‘Tis the season… 

Stuffy noses, coughs, and sneezes, oh my! I am very aware of cold season because the snot factor in my classroom increases exponentially. Sorry for that visual. So, I am being proactive this year! Yogi tea, healing soup, and neti-potting have already started at my house and I’m very hopeful that this year I won’t catch the kindergarten crud. Here are a few recipes to help warm your soul.

Step 1… 

Yogi tea. This homemade tea straight from Yogi Bhajan himself will help boost your immune system and fight the winter crud. (Original recipe found on the Birmingham Yoga website.)

Ingredients… 

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 30 cloves
  • 30 black peppercorns
  • 30 cardamom pods
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 inch of ginger (or more) thinly sliced
  • 1 tea bag of black tea (leave out if you are sensitive to caffeine or planning to drink at night)
  • *Milk/almond milk or honey to add taste — Milk helps to ease the shock of the spices on the stomach and intestines so drink with milk if you’re sensitive.

Directions… 

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add all spices except the black tea bag. Boil 30-45 minutes. If you want a stronger brew boil longer and add more water as needed.
  3. At the end, add black tea bag and boil another 5 minutes. **The black tea is added last because it amalgamates the spices and seals them. Also the tannins help assimilate the spices into the body.
  4. Add milk and sweetener to an individual cup as you desire. This will allow you to store the raw tea in the fridge and prepare with milk and sweeteners as you like.
  5. If you go cup by cup, you can leave the raw tea on the stove on the lowest flame to enjoy all day.

Step 2… 

Jala neti. Jala Neti is a nasal cleansing technique that rinses the sinuses with warm saline with the aid of a teapot-like vessel called a neti pot. It helps to lubricate and cleanse your nasal passages.

Ingredients…

  • Distilled or previously boiled water
  • non-iodized salt or over the counter mixtures (I use Neil-Med)
  • Neti pot

Directions… 

  1. Pour a cup of warm water (sterilized by boiling the water or purchasing distilled water)into a neti pot.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (kosher or sea salt or I use over-the-counter mixtures that can be found in the pharmacy section of your grocery store), stirring until it dissolves.
  3. Insert the spout into your left nostril, lean over the sink, and tilt your head slightly to the right so the water flows through the sinus passages and out of the right nostril.
  4. Gently blow your nose and repeat on the other side.

Step 3… 

Healing soup. Adapted from The Clean Eating Mama.

Ingredients… 

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups sweet potato or russet potato (about 1 large potato)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • handfuls of herbs on hand: basil, parsley, thyme (if using fresh, chop and add towards the end). I added dried herbs at the beginning and tasted throughout.
  • any fresh vegetables on hand – I used the last little harvest of tomatoes and okra from our garden. What’s more healing than veggies grown in your own back yard?!

Directions… 

  1. In a large heavy bottom pot (or dutch oven), heat on medium and add oil. Let the oil heat for a few minutes. Add copped onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Let cook down for a few minutes until onion is soft. Add remaining vegetables, dried herbs, salt and pepper and let cook down for about 10 minutes or so.
  2. Add liquid of choice (water or vegetable stock) and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat to medium/low and cover with lid. Stir occasionally. Let cook for an hour or so. You can always add more water if it becomes too thick. For this vegetable soup you want it to be rather brothy because this is where the where the healing magic is!

Happy Fall y’all!

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Winter health tips…

I have a problem with my sinuses every Fall/Winter and this year it hit me and it hit me fast. I’m going to be honest with you… I believe in a mixture of western medications and holistic remedies. I’m not going to tell you that all I do for my health is take Wellness Formula, use my neti pot twice daily, and sleep with a humidifier. When my head feels like it’s about to explode I take over the counter congestion relief and it works amazingly well. But here’s my deal… I pair it with holistic and Ayurvedic remedies and try not to take the medication for more than a few days. If I need a round of antibiotics to fight off a bad sickness I do it because it works. And when I’m done I pump myself full of Kombucha and healthy fats to get my digestive balance back. Just because you claim to be a natural healthy person doesn’t mean you have to swear off western meds all together (just my little soap box).

