Friday, March 29, 2013

Arbonne Health and Beauty GIVEAWAY!

I am trying to use more natural beauty products because they are better for my body and the environment. My friend, Kenzie Cooper, is an Arbonne consultant so I asked her to send me some samples of the products. I must say that I'm thoroughly impressed with the company! Arbonne makes high-quality health and beauty products that are botanically based and inspired by nature. All products are vegan and free of gluten, soy, mineral oils, and paraben. There are 1000 chemicals banned in Europe, only 9 of which are banned in the U.S., and Arbonne doesn't use any of those 1000 chemicals. Arbonne makes products that are at the perfect intersection of science and nature. I value scientific advancement but also think that the most healing power comes from nature.

Arbonne Re9 Facial System
RE9 Advances synergizes 9 major age-defying elements and botanicals in a powerful system of products that are clinically proven to start working within 24 hours. The products include vitamin C, which supports collagen synthesis, and algae extract, which dramatically diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The RE9 Advanced line includes facial cleanser, toner, renewal serum, corrective eye creme, restorative day creme (with SPF), sunscreen, and night repair creme. I sampled all of the products and really liked the way my skin looked and felt all day. I especially saw the difference in my eye area. To be honest, I'm not very high-maintenane with my face mainly because I just forget to use multiple products in the morning and evening. Therefore, I really recommend the night repair creme because it's easy for me to remember to put on before I go to sleep, after I wash my make up off.

Arbonne Essentials
I was surprised to find out that Arbonne has a line of health products! And best of all, they are vegan and gluten-free! The Arbonne Essentials line makes it easy for you to get all of your vitamins and minerals daily. Only high-quality ingredients are used and there are no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. I was able to try the Digestion Plus powder, Protein Shake powder, Herbal Detox Tea, and Energy Fizz Sticks. There are also many other products in the the line, including some nutrition bars that I want to try! The digestion powder contains vegan enzymes that are essential to optimizing the digestion and nutrient absorption of the food you eat. The protein powder is really delicious and soy-free and also contains additional essential nutrients. It's great in a shake for breakfast! Finally, the energy fizz sticks are prefect when you need an extra boost! The powder quickly dissolves in water and the citrus flavor that I tried tastes great. Plus you won't crash like you would with coffee because the key ingredients are green tea, ginseng, guarana, and B vitamins (a much healthier alternative to energy drinks and things like 5-Hour Energy).

Arbonne FC5 Skin and Hair Care
The Arbonne FC5 line includes skin and hair care with groundbreaking technology. FC5 products use plant-based ingredients like kiwi, strawberry, carrot, mango, and pumpkin, to hydrate, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and protect the skin and hair. I sampled, the body wash, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. I can tell when products are made of natural ingredients because my skin breaks out otherwise and I get dandruff in my hair. These products are definitely natural and they work. My skin was moisturized after using the body wash and lotion, even though winter just keeps dragging on. My hair was also soft and dandruff-free after using the shampoo and conditioner.

One last note, I know that Arbonne products are pricier than what you would get in a drugstore but the high-quality and plant-based ingredients are really worth it. Once you start using natural products, you really see a difference when you go back to an unnatural cheap product from the drugstore. I think that there is great value in investing in your health and beauty now in the hopes of saving much larger amounts of money in the future in terms of medical costs and even cosmetic procedures. Invest now and it will definitely pay later. The good thing is that there are lots of great ways to get discounts with Arbonne. Be sure to follow Kenzie and you can also sign up for the preferred client program where you pay $20 one time and get 20% off the whole year.

I've partnered with Kenzie Cooper and Arbonne for a giveaway for my readers! There will be TWO winners. One will get a bottle of the RE9 Advanced Night Repair Creme, valued at $85. The other winner will receive the Chocolate Protein Shake Mix ($60) and a sample of the Pomegranate Energy Fizz Sticks. All you have to do is enter in the form below, leaving a comment on the blog is the minimum for entry. Then, you can get extra entries by following me on BlogLovin, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and by tweeting about the giveaway! You should also follow Kenzie on Facebook and Twitter. Finally, be sure to check out Kenzie's Arbonne website to learn more about the company and buy products.

Giveaway ends on Friday, April 12! Open to residents of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia only.

P.S. You should enter to win even if you're a guy! The protein shake is definitely fit for men and the facial creme would make a great gift for your wife/girlfriend/mom if you don't want it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chewing and Blending

I came across this segment on the Dr. Oz show that discusses a "Super Immunity Diet." In the show, Dr. Joel Fuhrman describes his "nutritarian" diet that is based on eating foods that have the highest nutrient density, sounds a lot Brendan Brazier's Thrive Forward, right? It turns out that the the foods with the highest nutrient density are plants in their most natural form. When your body is getting enough nutrients, your immune system is strengthed and protects you against disease, from the common cold to heart disease to cancer. Dr. Fuhrman describes four steps to his super immunity diet in the show segment:

  1. Eat phytonutrient-rich foods (plants). 70% of your health comes from your intestinal tract. You need nutrients to have a strong immune system.
  2. Eat slow absorbing foods (nuts, whole grains, pseudo-grains). Processed grains and sugar spike your blood sugar and promote fat storage.
  3. Eat plant-based. Meat should be treated as a condiment (if you choose to eat it at all). We often look at the meat as the main attraction of the meal, but really, the vegetables should be.
  4. Chew your food. Chewing breaks down the walls of the vegetables, where enzymes to absorb the nutrients are stored. Try to chew your food 10 times more than you normally would. (This also helps with preventing over-eating.)

