Foodie Friday: Juice for All

I’m a juice-aholic. By now, this is a well-known fact among my friends, and I receive requests for juice cleanse recommendations on the regular – I’d say about once per month.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, Spring has sprung, and Summer is JUST around the corner! I noticed today that there are a ton of juice cleanse sales on all of our favorite daily deal sites, so I thought I’d do all you healthy-minded New Yorkers a favor and put the top ones all in one place:

Cleanses I’ve Tried

1. Cleanse:Jus By Julie

jus by julie cleanse

The deets:

  •          $99 ($200 value) for a 3-day juice cleanse + meal plan
  •          $175 ($350 value) for a 3-day juice cleanse for you and a friend + meal plans

Where to buy: Get it on LivingSocial

Thoughts: This is my favorite juice cleanse. I had a customer service snafu once, but they reached out and compensated with a free 1-day cleanse. The juices are so tasty, and they have puree in them, so you’re still getting some fiber and protein, and you don’t feel as hungry (or in some cases hungry at all) while cleansing.

2. Cleanse: Liquiteria

Liquiteria

The deets:

  •          “Juice, Eat, Repeat” $79 ($99 value): Four cold-pressed juices per day for three days (12 juices total)
  •          Level One Cleanse: “Explore & Nourish” $118 ($147 value): Six cold-pressed juices per day for three days (18 juices total)
  •          Level Two Cleanse: “Restore & Energize” $118 ($147 value): Six cold-pressed juices per day for three days (18 juices total) – same deal as level one, but different juices
  •          Level Three Cleanse: “Deep Dive & Heal” $160 ($200 value): Seven cold-pressed juices per day for three days (21 juices total); One coconut water per day (three total)
  •          All cleanses come with One-on-one coaching session with an expert cleanse coach. They basically walk you through the cleanse and answer any questions when you pick up your juices

Where to buy: Get it on Gilt City

Thoughts: The “Juice, Eat, Repeat” is awesome for juicing rookies! Juice all day and have a nice raw dinner – it leaves you feeling so refreshed! I really like Liquiteria, but you have to pick this cleanse up in person, so it takes a little extra prepping. They have three locations: Liquiteria Chelsea, Liquiteria East Village, or Union Square

Other Available Cleanses

1. Cleanse: The Squeeze

The Squeeze New York City Deal of the Day   Groupon New York City

The deets:

  •          $119 for a three-day juice cleanse ($177 value)
  •          $235 for a six-day juice cleanse ($354 value)

Where to buy: Get it on GroupOn

Thoughts: I haven’t tried The Squeeze yet, but maybe I will!  This is another ‘pick-up only’ cleanse. There are three locations: Battery Park City, Hell’s Kitchen, and Union Square

2. Cleanse: beQu Juice

bequ juices

The deets:

Where to buy: Get it on GroupOn

Thoughts: I haven’t tried beQu yet either, but here are some additional details from GroupOn: Recipients receive a supply of six bottles for each day of their cleanse, which includes three lemonade and three sweet greens juices that can be alternated throughout the day. Shipping is not included in this deal; beQu Juice will confirm delivery dates by email. Based on this, I would look up cost of shipping before buying!

Awkward and Awkward Thursday: Where’s the Juice?

This week has been an especially frustrating one, and all of my frustrations revolve around juice.

Think I’m crazy? Don’t worry, I do too. Let’s start with awkward part one, from the beginning. I arrived at work Wednesday completely pumped to start a Jus by Julie three-day cleanse. I LOVE juicing, and my friend had said this was her favorite one.

When I realized at 8 a.m. that Jus by Julie had sent me an order confirmation but no tracking information (which they had referenced would follow), I immediately sent an email and also gave their receptionist a call. I won’t bore you with the play-by-play, but essential I reached out by phone, email, Twitter, carrier pigeon, you name it, and judging by their latest tweet, the company was indeed on vacation.

Christina Marcus  christinamarcus  on Twitter (1)

I tried to reach Jus by Julie all day.

Christina Marcus  christinamarcus  on TwitterAfter 4 p.m. I finally sent an outraged email outlining all of the reasons it was inconsiderate and poor service for the company not to get back to me. The email in itself was awkward. I do not get angry. It’s not something I do. But here I am, very angry, and feeling completely outside of my skin because of it.

