Vinegar Health Drink

ACV

This vinegar health drink is a life-changer. Literally. We drink it at least once a day, but we aim for 2-3 times when we can remember. I am not usually particular about brands, except when it comes to apple cider vinegar. Bragg Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is by far the only brand to use. It is raw, and it also contains “the mother” which is naturally-occuring strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. Raw organic ACV is anti-inflammatory, reduces bloating and heartburn, regulates blood sugar levels, lowers bad cholesterol, is rich in minerals, and protects against cancer. This drink also eliminated the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome in my grandma after drinking it only ONCE (she now drinks it every evening before bed)! Have I convinced you to try it yet?!? I should warn you, this is not necessarily a drink that you will drink because you like the taste (it is vinegar, after all). However, the health benefits make it totally worth it!

Ingredients:

Stir water, vinegar, and honey together until honey has dissolved. Drink with a straw to avoid unnecessary acid on your teeth. and if the taste bothers you, add a little more honey and remind yourself that you are doing something great for your health!

Two Ingredient Dessert!

almond-butter-date

I often find myself wanting something sweet after dinner, but since we are in the middle of the 4-Week Clean Eating Cleanse (and can’t have sugar) my choices of easy desserts are limited. So here is my solution! It doesn’t involve any whipping, mixing, or baking; just sweet instant gratification!

Ingredients:

  • Dates, pitted
  • Almond butter

Slice each date in half and remove the pits. Spread with almond butter and enjoy! If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle a little cinnamon on top…you won’t regret it!

sweet potatoes

This is my Grandma Rice’s recipe for sweet potatoes. It is simple and delicious. Remember, don’t be afraid to use good healthy fats, like butter and ghee! Our brains and bodies need them to function!

Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet potatoes (use Japanese sweet potatoes if you can find them), washed and cut into rounds
  • 2-4 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter (KerryGold is my favorite) or Ghee
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Melt butter or ghee in a pan. Add potatoes and sesame seeds and toss to coat with butter/ghee. Add more butter or ghee as you cook, if needed, to keep potatoes nicely coated. Cook for 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of your potatoes. Serve and enjoy!

Spiced Chicken Breasts

chicken

These are my absolute favorite chicken breasts to make. I use the extra breasts to put on a salad the next day for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Trim chicken breasts and pound lightly with a meat hammer. Mix the spices and garlic with oil and brush onto the chicken. Marinate chicken breasts in the refrigerator for several hours for deeper flavor, or cook right away if you are in a hurry. Brush a skillet with olive oil and allow it to heat up. Place chicken in the skillet and cook over medium-high flame, 2-3 at a time for about 7 minutes per side. Serve and enjoy!

This is a salad we eat frequently throughout the week. It is chock full of healthy goodness! The broccoli sprouts have up to 50 times more cancer fighting benefits than broccoli alone. The seed combination gives you a big dose of vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients:

  • Organic mixed greens
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Chopped red bell pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • 2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp raw pepitas
  • 2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

Place seeds into a small pan on the stove to lightly toast. In a bowl, combine mixed greens, cucumber, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli sprouts. Top with toasted seeds and your dressing of choice. Enjoy!

This recipe is from Christa Orecchio, founder of The Whole Journey. She is one of my main resources about healthy eating and healthy living. Check out her website and programs for more information!

Ingredients:

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Transfer to a salad dressing container and store in the refrigerator.

These meatballs are delicious by themselves or when served with gluten-free pasta! I double the recipe to make enough for snacks and lunches. They can also be frozen and used later!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey (dark meat works best)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil and place it in the oven while preheating.

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, eggs, almond milk, parsley, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add turkey and gently mix to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into golfball sized meatballs. Place about 1-inch apart in the hot baking dish. Press each meatball down lightly to flatten the bottom.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the meatballs over. Continue cooking for at least 5-10 more minutes, until the meatballs are somewhat crispy on the outside. Enjoy!

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis recipe: Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

green smoothie

This breakfast smoothie contains superfoods, leafy greens, 1-2 servings of fruit, and high-quality protein powder to get your morning started right!

Ingredients:

  • Coconut water (add as much as you like for a thinner/thicker consistency)
  • Heaping spoonful of coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp. bee pollen (start with 1 tsp. and work your way up)
  • Handful of spinach
  • Handful of kale
  • Handful of dandelion greens
  • 2 heaping scoops of whey protein powder
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1 small green apple (peeled unless you have a Vitamix)

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or Vitamix until smooth. Drink and enjoy!

*Tip: Vary the greens you use each week to ensure you are getting a healthy variety and to avoid a build up of oxalic acid, which can affect your thyroid.

4-Week Clean Eating Cleanse

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The Mindful Daddie and I decided that we wanted to get back to a healthier lifestyle, but we decided to do it after the holidays so we could indulge in all the delicious food without guilt or restrictions. We want (and need) to get back to healthy eating habits and consistent exercise!

