The Do’s & Don’ts of a Pre-Thanksgiving Juice Cleanse

Thanksgiving Dinner

With the holidays looming around the corner, many of us are scheduling hair cuts (and colors), picking out our Hostess with the Mostest party dresses, getting our mani-pedis in, and perhaps a facial. But what we really need is stamina – holidays are hard work! – and that can only come from a healthy diet (no, not an IV drip of pumpkin spice lattes). At Intelligent Gourmet, it’s my mission to help us look better, feel better, and live better, all of which you can kickstart with a pre-Thanksgiving juice cleanse. But, don’t just drink any juice, because the wrong juice cleanse can send you into Thanksgiving craving the WHOLE PIE! Here are the do’s and don’ts of an energizing pre-holiday cleanse.

How clean is your juice cleanse?

Don’t…

Drink juices that are high in sugar. Many of the store-bought, mass-produced juices we’ve found have more sugar than a can of Mountain Dew in every bottle. If you drink 6 of those per day, you’ll feel energized alright – it’s called a sugar high! – but will come crashing down. And, your body’s insulin levels will skyrocket, making you crave real food to soak it up. That is not how you want to sit down at the turkey (or tofurky) table.

Do…

Drink juices that are lower in sugar and balanced with protein. We balance each day’s juice plan with some veggie-heavy juices that are lower in sugar, and some nut milk juices that are filling and satisfying. That way, you avoid sugar-high spikes, crashes, and the cravings that come with them!

Creamsicle orange juice

 

Don’t…

Jump in to a cleanse without proper preparation. While it may be tempting to start a cleanse the day after that Holiday Cookie Bake, shifting from unhealthy eating habits straight to a juice cleanse can result in some uncomfortable gastrointestinal moments. Ease in to your cleanse with a few days of a fruit, vegetable and lean protein diet – and ease out of it the same way.

Have you tried our latest seasonal juices? Come by to see what we have in store for the holidays!

 

 

How Clean Is Your Juice Cleanse? Check the Sugar Content

How clean is your juice cleanse?

Most of us – at least most of us reading this blog – monitor our intake of refined sugars very carefully. We use stevia in our coffee and agave nectar in tea and lemonade, and sure, once in a while we’ll indulge in a sweet dessert. What we don’t want is our healthy diet infiltrated by sugar in sources we’d never suspect, like high-end fruit and vegetable juice cleanses.

Recently, we’ve been looking at the nutrition labels of high-end bottled juices, and we were shocked by what we found. While the calorie counts ranged between 100 to 200 per bottle (not unreasonable, depending on the ingredients), we realized that nearly all of those calories came straight from sugar!

The worst offender was one 12oz bottle of green juice which had 38 grams of sugar (that’s just under 10 teaspoons). The same amount of sugar content in 12oz of Coca-Cola. To put that in even more perspective, the World Health Organization recommends a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Your Juice Diet Could Destroy Your Teeth 

Chewing whole fruit does amazing things for your teeth. An apple or carrot may contain quite a bit of sugar, but they also act as natural “toothbrushes,” scraping off plaque with each bite while stimulating saliva to wash away cavity-causing bacteria. But, when you wash your mouth in 38 grams of sugar without the saliva-inducing, plaque-scraping structure of the whole fruit, the sugar sticks to your teeth and feeds the bad bacteria responsible for tooth decay.

In most sugar-packed juice blends, apple juice – a very high-sugar fruit juice – is ingredient #1, with healthy additions like spinach, kale, carrots, ginger, and turmeric coming in near the bottom. The spoonfuls of sugar may “help the medicine go down,” but the health costs of drinking between 50 to 100 teaspoons of sugar for each of the three days of your average juice cleanse is … disturbing. You could eat chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have had less sugar by the end of the day than if you drank five of these juices.

Not All Juices Are Like That

A well-balanced vegetable and fruit juice can taste great without relying on sugary fruit juices as the primary ingredient! At Intelligent Gourmet, we rely on refreshing cucumber, nutrient-rich greens, alkalizing citrus, and protein-packed nut milk to create juices that are balanced and chock-full of natural vitamins, minerals, and medicinal herbs, without all that sugar.

Do you know what’s in your juice?

turmeric juice

Taste the Rainbow: 5 Ways to Use Juicing Pulp

Juicer pulp rainbow

It pains me to throw away perfectly good food, even if it’s been shredded and largely dehydrated. So for those of you juicing at home, here are a few tips for reducing your waste – while reducing your waist. (If you’re on a cleanse, just freeze the pulp.)

Before you whisk that pulp into your next recipe, know that the moisture content varies depending on which juicer you use. Expect some trial and error as you adjust.

