Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back to Juicing Basics


After a long week off for spring break, I have been feeling a bit sluggish...could be because I never made it to the gym and sat around crocheting and eating chocolate all week (pretty great if you ask me).  But, the fun is over and now it's time to get serious about making some healthy choices.  Not anything crazy over here...there will still be chocolate, believe me!

One choice that is pretty easy for me to make is to start juicing again.  This past summer I invested in a juicer and would make 1-2 juices every day while I was home with Peanut.  It's no secret that I'm not a veggie lover (sorry veggies), but I can tolerate juicing for some reason.  I think part of it is knowing that I can get in all of my vegetables in one shot and don't have to think about eating them the rest of the day (unless they're cooked with bacon...mmmm...bacon).

So this week, I'm getting back to juicing basics and after 2 days I can say that I'm already feeling better: I have more energy, feel less bloated, and have more mental clarity.  Huh?  Go figure!

Here are a few basic juicing rules I stick to to keep things simple and manageable for me, a working mom and wife with a small business.

JUICING BASICS

Search for Recipes: Before heading to the grocery store or farmer's market, I like to search Pinterest for some juicing recipes.  It's easier for me to have a list ahead of time instead of picking up random fruits and veggies and then finding I don't have enough to get me through the week.
*I've started a Pinterest board to save my favorites and some others that look good to try.

One Recipe Per Week:  Instead of going crazy and buying every fruit and vegetable in the produce isle, I will stick to one juice recipe and buy enough ingredients for to make one juice per day for that week.  This might change in the summer months when I'm having more than one juice per day and the produce is more readily available, but for now, I don't have the budget to be buying bushels of apples, spinach, and kale.  And this way I don't have to think about what I'm going to put together each day, which is good for my foggy morning brain.

ingredients
juicing ingredients for the week: spinach, kale, apples, lemons, celery, cucumbers, parsley
Prepare Ingredients in Advance:  It is less time consuming for me if I can prepare my ingredients in advance as much as possible.  This means washing all fruits and vegetables (especially if not organic) immediately when I get home from the grocery store.  I use an all natural wash from Trader Joe's.

Side note: In the past, I've made a large juice on Monday and drank 1 cup each morning until it was gone.  After doing a bit more research, I realized that I should be having between 16 to 20 oz of juice per day and after 3 hours of juice being exposed to the air, it loses a great deal of it's nutritional value.  So, by Thursday, I was drinking all of those tasty (ahem) vegetables and not getting any of their hearty goodness!  So, while it would save me a lot of time to make the juices ahead of time, I feel it's better for me to make a fresh juice each day.

apples

Drink on an Empty Stomach:  My routine is to make my juice after taking a shower in the morning and drink it while I get ready. I've read that you should consume your juice on an empty stomach and about 20 minutes before a meal.  Also, juicing is not a meal replacement for me (I don't want to wither away - ha!), so I will typically have a small breakfast of eggs and toast before leaving for work.  

Chew Your Juice:  Yeah, so you should be chewing or swishing your juice while you drink in order to get your salivary glands going and start the digestive process.  So I walk around all morning swishing my juice and showing my husband my green tongue (he loves it, really).  

I'm not an expert on juicing by any means, but these are the things that have helped me to make this process easy and doable.   If you have been thinking about juicing I hope that these tips will help get you started.

JUICE #1
  • handful of fresh kale (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • handful of fresh spinach (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • small bunch of parsley (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 cucumber


Don't forget to save up your pulp to make these yummy Juice Pulp Muffins!!

happy juicing!!

xo, Jenn
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Do you juice?  What advice do you have for me?  
Any favorite recipes you would like to share?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monthly Fitness Challenge - April

Ahhhh... Spring break is over and I'm back to work.  And while I loved having the time off to really do whatever I wanted to do (lots of crochet, a little sewing, and binge watching LOST), I'm OK with getting back to a regular schedule and routine.  A routine that usually includes working out (which I did not do AT ALL when on break).  

So, even thought it's the second week of April already, I'm just now throwing out this month's fitness challenge.  This month, we're focusing a little bit of everything - buns, guns, and abs.  


If you haven't joined the Monthly Fitness Challenge Facebook group yet, you really should.  This month I'm making things a little more interesting for everyone with a GIVEAWAY!  I haven't figured out what the prize will be (I'm thinking a stash of my favorite fitness/health goodies), but it will be great, I promise.  

Do you have any fitness goals for the month?  How do you plan to reach them?

xo, Jenn

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Brush Whiten GO!

I've been using the Colgate® Optic White™ Toothbrush + Built-In Whitening Pen for about a month now and I can honestly say that I really like it!


Squishy Cheeks & Cupcakes
Colgate Optic White Voxbox from Influenster


Squishy Cheeks & Cupcakes
Colgate® Optic White™ Toothbrush + Built-In Whitening Pen
The idea is that you brush your teeth using the Optic White toothpaste twice a day and follow it up with the Built-In Whitening Pen.  You simply twist the bottom of the pen twice for your upper teeth and twice for bottom teeth and rub the gel on your teeth with the rubber scrubber on top of the pen.  The pen is then stored in the bottom of the toothbrush.  It's literally Brush Whiten GO!


Brush Whiten GO!
This system works great for me because I have so much to do in the morning to get ready for work and am usually trying to grab a bite to eat for breakfast as I head out the door.  I don't have time to sit around and wait for some strips to sit on my teeth before I can eat (and you don't want to see me before coffee and breakfast).  

I can hop out of the shower, brush my teeth, apply the whitening gel, put on my makeup, and be ready for breakfast in no time!  I appreciate something that adds to an overall look of health and beauty without adding unnecessary time to my morning routine.  Below are a few more of my thoughts on the Colgate® Optic White™ Toothbrush + Built-In Whitening Pen.

WHAT I LIKE:

  • Great toothpaste - I've used the optic white toothpaste in the past and have really liked it.  It leaves my mouth feeling clean and fresh!
  • Great toothbrush - I really liked the extra grippers, rubber bristles, and cheek scrubber on this toothbrush.  It has every angle covered!
  • Convenient - Because the whitening pen is stored inside the toothbrush, it's almost impossible to forget to use it.  Also, it is literally as easy as click, click, rub.
  • Effective - (somewhat) - I wouldn't say I really noticed a difference in 2 days, but my teeth were not super yellow to begin with.  But I did notice an overall difference after a couple of weeks.
  • Mild - I have SUPER crazy sensitive teeth and will usually use a toothpaste for sensitivity.  I have not had a problem with my teeth being extra sensitive while using this product, which I really appreciate.
  • Reasonably Priced - The toothbrush and whitening pen retail for $12.99 at Target.  I think this is a reasonable investment considering I still have whitening gel in my pen after over a month!  (and yes, I do brush my teeth twice a day!)

WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Effectiveness - This is not as effective as some other whitening products out there.  But, you are also not sitting there with a strip of goop on your teeth for 30 minutes without being able to eat or drink anything. 
  • Long Term Use - If you like the results, you will likely need to continue to use the gel pen for the long term as I don't believe the results will last as long as some other stronger whitening products.


Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
(If you would also like to get awesome stuff to review from Influenster, leave me your email and I'll send you an invite!)

xo, Jenn

Are you following Squish Cheeks on Facebook?  You should! ;)



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