One small step for Veggies...

Sean: "I have completed a week without dairy.  I have noted marked improvements in the consistency and range of my (singing) voice, and my skin is clear, which I don't think has been the case since I was 12.  This is my quote for your blog."

Me:  "Wow!!!  And that was after only one week!!!  Think of how great you would feel after 3!!!"

Sean:  "Mmmmm.  That's a long time..."

I tend to get overexcited.  Especially when it comes to health.  I truly believe that one small change to your diet can bring such a big change to your life that it will then in turn bring change to the lives of your friends and family, which will then bring change to the lives of THEIR friends and family and so on and so forth until that very first small change (that you thought no one would even notice!) will cause such a huge ripple effect that it will bring ginormous change to the whole wide world!!!  

See what I mean?? Overexcited.  

I am telling you this little parable, because I am about to post the "rules" for the detox.  They might seem strict, so I want to stress to you that this is just what I am doing with my little overexcited self.  You have to decide for yourself what works for your body.  Follow as much or as little as you like. Don't get frustrated and adopt an  "Eh.  That looks exhausting.  Pass the jalapeno poppers." attitude. Remember, even the tiniest change can yield huge results.  And, as always, please, please, please consult a medical professional before starting any nutrition program.  

-♥ J :)

*Up later today:  Detox plan and shopping list.


And it's Detox for the win!!!

After much procrastination…I mean, deliberation…I have decided to do a fall detox.
I got this email from Charli the other day. I took it as a sign.

Hi Jen!
Just wanted to link you and Stacey on this. She's trying to eat healthy and is considering doing a cleanse, so I thought you'd be a good resource for books, info, recipes, etc. Have at it, you two!

Now, fall may seem like a strange time for a detox. It's not a "change-your-life-this year-is-going-to-be-different" New Year's detox. It's not a "good-buddha-do-I-really have-to-appear-in-front-of-people-in-a-swimsuit?!?!" summer detox. It's not even a "I-am-going-clear-out-all-the-clogging-goopy-junk-from-my-life" spring cleaning detox.  By the time fall rolls around, you may just feel like throwing on a bulky sweater and calling it a day... 


You were saying…

photo via  A Cup of Jo

Happy first day of fall, Veggies!!!  How will you celebrate the new season???  I will be welcoming fall by drinking some beet juice, attempting to make butternut squash and watching this movie:

I will not, however, be donning any flannels or knee-high boots (like these…sigh) since it is still an impressive 80 degrees in LA.  Silly LA.  Anyway, the debate in my brain about doing a fall detox rages on.  These inspiring (and hilarious) responses to Wednesday's post may wind up being the deciding factor.  

Anthony wrote:

"Hey Jen Jen! Thanks for the mention in your blog! I made it 20 days with only juicing.  My cholesterol dropped 160 points and my blood sugar 5 points and I'm down 21 pounds and still counting. I actually crave the juice now.  I dare say that the thought of pizza makes me sick (please god forgive give me)."

Cara posted on Facebook:

"I just bought a juicer, so I am very excited about integrating that into how I eat. It makes eating so much easier on the days when nothing sounds good and I don't feel like chewing. (Yes, I have a number of those days.)" 

And my brother, Sean, texted me the following:

"I'm quitting dairy for a week.  I better sh*t rainbows."

What do you think?  Fall detox or (vegan) apple pie with mulled cider?  Hmmm...maybe both.  I'm giving myself until Monday to figure out the "Hows" and "Whys" but until then….

I want to hear from you, Veggies!!!  I am taking requests.  What do you want to talk about??? Right now in the request queue are pleas for a thorough gluten explanation and more recipes with lentils.  Email me, tweet me, post on the Happy Healthy Belly Facebook page.    Anything you want to see a post about…let me know!!!  
Happy Weekend!!!

-♥ J :)


The Cheater's Detox

It seems like everyone I know is detoxing.  Cara just finished Clean, Sandra tried the Zuddha Girls' cleanse and last I checked Anthony had logged ten plus days on a juice fast (while working over fourteen hours a day and raising two kids, thank you very much!).  Part of me wants to do a cleanse, too.  The other part wants to sit on my couch and drink hot chocolate.  Since I figure I can't be the only one with dueling impulses, here are five super easy changes that will yield big honking, healthy results. They are changes that you can make even when you don't really feel like changing anything...


