Final Review of the Wild Rose Cleanse

Holy-cow batman, it’s been a while. I must confess I really needed a blog break so I hope you all can forgive me. Since I left everyone hanging by not finishing up my final review of the Wild Rose Cleanse I decided to make that my first post back to tie up any loose ends. I have loads to catch you all up on, including that I went to Europe, saw loads of things, ate and drank even more lovely things and have been back and cooking without you. I will leave those subjects for another post; today with Spring FINALLY showing it’s face, we are going to finish talking cleanse.

IMG_6076Final Review of the Wild Rose Cleanse

Overall I really liked this cleanse, and more than anything it gave me a loose diet to follow and a goal to commit to that diet. Below are somethings that the cleanse taught me about my own life style:

  • Restricting your diet really helps to make you more creative in the kitchen.
  • When I re-introduced dairy and gluten I felt disgusting. This experience has pushed me to get me off dairy and scale down my gluten intake.
  • I used My Fitness Pal to record what I was eating, to make sure I was hitting the right vitamins, calorie and macro needs. This made me realize I need to watch my healthy fats because the low-carb aspect of the diet made me go overboard on fats.  I relied on them too much while on this diet which I feel wouldn’t have happened had I been a meat-eater. Almond butter curbed my sugar craving which was a great quick-fix trick for me but it became a tablespoon by tablespoon habit, fast. I really encourage you to all track what you consume over a month period, it give you insights into what you are lacking, and what you are doing right.
  • You can really eat more vegetables in a day then you are right now. I didn’t think it was possible as fruits and veggies are in every meal and most snacks for me, but you can, and you should.
  • I know I preach this often but it’s worth repeating, water is amazing! It curbs your appetite, it wakes you up, it keeps your energy going (and yes it makes you have to pee every 30 minutes) BUT everyone should drink more water.

The thing I feel most people want to know about this cleanse is, yes, I lost weight but that wasn’t the point of me trying it so it was a pleasant surprise. Also it was hard to maintain after re-introducing gluten, yeast, processed foods (like pre-made breads) and dairy into my diet. If you have more restraint and can very slowly reintroduce and omit things that cause issues you’d be more successful in the long run.

Wild Rose Cleanse; the Mid-point Update

I hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday, doing what you love before the week-work restarts again. I thought I’d take a moment to catch you all up how I’ve been doing on my journey through this cleanse.

I forgot to share in my last post that I started Do You Yoga’s, 30 day Yoga Challenge, to get me back into bendy-shape. I’m currently on day 15 so I’m literally more than half-way through both my cleanse (on day 7) and my yoga challenge, yay me! On work days, I wake up at 6 am and start this yoga before doing anything else. It helps me set my intention for the day and where all the videos are under 20 minutes (some are only a little over 10 minutes), and all my food is already prepped for the work day, I don’t have to get up any earlier than I normally would. Even though I begrudgingly leave my bed most mornings, it truly is a refreshing way to start to start each day. While I’m not sure if I’ll continue with morning yoga practice once the challenge is over, I’ll likely make stretching part of my morning routine to gently wake up my body for the day. Bed yoga anyone?

Saturday (day 6) was by far my most challenging day, mostly due to circumstance. I had plans to go to the market and declined breakfast with the same friends due to my diet restrictions, none of us felt bad so even though it was unfortunate my time with them was cut short, I didn’t feel left out. Later that day I went to see a few of my friends and their baby and after visiting a few hours I was getting pretty hungry. Everyone including my boyfriend really wanted to go and eat, but I knew I needed to get home. I wish I had been prepared with a snack, as I wouldn’t have minded sitting and drinking tea while they ate but I knew I couldn’t make it through a meal then get home and prep food for myself. Because my blood sugar was already dropped I was jones-ing for convenience foods, I curbed it with an apple and almond butter while I made some soup. This was my first really ‘craving’ I’ve had since starting the cleanse. It continued later when I saw my boyfriend was eating cookies from Subway; I had to leave the room for a moment as I just wanted to chew something cookie/bread-like but I made it through without indulging.

