blue blog

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Few Q&A's For You

Wow, I have had a lot of interest in juicing since my post several days ago - Thank You!  Here are some frequent Q&A's that have popped up several times.  So here goes...

Q:  What juicer do you use?
A:  We purchased a Breville juicer from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  If you use one of their coupons you can get $40 off the price.  You can find the juicer we purchased HERE.

Q:  Can you juice more during a day if you get hungry?
A.  Yes, you can.  We juiced up to six times a day when we first began.  For weight loss purposes, make sure you have more veggies in your juice than fruit.  This will help curb your appetite and speed up your weight loss.

Q:  How long did you juice exclusively?
A:  Our first goal was two weeks - I felt that was a decent goal for us.  Once we hit the two week mark, we decided to juice twice a day and have a plant based meal.  We usually juice for breakfast and lunch and have a dinner at home.  Some people I know have juiced exclusively much longer than we did.  Some juiced 21 days, some 30, and some 60 days.  It is up to you!  

Q:  Did you get hungry when you first began to juice?
A:  YES, especially the first three days!  Rennie and I had to retrain our brains and stomachs to determine if we were hungry or we just wanted to chew something.  Nine times out of ten, we just wanted to chew.  So, we would have a veggie snack (my snack was radishes and Rennie usually had a carrot).  If we were truly hungry, we'd juice again.

Q:  What is the recipe for hot lemon water?
A:  In a coffee mug, we juice 1/2 of a lemon and add hot water - that simple.  Rennie adds some honey to his but I found that if I did that, the honey was stimulating me to be hungry and I wanted sugar.  I had to avoid that right away!  We also LOVE this lemon juicer - you can see the type we use HERE.  We found ours at Whole Foods in the produce department.

Q:  How much produce do I purchase at first?
A:  That is hard to determine.  I think we still are figuring that out.  We cleaned our fridge out off all unnecessary food items (things we no longer needed and would hinder our success).  We packed it full of what we thought would be enough for the week...and soon realized you will run out of produce MUCH quicker than you ever thought you would.  We usually shop every other day for something, usually kale.

Q:  Can I juice some and not do a complete fast?
A:  Of course you can!  You need to decide why you are juicing in the first place.  Is it that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Do you need to lose weight?  Do you just want to feel better?  Any step in the right direction is better than staying the same and not doing anything.  

Q:  What do you eat when you make a meal?
A:  I am dedicated to stay plant strong and vegan.  I feel so much better without meat, dairy, sugar and gluten in my system.  I no longer have aches and pains in my joints and my intestines.  I no longer have sinus issues now that I'm off dairy.  We eat a lot of salad - and make sure we have a wide variety of veggies, nuts, seeds, quinoa or beans in the salad.  Don't be afraid of changing things up.  Look on the Internet or Pinterest for WONDERFUL vegan dishes.  And no, they do not taste like tree bark! Ha!  We also visit vegan restaurants, for instance, Ethos, here in Winter Park - their black bean burger is so yummy!  I wish I had that recipe!!

Q:  How long to you plan to juice?
A:  Forever, as far as I'm concerned.  I feel SO much better and now can't imagine not juicing.  I still have around 60 more pounds to will be a while before I do not juice at least twice a day.

Q:  When will I experience more energy?
A:  Depends on how much you juice.  I felt wonderful after the third day of juicing.  I had an abundance of energy and felt better than I had in years!

I think that is all the questions I have received lately.  If you have some, please feel free to post them.  I am not an expert on this, but I surely will give it my best shot to answer you or at least point you in the right direction!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some of our Favorite Juicing Recipes!

Now that you may have an interest in juicing (or you may still be deciding), I wanted to share some more information that you may find helpful.

First, I am sharing some of our favorite juice combinations.  You will find your own blend once you get the hang of juicing, but in the mean time, here are some of ours.