I received a phone call immediately. The person on the other end sounded a bit annoyed and  explained that something was wrong with their delivery tracking, and I would get my juice the next day. Seriously? Was that five-minute phone call so difficult? This tells me two things:

  1. There is not reward in being a calm and collected, friendly customer, which is so disappointing. Hours of this approach got me absolutely nowhere, but when I got angry I got answers.
  2. The FedEx issue was, as I suspected, a widespread problem yesterday. In this case, a blast email or even a tweet to explain the issue and tell customers to be patient might have been a good, considerate idea. I mean, one thing I loved about the idea of this cleanse is that it is delivered early enough to start on the same day. I literally ate nothing the first half of the day thinking they’d get back to me before lunch on my delivery ETA.

After the awful 8 hours of lack of customer service, I thought surely they would apologize in a genuine way and even offer something extra, or an added incentive for a follow-up order. I’m not a freebie-hound, but this was the first time ever that I really felt it was something I deserved. You shouldn’t upset people who are giving up solid food to enjoy your product, it is just unkind, and disappointment coupled with extreme hunger should be compensated.

Today I received my juices “on time,” and was happily drinking through my cleanse until awkward part two happened.  I got to juice 4 and realized that my juice 5 was missing from the fridge at work. Almond Breeze. I was actually excited to drink it and have been anticipating it all day. I considered blast emailing my coworkers to call a search for the missing juice. Other people are cleansing this week as well, I saw a ton of BluePrint bottles in the fridge, surely my juice was taken in error and could be returned. This sounds silly, but understand that i am consuming six juices for the day – that is all the nourishment that I get, and one is missing! And it’s my favorite one! Juice #5 on days 2 and 3 is a different  juice. A petty thing to complain about in a life where I feel all-around blessed, but it felt tragic. It still does. Go ahead, laugh at me.

The Jus by Julie juices are awesome, and I’m really enjoying them, but I feel like I will forever associate this cleanse with feelings of stress and frustration. And lots of awkward.

Monday Motivation: Transitioning Back to Reality

It’s Monday! This is likely one of the most difficult Mondays of the year, as we get over the long Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. Our bellies full and our wallets empty, it’s time to get back to work, and back to the daily grind.

drink coffee

Image via Pinterest

I personally have thrown routine out the window lately, and after a long-weekend vacation in Montreal followed by the long holiday weekend, I am ready to reintroduce things like the gym, smoothies, and a normal sleep schedule back into my life.

Here are some links from around the web that are helping motivate me – from jumping back on the treadmill to getting the ball rolling on my holiday shopping:

healthy oatmeal smoothie

Image via marthastewart.com

  • I had this healthy smoothie for breakfast this morning. Did you know that yogurt plus oatmeal equals a complete protein? Mine was a little too thick, but still oh so good.
  • Looking for creative ways to finish up those turkey day leftovers? The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has you covered with some inspiring leftover turkey recipes 
  • Self magazine always has my back when I’m feeling less than motivated at the gym. I think they read my mind when they pinned these 10 boredom-busting treadmill workouts on Pinterest yesterday
skinny cranberry bliss bars

Image via skinnytaste.com

  • And JUST in time for the holidays, Gina Homolka of skinnytaste.com has a recipe for Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars that I must try. These were my favorite holiday treat back when I worked at Starbucks, many eons ago

In conclusion, this Cyber Monday I am keeping the coffee flowing, and I have my gym bag packed and ready for tonight. I am motivated! How about you?

Foodie Friday: Is Instagram Making Me Fat?

After receiving criticism for my social “foodspiration” photos at every family gathering I’ve attended since joining Instagram 18 months ago, I could not hold back an enormous eye-roll today while reading a Gothamist article on a study reporting that Instagramming photos of your food could lead to an unhealthy food obsession.

Gothamist reported, “The study, which was presented at the Canadian Obesity Summit in Vancouver this week and titled “Food Fetish: Society’s Complicated Relationship with Food,” suggests that some people who take photos of most of their meals do so because food plays a big role in their lives—this, in turn, could lead them to develop unhealthy eating habits and weight problems.

I’ll be the first to admit that food plays an important role in my life. Food fuels my energy for every day’s activities – of course it’s important! And living in a city like New York, it’s hard not to get excited at the newest trend in burgers or donuts, or the next big restaurant opening. Some may frown at indulging in these things; God forbid we celebrate with a cupcake or considering a glass of wine a reward after a long week.

