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adventures of a plant-based athlete


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Recap of my Reboot: 3 day Juice Cleanse

After seeing the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead my husband and I just HAD to start juicing! It was so obvious that at the end of the documentary we just turned to each other with that knowing look, you know that one that says “we’re getting a juicer, right?!” So of course, like every other kitchen gadget we become fixated on, we purchased the Juice Fountain® Elite Breville Juicer. We were excited to try the thing out and get started on our first juice cleanse…

Fast forward to more than a year later… I just finished my first 3 day cleanse. Don’t get me wrong, we used the juicer somewhat regularly during the past year but never found the “right” time to give up eating. Every time we would consider starting a juice cleanse there was something in the way… like a pre-planned family dinner, or half marathon training, or just the fact that we didn’t really want to give up our beloved food for three days. You can say we dabbled in juicing, but it was until this past Monday that I really understood the benefits of juicing.

As I mentioned in my last post I got my wisdom teeth out last Thursday and already had to cut out solid foods. So after I decided to wean off the pain medication I decided to look into a juice cleanse. There was one tiny problem; I was on antibiotics for another 4 days. Internet to the rescue: I found multiple sources (here’s one) that actually claimed that a juice cleanse was a good supplement to antibiotics! So it had been settled, I was going to finally do that juice cleanse I had been talking about for over a year.

Sunday, June 9 (pre-cleanse)

Sunday was shopping and preparation day. I decided to do the Reboot with Joe: 3 day Reboot Quick Start plan. He includes all the information you need, including: why you should juice, how to get ready, calorie information, daily reboot guide, recipes, shopping list, exercise and possible side effects or symptoms.

It really is juicing made easy. Now for me I didn’t feel I needed to do the week long transition to prepare for juicing because I already follow a vegan, whole foods diet and therefore did not need to cut out processed foods, dairy or meat. If you don’t already follow this kind of diet I would suggest following his instructions to prepare. Otherwise, it may be a shock to your system and possibly a hindrance to successful completion.

Because I wanted to make juicing as easy as possible I decided to prepare all the juices ahead of time by putting the ingredients needed for each juice into a WholeFoods produce bag and labeling with the color of the juice. (You’ll see what I mean by “color” if you look at the reboot plan). Then I put together the bags for each day’s worth of juice.

I decided the best way to go about this plan was to juice a day’s worth of juices one night ahead of time. This would prevent me from having to juice in the morning which could get hectic quickly! I juiced the first day’s breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner juices on Sunday night. I would leave Monday’s dessert juice to be prepared on Monday night with Tuesday’s juices.

One quick note: I cheaped out on the coconut water because getting my typical Harmless Harvest brand coconut water would’ve cost me $15 total for the 3 days. The Naked brand ended up costing me $10 for two 33 oz containers, but it didn’t taste very good so I doubt I’ll drink the leftovers. I would say for future juice cleanses: if you’re not going to eat for 3 days, go ahead and splurge on your favorite coconut water!

So… juices made and my refrigerator full of “juice bags” for the next three days… I was excited to start my journey!

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Monday, June 10 (1st day of cleanse)

Weight: 113 lbs., Body Fat: 20.5%

Exercise: Stationary Bicycle

  • Was feeling great and excited to start the juice cleanse. Spent 35 minutes at high resistance, low speed and burned around 200 calories. Sweat my a$$ off, but it felt great after almost 4 days with no physical activity.

Emotional State: Excited

  • At this point in the juice cleanse I was really excited that I had actually started (and so far stuck with it). I knew that I couldn’t really eat much solid foods anyways so I was proud of myself for starting this plan. All the juices on this day ranged from “ok” to “amazing,” so I had a pretty good first day experience. Didn’t feel too bad at any point in the day and my stomach felt fine.

Tuesday, June 11 (2nd day of cleanse)

Weight: 110.8 lbs., Body Fat: 19.9%

Exercise: Yoga for flexibility

  • I was a little tired this morning. The night before I started to have a little bit of a stomach ache and headache. This kept me tossing and turning, unfortunately not the best night of sleep. I was too pooped to do the bicycle again so I opted for a short yoga routine found on YouTube.

