Thursday, October 25, 2012

The BluePrint Cleanse in review

Two weeks ago, I embarked on my first ever juice cleanse. Being the food-lover that I am, this was not an easy decision. I am also a big fan of juice, so after about a year of contemplation and hearing different friends’ experiences, I decided to take the plunge. I chose a three-day BluePrint Cleanse. This cleanse came highly recommended from friends, and there happened to be a promotion for a discount on GILT when I ordered.

First, some background

The BluePrint Cleanse includes six juices per day. There are three cleanse levels to choose from based on your normal dieting habits. I’m a fairly healthy eater, so I chose the second level, referred to as “Foundation.”  These are the six juices that I drank each day:
  • Juices one, three and five are a green juice that contains romaine, apple, celery spinach, cucumber, kale, parsley and lemon.
  • Juice two is pineapple, apple and mint.
  • Juice number four is spicy lemonade with lemon, agave nectar and cayenne extract.
  • Juice six is cashew milk with agave nectar, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Day One

The first day was not easy. I woke up with a headache before even drinking my first juice, and that headache lasted until I went to bed. I’m not sure what caused it, since I hadn’t started the cleanse yet. It may have been caffeine withdrawal, or possibly a result of eating very light the previous day.
A lot of people complain about the taste of the green juice, but I personally love it. It is recommended that you wait at least an hour in between juices, and I tried to leave two or three hours in between mine. Juice two was delicious, and I wound up looking forward to it the most on days two and three. Throughout the day I felt fine besides the headache. I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t crave food. When I came home from work the headache quickly turned into a migraine, and I had trouble getting the cashew milk down. Warning: that stuff is CHUNKY if you don’t shake it up a lot.

Day Two

Day two was phenomenal. No hunger. No headache. Tons of energy. I was as happy as a slinky on an escalator.

Day Three

Day three was torture. I was starving all day. By 5 p.m. I had to leave work because I had a migraine. I came home and slept from 6 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. When I woke up I still had the migraine but couldn’t get back to sleep until 4:30 a.m., only to wake up two hours later for work. The rough night meant that day four, (now off the cleanse and back to real food), was also pretty miserable, and I was left wondering why I spent so much time and money torturing myself.

Was the juice worth the squeeze?

I waited so long to post about my cleanse because I wanted time to reflect on it. After a good night’s sleep on day four, I felt good again. I lost four pounds, and my stomach looked nice and flat. I felt healthy and didn’t have a huge appetite. Healthier food decisions came easy. I posted a few pictures on instagram and Facebook in the process, and received a great amount of interest and support from friends. I would do the cleanse again, but probably the six day option. I felt that the three days I did were only enough time for my body to withdrawal, and not enough time to go through a full cleansing process. If anyone is interested in trying a cleanse, I recommend either taking time off from your normal responsibilities or starting on the weekend so that your body can adjust appropriately, and considering extending the experience beyond three days.
Juicing is not a “lose weight fast” fad diet, although you WILL lose weight while doing it. If you’re interested in a juice cleanse, it should be because you’re looking to incorporate healthy eating habits into your lifestyle. The juice cleanse will provide your system with a nice ‘reboot,’ but once it’s over it will be your responsibility to continue on a healthy path.
This post is cross-posted from Christina Does, a blog about shopping, beauty, fashion, travel, food, events, and more.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Motivation: Butternut Squash

I've had a butternut squash sitting around my apartment for so long that I'm thinking of charging it rent. I'm sure I will wind up whipping up my standard butternut squash and kale salad, but I wanted to find some motivation to try something different. This is what I came up with:
butternut squash mac and cheese 





  [All images courtesy of pinterest]

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Restaurant Review: Brunch at The Smith

956 Second Ave (at 50th Street)

The Smith has been my favorite NYC restaurant ever since my first experience a couple of years ago in the East Village location. Every time I bring up this restaurant, Jamie shakes his head and says, "you love that place." He doesn't seem to understand, but luckily everyone else who has been there gets where I'm coming from.When they opened the Midtown East location, I simply couldn't stay away. Weekend visitors gave me the perfect excuse to drag Jamie & company out for an exquisite brunch on Saturday.

The Midtown location is significantly easier to get a table on the weekends. I still always reserve with Open Table, but it's notably less crowded, regardless.

We settled in, and were given the complementary bottles of flat and sparkling water, and sourdough bread. The boys ordered coffee while the girls chose Bloody Marys. Their Bloody Mary is good. Nothing exciting or eccentric about it, but it never disappoints. Entree choices were as follows:
Mushroom Omelet: wild mushrooms, herbs, fontina, home fries

Chicken Sausage + Eggs: spicy corn bread, gravy, home fries 
Croaker: smoked ham, gruyere cheese, sourdough rye, sunny up eggs
Potato waffle Benedict: spinach, caramelized onion 

I ordered the potato waffle benedict - as I do every time I come here. They cook potato pancakes in a waffle iron, and top it off with poached eggs and a spinach/onion mixture. It's a little over the top, and a lot delicious. Next time I've promised myself I will switch from my norm and order the chicken sausage. I also recommend the grits. They add jalepeno and the result is outstanding. I think the photos speak for themselves, if you're looking for a hearty, comfort-food brunch, The Smith is a good go-to.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Restaurant Review: Lasagna Ristorante

As Alycia and I prepare to embark on a BluePrint Cleanse starting tomorrow (her second, and my first), I am sitting here in the early hours of Monday morning day-dreaming about carbs. Yummy yummy bread with cheese, or Thai noodles, anything starchy and filling to warm up this cold, cold morning. The mixed fruit I ate for breakfast is already long forgotten, and my mind is falling on the incredible lasagna I had with Alycia a few weeks back. And then I remembered that I never did write up my review of that deliciously layered goodness. So without further ado...

Lasagna Ristorante

941 2nd Ave, New York 10022 (At 50th St)

Ever since switching jobs a few months back, I have been walking home up Second Avenue from Midtown East to the Upper East Side, and passing Lasagna every day. The restaurant is warm and inviting with an open front leading to outdoor seating, under an awning that wraps around the corner property. I am always jealous of the people sitting down to delicious pasta as I pass by on my way to the gym. Blech. So when Alycia and I decided we needed another foodie outing, the Garfield in me suggested this spot.

We started off healthy with a gorgeous Arugula Salad with goat cheese, crostini, roasted pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette, accompanied by the complimentary garlic bread that is all the rave on Yelp

With 17 different kinds of lasagna to choose from, accompanied by a menu of other Italian favorites, choosing an entree was no easy task. I landed on the lasagna with hearts of artichoke and capers in pink sauce, and aLYCIA CHOSE THE lasagna primavera which had zucchini, yellow, squash, red and green pepper, broccoli, mushroom and carrots. 
lasagna with hearts of artichoke
The portions were enormous and more than satisfying. I'm not a lasagna connoisseur, but what came out was exactly what I had been craving. The artichokes an capers added a nice zing to the traditional dish, and Alycia's primavera was to die for - I think it was the red peppers that did it for me. If I were to go back, I would probably order the primavera (and I will be returning!). Prices were reasonable, and we left full and happy.