February Healthy Challenge: Pre-Cleanse

It is almost time for round one my February Healthy Challenge 10 Day Cleanse to start and to get us ready it is important that we pre-cleanse. Pre-cleanse you say? Yes. We need to get our bodies prepared to cleanse so that we can be successful. So if you plan to participate in round 1 of this challenge pre-cleanse starts tomorrow. I apologize for the short notice things have been crazy around here lately.

Pre-Cleanse:

  1. Cut the coffee. Over the next 3 days it is important you start to reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine can be nasty to come off of if you have become dependent on it. If you suddenly drop it you may start to feel withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings and fatigue.  To help make the change go more smoothly tomorrow have a half caf, the next day 1/4 caf and the third day decaf or challenge yourself to try decaf or herbal tea.
  2. Go Veg. That’s right if you are an omnivore you will be going vegan for this challenge so to get yourself started go vegetarian for the three days prior to the cleanse because once the cleanse starts you will be dropping dairy and eggs as well. If you are already vegan that try and reduce the amount of soy products that you are eating as we will also be dropping soy for this cleanse.
  3. Clean Out The Pantry. It’s time to give your pantry and refrigerator a face lift.  To be successful at this cleanse you need to set yourself up to be so and that means making sure you have healthy, cleanse approved options at your finger tips. So head to your pantry and clean out any products that contain high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (msg) and basically anything that has ingredients that are mile long and/or you can’t identify one of the ingredients in nature- if you can’t pronounce an ingredient it’s gone.
  4. Hydrate. Get yourself a water bottle that you will use. Make sure it is BPA free.  Over the next 10 days you will be taking that bottle everywhere and so you’ll want to make sure you have one you really like and are ready to use.  Once you have your ideal water bottle go fill it up with water and continue to do so all day long.
  5. Go Shopping! It’s time to fill your cupboards, refrigerator and shelves with cleanse worthy eats. This means getting yourself to the grocery store/farmers market/parents house and doing some major grocery shopping. I will have a complete sample meal plan later today (remember I am on PST time now so it may not be until closer to 10pm EST). Until then below are some cleanse approved foods you may want to stock up on.

Cleanse approved Foods:

Grains–> brown rice, buckwheat (kasha), gluten free oats, amaranth, cornmeal/grits, millet, quinoa, wild rice

Vegetables –> ANYTHING! Try to choose what is in season right now great options are beet greens chard, green cabbage, escarole, kale, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, turnip, rutabaga, winter squash

Fruit –> ANYTHING! Try to choose what is in season right now such as citrus (there are so many options try something new!), pomegranate, pineapple and medjool dates. Also frozen (unsweetened) fruit is great for smoothies and dried (unsweetened) fruit is great for snacking.

Fats –> avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, nuts, nut and seed butters (warning not all nut and seed butters are created equal make sure you are choosing something that does not have added oils or sugars and if you can buy raw ones)

Other –> Coconut amnios (instead of soy sauce), fresh and dried herbs, gluten free Food For Life products such as their brown rice wraps and millet bread (found in freezer section), fermented veggies, Sunshine Burgers, chia seeds, flax meal, herbal teas, dried beans or Eden Organic canned beans, dried seaweed, (some) raw food bars, kale chips, raw granola, raw or flax crackers.

As I said above I will have a sample five day menu by the end of the today so that you can get your shopping on but if you can’t wait then take into account the items above and go shopping and remember this is supposed to be fun so enjoy yourself!

If want to participate you can still sign up for round one or you can sign up for one of the other three rounds starting February 8, 10 and 18th.

February Healthy Challnege: 5 Day Menu Plan Session 1

white bean salad

It’s almost cleanse time! You should be starting your pre-cleanse activities now and ones of them is to do some grocery shopping! Here is a five day menu plan for the cleanse. Feel free to take inspiration from these ideas and add in snacks where needed (approved snacks include fruits, nuts, fresh vegetable juices, etc). I have also included a number of other recipe ideas.

