Tag Archives: detox

The Sure Fire Way to Kill Cravings

This is not pretty, nor is it easy, but it’ll definitely get the job done!  You know those deep food cravings you get that are nearly impossible to fight off? The ones you almost always give in to.  They are the worst!!! I found a way to combat them every time. It will only work if you are determined as it is disgusting, at least to your taste buds.

You will need to juice 1 bunch of dandelion greens, 2 lemons and a quarter-sized piece of ginger root. At my local whole foods this costs about $6. This will yield a mug size full of dark green juice. Just drink it. Don’t smell it, or taste it. You need to drink it and get through the bitter nastiness. This not only cures my cravings, but also keeps me eating healthier all day long.

By the way, this juice is extremely potent with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Show those cravings who’s boss and get it done!


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A look at Protein Bars, particularly IsaLean bars

Good Evening!

My wonderful brother has a friend who wanted my take on a particular brand of protein bars him and his wife have been purchasing.  These are IsaLean bars.  I had never heard of them, but the name alone suggested to me that these bars would be filled with highly processed ingredients.   Let’s have a look at what I discovered.

Here is the ingredient label of the IsaLean Bar in Natural Oatmeal Raisin flavor

IsaLean Natural Oatmeal Raisin Bar

My initial thought was “wow, lots of ingredients”, but where are the natural ingredients?  Oh yes, there they are!  Out of the over 40 ingredients, 4 are perhaps natural in my book (raisins, rolled oats, water and cinnamon).  So red flag #1, less than 10% of ingredients are natural.  Yikes.

Among the listed ingredients, the ones that give me great pause are: tapioca starch, lecithin, brown rice syrup, maltitol, fractionated palm kernel oil, natural flavor, malitiol syrup, polydextrose, high oleic safflower oil, natural flavor (again) and maltodextrin.  Here are some of the problems I have with each.

Tapioca Starch – Extremely high glycemic index of 85.  To compare, sugar has a GI of 70.  No nutritional value.

Lecithin – the label doesn’t tell us what type of lecithin is used.  It can be soy, eggs, milk, marine sources, rapeseed, cottonseed, and sunflower.  Most of the time it is derived from genetically modified soybeans. So what is lecithin?  It is the generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipids (e.g., phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylinositol).  It is used in the food industry as an emulsifier in packaged food products.  This is a highly processed ingredient that is genetically modified and most likely chemically extracted.  I will take a pass.  (I would be less concerned if this was non-GMO soy lecithin, or even if the type of lecithin used was listed)

Brown Rice Syrup – this is a sweetener I see all over the snack bar market.  I am not a fan at all.  This has a glycemic index of 100 and, unless specified, is typically derived from genetically modified brown rice.  Don’t let the words “brown rice” fool you into believing this is healthy.  It is made from whole grain rice treated with enzymes that break down natural starches into sugars.  It is a refined and concentrated sweetener that is often used as a substitute for high fructose corn syrup.

Maltitol – This is one of the many sugar alcohols used to make processed snacks and desserts “sugar-free”.  Consumption of maltitol and other sugar alcohols can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, including a laxative like effect.  Maltitol is produced from starch mainly in corn or potatoes.  Definitely derived from GM food that is then highly processed into the final product.  My personal experience years ago with maltitol was an uncomfortable one.  I recall bloating and overall GI upset.

Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil – Let’s start with palm kernel oil, then we can touch on what fractionated palm kernel oil is.  It can’t be obtained organically. Instead, the oil must be extracted from the pit with a gasoline-like hydrocarbon solvent. In short, palm kernel oil is a cheap, unhealthy fat, which well-known Dr. Andrew Weil recommends avoiding products containing it.  Now what about the fractionated palm kernel oil?  Fractionation is a further phase of palm oil processing, designed to extract and concentrate specific fatty acid fractions. Fractionated palm oil, as found in food products, has a higher concentration of saturated fat than regular palm oil and is used for the convenience of manufacturers who like its stability and melting characteristics.

Natural Flavor – this additive makes me angry because it can mean pretty much anything!  The FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 defines the term natural flavor as “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional”.  In all seriousness, this can be anything, including MSG.  Here’s an example of a natural flavor ingredient that will turn your stomach – it’s called castoreum and is an extract derived from the beavers’ anal glands.  Mmmmmmm.  Just think of all the creative ingredients that can be hiding under the “natural flavors” label.

Maltitol Syrup –  Read Maltitol above, then add a more processed and concentrated version of this sweetener, which contains 50-80% maltitol and most of the remainder is composed of sorbitol.  Sorbitol is another sugar alcohol that has well-documented cases of stomach upset and diarrhea in some individuals.  Perhaps this is why sorbitol has been linked to IBS.  The glycemic index of maltitol syrup is higher than maltitol, but just slightly below sugar.

Polydextrose – This is a multi-purpose food additive synthesized from dextrose (glucose), plus about 10 percent sorbitol and 1 percent citric acid. It is a soluble non-viscous manmade polymer that is only partially fermented by the gut microbiota.  Food companies use this additive to bulk up product and add fiber.  I always opt for natural fiber, which is abundant in vegetables, nuts and seeds.