Emotional State: Optimistic

  • I had lost the weight gained from eating ungodly amounts of almond butter after my surgery. I was starting to feel more firm and “cleansed.” After just a mild stomach ache the night before, I was still feeling great physically. But I was also starting to feel very tired and lethargic.

Wednesday, June 12 (3rd and final day of cleanse)

Weight: 109.2 lbs., Body Fat: 19.5%

Exercise: Haha

  • By this point in the juice fast I was exhausted. It felt like I was dragging along legs that were 100 lbs. each when I walked. I slept in and let my body recover.

Emotional State: Ugh, can this be over.

  • Well it was a mix of that and excitement that the juice cleanse seemed to be working. I lost more weight (will discuss in the very end). I was feeling very firm and tight. I’m pretty sure I had cleared out my system…  But the worst part was knowing that the very next day I could eat solid food again and the anticipation was killing me!

Thursday, June 13 (post-cleanse)

Weight: 108.2 lbs., Body Fat: 19.2%

Exercise: again, no… I got my beauty sleep. I’ll start tomorrow.

Emotional State: Excited

  • Now that I’ve done the juice cleanse I feel like I have a fresh new starting ground. I followed a 100% raw vegan diet for the past 3 days and am excited to keep the healthy going…

Along with the physical benefits from the juice cleanse I found that I had a few mental benefits as well. Here’s what I learned on the juice cleanse:

Often, “hunger” is mental – I found that after drinking a juice I was completely satisfied for a good 2 hours. Because I knew I couldn’t snack on other things I focused my attention away from food. On a typical day at work I usually feel that I am “hungry” every 10 minutes. Now, this could been that I wasn’t nourishing my body correctly (though I doubt it since my snacks were mostly fruits, vegetables and other healthy options). But my guess is that it was my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about the delicious food I had in my lunch box.

Weight & Such – I know that a lot of people (especially those who know me and know my size) will probably read this post and think it’s absolutely ridiculous that I lost 4.8 lbs. in three days.  I assure you, I have a healthy relationship with my weight, body and self-image.  Because of this relationship and confidence in myself I know my physical and athletic potential. The purpose of this juice cleanse was not to lose weight but to reset my body and give it a rest. I am well aware that the number on the scale does not define who I am nor does it give a true picture of one’s health. I know that almost 5 lbs. of weight loss is a lot in a small girl my size. But did YOU know that an average person holds about 5 lbs. of digesting food and waste in their body at a time (an unhealthy person 10 lbs. or more). So hopefully you can put two and two together…

Cravings are a signal  A lot of people view a vegan diet as restrictive (something I’ve discussed in my previous post Preaching to the Choir). So when I started to get cravings I fear that it’s due to this “restrictive” diet. That when you tell yourself you can’t have something you want it even more. For some reason a couple of weeks before my surgery I was starting to get lax with my typical healthy eating. Everything was still vegan, but I wasn’t getting as many vegetables, and therefore nutrients, as normal. After this juice cleanse all my cravings have gone away. In fact, I have an intensified desire to eat a very healthy, nutritious vegan diet. What I realized was that those cravings weren’t my body/mind acting out because of “restrictions” but rather my body’s cry for help that it needed certain nutrients. With juicing (an even further “restrictive” diet) I was able to restore my body’s nutritional needs. The next time I’m craving anything… I think I might make myself a nice big juice (or two).

I am strong – Somehow my husband’s discipline to work out is just crazy strong. No matter how late he stayed up the night before watching his Heat play, he still finds the strength to get himself out of bed the next morning. I seem to really struggle with this discipline. It’s not a lack of motivation or will. I am totally committed. But sometimes it’s hard for me to dig deep and have the mental toughness to get me through an early morning workout when I’m feeling sluggish. After finishing this juice cleanse (mind you, I did it alone) I realized that I do have mental strength and I can have the discipline I desperately seek. While my hubby was munching on delicious smelling, looking and knowingly tasty food… I drank my juice. I didn’t falter once. I’m proud to learn that I am strong.

Hopefully after reading this recap of my experience you’ll be inspired to try your own juice cleanse. Please know that I am in no way advocating it as a quick weight loss method, but instead a way to cleanse your body and start fresh. It’s a good way to clean out the toxins that build up through the years. I know that I plan on doing more juice cleanses in the future just to reset.

