I recently got my eyeballs on a copy of The Vibrant Life Cleanse Program and Cookbook by Leanne Vogel, the inspired goddess behind the popular blog, Healthful Pursuit.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of juice fasts. (Read on to find out why and for my recommendations for safely adding juices and smoothies to your daily routine for optimum nutrition.)
And I’ve been making green smoothies since way before they were trendy.
I wasn’t sure if this book would have something to offer me.
Boy, was I wrong!
First off, let me just say that this book is GORGEOUS! Seriously, Leanne has some amazing food photography skills. I wanted to lick the pages. I was totally drooling over the many, many vibrant photos of luscious smoothies and juices. I wanted to ditch my laptop and fire up my Vitamix and juicer!
This book includes 55 smoothie and juice recipes (each with a photo, I might add). All kinds of innovative, tasty combinations are included here. My daughter and I have tried Blushbaby and Fresh Way so far. This is definitely going to get me out of my juice/smoothie rut, and it will get more vegetables into my 16 year old picky eater! I will be sharing some recipes from the book soon. (To make sure you don’t miss them, “like” my facebook page to get updates.)
And there are lots of other helpful tips in this gem, too. 10 uses for your leftover juice pulp? Love it! Making juice without a juicer? Great! Tips for cleaning your fruits and veggies if they aren’t organic? Thanks, Leanne!
All in all, this book is a lovely, useful guide.
And if you are looking to do a cleanse and aren’t sure how to go about it, or you need some help planning (preparation is key in a successful cleanse!), Leanne’s cleansing programs would be great for you. She outlines different levels of cleanses, so you can pick what would work best for you, and I love that she even includes shopping lists for each cleanse! She makes it so easy!
I also love her authenticity and her holistic approach to health, which shine through in every page. Yes, if you crave a cleanse, you will totally find what you need in this book.
So, back to why I’m not a fan of juice cleanses….
I have problems with adrenal fatigue, which goes hand in hand with blood sugar regulation problems, in my case hypoglycemia. All that juice is tough on my blood sugar. And cleanses can be stressful to the body, and when you have adrenal issues like high or low cortisol, you want to avoid any added stressors.
But I do think smoothies and juices (especially those that have a lot of vegetables) are a great way to get more vitamin and mineral-rich nutrients into a body. Since I aim for at least nine cups of vegetables a day (including maybe 1 cup or two of fruit at the most), some days it is hard to reach that goal and a smoothie or juice is the perfect way to get what I need.
Here some of my own tips for adding juices and smoothies to your routine.
- Make juices and smoothies part of a meal, rather than a meal replacement. I sometimes like to start the day with either a juice or a smoothie first. Then I will make the rest of my breakfast (which will have carbs, fats, and protein), while I sip the juice. Don’t gulp it down! Do drink it within about 30 minutes for optimum nutrition.
- Speaking of sipping, another tip is to hold the smoothie in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth, and chewing your food helps to trigger the release of digestive enzymes. Some people even say to “chew your smoothie” to help with digestion.
- If you don’t anticipate eating a complete meal – maybe you want the juice or smoothie to be a snack – you should add some things to make it more complete, which will help to prevent a big blood sugar swing. I like to add coconut oil for some fat and hydrolyzed collagen or gelatin for protein. BTW, Leanne has a whole section in her book of juice-based smoothie recipes! These would be great choices for adding fat or protein, since you are already using the blender. (And if you can eat nuts and seeds, she also has a chapter on making Nourishing Milks!)
- If blood sugar is a problem for you or if you are just trying to decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, definitely go for the veggie-heavy recipes. I like the ones in Leanne’s Green Smoothies and Cleansing Juices chapters. (I really need to try Mojito Moss and Fresh Way. I can’t wait until my mint starts to grow again!) Also, stick to low glycemic fruits, such as berries, green apple, and lemon or lime. And be careful of high glycemic vegetables, too, like too many carrots or beets.
- And finally, try to rotate your greens so you aren’t always using the same ones. Some greens, like kale, are goitrogenic, meaning they can suppress your thyroid. I wouldn’t worry about eliminating them completely, since they are soooo nutritious, but you don’t want to overdo them in their raw form if you have thyroid problems.
Leanne has created a gorgeous e-book for anyone who wants to try to get more nutrition through juices and smoothies or for those who are ready for a cleanse. (P.S.- She includes Ramp Up and Wind Down programs, too. Very smart since how you go into and come out of a cleanse are crucial. And I do think that you could also do a modified cleanse by just following the Ramp Up and Wind Down guidelines, without including any fasting days.)
Oh, and I can’t neglect to mention the chapter on Dessert Smoothies. While I am following AIP (the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol), I can’t partake in these, but I look forward to reintroducing some nuts and seeds –hello, chocolate! – so I can try some of these beauties.
Leanne asked me to be an affiliate for this e-book, and I agreed, after thoroughly reading it and giving it thoughtful consideration. Rest assured, I only recommend things that I really find useful and beneficial. So, if you go through this link and buy the book, I will receive a portion of the sales price, which will help to support this blog.
What do you think about cleanses? Have you ever done a juice fast? Let us know in the comments!