Tag Archives: diet

3 Day Juice Cleanse: what, why and results!

After a two of decadent vacations in NYC and Montreal, fiancé and I both felt we needed to give our digestive systems a break.

So we had our fill of black-and-white cookies, donuts, ice cream, poutine, Burgers and fries after midnight, donairs, chips, milkshakes, the odd salad here and there, bottles of wine in the park and desserts galore.

But after it was all said and done, summer officially wrapped up, the leaves started turning yellow, we both decided on a three day juice cleanse each.

Perfect way to start the fall season!

I decided to try the three day juice cleanse at Freshii, because I’m Canadian, and there was a convenient location on the way to work.

Here are some things that I had going for me before the juice cleanse that I recommend:

1. I had a partner to do it with. This helps with morale, motivation and understanding for both of you! It’s a great advantage.

2. I did some research about different juice cleanses in my area.

3. I researched what others had gone through on their cleanses.

So I called the Freshii located on the way to work the day before I wanted to pick up my juices. So exciting!

This cleanse is comprised of four juices, which you drink about 2 to 3 hours apart, water in between and then finally a metaboost salad.

Day one:

  • I drank my juice is in the order that I was supposed to. She had each juice numbered. I didn’t like any of the juices so I drink them quickly, rinsed out the glass with filtered water, drink that quickly and just kept peeing the whole day!
  • After my third juice my head started throbbing, I was getting irritated, hungry, a little slow, and experienced a foggy brain.
  • I drank as much water as I could, went shopping with a supportive girlfriend, and ate my first metaboost salad while she ordered a delicious beef udon soup from the food court!
  • She felt bad, but I told her not to! I knew what I was getting into, and I agreed to do this!
  • I really enjoyed the salad. It had field greens, kale, edamame, mango, goat cheese, almonds, carrots and a balsamic vinegrette.
  • I went to sleep fully hydrated but kind of hungry, wondering what I had gotten myself into.
drink juices every 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart in this order: green energy, carrots zinger, mighty detox, then red power. Photography by Serena Alibhai
approximately 600 cal, spinach, kale and field greens, goat cheese, mango, almonds, carrots, edamame, balsamic vinaigrette
Yes I used ALL the dressing! Salad was very good. Also it satisfied my hunger! 


Day two: 

  • I didn’t wake up feeling hungry. That was odd I thought. I sipped some water and waited a little longer to drink my first juice.
  • I was peeing more today. A lot. Like every two hours for sure. Maybe every hour and a half.
  • I continue to supplement my juices with a cool filtered water immediately after.
  • And then the miracle happens. My eyes become clear. I feel happy. There is extra energy in my step. The words come easy. No more brain fog. No more headaches.
  • The juices are tasting better now. Not like day one, where they were gross.
  • I eat the salad that evening with vigor. I love it.
I didn’t enjoy the juices enough to sip. I gulped them down! 
After drinking each juice, I filled up each container with cold filtered water, gave it a swish and drank that too! 


Day three:

  • I was very impressed with the way my waist looked and felt this morning!
  • I’m dreaming about what I’m going to eat tomorrow. I’m imagining vegetables in a clear broth with rice noodles.
  • For the third night in a row, I’ve had very vivid dreams, complex storylines, a lot of color, vibrancy, and I wake up feeling refreshed. My dreams are interesting movies that I even remember after I wake up!
  • At night I dream about cheating. I dream about eating real food. But instead, I drink water.

Final conclusions and realizations: 

  • Again? Yes, I would do this again. My body felt lighter, clean, better than before.
  • Vivid dreams? First, two days after, explained that one of the symptoms of a juice cleanse is a detoxification of the penial gland, deep inside the brain. This results in vivid clear dreams.
  • Weight loss? I lost five pounds, and so did my fiancée, on a different juice cleanse. But I don’t expect to keep that weight loss. What I loved though: I kept two pounds off a week later.
  • Cost? Was it worth it? This juice cleanse cost $80 for three days. Totally worth it. Convenient. Simple. Worked for me.

Feel free to ask questions you guys!!

xxSerena

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Fat-burning cabbage vegetable kombu soup 

After a week of eating out, shovelling in the delicious savoury cooked delights that my city has to offer…

 

I decided I need a break.
When I’m serious about it, losing a few pounds and getting back to normal, I make either a mung bean lentil soup or a cabbage-based soup.

I decided to make a cabbage soup with a crown of broccoli, a chopped red onion, two strips of kombu, celery, carrots and some vegetable bouillon. 


I bought the seaweed in dried squares, added it into the soup like an herb bouquet, and then threw it out after it had been in the soup for a few hours.

Are used to to make my batch but I realize now that you only need one because it swells up and expands. The reason for the seaweed is that it adds great benefits to the broth.

The recipe is easy. I started with only a teaspoon of olive oil, chopped small red onion, 10 black peppercorns, about 10 fennel seeds and they cooked that for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then I added the chopped celery and carrot.


