easily digestible nutrients.  Eating the amounts of fruits and vegetables that goes into one glass, in one sitting, would be difficult and wouldn't digest as easily in your system.  Juice flushes waste and detoxifies the body.  If you suffer from any chronic illness it sure would be worth it to give a week of your life to solely live on juice.  I have read many, many positive outcomes to chronic health issues from juicing.

Best of luck to those of you brave enough to give juicing a try and being open minded in that journey. It will be worth it! I promise.

If you don't want to just go on my word alone, here are five men and their stories of

Friday, May 4, 2012

The REBOOT {cleanse}-DAY SEVEN

I made it to the final day! I am beyond excited and proud I stuck it out.  

I do hope you all take the time to watch "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" and see if it inspires you to rethink your health, habits, and future. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables daily?

By far my favorite green juice was this:
6 leaves of kale
2-3 large handfuls of spinach
1 apple
1 pear
1 cucumber
1/2 lime

This image gives you an idea of how much goes into ONE drink:

Check out how Joe Cross is doing a year later...

Here's a great link to many video answers from Joe himself about Rebooting.  

 I ended this day with a huge burger and fries. I've had enough fruit and veggies for one week. Juice on my clean freaks!  Day 7...done!

I'll leave you with a little juice humor...yes, apparently there is such a thing. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The REBOOT {cleanse}- DAY SIX

I made it to day SIX. Wow. I really can't believe it! Glad I decided to keep going and finish this goal.  I woke up ready to tackle this day ahead with juice. I had great energy all day, which I found odd since I wasn't eating anything until dinner time when I had another salad.

I took this week off from my zumba since it's high impact.  I can't imagine how hungry I would have felt afterwards.  I continued to do sit up, push ups, stretching, etc.  I'm actually looking forward to getting back into the free weights and zumba next week.  Joe Cross recommends yoga, walking, swimming during a reboot and leaving the high impact for after it's over.

As I went about my day on day 6 I noticed how happy I was overall.  I was singing the kid's songs along with them as loudly and happily as they were.  I felt more focused. I had no anxiety or stress. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy for me to only consume juice (especially when we don't have handy juice bars like some cities do), but it gave me some sense of peace. I viewed the world a whole different way. 

Thinking back to the days before I went {clean}, I can remember that feeling of disappointment in myself often. I remember feeling tired a lot. Before dumping all the processed food and artificial sweeteners I was often starving (and sucking down a Diet Coke)! I can remember ordering carry out more times than I should in a week.  I remember never planning snacks and always ending up grabbing something out in a pinch. I can remember being so hungry in the evenings I would over snack on cheese and crackers. I remember my stomach buckling in pain after MANY meals because of some reaction I had to a chemical additive. Many of those meals I made for my family with processed foods thinking they were healthy.  All I can say is that during this journey of {eating clean} I no longer feel weighed down (no pun intended) with food.  This juice cleanse has only driven the point home to me.  Don't let poor food choices choose your destiny. They are simply NOT worth it.  There may come a day when you are the heaviest you have ever been and you regret eating all those poor choices.  If you are there now, there is hope if YOU are ready to commit.   I love {clean eating} because it has shown me light. Nutrient dense foods DO help you.  

If you love chocolate cake, then work on making a cleaner version and treat yourself weekly to a piece of cake.  If you love ice cream, buy organic {all natural} ice cream and do the same.  Or, better yet, try {all natural} frozen yogurt.  If you love chips, purchase all natural chips and treat yourself weekly.  My {clean} journey is not about given up everything, it's about ridding my life of all chemicals, additives, and such. It's about getting back to the basics.

I feel truly blessed that I decided to take control of my life and start on this journey in the fall of 2010.  My family and myself has seen the benefits. It's also a blessing to see friends and family members making positive changes to their lives through all my hard work and dedication.

Get out there....start your journey to a better you!
Day 6.....D.O.N.E!


The REBOOT {cleanse}-DAY FIVE

When day five rolled around I was on the fence. On one hand I was proud I had even made it to day FIVE (that's good enough, right?) and on the other I wanted to just stop (and shove a handful of raw nuts into my mouth)! Yes, I've been graving raw pistachios and almonds.  And, of course, a billion other food items go through my head that I can't eat right now.  

During a reboot cleanse it's VERY important to focus on consuming GREEN juices with lots of vegetables.  Kale, Spinach, Romaine lettuce, Cucumbers, Celery to name a few.  Fruits are added to give it a nice balance, but really only should be used in moderation because of all the sugar.

