#SCBDFitness: Beauty From the Inside Out- My Journey on a Five Day Smoothie Cleanse

scbdfitness

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Most people don’t realize that the old adage you are what you eat applies to the health of your skin. In the season of holidays and The Super Bowl, I had consumed my fair share of junk food and alcohol, which was wreaking havoc on my complexion. I needed to detoxify in someway. In the age of cleanses, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try one. The Green Smoothie Cleanse by Lisa Sussman seemed to be the best option for me. I had tried a raw juice cleanse in the past, and failed miserably. I thought that smoothies would keep me fuller, this proved to be true, and I can now say I successfully completed a smoothie cleanse. My cleansing journey came with its pros and cons, and now I can share them with our readers.

The first step in committing to a Cleanse is PREP. You need time to choose which cleanse you will be doing, mentally prepare, stock your fridge, and set goals for what you would like to get out of your cleansing experience. I started by reading the book cover to cover, to better understand what I was getting myself into.  Sussman’s book is full of pages on nutrition, what to expect while on the cleanse, ways to save money, how to keep motivated on this cleanse, and even tips on what to do when you have given in to your temptations, and fail. I personally loved the pages on money-saving tips.  I learned how to make my own protein powder, because of this book. Sussman really puts an emphasis on avoiding overly processed food products, and wasting money. A philosophy that is near, and dear to my heart.

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As a disclaimer, cleansing can break the bank, and this cleanse can certainly do that if you aren’t conscience about what you are buying. I was impressed that the book acknowledged that fact. I think it is important to note early on that I did set a budget of $25 dollars a day for the five-day cleanse, plus pre cleanse. Totaling 8 days of food. I was under budget most days. However, I did spend a total of $293.28 on groceries, and all ready-made foods. That seemed like an enormous price tag at the time, but I am still have a lot of the ingredients that I bought for the cleanse in my pantry and freezer a month later.

I bought most of my ingredients at Whole Foods of Madison NJ, and Trader Joes of Florham Park NJ. Although, I am obsessed with Whole Foods, I think going to Trader Joe’s will save you money. Had I gone to Trader Joe’s for my big shopping trip, I calculated that I would have saved, at least $50, taking into account that I bought organic produce. Above, I mentioned that you need to be conscientious about your purchases on this cleanse, I think I definitely purchased too much. Most of the recipes make too much, and I found myself freezing a lot of smoothies, and being left with unused produce, which doesn’t keep in the fridge for long.

Having tested the waters now, I recommend buying produce for a day worth of smoothies, and buy more from there. It is time-consuming, but it will also help your wallet. Frozen fruits are great for out of season products, and can really help with keeping your budget down. Take note of the DIY section. As I said before I made my own protein powder, and saved money doing it. Don’t stress about substitutions, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to buy more. Also avoid going out for food. One night on the Pre-Cleanse I went out for salmon, being too tired to cook. What a huge mistake. It cost me $9.00 more than if I had just taken the time to make a better piece of fish at home, and it didn’t even come with brown rice.  Taking your time with this cleanse saves money. Pay attention to what you are doing and you won’t pay a higher price than you need to.

Back to the cleansing process, part of your prep is choosing which cleanse you will be doing. You can determine this by taking the quiz within the book. I decided to take the Five-Day Fine-Tune Cleanse given that I really wanted to reset my eating habits, am normally very health conscience, and have cleansed before. You can also choose from a one day, three-day, or two-week cleanse. These cleanses are in three parts, Pre-Cleanse, Cleanse, and Post-Cleanse. A Five-Day cleanse is really a two-week event. You should not jump right into the cleansing stage, or break from it right after the cleansing days are over. This smoothie cleanse has an option for everybody, which makes it different from other cleanses I have seen. After deciding which cleanse you will be doing, start planning. I kept a journal for this, which really helped me stay motivated and organized throughout the process. In the journal I logged what I had been eating prior to cleansing, how I felt about the process, what I was going to eat during the Pre-Cleanse, which smoothies I would be making during the Cleanse, how I was going to eat after the Cleanse, and which smoothies were my favorites. I also took notes on what I already had in my pantry, made shopping lists, and kept tabs on how much I was spending.