So I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite holistic remedies to help you feel well and balanced all through the colder months… (recipes curtsy of Birmingham Yoga)

Winter Kitchadi – Moong Beans and Rice… Kitchadi (Kitcheree) is known in Ayurveda as the food that many turn to when illness calls and we need something warm, light, and restorative. Using a range of herbs and spices, Ayurveda devises kitchadi can heal various diseases. This recipe is used as an Ayurvedic cleansing therapy because of its ease of digestion and assimilation. Kitchadi is especially helpful in the winter to bring balance to our bodies as the season changes from warm to cold.

Kitchadi

I added zuchinni and sweet potato to my kitchadi. Yum.

  • 2 Tbs – Ghee (clarified butter) or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1  Inch – Ginger Sliced
  • 3/5 Cloves – Garlic Chopped
  • Mustard Seeds 10-20
  • 1/2 tsp – Turmeric
  • 1 tsp – Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp – Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp  – Masala (optional) and or chili’s or hot sauce (optional) *Adds a lot of flavor*
  • 2 – Bay Leaves
  • 1 Cup – Green Mung Daal (soaked overnight) *Use sprouted mung beans for quicker prep (no pre-soaking)*
  • 1 Cup or 2 Cups (if you have gas)- Rice (I recommend brown basmati)
  • 2 Cups or 4 Cups – Water
  • Veggies(carrots,beets and beet greens, zucchini,celery, kale sweet potato whatever you like)
  • Pepper
  • Rock salt or Sea Salt/Braggs Amino Acids add as you like.

There are a few ways to cook this recipe…

  1. In dutch oven or large pot cover pre-soaked beans with water and salt, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  While the beans are cooking you can begin to heat your spices.  Take a saute pan heat ghee or coconut oil, add onions & ginger saute until onions are clear. Add garlic, mustard seeds and wait until seeds pop then add next five ingredients, saute for a couple of minutes and set aside.  When the beans are soft you can add onion mixture, uncooked rice (for every cup of rice add double the amount of water) water and bring back to a boil, cover and lower heat and cook for another 20 minutes until rice is done. Add chopped vegetables to your liking and cook until vegetable are Al Dente about 5-10 minutes add pepper, salt or Braggs and chili’s/hot sauce.
  2. You could do the above recipe in the same manner except cook the rice separately while the beans are simmering.
  3. You could cook in a pressure cooker.   Take pressure cooker and heat ghee or coconut oil, add onions & ginger saute until onions until clear. Add garlic, mustard seeds and wait until seeds pop then add next five ingredients, saute for a couple of minutes then add water, beans, rice and veggies.  Pressure cooker takes about 20-25 minutes.

If you want to make it a little more hearty you could also add cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt and a few tortillas.  Along with a nice salad.

I personally like to top my Kitchadi with nutritional yeast, a splash of sesame oil, and a little clarified butter (ghee).

Tea! I love tea. This was my first time to make this amazing recipe of Yogi Tea from my teacher, Akasha Ellis at Birmingham Yoga. Since I made it at night for the first time at night I didn’t add the black tea and it was very tasty! I don’t know if it was because of the tea, but I had the best night of sleep. For the past few days I have had this tea twice daily; in the morning with the black tea for a little pick-me-up and without the black tea at night. I hope you enjoy this yummy tea!

Yogi Tea ingredients

Homemade Yogi Tea!

“When Yogi Bhajan was a military commander in India there was an epidemic among the troops. He ordered all of his men to fill their canteens with yogi tea and drink nothing else, not even water. His Battalion was the only unit that didn’t get sick! Yogi tea purifies the blood, lungs and circulatory system. It cleans the liver and has many more unseen benefits. It’s good to drink this tea every day.” ~ Birmingham Yoga website

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 30 Cloves
  • 30 whole Green Cardamon pods
  • 30 whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 inch or more of fresh Ginger, thinly sliced
  • 5 sticks Cinnamon
  • 1 teabag, Black Tea (leave out if sensitive to caffeine or planning to drink at night)
  • *Milk and Honey/Maple syrup to taste or Almond Milk.
  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Add all spices except black tea bag. Boil 30 -45 min. If you want to make it stronger boil longer and add more water as needed.
  3. At the end add black tea bag and boil another 5 min.
    **The black tea is added last because it amalgamates the spices and sort of seals them. Also the tannins help assimilate the spices into the body.
  4. Add milk & sweetener to an individual cup as you require.  This will allow you to store the raw tea in the fridge and prepare with milk and sweeteners as you like.
  5. If you go cup by cup, you can leave the raw tea on the stove on the lowest flame to enjoy all day.

