Beachbody's Ultimate Reset Cleanse (week 1)

Currently, I’m studying to become a certified nutritionist.  Hopefully, if all goes well, I will complete my studies and be certified by the end of this summer.  Probably one of the most important lessons I have learned is that our bodies are filled with toxins that we put in them on a daily basis.  By not buying organic, we are introducing pesticides and fungicides into our systems, chemicals our bodies can’t process and that can cause problems inside.  By eating prepackaged foods, we are also putting unnecessary chemicals and other unhealthy ingredients into our bodies.  Even the water we drink (from the tap) has chemicals!  So the first line of defense is to detox the body of these chemicals.

Day 6 dinner
When Beachbody first started talking about offering a cleanse, I knew I wanted to try it.  (You can check out the Ultimate Reset here.)  But when it came out last month and I saw the price tag, I had sticker shock.  It seemed like a lot of money.  However, most naturopaths, chiropractors, and nutritionists offer cleanse programs to their clients.  From just the little bit of research I’ve done, it looks as though Beachbody’s price point is right in line with others on the market.

When my cleanse arrived in the mail, I was so excited.  I wanted to start right away!  I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to gather my ingredients for week 1 and some of the “staples” I needed in my pantry.  This post will give my results after only 7 days (still have 14 to go) and I’ve decided to include some of my daily journaling.  I know it helps me to read what others struggle with when I’m making difficult positive changes, so I hope it’ll encourage someone out there!

After only seven days, I am amazed at the differences in my body already.  I lost FOUR pounds.  Plus I lost 1” off my waist AND 1” off each thigh!  (My arms and hips have stayed the same.)  I have no more caffeine headache, and I feel full each day.   I’ve tried many new recipes and loved every single one of them, really!  I have to be honest:  Not having dessert and coffee sometimes gets to me.  I really got used to something sweet after dinner.  Overall, I am very impressed with the variety of foods and how well Beachbody has put together this cleanse.  If this is how much I’ve changed in just 7 days, I can’t wait to see how I do at the 21 day mark!

Day 1:  April 23, 2012, Monday
Followed plan exactly – no straying!  No coffee was tough.  Ended up napping for about 20 min in the afternoon.  Went to bed by 9:30pm.  Drank about 4-5 cups green tea today!  Lots of trips to bathroom because of the extra water I’m drinking!  Made 2 salad dressings.  Made homemade corn tortillas for tomorrow night’s dinner and set beans out to soak until tomorrow.  Everyone loved the salmon dinner except Hannah.  It was tough not to take seconds of what I liked.  Supplements are not difficult to take except for the Alkaline!  That one I just have to chug.
Day 1 breakfast

Day 2:  April 24, 2012 Tuesday
Headache from no coffee.  Trying to drink green tea without sugar.  Loved the pine nuts on my salad!  I’ve never splurged on those before and I really like them.  Excited about dinner tonight:  homemade corn tortillas, black beans and rice along with guacamole, corn & salsa (Mexican is our family’s favorite meal).  Making fresh mint tea (just put 3 mint leaves and one basil in hot water with a pinch of stevia) for something different and it was delicious!  It’s SO difficult to go without coffee…..I have a horrible headache still tonight.  Was really tired today, but didn’t nap.  Went to bed again by 9:30pm.

Day 3:  April 25, 2012 Wednesday
Only had ONE cup of tea today!  Headache is gone – kind of surprised it only took 2 whole days to get rid of it; I was expecting it to last at least 3 days. I haven’t noticed any difference in going to the bathroom or aches and pains.  Loved the lentil salad for lunch today!  Made the Ginger Miso dressing for my salad at lunch and really liked it a lot.  Still following the plan exactly.  Kids loved the homemade miso soup and nori rolls with tempeh (fake “bacon” was something new for me in my sushi).  What is most difficult about the cleanse, is the amount of cooking and dishwashing I have been doing the last few days.  Tomorrow will be first day “out” during this cleanse (we attend a homeschool co-op once a week).  I hope to avoid the snacks in the teacher’s lounge and stick to just a cup of tea and bring my own snack.  Too complicated to try to bring lunch with me tomorrow, but I do have most of it prepared because I’ve made double batches of some of the meals. 

