The Great American/Canadian Road Trip

canadian-american-road-trip

Yup, That’s right. I’m traveling again.

Beeeecause I looove this shit maaan!

This trip has been in the works for almost a year now.

It’s safe to say there have been moments (and there still are moments) where I’m completely unsure if it will happen lol.

The plan is to drive from Toronto To Los Angeles and then up the coast to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Up to Vancouver and Vancouver Island then into the Rockies and hopefully up to the Yukon Territories. We have approximately 2 months to do this in.

I’ve been doing a lot to prepare for this. Including getting my drivers license. Between this and work my brain is feeling full on at the moment.

Now, with a month away I have to

Get my G2

Buy a car

Get the car insured

Research rentals as a back up (incase I don’t get my license…I shutter at the thought).

Buy alllll my camping gear

And fine tune the itinerary.

This can all get done in a month right?! :-/

More to come on planning an epic adventure soon!

The Juice Cleanse: A Bit of a Rant But Mostly a Review

juice-cleanse-review

So what is it with these juice cleanses anyway? What’s the big deal and what are the general public opinions on the topic?

From what I can tell, there seems to be two trains of thought that fall into the

“I swear by them” category

and the

“ Juice cleanses are bullshit” category

Both are very strong opinions and for those of you who know me, you know I don’t do well with those!

Juice Cleanse Overview:

Pulp-Kitchen-Juice-Cleanse

The whole idea behind a juice cleanse is that it will aid in cleansing and flushing your body of stored up “waste” that has gotten “stuck” in you digestive tract.

For a more thorough explanation check out this video from Pulp Kitchen, which is where I purchased my cleanse (via the all mighty Toronto Groupon).

The Opposing Argument: 

Paul-Rudd-Piss-Juice
Basically…

Now the opposition addresses the fact that the body already has built in filtration systems. This includes our best friend the liver and it’s back up band the lymphatic system.  Those who say neh to juice cleanses feel that our built in system is more than efficient at filtering all the broken down booze, poutines, cheese, bacon, burgers, baked goods and any other foods us 20 somethings consume. They also believe that those who do juice cleanses only feel better afterward because they are reintroducing food back into their systems.

And With That in Mind, I Must Take a Moment To Rant:

I’m sorry! To be honest I didn’t realize that (up until 2 years ago) I was the only person in the city in my 20’s totally not giving a flying fuck about what I put into my body.

Ha! I guess I was actually alone all of those nights I spent going out to party and drink, followed by days of eating shitty, greasy, fatty, sugary (delicious) brunch.

I suppose it was also just me ordering take out food or eating whatever contents I found in my cupboards when I came home from work exhausted – almost every day.

My Bad…

Juice-Cleanse-Sarcasm

So Why am I Being a Sarcastic Dick About The Opposing Argument?

Well, most people I’ve met who spew sarcastic facts condemning juice cleanses tend to party a lot harder, consume a lot of more of god only knows and are bonafide workaholics

And you know what. There’s totally nothing wrong with that. Hell, that’s what youth is for! Work hard, party harder.

But I figured it was only fair that I get on their level for a sec and speak their language. Excuse me if I can’t take your rants against juice cleanses seriously when

A) I doubt time has been taken from busy schedules to understand more about the bodies filtration systems and how strong/fragile they can actually be.

B) The actualization of what the body feels inside when it’s “clean” hasn’t happened for them yet…(again, these things take time and attention so if you’re too busy not giving a shit, you probably don’t even realize).

C) Generally, the people telling me cleanses are bullshit are people who don’t put their health on the top of their priority list.

Soooooo…. whhhhy would I listen or even validate that argument?!

Note: Of course these are generalizations based on my experience and I would happily listen or learn from anyone well versed in health who agrees with the opposition.

The Reality As Per Me: I think it’s pretty straight forward.

Yes, our bodies do have strong built in systems designed to filter out toxins.

However, the amount of toxins the average person introduces into their body daily is probably a hell of a lot more than our ancestors had and thus more then our fragile system could be designed for.

Ya, I know we grow and adapt over time but seriously, for a second ask yourself…

What do you eat daily? How much of that is natural? How much of it has been processed or modified in some way? Do you even know? Do you even know what that means? Or the difference between the two?

Just in Case – Processed Food – Genetically Modified Food –

And now, you’re going to tell me after an honest look at what you consume, that it’s completely impossible that after 20-30+ years your bodies filtration system does not run a risk of exhaustion? And while we are at it, you’re going to tell me it doesn’t deserve some consideration and attention because it’s “good at it’s job”?

I’m sorry, that kind of sounds like a crappy corporation to me.

So basically, if you don’t even take the time to consider these things  – you’re being a shitty boss to your body. Think about it.

Also, let’s talk about the nutrients in fresh, organic fruit and veggies. We all know they are jam packed with goodness.