I thought the chewing your food more part was interesting because I tend to be a very fast eater. Your mouth is actually where a lot of digestion happens. This got me thinking about smoothies and raw soups, which you don't chew at all. I did some online research and found that blending something is essentially the same as chewing becuase you're breaking down the food. However, you should swish the liquid in your mouth a little bit before swallowing to mix the food with the enzymes in your mouth. And since a blender is much more powerful than you mouth, blending vegetables can actually be more effective than chewing.

Have you ever thought about blending your salad instead of eating it straight? A blended salad is basically a raw soup, which I have been doing a lot of during the raw detox in the form of Energy Soup (pictured above). All you need for a god raw soup is a liquid base (water, almond milk, or rejuvelac), avocado, lots of greens, and spices. I also like to add dulse flakes for a salty taste and extra nutrition. A blended salad is much easier to digest and you can skip the fattening dressing!

Have you ever made a blended salad or raw soup? What did you put in it?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Karyn's Raw Detox: Days 15-19

This post is part of a series in which I am sharing my journey of Karyn's Raw Detox program. Read my other posts below:

Free Seminar
Day 0
Days 1-2
Days 3-6
Days 7-10

Days 15-19

I completed the 3-day juice fast!! I waited to write about it until I completed it because, at times, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to. Remember I did a juice fast last year that I failed at after less than a day (read my post) because I started feeling sick, and I was starving. Well, I did starve all weekend but I got through it and now I feel amazing!

The main goal of week 3 of the detox was to fast for at least 3 consecutive days. During the fast, I could have any vegetable juice, wheatgrass juice, Rejuvelac, kamut juice, and coconut water. However, there could be no fruits involved, just some carrot in the the vegetable juice. When you juice fruits, only the sugar (and not the fiber) is extracted. So, while fruit juice may be nutritious, it is too much of a sugar spike for your body, especially when you are fasting. The main benefit of fasting is giving your intestinal tract a break. This allows your body to use resources (otherwise used by digestion) to repair itself. Digestion is the most taxing daily process on your body and even it needs a break. 

It's hard for me to describe how the juice fast felt other than I just felt really hungry all the time and could not stop thinking about food. Sometimes I felt light-headed and other times I felt like I had lots of energy. I started the fast on Friday, and it was difficult to focus on work because I was just thinking about food. I basically did nothing all weekend with the exception of a walk downtown and going to the movies Saturday night. I don't know if doing nothing was better than staying busy while fasting. One one hand, I didn't have the energy to do much, but on the other hand, I wanted to keep myself occupied so I wouldn't think about eating. Also, since we were watching basketball live all weekend, I had to watch a lot of commercials that did not help my food cravings. By the way, how awesome was Florida Gulf Coast? I love cheering for my hometown team and sister's university. But this Friday my sisters go head to head! One goes to Florida and the other to FGCU! Anyway, back on topic, I was also really proud of myself for resisting popcorn at the movie theater even though Ryan and my other friends got some. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE popcorn. I can't wait to eat some after the cleanse :)

The best way to describe the juice fast is that it is like a long run or both love and hate it while you're doing it. It's painful and you feel like quitting at times, but you feel great and really accomplished once you're done. That's exactly how I feel today. I've eased back into eating by having Energy Soup and sprouts salad for lunch, and I'm full and I feel very "clean." It was also important to continue enemas during the cleanse, otherwise the toxins in your colon could make you sick. And after doing enemas for a week and half, I do feel very light and clean, and I am continued to do them this week. 

Just like enemas, fasting has been around for a long time and is a part of almost every religion. From what I understand  fasting is thought to make people more spiritual or closer to the god they believe in. I can attest to this practice because I must say that my mind seemed very clear during the fast, as if I understood everything. I still feel the effects of it today. I'm having an easier time focusing and my thinking is faster. However, I also hated the fast and could not stop thinking about eating unhealthy comfort foods. Making juice instead of something solid for dinner was kind of depressing. The fast was certainly not easy.

Apparently fasting is something that you get better at with practice. Right now, I don't want to think about doing another fast but I probably will again in the future because of the amazing end result. Karyn said that during the fast is when miracles happen. People stop taking medications, aches and pains disappear  and cancers subside. There really are some amazing stories from people that have done Karyn's Raw Detox. I'm not expecting any miracles for myself because I'm already quite healthy. I'm expecting just to feel better and improve my athletic performance. I didn't get to do my long run this weekend because of the fast so I'm curious to see how 10 miles goes next weekend!

Have you ever done a fast?

Disclaimer: Karyn's Raw provided the detox class to me for free and is giving me a discount on the supplements for writing about my experience. The text and opinions are completely my own. You can learn more about the detox class here or buy Karyn's book here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mason Jar Reorganization 2.0

Back in August I bought some mason jars to reorganize my kitchen cupboard (read my post). I buy a lot of dry goods from the bulk section at the grocery store and used to store them in sacks before I purchased a dozen quart mason jars on Amazon. Putting my dry goods in the mason jars definitely made the cupboard much more organized and allowed me to see when I was running low on something.