Day 1:

Breakfast: Grilled Brown Rice Tortilla stuffed with almond butter and banana
Lunch: Mediterranean White Bean Salad Box with flax crackers (no pita)
Dinner: Quinoa Chili with a big green side salad and homemade guacamole

Day 2:

Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie
Lunch: Quinoa Chili Burrito using a Brown Rice Tortilla with veggies and homemade guacamole
Dinner: Lettuce Wraps with Pecan Chard Pate* and Roasted Tomato Soup

Day 3:

Breakfast: Mood Boosting Breakfast Oats
Lunch: Mega Green Salad with all your favorite fruits and veggies and leftover Pecan Chard Pate*
Dinner: Curried Quinoa and Cranberry Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes (make extra) and Sauteed Kale

Day 4:

Breakfast: Leftover Curried Quinoa and Cranberry Salad
Lunch: A big green salad topped with roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and drizzled with homemade maple balsamic dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and dijon mustard)
Dinner: Sweet & Smoky Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup with brown rice (or your favorite cleanse approved grain), white beans and roasted broccoli

Day 5

Breakfast: GF Oats topped with your favorite (unsweetened) dried fruit and nuts or nut butter
Lunch: Greens tossed with quinoa and topped with your favorite veggies and a sunshine burger and top with homemade tahini dressing
Dinner: Tahini Roasted Veggies with brown rice and a green salad

*Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce or add more water and sea salt to taste

For menu planning tips go here.

Other Cleanse approved recipes:

Subscription Box Extravaganza

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When I was a child I loved getting those little grab bags that were filled with random toys and things.  As an adult my love for surprise goodie boxes hasn’t died and I am now in love with subscription boxes. The only thing is not all subscription boxes are created equal. Before I start this mini review of the boxes I have tired please note that with the exception of the Citrus Lane box I purchased all of the boxes with my own money some with coupon codes that I found online.

Vegan Boxes

Vegan Cuts-I ordered the very first Vegan Cuts box available back this fall.  The box include a glass straw, a Simply Bar, Surf Sweets gummy snacks, KUR Delights and Berryplus laundry detergent.  The box cost $19 and honestly I didn’t love it and canceled after the first box. I have heard that they have made improvements on the box since the first one so if you are interested in the box don’t let this review completely turn you off.

(Vegan) Conscious Box– I was a little skeptical of this box after my experience with Vegan Cuts but decided to order one of the vegan Conscious Boxes.  To my delight the box was filled with a variety of tasty goodies and I liked it so much that I went ahead and took advantage of their Christmas special and subscribed for three months getting one extra box free (so four boxes for the price of a three month subscription).  My free box was the same box I had received in December but that was fine with me because it included baby laundry detergent, raw zucchini chips, mascara and a number of other goodies.  January’s box just came a last week and it was filled with lots of goodies including my favorite Hail Merry chocolate macaroons. I can’t wait for the next box to come in February and am thinking of continuing my subscription after the three months.

Mom & Baby Boxes

Wittlebee– Wittlebee was the first subscription box that I ever ordered.  The boxes are filled with six articles of clothing and one extra item like a headband or a trick or treat bag. I purchased two boxes from Wittlebee both using a coupon code so it made the box $25 rather than $40.  I have to say the cost was worth it as they were filled with clothes from Tea Collection and American Apparel and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Tea Collection so I was in heaven.  The downside to the boxes however is the customer service sucks. I had read some reviews about the box and didn’t find very many favorable ones and after two boxes I understood why.  One of the articles of clothing we received which was so cute couldn’t even fit over Edith’s head. The outfit was for 3-6 months and let me tell you even as a newborn her head wouldn’t have fit through. I contacted them about it and they said they would send an extra piece of clothing in my next box.  When I told them that I was dissatisfied with the boxes (the second box wasn’t so great- lots of cheaply made clothing) and that I had canceled but could they still please replace the piece I had already paid for and I never heard from them again. Although we did end up with some cute clothes the quality definitely went down and the customer service not so great. Needless to say we stopped after two boxes.