**Milk helps to ease the shock of the spices on the stomach and intestines so drink with milk if you’re sensitive.

**Note: for a stronger tea you can let the spices sit and sink to the bottom.

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Last year’s post on winter wellness: When this yogi gets sick… 

Happy Fall y’all,

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Detoxifying lifestyle…

I admit the first time I did a juice fast I wanted to drop a few pounds. And it continues to be a perk of cleansing, but there us so much more to it. Detoxing was never meant to be a 3-day crash diet, but a daily lifestyle to help your body function at its optimal level. Besides the fact that juice cleanses make me feel great I wanted to research why. In my research, I’ve learned that our bodies store excess toxins (most commonly in fat cells) and the only way to flush them out is with a detox regimen. Specifically, alkaline liquids are great at doing this job. An alkaline liquid is any liquid with a pH over 7.0 (anything under pH of 7.0 is considered acidic). Maintaining a slightly alkaline pH is important for optimal health.

The most commonly found toxins… 

  • Metals… like lead and mercury
  • Chemicals… like parabens and BPA
  • Pesticides… from the food we eat

Flush it out with these alkaline liquids… use as a part of a daily regimen 

  • Warm water with lemon… As easy as it sounds. Boil water and add the juice of 1/2 lemon. Drink every morning before you have breakfast, brush your teeth, or drink any other liquids.
  • Apple cider vinegar… The natural enzymes in ACV naturally helps to balance your bodies pH. It helps stimulate cardiovascular circulation, detoxify the liver, and cleanse the lymph nodes. Add 2 tablespoons of ACV to 16 oz. of water. Add honey if you need to add flavor and sip throughout the day.
  • Green juices… When you juice fresh fruits and vegetables nutrients are absorbed quickly and efficiently. Your nutrient intake is also increased exponentially. Put simply, you will eat more quantity and a wider variety of vegetables in juice form than you would if they were in their original solid form.
  • Super greens… Kale, spinach, and broccoli, oh my! Super greens are a type of green produce that are very dense both in color and flavor. This is due to their high nutrient content. Super greens are usually very dark in color, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and chard. Benefits of super greens include that they are high in phytonutrients, are a good source of fiber, provide digestive enzymes and help to heal tissues.
  • Salads… Make a salad out of those super greens!

So no, you don’t have to juice fast to get the healthy rewards of detoxing. I do like to juice cleanse every once in a while, but these detox lifestyle remedies are a great way to keep my body happy in between cleanses.

Preventative strategies… keep the toxins out

  • Eat real, whole foods… such as fresh produce, eggs, milk, whole grain rolled oats, etc. These foods are not processed or minimally processed and thus easier for your body to absorb nutrients and digest.
  • Buy seasonal, local, organic produce… Hello farmer’s market. Foods sold at your local farmers market are not only usually organic/mindfully grown, but they didn’t have to travel half way across the world to get to you.
  • Wash your produce… Washing helps to get any left over chemicals/pesticides off of your non-organic produce.
  • Get good sleep… 7.5 to 8.5 hours each night. Adequate sleep improves mood, immune function, and overall performance.
  • Exercise regularly… Yoga anyone? 30 minutes a day is all you need! Exercise improves mood, flexibility, strength, and even detoxification!
  • Drink lots of water… Water naturally flushes your system… And you’ll feel much better at the end of the day than if you drank soda all day.

