Monday, February 28, 2011

Adventures of an Amateur Detox-er, Part 1

 When Kris Carr, badass wellness warrior and pioneer of the Crazy Sexy Detox, came into the office a few weeks ago to strategize about our upcoming cleanse, I thought I had it in the bag. I loved her energy, I was in line with her logic, I agreed with everything she was saying. I devoured the fresh salads we were treated to, and the juices, oh the juices! I thought – how hard could this be? I already try to steer clear of meat, I’m not caffeine-crazy like some (most) of my colleagues, and words like ‘quinoa’, ‘nutritional yeast’, and ‘lacinato’ do not scare me. That stuff is old hat. Bring this thing on!

 But that was three weeks ago. Between then and now I’ve done, well, not a whole lot. I did take a nice little vacation to the mountains, where I ate the sort of meaty and starchy comfort foods that cozy cabins and snow on the ground lend themselves to. I also drank quite a lot of whiskey and beer. Delicious, microbrewery (some even organic!) beer, but alcohol nonetheless. I returned from my trip to a house with no food in the fridge and no money in my wallet, so I spent the next week or so eating out of boxes and cans from my pantry. And then there was the taco competition… and the trip to Eagle Rock brewery….

The way I see it, there are a few pretty serious roadblocks to eating well when you’re in shoes like mine. That is, mid-twenties, relatively poor, and with a social life that revolves around taco trucks and beer. But, miraculously, I think the universe is conspiring to help me get on the detox wagon. Almost everyone in my neighborhood is doing one version or another of a cleansing diet. Ashley across the courtyard is doing Junger’s Clean program, juicing up a storm and eating only one solid meal a day. Ryan and JP down the street are doing an intense elimination diet (with multiple-day fasts every two weeks!), and Dan and Heather around the corner are going vegan (again) until further notice. (They’ve all lost weight, look great, and won’t shut up about how ‘alive’ they feel, which is a miserable thing to hear when you are hung over, eating cold leftover pizza for breakfast, and feel like death personified.) Dan called me up, offering me the chicken breast out of their fridge: “We can’t eat it, we’ve gone vegan (again). But it shouldn’t go to waste - you want it?” Having as little money as I do, and loving food like I do, it was very hard for me to pass up free chicken. But, I was going to detox, damnit. All my beer-drinking, street-meat eating co-conspirators (not to mention half my office) had gone the way of the cleansing diet. Hadn’t that been my plan, too? How had something that seemed so simple slip away from me so easily? And really, what self-respecting adult eats pizza for breakfast? “No, Dan. No chicken. Today I turn over (and eat) a new leaf.”

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Wellness Warrior adventure continues...

It's day 13 and I'm still a Wellness Warrior, I can't believe it!  
I really thought this Crazy Sexy Detox was gong to be much harder and more of an inconvenience in my life that it has proven to be.  I've totally embraced it and am loving every minute of it.

Starting the day with my green juice, my favorite part of the day, has become of a bit of a ritual in the morning. My son always runs into the kitchen to help me. He loves shoving the cucumbers, romaine, kale, celery, ginger and lemon down the chute. He's not as excited about drinking it unless I throw in a few more apples, carrots and a pear and then he drinks it up with a smile.

Kale, our new best friend at Natural Health, has got to be the yummiest veggie out there I've had fun experimenting with it. I have made Kale salad with quinoa, cranberries, and pistachios in a lemon,ginger dressing, stir fried Kale (lightly cooked) with quinoa, tofu, broccoli and ginger most recently I tried to recreate the most delicious quinoa bowl with butternut squash and kale that I had a Juicy Ladies. So amazing!

I won't fool you though. I have had a few slip-ups. While at a friend's Birthday celebration last week, I watched as everyone ordered fun cocktails and thought, "I still have to live a little" and broke down and had a glass of Malbec. I felt guilty for about a second and I got over it.  Let me tell you, that was a pretty incredible glass of wine after not drinking for awhile.  So I'm not perfect, but who is?

I have really given this my all and I'm feeling so much more energetic, lighter, happier (I know, pretty cool!) and not as tired as usual. And the best part is my son is eating and drinking a lot more vegetables and likes quinoa!

