Guest Post: Wheatgrass Juice Without A Juicer

I am so excited to have Jacqueline guest posting today. Jacqueline is one of my former students and through the wonders of social media, I have been fortunate enough to stay in contact with her. I have been thrilled to follow along as she has discovered more natural remedies and developed a passion for all that is healthy, holistic and good for the body, mind, soul and earth. She recently posted about making wheat grass juice without a juice. My head nearly exploded from the wisdom she dropped and I was super stoked to try!

I am a huge wheat grass juice fan and feel a wonderful energetic lift from a shot. A wheat grass shot has normally been an extravagant treat, when I was at a juice bar or natural foods market. Knowing I can have this delicious and healthy treat more accessibly has made me down right giddy. I will let Jacqueline take it from here and share how to easily make this shot of wellness, anytime of day.

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Greetings! I’d like to firstly thank Angie, for allowing me to be apart of her blog and share with you all something I am very passionate about. My name is Jacqueline and I love learning and practicing with herbs, oils and all remedies that come from our mother earth!

Nature has everything living beings need to be healthy! I have recently been learning about all the incredible benefits of wheatgrass and the purist form to ingest it. Making wheatgrass juice is the best way to receive all of the nutrients it has to offer. Before researching different methods for making it, I would drink it from local juice bars or just blend it up in my blender. With further research, I found out that blending strips away most of its benefits and juicing is good but most places cut the blades from its roots way before serving to their costumers. Since wheatgrass is alive it needs to be taken that way in order for you to get the complete benefits, drinking it as soon as possible after it has been cut from its roots is best. After twenty minutes its nutritional value begins to decrease.

Wheat grass is powerful! Here are some benefits…

  • Wheatgrass juice contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is an important blood builder.
  • Science has proven that chlorophyll stops growth and development of bad bacteria.
  • Chlorophyll is antibacterial and can be used inside and outside the body as a natural remedy.
  • Chlorophyll improves blood sugar problems, helps purify the liver and neutralizes toxins.
  • Compared to other fruits and vegetables, wheat grass juice is superior as a detoxification agent.
  • 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice is nutritionally equivalent to almost 5 pounds of the best organic produce.
  • Wheatgrass contains a full spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals

 The purest method to make wheatgrass is with a good ol’ fashion mortar and pestle! I made some the other night and it was really fun and came out absolutely delicious. I’d like to share with you all the steps to making this powerful immune booster! 🙂

jackie1 All you will need is a mortar and pestle, water, scissors or a knife, cheese cloth, a cup and living wheatgrass!

jackie First step, cut enough wheatgrass to fill the bottom of your mortar. In order to grind the blades evenly it’s best to do a little at a time. When finished with the first pour start over again with the same amount of wheatgrass and water.

In a circular motion, grind the blades until they form somewhat of a gunky, shredded paste. Next, add enough water to cover at least ¼ of your mortar. Continue grinding the wheatgrass in the water until they get very light in color and the water is green. Finally cover the top of your cup with a piece of cheese cloth and pour in the juice. When finished gather the ground up blades into the cloth and make it into a little sac to squeeze the rest of the juice. Add a little lemon if you wish and enjoy!!!

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I had to try this for myself, so I got out all my tools and got to grinding.
It was a little more muscle work than I anticipated, but that’s never a bad thing. I was psyched that it worked and I was able to have my very own wheat grass shot, prepared at home! It’s not wrong to serve up wheatgrass shots in my Vegan Beer Fest cup, is it?

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Thank-you so much Jacqueline, for sharing the recipe!

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Thoughts on Wholeness

Last week, I came down with the full on flu. It took me by surprise and fast. I started feeling a few symptoms on a day when I was working 12+ hours, and had no access to my usual assortment of defenses (oil of oregano, EmergenC, tea, etc.). By the next day, I was full on sick, and stayed that way for a few miserable days.

I rarely get sick. Generally, when I start to feel symptoms of something coming on, I am able to fight it. I had to really think about it, and I am pretty sure it had been over ten years, since I was that sick.

It was an eye opening experience for me. I realized how much I take my health for granted and how utterly miserable I am, when I am not experiencing wholeness. It was difficult to even lay down and read a book, because my head was throbbing so much. The only thing that alleviated anything was sleeping, which in itself, was difficult, through all my coughing and nose blowing.