  • Kale in everything!!!  We can't get enough of this nutritious super food!  You can read more about Kale, HERE!
  • Joe's Mean Green:  Kale, cucumber, celery, green apples, lemon, and a piece of fresh ginger
  • Kale, carrots,, bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, celery, romaine lettuce, grapefruit and apple
  • Kale, carrots, apple, and ginger (that is for me only since my sweetie does not like ginger).  And oh by the way, NEVER put any frozen fruit or ginger in your juicer...I have experienced what happens and it's not pretty.  You will be purchasing new parts for your juicer and I know you don't want to have to do that!
  • The pizza drink:  Kale, tomatoes, small slice of onion, bell pepper, garlic clove, spinach, fresh basil leaves, fresh oregano, celery, and a dash of Himalayan salt and ground cumin - sometimes we add a cucumber
  • Kale, carrots, apples, pears, oranges, spinach, broccoli (just the tips of the broccoli)
Remember, if you are juicing to lose weight, make sure you have more veggies than fruit in your juices so your natural sugar content is lower.  I found that if I had more fruit in my juice than veggies, it was making me hungry, so I cut back on the fruit.  We use enough fruit in the juice just to sweeten it up a bit.

I have also included a couple of my favorite juice web sites that have wonderful juice recipes:

Look for me and follow me on Pinterest!  I have several boards dedicated to juicing and plant based recipes.  There are tons of juicing recipes and yummy vegan recipes on Pinterest - who is not encouraged by that web site???  It's addictive, right?  I could spend hours on there! (and sometimes I do, hehe)

Don't be shy about sharing any of your favorite juicing or vegan recipes or web sites!  I want to hear from you - please leave a message if you stopped by - even if it is just a "hello"!

Until next time...

Choosing Produce to Juice

What to buy? What to juice?  How do I choose?  So many decisions!  Once we set a day to begin juicing, we planned to visit our local Farmers' Market here in downtown Winter Park first.  We knew that we wanted organic veggies and fruit or locally grown produce.  Actually, our choices at the Farmers' Market were only locally grown, so we decided to load up on those first.  

Since we are in the middle of the citrus season here in Florida, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons and limes are in an abundance and quite inexpensive. Bell peppers, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, parsley, radishes, garlic, and of course the WONDERFUL kale were on the "must have" list!  We had a blast and didn't break the bank with our stock of goodies!

Now that we have been juicing for five weeks, we've committed to purchasing as much organic produce as possible.  While we realize that organic produce is slightly more expensive than regular produce, we feel that we are investing in our health and would much rather spend our hard earned money on organics than more ER visits, doctor visits, or prescription medications.   

A list of produce that we purchase organically may include items such as kale, spinach, cucumbers, apples, carrots, strawberries and other berries, and celery.  They are on the list of the "Dirty Dozen" and have less pesticides on them.  You can read about the "Dirty Dozen" HERE.

I hope you have fun in the organic section of your local grocery store, produce market, or a road side stand!  I look at veggies and fruit in a whole new way these days - I know I feel better and stronger because of this new way of eating and my hope is that YOU DO TOO!!!

Until next time...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Preparation Before You Begin

Today, I wanted to talk about something to consider before you begin juicing.  

When I was sick in January and my diet consisted of liquid food only, part of my "food" was drinking coffee.  However, I guess the medication I was on made the taste of coffee very unpalatable to me.  Are you kidding??? I LOVE coffee!  I enjoy my two cups of Joe in the morning and frequently drove through Starbucks to purchase a Venti Cafe Latte with whip cream on top (no sugar...just a lot of dairy!).  I knew the headaches would come if I eliminated coffee from my system - heck, I was hurting all over anyway, why not deal with the caffeine withdrawals now instead of later!  So, off coffee and all caffeinated products I went...