*Disclaimer – Everybody’s experiences with a juice cleanse may be different. I am not a doctor or medical professional. Please read all warnings and preparation guides when/if starting your own juice cleanse.*

Here’s a little extra for you if you’re curious about the different juice recipes. Below is a detailed juice review by color.

Orange

Carrot-Apple-Lemon – This one was quite tasty! In fact, delicious!! I would totally drink this as my “orange” juice in the mornings. In fact I told my husband that if I am ever a stay at home mom I promise to make this juice for our family every morning… it was that good…

Carrot-Apple-Ginger – Good, but I prefer the lemon. But if you’re a ginger person… this just might be your favorite morning juice.

Sunrise – I love beets, but I definitely wasn’t a fan of beets first thing in the morning, but it was tasty and filling. Not nearly as good (or sweet) as the other two “orange” juices

Green

Garden Variety – I’m already used to drinking green juices, so it wasn’t that bad. But I will say this one definitely wasn’t my favorite green juice.

Green Lemonade – Mmm mmm mmm! Move over mean green… this just might be my new favorite green juice! Nice and fresh. The spinach is a little bit hard to juice so I wrapped it in a kale leave and paired with celery when sticking in the juicer.

Joe’s Mean Green – This was the first juice recipe I had ever tried. It takes a little getting used to when you first start juicing, but I actually really enjoy the taste of this green juice.

Red

Un-beet-able – This one was pretty good. Somehow made an ungodly amount of juice (around 20 oz. instead of the typical 10-12 oz.). Also, I guess I should have mentioned this in the first beet juice recap, but to get rid of the “dirt” taste that often comes with beets I suggest cutting the ends and peeling off the skin.

Sporty Spice – Again, love beet juices… but this one not so much. However, might’ve been my fault entirely. I wanted to use up some leftover radishes and read that you can substitute radishes for beets in a juicing recipe. So instead of two beets I made it with 1 beet and a bunch of radishes. Oh ya, and I ran out of celery so I used a couple slices of yellow bell pepper instead (which isn’t a substitute for celery). I’ll definitely try again with the right ingredients.

Watermelon Crush – This just can’t be healthy… it tastes way too good. This juice of watermelon and basil I would serve to friends on a hot summer day. This was a pure treat to drink. No need to be strong for this one.

Purple

Peach Pie Delight – Oh. My. God. I think I can safely say that this was my absolute favorite juice throughout the entire plan. I don’t know if it was the perfectly ripened peaches or the dash of cinnamon. But I swear to you it tasted like I was drinking peach pie.

Purple Passion – This one was so good. Something I would make for my children for lunch instead of giving them juice boxes or juicy juice. But that might be a little odd of a statement since I don’t have any children. Hahaha

Red, White, Blue (& Green!) – This was my least favorite of the dessert (purple) juices. Again, might’ve been my fault… I used rainbow Swiss chard instead of kale (ran out).  Maybe I’ll give it another shot with kale, but I don’t know what business kale and watermelon have doing together.

Juice Cleanse Plans:

Reboot with Joe

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Drop and give me 20!

Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. – I got my wisdom teeth out last Thursday and have been kind of loopy. Other than not being able to eat any food that wasn’t pre-mushed or liquified, I’ve been bummed that I had to postpone my insanity workout schedule. I’m hoping I’ll be able to bounce back into the groove of things pretty quickly!

All this got me thinking: it’s really quite a recent development that I actually want to sweat and push myself to exhaustion. I was never really the “work-out” kind of girl. I played sports and stayed fit through activities, no gym in my routine. In fact, the typical things I associate with working out (push-ups, jumping jacks, running, etc.) were used as punishments by coaches.

“Drop and give me 20” something I’m sure many young athletes have been told while participating in their high school sport’s teams. I still remember running laps around the track when our softball team did something wrong. Unfortunately, I think it’s engraved in people’s minds at a young age that physical exhaustion is a negative thing, a form of punishment. When in reality, it can offer some of the best satisfaction, both physically and mentally.

