Dear DiarySips, Sweets & Snacks

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There were moments when I doubted this post would ever come, but here we are: I did it! Well, sort of. I admit, I snuck a tiny bit of super healthy food during the 48 hours when I wasn’t supposed to ingest any solids, and I may or may not have baked up some vegan chocolate chip cookies late at night on the very last day…

Alright, so maybe I didn’t do everything exactly right, but I ended up with so many great takeaways that it honestly doesn’t matter all that much at this point how I got here. I’ve never been the type to play by the rules- I find I do best when I do things my own way. That said, I really did do my best to stick to the schedule, and though it was a struggle at the time the improvements that I’ve seen in my life since have already been so worth it.

Some of the benefits I’ve noticed, to name a few:

// I haven’t touched a cigarette in over a week and don’t really feel the desire to smoke anymore! Yay!

// So far I’ve stuck to a 100% plant-based diet and I’m eating way more veggies on the daily. I’ve rediscovered the joy of trying new recipes and putting together healthy homemade meals. I plan to move forward eating as clean, cruelty-free, and plant based as possible, and I’m actually paying attention to what I put into my body for the first time in ages.

// I have so much energy! I’m working out again! I actually feel nourished! Possibilities are endless!

// Cleansing real toxins out of my body inspired me to clean other toxins out of my life too, from people to activities, and everything in between. I made some hard decisions, and said goodbye to some parts of my life that I loved dearly but needed to let go- much like smoking I suppose.

On the third day of the cleanse Marcelina (aka my amazing Village Juicery nutritionist) wrote “embrace lightness” into my schedule, and that really sums up how I feel this week. I recently read a quote “If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down”, and I couldn’t agree more- I feel so ready to take off into 2016 at full speed, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the jumpstart that Village Juicery gave me!

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Dear DiarySips, Sweets & Snacks

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Well, as expected living on just juice was a challenge- in fact, for me it was pretty much impossible. I’m a super active person, and I always have about 100 things on the go, so attempting to go so many days without any carbs and then survive two days drinking only liquids honestly just didn’t really work.

Though I did my best to relax, I ended up working and running errands like crazy before collapsing into bed and sleeping almost all day both days. I felt like I was missing out on a bunch of important time, and by the end of day one I just got SO hungry. What can I say? I truly love to eat, and though a cleanse might work if I was laying poolside in the sun all week reading books and taking long naps, a few days without food in the middle of cold Toronto winter and a crazy busy work week started to feel almost unhealthy.

And so, At the end of day one I ate a few bites of kale salad, and on day two I couldn’t help but snag a few pieces of the vegan sushi we made with Juniper Wood Kitchen.

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After my indiscretion, I ended up consulting Marcelina, curious why not eating even made sense in the first place. She explained that because our digestive system is always working hard to, well, digest, it never gets a break to heal and regenerate. By ingesting only liquid foods, we give it that break to cleanse and gather energy instead of continually loading it with solid food to process. This makes a ton of sense, but in the end I couldn’t ignore what my body was telling me- I really needed to eat, so I did.

Though I’m sure cleanse experts will shake their heads, I still feel really good about how I’ve done so far. It’s been a whole week since I’ve touched a cigarette, and six days without any animal products or junk food, which for me is VERY big. I didn’t crack and order a pizza, I didn’t go out drinking with my friends (despite their insistence vodka is basically just a potato), and most importantly I’m feeling so inspired to make all sorts of healthy vegan recipes this week!

But not so fast… I’ve still got one last day to go! I’ll report back later this week with the full review.

Dear DiarySips, Sweets & Snacks

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So here we are, almost halfway through January- oh how times flies! I was a little slow to get started on my resolutions this year, and you may have noticed I’ve been a lot more quiet than usual. what can I say? I needed a bit of me time! Anyway, here I am, back and better than ever.

In an effort to fast track some of my 2016 goals, I decided to try something I’ve failed at multiple times in the past: a cleanse! Now I know what you’re thinking- “Alyssa, you’ve mentioned time and time again that you don’t like cleanses and you’d rather eat? Who even are you!” Trust me, I’m definitely not attempting to survive on lemon water and cayenne for a week. Instead of trying to jump into a pre-set juice program or create on my own cleanse schedule based on the internet as I have in the past, I decided to turn to my favourite local juicery for help.

Village Juicery, to be precise.

I’ve had a pretty serious addiction to Village ever since they opened a couple years ago, and every time I visited to stock up on chocolate nut milk (you MUST try it) I became more curious about their Reset programs (aka custom juice cleanses). I loved the idea of a reset this month, especially with all of my 2015 bad habits and recent emotional baggage that I’d like to leave in the past, so I set up an appointment with Marcelina, one of Village’s in-house nutritionists, and dove right in.

