ABC Juice – My current favorite juicing recipe

I’ve been trying to get back into the juicing groove lately. Since the last post I wrote about my juice cleanse, I’ve been pretty good at keeping up with it a few times a week, but I really have been trying my best to do one a day more recently.

I wanted to share a quick recipe that I’ve been enjoying. It’s so simple, easy to remember, and the ingredients are dirt cheap (and one of them happens to taste like dirt, ha)!

ABC Juice (Apple-Beet-Carrot)


  • 2 apples (I chose green for the tartness)
  • 2 beetroots (juice the greens too if they look nice and healthy!)
  • 3-4 carrots, ends trimmed

Put all ingredients in your juicer and serve immediately. (You guys totally couldn’t have figured that part out on your own. Happy to help.)


Something to be aware of is that BEETS STAIN LIKE A MO. It never fails, I always get this juice on me, no matter how careful I try to be. I once dropped a glass of it outside on the cement and it was stained pink for a month. It’s a pretty color, but COME ON.


That’s my shirt, 3 seconds after making this juice. I’m not making this up here, people!

Vegan 101: Tips, pantry staples, recipe sources, more…


The most frequently asked questions I receive are about my vegan diet. I know not everyone agrees with the lifestyle and it’s been known to make people very defensive about their own nutrition and food choices, so please keep in mind I’m writing this for those who are interested and who have asked about it. I’m not trying to make any enemies, talk down to those who eat meat or win over any converts! Eat what you want, yo, and I’ll do the same.

(We’re annoying, I get it.)

With the disclaimer out of the way, let’s do this thang.

It’s not just about weight loss

I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for a little over a year now. You guys know I’ve had a lot of success with it as far as weight loss goes, and as much as that was a selling point for me back then, it has become way more about the nutrition. Having to eat more fruits and vegetables was a huge challenge at first. HUGE. I was never a big meal eater to begin with (I should belong to Snackaholics Anonymous) and all of a sudden I had to fit in all these servings of stuff I didn’t really enjoy eating. I was not diggin’ it. When I realized vegans eat more than just lettuce and carrot sticks, things changed big time.

Also, so much of what you eat and why you’re eating it is mental. I know I snack like crazy when I’m stressed out and I don’t eat at all when I’m depressed. I would go for comforting, heavy, fattening foods to satisfy myself and just keep eating and eating without even considering what damage it was doing to my body and mind. I’m not trying to be all hippy kale goddess, but it’s true! You’ll notice when you start filling yourself with whole foods, you will not only start dropping weight, but you’ll start breaking free of those mind games food was playing with you. You’re truly going to feel better in every way.

You won’t be deprived of the yummy stuff

Okay, If you’re going to do this, don’t go into it being all depressed that you’re depriving yourself of all the foods you love. You’re not going to die, I promise. There are SO many healthy alternatives and meat free/dairy free substitutions for your favorite dishes, it’s just going to take a little bit of thinking and effort on your part to learn what to eat and most importantly, WHY you’re eating it. That’s the key to sticking with this long term.

It’s not about dousing everything in ranch dressing or melted cheese anymore (though there are amazing recipes for non-dairy ranch dressing and cheese sauces, Google it)… it’s about making a serious effort to change your health and letting go of the hold unhealthy food has on you. I’m still working on that too, don’t get me wrong. When my period is coming, all I want is nasty gas station nachos with jalapenos.

It just takes time and dedication. And you have to want to do this.

You will be harassed about protein

Read about how vegans absolutely do get enough protein and read it from unbiased sources, please. It’s the most frequently asked question you will receive and you will be treated like you are an idiot for not considering the all-hailed “complete animal proteins”. Protein is in almost everything we eat, if we’re eating the right way. I am not withering away and neither will you, I promise! Sorry to be defensive about this.

But really, I should show you my muscles. I could win a fight with a cow right now.

Also important: B-12.

Do your nutritional research so you’re ready for these conversations! You don’t want to be caught with your pants down. Unless you’re into that sort of thing.

Okay, Dr. Phil wannabe over here is stepping down from the stage. On to the fun and much less boring stuff…

In My Pantry

These are staples I always have on hand. I didn’t know what half of these things were when I started, but now I can’t live without them and they’re essential in making those alternative dishes I was talking about.