Food prep is so important on this cleanse for the above reason, you don’t want to be in a position where you are hungry and you know it’s going be at least another 30 minutes before you eat. This is good advise for any healthy eating plan, however I’ve found on this cleanse that my reduced carbohydrate intake means when I’m hungry, I need food fast. Luckily I’ve been prepared for this and I’m usually at least one day (if not more) ahead with meal preparation. So many breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

Food Prep

I attempted this cleanse as a way to get myself on track after the holidays not about losing weight. The Wild Rose Cleanse doesn’t promise any weight loss, just a more rejuvenated, lighter and energetic you (<– that’s me paraphrasing). Even so, I wanted to keep really good records about how the cleanse and food I was eating was making me feel physically and emotionally therefore I’ve been tracking my caloric/macro intake, energy output, feelings, cravings and energy levels as well as my weight to see if there was any measurable the impact on my body. So far I’ve lost about 4 lbs, although this will likely change depending on my water retention and food intake etc. I’ve continued daily workout but lowered the intensity. I’ve been walking the dogs, doing a lot more yoga, getting lower impact cardio routines in along with some weight training but I also have been cleaning a lot. Meal prep creates a lot of dirty dishes, and since I’m always hogging the kitchen I making meals for the bf too. I have noticed I have a lot of extra energy and when I’m bored, I know I’m bored, not hungry. I’ve replaced mindless eating with cleaning so I guess I may be taking the ‘cleanse’ part too literally? 

As far as meals go I’ve been eating much of the same things I have outlined in my last post. I’ve taken to making omelets packed with veggies and over the weekend I had roasted potatoes twice. I know they are allowed but they tasted so good it felt like cheating. I made up a big batch of Sweet Potato and Carrot Bisque for my work lunches along with the usually fresh-cut up veggies, hummus, an apple and almond butter for snacks. Breakfast this week will be a continuation of overnight oats or smoothies with the added kick of Vega One.

Sweet Potato Carrot BisqueToday was grocery day and I picked up some nori-sheets and brown rice cakes to try out (for when I need carb fix fast). At lunch I turned them into sandwich wraps by adding avocado, grilled tofu (I had already prepped in the fridge), raw red pepper and kale. They were super good and satisfying. Also extremely easy and quick to make up.

Fill it.

Nori Wrap fillingRoll it. Jam in your mouth. Don’t’ forget to chew!

Nori WrapConfession-time, I accidentally cheated over the weekend as I had picked up one of my favorite treats from the market. They are called Ravenous bars which are essentially hand-made nut-bars made with coconut oil, almonds pumpkin seeds, goji berries and almond butter. I love them and devoured my first one and then realized there was some brown rice syrup in it. Not the end of the world by any means but I was really on point until then. Here’s to the next 5 days, I’ll be updating you all with a final review next weekend!

Detoxing; like it’s January

The holiday have flown by, and, as expected, I overindulged. Unfortunately, my indulgences that ended up being new recipes were sadly not posted.  As a new years resolution I’m not going to apologize or make excuses in every post I get derailed otherwise this blog will become uncomfortably repetitive.  I do hope to revisit those recipes again for your viewing a noshing pleasure in future posts which means I get to make yummy food all over again! If you feel like imagining such posts, for the books I made a sweet and savory version of this caramelized onion dip, I experimented in making cashew cheese for the first time as well as I got to play with my new grill Santa got me by making some rad waffles and cheesy panini’s (paninis not pictured).

photo 1 (2)Once I have the kinks worked out with my new kitchen gadget (and some sun) I will be sharing these new discoveries with my food-blog-world (p.s – that’s you…yay!)!

I hope you all had a happy new year and are now making good on your promises to yourself for 2014. One of my promises to myself (an every year continuation of being better to my mind and body) was to try out a detox. Since I will be defining what I eat clearly over the next 12 days I’m not going to be making a ton of decadent/elaborate food.

january detoxWhy the cleanse? You eat great already…right?

Whether you eat great most of the time or eat like a 16 year old boy going through a growth-spurt, sometimes you just need a restart. After doing my research I chose the Wild Rose Dtox. This is my first cleanse; ever, and after falling off the healthy-train I bought a first class ticket to ‘get your shazz together before you derail completely’. My skin has broken out, I gained about 4-5 lbs, I’m sluggish and borderline sick the last two weeks (body aches, sore throat , congestion, headaches etc) I want this all to stop ASAP because I love how healthy feels and this is not it.  My saving grace is I’ve been pretty much keeping up with my exercise routine although I’m being less strict with myself; If I need a rest day, I take one.

