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Juice Cleansing.

According to Wikipedia, spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime. A juice cleanse is like spring cleaning your body. I’ve thought about doing it in the past and I’ve had friends complete them so when I saw the 3-day Peeled juice cleanse on Groupon, I was on board.

Interesting experience.

Someone warned me to research prepping for a cleanse so after reading an interesting article, I started prepping one week before my cleanse. Omitting foods gradually from my diet — carbs, sweets, caffeine, dairy, meat until I was eating only fruits and vegetables for the two days leading up to the cleanse. I felt good going into it.

The cleanse lasts 3-days (there’s also an option for 5-days) and allows the body to release old toxins built-up in the system and help cleanse the blood. Awesome. It’s 6 drinks per day, drink them 2 hours apart. You start the day with a Green Machine — spinach, kale, etc. Drink 2 is Haute Lemonade, think lemonade + cayenne pepper. Drink 3 was The Red Line — pressed watermelon (my fave). Drink 4 was another Green Machine. Drink 5 was another Red Line. Then wrap up your day with drink 6 Cashew Milk. In addition to the 6 juices, you can drink as much water and green tea as you’d like.

Day 1 was spent just getting through the juices. I learned the smartest way to do that is to chug. I was surprised that I wasn’t starving. Day 2 was the hardest for me — I literally wanted to eat ANYTHING. I went to bed early just so I’d stop being hungry. By the time I finished day 2, I knew I was in the home stretch and I could do it so day 3 was really rewarding for me. The one mistake I made was trying to workout. I literally thought I might pass out so I definitely do not recommend working out on a cleanse.

Overall I feel awesome post-cleanse and it was the perfect kick-start to get me back on track with my healthy lifestyle!

Interested? 

Peeled Chicago

1571 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

312-266-PEEL

Recipe: Portillo’s Chopped Salad

If you live in Chicago, you know Portillo’s. We’ll even order it into work for a special occasion (like winning a contest or just a normal Friday…) You really cannot go wrong no matter what you order, but my fave item on the menu? Their chopped salad. Unreal. A homemade version? Just as awesome:

HOMEMADE PORTILLO’S CHOPPED SALAD

Modified from Stolen Moments Cooking

Ingredients: 

  • 2 bags shredded lettuce (you could also buy lettuce heads and chop yourself)
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped or shredded
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2  c. ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1 c. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • Vinaigrette dressing, bottled or homemade

Instructions:

  1. Make sure all ingredients are chopped, minced, sliced, etc.
  2. Put lettuce in a large bowl.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, except dressing, and toss well.
  4. Serve dressing alongside the salad or pour on and combine just before serving.

Perfect for work lunch or take out the chicken and take to a summer BBQ — ENJOY!!

Spaghetti with a TWIST

I decided to get a little cray with my spaghetti recently. There isn’t a real recipe for this so bear with me … and enjoy!

SPAGHETTI WITH VEGETABLES

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 lb. meat
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 squash, chopped
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Basil, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions: 

  1. Cook meat in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Drain meat.
  3. Cook pasta in separate pot.
  4. Add onion, zucchini, squash, mushroom, and tomato to meat and simmer on low.
  5. Add pasta sauce to meat and vegetables. Add spices — all to taste.
  6. Drain noodles.
  7. Place meat and vegetable sauce over noodles and top with parmesan cheese.
  8. Enjoy!

Workout Wednesday: Awesome Snack Ideas!

As we learned in this post, it’s 70% diet. I usually eat 3 meals a day and if needed I’ll have a morning and afternoon snack. Sometimes these snacks reside in the form of Ann or Zayna’s baked treats (totes worth it!) but I usually try to be a tad healthier. I’m also a creature of habit which for the purpose of this post means that I have the same exact snack every day. Morning snack = fruit. Afternoon snack = Greek yogurt. Predictable.