Until next time...

Kathryn McRitchie
Fashion Director

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 18 here

I didn't have a kitchen for 2 days (renovating!), so had to forgo juicing for that second day, and I won't say what I resorted to on Wednesday when short of time and a kitchen, but glad to have a sink again so I can wash my juicer. Missed my latest passion -- tofu scrambles for dinner. When I cook my veggies, I make an effort to refrain from cooking them too much.

I love to make extra green juice and then use it as a
base for a smoothie.
Here, I added frozen organic raspberries and banana, and a
little unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

My first tofu scramble! Delicious. Curried pressed tofu with spinach, shiitake and onion

In a hurry -- The go-to raw kale salad
from Whole foods.
Gotta love washing that juicer!

Delicious orchard salad we tested for an upcoming issue

Spinach, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, broccoli slaw, red cabbage,
persian cukes and black beans to fill  me up

From Yvonne, our art director, her tofu kale and adzuki bean concoction

–– Stephanie Birdsong, CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Of salad and setbacks

I’m a detox skeptic. Years ago, I read that some doctors say that our bodies naturally flush out “toxins” on their own, so a self-imposed detoxification process is unnecessary. When I read that, I thought, well, that’s good enough for me. Who wants to starve anyway?

But because I was so skeptical, I thought that perhaps I would be a good person to throw into the mix of our staff experiment. The “Crazy, Sexy Detox” doesn’t require that you starve, and I figured that since I’m mostly vegan and don’t drink alcohol, it might not be that difficult for me. And I could certainly stand to eat more vegetables.

Then…I read about the coffee thing.

Giving up my morning coffee and delicious flavored chemical soy creamer seemed like a cruel torture to me. When I read about the process in Carr’s book, I got kind of cranky. How would giving up my coffee provide me with a “spiritual awakening,” exactly? I also wasn’t too excited to read that I would feel sluggish, tired and have headaches on this detox. I don’t have time for that, I thought.

Despite these reservations, I attacked the produce department of Whole Foods with determined vigor, and filled my canvas grocery bag with fresh fruit, kale, organic red peppers, cucumber and ears of corn. I made the tahini kale salad dressing, even though I was alarmed that it called for a fat-tastic entire cup of tahini (There are 22 grams of fat in two tablespoons of that stuff.). It made a ton of it though, and for days I’ve been mixing the ginger-lemony tahini with raw kale and other veggies. I made my stand-by roasted kobacha squash soup, too, which is delicious, easy and fits into the detox plan.

You might think I’m building up to the epiphany part of my story, where I tell you that I finally meditated and juiced my way into a virtuously cleansed body and soul, but I can’t. I am a crazy, sexy detox failure. I don’t own one of those brushes you’re supposed to brush your skin with every day. Nor do I have a juicer, and life has turned my vegetable patch into a minefield of exploding setbacks.

But I have eaten way more raw vegetables than I normally do, and that’s a good thing. Many people think that vegans graze on vegetation like rabbits, but it’s very easy for me to go a day (or days) without eating any vegetables. Cereal and coffee for breakfast, a veggie burger or sandwich for lunch, bean burrito for dinner and boom, no vegetables.

So I can use all the kale and quinoa encouragement I can get, and want to offer some to you, too. It isn’t easy eating as though you have a raw vegan chef at your disposal, but any effort you make will improve your health. I was thinking this morning that I might take another shot at detoxing, but have to quote Lee Hazelwood: That time would come, but it wasn’t that day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I shock myself!

That's the title of Beatrice Woods' autobiography (an amazing woman with a spirit akin to Kris Carr's. She embraced life always, was true to herself, took risks, was crazy sexy, started a new career at 40 something and lived to be 105. Don't know about her diet, but she was clearly doing something right!)  

I can't believe I'm into day 10! Shocking!

Nasty cold/sinus infection notwithstanding (detox?? or my turn at the bug that my little boy just got over?) Have to say, last night I was pretty sure I'd be off to the doc this am, but I think it's moving through my system more quickly than usual...definitely the detox. I've noticed the absence of a couple of annoying chronic ailments as well. Gotta be the zero sugar/dairy effect.