Again, I turned to my Carla who had talked about drinking hot lemon water.  She had stated that she drank hot lemon water every morning before she began her day.  Okay...that's not repulsive (as my sister would say), so I started my days with that - BUT - I needed some sweetener...could I possibly drink only fresh lemon juice and hot water???  I had some honey on hand, so I put about a tablespoon in my cup with my freshly squeezed lemon and hot water and was a happy camper.  I was quite surprised to find that the hot lemon water woke me up just as my coffee did.  I questioned myself - is that all in my head?  Nope, it is a pleasant refresher, wakes me up, and cleanses my liver all at the same time.  I am no longer addicted to caffeine, I am experiencing deeper sleep, and no longer have headaches. Yay!!!

Here are a few reasons for drinking hot lemon water:

  • It boosts your immune system - who wouldn't want that?  Lemons are high in Vitamin C, it helps stimulate your brain (I needed that the most!), and aids in controlling blood pressure
  • Aids in cleansing your palate - you begin to really "taste" food
  • Helps in balancing your body's pH balance since lemons are an alkaline fruit
  • Helps with hunger  - that's a no-brainier for me!
  • Aids in digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive track and helps keep the urinary track healthy
  • Purges toxins from your blood which will help keep your skin acne free and decrease wrinkles
  • Helps kick the coffee habit - thus the first reason to drink it

Strangely enough, once we began our juicing routine, I begin to find myself hungry soon after my first juice.  I realized that the honey in my lemon juice water was stimulating my hunger.  I was craving sugar, thus wanting something to eat too soon after we juiced.  Once I eliminated the honey, my problem was solved.  No more cravings!  It's amazing how that works!!

So, my recommendation is that you rid yourself of all caffeine products - coffee, tea, sodas (especially diet soda - that stuff is HORRIBLE!) and chocolate.  You will find comfort once the withdrawals are over - I promise!  Of course you can always drink decaf coffee or tea - green tea has amazing health benefits.  You can read more about green tea, HERE.  Just make sure it is decaf!

I have also linked an article about coffee, HERE.  You may find this interesting - I did!

More to come later!  Until next time...~Pamela

Saturday, February 23, 2013


"Transforming" was my word for 2013.  One word that I could only "hope" would happen.  My health was in the tank and I felt horrible every day.  The stresses over the summer, the way I ate, being on medication for Type II Diabetes and high blood pressure, feeling tired 99.9% of the time, and having zero energy were really taking a toll on me. Daily, I was dragging myself around and very angry that I had no energy.  I was sick with the flu over the Christmas holidays and barely celebrated New Year's.  And then the third week of January hit and hit with a bang!  I felt like I had been run over by a MAC truck!

That week I was feeling weaker and weaker.  Thinking that my adrenal glands had taken a permanent vacation, I begin to research how to bounce back from adrenal fatigue.  Sadly, I didn't find much information and felt worse and worse as the week went by.  By Thursday of that week I hit rock bottom, thinking that I was passing a huge kidney stone - I hurt so much.  I managed to teach that day, but was sliding down into a painful pit as the school day ended.  Some of my co-workers said I looked gray!  I called my regular physician and they could not see me that afternoon and recommend that I go straight to the emergency room, especially if I thought I had a kidney stone.  I called my sweetie and and told him I would pick him up and we would head to the ER.  

Of course, any ER visit is not quick, however, they zoomed me back and begin assessing my issues.  My pain level was somewhere between an 8-9 on a scale of 10 - 10 being the highest.  After a CAT scan, morphine, and some anti-nausea medication, the physician came in to tell me the "not so good" news.  He said I did have kidney stones in both kidneys but they were not the source of my pain.  He preceded to tell me I had diverticulitis.  My reaction was, "WHAT"????  That is an old person's disease!  Never in my life would I have EVER thought I would have that diagnosis! How do you get that???  He said there were two ways they could treat me and that I had better take care of myself and follow his orders specifically or I would be back in the hospital in three days.  Still in shock, I had to admit I was a mess and this certainly was a wake up call.  After taking 1250 mg. of penicillin a day for a week, pain meds, anti-nausea meds, mandatory bed rest, and only eating things I didn't have to chew, made me rethink how I was taking care not taking care of myself.  This indeed was life changing!

