December 18, 2012

BluePrint Cleanse


I once had a dream that I was at this hip nightclub. Everyone was at the bar getting cocktails. As I approached the bar, I noticed that not only did they serve alcohol but also fresh-pressed juice. I ecstatically ordered a green juice, and a night of dancing ensued.

I am a dork. A dork who loves green juice so much that I dream about it. I've been juicing for almost two years and consider my juicer one of the best investments I've ever made. I've often wondered how I'd benefit from a juice feast which I saw as the next logical step in my wellness evolution. Because I'd never done it before, I knew I'd need some guidance. I could either order a juice cleanse to be delivered, or I could consult with a juice feasting coach. When BluePrint ran an awesome sale on Black Friday, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try it. The price was too good to pass up, so I ordered a 3-day cleanse.

Of the 3 cleanse levels that Blueprint offers, I chose the most intense one, the excavation cleanse. I figured if I was dropping as much money as I did, I wanted the maximum possible benefit. I wanted to, as they state on their website, dig down to a cellular level” to detoxify my body. And so, I excavated.



Leading up to the cleanse, I was extra diligent about what I was putting into my mouth. I cut down my nut and seed intake to one serving or less per day. I increased my intake of green juices/smoothies and fresh fruits. I made sure not to snack unless I was feeling really famished. I prepared my body as well as I could for my approaching digestion vacation. The day before the cleanse, I made a giant green and red smoothie (Christmas is right around the corner!) that I split into two servings. It filled me up until dinner when I had raw tacos, steamed brussels sprouts, and my raw cranberry applesauce.

In addition to preparing my body for juice feasting, I prepared my mind as well. For my last meal, I wasn't worried or disappointed about consuming liquids only for 3 days. I was really excited about the experiment I was doing, and I couldn't wait to see what happened. Most importantly, I didn't feel like I was going to be depriving myself of anything.

When my doorbell rang on Friday, I felt like I was waking up on Christmas morning. I ran to the door to collect my package, and arranged the juices in the fridge in a spot I'd cleared out the night before. 


 

I am used to making some very bitter concoctions for my juices, and often leave out fruit. I found juice 1 to be very sweet and heavy on the apple. I also got a big whiff of parsley when I cracked open the bottle. Even though it's listed second to last on the ingredients, I found the flavor to predominate. I wasn't crazy for the juice at first sip, but after a few more I really began to enjoy it. Drinks 3 and 5 were the same as 1, and juice 2 was the same except with a hint of ginger. I think this green juice would be palatable for everyone from seasoned juicers like myself to green juice newbies. 


 
Drink 4 was their spicy lemonade. I like a little heat, but I don't like it to overpower the rest of the drink. They balanced the ingredients perfectly. Sometimes lemonade can be too tart and sweet, but this drink was oh-so-smooth.

Drink 5 was cashew milk. Though I loved the cinnamon spice and the warming vanilla, this was my least favorite drink. It was far too sweet and really gritty. Each one had hard disks of cashew pulp that wouldn't break up when I shook it. I was so full every night that I couldn't drink the entire bottle of cashew milk, so this wasn't a huge deal. I ended each night with a tea latte made with some of the milk and Good Earth's sweet and spicy herbal tea


 
I followed Blueprint's suggestions to drink plenty of water in between juices, exercise, and dry brush. I didn't get a colonic, but I took a supplement by Healthforce Nutritionals called Liver Rescue and drank Mighty Leaf detox tea. 



Besides the unpleasant texture of the cashew milk, I only had a few other gripes about my Blueprint cleanse. For one thing, I wish they didn't use plastic bottles. I don't like to drink such quality ingredients from plastic bottles, and if they were glass I could reuse them. The most environmental choice is to make the juice myself, I know. I do plan to do juice feasts on my own in the future, but this was a great way for me to be introduced to the process.

I would have preferred that they used stevia or a whole food sweetener like dates instead of agave. I don't think that agave is poison akin to high-fructose corn syrup, but I don't think it's the best sweetener either. I don't use it at home, but indulging in the occasional treat made with agave is ok by me.

Lastly, I was disappointed to find that the cooler bag I had requested was not in the shipment. I don't have a cooler bag and it would've made things a little easier for me. After confirming that I did in fact request one, I called Blueprint and they told me they'd send one out, but I wouldn't get it until the following week. I understand that they were likely slammed with orders because of the huge sale, but that kind of oversight was not appreciated and the customer service was lackluster.

The detox symptoms were minimal, but I suspect that they would've increased if I had gone on longer. I was feeling great on day 1 other than sweating out some unpleasant smells that continued throughout the cleanse. On day 2, I started to feel weak and tired mid-day (though my overall energy for the day was higher than normal), had a runny nose, and noticed thrush on my tongue. On day 3, I was emotional and acutely aware of every noise and smell around me. I was a grumpy gal. 



Of the benefits, the change in my taste buds was the most surprising. By day 2, my sense of taste was more sensitive and refined. For example, the barely detectable zing of ginger in juice 2 now stood out and melded harmoniously with the rest of the components. All of the juices I enjoyed on day 1 were even more enjoyable on days 2 and 3.  

Overall, I loved this cleanse and reaped many other benefits from it. I felt full and satiated the whole time. I never went to bed with hunger pangs or woke up hungry. I had an unexpectedly hectic weekend, and I was so thankful for the convenience of having all of the juices made for me. As early as the morning of day 2, I noticed big changes. My energy levels improved, my bloat (that I didn't know I had) was completely gone, a nasty slice in my thumb was healing faster than expected, and my taste buds were more alive.
 
I loved doing this cleanse so much that I continued my own modified juice feast for the next 2 daysAll I could think about was when I'd be able to do another one. Maybe there will be some great deals for the new year!

December 07, 2012

Raw Spiced Cranberry Applesauce


I've always thought of applesauce as a rather plain food. When my mom assembled my lunch for school, she'd often include individual packs of cinnamon applesauce. I always liked it, but there was never anything particularly special about it. You can't imagine the excitement I had when they started coming out with all of the wacky colors and flavors. Blue, red, green, or orange applesauce packs were unveiled in my lunch bag every weekday afternoon. They came in many flavors like blue raspberry, strawberry, and peach. That they were "flavored" is the key concept here. 


Although some brands did add fruit puree, they also added high fructose corn syrup, "natural" flavorings, and artificial colors. I think we can do without all of that! Back then, I was entranced by the fun colors and flavors, but now I'm not so easily hooked in by imitation gimmicks. I still like fun colors and flavors, but I want the real thing. Enter my abundance of fresh cranberries and a fine recipe idea.


Since I just can't say no to those plump, Christmas-red cranberries at the store, I decided to use them to dress up some raw applesauce. This sassy applesauce (applesass?) is sure to wow you all. There is nothing "imitation" about this cranberry applesauce. It's a pleasantly tart treat with a tease of sweet. If winter ever decides to come around (I miss you, snow!), the ginger will warm the chills right out of your body. And, if I may offer one suggestion: Don't tuck it away in a lunch pail because it's all decked out for a prime spot at the dinner table!

Raw Spiced Cranberry Applesauce
makes 3-4 servings

2 gala apples
1 granny smith apple
1/2 orange, peeled
1/4 cup cranberries
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp vanilla
dash of nutmeg   

-Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend and serve.