I realized how important it was to be myself fully and completely. I felt like I was a stranger in my own body and out of control. I was invaded by sickness and it temporarily took over. I realized how often I took for granted being a whole, healthy individual. I longed to be able to feel good first thing in the morning, to have lasting energy throughout the day, to have a clear mind and the ability to do anything I wanted.

It was a humbling experience that renewed my gratitude for my body and health. It renewed my sense of thankfulness for the ability to fully experience my five senses and have the use and connection of all parts of my body.

It was also a great reminder about self-care. I have been more stressed with work in the past month, and have not been always coping in healthy ways. Being sick also proved to remind me that taking care of myself during stressful times is of the utmost importance.

I just finished reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart, and a quote that really stood out to me, and has become my new creed is, “ It’s pretty obvious that people need help and there’s no way to benefit anyone unless we start with ourselves.” This truly spoke to me. I work as a high school counselor and spend most of my day helping others. However, it was a powerful reminder that I am little good to anyone else, unless I have first started with myself.

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Crazy Sexy Diet: One Year Later

One year ago today, I started the Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD) for the first time., I had recently come back from almost one month in Europe. I had the adventure of my life, thus far and I lived it up each day through Southern Spain, Portugal and one day in Morrocco, eating cheese and drinking delicious wine and beer.

I definitely needed a detox.

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This first cleanse set me on a path to being so much more mindful of my health. I completely gave up coffee and soda, which, up to that point, was SO incredibly unheard of for me! You can read all about that here.

I started the transition from vegetarian to vegan. I begin meditating and doing yoga on a much more consistent basis. I begin to make choices that were much more healthy for body, soul and mind. I have been far from perfect, but this past year I feel I have made progress towards being kinder and more nourishing to myself.

The first round of the CSD was really spurred by last year’s annual physical, in which my Dr. told me I had high blood pressure and begin talking about putting me on medication. This was definitely a wake up call for me. There was no way I was going to start medication, until I had exhausted all avenues of first of controlling my blood pressure by my diet and exercise choices. I had just started reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet, and knew it was time to make some changes.

I am proud to say that I went to my annual physical last week, and found that my blood pressure was completely in normal range. Another bonus is that I am 12 pounds lighter from last year and lost 2% body fat. Although I would have liked to have lost more weight, I am still considering this a success, since I really did not actively “diet” at all, but simply made better food choices, on the whole. I attribute a lot of this to giving up dairy and cutting down on how much I eat out.

Having a more consistent meditation and yoga practice, coupled with cutting out caffeine has been amazing for my anxiety, stress levels and working through the grief/trauma of my father’s murder, last year.

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It helps me take care of my soul, emotions, body, mind and heart. Yoga and meditation have changed my life and help me deal with myself, my situations, my job, my health, my family, etc. in a whole new way.

I follow Kris Carr on Instagram, and I love this post:

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It’s such a shame that sometimes we do need a stranger to tell us, but it is so important to take care of our selves. If we do not take care of our own health, mind, soul and body, then who will? I absolutely hope to continue down this path of health and healing, to be the best me I possibly can and hopefully let some of that positive light touch as many beings as the universe allows.

Peace and Love,

Hidden Sugars

Have you seen this month’s issue of National Geographic? The cover title story is Sugar (A Not So Sweet Story). It is about the increase in sugar our society consumes (the United States is particularly worrisome) and the health problems that are associated with this rapid increase.

It was a lot of information I had read or seen before. I have often prided myself in not eating too much sugar. I can always take or leave desserts. I do not bake much, pretty much because it would go to waste. I may take one or two bites of something, then declare it “too sweet” and not want anymore. If I ever do order dessert somewhere, it is always to share; a bite or two is always plenty. I am happy to have fruit for dessert. Some of my favorites include; oranges and dates, fresh slices of cantaloupe or my recent favorite, a spoonful or two of So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream, with fresh berries.

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However, this article did bring awareness about foods that I may be eating that have hidden sugars. The obvious cakes, pastries and creams are easily spotted as laden with sugar, but I was surprised by what else has added sugar to it.

The BIG eye opening moment for me was when I read that 4.2 grams=1 teaspoon. I often check out the sugar content on products I purchase and anything under 10 grams never seemed like too much to me. However, now I think of it as whole teaspoons of sugar being poured into my food, and it seems like a lot more than I originally anticipated.