Bluum Box This box I started getting a few months ago and I really like it. It is a box for mom and baby, so there is also at least two things for me and 3-4 things for Edith.  It has a combination of sample sizes and large items.  So far I really am enjoying the box, we are getting our fourth box this month and I am looking forward to it, per usual. Many of Edith’s favorite toys have come from this box including her little horse book, soft monkey rattle and walrus teether. It has also been fun trying out the different mom products like lip gloss, face masks and jam. This box is $12/month and I think it’s a pretty good deal. I usually get at least two full sized items that cost around $12-15 retail and then a few sample items.  Overall I am very happy with the boxes.

Citrus Lane No this box doesn’t contain citrus, rather its is similar to the Bluum Box in that it has both items for mom and baby.  The items for baby are based on the profile that you submit and the age and gender of the baby (you can also set the gender as neutral if you want).  I was sent this box as a sample to try and I have to say I promptly ordered another after receiving this one.  In the box there was a board book (one that I had planned to get Edith), a stroller toy, food storage cups (perfect timing), spf moisturizer for me and eco-friendly disinfectant spray.  Everything was full size or close to it and brands that I really like (Skip Hop, Juice, etc).  If you are interested in signing up for a box you can receive $10 off through this link.

Fitness

PV Body Okay so I never actually received this box. I know that a lot of people have had a good experience with the box and liked what they received but I have also heard negative things about it as well. I myself was interested in purchasing the box back at the holiday’s when I received an email from them saying I could receive 40% off my first box.  I decided to give it a shot and see what the box was like but after filling out the profile and going to pay I saw that the promo code they provided did not take 40% off the box.  I read that others via twitter had the same issue. I contacted them to let them know I was interested in purchasing the box but the promo code did not work.  I never heard back from them.

Do you subscribe to any boxes? What ones do you like? What ones don’t you like?

Minimalist Living

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I know that those of you who follow me on twitter already know this but our things STILL have not arrive in Oregon. It’s a whole frustrating matter where the movers picked our things up on the 21st and were supposed to arrive by the 9th…here we are, the 17th of January, and now we are being told that the expected arrival date is the 24th. Needless to say we have been living very minimally.

Although we are really loving Oregon, Neil is doing well at his new job and Edith is adjusting it’s still been a pretty difficult process. You never know how hard it is to be without your personal possessions until you are going on a month without them. I am now regretting only packing a few non-lounge/workout tops because I either have to buy new ones or suffer through another week of clothing that is becoming more and more worn out.

The biggest challenge is not having my blender, cook utensils, pots and pans….basically my kitchen supplies.  I mean you know me I love to be in the kitchen. Currently, I have a spatula that is useless when it touches heat, a can opener that doesn’t open cans and only one small sheet pan that barely fits anything on it. We ended up buying some knives and frying pans to hold us over but it’s not the same.  Since I am without proper cooking materials I haven’t been doing much interesting cooking so no recipes…boo.

Although we basically have no furniture, no cooking supplies and I have been wearing the same three outfits over and over at least I have my running shoes and a few new workout outfits because I have been getting back at it. It is also great that we are in a really walkable area (Fact: Our apartment in VT had a walk score of 3; our apartment in Oregon has a walk score of 71).  I have been getting out for daily walks with Edith in the baby carrier, which really makes it a good workout.  Also we live in a third floor walk up so lots and lots of stairs (I’m working on those buns of steel).

Workouts this week have been lots and lots of walking including a tour around of the Japanese Gardens (so beautiful even in the winter).  I also have done some yoga on Daily Burn which was great. I am going to do some more walks and yoga this week and then next week I am back to running.  I even ordered myself a new foam roller today because my IT band has been driving me nuts and oh did it hurt so good to get my roll on.

Well since Edith decided she didn’t want to sleep last night and I’ve been up since 3am I’m off to bed but I’ll leave you with a minimalist tour of our apartment.

Oh and just for fun I’ll show you how I entertain myself by putting E in her new baby bath tub with a ton of Quaker Pop Samples #thingsboredmomsdo.