Why this cleanse?

It’s vegetarian-friendly, it’s not extreme (e.g. fasting or highly limiting food, etc) and it was recommended to me by a friend. Also, it’s Canadian and has been around a long time…yadayadayada.

What can/can’t you eat?

For specifics please refer the website linked above, however it’s not that drastically off my regular diet, minus the gluten-free aspect and I’m vegetarian.

Day 1-5 B L SI am in no way a dietician/health care professional so if you are interested in doing this cleanse please speak with your doctor, dietician or naturopath first. Below is a sample of what I’ve been eating /plan to eat for Breakfasts, Snacks and Lunches for the next 5 work days to help you if you are not sure what to eat as a vegetarian. Suppers are sort of a wild card but I’ll outline them as best as I can below:

Breakfast

Most days I’m having coffee with unsweetened almond milk before heading to work then at work I’m eating breakfast of overnight oats and sometimes I add a Vega One smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk in the morning or after a workout if I need extra-calories (I use MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track calories in and out).

For the overnight oats pictured above you will need:

  • 1/3 cup of organic large flake oats
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 tbs of chia seeds and hemp hearts
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Mid-morning snack

Most days I’m having about 1+1/2 -2 cups of raw veggies and 2 tbs of hummus. The Wild Rose Dtox (WRD) prohibits processed foods to it’s best to make your own to control salt/oil etc but if you must buy it, make sure it’s yeast, vinegar, sugar and gluten-free.

Lunch

2 cups of spaghetti squash, 1/4 of a package of tofu grilled with salt and cumin, olive oil and lemon juice to dress.

Mid-afternoon / pre-workout snack

1 medium sized apple with 1 tbs of natural almond butter ( no salt or sugar)

Supper

Both nights I threw together a huge salad:

Day 1 – 2 cups of romaine lettuce, 1 cup of raw kale, 1 boiled egg with two boiled egg whites, dressing made with 1 tbs of hummus, 1/2 lemon’s juice salt and pepper.

Day 2 -  1 cup of sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil with cumin, mint and garlic. 1 cup of sauteed kale with onions and garlic. 1 cup of romaine lettuce topped with lemon juice and a fried egg.

Are you exercising?

Because I’m currently keeping a regimented training schedule of 3-4 days of cardio/HIIT 1-2 strength training,1 day yoga, then 1 day rest, I personally have only taken the first day off during the cleanse so far. The cleanse warns you of starting up anything new and listening to your body. If you are tired and feeling unwell don’t push yourself to work out. On day one I still was feeling pretty tired from all that I’d had previously been doing to my body so I got a massage and took a long bath after supper and went to bed early. Tonight, I was feeling really energetic so I did a butt/thigh routine, prepared supper and extra for the next few days as well tidied up and started blogging about it!

What were days 1 and 2 like?

Honestly, despite the horrible taste of the tincture you have to take two squirts of twice a day, I don’t feel restricted or put out. I haven’t had sugar cravings (yet) and since I don’t eat a lot of bread/pasta/rice/ or dairy in general I don’t feel like my diet has changed, more though I’m back on track.

I didn’t think the herbalax (herbal-laxative) was going to affect me terribly as I eat more than the recommended amount of fibre every day, however I’ll just say it’s working and leave it at that. WRD advises if you have adverse affects you can dial that portion back.

I’m always thirsty, and sometimes have dry mouth even though I’m drinking about 2 liters of water plus herbal tea. I am sure gum is not allowed but I’ve had to start chewing it (sugar-free only) because I feel like my breath isn’t fresh a few minutes after brushing/ in between meals.

I hope this has been interesting for you guys, and please let me know if you want to see more of this type of thing! I plan to update you again at the half way point and once I’ve finished cleansing to give a better review or my experiences. Until then, here’s a picture of my dog in a bowtie…

Gamtie

Holiday Treats

Happy Holidays! Yes, I’m an enforcer of the ‘Happy Holidays’ because during this time of year it’s time for many different celebrations, not just Christian-based ones. If you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza, Eid Mubarak or Happy Solstice I will repeat with enthusiasm; but because I don’t know your beliefs I stick with Happy Holidays. Now that the political cat is out of the correction bag lets talk about food, the tension equalizer.