Just finished some Sexy Seed Cakes (super yummy!!)  And I've been making miso soup (so easy!!! who knew??) I'm loving exploring new foods/recipes/flavors...and it is spilling over, my hub's been eating a lot more veggies too. And I'll say it again, I LOVE MY GREEN JUICE!!!

I'm lighter and brighter for sure. Off to lunch at M de Chaya with a girlfriend, can't wait to find out what deliciousness awaits.

Till soon,

-– Saralynne Precht     Assoc. Art Director/Natural Health Magazine


It's kind of hard to believe that we are almost halfway through our Adventure Cleanse; in Crazy, Sexy Diet, Kris Carr says this may be the day when we feel really pissed off -- at the world, ourselves, everyone. And, she says, don't invalidate the feelings, acknowledge the passion behind them, and see if they have anything to do with saying "No" and experience the liberation of using that word when we mean it. She also suggests dancing naked and adding functional foods like Kimchi or other naturally fermented foods to your salad today. (I'm good with both.)

I got back last night from a trip to our New York office, which quite frankly had me a little concerned -- airport food (no kale!), the delicious smell of the gyros carts on Park outside the office, lunches/dinners/drinks!

I feel really good about how I did. The Friday night before I left, Meghan and I had "drinks" with Ashley Koff, RD, who brought us big AKA Happy Belly Bags that are customizable to whatever your needs are -- pregnancy, motherhood, IBS -- and she packed them with gluten-free, raw, delicious stuff like hemp seeds, ginger tea and sprouted almond butter.  It was brilliant, and really helped. (And drinking tea instead of wine, etc made the bar tab -- even with food -- shockingly low.)

Sunday, I packed my carryon with cashews, dried cranberries, hemp and sunflower seeds, tea, some raw seed wafers from Whole Foods and Kaia Kale Chips. When I got to the airport, I figured, I could buy a good salad and dump my goodies on top.

I looked at all the salads at the airport places, and most of them don't have much left when you take out the meat and cheese. Guess what the best choice was? McDonald's Southwest Salad. It has carrots, black beans, corn, cucumbers and tomatoes; I just had them hold the chicken and cheese, sprinkled my seeds and stuff on top when I was ready to eat, and it was totally satisfying and delicious.

My other hurdle was resisting my ritual airplane Bloody Mary ... but it was no problem at all. I drank lots of bubbly water instead.

And the best part: On the ground floor of our office, there is an Equinox -- with a juice bar! It was awesome -- I just ordered all greens with ginger and without all the sweet stuff (apples, mostly) and I was good until lunch. One lunch I did have to cheat a little (fish and wine) but for lunch on Tuesday we went to Penelope's on 28th and found PLENTY (hard to resist the delicious bread, though). And for dinners, my hotel was very close to the little Korean area in Murray Hill, and there are lots of vegan joints and dishes there.

It was interesting, too -- I did some TV segments that included talking about pre-and post-natal nutrition, and there was a big bunch of kale (!) staring me in the face all day long ...

Now that I'm home I can't get enough of that good stuff; and Kris says in her CSD Day 11 page that many people start experiencing moments of unexpected bliss in the middle of a cleanse. I already have....

Be well.

                                                                                                            -- Peg Moline, editor in chief                                                                              

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 6

Well, I can't really believe I'm into day 6! 

Loving the green juice, though I could use a better juicer.  I end up with a lot of veggie pulp...what to do with it??

Day One was pretty easy, had a brainstorm meeting at SKB's. Yummy lunch and much support. Thanks for the Teechino tip! Definitely works as a coffee sub. Did feel pretty spacey, but also somehow clearer.

Day Two came the headache. But loving the new foods, tastes, smells. My little boy came in the kitchen and said it smelled good. Gave him a taste of my green juice and he ran out of the room! Oh well. 

Hard to describe how I felt, spacey and somehow clearer, more alive. Green juice is soooo yummy! However I did have a girls dinner out and did the slide. Coq au vin (on corn polenta with veggies) and a glass of red wine at a french restau. At least I didn't do the burger or steak frites or cheese plate (my usual).