The Pre-Cleanse days were boring, but easy. I wasn’t starving, and life without caffeine wasn’t terrible which kept me in good spirits about doing this. I kept it simple by eating similar things everyday. I didn’t want to get smoothied out before starting the process, so I only had one smoothie for dinner on the third night. My snacks were always veggies, and mixed nuts, I used the whole container of Trader Joe’s Carrot soup for lunch, and tried to have salmon for dinner as much as possible. Below are pictures if my omelet and ingredients, hot water with lemon and raw honey, and mixed nuts.

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Variety is important on the Cleanse portion of this journey. The book shares sample menus with you for each cleanse, that makes choosing simple. The recipe box is so much fun, there are tons of smoothies to choose from, no one smoothie is a like, and they keep you full.  You can cleanse for a variety of different reasons including dieting. While on the Cleanse, I also noticed that I was getting slimmer, but never starving myself. If you are interested in losing weight, this might be a good way to start. The recipes were easy to follow. My favorite part of the day was making the Master Green Smoothie. It was the time of the day that I could go a little off script, and make my own creation. Sometimes it went beautifully, other times it was awful, like on Day Five. Some of my favorite smoothies were Almost Cup of Joe, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Grasshopper, and Virgin Mary. The pictures below are from Day One.

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While on the Cleanse I often made my smoothies for the next day. I always in transit, and not necessarily near a kitchen. I kept those smoothies in thermos, and in carrying bags. Save yourself time, and don’t let cleansing get in the way of your busy routine by investing in these things. I had my thermos, but they are available to purchase on the Internet for cheap. I recommend buying Mason jars with handles, and a convertible lids to save some cash, and be eco-friendly.

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They say Day Three is the toughest to get through in the book, but for me Day Three was cake, and Day Five was terrible. I was resisting the temptations of my friends and family like a pro, but it was the little things that started to accumulate into my hatred of this cleansing. By Day Five I was tired of drinking liquid, I was often too full, didn’t want to deal with the blender anymore. I was drinking pre-frozen smoothie in an attempt to save money. I had felt cleaner, but there was no real change in my skin, which was the purpose of the Cleanse. Additional negatives included, spilling a smoothie; forcing me to buy one from a health store and attempting to use  all the ingredients and making a mustard green Master Green Smoothie that was downright terrible. It was my last smoothie, and I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. I completed the Five-Day Cleanse with an awful taste in my mouth. As soon as the next morning came I went back to my old ways of eating, which was terrible on my stomach, and later choose to actually follow the Post Cleanse the days after. You are now probably wondering why I think it was a good cleanse after all that.

Beauty wise I think it teaches you something about what you are ingesting. Cleansing isn’t a miracle worker, but rather a start to a better routine. Eating better helps your skin. Not in five days, but over time. It wasn’t so bad, I just had one bad day. On my good days, on this Cleanse, I had more energy, I did feel more beautiful, and was not bogged down with sugar, which is half the battle. The first Post-Day was a real indicator of how much I changed when it came to my diet. The junk didn’t interest me as much.  Removing most of the junk food in my life has helped my skin, and it started with the process of checking in, and doing this cleanse. I love coffee, but drink less now, I think before I gorge, and have even healthier habits, all culminating in a more radiant self. I say to you go cleanse with an open mind, take the bad days for just bad days, and take the good days to mean you are creating a more beautiful self. Happy Spring Cleansing to all!

http://ulyssespress.com/?books=green-smoothie-cleanse

 

*Disclaimer: The PR team sent me this product. I was not required to write about these experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

 

 

#SCBDRecipe: Organic Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is a great holiday for all of our fellow die-hard foodies. From corned beef and cabbage to soda bread, the Irish really know how to cook up a delicious holiday. Growing up with an Irish grandmother, I was lucky enough to indulge in an annual St. Patrick’s Day feast, complete with the traditional and delectable dishes mentioned above. While I love my grandmother’s cooking and celebrating my Irish heritage, it’s nice to switch it up every once in a while!