Squeaky Clean

Three cheers for my sister-in-law Cara who just finished 21 days (plus seven "re-entry" days) on The Clean Program by Dr. Alexander Junger.  Some of the ailments that prompted Cara to start the cleanse were achy joints, dry skin and an irritated gut.  In addition to all that, a two month regime of pain medication following surgery on her shoulder left Cara feeling "pretty toxic."  Craving a change, she set out to get her body back to a place where it could "heal and detox itself with the proper nutrition from a balanced diet."  

After 21 days following the Clean diet, not only did Cara's chronic acid reflux symptoms disappear, but she lost some weight ("When your underwear fit looser, you know you've seen a shift in weight.") and she noticed an increase in her muscle strength.  Cara's before and after photos also showed her progress.  While she is a stunning(!) girl to begin with, by day 21 Cara had a positively goddess like glow.

"I can honestly say this is the best thing I've done for my health and well-being ever," Cara says.  "I feel so great and so healthy and have a new commitment to maintaining a healthy program of diet and exercise. It feels too good to let it slip away. If you are thinking of doing a cleanse or just something better for your body, give this a try. I am a devotee for sure!"

What do we think, Veggies??? Anyone up for a fall detox??? 
Even if you are not, here is a delicious soup recipe that Cara created while on the cleanse.  It seems so hearty and filling.  Perfect for a crisp fall evening…

-♥ J :)

Cara's Clean Cannelini Bean Soup
-1 can cannelini beans
-2 tbsp coconut milk plain yogurt
-1-2 cups organic chicken, vegetable or mushroom broth (add enough to create desired consistency)
-1 tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp salt (or dulse)
-1 tsp lemon thyme
-1 scoop of pea protein powder (optional)

1. Puree in blender.
2. Heat slightly or go cold, whichever you prefer.


Ain't no money in the cure...

"The money's in the medicine...that's how a drug dealer makes his money, on the comeback."
-Chris Rock

Hmmm...This movie looks very interesting.
-♥ J :)


My Lunch with* Tracy Anderson (*Term "with" may not apply…)

This weekend John and I traveled out of town for our friends' wedding.  Saturday afternoon, as we sat down to a quick lunch before the ceremony, John turned to me and said, "Hey, isn't that your hero?"  My first thought was, "My mom is here?!?"  But as I turned around I saw that our fellow luncher was not my mom but rather my guru, my motivator, the voice in my head telling me to work out…Tracy Anderson.  The reason that John recognized Tracy so easily is because he has stared at her face in our living room at least 5 days a week for the better part of the year.

John: "You should say something to her."
Me: "NO!!"
John:  "What?!  Why not?!  You love her DVDS!  You think she is terrific!  She would want to hear that!"
Me:  "No!  Stop it!  I am not doing that."
I wasn't going to do that for two reasons:


Ice Ice Baby

Fall may be just around the corner, but LA has cracked the 100 degree mark all week long.  Faced with this plight, I did what any resourceful lady would do…I cruised the Whole Foods freezer section for treats.  Here's what I found:

Rush Bowls: Meal in a Bowl blended fruit
Blended guava juice, acai berries, mango, banana with a gluten-free "granola" topping???  Yes, please.  These bowls are (as per their name) a complete frozen meal in a bowl.  If you want to eat yours right away, they can be defrosted in the microwave or, if you are saving it for later, the "bowl" can sit out at room temperature for two hours.  There are six different flavors all with fun names like "Yoga Bowl" or "Power Bowl."  I picked "Beach Bowl" in the hope that I may actually  find myself eating it on the beach this weekend.  A girl can dream…

So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis: No Sugar Added Vanilla Bar
These chocolate covered bits of heaven are lucky they made it from the car to the house.  Not because they were in danger of melting, but because it took every bit of  self restraint I could muster not to gobble them up on the car ride home.  Dairy free.  Soy free. Gluten free.  Less than 1 gram of sugar.  Are you still reading or did you immediately run out to buy some??  I would not hold it against you if you did.  And even though the bars are called "minis," they are still a really good size.  That did not, however, stop me from inhaling two of them.  Don't look at me like that.  I ate my dinner first...