Well, with Karyn's Raw Detox this month, I've had to buy a bunch of extra supplements and haven't had much room for them in my cupboard. I have a very small kitchen in my 750 sq. ft. apartment with not a lot of storage space. So I browsed Pinterest for ideas and decided to put up some shelves in my kitchen to store the mason jars.

I really like the clean look of the stainless steel shelves and how they match the tops of the mason jars and the other kitchen appliances. The shelves are a perfect fit for the panel in the kitchen (pictured below)! Here's what I used for the project:

  • Two 12-packs of 1-quart Ball mason jars - $22 per dozen on Amazon (I only used 15 jars on the shelves and the rest are used for taking liquids to work and storing other things)
  • Three 23-5/8" Limhamn stainless steel shelves from IKEA, $14.99 each (needed 3 screws for each shelf - not provided in the package)
The total cost for this project was approximately $90, not bad for some extra kitchen storage! Plus, you're left with extra mason jars for miscellaneous uses. I seriously do use them daily for storing liquids like juices and soups, and especially for bringing food to work. Their traditional use is for canning, but the glass material and secure top make them really versatile. 

How do you keep your kitchen organized?

What's your favorite use for a mason jar?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Number 4 Hair Care

In an effort to expand the "goddess" mission of my blog by writing about beauty, I've joined Birch Bloggers! Birchbox is a subscription service that includes samples of beauty products for only $10 per month. Sign up now if you haven't already! You seriously get your money's worth in each month's box. Plus, many of the samples come in small sizes that are very convenient for travel. I really enjoy getting the surprises in the box each month and I've even found a few beauty products that I've loved and now use consistently. Anyway, Birchbox gives away chances to bloggers to review beauty products and I was lucky enough to try out Number 4 Hair Care!

I am trying to buy more natural beauty products so I was excited when I received Number 4 Hair Care. All of the products are vegan and free of gluten, paraben, sulfate, and sodium chloride. They are also highly-concentrated, so there is no waste with watering down. I recieved the Hydrating Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, and Blow Dry Lotion. The shape of the shampoo and conditioner bottles is great because they actually fit on your bathtub ledge without falling down!

Each formula of Number 4 Haircare contains the following signature Liquid Complex Culture:

  • Liquid Vibrancy - color protecting and enhancing botanicals
  • Liquid Vitality - anti-aging, soothing ingredients
  • Liquid Defense - balance of proteins and moisturizers for increased manageability
  • Liquid Purity - Prevents buildup while protecting color and natural sheen without sulfates or sodium chloride
I decided to try out the products for 3 weeks before I wrote a review. I did this because it seems that every time you use a new shampoo, your hair always feels great. I wanted to use the hair products for a while before I formed an opinion. I'm actually pretty low-mainence with my hair and use very few products. My usual routine after working out in the morning is to wash it with shampoo (I've been using Clear lately), use some de-tangle leave-in conditioner, brush it out, and let it air dry while I drive to work. For a night out or other special occasion, I'll also use conditioner in the shower and blow dry it. I try to limit heating my hair as much as possible because I know it causes breakage. 

After using Number 4 shampoo and conditioner for 3 weeks, my hair feels and looks amazing! I haven't had a single "bad hair day" and I can even see a difference with how healthy my ends look. I have some ombre highlights in my hair that have made my ends looks worse but I think the new hair products have actually mended some breakage. My hair feels fuller and softer, even though it's still winter weather here in Chicago. 

I know it's hard to tell in the picture, but my hair is more vibrant than before. It is usually very flat and thin looking, especially in the winter. I really like that the shampoo and conditioner feel like their are cleaning my scalp and repairing my hair. I also used the blow dry lotion a few times before blow drying my hair. It did not weight down my hair, which is a good thing. I would have to use it consistently for much longer to determine if it was actually protecting my hair from the blow dry heat. 

Probably one of the most impressive things about the hair products was that my hair looked good even the day after washing it! I don't wash my hair every single day so this is important to me. My hair was not flat and oily the next day like it usually is. 

Overall, I'm very impressed with the Number 4 hair care line and I plan to continue using the shampoo and conditioner. I would also recommend it to my readers! It works for any hair type. 

What's your current favorite hair care product?

Do you blow-dry or air-dry?

Disclaimer: Birchbox and Number 4 Hair Care provdided me with the products for review but all of the opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Karyn's Raw Detox: Days 11-14

This post is part of a series in which I am sharing my journey of Karyn's Raw Detox program. Read my other posts below:

Free Seminar
Day 0
Days 1-2
Days 3-6
Days 7-10

Days 11-14
I wrote in my last post about how eating completely raw and taking several supplements was not easy this week. It's gotten a little easier because I've more or less figured out how to eat raw and not feel like I am starving. I am embracing raw food more and the way it makes me feel. My fatigue has gone away since Saturday (my last post) and I was able to have good workouts each day Sunday through today. There are a three things that I want to discuss in today's post: rejuvelac, energy soup, and enemas.