Day 4:  April 26, 2012 Thursday
Today was challenging.  I teach at a homeschool co-op every Thursday and don’t usually get home until after 1pm.  Usually, I eat the treats in the teachers’ lounge and enjoy a cup of coffee, but instead I made myself a cup of caffeine free herbal tea.  I’ll be honest, it was a tad bit tough avoiding the baked goods in there today!  Didn’t have a snack at all today because I was running around all afternoon.  (Snacks are allowed but optional on the cleanse.)  It was difficult to pass up the candy and granola bars at the checkouts during my errands today because I was so hungry, but I made it.  Dinner wasn’t on the table until 8pm!  It wasn’t complicated to make, but I didn’t get home and get started until after 7pm.  All the meals were excellent today and I felt very full after eating.  I think because I wasn’t at home, I wanted to snack more today (even though I didn’t give in).  By the time dinner was finished, I felt very tired, achy and sore all over.  I went to bed by 9:30pm.

Day 5:  April 27, 2012 Friday
Up by 6am again.  I need to stop weighing myself daily.  That just seems to irritate me watching numbers go up and down daily.  Oatmeal tasted really good this morning!  I made extra the other morning, so I just warmed it up in a pot with ¼ c coconut milk.  Looks like lunch should be easy, as will dinner because I’ve made extra this week and can eat the leftovers for the planned meals today.  I like that it’s saved me time!  Feeling very sore & achy today.  Got my Shakeology in the mail yesterday, so I asked the FB group how it can be subbed in to the cleanse.  This is the response I got:  “Although we encourage you to follow the prescribed Beachbody Ultimate Reset meal plan, we do allow Shakeology Vegan as a convenient, healthy breakfast alternative for all three phases. However, since phase 3 calls for less protein..., we recommend you take only a half a serving of Vegan Shakeology.”  Here’s one recipe they gave me that’s approved for the Beachbody Ultimate Reset:  "Kiwilicious:  Blend 1 serving Shakeology Tropical Strawberry, 1 cup distilled water, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, and 1 kiwifruit peeled."  (You can purchase Tropical Strawberry Shakeology here.)

Day 6:  April 28, 2012 Saturday
Made it to the Farmer’s Market this morning, downtown.  I love talking to the farmers and vendors there about how they grow their food.  It was tough to turn down the homemade cheese samples, and the man with baked goods really stayed on me to buy his strawberry pies!  Meals went fine, just a lot of time to prep each meal still.  Finding it difficult to keep up with all household chores with the extra cooking and cleaning of dishes.  Food was amazing!  I’m definitely going to start incorporating many of these recipes into my regular menus after the cleanse is over.  I also want to start growing more veggies at home. 

Day 7:  April 29, 2012 Sunday
This was a difficult day!  I had church and a potluck picnic all day long.  I had time to make breakfast, but lunch had to be brought to the park.  Bringing my soup was not easy!  Then looking at that long table of chips, cookies, brownies, etc. was somewhat of a challenge.  I just kept reminding myself that it’s only 2 more weeks to go……

Stay tuned for weeks 2 and 3.  I will keep journaling daily and post my results along with the condensed versions of my journal entries for you all to read.


Homemade Guacamole Recipe

 I believe avocados are one of the best and most nutritious foods available.  It’s what I fed my youngest two children as their first food.  Yes, instead of jarred (nasty) baby food, I mashed avocados (thinned a little with formula or water) and fed it to my kids when they were babies!  I’m happy to report that they are lovers of vegetables, even today.  Even if you buy organic produce (avocados, bananas, etc), it’s still cheaper than jarred baby food you can buy at the store and so much more nutritious.  

 I love guacamole, and if avocados were cheaper, I would make this all the time.   I’m secretly hoping I can grow them in a greenhouse here in Virginia!   Here’s my extremely simple recipe for homemade guacamole that goes really well with homemade crackers or carrot chips (slice carrots thinly and voila! You have raw carrot chips)!

  • 1-2 organic avocados, mashed
  • 1 small organic yellow onion, chopped
  • Juice from 1organic lime (approx 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • Optional:   1 T freshly chopped cilantro, 1 chopped tomato, or for a spicy kick, add 1 T chopped jalepenos.

Directions:  Combine all ingredients well.  

I'm linking up this recipe to Serentity Now!
Serenity Now


My Weight Loss Journey (part 3)

In my quest to make myself and my family healthier in all aspects of nutrition and housekeeping, I have found quite a few very helpful sites.  Not just buying and cooking the “right” foods are important. So part 3 of "My Weight Loss Journey" will detail the sites that have taught me everything I know!