The article mentions that the average American consumes about 22.7 teaspoons of sugar/day! This is mostly through processed food, which always seems to have extra helpings of sugar in it.

I got a little obsessed over this and started checking out some of my packaged food. Before, I thought I did OK. I can say pretty assuredly that there is nothing in my house that contains HFCs. I strive to feed my family whole, nutritious ingredients and I try to be diligent about reading labels.

However, I was surprised to find how much sugar was actually in some of my food. My ketchup (organic Cadia) has 3 grams of sugar in it (the second ingredient is agave nectar).

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My coconut milk (vanilla flavored from Trader Joe’s) has 7 grams of sugar in it. The second ingredient in it is cane syrup. I use this in many of morning smoothies! That is almost 2 whole teaspoons of sugar!

My marinara sauce had 6 grams of sugar in it! The 5th ingredient was sugar. I never understood why marinara needed sugar in it.

Oh, and the aforementioned So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (vanilla bean) has grams of 12 grams sugar in it.

This was more sugar that I expected to find. Especially, now with the visual of teaspoons of sugar being poured into my food and consumed by my family. It was definitely eye opening to realize that I eat more sugar that I thought I did.

Before reading this article, I had planned on doing another round of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. (You can read more about the last time I did it here.) I did it for the first time, last year, at this same time. This was when I quit coffee and soda and made the switch over to vegan. I did this at the beginning of a new school year and it started the year off on a very positive note.

I decided to do it again, at the beginning of my school year. This time I decided to start of with a 3 day juice cleanse (you can read more about the juice cleanse here.)

In this round, I will also be MUCH more focused on eliminating sugar. Again, I thought I did a pretty good job of this before, but apparently I was consuming things that I was not ever aware of.

I am interested to see how I feel now with more of an awareness to not consume sugar. I will definitely be posting about my progress and anything else I notice in those 21 days. I will be starting on August 2nd.

Did you read the Nat Geo article? Did you realize how much sugar is in most packaged foods

 

2 Day Juice Cleanse

Last weekend, I completed a 2 day juice cleanse.

I have never done anything like this before. I know there are strong opinions on both sides about cleanses and fasts, and although I am not sure if I could ever do something for an extended period of time, I wanted to try something for a short period of time. For virtually the whole month of June, I have been celebrating summer. Vacations, day trips and basking in the amazingness of not having to work have taken their toll, too many drinks and too much delicious food have not made my digestive system happy and I wanted to give it a bit of a break, plus a boost of alkalizing goodness.

I did a modified version of Dr. Oz’ 3 Day Juice Cleanse.

Actually, 2 weeks ago, I first tried it for one day, to see if I could handle it (I was pretty apprehensive). I loved it so much that I went for 2 days this time and I may brave the 3 days next week, when I am back from Portland.

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I started off in the morning with the apple carrot ginger juice (all ingredients shown made enough for 2 people).

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This is one of my favorites, I love the kick that the ginger adds in.

When I started to feel hungry in the afternoon, I drank my second juice. I tried to let my  hunger guide when I drank my juices, as opposed to a certain time of day.

The second juice had contained: 1 bunch of kale, 1 bunch of celery, 1 lemon peeled, 2 cucumbers, 1/2 bunch of parsley, 4 apples, 1 piece of ginger.

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This one was very refreshing and green tasting! Juices are pretty easy to take on the go with you, as I did with this one, while reading in the park.

The last juice of the day contained: 1 bunch of swiss chard, 6 oranges peeled, 2 cucumbers,  1 bunch of kale, 1 bunch of celery. This one had a nice citrus taste, because of all the yummy oranges. I drank this one down immediately after leaving my yoga studio.

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In between juices, I also drank ginger or mint tea and coconut water.

I did not feel true hunger, until the end of the last day. This really surprised me, I thought I would be starving without solid foods. I also thought I would be weak and sluggish, when the opposite turned out to be true. I felt more energetic and lively, even during HOT (So Cal is having a crazy heat wave right now!) yoga classes, I never felt light headed or nauseous like I normally do when it is too hot.