Then came the cabbage, broccoli and the water, of which I added enough to fill the pot, probably 8 to 10 cups.


Then I added the combo seaweed and one vegetable flavouring pack, in the form of a gel. 


I simmered the soup for 20 to 25 minutes and then added fresh herbs. I used thyme, sage, Italian parsley and some rosemary.


Drink as much soup as you can, exercise, sleep well, drink lots of water, go for massage and feel better!

xxSerena 

The benefits of eating a green salad every day

Salad greens provide fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain optimal health. 

Think of these simple green leaves as vitamins grown directly from the earth, up through the soil, made for humans and animals to eat.

You can dress it up or go the more plain route… But it is so good for your body if you eat a salad every day.

 

Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
  
 
Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
  
Photography by Serena Alibhai
 
For those of you who prefer more quantitative benefits here is a chart:

  
Do you eat a salad every day? What are your favourite kinds of salads?

xxSerena 

How and where to store your groceries

Storing your groceries properly can be confusing. How do you know how long something will last? Where is the best place to store it?

Here is a handy chart to help you organize and plan:

  
Do you agree with this chart?

xxSerena 

Healthy benefits of various starches

Starches are great for your body. Throughout the world, in for the past centuries, human beings have lived off of starch. Today many starches are over processed, removing the most healthy part of the food.

 

Plaintain at dinner. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Here is a helpful chart to illustrate the healthy benefits of  starches:

Item Carbohydrate g per 100g serving Fiber g per 100g serving Carbohydrate g per 1cup serving Portion Size Notes Other Notable Nutrients
cassava 38 2 78 1c= 206g Vitamin C, Thiamin, Folate, Potassium, Manganese
taro root 35 5 46 1c= 132g Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, potassium, manganese
plantains 31 2 48 1c= 154g (slices) Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium
yam 27 4 37 1c= 136g (cubed) Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Potassium
white potato, peeled 22 1 27 1c= 122g Not much very high, some Vitamin C
sweet potato 21 3 58 1c= 328g (mashed) Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron (non-heme), Vitamin E
parsnips 17 4 27 1c= 178g (sliced) Vitamin C, Manganese.
lotus root 16 3 19 1c= 120g (sliced) Vitamin C.
acorn squash 15 4 31 1c= 205g Vitamin C.
onion 10 1 21 1c= 210g (chopped) Vitamin C, Potassium.
beets 10 2 17 1c= 170g (sliced) Folate, Manganese.
carrots 10 3 13 1c= 128g (chopped) Vitamin A, Vitamin K,
butternut squash 10  – 22 1c= 205g Vitamin A, Vitamin C
jicama (raw) 9 5 12 1c= 130g (slices) Vitamin C.
kohlrabi 7 1 12 1c = 165g Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper, Manganese
spaghetti squash 6 1 9 1c= 155g Not very many. 

This table can help you eat a variety of starches. Use it to give you ideas on healthy ways to incorporate starch in your diet. It’s good for your body, fills you up and is delicious!

 

Peeled butternut squash. Photography by Serena Alibhai

 
Sweet potatoes. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

How often do you incorporate starches from this list into your diet? How do you eat them?

xxSerena 

Did you know? The darker the banana the better…? 

Ripe bananas have some pretty powerful nutritional benefits. 

  
So ripe bananas not only taste better but as the banana ripens it gets more and more healthy. Are you one of those people who can’t eat a banana if there are any spots on it?

Or are you like me, where the darker the banana the sweeter and softer it is in the more you enjoy it?

Enjoy your bananas!

xxSerena 

A plant-based trip to the Chinese market

Plant based food contain a high number of nutrients, high amount of fibre and of course low in fat. 

Sometimes just walking around the market can inspire you to cook a new vegetable.

 

Broccoli at the Chinese market. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

Who knows what color of vegetable will strike your fancy. There are so many recipes for vegetables.

 

Chinese eggplant. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Eat the rainbow. Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Chinese broccoli ( Gai-lan ) Photography by Rizwan Alvi
 
Fresh ginger for sale at the Chinese market. Photography by Rizwan Alvi

Does this inspire you to cook with plant-based foods? Have you used to these ingredients before?

Have a great, happy, healthy week!

xxSerena 

Intermittent fasting help: “I’m too hungry to fast at night!”

Just a reminder about what intermittent fasting is: you aren’t cutting calories. You’ve already calculated your BMI and BMI so you know how many calories you need to eat every day to achieve your goal of either losing weight, maintaining it or gaining weight.

You don’t cut calories when you are doing intermittent fasting! You are simply eating your daily calories within an 8-hour window of time.

For example, if you start eating at 12 noon, you stop eating at 7 p.m. You don’t eat after 7 p.m. and when I started this was my personal schedule. I would work out at about 11 a.m., eat at noon or one and stop eating (begin my “fast”) between 7 or 8 p.m.

So for those of you who are used to late night snaking this poses a problem! What if you get WAY too hungry at night to stick to the intermittent fasting eating window and fasting times?

