i haven’t had a cup of coffee in nearly 4 months (ever since deciding to go high raw). i don’t really miss it. sometimes i miss the smell of it…or the ritual of it — communing with others over coffee. but i don’t really miss COFFEE.
but a few weeks ago, i got started on a slippery slope…CACAO. i was never a big chocolate person, (never liked it), but i was at One Lucky Duck, and happened upon their Cacao Latte. and it was OVER. i’ve been hooked ever since. i’ve even shown up late to band rehearsal because i had to stop at One Lucky Duck and get one.
what’s in it? cashew milk, cacao, agave and banana
so i’ve been trying to re-create this sucker at home, but it NEVER turns out the same delicious way. so i’ve been experimenting with several different iterations of ingredient amounts…and VOILA! finally today, i hit the recipe lottery.
· 2 cups of cashew nut milk (homemade)
· 3 TBS of agave nectar (i like it sweet!)
· 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder
· 1 1/2 TBS of raw cacao nibs
· 1 banana
add in Vitamix, and blend! the result is a thick, creamy cacao-fantastic beverage.
SIDENOTE: i’m slightly concerned that my new “addiction” to cacao simply replaces my previous addiction to caffeine. some consider cacao to be a “superfood”…but it’s still a stimulant. jury is still out on this one…but for now, i’m enjoying it!
Each day gets better on this cleanse.
I received my Menu for Day 3, and was REALLY excited to try it! Loving the variety that each day has to offer. I never know what’s coming up next (kinda like life!).
One very valuable nutritional lesson this cleanse is teaching me: I think coconut meat is too rich for my simple stomach! We all know the unfortunate Cacao Smoothie incident from Day 2…the Lemon Lime smoothie from Day 3 (while it was delicious) also had coconut meat in it. It’s taking me a REALLY long time to get through it. (I could actually only finish half)
So far, I’m loving it. Benefits so far: energy, clear-headedness, “lightness”. I also LOVE not having to think about food — I love not having to figure out what I’m eating for lunch on a given day. :)
Day 3′s Play by Play. Calorie Count: 1,439 + chlorophyl shot + cauliflower salad = approximately 1,500 calories?
- Love Fast 2 (approx 10/11am) 1 Orange: Orange
FYI: In recent research studies, the healing properties of oranges (preferably organic as organic foods have been shown to contain higher amounts of phytonutrients)have been associated with a wide variety of phytonutrient compounds. Consuming vitamin C supplements does not provide the same protective benefits as drinking a glass of orange juice. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: Who doesn’t love fresh-squeezed OJ? Deliciously sweet.
- Love Fast 3 (approx 11/12pm) 1 Green Love: Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, Cucumber, Celery, Green Apple, lemon juice
FYI: If vegetables got grades for traditional nutrients alone, Swiss chard would be one of the vegetable valedictorians. The vitamin and mineral profile of this leafy green vegetable contains enough “excellents” to ensure its place at the head of the vegetable Dean’s List. Our rating system awards Swiss chard with excellent marks for its concentrations of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Swiss chard also emerges as a very good or good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: Clearly, this was a “green” drink. The Lemon juice was a little strong for my taste – it was like a green lemonade. Next time, will probably add a little ginger zest to it.
- Love Fast 4 (approx 1/2pm) 1 Lemon Lime Shake: Lemon, Lime, Coconut water, Coconut meat, Cucumber, Alkaline Water, Himalayan Salt, Avocado, Stevia
FYI:Stevia’s most obvious and notable characteristic is its sweet taste. However, the sweet taste is not due to carbohydrate-based molecules, but to several non-caloric molecules called glycosides. Individuals who cannot tolerate sugar or other sweeteners can use stevia. Stevia has been shown to inhibit the growth and reproduction of bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay, making it an excellent addition to tooth pastes and mouthwashes. Many people have reported improvement in their oral health after adding stevia concentrate to their tooth paste and using it, diluted in water, as a daily mouthwash. -(Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: OK…another smoothie. This one was without cacao, so it was easier for me to take. The flavor was stupendous! It kinda tasted like the filling of a lemon/lime tart. But the coconut meat made it SOOOO rich. I learned my lesson from yesterday — I sipped this one very slowly, and ultimately couldn’t finish it because it was so rich. :( Tasty, though!
- Love Fast 5 (approx 3/4pm) 1 Gazpacho Soup: Lime, Carrot, Tomato, Cucumber, Celery, Himalayan Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Cilantro, Olive Oil, Garlic, Jalapeno, Bell Pepper
FYI: One of the most well known tomato eating benefit is its’ Lycopene content. Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: I was really looking forward to this soup — it was definitely good…but just Gazpacho how I’m used to it. I can’t place my finger on it, but it may have been the cilantro & lime? Nonetheless, it was the best soup I’ve had thus far.
