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Wellness

I Quit Sugar: Here’s What Happened

I’m not really a sugar person- I say that and I know what you’re thinking, but growing up I was super sensitive to sugar and actually was really disliked sugary cereals, donuts and pastries. I had this idea that things that weren’t supposed to be sweet- shouldn’t be. So my go-to cereals were corn flakes and cheerios basically.

I don’t even really remember like going ham and developing a sweet tooth during Halloween (popcorn balls were my JAM though.) To this day, I’m that person who asks “is the almond milk sweetened? Or “is that matcha tea like actual matcha tea or like from a mix?” or even “do you mind if i just see the bottle of almond milk that you’re using?” I know, it’s bad and I’m not proud of it, but 9 times out of 10 sugar is added onto already sugary things- which isn’t ideal. 

If you don’t know me, I’m already a pescatarian that eats mostly gluten-free, the most organic that I can afford and almost no dairy. I eat high raw, plant-based foods and supplement my diet with superfoods and adaptogens. I think that eating well is super important and I place a high emphasis on it. That’s also because I believe it’s the key to emotional and physical happiness and as my mom always says, pay now or pay later (aka health is wealth).

But getting back to sugar-I learned later in life that contrary to popular belief, sugar was the real enemy, not fat. It not only made us gain weight because it spiked our insulin, it was also being linked to thyroid and autoimmune diseases.  I also found out how much sugar is linked to depression, can cause inflammation, AND is more addictive than heroin.  Convinced yet? I sure was. A few months ago, I decided to QUIT SUGAR for 20 days. Here’s what happened.

Prep makes perfect

I went into this sugar detox with an open mind ( and a cleared out pantry) which was key because ravaging through your pantry like a sugar crazed person can happen people! Thanks to some pre-reading as part of my friend Summer’s SugarDetoxMe program, I felt educated and informed enough before even starting my detox.

I also made the smart decision to not go cold turkey, instead phasing out all things sugar gradually (starting with sugary beverages first, then sugary fruit and food) and stocked up on veggies, legumes, protein and plant-based goodness to start my cleanse.

 

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As far as cleanses go, not gonna lie the struggle was REAL

To be honest, the first few days were ROUGH- and actually worse than I had expected. I felt an overwhelming crankiness take hold of my body more powerful than PMS or juice cleanse cranky. It wasn’t even that I was hangry (aka the main side effect of a juice cleanse) — this was because I was going through a sort of “withdrawal” state as my body cut out sugar.

I quickly found out that the rumours were true- our bodies experience a serious withdrawl when we steadily cut out sugar because consuming sugar is directly tied to dopamine levels.

 

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Translation: taking a bite of a Twix instantly provides the body a sense of calm and happiness that helps overcome stress studies have shown sugar to be more addicting than cocaine because of this. 

I learned all of this in the prep phase of my SugarDetoxMe cleanse. It was super helpful and helped to put my crankiness into perspective as I knew in the back of my mind I was doing good things for my body. Oh and Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar” advocates for occasional glasses of wine during a sugar detox so that helps too..

Don’t worry, it gets better.

Not only did I see changes in my skin and body, but I gravitated towards healthier choices the longer I detoxed. Cravings subsided after day 5 ( insert sigh of relief here). I found that I began to crave sugar less and less as the days went on. It also was a rude awakening because it showed how much my body had become dependent on sugar, even though I consume low levels on a daily basis. Mindless cravings and sugar consumption that crept up on stressful days were a thing of the past. 

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The rumors are true, brain fog because of sugar is a THING people

I would totally do it again again though just because I experienced such drastic changes in my mental clarity.

I didn’t have any overarching “fuzzy” feeling or trouble concentrating on tasks. I found myself thinking clearer and performing my usual day to day with ease and better than ever.

I had heard this was an upside ditching sugar, but I felt seriously amazing, I’m talking like “I don’t need coffee I’m ready to embrace the day” amazing. This feeling alone made quitting sugar so worth it.

So why should you quit sugar?

Sugar detoxing isn’t just the newest craze that everyone is frothing over. Quitting sugar, even for 3 days can help you realize how much of an impact it has on your lifestyle and give you the strength to dial back accordingly.

Side-note, part of the many reasons on why I’m so fascinated by holistic/healthy living is that my family has a history of thyroid disease so the cards are basically stacked against me.

Hearing how much sugar played a role in these scary, life threatening diseases made me pay attention. It wasn’t just about a trendy detox anymore, it made me seriously consider lifestyle habits and question the overall food choices we have every day.

Even today, I’m still super sugar conscious and consider myself very conservative except for partaking in juice cleanses and eating fruit, I still wanted to see if I could kick the sugar and see how doing so would affect my mind and overall mood.

Detox

Pressed Juicery comes to NYC!

 New York already has its fair share of juice stores, but with the recent close of NY founded juice company, Organic Avenue, many are left wondering if the “juice fad” is coming to an end.