Happy detoxing,

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When this yogi gets sick…

The combination of the weather changing, stress from grad-school midterms, and working with children brought my immune system down. Quick. It would be nice to say that I have an immune system of steel with being a teacher and you know, all the yoga. But I don’t. So here are a few things that help me bounce back almost as quickly as I went down…

FOOD…

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup…

When you’re sick what’s the first thing you think of to eat? Soup. What kind? Chicken noodle soup. But when you’re a vegetarian the thought of chicken noodle soup without the chicken (aka. noodle water) doesn’t sound too appealing. I’ve been making this soup for a few years and it’s definitely my favorite homemade soup. This time of year butternut squash is in season and all over the place! I always buy some as soon as I see it in the store. There’s also just something about making homemade soup that instantly soothes your soul.

creamy vegan butternut squash soup

Ingredients…

  • 1 teaspoon organic expeller pressed canola oil (preferred) or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced (about 1 large onion)
  • 4 cups butternut squash, skin removed, roughly diced into 3/4 inch cubes (about 3/4 large squash)
  • 2 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 3/4 cup organic apple cider (also easy to find this time of year!)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 star anise (whole)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill whole grain rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Directions…

  1. Warm oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pot or dutch oven over low-medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, making sure not to brown.
  2. Add squash, stock, 1 1/4 cup cider, star anise, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover, remove star anise, add oats, spices, and continue to simmer, covered for another 10 minutes. Or until squash softens and begins to fully dissolve.
  4. Turn off heat. Add water and remaining apple cider and immediately transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Transfer to a strong blender, and blend until creamy smooth. Blend in batches if necessary. Transfer back into sauce pot, add remaining salt (optional) and warm again as desired. Ladle into your favorite bowl and enjoy!
  6. Find the original recipe posting here: Holiday Menu 2011

HOLISTIC HEALTH ROUTINES…

Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins… In pill form my choices are Source Naturals Wellness Formula (2 or 3 a day) and Rainbow Light Women’s One. In powder form I like the Almased Synergy Diet Powder. This powder is packed with protein, and all your essential vitamins: A, C, E, B6, Calcium & iron. This can also be used as a meal replacement shake, but for the purposes of building my immune system, I only use it as a big kick of protein and vitamins.

Jala Neti… Break out your Neti Pot. It’s that time of year. Jala Neti is a nasal cleansing technique that rinses the sinuses with warm saline with the aid of a teapot-like vessel called a neti pot. According to yoga tradition, it equalizes the flow of breath between the nostrils and balances the ida and pingala nadis – the two energy channels that pave the way for inner exploration.

Pour a cup of warm water (sterilized by boiling the water or purchasing distilled water) into a neti pot. Add 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (kosher or sea salt or I use over-the-counter mixtures that can be found in the pharmacy section of your grocery store), stirring until it dissolves. Insert the spout into your left nostril, lean over the sink, and tilt your head slightly to the right so the water flows through the sinus passages and out of the right nostril. Gently blow your nose and repeat on the other side.

Humidify your home… It’s no wonder we get sick in the more often in the winter. When the temperature goes down outdoors so does the moisture level (especially in Sweet Home Alabama), so what do we do? Pump our homes with dry heat. Our sinuses need moisture in the air to keep lubricated and stay healthy. The first thing I try to do is to resist turning on the heat until the last minute. This year, I caved when my little apartment hit 62 degrees. So I turned on my humidifier to keep moisture in the air. Of course, it probably would have helped if I started this before I got sick. Lesson learned.

Hot showers… Same concept as the humidifier. Hot showers generate steam which moisturizes your sinuses and allows you to breathe. They also just feel awesome.

Warm water with lemon… Before you brush your teeth, eat, or drink coffee, mix the juice of half a lemon in a cup of warm water (with an optional pinch of rock salt and 1/2 teaspoon of local honey), and drink up. This drink flushes the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract and stimulates your agni (digestive fire) so you’re ready to metabolize breakfast.

Herbal tea… When my throat hurts all I want are warm liquids. I have a pretty large stockpile of Yogi Tea & Tazo teas. Some with caffeine and some not. Some of my favorites are Awake English Breakfast made by Tazo (I add 1/2 teaspoon of local honey, yum) and Bedtime made by Yogi Tea.

Yogi Tea

Light yoga… And I mean light! No all out, sweaty, twisty, inverted yoga here. Take it easy, your body needs restorative poses when you’re sick. For my spine I lay on my back and do gentle twists and let my legs drop side to side, for my hamstrings I sit up and stretch forward over my legs in paschimottonasana (seated forward bend), for my legs and side-body I put the soles of my feet together in baddha konasana (butterfly) and stretch side to side and forward, and I’ll sit in virasana (hero pose) just because it’s my favorite pose and feels so good on my quads and knees. Think any pose that you could do from your bed… which is where I do all of the above poses! No yoga mat needed.