- Love Fast 6 (approx 5/6pm) 1 Cauliflower Couscous: Celery, Parsley, Himalayan Salt, Red pepper, Pepper, Olive Oil, Basil, Cauliflower, Mint, Olive, Raisins
FYI: Black currants are very rich in many phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: Tasty. Again, I’m learning that perhaps OrgAve’s flavor profiles and my personal flavor preferences don’t necessarily line up. (didn’t really like the parsley-basil-mint combo) But this salad was good nonetheless.
Last drink was the Green Mylk. (confession: I went home and added a little bit of agave to it to make it more of a “treat”) MUCH
On Day 1 of my Organic Avenue Love Fast Cleanse, my major quips with the Day 1 Menu were:
- Not enough variety in flavor — everything tasted too “green”.
- Not enough calories — it only added up to be approximately 1,000 calories for the entire day’s meals.
Well — Day 2′s lesson: be careful what you wish for!!
I’m learning one of the things that I LOVE about Organic Avenue’s cleanses is that each day is different!! :) I love the fact that there are new items and new juices every single day.
Day 2 had a host of new items that I was excited to try. All the “new” items for Day 2 were PHENOMENAL — they were jam-packed with flavor, tasted delicious and I was really excited about the variety.
Everything was fine & dandy until I got to the Item #4: the Cacao Smoothie. In a word…it was DECADENT. Just take a look at the ingredients: Coconut Water, Coconut Meat, Yacon Syrup, Agave Nectar, Cacao, Vanilla. It was like drinking the thickest, thickest milk shake. Like a liquid dessert.
I think for most, it would have been fine. But for me: I haven’t had caffeine in over 4 months (not even tea)…PLUS I’m not really a big chocolate person.
The outcome: I had a sweet stomach ache…but was also BUZZING from all the cacao!! I felt like I was high (naturally, of course).
Unfortunately, it was SO rich, and SO sweet…I couldn’t finish the remaining 2 items for my day.
But…you live and you learn! I’m looking forward to the goodies that Day 3 has to offer!!
Here’s a play by play of my Day 2 Menu. Calorie count: 1,854 + chlorophyll shot + salad = approximately 2,000
- Chlorophyll Shot (same as day 1)
- Love Fast 2 (approx 10/11am) 1 Pear Juice: Pears
FYI: Pears are often recommended as a hypo-allergenic fruit that is high in fiber but less likely to produce adverse reactions. Pear juice is safe to be introduced to infants as they are mild, yet healthful. (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: This was pleasantly refreshing. It seemed very similar to Day 1′s apple juice. Yummy indeed!
- Love Fast 3 (approx 11/12pm) 1 Veggie Vibe: Lemon, Carrot, Spinach, Cucumber, Celery, Parsley, Beet
FYI: The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson color-betacyanin-is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets’ potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: Holy YUM. The reason why I loved this particular juice so much: the sweetness from the carrots and the tang from the lemon. Where the Young Love was very “green”, this had some beautiful depth and dimension to it! I could have drank two more of these!
- Love Fast 4 (approx 1/2pm) 1 Cacao Smoothie: Agave Nectar, Yacon Syrup, Vanilla, Cacao, Coconut
FYI: Cacao beans have the ability to promote cardiovascular health. Many people report improved circulation, reduced blood clotting, increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, healthier heart beats, and blood pressure. With all of those things comes a lower risk of heart attacks and stroke. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: This was WAY too rich for my blood. Very decadent, thick, chocolatey and sweet. It also packed a huge punch at 900 calories!!! (that’s at least 1 Bikram yoga class in a bottle!)
- Love Fast 5 (approx 3/4pm) 1 Cucumber Basil Soup: Coconut water, Coconut meat, Cucumber, Himalayan Salt, Avocado, Basil, Garlic
FYI: Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms or a spasming of the heart muscle or a blood vessel. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: I didn’t really eat this because I was still so nauseous from the decadent Cacao Smoothie — I only tried a spoonful because I wanted to see what it tasted like. It was OK. Very cucumber-y. I would have liked more savory.
- Love Fast 6 (approx 5/6pm) 1 Sunflower Sprouted Salad: Lemon, Himalayan Salt, Pepper, Pine Nuts, Garlic, Scallion, Sesame Seed, Flax Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed, Bell Pepper
FYI: Raw sunflower seeds (as opposed roasted seeds that can be found in shops) have the most nutritional benefits and are suitable for sprouting. Sunflower seeds are a good source of linoleic acid – an essential fatty acid. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of Vitamin E, amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and minerals (including magnesium, potassium, zinc and calcium). - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: now, I’m not normally a fan of “sprouts”, but I know they’re SO good for you — they are the ultimate embodiment of “life” because they are literally NEW greens (full of life force!). I didn’t eat this whole salad b/c of the Cacao Smoothie Nausea, but I tried a forkful — it was TASTY! I would have loved to have a shade more garlic in there…but it was still tasty!