Coming soon to the blog! Juice heaven at @pressedjuicery #sculptandshineLA #DTLA

After recently returning from a trip to LA, I noticed that , despite Organic Avenue shuttering all of its stores, NY is actually still flooded with a wide variety of juice store chains. Some of which include: Juice Generation, Juice Press and Liquiteria. I was relieved that there were some new awesome juice bars in LA they didn’t have in NY such as Kimberly Snyder’s Glow Bio and my personal favorite, Pressed Juicery.

On my first day in LA, I fell in love with this renowned west coast juice chain.

The vibe inside the small Downtown LA  location was cheerful and welcoming and I loved how they doled out samples per the customer’s request (compared to traditionally where it’s a self serve try it out kind of situation.)

They were having a seasonal sale, offering 4 juices for $20 (i know, insane!) so it gave me room to try a ton of new flavors. I tried the roots 2, greens 2, lavender charcoal lemonade, coconut cinnamon, and greens 1.5.

The vast array of unique flavors made me an instant fan, and I vowed to move to the west coast solely for the purpose of being closer to this juice chain..(not joking)

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So imagine my delight when, before my boxing class at Overthrow ,I spotted a Pressed Juicery in Nolita! The store, which opened this past Monday is manhattan’s first and only location. They also offer a customer reward’s program which is awesome because it allows customer’s to accumulate points with each purchase and each point earned goes towards future discounts.

 (Woot woot)

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Pressed Juicery’s latest digs in Nolita! Cheers!

Detox

Juicy Monday: Mason Jar DIY

If you’re someone who makes smoothies or juice at home then this DIY is for you!

This week for juicy monday, Sculpt and Shine is sharing a useful DIY- mason jar juice lids!

I personally love making a big batch of green juice the night before and storing it in a mason jar, but sometimes I wish it had a lid that I could put a straw right in and drink out of!

Converting this mason jar lid is super easy! All you need is a mason jar lid & a single whole puncher (found at any office supply store.)

I purchased the reusable stainless steel straw from Fishs Eddy.

To punch, first mark where you are going to make the hole and put the outside ring to test it. Try and punch as close as you can towards the middle of the lid (I punched near the word Ball because it was far enough away from the lid rim.)

Push your straw through and you’re good to go!

MATERIALS:

Mason jar (any size)
Ball Mason Classic jar lid
Single hole punch
Happy juicy Monday!

Xx SS!

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Detox, Wellness

The Ultimate Guide to Green Juice (Supermarket Version)

In the spirit of summer aka “bikini season” and after a recent conversation with my roommate, I was inspired to write this post and carry out this “Ultimate Guide to Green Juice” experiment. We both wondered which store bought juice truly delivered nutrients, wasn’t loaded with icky sugar and additives and was just as good as one from one of our favorite juice bars (e.g. Juice Press, Liquiteria)

In the midst of a juice cleanse or even a “detox day”, I can admit first hand that there have been times where I’ve picked up a juice at a grocery store in a pinch ( when there is no juice bar to be found, which in cities other than NYC can happen more often than not.) Laden with dozens of brands the choice is not always easy, and it’s always a let down ending up with a sucky tasting $12 juice that you end up begrudgingly choking down.

With my first choice being green juices because of their alkalinizing benefits, I picked up a variety of green juices this week at Wholefoods and Trader Joes testing out the pros, cons and overall benefits of each brand.

So.. the moment we’ve all been waiting for; the reviews! (aka which one is good?!)

 

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RESULTS

Trader Joes Green Juice Made with a pound of spinach, 17 kale leaves, 1 apple, 1/4 cucumber, 1 stalk of celery, 1 lemon and 2 inches of ginger. This juice has 11 grams of sugar ( this sugar is NOT added, coming only from the juiced fruits and veggies.) It is  HPP processed and weighs in at 100 calories per 15.2 oz bottle.

traderjoes

This juice has a lemony vegetable juice flavor with hints of ginger. Being on the inexpensive side, it’s definitely more attractive and an inexpensive way to be healthy without emptying out your bank account in the process. Although it isn’t as potent and “bursting with greens” as one from a juice bar, for the price and the way it’s processed it definitely gets the job done. It reminds me of one from Juice Generation but with slightly less flavor. My only drawback is that I wish it was organic.

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Suja “Green Supreme” Juice organic, HPP pressed no added sugar

I had pretty high expectations for this $9 juice because that’s about the price you could pay for a fresh pressed juice (unbottled) at a juice bar. The bright green color and pretty label touting that it was “organic” seemed promising.

I chose this juice from Suja because it seemed the most “natural” and didn’t have added salt, cayenne, sugar etc. which I generally tend to avoid when drinking juice.