Happy Fall y’all,

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Beach ready yogi…

It’s officially summer time! Are you a beach ready yogi? I didn’t feel like it! Not with work, grad school, nightly homework, projects, and trying not to neglect my dog. So here’s what I did for the two weeks leading up to my beach trip:

Breakfast… 

  • green smoothie
  • herbal tea with honey (local honey is best)
breakfast green smoothie

breakfast green smoothie

Snack… a fat and a fruit to give you energy and keep you full

  • celery with peanut butter (add raisins if you like)
  • apple with peanut butter
  • ***sun butter (sunflower-seed butter) works great if you have a nut allergy***

Lunch… I used to be completely against frozen entrees until I found the Amy’s brand. No preservatives and so yummy. And I had to compromise somewhere with my lack of time.

  • Amy’s frozen lunch 
  • any other sensible lunch that includes a carb, protein, and vegetable

Snack… Watch your quantities. I prepare it ahead of time and bring it to class with me. Bringing the whole box of crackers is always a bad idea.

  • fruit with peanut butter (I like to use a half apple or banana)
  • cheese and crackers with fruit

Dinner… Here’s what I think is the most important part. Juice for dinner! Super kick of vegetables and gives your digestive tract a short fast every night. Also, if you don’t get home until 8pm like me, it’s too late to eat a full meal but you’re hungry!

  • fresh juice! 
Green juice sponsored by my friend's wedding...

Green juice sponsored by my friend’s wedding…

My secret cheat… For when I just have to have some chocolate. It’s an addiction, we’re all human.

  • Dark chocolate square with a scoop of peanut butter. 

I’m an ingredient snob. Look at the ingredients list, not the nutrition facts… you can find out a lot more. In the above foods this means check out your peanut butter, frozen lunches, crackers, and cheese.

At the beach… 

  • Go to the grocery store… We stocked up on healthy snack items, sandwich stuff for lunch on the beach, and green smoothie ingredients. (We ended up with: Spinach, mango, banana, strawberries, apples, watermelon, pineapple, bread, cheese, avocado, deli meat, peanut butter, peanut/raisin/cranberry trail mix)
  • Go on walks/runs… We brought our dogs so this one was easy to remember to do. We walked once in the morning and once at night. In the morning it’s not too hot and at night we waited until sunset so it was cool. It felt great to walk twice a day and vacay with our babies.
Our morning walks included duck watching...

Our morning walks included duck watching…

  • Find a local yoga studio… This is a must. I love visiting new studios and experiencing new teachers. I found a studio right in the area we were staying. Walking distance is definitely a plus!
I spy a yoga studio!

I spy a yoga studio!

  • Bring your blender… I left my juicer at home but I brought my blender. Nothing fancy, just a small single serving blender and I continued to have green smoothies for breakfast. It made me feel light and ready to put on my bikini! (Beach condos usually provide you with a blender but I brought mine just in case)
  • Yoga on the beach… because it’s fun!
Yoga on a cloudy day...

Yoga on a cloudy day…

Shanti,

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Detox without the fast…

I’ve had some people tell me that they just cannot juice fast, “I have to eat!” (which I totally understand). Juice fasting is not for everyone, mostly for health reasons. But health reasons or not, I was inspired by Vegetarian Times to let you know how to detox your body without a juice-fast. Of course, adding juice to this cleanse will not hurt! Juicing along with other diets is always welcome!

Detox your diet… 

Detox diets have become an enduring trend among health-conscious consumers—and with good reason. “Consuming products such as dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can burden the system and cause reactions as varied as headaches, digestive upset, tiredness, cravings and increased susceptibility to colds,” says Cathy Wong, ND, CNS, author of The Inside Out Diet: 4 Weeks to Natural Weight Loss and Total Body Health and Radiance. But by focusing on fresh, whole, unprocessed foods and eating “clean” many of these health problems disappear, says Wong, who offers these detox diet tips:

1. Clean up your act... For the next seven days, steer clear of caffeine; alcohol; sugar; gluten; and meat, eggs, and dairy products. Why ban these bad boys? Many of them (alcohol, caffeine, animal fat) are acid-forming—preventing the body from functioning optimally—and can interfere with liver function (alcohol) or upset the body’s energy levels (alcohol, caffeine, sugar), says Wong. Plus, food sensitivities or intolerances to gluten and dairy in particular can cause a multitude of health woes. “Food intolerances also place a greater demand on the liver and, over time, can place great stress on the body and increase blood sugar, cortisol, and insulin,” Wong says.