Rejuvelac is a drink made by sprouting wheat berries and then soaking them in water, left at room temperature to ferment for several days. The water becomes an enzymatically alive liquid that is rich in beneficial lacto-bacteria. This lacto-bacteria destroys harmful bacteria in the intestines and also establishes beneficial bacteria that strengthen immunity, aid digestion, reduce candida growth, and cleanse the intestinal tract. The drink also contains B-vitamins and digestible protein (taken from Karyn's book). It has a sour taste that can be hidden by adding the rejuvelac to smoothies or raw soups. I really have started to love this stuff. It does feel very rejuvenating in my smoothies and energy soup (below). Karyn also suggested taking it before working out. For the past three days, I've had only rejuvelac before working out in the morning, and coconut water during my workout, and have felt amazing during my workouts! I often struggle with fatigue during my morning workouts but rejuvelac has really given me the energy I need. You can find the exact process for making it online or just buy by the gallon at Karyn's Raw in Chicago.

Energy Soup
I've been having "energy soup" as my lunch every day this week and I've grown to like it more and more. It is basically a blended salad that I bring to work in a mason jar. Energy soup is made from blending rejuvelac, dulse, apples, spinach, sprouts, and avocado. It is really a combination of everything that's good for you. The original raw food doctor, Dr. Ann Wigmore, prescribed this recipe to her patients to cure them of diseases like heart disease and cancer...and it worked! The taste of the soup is refreshing but I want to tweak the recipe a bit to add some spices an take out the apples. I like spicy/salty and not sweet soups. I also eat apples as snacks usually anyway.

I'm going to talk about cleaning out my colon now so stop reading if this is TMI for've been warned! First of all, in our society we don't talk about our colons at all because they're gross and girls don't poop, right? Well, I am going against the grain and talking about my colon and poop! The fact is, the colon affects your total health more directly than any other part of the body. Waste and toxins more slowly through your colon and tend to build up along the intestinal walls, especially if you have been eating a less-than-healthy diet. Even if you think you are "regular," you should be eliminating as many times per day as you eat. I used to suffer from constipation until I changed my diet to healthy plant-based. On this cleanse, I have been going to the bathroom multiple times a day, which is great. However, I know that toxins have built up in my colon over time and they need to be cleaned out.

Enemas and colonic irrigation have been used for thousands of years. Ancients Egyptians used reeds to irrigate the intestines and ancient Romans considered enemas a part of good hygiene. Autopsies have shown that colons can be impacted with waste and it is estimated that any person is carrying anywhere from 6 to 30 lbs of extra fecal matter in their intestines. That's gross! And of course, carrying around toxins is not good for your health and can cause diseases (perfect example: colon cancer). 

In preparing for the juice cleanse starting the third week of the detox, it is also important to clean out the colon. I failed a juice cleanse that I tried last year (read my post) because I started feeling like I was getting a cold. It turns out, that these symptoms were probably caused by me refusing to do a colon cleanse before or during the juice cleanse. There was no solid food to push out the feces and the toxins were being released into my body, thus causing the sickness. Therefore, even if you're just doing a short juice cleanse, I highly recommend that you do a colonic or enema.

The good news is that there all lots of spas out their that offer colon irrigation therapy (colonic) and you can even get Groupons. Otherwise, the colonics cost around $100. It is much cheaper to do an enema yourself, which is what I've been doing every day for the past week. You can find detailed explanations online of how to do an enema but it is actually simpler that you think. You take a bucket, attach a hose at the bottom, connected to an insertion hose for your rectum. You fill the small bucket with warm water, we also added fenugreek seed liquid to the water for extra healing/cleaning. You lay on the bathroom floor with a towel and place the bucket about 4-5 feet above you. After inserting the tube about 1-2 inches in your rectum, you open the nozzle to let the water flow in. Take in as much as you can and then expel into the toilet (after taking out the tube). We've been advised to do three buckets at a time. 

The enema is not comfortable but it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't really feel the water flowing into my colon but I did feel crampy with a large amount of water in there and also while I was expelling the liquid. The cramps aren't more painful than mild period cramps so really, not that bad. I feel crampy immediately after the enema but that soon goes away and I feel great. My advice is that if you're scared of doing an enema, don't be. It is intensely healing and essential to do during any type of cleanse that involves fasting. 

Enemas also rinse away good intestinal bacteria so it is important to take probiotics or rejuvelac or do an implant. We are doing implants of chlorophyll. This means that you insert abour 6 ox of chlorophyll using the enema bucket after cleaning out and hold it in as long as possible. 

Sorry about all of the text in this post but I really wanted to share my enema experience with you so that  you would be less afraid to try an enema or colonic.

Have you ever done an enema or colonic?

Disclaimer: Karyn's Raw provided the detox class to me for free and is giving me a discount on the supplements for writing about my experience. The text and opinions are completely my own. You can learn more about the detox class here or buy Karyn's book here.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Karyn's Raw Detox: Days 7-10

This post is part of a series in which I am sharing my journey of Karyn's Raw Detox program. Read my other posts below:

Free Seminar
Day 0
Days 1-2
Days 3-6
Days 7-10

Days 7-10

Week 1 of detox was fine sticking to a vegan diet with some raw foods, but I'm having a much harder time sticking to a completely raw vegan diet since day 8. We've also added a few more supplements to the list and I'm honestly having a hard time keeping track. I had to go to work my first day raw, which was not exactly easy because I had to bring a huge bag full of my supplements, drinks, and other foods (pictured below). It took me like an hour in the morning to prepare everything!