I mentioned that My Fitness Pal was what helped me track my calories.  It encouraged me to keep logging my food and exercise.  Each day you log your activity, it records it and tells you how many days you’ve logged in a row.  I’ll admit, though, that I’ve been discouraged when I forget to log in just one day and the count that was close to 100 goes back to zero.  Recently, I received word about a new program, very similar to My Fitness Pal called Slimkicker!  I started an account, and plan to begin logging and using their site exclusively. 

Almost two years ago, a dear friend of mine switched her family (2 adults, 2 children) to raw milk, pastured eggs and grass fed beef.  I’ll admit…….I was intrigued.  Honestly, I was a bit disgusted by the idea of raw milk.  I was also worried about giving it to my children.  Is it safe?  What if they get sick?  How do I know it’s the right thing to do?  I trust my friend in that I know she would never do anything to endanger her family.  So I started researching.  I found two great sites in particular that gave me all of the information that helped me make my informed decision:  Weston A Price and Dr. Mercola.  Also, there’s a great site (set up by the Weston A Price foundation) with very specific information on “real” milk.  

The two most important points that helped me decide to switch to “real” milk:
1 – Raw milk is safe!  Conventional milk is pasteurized to get rid of dangerous bacteria.  The dangerous bacteria is there because the cows are not eating what nature intended them to eat (grass), and they are kept in absolutely disgusting conditions.  Those cows are so sick from their unnatural diets and conditions, and produce some pretty disgusting milk (pus and blood are in their milk!), so it must be pasteurized.  I would never drink raw milk from a “conventional” dairy farm as that milk would not be safe.  But, by knowing how the cows are kept and fed at my local farm, I am confident that I am purchasing milk that is safe for me and my whole family.  Please be sure you know the conditions your cows are in before buying raw milk.  Check your state laws as well.  Being informed is the best way to avoid getting sick.
2 – Raw milk is healthy!  I noticed a 5 lb drop in only 2 weeks after switching from fat free half & half to raw heavy cream daily in my coffee.  I did nothing else different (consumed the same calories and exercised the same) and my weight dropped quicker than the 1lb/week it had been.  Also, I’ve noticed our entire family seems to be healthier.  This is the first spring we have not suffered from allergies!  I used to have asthma and suffer from pretty bad allergies.  But now that we are eating healthier, combined with the great probiotics in our raw milk, we seem to have been spared this season!  Our immune systems seem much stronger.  The only evidence I can give is that when the bad stomach virus was going around, my kids only vomited once and felt sick for 6-10 hours when everyone else seemed to be vomiting ever 20 min and felt sick a minimum of 24 hours.

Another important point to note about milk in general is that it is one of the biggest causes of allergies and asthma in children and adults!  In my studies to become a certified nutritionist, I’ve learned it’s important to do a 14 day fast from dairy to see if allergy conditions improve.  If they do, you may have a milk allergy to some degree.  But from the research, most people who are lactose intolerant or have allergies, are able to handle raw milk.  (Please seek the advice of your doctor or allergist before consuming milk – raw or not – if you’ve been diagnosed with an allergy.)  The problem with “conventional” milk is that it is missing many of the beneficial probiotics your body needs to fight off allergens (the good bacteria is killed in the pasteurization process).  Also, the protein structures of the milk are changed when heated which is what many people have the allergic reaction to (allergic reaction can mean many different things, depending on the person and severity).    See this article here for more information.

Now, where do you get raw milk?  It’s difficult to find unless you know someone who is buying it.  Unfortunately, I can’t give detailed information on how to find it as farmers fear being shut down by the government.  My best advice is to go to the Real Milk website and search your specific area.  If nothing is listed, go to your local farmers’ market and start asking.  It all depends on the laws in your state.

Aside from the controversial “real milk” debate, I have found Dr. Mercola’s website to be extremely helpful in my journey to get myself and my family healthy.  He has educated me on many topics from how to get rid of cleaning chemicals in my home (and use natural essential oils) to how to cook foods properly to ensure the most nutrition stays in the foods we eat.

Usually when I find a topic on Dr. Mercola’s site, I go over to www.livestrong.com to check what they have to say about the same topic.  Many times, they are saying the same things, but this other site seems more “conventional” than holistic.  I think many people call the holistic movement “crunchy granola” or “a little crazy” but conventional sites like Livestrong seem better accepted by the mainstream population.   I would highly recommend doing research there for just about any topic you want to know more about.