2. Eat light—and right... Your diet should now consist of foods that promote digestion, are anti-inflammatory and/or have liver-protecting properties. On that list: fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, raw nuts and seeds (unless you suspect an intolerance or allergy), gluten-free grains (such as brown rice and quinoa), healthful oils (such as olive, avocado, and almond) and detoxifying seasonings (such as ginger, turmeric, cilantro, and cayenne). Wong especially recommends broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables because they contain compounds that speed up detoxification.

3. Opt for organic... The last thing you want when detoxing is chemicals in your food—which is why Wong recommends eating organic as much as your budget will allow, with a particular emphasis on the foods on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list (find it at ewg.org/foodnews) as well as corn and soy (high on the risk list of genetically modified organisms). Can’t find organic? “Thorough scrubbing and using a natural fruit and vegetable wash can help remove some of the pesticide residues from conventionally grown produce,” Wong notes.

clean15

4. Ease in and out... Try to plan your detox for a week when you’ll be able to get plenty of rest. “It’s common to experience headaches, bloating, and tiredness a few days into the cleanse,” says Wong, who recommends Beano for gas and says it’s OK for coffee drinkers experiencing headaches or fatigue to replace their java with green tea (“Try to limit consumption to 1 to 2 cups per day,” she advises). After the cleanse, introduce foods back into your diet gradually—not just for the sake of your system, but to better understand which ones might be best left out for good. “Keep a food journal, noting reactions to any foods such as dairy and gluten,” Wong says.

More detox ideas by Cathy Wong… there’s a lot more you can do to expedite the elimination of toxins from your system. So add the following steps to your regimen, as outlined by Cathy Wong, ND, CNS:

1. Drink up… Strive for at least eight glasses of water a day. “Staying well hydrated can help remove metabolic waste from the body and prevent constipation, hunger, and tiredness,” Wong notes. “Noncaffeinated herbal tea, fresh vegetable juice, and soup also count toward your fluid intake.”

2. Get moving… Now is not the time to take on an extreme workout program, but Wong recommends about 30 minutes a day of light to moderate activity such as walking, stretching, and yoga. “Exercise boosts circulation and improves digestion, which promotes the elimination of toxins from bowels,” she says. “People also tend to notice that they sleep better and have an improved mood, which helps them to cope during a detox diet.”

3. Scrub-a-dub… Use a natural-bristle brush on dry skin before bathing, and then try a contrast shower, alternating bouts of the hottest water you can stand for three minutes followed by 30 seconds of the coldest water you can handle. “Toxins are eliminated through skin, so dry brushing and contrast showers can help promote circulation and allow toxins to escape,” Wong explains.

4. Supplement your system… A variety of nutrients, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, magnesium, and selenium help support the detoxification process, so Wong suggests taking a good multivitamin. “I also recommend 200 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which protects cell membranes from oxidative damage due to toxins,” Wong says.

More about Cathy Wong… www.CathyWong.com 

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References… Vegetarian Times

Birmingham Juice Project…

I just finished another juice fast and this time my juicer took a rest! I purchased a 5-day juice fast from a high school friend of mine that started the Birmingham Juice Project. Let me tell you, this juice fast was so easy! I’ve been wanting to do a juice fast but thought it was impossible while working. (Who has enough time to juice every morning for the whole day?) So let me count the ways that I love the BJP…

  • Juice prepared for you, no need for a juicer
  • Vegan Nut Mylk (aka. NoMu/Cashew Mylk). This stuff is good! It has your essential fatty acids and keeps you full
  • Fresh, cold-pressed juice
  • Eco friendly packaging
  • You get 5, 16 oz. juices per day plus the NoMu! That’s 96 oz. per day!
  • Home delivery
Fridge is stocked for days 1-3!

Fridge is stocked for days 1-3!