In addition to the supplements taken in week 1, here are the additions:

  • OxyKare - stabilized hydrogen peroxide taken with 32 oz of water; it balances yeast and provides energy and oxygen (who knew?) -- ironically, my only 32-oz cup is the one I have from a bar in college that I would drink huge screwdrivers out of during breakfast club (pictured below). Anyone that went to Purdue will appreciate this :)
  • Energy Soup - a recipe developed by Dr. Wigmore (the first raw food pioneer) that contains spinach, avocado, sprouts, Rejuvelac, dulse, and apples. It's a powerhouse of nutrients.
  • Active Flora - re-populates and promotes growth of beneficial bacteria in intestines
  • Coconut Oil - good for you inside and out! Can be used as moisturizer for your skin
  • Fresh Vegetable Juice - juicing vegetables makes them much easier to digest and fully benefit from all of the nutrients. Week 3 will involve only juicing so this is preparation! 
  • Enemas - I mentioned in my previous posts that this was coming. I will talk more about the enemas in my next post...get excited! Haha...

I've been having seemingly extreme bouts of energy and then fatigue. Sometimes I feel like I am superwoman and have endless energy and even do two workouts a day (days 7 and 9). Other times, I am hungry, lethargic, and want to eat a loaf of bread because I am tired of all the liquids we have to take (days 8 and 10). I may be pushing myself too hard on one day and then paying for it the next. Yesterday I ran 8 miles in the morning and then did HIIT spinning class in the evening. Today I just want to lay in bed all day. Karyn said that these swinging levels of energy are normal during detox. I'm going to try to not do anymore double workout days because I think it's wearing me out too much.

I am embracing raw food this week but I also feel like I can't eat enough. There are a lot of liquids I have to take and I almost just feel falsely full. I stopped by Raw in the Metra train station close to my house today and purchased some raw breads and crackers. I finally felt full after eating raw bread with a "salmon" spread for dinner tonight. However, the purchase was pretty expensive so my goal is to make raw bread and crackers in my new Excalibur dehydrator this week. Speaking of which, I did make some kale chips and they are sooo much better dehydrated than baked! I just put some olive oil, lemon, and sea salt on the them (pictured below). Plus, they are much more nutritious raw!

Do you ever double up on workouts in one day?

What's your favorite kale chip recipe? I'll try to make it raw!

Disclaimer: Karyn's Raw provided the detox class to me for free and is giving me a discount on the supplements for writing about my experience. The text and opinions are completely my own. You can learn more about the detox class here or buy Karyn's book here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Karyn's Raw Detox: Days 3-6

This post is part of a series in which I am sharing my journey of Karyn's Raw Detox program. Read my other posts below:

Free Seminar
Day 0
Days 1-2
Days 3-6
Days 7-10

Days 3-6
I am definitely starting to feel different from this detox. I feel very fatigued but I have more energy at the same time. I know this sounds strange! One of the major symptoms of detox is fatigue because your body is going through changes and getting rid of toxins. However, my body also feels good because I am eating very healthy and ridding of bad things. Without the fatigue and bloating, I would feel amazing! So, I am looking forward to when the detox symptoms subside and the positive effects fully kick in.

I think I may also be experiencing more fatigue because I'm probably exercising more than I should be on a detox. I am not ramping down training schedule for my upcoming marathon and I sometime do two workouts a day. I did feel like I had no energy during the Nike+ 10K that I did on Sunday, so maybe I could have run faster if I wasn't on this detox. But I'm hoping that my energy for running will significantly improve after the detox.

I described some of the supplements that I am taking in week 1 in my previous post. Above is a picture of the Kamut drink, which is just wheatgrass powder mixed with water. It draws out poisons, building up the blood by repairing the white blood cells, and also stimulates energy. I've been taking all of the supplements according to the plan but I sometimes forget to take the enzymes before eating. I'm usually really hungry and don't think about anything else but the food!

I have been eating strict vegan for the first week, adding raw food into my diet. I made some raw hummus (with sprouted chickpeas) and turned it into a kind of "tuna" salad with dulse (seaweed) flakes and celery, it actually came out pretty good. I ate it wrapped in dinosaur kale leaves for a 100% raw meal. I also made a "cheese" dip out of cashews that came out okay, I used it as dip for sweet potato fries. I usually eat grocery store sushi on Sunday nights so I made my own vegan sushi instead (pictured below). I just cooked some brown rice and wrapped it, along with avocado, cucumber, and carrot strips, into nori seaweed sheets. I served it with wasabi, tamari sauce, and pickled ginger. It came out great! Finally, Karyn gave us a loaf of Manna Bread to eat and I devoured it this week. The bread has sprouted wheat instead of flour so it is much healthier and easier on your digestive system. (Gluten is apparently not activated as much in wheat when sprouted rather than cooked.)