Last item was the Green Mylk (same as Day 1)
My cleanse started on Monday, so Sunday night, I received a lovely email from the OrgAve folks, with an inspirational quote, a lovely affirmation, as well as Monday’s menu. What made the menu so special, was how each item came with a little blurb about its nutritional benefits. LOVE.
OVERVIEW of DAY 1:
- Challenging? YES. Just because I’ve been eating a high-raw diet didn’t make cleansing any easier.
- Not as much detox….But by the same token (because I had been eating a high raw diet prior), I didn’t have as severe withdrawal symptoms as before. (no crazy cranky bitchiness!)
- Milder, more cleaner tasting. I only have BP Cleanse to compare this to, but the juices seemed much more “pure” than those of BPC. They were not as salty, not as sweet, not as “murky” as BPC. They tasted clean, pure, fresh and nutritious.
- CLARITY. I think was about 3-items into my cleanse, and already, my head started feeling clearer, my vision was brighter, and I felt more productive. It’s an incredible testament to how important the foods we eat are. ”You are what you eat.” SO TRUE.
One correction I want to make is re: the Calorie Count.
I signed up for the Love Fast cleanse, thinking it would be slightly more calories than the BP Cleanse (which averages around 1100 calories per day). It doesn’t make sense that I would want MORE calories per day…but I wanted more because I was hoping to continue to go to Bikram during my cleanse.
But after adding up the calories from my 1st day of the OrgAve’s Love Fast, it only ended up being 797 calories + the salad + the chlorophyll shot. My guesstimation is that it’s no more than 1000 calories. Figure that 1 Bikram class burns 500 – 800 calories…that don’t leave a gal with much to work with.
So I’ve decided not to do a hard-core Bikram schedule this week. I’m maybe going to try to make a class tomorrow, but just see how I feel.
Here’s a breakdown of my Monday Menu from Organic Avenue Love Fast Cleanse:
- * Love Fast 1 (approx 8/9am) 1 Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll
FYI: Drink this straight as a shot, or you can mix it in some purified water. Please beware that it can leave your teeth stained green but it comes right out with water! Chlorophyll has the power to regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level and is known to help cleanse the body, fight infection, help heal wounds, and promote the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune, and detoxification systems. Chlorophyll consumption increases the number of red blood cells and, therefore, increase oxygen utilization by the body. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: I took this one like a shot. Taste? GREEN. It wasn’t unpleasant, not bitter, not sweet…it just tasted GREEN. But it was like taking a shot of espresso in the morning — I was instantly awake and energized. The perfect way to start your day.
- * Love Fast 2 (approx 10/11am) 1 Apple Juice: Green Apple
FYI: We’ve all heard the phrase,”an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” New research is proving this rhyme to be factual. Researchers at UC Davis School of Medicine have recently discovered that drinking apple juice seems to slow down the process that may lead to heart disease. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: This was delicious! I know this was a true cold-pressed juice…it tasted just like apple cider. YUM!
- * Love Fast 3 (approx 11/12pm) 1 Young Love: Spinach, Cucumber, Celery
FYI: The benefits of spinach are many. Leafy greens like spinach provide more nutrients than any other food, when compared calorie for calorie. Here are some spinach facts to consider: very nutrient-dense food, loaded with flavonoids which act as antioxidants, protecting the body from free radicals, is a heart-healthy food, promotes gastrointestinal health, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps keep your brain young and agile, is protective against eye diseases, and an excellent source of iron. That’s a lot of good stuff! -(Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: This tasted…like juiced greens. There was nothing “dressing” this up — no lemon, no ginger. This wasn’t pretending to be some fancy elixir — this is a green juice, damnit! While it wasn’t lick-your-lips appetizing, it tasted fresh and wholesome. The real deal.
- Love Fast 4 (approx 1/2pm) 1 Green Embrace Smoothie: Spinach, Lucuma, Banana, Doc Brocs Alkaline Green Powder, Coconut Butter/ Oil, Spirulina, Mango
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: This was definitely pleasant and the most hearty thing so far. I’m a big green smoothie gal, but there was a flavor I didn’t recognize…I think it was the Doc Brocs Alkaline Plant Powder. Nonetheless — yummy.