Here are some of my personal tips and hints to curb the appetite late at night:

  1. Drink water.

Now I know some of you will scoff at this. But try this first. Hunger is often disguised as thirst and remember, you are allowed to drink water, in fact encouraged to drink water during intermittent fasting periods.

 

Make sure you drink enough water. It’s a good idea to carry around a handy-dandy water bottle. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

2.  Eat nutrient dense foods during the day.

These are foods that pack a nutritional punch and fill you up. They are foods like vegetables, oatmeal, whole grains, fruit. Vegetables and fruit have skin which contains vitamins and fibre that keep the body healthy and full. Same with fruit. Whole grains contain the husk, which contains vitamins and also more fibre. This will help curb your appetite at night.

 

Choose nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

 

Fighting directly from the farmer is best. You can also buy organic fruit & vegetables in the store. Photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto

3.  Don’t forget to eat your calories!

No restrictions! Eat all of the calories you are allotted. If you want to gain an advantage, focus on making those calories good clean food, plant based foods, not processed, try and cook at home. There are so many healthy, inexpensive delicious meals that can be prepared in your own kitchen.

 

Eat enough calories and enjoy your food. photography by Rizwan Alvi @rizwanalvifoto 

Remember, giving your digestive system a rest helps the body perform other important functions like muscle repair, immunity and neuron support. Allowing time for your food to digest is healthy.

What do you think? Do you eat a lot of food at night before you go to sleep?

xxSerena

Tomato pimento cheese sandwiches

Post workout can feel that you want to eat big, high protein and high carb. 

Today after my post workout fitness class, I taught a Tred n shred class at the gym, I was craving tomato and cheese sandwiches.

So I bought some bread that was relatively high in protein and fiber:

  
You can use any kind of sliced cheese. I used the pimento cheese that I make. I wrote a blog about it, so check it out. Cheese on both sides of the bread. Tomato in the middle.

   
 The trick to slicing the tomatoes is to do it thinly. And season your tomatoes with salt and pepper:

  
And voilà! A great post workout vegetarian sandwich. Tomato and pimento cheese on whole grain bread.

  
What are some of your favorite vegetarian sandwiches? What is your favorite version of a tomato and cheese sandwich?

xxSerena

Can drinking soup help you lose weight?

Soup and salad seem to be those side foods, don’t they? We don’t take them seriously. They aren’t mains. They’re a ‘by-the-way’ kind of afterthought like that hard roll we may or may not eat. Kind of like previews to the movie. Not totally satiating but more mildly interesting – sometimes good but mostly just watery stuff that needs more salt or pepper.

I’ve been drinking various soups all week and I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it.

 

Cream of cauliflower soup. Photography by Serena Alibhai

   
Certain soups, however, are high in fat-burning veggies, the broth contains the vitamins and minerals needed to help fight disease and ever notice how much soup can fill you up?

Recent research shows that eating soup can curb appetite, making you feel full faster. It’s also a good way to get in nutrient dense foods, those foods that are high in nutrients per calorie. Much different from simple foods that may be high in sugar, simple carbs like white flour, oil or salt. Those foods are high on immediate flavor but once they satisfy your tongue aren’t doing much for all the complex processes your body needs nutrients to perform.

How can you make a basic delicious vegetable soup?

Start with a base of spices and veggies to set the flavor foundation. So in a large pot cook dry spices or herbs of your choice with diced onion, carrot and celery. The spices I like are dry crushed thyme, black peppercorns, a bay leaf, a small stick of cinnamon, a couple of cloves, a couple of cardamom pods, salt, pepper, celery salt, garlic pepper or herbs de Provence. Then add about two liters of cold filtered water and a vegetable or chicken bullion (stock or flavor) cube.

Then add what veggies you like such as chopped broccoli, diced squash, cauliflower, spinach, etc. Here are some more ideas of what you can add to your nutrient dense healthy vegetable soup:

Powerhouse-Fruits-and-Veggies

The higher the nutrient density score on that list, the higher the nutrients per calorie of food. But everything on that list is super nutrient dense and if you’re eating a grapefruit a day then you’re on your way to increasing nutrient dense healthy foods into your diet! I always remember a conversation I overheard I heard once in a busy ferry station on the way to Staten Island. A very lean and muscular fitness trainer was telling the guys who worked at the snack store about healthy eating habits. I always remember he said “Oh and I do this – Eat a grapefruit every day!” A citrus fruit high in antioxidants and vitamin C, in my opinion, is a great addition to any diet.

I’ve been choosing to add more soup and salad to my diet this week and I notice how much better it makes me feel. It’s less heavy than many of the “main” options, easy to make and I notice how full I get as opposed to when I eat more sugary/doughy foods, which after eating, I feel like still eating!

Do you like soup and salad? What kinds? Would you consider having a soup or salad as a main course at least once a week or do you already eat that way?

xxSerena