I do not have a recipe for  you today because the lighting in my kitchen has been on constant blah for 2 weeks with the multitude of storms, if you are however looking for an amazing recipe that you can get together for gifts in the next few days may I suggest these caramels? I followed the recipe exactly and I am sure I nailed them!

Whiskey Salted-CarmelsIf that is too much work for you I understand, while the caramels take about 25 minutes of stove-top work, cutting and wrapping them can added extra minutes to what you already might not have time for. So my second suggestion is to make some bark. Nothing can be easier than melting some chocolate, added crushed cookies, candy canes, dried fruit and nuts or cereal and topping off with more chocolate, letting cool breaking it up and voila! Beautiful quick treats for friends and family. I made some as well, I started with 300g of dark chocolate, topped with pretzel sticks, drizzled with melted peanut-butter, topped with 300g milk chocolate and then broken pretzel pieces. It couldn’t have been easier or more delicious.

Dark and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel BarkFinally if you are gifting, the wrapping really makes your already awesome treats stand out. I recently bought the book Vegan Food Gifts, which has a ton of beautiful and easy packaging suggestions, complete with tags and embellishments. The ones below I created by making a tube with cellophane, folding in half and adding the bark to one side and the caramels on the other and then tying with a string. Easy-peasy!

Big and Little PackagesI hope the holiday season brings you much joy and time with family and friends. See you all in the New Year with more recipes and anecdotes!

 

Bulwarks’s Limited Edition Winter Cider

Today I finished up all my major Christmas shopping, now I only have a few little things to pick up to finish up gifts; humble-bragging for the win.  I did a lot of online shopping this year and (admittedly) more of it ended up being for myself than for others. I always have the best intentions of spending frugally over the buying season but then the ‘I love giving’ feeling gets to me plus I get so tempted with all the sales and holiday products that I splurge on myself as well. Don’t tell my mother, she is a Christmas purest, never buy for yourself at this time of the year. I can hear her now…what if someone was going to surprise you with this, that or the other-thing you like? But I’m over here like ooohhaii can I get a fancy latte with that please…thanks.

IMG_3367I love adding a bit of the homemade into the season, and if I were more organized I would make all my gifts I give. Here’s the thing, making stuff on a deadline and making it perfect is wayyy stressful and often more expensive than just buying something within your budget that your peeps want. It’s a sad reality I learned the hard way. It doesn’t mean you can’t make fabulous homemade gifts because you totally can, but when you are as OCD as me, sometimes it better for everyone if you just shop. I do have baking and candy making planned out for the coming weeks for a few people I know would totally enjoy some sweet treats more than any product I could buy them. Pick your battles.

I feel like a mini-superhero today because this Christmas grouch even got the tree out of the basement and up (Grouch whispers…it only has 3 decorations on it due to the fact I have no clue where our decorations are packed and have no will to play jenga with my storage…. but it’s up!). I also may have written/signed about 50 cards 10 of which will hopefully be sent out in the mail tomorrow.

IMG_3369Bulwarks’s Limited Edition Winter Cider

After this busy day I wanted to chill out with a holiday libation and found this curious addition to the NSLC. Bulwark’s brand cider is a local company that also produces Stutz and they are currently selling a limited edition winter cider which is the perfect thing to relax with after a trip to the mall.

The holiday version seems sweeter than their regular apple cider and I’m not sure if that is due to the mulling spices they use to flavour it, or just because they have intentionally made it less dry. I usually like a cider to be drier but the sweetness complements the spice well and really does bring on the holiday cheer. Because it is sweeter it tastes more apple-y and really reminds me of apple brandy.

The cider seemed less carbonated to me than its original version, but again I don’t mind, it tastes like a completely different product. As far as I know, you can only buy these in individual bottles (500mls) for under $5 a bottle. I chilled mine well before serving but you could serve this warm by gently heating it over the stove. Be careful not to bring to a boil otherwise the alcohol will evaporate. At 7% it has a nice kick and while I did enjoy this holiday beverage, one was definitely enough. Next up I think I’m going to try making a winter sangria with a buttery California chardonnay, this cider and loads of apples.

If you like sweeter drinks or just want to try a beer alternative, or even if you are just a huge cider fan this is definitely worth checking out. Get it while you can, as it won’t be around for long!