One thing that I wanted to share with you all was something new that I learned from Karyn in her first class. She mentioned how "humans are not that fragile." What this means is that all of the preventable diseases that we have in this country wouldn't exist if we were in our natural environments and eating what we're supposed to eat. Our DNA, and thus our digestive tracts, are 96% the same as that of chimpanzees. Chimps eat mainly  plants and fruits and only 3% of their natural diet comes from animals. They also don't drink milk in adulthood and definitely not of another mammal. There are few things, like our brains and hairlessness, that make us different from chimps. Our digestive tracts and cell structures are essentially the same. I'm not saying that we should eat exactly like monkeys, but that we should look to our ancestors to figure out a more natural diet for our bodies. See my previous post on Is paleo actually vegetarian?

Back to the "humans are not that fragile" thing...we're not supposed to have colds all the time and cancer isn't supposed to kill us. Colds are the body's way of expelling excess toxins. Cancerous cells occurs in our bodies all the time, but our immune system is supposed to be healthy enough to kill them. We are putting way too many toxins in our bodies via food, drinks, and air pollutants. That's why this detox is important and why we have to eat healthier diets.

I'm looking forward to Karyn's second class tonight!

What kinds of things do you want to hear from me about my detox journey?

Disclaimer: Karyn's Raw provided the detox class to me for free and is giving me a discount on the supplements for writing about my experience. The text and opinions are completely my own. You can learn more about the detox class here or buy Karyn's book here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NTC Lincoln Park Nike+ Virtual 10K Recap

I wrote last week about how excited I was for the Nike Women's Marathon Virtual 10K and it was everything I expected, and more! Not only did I get to meet one of my favorite Olympic athletes, Shawn Johnson, and her trainer Jeanette Jenkins, I also got to run with some amazing Chicago ladies and even try out a pair of the new Nike FlyKnit Lunar1+ shoes!

This 10K was a virtual training event on Nike+ for those doing the Nike Women's Half-Marathon in DC at the end of April. The Nike Training Club in Chicago (NTC Lincoln Park) hosted the event for about 100 women. NTC Lincoln Park is an awesome venue for women that has a store with Nike apparel and FREE classes like yoga, NTC, and run club. Check out the schedule. The club is at 833 W. Armitage.

A few of the social media savvy club members (including me) were invited to the event early to try out a pair of the new Nike FlyKnit Lunar1+ (pictured above) and meet Shawn Johnson (pictured below). It was great interacting with these other ladies and sharing our running goals.

Shawn and Jeanette gave us bracelets to commemorate accomplishing a 10K. You get more bracelets for the half marathon and full marathon! The amazing lady on the left of me in the picture below is Jeana Anderson of She's been to pretty much every gym/class in Chicago and reviews them on her blog, you should check it out!

Photo courtesy of NTC Lincoln Park

Me and Shawn Johnson! Notice how far I had to bend down, she is so cute! I don't hang around a lot of celebrity athletes but I really didn't expect her to be so nice and down to earth. She was so enthusiastic about the event and being at NTC. And she is such an inspiration to all of us amateur athletes. I was honored to meet her and get to run with her!

Before the run we had a Q&A session with Shawn and Jeanette. I asked Jeanette what type of diet she prescribes for her clients and I liked her answer! She encourages the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your diet is healthy and 20% can be less-healthier things (like a cheat meal on the weekend). She believes in whole foods, lots of greens, juicing, and no sugar. I'm glad that even celebrity trainers are spreading the importance of diet in your overall health.

Photo courtesy of NTC Lincoln Park

I also met a couple of guys that are students at Purdue (my alma mater) and had contacted Shawn to promote their initiative, the ARK Project. ARK stands for Acts of Random Kindness and the founder and his friends are spending their spring break traveling to different cities and doing nice things for random people. How amazing is that?! 

Finally, the ladies got together to get pumped up before the big run! #letsturnitup!

Photo courtesy of NTC Lincoln Park

The 10k course took use through Lincoln Park and along the lake shore. I fell behind on the parts with mud/ice/snow and wasn't able to catch up to the first group but I still had a good run. I also could have done without the rain but I guess you can't complain about 40 degrees in Chicago. I felt bad for Shawn and Jeanette coming from LA! I was also surprised by how much I liked running in my new Nike FlyKnits. I haven't run in Nike shoes since high school but these felt great. They really mold to your foot and are extremely light and not over-cushioned. I'll keep you updated on how they feel over the next few weeks.

After the race we got to hang out some more and eat snacks. That's me and Cameron with Jeanette Jenkins! I wish she was our trainer! Cam is running the Indy 500 Mini Marathon with me, I'm trying to train to get to 8:30 pace so I can keep up with her.

To be able to participate in and write/share about  these types of events is why I write my blog. It's so great to have a club that empowers female athletes and I'm so excited to be a part of the NTC Lincoln Park family!

Have you signed up for any races this year?

Who is your favorite Olympic athlete?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Karyn's Raw Detox - Days 1-2

This post is part of a series in which I am sharing my journey of Karyn's Raw Detox program. Read my other posts below:

Free Seminar
Day 0
Days 1-2
Days 3-6
Days 7-10

Days 1-2
Happy Saturday everyone! I love Saturdays because I usually spend the day working out and doing other fun things. However, besides going to yoga in my building, I'm taking a rest day so my muscles are ready for tomorrow's Nike+ Virtual 10K at NTC Lincoln Park!