What makes me super sad about this juice, is that the 1st ingredient is apple juice ( which I sadly never noticed until this week- sad face) but since ingredients are listed by weight that means that the majority of this $9 juice is actually apple juice with very little “greens” added. I could taste it immediately because if I closed my eyes I would literally just think it was apple juice since the apple is so potent. Definitely not my thing, but hey, not every juice is a winner.

suja

The good news though is that all the ingredients are organic, so this would be an ideal juice for before a workout or to hydrate before physical activity, despite tasting pretty sugary. It’s also ideal for those who like a bit of apple in their juice and don’t prefer the more bitter or greener “green juice”

evolution

Evolution “Sweet Greens and Lemon”One of the cool things about Evolution is that the brand is carried in Starbucks, Wholefoods and other grocery stores. While its definitely noticeable how “watered down” the overall flavors taste compared to bottled juices found at juice bars, the brand offers both Organic and conventional flavors at a lower price point.

The “sweet greens and lemon flavor” features a kale, romaine, spinach blend that has subtle hints of parsley, apple, celery, lemon and lime. It tastes to me a lot like the Trader Joes “Green Juice” but with more lemon and apple taste. Overall it’s a pretty good deal price-wise as well as availability.

blueprint

Blueprint Juice– the infamous “Blueprint Juice Cleanse” set that is sold in Wholefoods includes this classic green juice flavor. I also saw a few “seasonal” green juice flavors by Blueprint that sounded interesting. For the price-point, I expected a more alkalinizing and pure “green juice”. It definitely tasted sweeter than expected which I wasn’t so down with but to each his own. At least there weren’t any added sugars in this juice which is something to look out for because one of the juices from Blueprint has agave hidden in there.

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Daily Greens “Purify” Juice-  This juice features produce that is seasonally sourced from local farms. This one is made out of kale, parsley, broccoli, cucumber, celery, lemon, basil and is teaming with lots of vitamins! Some of which include A, C, K, B1, B2, B6, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. This juice is also low in calories and sugars which I liked. With a high vitamin content and less sugary taste it was one of my favorites out of the ones reviewed in this guide, my only thing being that it had a pretty strong cucumber and slightly mellow taste ( aka wasn’t bursting with zesty flavor.) I think the vitamin count and benefits outweigh the neutral taste though, so I would be up for drinking this juice again seeing as I get something good out of it, while staying refreshed and hydrated.

daily greens

 

HPP processed, a controversial way of pasteurizing the juice without heat to kill of potential Listeria, E-coli, yeast, mold and salmonella. The drawback is that in order to use this process, the juice has to be “low alkaline” thus containing less nutrients that come from dark leafy vegetables generally destroyed during this process. Besides being a way to commercially sell juice HPP is still better than heat pasteurization it just kills nutrients and isn’t as good as fresh juice. It also extends the shelf life of juice sold in stores.

Detox

Beauty Detox: The Benefits of Charcoal

I first started seeing charcoal when a few months ago I walked into Juice Generation one day and saw a black chalky looking “charcoal lemonade” drink. Super confused I asked about it and then started conducting my own research. I came to find out that charcoal is an amazing step to detoxification. It can be found in various forms, everything from soap and bamboo charcoal sponges to juice.

So what’s the deal? While it isn’t an “every day” thing, charcoal can be an amazing way to detox, especially after a long night drinking/ partying because it helps to reset your system and draw the toxins out of your body. Charcoal has been used for centuries ( over 10,000 years) in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. Activated charcoal naturally soaks up poisons in the body and aids in improving intestinal health using an “adsorption” process aka the charcoal “binds to” toxins instead of absorbing them. While charcoal is used in some hospitals, this remedy it also is available to purchase to help with any gas, bloating, intestinal issues, general detoxification, heart health, body odor, teeth whitening, jet lag and anti-aging. it can aid in controlling food cravings, moodiness and feelings of sluggishness after a meal. Activated charcoal contains millions of tiny pores that naturally capture, bind and remove unwanted toxins, heavy metals chemicals etc. using a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged unwanted toxins in the body.  If you’ve ever seen a Brita water filter, this lower grade charcoal can be seen used in the filters used to capture unwanted materials.

Charcoal can also be found in a wide range of skincare products. I purchased a Konjac sponge infused with  bamboo charcoal from Ricky’s about a month ago and it has done wonders for my skin! I have never felt something more soft and detoxifying- and it can be used to cleanse your face naturally without cleansers and makeup removers. The sponge also naturally balances out your skin’s pH which is pretty awesome! Since your skin is your biggest organ, I prefer using the sponge and this charcoal & shea butter bar soap I bought in Australia to detox.

*take 2 capsules when consuming alcohol or unhealthy food. Please consult your doctor since everyone responds to different dosages and use in moderation. Excessive charcoal consumption without magnesium can result in constipation. Never take activated charcoal with prescription medications!

{ I am not compensated for any external links in this post! All opinions are my own and products I have tried and think are worth sharing!}