Day Three felt lighter, but still spacey.  Lentil soup, stir fry, kale salad. It's tough being in the house with my hub (who's not on board) and 6 year old bub. But I think the hub's liking the new flavors.  Luckily I'm having a bit of a work break, so the shopping/prep/cooking etc.'s a bit easier to do.

Day Five Had a doc appt. and had to get on the scale. Up!!??? Wha???! Seems very counter-intuitive to wheat/dairy/meat. Doesn't make sense. I have to say, I'm amazed that I haven't eaten dairy for 5 days...that's pretty much miraculous. Not feeling that energy...though my boy's been sick...and I've probably got a ton of toxins roiling around inside.

Whole Foods for some miso, veganaise etc. It's exciting to be using new food elements. WEekend's coming....kind of scary! But the fridge/pantry are full of delish healthy things, so I'm going to be ok. Time for some green tea.

Friday, February 18, 2011


It's midweek, day five of our cleanse, and it has been very interesting ...

Our first day of the cleanse, Monday (Valentine's Day), we had a meeting, and sipped on Stephanie's lovely Teechino w/ almond milk. It took the edge off but I was hurting form the caffeine withdrawal, for sure. And we had some lovely food: kale salad (addicted!), a couple kinds of hummus, nut crackers, quinoa salad. But back at the office, I really could've used a cup of coffee. Didn't do it, I stuck with lemon juice and water w/ some ginger. And took an Advil. And I DID have a 1/2 glass of champagne on V-Day ....

The next day we had one of our long issue-planning meetings, and again, I was dragging, very groggy and grumpy. Not our most inspired meeting ever.  Egyptian Licorice Tea helped, and I found myself eating a lot.

I have to say, the eating part of this is a pleasure, I don't miss any of the foods, really; I miss popping a little cheese while I make my daughter's lunch. And I feel like this is so much about adding really dense nutrients -- the juice, the kale, the hemp seeds -- that are super charging me, rather than depriving me.

Day 3 (Wednesday) was the day I finally felt good -- really good in fact. My energy came back big time. And I had a little triumph at lunch: I drove out to get something to eat, planning to go to our local vegan, raw place called Juicy Ladies.There's an intersection on Ventura Boulevard where I usually turn left to go to my favorite sushi place; Juicy Ladies is to the right. I actually had a struggle, almost went into auto mode and was really drawn to the left. My mouth started watering thinking about spicy tuna.  

But I turned the steering wheel right, and whew, I was very glad I did. The lunch I had was huge and I had enough to give Maggie for dinner that night to her delight (she's 15 and vegetarian, so this is not so hard....) 

Today I literally jumped out of bed, took my dog Ollie for a walk, made a deep red and green juice with beets (and the beet greens), kale, lots of cilantro and parsley, ginger of course and one carrot, and  packed up all the stuff for my day. This weekend, I'm seeing music at a club, and like I said, I'm not missing the foods at all. The drinks ...  tougher. Next week I'm on the road to NY for two days, so we will see how it goes... There is a juice bar downstairs from the office, so it'll probably be just fine. 

Till next time

                                                                                                         -- Peg Moline, Editor in chief

Gettin' Juicy With It

Kris Carr, our fearless leader on this adventure cleanse and author of Crazy, Sexy Diet is right on when it comes to juicing: "If you really want to get into the sparkle zone, you gotta get gaga for liquid nutrition!"

Juicing is like the final frontier for me. Last month, a friend talked me into following Dr. Alejandro Junger's Clean plan with her, a detox program somewhat similar to Carr's. So, for the last three weeks, I've been following Junger's elimination diet, ditching wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol (mostly—I've cheated here and there).

Overall, I feel like a new person. I've got a ton of energy. Stress isn't sapping me like it usually does. I'm happy—almost always. My skin is clear. The whites in my eyes are whiter. I don't have to dance around my bedroom to get my skinny jeans on. I could go on (and will, in future posts!).