Though, I’d like to think that my social posts are more motivating towards healthy habits. I drink homemade juices almost weekly, and dabble in predominately veggie recipes quite often. But, knowing that my Instagram isn’t exactly my food journal, this Gothamist article got me thinking – is my Instagram as healthy as I’d like to think I am?

I did some data mining and it appears I have 288 photos posted to date, 78 of which are food related. So I’m not completely antisocial, and I don’t have a relationship going with my daily lunch menu. That’s good, right?

Of my food photos, I would classify 28 as being super healthy, with juices, smoothies and salads being the healthiest posts.

P1010914

Twenty posts are neither healthy nor unhealthy, just amazingly delicious foods or interesting photos. I classified most home-cooked meals and things like sushi here –I thought these foods were healthy in moderation.

Thirty-one photos could classify as fat-kid-special, but more than half of these were photos of alcoholic beverages – 18 photos depicted Bloody Marys, quality beers and vino. photoHighlights from the remaining 13 “unhealthy” eats include rare indulgences like Shake Shack, Serendipity ice cream, and In-N-Out Burger. Holy cholesterol.

So how would I grade my Instagram? Balanced. And I think balanced is healthy. What do you think, is your Instagram making you fat? Is MY Instagram making you fat?

Foodie Friday: Blueberry Lemon Smoothie for Weight Loss

In her return to the blogging world yesterday, Amie (The Healthy Step-Mom) posted about willpower against cravings, and how difficult it can be. It was encouraging to read that even someone as fit as Amie battles with willpower every now and again.

When I’m feeling particularly tempted, I like to trick my body into thinking that I’m fulfilling its unhealthy cravings. Evil, I know – but it works! Wednesday, I felt like I was having dessert for breakfast when I replicated a blueberry lemon smoothie that my girl Deborah over at Delightfully Fit so generously instagrammed (yes, instagram is a verb now).

blueberry lemon weightloss smoothie

My version of the Blueberry Lemon Smoothie

Here is her recipe, with my variations in parentheses:

  • 1 banana
  • Greek yogurt (plain) (I used approximately half a cup)
  • Flaxseed (I replaced with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds)
  • Blueberries (I used one cup, frozen)
  • 1 lemon-ring slice sized rind (I put a whole, circular slice in – I wanted it to be very lemony)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I skipped this because my almond milk was vanilla)
  • A splash of unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla almond milk, and put just enough to blend the mixture to my desired texture)
  • Stevia (I used half a packet of Truvia)

The result was a tangy and delicious breakfast that reminded me of a trip to Pinkberry – my sweet tooth was satisfied for the day!

What are your healthy craving alternatives? 

The Improvised Flat Bread

Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a girls’ night in – something I view as the ultimate cure for any excess of emotion (anger, stress, frustration, sadness, etc.).

Tuesday, after four hours of sleep and a grueling 10-hour day in the office, I was on my last thread. While I normally would have gone home and slept it off, I felt I needed to do something to replace the guilt I felt for being too tired to hit the gym.

Cue a quick trip to Whole Foods, Alycia and a bottle of wine. By 10 p.m. I was cured. Conversation, vino and our improvised flat bread wound up being just what the doctor ordered.

Whole Wheat Flatbread with Arugula, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I walked into Whole Foods with visions of a gorgeous fig, arugula and goat cheese flat bread in my head. Apparently, and to my dismay, figs are out of season. I grabbed the first suitable substitute I could find – a package of sun-dried tomatoes, and made my way to our foodie date. Here is the final result:

P1000757

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (we used whole wheat dough from Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan flakes
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and prep the pizza dough according to directions on the packaging. We rolled our dough out into a nice rectangle large enough for roughly eight square slices.

Toss the arugula in the apple cider vinegar, and place aside for later.

Bake the dough for 5 minutes, then remove. Lightly coat the bread with olive oil, and sprinkle the garlic evenly.

Layer the cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula on top. I know some like to hold the arugula until the flat bread is done baking, but we decided to try throwing it all in the oven.

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Next, return the flat bread to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the crust begin to brown. Remove from the oven, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

This post is cross-posted from the blog Feel Good Foodies, a collaborative exploration between myself and my friend Alycia Ercums, documenting our love of fine food and our desire to balance a healthy lifestyle.