When I saw this post on the Six Sisters’ blog, two thoughts ran through my head: (1) Yum and (2) Game Changer:

100 HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS

1. Frozen Grapes (I used to eat these in college all the time- they are amazing)
2. String Cheese
3. Banana
4. Frozen Banana (peel it first, stick in the freezer overnight- it’s like a yummy popsicle)
5. Low-fat Yogurt
6. Sugar-free or fat-free pudding
7. Apple dipped in Peanut Butter (or spread peanut butter on top of apple slice and top with pecans . . . so good!)
8. 100-calorie bag of popcorn
9. Applesauce
10. Raw veggies with hummus (my new favorite!)
11. Almonds
12. Apple
13. Skinny S’more (two graham crackers with one roasted marshmallow and one small square dark chocolate)
14. Smoked Beef Jerky (about 1 oz- look for low-sodium!)
15. Chocolate Milk
16. Hard Boiled Egg
17. Sunflower Seeds
18. Cottage Cheese
19. Sliced Cantelope
20. Raisins
21. Pita Bread and Hummus
22. Rice Cakes
23. Sugar-free Jello
24. Dried Fruits
25. Frozen Yoplait Whips Yogurt (these seriously taste like ice cream when they are frozen!)
26. Air-Popped Popcorn
27. Pistachios
28. Clementines (we call them Cuties or Clemmies)
29. Fruit Smoothie (or Kristen’s Green Smoothie– it’s actually delicious!)
30. Handful of olives
31. Pickles
32. Handful of blueberries with 2 tablespoons fat-free Cool-Whip
33. Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
34. 1 cup mixed berry salad (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries) tossed with one tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice.
35. Peanut Butter and Bananas on whole wheat bread
36. Trail Mix (make your own! Throw in dried fruit, sunflower seeds, nuts, low-sugar cereals, and even the occasional piece of candy for something sweet.)
37. Orange Slices
38. Cherry Tomatoes
39. Graham Crackers
40. Small Green Salad with light dressing
41. Mango smoothie (frozen mango, mango Greek Yogurt, and a small amount of orange juice)
42. Kabobs (thread low-fat meat, low-fat cheese, pineapple and cherry tomatoes onto a stick- my kids love anything on a stick!)
43. Half of a  Cinnamon-Raisin topped with peanut butter and banana slices
44. Grilled Pineapple (throw them on the grill or a skillet on med. heat for two minutes or until golden)
45. Baked Apples (one tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender)
46. Animal Crackers
47. Strawberries dipped in fat-free Cool Whip
48. Low-fat tortilla topped with egg salad, shredded carrots and cucumber slices
49. Parfait (build your own with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, fruit, and granola)
50. Bowl of bran flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk and berries
51. Guacamole with veggies
52. Triscuit’s Thin Crisps dipped in cottage cheese or hummus
53. Cashews
54. Pretzels
55. Sun Chips (portion control! Read the serving amount on the side!)
56. Cheesy Breaded Tomatoes: Two roasted plum tomatoes sliced and topped with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
57. Sugar Snap Peas
58. Steamed Veggies (steam non-starchy vegetables in a microwave safe bag and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup pasta sauce)
59. Apricots
60. Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges
61. Any 100 calorie pack
62. Snack/Granola bar (around 150 calories or less, like Kellogg’s All-Bran, Kashi TLC Trail Mix, or Fiber one Bar)
63. Baked chips (about 7-10) with salsa
64. Soy Chips
65. Protein Bar
66. Sweet Potato Fries (one light-bulb sized sweet potato sliced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and baked at 400° for 10 minutes)
67. Wrap (I like a slice of turkey, swiss cheese, baby spinach leaves, and cranberry relish wrapped up in a tortilla)
68. Pumpkin Seeds (2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, sprayed with oil (just a spritz!) and baked at for 400° for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle a tiny amount of salt on top)
69. Bean Salad
70. Broccoli Florets
71. Peaches and Cottage Cheese
72. Chopped Red Peppers (dipped in fat free ranch)
73. V8 Vegetable Juice
74. Tuna with Triscuit crackers
75. Cooked and Cubed Chicken Breast
76. Homemade Popsicles (puree watermelon, strawberries, mango, banana, etc and freeze in popsicle molds)
77. Dates with almond butter or rolled in coconut
78. Quesadilla (whole wheat (or corn) tortillas w/cheese (or not) melted in microwave – adding on tomatoes, beans, corn, olives, avocado or guacamole or whatever sounds good)
79. Watermelon
80. Cubed Apples and Cubed Cheese (this was my husband’s favorite after-school snack when he was little)
81. Craisins (I love to eat these with almonds- it’s a good combo)
82. Goldfish Crackers
83. Edamame
84. Cheesy Roasted Asparagus (four spears (spritzed with olive-oil spray) and topped with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, baked for 10 minutes at 400°)
85. Turkey Roll-Ups (Four slices smoked turkey rolled up and dipped in 2 teaspoons honey mustard)
86. Strawberry Salad (1 cup raw spinach with ½ cup sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon balsamic)
87. Oatmeal
88. Banana Smoothie (½ cup sliced banana, ¼ cup nonfat vanilla yogurt, and a handful of ice blended until smooth)
89. Lime Sherbet (1/2 cup serving) with sliced kiwi
90. Apple Chips (dehydrated apples- they are so good!)
91. Black Beans (mix 1/4 cup black beans with 1 tablespoon salsa and 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt for an added twist!)
92. Lettuce wrap (try two slices honey-baked ham with 2 teaspoons honey mustard rolled in a lettuce leaf)
93. Pecans (try five pecans roasted with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
94. Chocolate Covered Strawberries (dip 5 strawberries in 2 squares of dark chocolate- that is still good for you, right?!)
95. Honeyed Yogurt (½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey)
96. Blackberries (so good mixed with plain yogurt)
97. Frozen Mangos
98. Tropical Juice Smoothie (¼ cup pineapple juice, orange juice, and apple juice, blended with ice)
99. Healthier Banana Bread
100. Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip with fresh fruit