I went to the first class for Karyn's Raw Detox on Wednesday night and have been following the program for a couple of days now. In the first class, Karyn Calabrese explained to use her raw food and detox philosophies, repeating much of what I heard in the free seminar I went to back in January (post). She explained the importance of eating vegan (humans are supposed to be herbivores) and why raw food is essential (cooking kills enzymes necessary for digestion). So, the first week of the detox includes eating strictly plant-based, but not fully raw yet. Eating plant-based has been easy for me since I already do that and I have been incorporating more and more raw foods into my diet. I just ordered a dehydrator from Amazon and I plan on testing it out today! I've basically been eating my normal healthy vegan foods and trying to make my lunch as raw as possible. It hasn't been 100% raw because I don't have some of the raw ingredients yet, I need to make a trip to Whole Foods.

An important part of this detox is adding supplements that are really good for your body and also help flush out the bad things. I feel like I've gone on overload with supplements but Karyn gives you a nice sheet in the form of a table to keep track of all of it. These tables are also included in Karyn's book for each week. Here's a list of some of the supplements I am taking during week 1:

Green Meal Shake - nutrient-dense raw superfood shake for breakfast (pictured above)
Rejuvelac - cleans intestinal tract and has vitamins
Digestive enzymes - break down food for optimum nutrient absorption
Chlorella - algae superfood
Fenugreek - loosens mucus
Detox clay - cleanses colon

Karyn said that people are usually full from the green meal shake for hours after breakfast. I did not find this to be true probably because I work out pretty intensely in the morning and I'm also used to drinking a superfood shake for breakfast (Vega One). Regardless, the shake is really good and filling. The Rejuvelac is and interesting drink and I kind of like the taste of it. The Chlorella tablets you have to chew and they don't taste the greatest and get stuck in your teeth (I'm not a fan but I understand how good chlorella is for you -- I prefer it in shake form). The detox clay is taken right before going to bed and I've felt it the next morning in the form of cramps in my intestines.

Body Log (TMI warning)
I'm not experiencing any huge symptoms from detoxing, yet. I do feel bloated and a bit fatigued but I got a lot of sleep last night so I'm feeling better now. I've also been feeling crampy in the morning, presumably from the detox clay, but that goes away after I go to the bathroom. I did go to the bathroom several times yesterday, so I know my colon is getting cleaned out! The symptoms for me right now are really similar to when I have my period (bloating and cramps), so not too bad.

Disclaimer: Karyn's Raw provided the detox class to me for free and is giving me a discount on the supplements for writing about my experience. The text and opinions are completely my own. You can learn more about the detox class here or buy Karyn's book here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

WOD 13.1 and Nike 10K this weekend

I'm competing in the CrossFit Games this year...which is kind of a joke because I couldn't even do the first WOD Rx. Luckily, RNCF let us do a scaled version! Liz and I both did the scaled version which was:

WOD 13.1
17-minute time cap:
40 burpees
30 snatches (35#)
30 burpees
30 snatches (55#)
20 burpees
30 snatches (65#)
10 burpees
30 snatches (85#)

We both only got to the 55-lb. snatches, which were quite hard. So my total reps (on the left) was 40+30+30+23=123. I'll be happy if I don't do another snatch for a month (or ever). Hopefully there will be some pull-ups in the upcoming WODs. (I never thought I would say that before crossfit!!)

AND...I'm really excited for this weekend because I am participating in the Nike Women's Marathon virtual 10K training race at NTC Lincoln Park this Sunday! Shawn Johnson and her trainer Jeanette Jenkins are leading the race with about 100 women. Read the Chicago Tribune article. The best part, is that I got chosen to be VIP for the event so I get to arrive early and meet Shawn Johnson! I'm so excited to run with her because Olympic athletes are amazing and an inspiration to me. I ran 7 miles last weekend so I'm definitely ready for a 10K, I just hope I can keep up with Shawn!

This 10K is a virtual race so you can participate from anywhere! Just sign up for Nike+ and use the app to log a 10K this weekend.

Who is your favorite Olympic athlete?

Have you done 13.1 yet?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Karyn's Raw Detox: Day 0

This post is part of a series in which I am sharing my journey of Karyn's Raw Detox program. Read my other posts below:

Free Seminar
Day 0
Days 1-2
Days 3-6
Days 7-10

Day 0
Tonight I'm heading to my first class for Karyn's Raw Detox and I'm both excited and nervous. I'm excited about trying something new and cleaning out my body but a little worried about possible detox symptoms and not being able to train for my upcoming mini-marathon effectively. I went to the free seminar at Karyn's Raw in January and was really inspired by Karyn Calabrese, a vegan raw foodist and overall example of perfect health, despite genetic pretenses. She has three vegan restaurants in Chicago and also runs this 4-week detox program.

What is Karyn's Raw Detox?
I wanted to know what I was getting myself into with this cleanse so I purchased Karyn's book Soak Your Nuts, which takes you through the detox in great detail. The book is a great option if you don't live in Chicago and there is also a dvd series you can order. The basic progression of the detox is that you eat vegan the first week, raw vegan the second week, juices the third week, and raw vegan the fourth week. You also take various supplements like Rejuvelac, digestive enzymes, Kamut water, chlorella, Fenugreek seed, and Psyllium-detox clay. I've only heard of about half of these things but they have various purposes, mainly cleaning out your intestinal tract. You're also supposed to get a colonic during the juice cleanse. I am not excited about this part but will share my experience with you (you've been warned!).