High Oleic Safflower Oil – This is a highly processed oil that has taken the place of hydrogenated oil (trans fats) to keep food shelf-stable and preserve flavor since all the negative attention about trans fats.  Here’s a study documenting how high oleic safflower oil, compared to high linoleic safflower oil and coconut oil caused an increase in tumors in rats.  My guess is 10 years from now these high oleic oils may be on the list of “bad” ingredients.

Natural Flavor – Why is it listed twice?  Well, see it above.

Maltodextrin – This is a food additive produced from starch (usually of corn in US, but can be wheat) by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless making it perfect for processed food manufacturers.  This has a high glycemic index of 95 (sugar is 70).

So what should you do if you want a high protein snack on-the-go?  Here are some suggestions:

Pumpkin Seeds – these will provide you with the same amount of protein (18g) as the IsaLean Bar does (both are 60g), and much more natural nutritive values.  Not to mention, lower carb and sugar than the IsaLean bar.  And they’re delicious!

Almonds – not quite as much protein (13g compared to 18g in 60g serving size), but full of healthy fats and vitamins/minerals.  You can spice almonds up on your own by roasting using your favorite seasonings and spice.  Just watch out for overloading on the salt – 1/4 tsp contains a whopping 590mg of sodium!

And I’m going to give the Mind Your Muffin almond cave bite (paleo, gluten-free, vegan) a plug here as it is a great option for on-the-go snack/sweet treat filled with organic, all-natural fiber and protein!  Only 4g of carbs and no sugar (and of course nothing artificial or highly processed).   Simple healthful ingredients to give your body what it needs and nothing it doesn’t.  You never have to be without the perfect snack with our cave bite subscriptions where the bites will be delivered right to your door every month!  So perfect!

There are many many protein bars out there.  If you do one thing, read the ingredients and look for red flags.  Do your best to stay away from them.

If you have any protein bars or snack foods you would like me to take a look at for you, please ask!  I’m very busy running my healthy baked goods company, but will definitely give it a look for you.

Keep up your awareness,




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What is the best way to juice? Blue Print Cleanse vs. home juicing!

Hi everyone!

This post will be comparing my homemade juice cleanse to the Blue Print Cleanse (3-day excavation) I did about a 3 months ago.  If you missed my review of the Blue Print Cleanse excavation juice, you can read about it here.

There are a few aspects that I will compare.  These are cost, nutrient quality, taste and convenience.  Let’s begin with cost:

BPC – you will receive 6 – 16oz juices per day at a cost of $65/day plus $10/day for shipping.  So if you order a 3 day cleanse, you will pay $65(3) + $10(3) = $225.  You will receive a total of 288oz of juice to be consumed within 3 days.  Hold on 1 moment – Whole Foods is now carrying Blue Print Cleanse juices so you can forget about those nasty shipping costs.  Now this is not at ALL Whole Food locations.  At the Whole Foods on Kingsbury in Chicago, the juices ranges from $6.99 – $9.99 per bottle.  So 6 bottles per day will range from $42 – $60 per day.  Better than $75/day!  And you can then mix/match per your preference.

In preparation for my 3 day homemade juice cleanse, I went to Whole Foods and grabbed enough fruits and vegetables for the 1st 2 day of the cleanse.  As I am sure you know, Whole Foods, aka “the (w)hole” (as in where did my money go?) is pricey.  I checked out with 3 bunches of organic kale, 1 bunch organic dino kale, 2 bunches of organic celery, 4 organic lemons, 4 organic cucumbers, 6 organic pink lady apples, a few ounces of ginger root and 2 bunches of organic italian parsley for $36.  As soon as I walked in the door I made a 16oz juice using 1 cucumber, 2 leaves kale, 2 leaves dino kale, 2 celery stalks, 1/4 of a pink lady apple and a 1/4 inch slice of ginger.  Without doing the math, I can safely say making your own juice is less expensive than ordering Blue Print Cleanse.  But you do need a juicer…and that can easily set you back a few hundred bucks.

As for nutrient quality, you will most likely have higher quality nutrients in your homemade juice simply because it is more fresh.  I know BPC has expiration dates on their juices (I believe they last for 1 week from date made).  The nutrient quality also depends on the type of juicer used.  I use a slow masticating juicer to keep the nutrients more intake.  This does not heat up and further oxidize (resulting in lower nutrient quality) the produce during the juicing process as do centrifugal style juicers.  As for the juicers used by BPC, I am not sure.  Most commercial juice bars use centrifugal style juicers so they are able to churn out juice orders quickly.  In my opinion, nutrient quality winner is homemade juice.