Now to the better part of the story...

A friend of mine, Carla, along with two of her sons and her son-in-law, began juicing the first part of 2012.  They had amazing results and have continued to live a plant strong way of eating, as well as, continuing to juice still to this day.  Through Carla's journey, I would look at her posts, talk to her, see how she was shrinking in size, and think, "I could NEVER do that."  I was so happy for her and saw the transformation she went through.  I had even changed my way of eating to plants only, however, the juicing part was not for me...or so I thought.  I had watched the documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead," and thought it was wonderful, but I didn't have the guts or strength to incorporate that into my life. 

About the time I had my little ER visit, Carla was starting up a group for encouragement about juicing - a "re-boot" to begin the new year.  While I was driving to school a week after my diagnosis, I called my sweetie on the phone and asked him if he would think about juicing and we could discuss it later that night.  When I asked Rennie about juicing, there was a  L O N G  pause on the phone.  He said, "like now"??  I laughed and said we'd talk about it later that night and discuss our options - for him to think about it throughout the day.  I knew I could not do this without his encouragement or without him doing this with me.  We knew we both needed to loose weight and I wanted to feel better - anything was better than the way I felt!  We already owned a juicer, we needed to find it, wash the dust off it it, purchase some produce and begin.  After our discussion that evening, we decided to begin that weekend on Sunday.  

With excitement and a bit of fear, we shopped our local Farmers' Market on Saturday, cleaned off our juicer, cleaned out the fridge, and watched the "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" documentary again.  Sunday was our day - the first day that our health "transformation" would begin.  That was January 27, 2013.  

The sip of our first juice was...let's say...interesting.  I had commented that it tasted somewhat like cut grass and begin questioning our decisions.  My friend encouraged us that it would get better and it sure did.  We begin to experiment on our juices and they taste different each time.  We always make sure that we have more vegetables in our juice than fruit, and EACH juice has the mega veggie - Kale!  LOVE  KALE!!! 

We juiced for 14 days straight (having 4-6 juices a day for the first three days) and then we have stayed plant strong since then.  By "plant strong", I mean, we eat nothing but great produce, beans, and non gluten grains.  Days when we eat a meal we juice twice that day. I remember the euphoric feeling when we tasted our first salad after 14 days of juicing - you can taste each and every thing that is in your mouth - everything tasted SO wonderful!!

Today, 28 days later, I can say that I look forward to each and every juice we make.  I no longer have joint or intestinal pain (all healed!), I can't believe how I feel (how we feel) - we both have way more energy, we're no longer foggy headed, and to date I have lost 24.5 lbs and Rennie has lost 20 lbs..  Our "transformation" has begun and I am on a road to health, thankful for Rennie and his walk with me through this, thankful for friends like Carla, grateful that God is giving me the desires of my heart...transforming me/us into HIS image and we are truly blessed!

So...if you are reading this and want to know more about the juicing process, my first recommendation is that you watch the documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead."  You can view it on Netflix or Hulu.  I also recommend that you visit Joe's web site, HERE.  I believe this will encourage and enlighten you as you gather information about what YOU may do to benefit your health.  

Next, friend me on my Parkland Cottage page on Facebook or become a follower for this blog.  I will only post "how-to's" and updates here and connect them to the Parkland Cottage Facebook page.  I, like Carla, want to share this amazing, life changing, information with you.  I will post our favorite juices along with our favorite meals.  We are committed to remain plant strong for life and that will no longer include meat, dairy, or gluten.  My personal goal is to lose 85 pounds.  I want to be off all my medication.  I am feeling so good now, I can't imagine how I will feel when all this weight is off me and I am free of all meds. 

TRANSFORMING my/our juice and bite at a time!!!  God is GOOD!

Until next time...Pamela