With some help from Fancy Girl Table, we’ve rounded up some fun new twists on some classic Irish dishes. These organic dishes are perfect for those of you who are looking to switch up your St. Patrick’s Day dinner menu.

Fancy Girl Table (www.fgtable.com), a popular catering and event design company, has a unique menu for the famous Irish holiday, like Emerald Arugula Salad with Pickled Berries, Upside Down Smoked Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Sugar Hill Farm Corned Beef with Mustard Roasted Cabbage, Chocolate Stout Bread Pudding and more. They can provide recipes or tips on how to create a fun and tasty menu for your own St. Patrick’s Day party. The menu items are inspired by ingredients from local farms and are so tasty they break the stereotype of organic food.

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Beer Braised Chicken Stew with Potatoes & Onion

-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                                                                               -1 tablespoon smoked paprika                                                                                                 -3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil                                                                                           -2 ½ lbs. skinless boneless chicken thighs                                                                             -1 12-ounce bottle of beer (ale or brown)                                                                               -2 bay leaves
-1 cup frozen pearl onions                                                                                                       -1 lb. red fingerling potatoes cut in half lengthwise                                                                   -1 large carrot, sliced                                                                                                               -2 tablespoons whole grain mustard                                                                                         -2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped                                                                                       -1-cup chicken stock                                                                                                               -1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped                                                                                   -1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped                                                                                      -Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Mix together the garlic, smoked paprika and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to form a paste. Rub all over the chicken thighs and let marinated at least an hour.
  •  Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining olive oil and when hot, add the chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides.
  • Add the beer, bay leaves, onions, potatoes, mustard, thyme and chicken stock. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are fork tender.
  •  Add the parsley & chives and adjust salt and pepper.                                                         Note: this dish is best made the day before to allow for the flavors to further develop.
  • Yields 6 servings

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Emerald Salad with Pickled Berries, Caramelized Apples, Irish Cheese & Smoked Mustard Vinaigrette

-1 piece of sliced ginger, ½ inch thick                                                                                     -8 pink peppercorns                                                                                                                 -3 allspice berries                                                                                                                     -1 cinnamon stick                                                                                                                   -2 cloves                                                                                                                                 -1 bay leaf                                                                                                                                 -6 tablespoons sugar                                                                                                             -2 tablespoons sea salt                                                                                                             -1 ½ cups red wine vinegar                                                                                                     -1 ½ cups water                                                                                                                     -1-pint blackberries                                                                                                               -1-tablespoon butter                                                                                                                 -4 medium red- or pink-skinned lady apples (such as Pink Lady) cut in half and seeds removed                                                                                                                                   -1-teaspoon sugar                                                                                                               -1/2-cup extra-virgin olive oil                                                                                                   -3 tablespoons sherry vinegar                                                                                               -1 large shallot, minced                                                                                                           -1 teaspoon Dijon mustard                                                                                                   -3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika                                                                                           -1/4-teaspoon salt                                                                                                                 -1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper                                                                                     -4 cups dark green arugula                                                                                                      -¼ cup toasted pecans                                                                                                         -4 ounces Irish cheese, such as Cashel Blue

• In a saucepan, add the ginger, spices, bay leaf, sugar, salt, vinegar & water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Cool the brine. Pour over the black berries that have been placed in a large jar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 days, but one week is best.                                                                                                     • Cook the lady apples: in a skillet heat the butter. When hot, add the lady apples and sprinkle with the sugar.                                                                                                             • Cooked the lady apples over medium heat, turning them occasionally. Cook until softened and lightly browned.                                                                                                   • Make the dressing: Place oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper in a blender; blend until well combined. You will have dressing leftover for more salads.             • Assemble the salad by tossing the arugula, apples, and pickled berries with ¼ cup of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more dressing if necessary. Top with crumbled cheese and pecans.                                                                                       •Yields 4 servings