But during the last three weeks, I didn't drink my greens once. It just seemed so ... time-consuming. Buying the fresh, organic vegetables. Washing them all. Cleaning the juicer. Who's got that kind of time and energy before 8 a.m.? And the morning smoothies the Clean plan recommends are so tasty (not to mention easy to whip up in my blender). Green juice just tastes so ... earthy.

However, last night I decided it was time to pull out my juicer (it's now settling into its new, permanent home on my kitchen counter, having moved from the far reaches of my pantry). I set my alarm to wake me 15 minutes earlier today so I could groggily shuffle to the kitchen, wash a bunch of veggies and toss them in my Stainless Steel Super Juicer. And I drank the green goodness down as I got ready for work.

My first few sips weren't what I'd call delicious, but they weren't awful, either. And considering I do feel a little more sparkly today, I'm already convinced this juicing habit is one I'm going to try to make stick.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goodbye coffee, hello... teechino?

Don't do what I did and skip the pre-cleanse weaning off of caffeine. Day 1 found me slogging through my Monday in a zombie trance with a splitting head until I crashed on the sofa at 7:30 pm.  Well, I did get plenty of rest that night. 

By day 3, all was well again. Thank goodness I found the herbal coffee called Teechino! I enjoy it in the morning after my juice and lemon water. It reminds me of my happy caffeine mornings, but without the crash.
–– Stephanie Birdsong, CREATIVE DIRECTOR


Monday, February 14, 2011

crazy, sexy day 1

 I went the Farmers Market yesterday and got so many colorful, beautiful veggies, I couldn't wait to get up and juice today!

This morning's juice was made with: kale, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, a few baby carrots, 1/2 apple, lemon and ginger.  Delish!  It was so surprisingly refreshing and satisfying and made the entire kitchen smell like freshly cut grass.  My 8 yr. old son has even commented the last few mornings on how fresh the kitchen smelled. I was able to get him to drink a glass today after I added a couple of apples and few more carrots to sweeten it up a bit. I got a hesitant thumbs up, but it was still a thumbs up right?

I have to tell you when I first read about this cleanse it seemed a bit daunting. However, after giving up my morning chai tea and my nightly glass of vino, I think I'll live. I know, no wine for 21 days, pretty crazy!

For the last week I have been in pre-detox mode and feel really good. I have lots of energy and know it's only going to improve as I travel  down the detox road.

I thought I'd share the beautiful basket of colorful veggies that's sitting on my kitchen counter. It's much prettier and fuller than usual and is inspiring me to cook healthy, beautiful meals.

Until next time...

Kathryn McRitchie
Fashion Director


Hi, this is Peg Moline, editor in chief of Natural Health and I think it's fitting that we're embarking on our 21-cleanse today, Valentine's Day, just a lovely thing to do.

To fill you in, a bunch of staffers in the Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) office and in the NY office chose this day, the day our March issue hits newsstand, to begin the Adventure Cleanse that Kris Carr outlines in Crazy Sexy Diet. Not only do we excerpt the book in our March issue, but we're also happy to announce that Kris has become our newest contributing editor.  And February 14, 2003 is the day she got the cancer diagnosis that changed her life forever.

On February 4, Kris (shown below) came to our offices and we had the most delicious vegan feast from Juicy Ladies (including two juices, a glorious green juice and Love Juice, made from beets, carrots, cucumber, ginger and other delicious vegetables).

That week kicked off our pre-tox week, the week leading up to the cleanse, during which we cut down and cut out caffeine, sugar, wheat, dairy and other animal products and oh yeah, alcohol.

Cutting out the coffee will definitely be the toughest, I know.

On Thursday we had Salad Thursday, and brought in all raw, vegan salads. I made my favorite, Kale salad with tahini dressing, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. (That's a shot of all
the salads we had)

Over the weekend I continued the pre-tox week, and had my last drink on Saturday night.

This morning I drank hot water with lemon and ginger and made juice to sip on all morning (kale, mustard greens, romaine, broccoli, asparagus, ginger and one carrot). I have to be careful to make about 6 oz, then sip very slowly or it starts to affect my stomach.

To be honest, I may have a glass of Valentine's Day champagne tonight, but I may also resist.

Happy Valentines, and if you are joining us, go to the comments and let us know what you think what you're doing and where you're from!