1. Green Juice Crust-less Quiche – You’ve seen those photos on Pinterest of mini breakfast quiches baked in muffin tins, right? Using muffin tins is a great way to plan easy breakfasts for the week. Just whisk together your eggs and greens (and goat cheese or feta if you’re inclined) for a delicious portion-controlled breakfast. Spinach, kale and chard pulp is the perfect healthy addition.
2. Soups & Stews – Saute your carrot, celery and parsley scraps along with chopped onion for a healthy base for broths, soups and stews. Literally, just add water (and vegetable broth or tomato juice if you want to kick it up a notch).
3. Pancakes – Carrot and sweet potato pulp make for bright orange and deliciously sweet pancakes and waffles.
4. Muffins – Use apple, carrot and ginger pulp for carrot-apple tea cakes.
5. Beet Carrot Cucumber Salad, with Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts – The name says it all. Combine your beet, carrot and cucumber pulp (removing any large pieces), make a simple vinaigrette (2Tb honey, 1 ½ Tb Dijon, 3 Tb red wine vinegar, 1 ½ Tb minced shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil), and toss with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Great for picnics and potlucks.

What’s your favorite way to use pulp? Compost? Birdfood? Sweets?

Juicing Versus Blending: Which is Better?

Green Smoothie
To blend, or not to blend, that is the question. Whether it is healthier for the body to gulp down the slings and arrows of hard-to-digest fiber, or to take arms against a sea of health problems by drinking juice? Okay, while I could write a sonnet to my juicer, I will spare you the rest of the soliloquy. Which is better: to juice or to blend?

Either way, you are getting an incredible wealth of nutrients. The only difference is how much fiber you’re ingesting, and how the fiber or lack of fiber affects your body.

We know that fiber slows digestion, which is great for dieters looking to feel full on fewer calories. But the argument for juicing versus blending is that by removing fiber, nutrients move into the blood stream faster and the body receives nearly instant fuel. The idea is that when our bodies don’t have to expend energy on digestion, it will spend that energy on repair. And, you’ll consume more vegetables in a juice than in a smoothie.

The argument for blending is that, well, smoothies fill you up and help you stay feeling full. Unless your goal is a cleanse (and no cleanse is easy), feeling full is a good thing.

Personally, I prefer juicing. First, because it’s so good for your body and there’s nothing like a juice cleanse to feel refreshed, inside and out. But mostly because… I think juices taste better. There, that’s perfectly scientific, right?

If you’d like to try out a juice cleanse before investing in a juicer, check out our line of fresh raw juices!

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Celery and Garlic Juice

No, this title isn’t about your state of being two weeks after making your New Year’s Resolutions (you’ve stuck to them like glue, right?). It’s the title of a 2010 documentary (which you’ve probably heard of) that follows Joe Cross for 60 days as he does an extended juice fast to regain his health.

And, he has a lot of health problems. Starting the film, he weighs in at 309 pounds and is on steroid medications to treat a rare autoimmune disorder. The drugs, of course, were only treating the symptoms, not the underlying issues, so Cross loads up his car with a generator and a juicer, fruits and vegetables, and takes off on a cross-country road trip around America for two months filming a documentary on health.

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and water. That’s it.

Yes, he loses a lot of weight. But the most interesting part of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is how he – and the truck driver he meets and gets started juicing – are able to go off their medications entirely. They heal themselves through nutrition and exercise alone!

Both men’s juice fasts are doctor-supervised, and the morbidly obese truck driver ended up losing 91 pounds in 60 days. That’s a very long fast, but even if you want to try a shorter fast, you can accomplish a lot. After just 10 days, he had lost 30 pounds. Of course, if you’re within a relatively healthy weight range already, you may not see such dramatic results – which is a good thing.

Whether or not you want to commit to a life of raw plant-based foods and juice, this is a fascinating film that shows us just how much power we have over our health and wellness. And – it’s inspiring. The sales of the Breville juicer Cross uses went sky high after this movie came out!

3 Things You Should Know About Juice Fasts

  1. The first few days of a juice fast are tough, especially when your social life revolves around eating. It can feel very isolating. But once you blast through the first few days, your energy increases and you start to look and feel better than ever. I’d say that’s worth it, wouldn’t you?
  2. Liquids are more rapidly absorbed than whole foods, which means the micro-nutrients in the juiced vegetables and fruits are more readily available for the body to use.
  3. Forget the juice at the grocery store – by the time it reaches the shelves, it’s been so processed that it’s practically sugar water.

Curious? Try a 3-day juice cleanse for just $195. We do the hard work (and the cleanup) for you.

“But wait! I’ll gain it all back in a week!”

One of the key facts about juice cleanses and fasts that don’t get as much press is the issue of re-bounding. You know how it goes – you start a diet, or one of those “fat flushes,” and you lose a little weight, but once the diet ends you gain the weight back. When you fast on micro-nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans for a week, your brain chemistry that craves all those bad-for-you foods changes. You’ll find yourself able to control cravings better than you ever have before for long-lasting results. Just don’t spike your blood sugar with a celebratory donut, okay?