So for 4 weeks we will be doing a “Clean Eating Cleanse.” It is a program that I have put together after reading information from many different sources, as well as from a cleanse I participated in through my yoga studio a few years ago. Here’s the basics:

  • No gluten
  • No dairy
  • No sugar
  • No alcohol
  • No red meat
  • No soy
  • No processed foods
  • No caffeine (more on this one later…)

We are also trying to eat as much of our food organic as possible. To me, “clean eating” can’t truly be clean if you start with produce that has been treated with pesticides and other chemicals. The chicken, turkey, and eggs that we eat are organic/free range/nitrate-free whenever possible. You can also eat fish on the cleanse, however the Mindful Daddie is not big on seafood so I don’t waste my time cooking it!

After 4 weeks, I feel our bodies will have had a sufficient amount of time to rid themselves of any foods that may cause reactions or irritations (i.e. fatigue, bloating, headaches, trouble sleeping, etc.). We will then decide if we want to reintroduce foods, like gluten and dairy, back into our diet, and if we do we will start with one thing at a time so we can feel how it affects our bodies when we eat it!

Are you wondering what the heck we are eating? The answers are surprisingly delicious (see Recipes)!

We eat avocados, fruit, veggies, green drinks/smoothies, chicken, turkey, salads, eggs, sweet potatoes, tea, wraps, nuts, beans, lentils, hummus, salsa…the list goes on and on!

Our cleanse started on January 7th, and we have already lost about 5 pounds each without even trying! We are not counting calories, or limiting our portions. When we are hungry, we eat and we eat until we are full. I don’t feel deprived or “hangry” (angry because I’m hungry). The research I’ve done, paired with personal experience has made me a believer that “fat does not make you fat”, as long as it’s healthy fats (i.e. avocados, olive oil, coconut oil). We get fat from eating/drinking processed sugars, chemical artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals that lurk in so much of our food. Our bodies were not designed to digest these chemicals and compounds! Our bodies were designed to eat fresh, whole, beautiful foods! It’s no wonder our country struggles so much with obesity and chronic diseases…our food supply has become industrial and not agricultural!

In addition to our clean eating, we are drinking a green protein smoothie every morning (check Recipes), which incorporates superfoods and an amazing whey protein powder that comes from grass-fed cows. Yes, I do realize that by including whey protein I am breaking the “No Dairy” rule of the cleanse. I decided the pros of using the powder outweighed the cons, and made the executive decision to add this nutritional boost to our smoothies!

The Mindful Daddie and I are also drinking a vinegar health drink 1-2 times a day. It calls for raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and water. This drink may seem strange, but it has so many amazing benefits for your body and digestive system. I should also add that it gives me a nice energy boost after I drink it.¬†Check the Recipes page to see how to make it! Here’s a fun little story: my grandma has been suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome for many, many years. She started drinking the vinegar health drink and had NO symptoms of RLS that first night while she slept! She drinks it every evening before bed and continues to be symptom-free. Can you say, miracle drink!?!

Ok…let’s talk about coffee. The cleanse calls for “no caffeine”. I knew this was going to be my biggest challenge right out of the gate. I love my coffee. I love the taste. I love the smell. I love holding the warm, steamy mug. I love the experience of drinking coffee. Not to mention, I’m the mom of an almost 16-month old who still isn’t sleeping through the night. I love the perk that coffee gives me. I wake up looking forward to drinking it. Ok, I think it’s clear how much I love my coffee! I tried to go without it for 24 hours, and the following morning I woke up with a migraine-like headache that made me want t lay in a cool, dark room all day. I’m a mom, so I don’t have that luxury. I also felt really dizzy an nauseous. My headache and sickness got worse as the hours passed, so I decided that I was going to keep my damn coffee!!! I brewed a cup and within an hour I felt completely normal. I am fully aware that I am addicted to caffeine…and I just don’t care. I was planning on going right back on the coffee after the cleanse ended anyway! The Mindful Daddie is going caffeine-free, and he loves coffee almost as much as I do! He toughed it out through those first couple of rough days and started drinking the occasional cup of tea. Go Daddie!

People are discouraged by not being able to have sugar, but it’s super easy to make the switch to healthier sweeteners. PLEASE DO NOT EVER USE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS LIKE SPLENDA, SWEET ‘N LOW, ETC. They are completely toxic for your body and likely carcinogens (cancer causing compounds). Here is what we use in place of refined and processed sugars:

  • Xylitol (can be used cup-for-cup in any recipe in place of white sugar)
  • Organic raw honey
  • Dark liquid stevia
  • Grade B maple syrup

That’s the cleanse in a nutshell! I will be posting more on sweeteners, quality meats, coffee, apple cider vinegar, and other things mentioned in this post. I’ll also be posting all of the recipes we are using to the Recipes page. Stay tuned!

Comment below with questions, or share your experiences if you decide to take on the 4-Week Clean Eating Cleanse!