These Things Come in Threes.

green-machineTriplets (duh).  Bad things (apparently).  And juice cleanses (for me at least).  Last week I did my third juice cleanse through Pangaea Earth Foods (remember Juice Cleanses 1 & 2?).  This time B did it with me.  Yep, you read that right.  As with the last two times I dropped a few pounds during the cleanse and felt fresh and clean when it was through – ready to take on a few weeks of healthy eating.  But this time it was definitely a lot harder to make it through the 3 days solid food-free.  Maybe that’s a 3rd time juice cleanse thing?  For what it’s worth, my friend AC agrees.  So that totally makes it a thing.

The pic above is of Juice #1 on Day 2 – “Green Earth Smoothie”.  And yes, it’s been Instagrammed.  Shocker.

Anyone else doing any cleansing?  Body? Home?

A Different Kind of Clean.

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This is WAY overdue (that seems to be a common theme around here lately huh?), but I wanted to post about my first juice cleanse experience…also because I will be embarking on cleanse #2 starting Monday morning.  Yep, I liked it that much that I’m doing it again!  But now that I’ve spoiled the ending for you, let me rewind back to the beginning…

I love to eat.  I also love to run.  Usually the latter keeps the former in check, but I just don’t feel like the equation works the same post-baby.  So, I’ve kind of been on this never-ending quest for skinniness that I’ve never had to go through before.  Squeezing in runs when I can and bringing salads for lunch helps, but I had such a crazy summer with whacky schedules and work projects that I ate like crappola and was feeling like I needed something to kickstart me into a healthier eating regime.  I was also turning 30 and felt fat and frumpy.  Ok, so the 2nd reason was probably my real motivation.  But still.

Juice cleanses seem to be all the range with cool people these days so I was really curious to try one, but couldn’t do it for a while since I was still nursing (more on that 10 month labor of love here and here).  But in August, just after I stopped pumping and right before my birthday (and much needed vacation), I decided I’d give juicing a try.  Luckily I had 3 other co-workers equally excited about the prospect of instant skinniness, so we did it together.

We decided to go with Pangaea Earth Foods‘ 3-day beginner cleanse – 5 juices a day delivered right to our office!  You can see our juice cleanse takeover of our floor’s fridge in the shot below.  Those dark green bags in the middle are all us.  The ordering process could not have been easier, and Erika, the owner, was great.  She totally prepped us for what we were about to go through, and texted us every day to see how we were doing and keep us motivated.  I highly recommend Pangaea to anyone in the Philly area.  It’s small and local and I found most of the juices to actually taste really good – something I have heard is not the case with some local competitors.

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So here’s the drill.  You get 5 juices a day, for 3 days.  (See pic below – look how nice and neatly packaged they are!) The cleanse is really a “raw food diet” in liquid form designed to flush out your system, get rid of toxins, and rejuvenate your whole digestive track.  The theory is we spend a lot of energy breaking down our foods and that makes us sluggish.  Feeling sluggish leads to less exercise and healthy eating, which makes you more sluggish.  And the cycle continues.  So the cleanse kick-starts you out of that.  There are approved raw foods in solid form that you can eat, but we were trying to be hardcore and do juice only.  The approved foods list included things like green veggies, raw seeds and nuts, sashimi, vegetable/miso soup broth, etc.  You can also have as much water as you’d like, and herbal teas too.

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The night before we started I was terrified – I was not confident that I’d be able to make it three days without solid foods (my goal was juice only), ESPECIALLY considering we were going to a Phillies game Monday night (and by the way, if you don’t believe that I didn’t cheat – see below – on your left is the delicious “Almond Love’ night cap aka Juice #5, and on your right is B’s Phillies helmet cup of vanilla and chocolate soft serve…). But in reality it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought, and I felt great 90% of the time I was on the cleanse.  The other 10% is attributable to some bloating I had on the first day from drinking so darn much, and the hunger crankiness I got at a few points during the day.

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I found Monday to be tough because my body was in a bit of shock, but I also had adrenaline going and that “it’s the first day – I can’t screw it up now!” thing going.  I weighed myself Tuesday morning and had already lost 5 lbs!  I knew it was just water weight, but seeing numbers come down on the scale was really motivating, and helped me get through Tuesday with a positive attitude.  Which was much needed since I found it to be the hardest day.  Monday’s adrenaline had worn wore off and I was feeling a tad hungry, but wasn’t yet at the halfway point.  By Wednesday I think my body had adapted because I felt great and even contemplating going another few days with just juice.  But I stuck to just 3 days knowing I’d give it a try again sometime later in the fall (which is now tomorrow!).