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Vegan Upside Down Shepherd’s Pie

-4 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled & cut into 6 pieces                                                             -4 Large Russet Potatoes, peeled & cut into 6 pieces                                                             – ½ tablespoon each chopped fresh oregano, rosemary & thyme                                         -4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil                                                                                         -1-¼ cup green or red lentils                                                                                                   -2 bay leaves                                                                                                                           -1-teaspoon onion powder
-½ teaspoon smoked paprika
-¼ teaspoon ground fennel                                                                                                   -¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon                                                                                            -½ teaspoon chili powder                                                                                                        -1 cup chopped onions                                                                                                           -1 ¼ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms                                                                                      -1 red pepper, chopped small
-1 cup chopped kale                                                                                                             -1 ¼ cup bread crumbs. We use Mary’s Gone Crackers: Just The Crumbs. They are gluten-free and have a great texture.
-Salt & Pepper to taste

  •                              Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit
  • Make the mashed potatoes: Place all the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a fork. Strain the potatoes, but save 1 cup of the potato water. Put the potatoes and 1 cup of the reserved water back into the pot with the fresh herbs and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mash. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Cook the lentils: place lentil in a pot with enough water to cover. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add spices and partially cover. Add more water if needed during cooking. Cook until soft.
  • In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until hot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms and peppers and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid. Add the chopped kale and sauté until just wilted. Add in the cooked lentil, add salt and pepper and mix well. Remove from heat.
  •  Assemble: In a baking dish (we use a 9 x 13 inch dish) add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 cup of the bread crumbs. Mix together then spread on the bottom of the dish. Next layer ¾ ‘s of the masked potatoes and spread evenly over the breadcrumbs. Next spoon the lentil vegetable mixture over the mashed potatoes and lightly press down to make even. Then with a scoop or spoon, scoop on the remaining potatoes, making about 12 balls. Cover the top with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes more or until browned on top.
  • Yields 8 servings. Serve with some steamed broccoli or a big salad.

#SCBDReview: In Heaven at Veggie Heaven in Denville, NJ

scbdreview

 

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I decided to try this restaurant I pass by all the time in Denville, NJ. It is called Veggie heaven. It is a 100% natural vegetarian cuisine restaurant. They pride themselves to being super healthy and vegetarian. They cook with pure olive oil and other healthy oils that all have positive nutritional value. They are an Asian inspired place as well. They create their dishes with vegetables and vegetable derivatives. They even quote on their menu that “our ‘meat’, ‘poultry’, and ‘seafood’ are made from ingenious blends of bean curd, taro root, wheat gluten, mushrooms, yams, and other vegetables.”

They are located right on the main street in the center of Denville. They start out by giving you water and a dish of a cabbage mix. It was sweet and so tasty. A great start to the meal.

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For my meal I decided to go with a lunch special. It costs $6.95 and included a choice of soup or spring roll. The main dish had a choice of white or brown rice. I decided to start with the spring roll. It came with sweet and sour sauce to dip it in. The taste was so fresh. It was delicious and honestly was the best spring roll I have ever had. The crust was flakey but not super oily.

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For the main dish I ordered the sweet and sour ‘chicken’ with brown rice.

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This was outstanding. I asked if it was fried, and she said it is lightly but can be cooked without it being friend, so I took that option. Everything was delicious. The rice was soft and good, it came with broccoli and mushrooms. These were soft and fresh. The sauce I got medium spice, it was the right amount of kick to enjoy. The ‘chicken’ was delicious. It was better than chicken, it was full of flavor and was a cool consistency. It was soft but not too soft. It had a consistency similar to tofu, but more hard. It was outstanding. I even had a little left over that I brought home. It was a good portion for lunch!