I guess this site is the most obvious…..yes, I’m a Beachbody coach, so of course I would recommend our site!  But it’s more than just that.  I’ve found accountability there.  I’ve found information there.  And I’ve been challenged there!  Just signing up for a free beachbody account and logging your workouts in the Supergym (in real time) will get you entered to win $500 daily!  I have to admit, I get frustrated with myself when I’m not working out because I know I missed a chance to be entered to win real cash money.  If you become a Club Member, you also get the benefit of a discount on all products plus personalized meal plans and shopping lists.

The last website I’ll mention in this post (that is much longer than I anticipated!) is the college I’m attending online:  Global College of Natural Medicine.  After becoming more and more interested in understanding how natural foods can heal the body, I decided to become a certified holistic nutritionist.  So I started searching for programs available.  It would have to be something online and affordable.  There are many programs out there, but nothing seemed doable until I found GCNM.  And the fact that 80% of my tuition could go towards a bachelor’s degree, Holistic Health Practioner, really made the decision for me.  Now, not only am I learning all of these things to help myself and my family, but I will be certified to help others officially and plan to continue my studies all the way to get my phd!

I have learned more in my Nutritional Consultant course than anywhere else.  Although I have researched many topics on the other sites, I haven’t read through the scientific research explaining the experts’ various opinions until now.  It makes sense.  I see the science behind the information.  It’s shocking that the knowledge I’m gaining is not the mainstream information available to everyone.  I hope to be able to educate others, especially moms, in how to better provide nutrition and safe products in their homes.

Stay tuned for Part 4 when I will detail how I cleaned out our pantry!


My Weight Loss Journey (part 2)

This is part 2 in my series “My Weight Loss Journey”.  If you think you need to spend money to find online recipes or menu plans, you are sorely mistaken!  Everything I’ve found online has been free.

I mentioned that my mindset changed after reading Made to Crave.  I believe the most important change was that I stopped looking at food as the problem.  I realized *I* was the problem.  I started looking at food as fuel for my body.  I looked at nutrition instead of just the calories.  It was a big wake-up call when I decided to stop eating diet food.  I thought to myself, “Why would I eat food that I can’t give to my children?”  So I searched for healthy recipes online, and for blogs that would point me in the right path.  

First, I found Skinny Taste thanks to a friend in our accountability group.  She said they had recipes with Weight Watchers points and that most of the recipes were recognizable ones made healthier.  It only took one recipe to get me hooked! 

Then I thought, if I could just make this transition easier and have meals ready to go, then I wouldn’t be as likely to make or buy “bad foods”.  So I came across Once A Month MomHer site was amazing, and again, free!  I picked the “diet” menu plan and made enough food to last my family for more than one month.  In fact, we had lentil stew in the freezer for more than 6 months!  My accountability group was interested in doing the same, so we set up a day to put together a monthly menu plan at one of our houses.  Another time, we did a meal swap where we each brought 6 dinners (one recipe) and 6 snacks (one recipe).  It was great to go home with so many different meals that day! 

Since that time, I’ve discovered that the easiest way for me to do freezer cooking is to pick 1-2 weeks of meals and double the ingredients for my grocery list (obviously, I have to go weekly to get fresh veggies).  Then, each night I cook a double meal – we eat one and I freeze the other.  When I do this 2 weeks in a row, I don’t have to cook for two whole weeks.  It’s great!  But for those just starting out, I recommend you pick 7 dinners, double the ingredients, and then cook for just one week, freezing your second meal each time.  It’s an easier way to get introduced to freezer cooking and not as much money up front.

 But even though Skinny Taste and Once A Month Mom are great sites, I still find that they use fat-free or sugar-free ingredients in some of their recipes.  I also started realizing that boxed mixes and many prepared items are just not healthy.  We wanted to avoid refined sugars as much as possible, so after some searching, I discovered 100 Days of Real Food.  Here was a mom, just like me, who decided to start feeding her family healthy, nutritious, real food.  She inspired me, and she made it so easy to make meals and snacks that my whole family enjoyed, while I still dropped pounds!  It was her inspiration that helped me to create my homemade wheat thin recipe.  And what's really cool is that she has partnered with Once A Month Mom to bring whole food menus to the monthly meal planning convenience.

I’ve also found Snack Girl and Chocolate Covered Katie to have amazing, low calorie snacks that we all enjoy.  Who knew you could make a healthy chocolate chip cookie dough dip?!   Chocolate Covered Katie did!  