Note: I buy and eat plenty of other things as well. Be sure you’re eating a well-rounded and varied diet of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

  • Raw almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • Black beans and garbanzo beans
  • Nut butters – cashew butter, almond butter and sunflower seed butter… all fabulous
  • Coconut oil
  • Nutritional yeast – NOT Brewer’s Yeast. I know it sounds disgusto, but it’s great stuff
  • Agave nectar
  • Dates (for a natural sweetener)
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat pita bread – great for veggie sandwiches and for dipping
  • Kale – for my favorite kale chips
  • Hummus & Pita chips/veggie sticks
  • Edamame – from the freezer section at Trader Joe’s
  • Olives
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Frozen bananas – When bananas just start turning brown and I don’t have time to eat them, I break them in half, throw them in plastic baggies and freeze them. These are a great base for non-dairy ice cream and to toss in smoothies.

Oh She Glows – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard (THE BEST. And made with frozen bananas!)

Non dairy alternatives:

  • Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (they have a cream cheese too)
  • Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips are accidentally vegan
  • As are… OREOS!

Tips for eating in restaurants

Some of these might be “DUH” to you, but I’ve been stuck and confused in restaurants too many times to not include this.

  • Look up the menu online beforehand. It helps to be prepared before you walk in there.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask them to leave the chicken/shrimp/cheese off the salads.
  • Vinegar-based dressings are your BFF
  • Substitute! If you don’t want the side of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes and gravy, opt for steamed veggies or a baked potato.
  • Minestrone soup plus a side salad is perfect for lunch
  • Veggie sandwiches usually come with cream cheese, so just have them leave it off and use mustard, oil/vinegar or whatever condiment you prefer.
  • Pasta with marinara sauce, leave off the parmesan cheese
  • Get the veggie burger
  • If all else fails and you’re out of options, eat the stupid thing. No one’s perfect!

Sources for great recipes

Carrie On Vegan

Oh She Glows

Healthy Happy Life

Amy’s Nutritarian Kitchen

FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Healthy Bitch Daily

Search Pinterest as well!

Hopefully I answered some questions for you in this novel of a post. If you all have anything else to ask or add, feel free to do so in the comments.

Day 7 of Reboot Juice Cleanse – An update, what I’ve learned so far & a few helpful tips

So, it’s day 7 of the Reboot juice cleanse. I wanted to give you guys an update at the halfway point to let you know how things are going and also to keep myself in check. It’s been one of the most challenging weeks of my life, without a doubt. You think, “Oh, juice tastes good, I can handle that for a few weeks!” and then by noon on the first day, you would give your left boob to eat the bark off a tree. Gosh, I don’t even know where to start explaining everything that has happened and all I’ve learned so far. Forgive the disorganization of this post!

Day 1 through 3, I wanted to punch the face of all things. I would love to tell you how amazing you’ll feel the entire time and how you’ll be a little Energizer Bunny, ready to conquer the world. But those, my friend? Those would be lies from the pit of hell. Something I wasn’t aware of before I started this fast was how intense your crashes are and how quickly they happen when you’re drinking so much juice. You know the feeling of a sugar crash? Exhaustion, moodiness, hopelessness, hunger for something that will stick to your bones? Well, it’s basically that, except NO FOOD FOR YOU. And YAY, you get to drink more juice and experience it all over again! -_- I would say the crash happens about an hour and a half after you finish drinking, so yeah. It’s a pretty vicious cycle, those first few days.

Struggles I experienced:

  • Watching TV was painful. The Food Network is just pure torture. Characters on your favorite shows eat meals together every 2 minutes. BEGGIN STRIPS COMMERCIALS. I kid you not, I was so desperate to chew on something solid, those Beggin Strips were looking mighty tasty. SICK.
  • I’ve never been a big breakfast person, so this is totally weird to me, but I would wake up each morning and be like, CINNAMON ROLLS. The next day: FRENCH TOAST. The next day: BANANA NUTELLA SOMETHING. It was a huge disappointment when I realized I couldn’t eat what I was craving. It would seriously put me in the most cranky mood.
  • I realized how much focus I put on meal time and how excited I get about the act of eating a meal. I was made aware of the bad habits I have surrounding food and eating. For example, I eat some sort of snack every night while watching TV. BAD MORGAN. While reading blogs, I usually have something crunchy to snack on. While I watch the kids play outside, I have something sweet to snack on. While taking a shower, I have… kidding. But really, are we seeing a trend? I am a serial snacker.
  • Food plays tricks on your brain. There is so much psychological mumbo jumbo tied to it and when you can break yourself free of the hold it has on you, you’ll be much happier and healthier. I’m still working on that.
  • Cleaning the juicer several times a day is just a pain in the butt.