For me, the mornings and late afternoon’s were the hardest parts of the day.  Ironically dinnertime was the easiest.  I felt very full by the end of the day (you aren’t eating, but you’re drinking a TON) and just sort of ready to be finished with my juices for the day so I could go to bed.  But during the occasional lull of the workday I was hungry and wanted a snack.  It’s amazing how routine eating can be – I’m still not sure if I was actually hungry, or if the time of day was dictating me to feel that way.

So fast forward to the end.  My total weight loss was 6.5 lbs, and 2 months later I’ve been able to keep half of it off.  The few days following the cleanse I craved healthy foods and just felt great – bye bye sluggishness for sure.  Over time that has gone away a bit, but I learned a lot while cleansing, in particular what the body really needs vs. what it thinks it needs.  As someone with a great tendency (and propensity) to over consume, that was a total wake up call.  I also felt super proud of having accomplished what I set out to do, and had this great sense of being in control about things.  It really was a great experience for me and I knew I’d want to do it again.

So here I am, about to start cleanse #2 tomorrow morning to kick start some healthy eating for the next month or so.  Hoping to look and feel good on the beach for JB’s wedding in Puerto Rico!  And even though I’ve just written a mini-novel on how much I enjoyed cleansing the first time, if you can believe it I’m terrified again.  But we do thrive off challenges here at Keep It Neat so we’re going to rise to the occasion and get our juice on.  Wish me luck!

Fit & Fresh Flop.

FitFresh Container Closed

I’d like to take some time today to talk about a product that I do NOT love.   I read a lot of blogs and people are always talking about their faaaaaavorite things (well, except this chick, who still cracks me up), and sometimes it just gets old.  Dislike something every once in a while!  I know there is something in your home that you just can’t stand.  Go on, think about it.

Well here is a product that had lots of potential for people who like compartments, and salads: the Fit & Fresh Salad Shaker.  (There must be at least another one of you out there, right?)  In an attempt to inspire healthy lunching I got this thing for B last Christmas.  Oh wait, he gave me a bunch of grief this weekend for bringing him up on the blog so much.  I forgot.  Let me start again.  I bought this thing for a shall-not-be-named-Chick-Fil-A-eating “pal” of mine, in hopes of helping him change his terrible lunch habits.  He did not like the looks of this thing and refused to use it.  So, Happy New Year’s Resolution Time to me!  I didn’t end up using it until a few months ago though.  You may recall that for several weeks into the new year I was still stuck in a just-returned-to-work-and-my-baby-is-still-waking-up-at-3am! fog and just scrambling to get by.  I posted about that plan of attack as a new working mom here.

I gave the Fit & Fresh a whirl a few times this past spring and am finally getting around to posting about it.  This product had so much potential.  I mean, built in dressing dispenser? (Pardon the strangely toned shots below, they were taken with my phone at work):

FitFresh Dressing Open

FitFresh Dressing Closed

Ice pack that snaps into the lid?  (Not shown here, but it nestles right into the lid on the left.)

FitFresh Lids

I was impressed.  I’ve packed a lot of salads for lunch in my day and dressing can be a big problem.  Do it in the morning when you leave the house and risk serious lettuce wilt?  Not everyone has access to a fridge in the office which makes both storing dressing at work and keeping your salad cool a challenge.  This idea seemed to address my two biggest salad-at-lunch concerns, so naturally I thought I’d love it.

Au contraire.  The size of the container is very awkward.  It’s just too big for the average lunch bag/box.  And the lid takes up most of that space since it’s designed to hold the cooler, which yes, I did just seriously talk up, but upon actually using the thing I’m not impressed at all.  The biggest disappointment?  The built in dressing dispenser!  You’re supposed to fill it and then twist it when you’re ready to use it (you can see it opened and then shut in the pics above).  Well mine twisted in my lunch bag on the way to work so my salad was dressed at 7:00am, just as if I had done it before leaving the house.  AKA, it did nothing to solve the afternoon lettuce-wilt problem.  Which was the exact reason I was intrigued by the darn thing.

So really the Fit & Fresh Salad Shaker is no more than a glorified square Tupperware container.  Which is exactly what I am back to using.  I had a great salad today at lunch with only moderately wilted lettuce, but I knew it was coming so it didn’t bother me.  I had average expectations for my rabbit food of a lunch, and it met all of them.

And so there you have it.  A Fit & Fresh Flop.  No love for the Salad Shaker from Keep It Neat.  And the worst part?  My “pal” is all over the “I told you so train”.  God I hate being wrong.