Tips for Timing a Juice Cleanse

Tips for Timing a Juice CleanseAny time I post a review of a juice cleanse on the blog, my phone immediately blows up with friends and family members asking me questions. It seems like a lot of people are curious about trying out a juice cleanse, but are unsure of the best way to go about it. I could seriously talk about juice all day (when did I turn into such a bore??), so let’s cover one of those common juice uncertainties today: When is the right time to do a cleanse?

People do juice cleanses for a number of reasons, and to an extent, that end goal determines when the best time will be. You’ll frequently hear of someone doing a cleanse before a beach vacation or big event (wedding) as a quick way to shed some extra bloat and look his/her best. And that’s a totally valid use of a juice cleanse—I know I always think I look just a little leaner after doing one, and my skin glows by day 3 of a cleanse. But—and that’s one big, bolded, all-caps BUT—the subtle changes in your physical appearance are far and away NOT the biggest benefits of doing a juice cleanse.

Juice cleanses help you reset cravings, and are an amazing way to kickstart a habit of healthy eating. Every time I’ve finished a juice cleanse, the first thing I want to eat is…more juice. Maybe a nice salad. Some fruit. Roasted veggies. Processed, sugary foods don’t even sound appealing after juicing for three days. Your body craves the good stuff, and the best-timed juice cleanse will allow for you to act on those healthy cravings for as long as possible. And that is why, I would argue, you’re not going to get the most out of your cleanse (or money—cleanses can be expensive!) if you do it before a big event or vacation.

What comes with (most) big events and trips? Indulgence. And that’s ok! Maybe I’m just a degenerate, but no vacation or wedding of mine will be void of alcohol and dessert. Doing a juice cleanse and then going on vacation would be like washing my car before driving through mud. I know not everyone is like that, but the bottom line remains the same: To get the most out of a juice cleanse, do it to start a health “streak”, not to prepare for the end of one.

Now that I’ve painted the big picture, here are a couple specific things I consider when scheduling a juice cleanse:

  • Social schedule: You don’t realize how social the act of eating is until you can’t do it. Food is involved in so many of our interactions with others, and I would never set myself up for failure by attempting a juice cleanse if I know I have to go to a friend’s birthday party one day or am meeting up with a relative for lunch the next. I pick a week when I have no social events planned—no FOMO, no problem.
  • Workload: Do you tend to eat more when you’re stressed? I sure do. I try not to schedule juice cleanses during crazy work weeks. In addition, to echo the previous point, if you have a work event or even just a catered meeting, it may make a juice cleanse more difficult. The less you have to test your willpower, the higher your chances at success.
  • The Weekend: The first few cleanses I did, I thought it was a no-brainer to do them on weekdays—much easier to avoid temptation. I’d get through them with ease and then…it’d be the weekend. So much for riding out that kickstarted health streak! I think the best way to do it (for me, anyway) is to plan a cleanse for a weekend when you don’t have any social things planned. This way, you’ll finish the cleanse with five whole days of routine, work and less temptation in front of you. This will allow you to stick to eating healthy and not immediately fall back into old cravings and poor eating habits.
  • Delivery Times/Policy: If you’re ordering a juice cleanse (as opposed to making your own juices at home), when you start will depend on when the company delivers. Some only deliver Tues-Fri, and you will need to start the cleanse within a day or two of delivery—important logistics to consider when planning.

Hopefully that was helpful! If you have any other questions, leave a comment. :)

Have you done a juice cleanse before? How’d you time it?

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Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal BitesThe following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC.

Hey guys! It’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe. For the last few months, I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut. I moved, and while I was still settling into the new kitchen, I fell into a lazy pattern of just walking to Whole Foods to make a salad for dinner or tossing together some quinoa, roasting some veggies, topping with an egg and calling it a day (my go-to easy dinner meal). I missed having yummy snacks and leftovers around the house though, so I’m back at it. Let’s blame the hiatus for the overwhelming number of pictures I included in this post…

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

I was excited to work with FitFluential on developing a recipe using Canadian maple syrup because it’s my favorite way to add sweetness to a recipe without using sugar. 100% pure maple syrup is natural and unprocessed, meaning it has the health benefits of vitamin and mineral content in addition to its amazingly sweet taste. In particular, it’s a great source of manganese and zinc (these minerals aid in muscle recovery—hello, post-workout snack!) and contains 54 different antioxidant compounds. A little fun fact I learned in this project with Pure Canada Maple (Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup) is that the darker the grade of syrup, the higher the antioxidant activity is.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal BitesToday, I’m using my Canadian maple syrup in these yummy cinnamon raisin oatmeal bites. They’re the perfect snack to fuel your workout or to munch on throughout the day. They’re packed with finger-licking gooey deliciousness and taste somewhere between an oatmeal raisin cookie and a bowl of oatmeal with your favorite toppings.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Yield: 18-25 bites (depending on how big you roll the balls)

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (I used gluten-free)
  • 3 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 small banana, mashed (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c raisins
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup shredded almonds, depending on how crunchy you want your bites (if you only have whole almond, just crush them up before mixing in)

Instructions

  1. Put the Canadian maple syrup and almond butter in a small pan and heat over low heat, mixing until warm and fully combined.
  2. Pour over the oats and cinnamon in a big bowl and mix thoroughly. Add in the mashed banana and continue to mix.
  3. Stir in the raisins and almond bits.
  4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Cooling the mixture will make it easier to form into balls (they’re supposed to be a little sticky).
  5. Use a small spoon (I used a teaspoon) to scoop the mixture and roll into small bite-sized balls.