What will I eat?
The first week of eating vegan will be easy for me since I already follow a mostly plant-based diet. I'm going to start to introduce raw foods during this week, which I have actually been doing during the past month. I finally made a recipe that tasted good after I got a vegetable spiralizer and made some raw pesto zucchini noodles from Practically Raw by Amber Shea Crawley. Her cookbook is great for people new to raw food. I've also made recipes from Carol Alt's Easy Sexy Raw, although she also eats raw animal foods. The basis of the raw food diet is raw vegetables with fruit, nuts, seeds, and sprouted legumes in moderation. I may need to purchase a dehydrator to make satisfying meals.

Why am I doing this?
One of my crossfit friends told me that I don't need to do a detox because I don't need to lose weight. While that may be true, there are many other (and better) reasons to eat a healthy diet and detox your body. I know that Karyn will talk about the health benefits more in tonight's class. I've learned through my health journey that everything in your body is connected to what you put in it. Contrary to popular belief, genetics actually play a very small role in most ailments and diseases. Karyn is a classic example because both her mother and grandmother were very sick and died earlier than the age she is now (65). Similarly, I came this article today that states that only 10% of breast cancers are genetic and the other 90% are based on your environment and lifestyle. While genes do increase or decrease your risk of certain diseases, you can  manage and decrease the risk with your lifestyle choices, namely what you put in your body. I have reached a great level of health with a plant-based diet and lots of exercise but I still put poisons (like alcohol and coffee) in my body and am surrounded by an unhealthy environment living in a city. For me, this detox will be about learning how to incorporate more raw foods into my diet and cleaning out my body from the toxins that have built up over the years.

While I think the detox will be less of a shock to my body than to someone who has been eating the standard American diet, I still want to write about my journey and how I'm feeling during this process. I'll be updating you 2-3 times per week, so stay tuned! I'm hoping the outcome of this program will be positive and that I will gain more insight into my health as a result. I'm excited to learn from Karyn during the next four weeks!

Disclaimer: Karyn's Raw provided the detox class to me for free and is giving me a discount on the supplements for writing about my experience. The text and opinions are completely my own.

Sore throat cure: green tea & honey

I've felt on the verge of sickness with a sore throat and slight cough since last weekend but it's finally gone away! The cure? Green tea and honey! Did you know that honey can be just as or even more effective than OTC cough syrup to suppress your cough and soothe your sore throat? The antimicrobial properties of honey soothe a sore throat and kill certain infectious bacteria. Honey also has other great health benefits as an antioxidant, including building your immune system and helping prevent cancer.

My favorite mug from the LC Lauren Conrad Kohl's Cares collection

I'm sure you've heard how good green tea is for you. Hot green tea with some honey and lemon does wonders for a sore throat and your immune system. My favorite green tea right now is Mighty Leaf Organic Green Dragon. If you don't like the leafy taste of green tea, the honey and lemon will make it taste better. And cough syrup is way more gross anyway.

What's your favorite homemade immune-boosting natural remedy?

Monday, March 4, 2013

7-mile run and pull-up/HSPU strength training

I had a good last week and weekend of workouts. I was going to do my 7-mile for my Indy 500 Mini Marathon training plan on Saturday, but the weather was gloomy/snowy and the forecast looked better on Sunday. So I decided to go to a seminar (different from the daily classes) at River North CrossFit aimed at gaining strength for pull-ups and handstand push-ups (HSPUs). Now, I can do unassisted kipping pull-ups but I'm using much more of the kip than my arm/shoulder strength to get over the bar, so I was interested in attending this seminar. It turned out to be much more of a workout than I thought, but not heavy on legs so I was still able to run on Sunday. In the seminar, Coach Ryan went through different strength-building movements that would gradually make us stronger and able to more effectively do pull-ups and HSPUs (and eventually muscle-ups).

Strength training for pull-ups
3 rounds max reps of each set:
strict chest-to-bar pull-ups
strict chin-ups
ring rows

Strength training for HSPUs
3 rounds max reps of each set:
shoulder press
negative HSPUs
band-assisted HSPUs

These movements should be scaled so that you can do at least 10 at a time (I used a green band for the strict pull-ups and chin-ups). You should also rest 30 sec to a minute between each set. Doing these movements around 3 times a week will build the necessary strength to do pull-ups and HSPUs.

The weather was a little nicer on Sunday at 30F and sunny. The snow was melting so the sidewalks weren't too bad. Ryan came with me on this run and I'm glad he did because I wasn't feeling too motivated. We ran at an easy 9 minute/mile pace. I know I'll be able to run faster once the weather is better because I just get so congested in the cold. Plus, it takes forever to warm up. Regardless, it was a good run and I am on track with my training plan! We did a big triangle by running out to the United Center, then north on Damen through Wicker Park and back down Milwaukee to River North. By the way, this was my third time logging a run with Nike+ iPod and it's finally calibrated to be correct!

Add me as a friend (username: healthyfitgoddess) on Nike+!!

What were your workouts this weekend?