Luckily, nowadays it seems the running world has embraced this concept, “My sport is your sport’s punishment.” It seems there is a certain pride that goes along with running. Maybe it’s the sense of awe you experience when people question you about your training and distance races. Or maybe it’s that feeling you get at the end of your new longest or fastest run. Either way… it’s an awesome feeling to be able to call yourself a runner, an athlete.

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After I ran my first half-marathon I was so incredibly proud of myself. At that point I had developed a willingness to “work-out.” I was skipping Saturday night parties with friends for early Sunday morning runs alone, and really I couldn’t have been happier. I was running in the cold, running in the heat, running in between class. I didn’t want to skip a training run because I had a goal that I wanted to accomplish… finish my very first half-marathon. The best part is that with all this training I also started to get into great shape. I lost some weight, built muscle in my legs, and would later-on incorporate weight training to tone my upper body. Then as a I got healthier through physical activity, I started to eat better so that I could fuel my body for runs (which eventually transitioned to a vegan diet). It also lead to me training for my first full marathon and a 2:02:18 half-marathon in my future.

Now, what I didn’t mention earlier was that not only did I not “work-out,” but I despised running. When I first started the half training I could barely run a mile without walking. It was miserable. I would never choose running as my first option to get into shape. I think what made the difference was running to accomplish a goal. When you change running from a work out to a sport you will unlock the key to success.

So my number one tip on getting yourself into shape is to make it fun! Find an activity you enjoy like yoga, boxing, cycling, running, etc. For me the best activities are those that have some kind of culminating event, like a race, for which I can train. But find out what works for you and stick with it.

If you want to start running, here are some tips I either would have or did, find useful when I started out as an endurance runner:

Start smart, start small – So we’ve all heard of “go big or go home” but that’s the wrong advice when it comes to distance running. Running a marathon is an incredible accomplishment, one I will always encourage. However, while your ultimate goal may be to finish a marathon you may want to consider adding smaller goals in between to help you attain your main goal. If you can’t run 3 miles, you may want to make a goal to finish a 5K or two before that first marathon. And I would strongly encourage a half-marathon before attempting a full. Not only is this a good way to build up your endurance, but competing in 5Ks and shorter races will help you get used to the running community!

Follow a training plan – If you’re not a schedule-follower, now is the time to change. If you’re a more advanced runner you may know your body and abilities enough to create your own training schedule (you’re also not likely reading this post, hehe). But as a new runner it’s probably best to use someone else’s “tried and true” plan. For both my half and full marathons I used Hal Higdon’s training schedule. A training schedule helps to ensure that you’ll be prepared for your race, as well as keep you motivated.

Know the difference – No pain, no gain, right? Well… sometimes. Be prepared, training will be tough. Sometimes even hell. It’s not easy to train for a 26.2 mile run (especially with that thing called life in the way). You’ll want to quit and skip runs, but you need to push through and stay motivated. But what you shouldn’t do is push through injury. It might be difficult, but try to learn the difference between true pain and just extreme discomfort. Forcing yourself to run with an injury will do more harm than good, possibly preventing you from finishing (or even starting) your race.

Fuel Right – When you start distance running you’ll find that there’s more to it than just lacing up sneakers and heading out the door (although sometimes those are the best runs). During marathon training there will be some long distance runs that will take more than an hour to finish. This is when you need to start thinking about fueling and hydrating. There are many different energy gels on the market: Hammer Gel, Clif Shot, Powerbar and Gu. You can get more information on energy gels here. But in my opinion the best option is a bag of raisins. I swear by it! It gives you energy without the upset stomach! Whatever you choose it’s important to fuel and hydrate your body!

Learn the lingo – So you want to run a 13.1 mile marathon? WRONG! When you use the term “marathon” incorrectly you’ll find that some people are very sensitive about it, myself included. It’s not that the 5K/10K/Half you ran (or are planning to run) isn’t impressive, I’m proud and happy for you (sincerely). But I worked my damn ass off to run those 26.2 miles, it’s a badge I’ve earned to be able to say that I finished a marathon.

And just a side note: if you don’t know the distance of a marathon, you most likely aren’t ready to start training for one… But that doesn’t mean you CAN’T start to get ready!!!!

So that last one might be just a little pet peeve of mine… hehe. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to run your first race! If you’re interested in finding a race in your area you can find a good list here, at Active.com.

Happy racing!