Notes

Store covered in the refrigerator. I divided my batch up into small Ziploc bags before storing the fridge so that I could easily grab them as an on-the-go snack.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/10/28/cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal-bites/

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

For this project, I was also sent a sample of maple water, which I was really excited to try as I’ve seen it popping up in grocery stores lately. It’s the clear water that flows through sugar maple trees, and not at all thick or overwhelmingly sweet like syrup is. It’s actually really refreshing! I’ve been loving using it in smoothies (you can even pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it before tossing into your blender if you want to add some texture to a smoothie). It has half the calories of coconut water and tastes a trillion times better, but I ABHORE coconut water (it tastes like throw-up, you can’t tell me otherwise), so I guess I miiiight be a little biased. :)

Maple WaterHave you ever tried maple water? What’d you think?

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Why Ginger Is a Juicing Superfood

Health Benefits of Ginger (plus tips for juicing it)If you’re into juicing or even have just sipped on the occasional green beverage, you’ve probably noticed that ginger is a common ingredient. It’s one of those foods (like kale, lemon juice and blueberries, to name a few) that you frequently see paired with the word “superfood” or included in top ten lists of miraculous foods you just must be eating right this second. But why?

A lot of people go along with health trends without really knowing why they’re doing so (see: THIS hilarious clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live of gluten-free people not knowing what gluten is)—and I’m guilty of it myself! (Guilty of blindly going along with trends, that is—I know what gluten is haha.) I was talking my friend’s ear off about juice the other day and was asked why I frequently put ginger in mine. I replied that ginger is a natural digestion aid and nausea-soother, but was a little embarrassed that I didn’t really know much beyond that. Don’t you hate that?? You’re talking all passionately about something and then get swiftly reduced from Expert to Queen Bullshitter—the worst. But happens to the best of us, right?…maybe?…humor me? :)

Anyway, to add to my limited knowledge of its ability to cure nausea and stomach aches, I did a little research and thought I’d share some fun facts about ginger. It really is a wonderful addition to juice (and regular meals, of course) and packed with health benefits.

Some Health Benefits of Ginger

  • It’s a remedy for nausea, upset stomachs and cramps. Stomach aches, period cramps, nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, flu symptoms—if it involves your gut feeling lousy, ginger has you covered. It does this by neutralizing stomach acid and absorbing gastrointestinal toxins and hormones.
  • It’s a digestion rockstar. Ginger increases the secretion of digestive enzymes in the stomach, improving the absorption of nutrients.
  • It’s an anti-inflammatory. Ginger inhibits two enzymes that are associated with chronic inflammation (COX and LOX). This applies to all sorts of inflammation—arthritis all the way to inflammation of the colon, which can be a precursor to colon cancer.
  • It can help lower blood pressure. The gingerol in fresh ginger cause a widening of the blood vessel walls. This can help improve circulation and lower blood pressure. I had read before that rubbing ginger on my fingers when I’m having a Raynaud’s episode can help get the blood flowing again to those restricted blood vessels—now I know why!
  • It can help with muscle pain. There was a study showing that taking ginger daily helped reduce exercise-induced muscle pain. In addition to ingestion, you can apply it topically, rubbing it into sore muscles or even arthritic joints (if you have ginger in essential oil form, this would be a great use!).
  • It’s great if you have a head cold or congestion. The gingerol in ginger is similar to capsaisin in chili peppers and spicy foods in that it has that hot, ok-now-I’m-awake effect when crossed with your respiratory airways. It will break up congestion and open up those sinuses. Ginger is also a good immune system booster, activating T cells (those are the white blood cells responsible for killing off cells carrying viruses) and containing antimicrobial compounds that will help ward off the growth of bad bacteria.

Tips for Juicing Ginger

A little goes a long way when it comes to juicing ginger. It doesn’t yield a lot of juice (you probably won’t even see any drip out the juicer if you run it through on its own), but you’ll definitely taste it. I don’t use more than ½-1” of ginger root in a single juice.

I’ve read that you should remove the skin from the chunk of ginger you’re going to put through your juicer, and if it’s non-organic, I would agree with that. Being the lazy person that I am, however, I usually just cut off a small chunk from the root, quickly scrub it under some running water, and then pop it in the juicer, outer skin and all.

Ginger is a great addition to just about any green juice combination you can think up, and also wonderful with carrots (carrots + an orange + ginger = delicious!). Here are a few juice recipes I’ve posted in the past using ginger to get your started:

Do you add ginger to your juices?

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Resources: Kimberly Snyder‘s website and books are always favorite resources when it comes to understanding what certain foods can do to benefit your body. I also found this site helpful. Reboot with Joe is another go-to of mine for juicing info!

Disclosure: The link to ginger essential oil is an affiliate link. I LOVE Mountain Rose Herbs and used them for all my essential oils long before I joined their affiliate program.