-♥ J :)


I want these workout videos...

In addition to eating our weight in pasta last weekend, John and I had a visit from Steve and Charli.  While Steve and John were off discussing something of substance, Charli and I drank vodka smoothies and googled exercise videos. (Don't judge my fun…)  We furiously debated the cost of workout videos and plotted our next exercise adventure.  Charli's video spending limit caps off at $30. ( "I am NOT spending more than that!!!  Don't be ridiculous!!!") I, however, will spare no expense when it comes to working out…and have the video collection to prove it.  After my last purchase of Tracy Anderson's Metamorphosis, I banned myself from buying anymore videos.  However, these videos are so enticing that I can feel my resolve weakening.  What do you think??  Which one would you try??  Or are you like Erin who HATES working out in the house??

-♥ J :)

P.S.  Looking for a FREE workout???  In celebration of their opening week, Moksha Yoga LA is offering FREE hot yoga from Sept. 17th- Sept. 23rd!!!  They are also having a huge pre-opening sale on selected yoga packages.  Check them out HERE.

1.  Ballet Beautiful
This video's creator Mary Helen Bowers trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan.  Ballet Beautiful claims to make "the elusive shape of a ballerina'a body..attainable for everyone."  Honestly, they had my money at "ballet." At an affordable $21.99, even Charli is willing to give this one a whirl.

The before and afters on this infomercial are pretty impressive.  The Brazil Butt Lift Workout claims to have "secret triangle training" that uses "specific angles of movement to target and sculpt specific areas of your butt, hips and thighs".  Sounds like a fancy way of saying you'll be doing a truck load of butt exercises.  This workout is a little over $60, but you get six different videos as well as a bunch of free gifts.

3. Insanity
I think the name sums it up.  A 60-day total body conditioning program, Insanity touts itself as an "extreme home workout dvd."  No weights or equipment needed for these 45 minute videos.  Insanity uses your own body weight to get you "the hardest body you've ever had."   This system comes with ten videos (plus four free gifts) and will cost you $120.  Well…it will cost me $120, because I know eventually I will wind up ordering it.  That's right.  I am just that insane. :)


Legends of the Fall

Oooh, I love me some fall*. You can say what you want about New Years, but for me September will always be the symbol of new beginnings. "Back to School" is all potential, fresh starts and another chance to get it right. (Not to mention the new school clothes!!!)

This weekend I gave summer a proper, lazy send off by sleeping in, staring at trees and eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. One of the things I wanted to eat was pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. However, in keeping with the lazy mood, I didn't really feel like exhausting myself with such frivolities as shopping for ingredients or…thinking. Hence the Lazy End of Summer Spinach "Pesto" Pasta was born. I grabbed what was already in the house, mushed it all together and voila…dinner. Sure, a lot of things about this recipe could be perfected, but I figured there is plenty of time for that kind of ambition come fall.

-♥ J :)

*Happy Healthy Belly has a bunch of fun fall adventures coming up!!! Trips, lectures, maybe a change of season detox….Stay tuned!!

Lazy End of Summer Spinach "Pesto" Pasta
serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people…)

-1 lb. brown rice spaghetti pasta 
-1 lb. frozen organic spinach
-juice of 3 lemons
-3/4 cup olive oil
-garlic powder to taste
-lemon pepper to taste
-red pepper flakes to taste

1. In a large pot (like this one) bring water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, steam entire package of spinach. Set aside.
3. When water is boiling, add entire package of pasta.  Cook for 8 minutes.  (Be very precise when cooking brown rice pasta.  A minute too long results in a gummy-goo mess.) Drain and set aside.
4. Put half of the reserved spinach along with the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder and lemon pepper in a blender.  Blend on LOW until ingredients are roughly chopped.  (I added a splash of the pasta water to this mixture to thin it out a bit.)
5. Pour "pesto" over pasta and fold in remainder of spinach.  Garnish with red pepper flakes and enjoy!


Gone Veggin'

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward."
-Spanish Proverb 

Back on Tuesday, Veggies!  
-♥ J :)
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