It’s not ALL bad though, I promise!

That angry, grumpy, cranky feeling goes away after a few days. I know all those yucky feelings meant my body was going through a major detox. Plus, psychological issues are surfacing. At least, they did for me. I just kept visualizing everything nasty and gross being kicked out by all the nutrients I was shoving into my body. By Day 4, I was feeling great and had the mental and physical energy to do a legit workout. The next day, I did it again. My old happy, ALIVE self was coming back. I was feeling pretty proud and was eager to keep at it for the next week.

Pros I experienced:

  • 7 pounds down on the scale (in a week)
  • Normally bloated belly is flattening
  • High energy levels after those initial detox days passed
  • Much brighter and clearer skin
  • Slept like a baby every single night and wasn’t groggy in the morning, as I normally am.
  • Sense of pride and motivation to see this thing through to the end!

Tricks of the trade (from myself and other juicing veterans):

  • The first day (as I said before), you will want to chew on something. You’re so used to the physical act of eating and it’s a tough habit to break. If you can’t stand it anymore, take a bite of an apple, carrot or other raw fruit or vegetable. Take that ONE bite and refocus. Remember why you’re doing this cleanse and stay strong!
  • Prepare your fruits and vegetables the night before for your morning juice. Chop the ends off of carrots, cut up your apples, rinse off your kale. Make it easier on yourself so you don’t chop off a finger in a fit of hungry morning rage.
  • The ideal combination of juice is 80% veggie and 20% fruit. If you have a sweeter palate, it won’t hurt you to go 60% veggie and 40% fruit.
  • Drink A TON OF JUICE. This is not a starvation cleanse. You don’t need to count calories. You need raw juice and you need enough to fill you up! Take a sealed container to work that you can sip on all day. If you work in an office, it will be easier to ward off temptation if you have your juice nearby.
  • Get a good reusable, sturdy cup with a lid and a straw. Take that baby in the car with you, to the grocery store, to the restaurant where your family plans to eat in front of you, WHEREVER. That cup is your new best friend and you will get very close.
  • Don’t forget your water! Drink up!

If anyone is interested, here are some helpful fruit and vegetable juice recipes.

Questions, comments? Ask away! I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly!

The Vegan Post – Why I chose it, why I enjoy it & why I still love you if you don’t.

There have been a lot of questions surrounding my recent switch to a vegan diet, from both my online and offline friends. It wasn’t until Stacey asked me a question about some of my favorite recipes that I decided to just sack up and write this post. This is the dumbest thing, but I’ve been putting this off for 6 months because I know the term ‘vegan’ can just set people off in a hurricane of meat and dairy loving rage. The way some vegans act superior and think they’re more healthy/ethical than everyone else just rubs people the wrong way. I totally get that. I mean, if you’re going to treat everyone who eats meat and dairy like they’re idiots, of course they’re going to want to punch you in your soy-loving face.  I felt the saaaaame way (still do at times).

I’m not going to get into the ethical side of veganism because frankly, that’s not why I do this. I’m in it more for the health benefits and because bottom line: it makes me feel great. Not that I condone the killing of innocent animals, but you know, most people eat them and will continue to do so forever and ever. I’m not going to change that by getting all preachy and up in everyone’s face.

ANYWAY. I’m always nervous about talking about personal stuff on here which is absolutely ridiculous because this is a personal blog. Soooooooo now that you know I’m not going to shake my head and tsk, tsk you if you eat a burger, I’ll move on.