Actually, it’s one of the few things in this world that isn’t really disputed.

That’s why are parents tried to get us to eat so many. If you look at alternative forms of health they break down all of the nutrients in detail and explain their healing qualities.

To me it seems like intuitive logic. Of course organic, natural fruits and veg are full of things that will aid the body.

In my opinion, it seems like these two arguments break down into those who are content with the philosophies of “modern” medicine and those who are not and look for “alternative” solutions.

Now, I’m not saying you have to do cleanses. I don’t believe in that – at all and to be honest if you’re intaking lots of healthy fruits and veg already, chances are maybe a juice cleanse isn’t needed for you.

Everybody is different. Some people can go there whole life intaking our new levels of toxins, pollutants, processed and modified foods and not have a problem.

Others like myself who haven’t always put the best things in their bodies have discovered that constant fatigue, cravings, shitty sleep and many other things we think are normal, actually aren’t. We’ve acknowledged the message that we could feel better than we do and are therefore open to trying new things.

Personally, I’ve struggled with digestive health for years, so it’s a no brainer that eventually I would look beyond conventional methods for something that actually works for me.

I’ve been wanting to try a juice cleanse for a while – but the idea of eating no food for days has always unnerved me. I was pretty sure I would murder someone… or two.

However, after my nutritionist told me my liver could use some restoration time I decided to take it into consideration.

So I bought Pulp Kitchen 3 day juice cleanse just so I could test this whole process and see if it was actually beneficial. I figured this would be a nice way to ease myself into it and a short enough period that I could handle.

Here is a brief account of my 3 day cleanse:

Day 1: A total Mind Fuck

I spent most of my morning strictly in panic over whether I could do 3 days with no food. I obsessed over food almost every waking minute and therefore spent too much time on Pintrest looking at foodporn. By mid day I felt pretty exhausted and thought I’d have to spent the following two days stuck in bed.

Day 2: The Worst Was Over

I started to feel pretty icky on the second morning. However, once I had my juice and a litre of water the feeling totally dissipated. By the afternoon I actually felt wonderful. I was full of energy and realizing how much of my attachment to food was in my mind. I felt really good putting all this healthyness into my body. However, I was still looking forward to that last day. I was excited for it to be over.

Day 3: Wow That Worked Fast

What a mind game this was for me. As per most fears, it was all in my head. My body handled the cleanse really well. I felt great and had tons of energy. Also, my natural concentration levels where sky high. Higher then they ever are!

I decided to go buy groceries on day 3 so I would have a healthy food integration the following days. I was very surprised when I felt completely unaffected at the market. I wasn’t hungry and I no longer wanted the cleanse to be over. I wanted to opposite. I could have easily done another 2 days…maybe more.

By the end of my cleanse people were making comments left right and centre about my skin. I was kind of surprised since it was only a few days – but it seems like everyone saw a difference…

Oh and ladies…I was legit glowing…like my shoulders had a natural sheen to them…it was crazy!

 Juice-Cleanse-Review-Tegan-Aileen

At the end of the day you’ve got to do what feels right for you. I’ve tried shit like the master cleanse before and failed after a day – but a juice cleanse with proper juices to help regulate your hormones, sugar intake and cravings, I think, is the way to go 100%

Important to remember:

Drink 3-6 litre of water a day. I know that sounds mental. And you should really gage how much water you consume based on varying factors (height, weight etc.) but I find that 6 litre was what I needed. Our bodies can dehydrate very easily (so easily we don’t even realize). There are so many benefits to staying hydrated and all that water will help to flush the active ingredients in the juices through you system giving it a good clean out.

Tip: Try getting a water bottle with a straw built into it. You’d be amazing at how fast you can down 500ml when a straw is involved.

I’m defiantly feeling positive about the cleanse. I’ll happily do another one this summer and I would love to extend it to a 5 or 7 day.

So as a wrap up…

I’ll say the cleanse was great for me even though I had mad fear that it wouldn’t be. Now, because I have successfully gone through the process I will do it again and probably blatantly ignore anyone who is trying to knock it down when they have never tried it and don’t really know what’s going on in their own bodies!!

Happy Juicing Peeps!

Cleaning Up Christmas: Inside

As I ever so casually mentioned in my last post, Christmas was kind of a thing for me this year. Not in the a-typical warm and fuzzy family way, but in the I have sever food intolerances and here I am eating cream like it’s nobody’s business kinda way. 

But the reality is, I think, that most people feel like total ass after Christmas because really all you do is gorge on food and booze for 3 days. Then you get another 5 days or so to roll around in bed holding your belly…

Annnnd I'm back where I started...
Annnnd I’m back where I started…

And then BAM! New Years Eve. Bust of the champagne mother fuckers, this bitch is getting Le wasted! 

New Years popping champagne

No, I haven’t forgotten this is a health blog haha. I’m just being real. This is what happens to me so I am sure it’s happened to some of you. 