This cleanse teaches you a LOT about your eating habits.  Prior to the cleanse I was accustomed to grabbing fruit, veggies, hummus or nuts for a snack throughout the day to avoid feeling hungry.  I found it particularly hard on day five not to accidentally put something in my mouth. This wouldn't be so hard if I wasn't still preparing three meals a day for my family. (I know, I should get some sort of medal for being SO nice)  This cleanse I chose to do allows fresh fruit and raw veggies. I have a salad (which is just lettuce, veggies, and a drizzle of dressing) once a day in the evening, because I find that is when I crave food the most.  I am used to a big plate of food at the end of my day. 

By the end of day 5 I had to reevaluate things. I had to dig deep for that inner power.  I had to realize that I had set a goal and I could reach that goal in TWO more days. Never give up because you will only have regrets. With every personal goal you set and accomplish (big or small) comes peace to your heart and empowerment to your soul.  Remember that.

 I hadn't really eaten anything in 5 days but yet I still functioned as though I had been eating my {clean} lifestyle.  The stranger on the street wouldn't dare guess all I had consumed for 5 days was basically green juice.  Typically I'm a pretty happy, optimistic person but I felt there was an added bounce in my step.  I felt like I could tackle anything. Nothing was holding me down. 

As late evening rolled around (and with a little added encouragement from my hubby) I had decided I would finish this goal and experience it completely.

Day FIVE.....barely.....DONE!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The REBOOT {cleanse}- DAY FOUR

Day four was even easier. Except when I ended up parking next to a Mexican restaurant and aroma about did me in. Having the proper juicer is key! My kids love the juicer too so it's a great addition to our kitchen.  Last night they made fresh orange juice with dinner. They loved it! My daughter even tried a fruit juice with spinach and she liked it!

I hear you are supposed to have this burst of energy while drinking the green juice. I am not really feeling that different. However, I don't really have lack of energy much since going {clean}.  I'm confident that the typical American going on this cleanse would reap rewarding results in their energy level. 

This cleanse is teaching me a lot about how we correlate food with everyday life.  There are so many bad influences that we are faced with daily that try to sabotage our efforts of living {clean}.  I'm so far into my {clean eating} journey that I can now drive down the street and not be tempted to head to the nearest McDonald's for a fix.   If everyone spent as much effort and time in the grocery store reading labels or discussing the purpose of food with their families as they did sitting in the drive-thru line this country would be in better shape overall! 

If poor food choices or overeating are some of the things you battle with you should give this a try.  It not only makes you stop and focus on putting ONLY nutrient dense foods into your body, it teaches you that life will go on with or without you eating that typical lunch time meal out with friends that does nothing but make you sluggish afterwards. Or opting for take out at dinner time because you didn't plan ahead.  This cleanse is empowering

Remember that Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead Joe from my Day THREE post?

Well, here's the new JOE! Isn't he a hotty!?


Straight from Joe's mouth...

What’s so powerful about fruits and vegetables?

Well, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk for things like cancers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and mental illness. Fruits and vegetables have also been credited with alleviating the day-to-day effects of painful, chronic conditions such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and migraines. Each color family is rich in unique and important micronutrients that help protect our immune systems and keep our bodies strong, so it’s key to vary your fruits and veggies. That’s why I say eat a rainbow every day. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The REBOOT {cleanse} -DAY THREE

Day 3 was the first full day that I had my juicer and it made a world of difference. When I was hungry I would just make a green juice. I didn't even have the desire to eat many fruits or vegetables either so I ended that evening with some celery and Braggs dressing & a banana. I'm SHOCKED to say this, but I don't mind the Kale in my juices at all. 

In the documentary film, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", Joe Cross talks about the first 3 days being the most difficult.  I'm going to trust this man since he did this juice cleanse for 60 days with great long term success and continue with this journey.  There was, however, a point in day 3 that I thought to myself...WOW! Joe Cross is amazing. He is a rock. The fact that I am on a quest of just 7 days and he did 60. AMAZING! He has the willpower and determination all Americans should have. On the other hand, I live a pretty {clean} life now and don't have much weight to lose so I don't have the need to even attempt the 60 days of juicing. 

For those of you that haven't had the chance to watch the film, here's a picture of Joe prior to taking control of his life.  I won't give away all the details because I want you to watch the film. BUT I will say, if you have a chronic illness of any kind this is a must watch! 

310 lbs

If you want to jump start your {clean eating} and don't know where to begin, this cleanse would be an awesome way to start. You will FOR SURE drop weight. If you don't have much to lose and you just need to detox your body then I would still suggest doing so for 7-10 days. 

By the end of day 3 I was proud of myself! I went to sleep determined to make it to day 7!....DAY THREE, done!