This was a very eye opening experience for me. I discovered:

  • My “hunger” is mostly psychological. I see food and think that I am hungry and have to eat.
  • I ate waaaaay more than I need to. I was able to sustain just fine on 3 juices/day. Although I know this is not adequate on a long-term basis, it showed me that I eat way more than necessary to sustain my active lifestyle.
  • Yoga was much easier.  I thought I would lack energy or feel light headed, but I actually felt my focus sharpen, I was able to get into the class faster and was more focused on my breathe. I have a confession: I normally think about food for the majority of time during yoga classes, or throughout runs. Some of my most creative recipes have come from these times, but it just shows how focused my mind is on food!
  • My skin looked better, by the end of the 2nd day. I can always tell what is going on with me, by my face. If I have been eating poorly, my skin looks dehydrated and sallow. In just 2 days, I looked much more hydrated and vibrant.

I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this cleanse. I did not think I would do well without eating any solid food, and I was surprised how satiated I felt, with juice alone. I think I may try to go for the 3 days next time.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse, or any other type of cleanse? What did you think about it?

An Interview with Marcella: Brush Your Shoulders Off

Last week my sister Marcella, posted the picture below on Instagram. The past two years we have done The Walk for Kids for The Ronald McDonald house and I could not believe the difference between this year and last. I knew she was really stepping it up with her health and fitness, so I asked her if she would be willing to do an interview and share some on the blog. Without further ado:

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1. Your progress picture looks great! I was surprised when I saw because I see you often and did not realize how much your level of fitness has improved in the last year. What do you notice to be the biggest changes (endurance, health, emotional, etc.)?

Thanks! I actually didn’t realize it either until I saw that picture. I notice small changes such as clothes not fitting anymore or even seeing my face not be so round, but the biggest change is my endurance. I just keep pushing myself further and further and I can tell I’m getting stronger.

2. 2011-2012 were challenging years for you, can you share a little more about that?

Well, 2010 was great. That’s when I officially started being serious about losing weight. I began running and finished my first half marathon at the end of the year. I was feeling really strong and ready to take on another half for 2011. Then in April of 2011, I got in a major car accident. Luckily, I had no broken bones, but I did have some alignment damage to the left side of my neck, shoulder, back and hip. My chiropractor said no running for three months. Shortly after that car accident, our grandma died. That was hard to deal with because I was used to using running as my therapist, so I had to really monitor myself to make sure I wasn’t stress eating. I wasn’t able to do a half marathon, but I was determined to keep running. I ran the Mission Inn 10k at the end of the year.

2012 wasn’t any kinder. The beginning of the year started with the murder of my dad. It completely turned my life upside down. In the summer, our aunt was hospitalized and I could not handle the thought of possibly losing someone else in our family. I took one more blow when a relationship with a very close friend crumbled.

3. It’s not secret that in our family, we have historically turned to food for comfort in hard times. How did you manage to avoid that pitfall, even amongst stress and grief?

There were times when I still turned to food. I was doing what I could to run as much as possible, so I would notice the effects of the junk I was eating. The more I continued to run, the less I would want to stress eat. Because I was still having pain from my car accident, I was trying to do other types of exercises too, and I felt that those let out more stress and frustration against my anger (it’s more fun to be angry at Shaun T than the world haha).

4. What changes have you made to your diet?

The most important change was cutting out fast food. I used to eat it multiple times a day! Disgusting, I know, but I constantly justified it because I am always driving/traveling for work. Now I make my breakfast AND lunch the night before so I am not even tempted to buy food. The biggest change that I have made recently is to make sure that I include fruits and vegetables in every meal.

5. How did you get started with an exercise program and how has it changed and progressed over time?

As I said earlier, I started off running. I could barely run up the street when I started, but I just pushed myself a little further every day. At the end of last year, a friend of mine told me about the Nike Training Club app. This really transformed working out for me. It shows you simple steps that don’t take much time. I still incorporate these moves in my workouts, but add more weights or reps to make them more difficult. I recommend that app to everyone!

6. What motivates you?

Staying healthy and strong.

Here is a photo of me at my heaviest.

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I was always tired, run down, and uncomfortable. I want to be the best version of me possible.

7. What advice do you have for someone who has been wanting to make a change in their diet and fitness level?

Lace up your Nikes and Just Do It! I used to tell myself that when I wouldn’t want to wake up to go running, and now I catch myself telling others that too. Change is never easy, but you have to start somewhere. Even if it’s a small change, it’s a start. Don’t feel defeated if you give up. Brush your shoulders off and keep on going.

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