I also ordered the house tea. They do have other flavors but I was unaware of this when I ordered. It was similar to Chinese tea but not as strong. It was a delicious combination to accompany my meal. This was also no additional fee for the tea.

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The meal finished with the bill and a fortune cookie. I love finishing my tea with a fortune cookie; the combination of the two is delightful. My fortune cookie read ‘solid gains are possible today, but with a headache.’ I can relate to this. It has been a long day, but one where I accomplished a lot of difficult things. I love fortunes.

Finally my bill was under $10, it cost $7.44 with tax. Then I left a tip on top of that. It was a great deal for some amazing food. Even the average meat lover would love this place. I love a good steak, chicken, or pork dinner, but this place is outstanding no matter what type of eater you are.

I rate this place an A plus. Service was outstanding and alert, really friendly too. The food is beyond outstanding and the atmosphere is so relaxing and pleasant, it is like a getaway. Please try this place, a must go in Denville.

 

http://www.veggieheavennj.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veggie-Heaven/106379826139652

They do have other independently owned locations, listed below.

Veggie Heaven Teaneck: www.veggieheaventeaneck.com

Veggie Heaven Montclair: www.veggieheavenmontclair.com

Veggie Heaven New City: www.veggieheavennewcity.com

#SCBDGETReview: Tropical Rush Good Earth Tea

scbdgetreview

This fall, I replaced my morning (and mid-morning and afternoon) cup of coffee with green tea. The health benefits of green tea are many and I felt a lot better without the jitters and subsequent anxiety that a large cup of coffee can often induce. I had the pleasure of trying Good Earth Tropical Rush green tea and I must admit that I am hooked. I prefer green teas infused with fruit flavors, but Tropical Rush takes it to a different level.

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This tea offers a strong, but balanced combination of orange, lime, mango, and pineapple, as well as some earthy hints of lemongrass and chamomile. It is very sweet, so it does not require any type of additional sweetener. I tried it both hot and iced, and it works equally as well both ways. Although we are experiencing some extremely cold weather due to the “polar vortex,” I have been able to get a taste of paradise and get away to some warmer weather (at least in my head).

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*Disclaimer: The PR team sent me this product. I was not required to write about these experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

Take Your Gluten-Free and Vegan Friends For A Delicious Dessert At Papa Ganache in Matawan, NJ

About a month ago, my boyfriend Luke and I were driving through Matawan, NJ when I noticed a sign that said, “Bakery Amazing Delicious Vegan Treats… Gluten-Free Too!” When I pointed it out to Luke, we immediately looked at each other and said “Let’s try it!” It wasn’t until after we turned into the parking lot when I realized that it was the new location of a gluten-free bakery I’ve been dying to try — Papa Ganache.

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I first heard of Papa Ganache a few years ago from an old co-worker who was vegan. One day he brought in a slice of their vegan sponge cake and allowed me to try a small piece. It was delicious but it never gave me the incentive to go and check out their other desserts. I wasn’t gluten-free at the time (or vegan, but I’m not vegan now), so I didn’t think there was a need to go when there were plenty of regular bakeries around. Now that I’m gluten-free, it’s an entirely different story!

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Before I get into all of the delicious treats I had, I want to mention how awesome the atmosphere is in this place. It’s perfect for the cafe junkies, especially the ones who inhabit Starbucks on a daily basis. It’s quiet and comfortable; perfect for a study session a work environment (if you telecommute), or a place to bring clients for a lunch or a snack. I would highly recommend this place for any of these instances or any occasion really!

cupcake

Now, about these desserts! It was really hard to choose from so many options (imagine a case full of snacks, I was in gluten-free heaven!), but I decided on a gluten-free red velvet cupcake and the chipwhich (one of Papa Ganache‘s specialties!)