Meet the Juices…

  • #1 (Popeye+) is for kidneys and intestines (kale,spinach, parsley, green apples, lemons)
  • #2 (Yogi) is for lungs (kale, d’anjou pear, cucumber, green apple, mint)
  • #3 (La Flaca) is for metabolism (graperfruit, fennel, green apple, ginger)
  • #4 (Spicy Sangria) is for metabolism and mucous (catarrh) buildup (kale, green grapes, green apples, jalapeno, cucumber, spinach)
  • #5 (Postgame) is for liver, blood, energy, and digestion (beets, carrots, green apple, ginger, lemon)
  • Cashew mylk is for holding you over and replenishing magnesium stores, protein, and fatty acids (water, organic cashews, medjool dates, celtic sea salt)

My favorites are #2 – Yogi (go figure) and #3 – La Flaca. I also really like the #4 – Spicy Sangria, I would have never thought to put jalapeno in my juice but it gives it a subtle kick.

A daily journal…

Day 1… Since I work with kids I was worried about bathroom breaks. I can’t just leave the room whenever I want… but it was no problem at all! Actually, I think the fast was easier while working. It kept my mind off food and I had virtually no cravings. I did have to take an extra bathroom break, but no bathroom emergencies!

p.s. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and my school is overloaded with sweets! It was easier than you would think to resist the chocolate, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and donuts!

Day 2… I realized this morning that I forgot to drink Juice #4 yesterday. Yes, I am so satisfied from the juices that I completely forgot one! I got off work around 3:30pm, came home and took Bailey for a walk then finished my nut milk then went straight for #3. Around 8pm I reached straight for #5 and didn’t even realize! Whoops!

Teacher Appreciation Week continues and I continue juicing. I feel so good. At first I thought doing the fast this week was a mistake but it turns out that I’m actually glad that I’m not able to eat the sweets. I feel good at the end of the day instead of regretting eating a brownie (or three). I’m still going strong and not hungry AT ALL! I taught my yoga class tonight and I felt really strong. No lack of energy here!

Day 3… It is so easy just to pack my lunch box with 2 bottles of juice and head out the door! I love that the work has been done for me and all I have to do is enjoy the cleansing feeling! I am still surprised that I am not craving the Teacher Appreciation Week foods… I am so full from the amount (and nutritional quality) of the juices that it is easy to resist.

Freshly juiced and delivered for days 4-5!

Freshly juiced and delivered for days 4-5!

Day 4… I’m not hungry and not having any specific cravings… but I just want to put a piece of food in my mouth! Lunch was provided for us today at work and I really wanted some of the cut fruit.  So I grabbed my juice and left the kitchen! I think the first thing I’m doing Saturday morning is having a cup of fruit! There were also some really yummy looking chocolate chip cookies in my classroom staring at me all day. However, I think it is easier to resist sweets because after successfully juice fasting for 3 days the first thing I am going to eat is definitely NOT going to be a cookie.

Day 5… Today there were some pretty tempting sweets but it was easier to resist. People kept telling me, “Just take one and eat it tomorrow!” And my thought was, “That voids the point!” So I refrained and I feel good. This afternoon I moved apartaments and had great energy (even though I wasn’t the one carrying the heavy stuff thanks to my brother, D, and Dad :)) I felt great at the end of the day that I completed my juice fast without cheating!

Day 6… I’m finished! This morning I drank juice and got some fresh cut fruit from the grocery. We had a wedding out of town to attend so I took some juice for the road (#4 that I accidentally skipped on day 1) and we ate a light lunch on the way. I had spinach salad, cucumber/tomato/feta salad, and water with lemon and it was yummy! My stomach took it well. At the wedding I had one glass of red wine, and more spinach salad, and yes, a little wedding cake.

After 5 days of juice fasting and winning giant jinga against D!

After 5 days of juice fasting and winning giant jinga against D!

How the BJP is better… 

When I did my own 5-day cleanse I was starving! The BJP juices are carefully crafted to give your body all the nutrients it needs to stay sustained while cleansing your body. The juices take you through a round of cleansing and nourishing. Each juice is targeted to cleanse a body system in the proper order to achieve maximum benefits. The juices are cold-pressed with a Norwalk Press Juicer. BJP does not use a centrifugal juicer that destroys the enzymes and nutrients of the juice.

Happy cleansing,

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