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

A few years ago I stole some of my cousin Shelley’s favorite recipes. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to dust the recipes off and test them out. Great idea.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.
  3. Layer chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13×9-inch baking dish.
  4. Top with stuffing.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done.
Makes 6 servings.
Enjoy!!

Workout Wednesday: Reality Check

Hello 2012. Hello new gym members that won’t last past January.

I hate the gym this time of year. However, I’m proud of the new gym members for actually being there. They’re inspiring!

I recently saw a couple pins that I feel would resonate with my new gym buddies. The first, a quick reality check:

Obvi. A healthy lifestyle is not a miracle, you need to make it happen. If you want weight loss, then go workout and skip the junk food. You need those chips? That chocolate? No you don’t. You are in control.

Secondly, continued motivation:

Do not quit. Do not give up. Because YOU CAN DO IT.

Workout Wednesday: 5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I retweeted this article from the Huffington Post yesterday. The Huffington Post is always legit. Below is a quick recap but also feel free to go here for the full article.  The best part? It identifies the issues then offers solutions.

5 REASONS YOUR WORKOUT ISN’T WORKING

(1) Your workout routine is making you eat too much.

You feel like since you worked out, you’ve earned the ability to eat more. But if you remember from last week’s Workout Wednesday post it’s 70% what you eat and 30% working out so track what you eat and maintain a healthy calorie count.

(2) Your workout completely wipes you out.

Recently, this is where I’m at fault. Pushing yourself too hard can apparently have the opposite effect on your body (who would’ve thought!) so remember to keep your workouts appropriate for your fitness level. And get some sleep!

(3) Your workout burns fewer calories than you think.

If you’re not entering your weight into the elliptical, treadmill, stairmaster, etc. then it is most likely going off the average weight of 155. It’s better to go off “distance covered” than machine measured calorie burn. So think 1 mile running or 2 miles walking, etc = 100 calories.

(4) Your workout’s not balanced.

You do 100% cardio 0% weights or  you can run like a crazy person but touching your toes isn’t happening in this lifetime. Your workout needs balance — a good mix of cardio, strength training, flexibility and core. It will also help keep you motivated in your workouts.

(5) Your workout is totally stale.

This is the other one I’m at fault for. As much as I love kick boxing and my go-to weight routine with 8-10lb weights, if it’s all I do I’ll hit a plateau and never see results. You need to change it up. Try pilates or yoga, join a sports league, or spinning. Use heavier weights for more intensity. MIX ‘ER UP!

Here’s that link again: Huffington Post article