chipwich & cupcake

The red velvet cupcake was moist that it practically melted in my mouth. It was so delicious that I seriously wish I had gotten two of them! The chipwhich was also great, but I had a lot of problems finishing the entire cookie. As you can see it’s huge and it was also too sweet for my taste! I definitely think that they should make smaller portions of it, like some of the other cookies I saw on their shelves.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first official Papa Ganache gluten-free experience! If you call the Jersey Shore home, I highly suggest you stop by their new location at 106 Main Street, Matawan, NJ! It’s a beautiful environment, filled with the most delicious goodies! I definitely plan on going back and dragging my friends and family along with me!

A Gem in FiDi: Battery Place Market!

About two weekends agp, I had the pleasure of going to Battery Place Market in the heart of the Financial District.  It’s unlike any market I’ve seen, filled with organic & unique groceries. It’s perfect for a foodie, who isn’t afraid to venture out of their comfort zone or even just wants a specific product that they carry, and they carry a lot! :)

It’s not just a market, you can also sit in their seating area in back and eat dishes made by Executive Chef Robert Sckalor.

From early morning breakfast sandwiches and frittatas using only the finest artisanal products, to a lunch that includes hot dishes or sandwiches on Sullivan Street or Orwasher’s breads, to picking up a dinner that has local or organic chicken, beef, fish, pork or vegetarian dishes that will warm the soul, Chef Robert  Sckalor creates it all. Sckalor has been cooking for the last 37 years in such establishments as the Waldorf Astoria, Agata & Valentina, and the Four Seasons. He cooks what many consider the best prepared cuisine from a specialty food shop in New York City.  The New York Times praised his incredible crab cakes and DOWNTOWN Magazine‘s staff enjoyed the first batch of Chef’s homemade turkey chili and according to the magazine, “One bite and you are hooked!” Chef Rob also teaches a weekly cooking class at PS-IS 276 across the street from Battery Place Market.  He just loves watching the kids help make unique dishes and seeing them and the teachers eating everything!

I was welcomed into the market to an amazing cappuccino to warm me up since it was cool that weekend. After getting a tour of the market, I had the pleasure of trying Chef Robert’s Kobe Beef Brisket on a light roll with his homemade coleslaw which was delicious for lunch. I was also able to try Mamma Chia which I really enjoyed since they have so many one of a kind products at the market. The brisket was unlike any brisket I’ve tasted & I could definitely taste the difference in the beef.

I was fortunate to meet the Chef during my visit who told me himself, “I am alway working on twists on classic dishes and utilizing the finest products I can find. The best thing about this market is working with awesome local and national vendors. It’s unlike any market you’ll find in Manhattan.”

The great thing about Battery Place Market is that they have tons of organic and non-organic products available. I was in heaven seeing so many products available to cook with and products you can’t get just anywhere– one of my favorite was the Jersey tomato ketchup, being that I am a Jersey girl.  There were also tons of things I was interested in using to cook with like fresh truffles, a full selection of organic and local NYC vendors and more.

Chef Robert’s Kobe Beef Brisket & homemade coleslaw from Battery Place Market.

I really loved it and would definitely get my specialty groceries there! I also would love to try more of Chef Robert’s dishes. I was extremely impressed with the brisket and the coleslaw. I would love to try more of his Kobe beef entrees and sides.  So if you are looking to find one of a kind, unique, or even organic groceries– go to Battery Place Market. It’s also a place where you’re welcomed to shop on an empty stomach because you will surely be satisfied by any of Chef Robert’s dishes. Compliments to the Chef on his unique dishes!

Insiders Note: They also have a smaller market that serves up the same great products right under the Goldman Sachs building– it’s located at 240 Murray Street  (North End Way)! Make sure you check it out!

Well, I have tons of more on the way– stay tuned!

Happy Eating! :D

*Disclaimer: The PR team paid for my meal. I was not required to write about these experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

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