Lesson one: you cannot just “dive in” to a juice cleanse! Marcelina and I talked through all of my eating habits, my energy levels, how I sleep, how much alcohol I drink (insert face palm) and more before she carefully drafted up a schedule of juices tailored to me. Because I’m so deeply attached to eating, she planned out two “Prepare” days, two “Eliminate” days, and one “Reset” day, which in English means I only had to make it through two days of just juice. During the other three days I’d be able to eat nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies (specifically greens!)

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And so here I am, reporting from the end of day 2. In an effort to prep and make my cleanse as successful as possible I started eating only veggies and a tiny bit of whole grains (brown rice mostly) right after my appointment at Village Monday, which means I’ve had no processed sugar, caffeine, white bread products, or alcohol for four days! It’s been a massive change for me considering I basically live on pizza and donuts, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been dreaming of burritos and slices of cake nonstop for the past 48 hours.

Anyway, moving on!

I picked up my first 2 boxes of juice magic yesterday morning and got started right away. On top of the juices and little health shots Marcelina included chia breakfast bowls for the first two days, and some really tasty kale pulp crackers. She also included a calendar with timing for when to drink everything, and cute little tips for what to focus on each day (because she’s the sweetest ever), which made me feel a lot more motivated right away. That said, I somehow missed a memo, and for the most of yesterday I didn’t eat any veggies, just the breakfast bowl. That’s right, I put myself through hours of juice-only life by accident. MY BAD.

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Once I figured out I could eat veggies, nuts and seeds for these first official two days everything got a lot less dismal. I made a super tasty salad for dinner night one with tahini dressing, kale, cucumber, peppers, and an entire avocado (can you tell I miss my fats?), and snacked on my kale crackers with hummus all day yesterday. I feel sleepy much earlier than usual (Marcelina recommended sleeping before 10!) and have been battling a few headache attacks, but overall I feel really good about day one and two. My body actually feels nourished, which is an altogether new feeling, and as I start to shed my bad habits (I haven’t smoked since Sunday!) I can feel some of the bad vibes and sad feelings evaporating out of my life as well.

Starting this morning, it’s the big Kahuna- two days of just juice. Wish me luck? I’ll report back soon…

Dear Diary

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When CEDAR Juice initially reached out to ask me if I was interested in trying a juice cleanse a few weeks back, my first instinct was to immediately say no, the same way I immediately scoff at the suggestion I order a salad when dining out. “I’m not a juice cleanse girl”, I thought to myself, “why would I ever put myself and my body through that?”

But then doubt crept in. What if I was really missing out? I mean, I do love fresh juice, so what’s to say I wouldn’t love a juice cleanse? Plus, CEDAR seemed like a really great local, all-organic company, and I couldn’t help but feel tempted by their product descriptions and ingredient lists (especially Pineapple Head, a blend of pineapple, pear, and mint!)

So, I decided to try out the three-day plan, but not without making a few alterations to the program first. I decided I would continue to eat, but only the cleanest food I could find (mostly raw vegetables… and sushi). For someone who likes to eat as much as I do, it didn’t really make much sense to ingest nothing but liquids, and as soon as I gave myself permission to bend the juice cleanse rules I instantly felt less intimidated by the whole thing.

Though I can’t say I in any way excelled at cleansing, here are some of my favourite takeaways from the whole experience:

1 // I’m REALLY addicted to sugar. Within the first few hours I was having insane cravings for cookies, ice cream, Easter cream eggs… basically if it was awful for me, I wanted it. While I’m totally happy to indulge once and awhile, I definitely think my sweets habit has gotten a bit out of hand, and the cleanse really helped me see just how much I needed to work on it.

2 // I don’t get nearly enough nutrients in my daily diet. This is something I’ve worried about for awhile now, but it was actually shocking to feel the difference when I was throwing back juices packed with healthy nutritional ingredients all day every day. Though I wasn’t consuming any caffeine or sugar I felt more energetic than I have in months, and it was a really nice.

3 // I really don’t like beet juice. At all. But I’m working on it!

4 // Drinking more liquids is never a bad thing. I used to drink a ton of water everyday, and my skin was always so clear, but lately I’ve been majorly slacking. The cleanse really helped me remember how great it felt to be hyper-hydrated.

5 // I need to give my body a lot more care and attention. When I was fully vegan, I was so careful about everything I ate, always checking labels and googling ingredients, but these days all of my old tricks have been slipping thanks so a combination of being way too busy all the time, and not prioritizing my health. Moving forward, I’m going to give my body and mind what it needs: more sleep. less sugar, daily vitamins, early morning dog walks, and extra doses of fun whenever possible!

What do you think about juice cleansing? Let me know in the comments!

Interested in trying your own CEDAR juice cleanse? Enter the promo code “randomactsofpastel” at the checkout to receive 10% off on 3 or 5-day cleanses until March 14th (after which it will drop to 5%)

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*Note: Some or all of the items featured in this post were given to me as a gift from the maker, but I only write about products I genuinely adore, I promise!*