Sweet and Tangy Breakfast Juice Recipe (in case you bought that Breville juicer!)

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Is your New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight? Here’s the Skinny on How We Can Help

At Intelligent Gourmet, our goal isn’t weight loss – it’s to help our clients eat clean, feel better, and, ok – yes, look better. That’s why we don’t focus on low-calorie or low-carb, because we look at food holistically. For example, nuts are high in fat, but they also help your brain work better with all those Omega-3s, which makes you feel good, emotionally and physically. Those low-fat cheese puffs and “Lean Cuisine” dinners don’t.

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But, your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. You already know weight loss is not about a diet, but a lifestyle change. And you know there are no quick fixes. But we know you’re impatient, you don’t have time to make that crazy “fat flush soup” every week (or whatever the latest diet fad is), and after the slew of Holiday demands, you’re tired.

Here’s how we can help.

Cleanse for body and mind: Try our Intelligent Gourmet Juice Cleanse for 3 days to re-balance your body chemistry and kick-start your new healthier lifestyle.

Ready-to-Eat Diet-friendly meals: We specialize in low glycemic, low carb, low sodium, gluten-free, and most importantly “clean” pre-packaged meals. Don’t have time to cook? Can’t quite bring yourself to control portion size when you’re in the kitchen? Let us do it for you.

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Extremely Healthy Recipes: Every week, we post recipes right here that are low-fat, low-calorie, often gluten-free, frequently raw/vegan/vegetarian, and always extremely healthful. Then we tell you why what you’re eating is so good. Sure, you can’t cook all the time, but why not make a weekend family event out of an old-fashioned sit-down dinner (then live off the healthy leftovers for the week)? Roast a turkey or a whole chicken, and cook up our green beans (with vitamins K & A), wild rice dressing (B vitamins), and sweet potatoes (Beta-carotene and Vitamin C). Your whole family will think this new “diet” you’re on is great!

Tips, Tricks, and Expert Insights: From suggestions as simple as “add spinach to everything – your morning eggs, your lunchtime sandwich, your tomato sauce at dinner” to lists of super-foods, to teaching you how you can heal your body through food – Follow my blog via email, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and “Like” us on Facebook for daily reminders on how you can eat better, feel better, live better.

Happy New Year! And, here’s to a New You!

Is a Juice Cleanse Right for You?

 

Christmas isn’t even here yet, and already I’m thinking of New Year’s Resolutions – we all want to be healthier in 2013, right? But that doesn’t mean starting some crazy starvation diet as soon as the ball drops in Times Square. In fact, at Intelligent Gourmet, I advise against the short-term, extreme, gimmicky diets. Why suffer when you can have delicious, healthy food every day as part of your lifestyle?

Ok, ok, I know that many of you want to do something big to mark the start of a healthy new year. And, for you, I’ve developed the Intelligent Gourmet Juice Cleanse. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding. And, by day 3, you’ll start feeling amazing as a year’s worth of toxins leave your body.

Yes, at 950 to 1100 calories per day of cleanse, you’ll lose weight, but most people are surprised at how they feel emotionally during a cleanse. The moments of joy and peace you feel are testament to what we all know: the mind and body are connected. Do something good for the one, and you’ll be doing something good for the other. Our cleanse is more balanced than most, including not only super-food fruits and vegetables, but things like almond milk spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Even on a cleanse, life is too short not to enjoy your food!

From Holiday Excess to a New Year’s Cleanse – Not So Fast!

Before embarking on a cleanse, take stock of your year – what have you been eating lately? Cake and cookies? Christmas dinner with hot buttered rolls and more than a little booze? Pizza, hamburgers, fries, nachos – you get the picture. Do you smoke or take drugs? Believe it or not, starting a cleanse in the middle of a poor diet is not recommended. You have to ease in. Prepare your body by eating a healthy diet for 3 days beforehand.

Contrary to popular opinion, you can get health benefits from just one day of a juice cleanse. Or you can continue for a week, or even a month. The Intelligent Gourmet cleanse includes six 16oz juices in glass jars per day, numbered in the order to drink them. We recommend sipping water in between. Repeat for 3 days, then graduate to eating “clean” foods for the next 3 days, like fruits, veggies, and small amounts of whole grains, nuts and seeds. We also love super foods like chia, goji berries, blueberries, ginger, acai and cacao.

Kick-Start Your New Year Right

Three days of consuming a nutrient-rich, non-bulky, diet is enough to help re-set your brain chemistry, allowing you to eat in moderation more easily (as long as you stick to healthy foods) as you work on America’s #1 New Year’s Resolution: Losing weight.

Check out our cleanse and get ready for a New Year and a New You!