Definitely take some time to browse the sites from this post.  Write down some recipes and try it out yourself.  Cooking healthy, organic meals doesn't have to cost a lot and it doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. I would be surprised if you come away from this post and not have enough information to get started making healthy, nutritious meals!

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series where we will go through the non-recipe sites that have taught me everything I know about proper nutrition.


My Weight Loss Journey (part 1)

This will be the beginning of a series of posts about how I have lost 43 lbs since April 2011.  Stay tuned for more as well as some new recipes I've created too!
I used to watch the Jenny Craig commercials and the Weight Watchers and think, “When we have money, I’m going to do that and finally lose weight.”  Or I’d eye the special diet food at the store and sigh, thinking I just needed money and I could finally get my weight under control. 
I resigned myself to the thought that I just wasn’t an athletic girl.  There’s no way I was going to start exercising regularly.  Just no way.  And I figured I must not have the “skinny genes”……I’d even be secretly angry when I’d see “skinny” people eating Twinkies!  How could they eat that and not gain weight?  It just didn’t seem fair.

Then I read a book called Made to Crave last summer.  My entire way of thinking shifted.  I realized that I was using food as my crutch.  I realized that no matter how much money I have, I would never lose weight and keep it off if I kept making excuses and if I depended on things to help me lose weight. 

Yes, there are great tools out there to lose weight.  But ultimately, the ONLY way I would ever lose weight and keep it off was if *I* changed.  I’ve finally come to the realization that I am ultimately in control over what I put in my body and how much I move it! 

If I’m completely honest, I will tell you what spurred me to begin this journey:  my 20th high school reunion is this summer.  I couldn’t bear the thought of everyone seeing me the way I was.  I was ashamed, and I was depressed.  But I was determined to make a change.  I was not going to fail.  Not this time.  I entered a brave new world where I was no longer focused on what I can’t have, but on all of the new things I can have.   Just that simple shift in thinking has helped me stay successful for one year and counting!

I’ve written before about how exactly I went about losing 43 lbs, but it’s worth repeating:  I ate less and moved more.  That’s it, folks! There’s no magic pill.  There’s no specific diet.  But specifically, I did several things that led to my success:

I joined an accountability group of 5 women who met with me weekly to weigh in, kind of like a free Weight Watchers meeting.  We met every Monday morning at a different person’s house (hostess made a healthy snack).  We shared recipe ideas (even did a meal swap twice).  Knowing I was going to step on the scale in front of those women kept me going throughout the week.  I needed that in the beginning.  And we eventually started a Facebook group called “30 Day Challenge” where we all posted our beginning body fat percentage and then posted our ending percentage.  The one with the biggest change got a $20 gift card from everyone in the challenge.  I think our first challenge had 14 participants, so the winner got $280!  Personally, I cut my body fat percentage in HALF!  I never won the challenge, but I lost so much weight and inches that it really didn’t matter.  Oh ok, it would have been nice to have those gift cards to buy new clothes to fit my new body, but honestly, it was wonderful to be part of a group of women who were making serious changes in their lives!

 I signed up for www.myfitnesspal.com and started tracking my calories.   I chose to make healthy meals my whole family could eat, and I measured out all of my portions so I was in control over exactly how many calories I was taking in.  I generally eat 1200-1400 per day.  There are a lot of diets out there that promise you weight loss, but I wanted something that I would stick with long term, and something that was safe for my whole family.  I do not eat “low fat”, “sugar free”, or other diet foods.  I eat REAL food, but more on that later.

Finally, I exercise for at least 20 minutes EVERY day.  Before I spent at least several hours on the computer (mainly Facebook & browsing the web) daily, so I had absolutely NO excuse to spend at least one half hour a day working out.  I chose to begin with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.  I’m not going to lie.  It was difficult!  I didn’t want to do it, and it hurt.  But I kept at it and posted daily what day and week I was on in the program.  The accountability of my Facebook friends kept me going.  After the first 30 days, I moved on to Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 3.  It was at this point last summer that I decided I wanted to make money inspiring others to do what I did and joined Team Beachbody as a coach.  I bought TurboJam and Shakeology and the transformation of my body continued.  I also purchased a Polar GT4 heart rate monitor to see exactly how many calories I was burning.  My goal is to burn at least 250 calories per workout session.  I found that I love kickboxing and martial arts training as exercise!  Who knew?  My son is graduating to camo belt in Taekwondo this week, and I've seriously thought about signing up for the adult class, too!

Part 2 of this series will be the online tools I have used to get my weight under control.