- * Love Fast 5 (approx 3/4pm) 1 Raw Green Soup: Lemon, Carrot, Cucumber, Parsley, Alkaline Water, Himalayan Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Cilantro, Pepper, Avocado, Onion
FYI: Cilantro isn’t just a commonly-used leaf and seed ingredient found in many tasty and exotic recipes, it’s also a powerful natural cleansing agent. Cilantro has been effectively used to help remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: I was really looking forward to this one. Though I’m really big into green smoothies, I never got into Green Soups. Suffice it to say…I don’t think I will any time soon. The taste? GREEN. I admit, I had to add some salt to it, so it would seem a little more savory. And after I let it sit to room temperature, it was much more palatable.
- Love Fast 6 (approx 5/6pm) 1 Dandelion Cream Salad: Lemon, Kale, Parsley, Himalayan Salt, Cilantro, Pepper, Pine Nuts, Garlic, Dandelion, Sesame Oil, Jalapeno, Dill, Hemp Seed, Raisins
FYI: The benefits of dandelion include relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, cancer and anemia. It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and weight loss. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: I love bitter greens, but nothing is more bitter than dandelion greens. But the raisins balanced it nicely. Overall a pleasant addition to the day.
- Love Fast 7 (approx 7/8pm) 1 Green Mylk: Spinach, Cucumber, Celery, Almond, Cinnamon
FYI: Almond milk is rich in Vitamin E, a known antioxidant, and thus, is believed to good for those undergoing detoxification programs. - (Read More)
- SEOULDIVA SAYS: OK, so I think I was expecting something sweet to end my day. Shoulda known better from the ingredients — no sweeteners like Agave or Dates. The Green Mylk is GREEN…and milky in texture from the almonds. But not sweet. Tasty, but not sweet.
Traditionally, NYFW is a time when I dive into the deep end of bad-for-you things: unhealthy food, vats of caffeine, alcohol and even ciggies. I’m happy to report that this season, I was pretty good: no coffee or caffeine (except for a few raw cacao bars here & there), relatively healthy food (I slipped up a few times and indulged in some cooked foods), and NO ciggies!
BUT, after a few stressful months at work causing me to slip up on my commitment to raw…what better time than POST-NYFW to start a really great cleanse and re-commit?
My first experience with cleansing was with BluePrint Cleanse — a 6-juices per day cleanse. I had a wonderful experience with it…it actually was what got me started changing my eating lifestyle and really thinking about what I put in my body.
But since I’ve delved a little deeper into the whole “wellness” community, I’ve heard some things about BP Cleanse that was not great news. These were my hangups with BluePrint (and why I’m choosing to go with Organic Avenue this time):
- Not so clean? A good journalist friend told me their juice-pressing facilities were dirty and not as clean as you would like.
- Not organic. BP Cleanse even states this on their site — they do not guarantee that they use organic fruits & veggies for their juices. Although this isn’t a MUST, why ingest potential pesticides and unnatural things…when you’re trying to “CLEANSE” them out of your body?
- Plastic bottles? I know this might be nit-picking, but with all the talk of BPAs…why use plastic?
Organic Avenue is a company that’s devoted to L.O.V.E. — Live, Organic, Vegan Experience. They offer 4 main types of Cleanses of varying intensities:
- Love Easy: A “level 1″ of intensity. This Cleanse is a combination of fresh organic cold-pressed juices and raw food. This is a great “baby’s 1st cleanse” for newbies, since you’re still eating solid foods.
- Love Fast: ”Level 2″. Still a combo of juices & raw foods, except the foods here are more salads and green soups.
- Love More: “Level 3″. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between this and the Love Fast, but the Love More program is designed to promote alkaline pH levels in your body, which is considered ideal for optimal health. This is slightly more intense than Love Fast because every single item (whether juice or raw food item) is “green”.
- Love Deep: ”The Deep End”. All raw, organic, cold-pressed juice. No food.
I chose the Love Fast Cleanse to start, mainly because I want to keep going to yoga.
Another major reason I’m going with Organic Avenue for my cleanse: Calories. If you remember, last time I did the Blueprint Cleanse, I wasn’t able to practice Bikram during my cleanse because there simply weren’t enough calories for me to continue with my exercise routine. I know it’s silly, but I’d really love to continue to practice Bikram during my cleanse…I feel like the yoga helps strengthen your mind-body connection, making it easy for you to get more out of your cleanse.
The cost for Organic Ave is pretty comparable to BP Cleanse.
- 5 days of BluePrint Cleanse = $325
- 5-days of Organic Avenue Love Fast = $350
But there are additional costs for my Organic Avenue cleanse:
- $2 Bottle Deposit per Bottle: Because Organic Avenue uses glass bottles, there is a $2 bottle refundable deposit. 5-day For my Love Fast cleanse, my bottle deposit was $60.
- $20 / day delivery cost: this is clearly optional — you can choose to pick up 3-days worth or your juices & foods at a time, but because the glasses are so heavy (and I don’t have a car), I chose delivery
All in all, I cannot WAIT to get started! Will keep everyone updated!