As for the taste, well this is a no-brainer.  When making your own homemade juice, you can add fruits/veggies/herbs based on your taste preferences.  If you are new to juicing and decide to take the plunge by making homemade juice, your first few juices may not taste great.  Without experience you will not know how much or how little to use.  But this can be fun!  When I initially experimented with home juicing I enjoyed testing different juices.  Yes, it may cost more because you may end up wasting some produce (I made the mistake of using way too much ginger root – to the point where the juice could not be saved).  Another note on this  topic is BPC uses agave to sweeten some of its juices.  I do not use agave as a sweetener and do not wish to have agave in any of my juices.  Customization – that is a definite advantage of home juicing.

Convenience – hands down BPC.  No produce to purchase, no time spent juicing, no time spent researching how much of each ingredient to use, no time spent cleaning up after juicing – oh so simple.

Reasons to juice using BPC – new to juicing, convenience, do not have a local produce store near you, don’t want to invest in a juicer.

Reasons to make homemade juices – have the time, experience, in this for the long haul (to justify the expense of a juicer), very particular about how you would like your juice made, ensure nutrient quality at its highest levels by juicing daily.

Either way – juicing is great for you so have at it!!!  Any questions/comments, you know where to find me.



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Blue Print Cleanse Experience 2012

I have decided to detox my body and mind using the Blue Print Cleanse 3 day excavation cleanse.  For those of you unfamiliar with BluePrintCleanse, they are a great juicing company based in Manhattan that provides 3 different types of cleanses, which provide 6 juices each day.  You are able to customize how many days you wish to cleanse too.  They do ship nationwide now and I highly recommend using them if you do not have a local place that can provide this service to you.

I have done several juice cleanses over the last 6 years, some of which were my own.  I do not recommend juicing on your own for the first time juice cleanse.  it is very time consuming and expensive as you will need to purchase a juicer and pounds of organic vegetables.  then add in the time it takes to make these juices…well, if you’re patient you may be able to swing it without getting completely frustrated and reaching for food.

I decided to do the BPC now because I have started to see bad eating habits slip into my routine that need to be broken.  It’s not that I’m eating unhealthy foods, rather I’m eating right before bed and waking in the middle of the night to find something quick to eat (usually frozen bananas).  These habits are wearing me down mainly because it is very disruptive to proper sleep.  This cleanse will definitely help whip my routine back in line.

BPC sent the juices to me via overnight FedEx which I received on Wednesday at 10:30am.  I hadn’t eaten anything that morning assuming I would start day 1 immediately.  I’m happy to say I did start that Wednesday and the first day went fairly well.  I did notice an increase in energy and happiness after my second juice that day.  I was able to get a great workout in during the afternoon.  I did end up drinking juices 4-6 a little too close in proximity as I started juice 4 at 6pm and finished juice 6 (mmmmm, tastes like rice pudding!) at 9pm.  BPC recommends waiting at least an hour between juices.

When the presidential debate was over I thought “ok, time for bed” even though I knew I wanted something more.  I was not hungry.  It was more that I wanted to eat something to celebrate my excitement over the debate.  But I kept it together and went into bed.

Well by 12:22pm I was awake scouring my fridge and pantry for food, which I made sure to clear out prior to the cleanse.  I did happen to have a cup of almond milk and felt somewhat fulfilled as I headed back to bed. At 2am I was up again.  This time I really wanted food.  I grabbed my Muir Glen salsa and headed to bed with it.  I ended up eating a fork full of the salsa and then slept soundly.

Day 1 down and I’d rate 7/10.  On to Day 2!

I felt OK waking up and not eating anything except the juice at 6am and the day was on!  It’s now 1pm and I feel good.  I’ve had 3 juices and will be enjoying my cayenne lemonade shortly.  The one complaint I do have about BPC is the addition of agave in the lemonade and cashew milk.   Perhaps BPC would allow that customization…

I will wrap up the last 2 days of my detox and post how the reintroduction of food goes over.

Ok, I’m done with my 3.5 day juice cleanse and I have to say it went so well that I wanted to extend another day or 2!  I was only able to continue juicing (not using BPC on day 4 but the market juice from Protein Bar in Chicago) until 7pm on day 4 because I had a birthday dinner and had to eat the delicious kale salad I had been thinking about for a few days.

The last we spoke, I was midway through day 2.  Well day 2 wrapped up super nicely and included a great workout.  No night cravings, and felt great the morning of day 3.  I had an exuberant amount of energy while at the office.  I was surprised at how fulfilled and how little I thought about food.

Overall, this cleanse was a success and definitely broke my unhealthy routine!

If you are considering doing a cleanse for the first time, please take the time and effort to PREPARE for the cleanse!  I know too many people who schedule a juice cleanse for the 1st time and are eating fried “fill in the blank” and alcohol the night before the cleanse begins. This is a waste of the effort and money put towards the cleanse, especially if it is your first time.  BPC gives detailed information pertaining to preparation.  Not only can you be assured you are purchasing the best ingredient laden cleanse I have yet to come across, but the folks at BPC are so helpful.

Feel free to ask questions!  If you are in the Chicago area and are considering a local cleanse, ask me about it because most likely I’ve tried it!

Real Foods Lady


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