I’ve recently realized that I have spent a lot of time learning how to recoup when I go astray. Discussing the path to a happy tummy after the Christmas aftermath has been a repeated conversation between my friends and I over the last couple weeks. 

Here are a few things I found online and tested out between Christmas and New Years:

1. TWO DAY MINI DETOX

http://17ddblog.com/2-day-post-holiday-detox-infographic/

I don’t know about you but I find juice detoxing a bit too extreme for me in the winter. I need substance. The shift from a lot of food to zero food is drastic and my body is too sensitive for that noise. 

So I followed this two-day mini detox strictly for the allotted time (actually more so because I cut out the yogurt and mushrooms) and then kept going for a couple more days with the help of some slight adjustments. 

No word of a lie my tummy was thanking me off the bat on day one and by day two my digestive system was working like a boss. I was quite surprised. 

During the extra days I did make a few adjustments just to spice things up a bit…literally 😉

  • First I added ground chia seeds and hemp hearts to my smoothies.
  • For my chicken breast (which was free range of course) I alternated between lemon pepper chicken, a special spice mix I made up on the fly that turned out to be amazing and a homemade curry chicken – I need diversity in my life man.
  • I also added heaps of raw pine nuts and flax seeds to my salad.
  • For the dressing I made a mix of olive oil, apple cider vinegar (ACV) and the tiniest bit of stevia.
  • Oh and I also substituted asparagus for grilled Brussel sprouts with fenugreek leaves because I couldn’t find asparagus annnnnywhere.

For the record, no I was not using lemon pepper spice mix. It may seem yum but it’s got all kinds of secret bad stuff in it. I’m talking fresh squeezed lemon juice and ground pepper all the way here. 

The spice mix I made consisted of black cumin seeds (man these are crazy delicious), turmeric and a bit of cayenne pepper. I added them all into my mortar and pestle, plus a bit of water and muddled the spices until it was a watery paste. When I added this to my chicken the outcome was stellar! 

2. DETOX BATH

detox bath

The detox bath I found online consisted of:

2 cups Epsom Salts

1 cup Baking Soda

1/2 cup ACV (but I used a full cup because I was feeling super bloated)

1 table-spoon ground Ginger

6-10 drops Tea Tree Oil (there’s the option to substitute this for lavender or eucalyptus oil as well) 

And the hottest water you can possibly stand. 

It was recommended to soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. I soaked until the water got cool – so about an hour or 2.5 Sex in the City episodes (ya I bring my laptop in the tub with me! Short attention span…right here). 

It was also advised to have water handy to drink because you sweat quite a bit. That was a good call…don’t forget the water. You’ll crave it after 10 minutes lol.  

I did the bath detox on the first day of the mini food cleanse and YEAH, I could actually feel myself ever so slightly deflate.. kinda like a balloon with a little hole right by the base.

WORD: I kinda smelled like vinegar after but I didn’t taste like it (I gave my arm a test lick lol) but all in all that shit worked. 

The bath was pretty hardcore and I think used in conjunction with a stronger dietary detox the results would be incredibly good. In my mind however, this was more of a re-set cleanse then it was a hard detox. 

But it was exactly what I needed and I felt so so good after. 

BENEFITS REFERENCE: In case you are wondering, here are some of the health benefits for the substitutes I added to the food detox:

Chia Seeds –  boosts energy, aids digestion, lowers cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar 

Hemp Seed Hearts – high in protein, vitamin E rich and increases metabolic rate 

Black Cumin Seeds –  aids digestion, reduces fluid retention and cleanse and tones liver 

Cayenne Pepper – aids digestion, eases upset stomaches and supports the detox process

Turmeric – anti-inflamitory, high in antioxidants and combats depression (Ya because you know – not only are you bloated but you’re depressed about it!) 

Raw Pine Nuts – boosts immune system, aids in weight loss (thanks pinoleic acid), high in protein and  magnesium 

Flax Seeds – high in fibre and omega 3 fatty acids

Brussel Sprouts – high in vitamin C, fibre, folic acid and antioxidants  

Fenugreek Leaves – reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar levels, aids digestion and counters acid reflux 

And here are some of the benefits of the ingredients in the detox bath:

Epsom Salts – high in magnesium and sulfates which are easier absorbed through the skin ingestion, flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells and eases muscle pain 

Baking Soda – aids in detoxifying and alkalizing your system 

ACV – reduces inflammation (Bloat be gone!) and rebalances PH levels

Ground Ginger – reduces inflammation and acts as an antioxidant 

Tea Tree Oil – reduces inflammation and eases joint pain

So There you have it people. If you’re still feeling the effects of too much food and party over the holidays I’d recommend giving these a go!  

NEXT UP: Ummmm I think we might talk about meditation…or my 3 month fitness boot camp which starts tomorrow!