On May 1st of this year, my grandparents, parents and I started a strict 6 week eating plan called Eat to Live. We read the book and followed the guidelines and recipes to a T. Eat to Live is something you do when you want to ‘reset’ your health… at least that’s the way I looked at it. The info is backed up by all sorts of science-y evidence-y things and I liked that. I appreciated knowing that I wasn’t going to shrivel up and die in my salad plate because OMG WHERE’S THE PROTEIN!? (don’t worry, I still get pleeeenty of it). The changes we all saw in ourselves were pretty freaking crazy. For one, we ALL lost weight. Between the 5 of us, we lost about 100 pounds. My grandpa lost 14 pounds THE FIRST WEEK ALONE… what a bad ass! In addition to the weight loss, we all had positive changes in our skin, energy levels, cholesterol and overall health. Side note: I’m normally an Aleve popper. I took them for my bad cramps and headaches and just sort of felt like they were the only thing that was ever going to help. During Eat to Live, I didn’t need those stupid things and it felt awesome. I still got my normal period cramps, but they were much more tolerable. I was taking in more water and my headaches decreased. Other little aches and pains just weren’t there anymore. In seeing how simple this way of eating could be and how quickly it can reverse health and weight problems, my mind was made up that I was going to stick with it after the six weeks were up.

So from there, I gradually brought back some of the things that eating plan didn’t allow (small amounts of oil and salt and some more of the ‘healthy fats’ like avocados) and I continued eating mostly plants from there on out. And when I say ‘plants’, I’m not talking JUST salads. I would go insane and no doubt off myself with something large and pointy if I just ate salads all day. There are tons of awesome vegan recipes out there and I don’t feel limited or deprived of flavor or fullness at all, which still surprises me. I expected to be bored out of my mind and I just couldn’t even imagine what you could possibly cook that wouldn’t allow meat or dairy. After all, DAIRY WAS MY LIFE… you all know this. I lived on cheesy pastas and dips and practically bathed in cheese while I was pregnant with Jack. For people like me with an affinity for cheesy goodness, there are still dairy-free options if you’re in a chips and dip sorta mood. There are also some bomb diggity desserts. Vegan junk food, oh yes. It’s some of the best stuff out there. Not that it’s good for you just because it’s labeled “vegan” or that you should eat those kinds of things all the time, but it’s nice to have the option. It makes you feel like less of a hippy.

So far, I’ve lost almost 50 pounds and I… I feel so aliiiiiiive. For the very first time. (P.O.D.? Anyone? I know I’m not the only one who listened to them back in the day when it was too embarrassing to admit it). I think the key to this diet and the reason I haven’t fallen off the wagon is that I don’t think of it as a diet. I don’t get obsessed and stress about it. I’m pretty strict with myself, but I don’t make myself miserable. I aim to eat mostly plants and other whole foods — that’s it. If I go to a birthday party and they’re serving my favorite flavor of cake, I’ll let myself eat a small slice, but I just don’t consider myself a  failure at that point. That slice of cake was just a treat and I don’t have to quit everything and go eat a gallon of ice cream because I deviated from the diet (which is what I used to do). That’s pretty true of most healthy eating plans I think and that’s where most of us go wrong. Amy put it best in one of her health/fitness posts on her blog, Just a Titch:

Don’t label food good or bad. I think it’s easy to make food very black and white, or “good and bad.” If I label something bad and then choose to eat it, it’s very easy for me to go down the rabbit hole of “I’m a bad person” and get down on myself. Instead, I try to think of food as a choice. However, as I preach to my students, choices have consequences, and in this case, those consequences show up on the scale or in feeling icky when I exercise. Thinking of it that way makes me much more likely to make a healthier choice.

Which brings me back to why I do this — it makes me feel great. I don’t want to shove this vegan thing down anyone’s throat or get preachy, which I’ve found to happen very easily and sometimes without me even realizing it. You tend to talk about things you’re excited about or something you’ve had success with, but with that eagerness to share your experience, you can easily start acting superior. THAT is what I’ve feared most. But now I’ve written this scary post and it actually wasn’t that bad. Bring on any comments or questions, just please don’t punch me in my soy-loving face or I might ugly-cry.

P.S. My favorite vegan recipe blog of the moment: The Vegan Stoner. The author makes these cutesy drawings of all the ingredients in the recipe and it’s just plain fun.

The Incredible Shrinking Butt

I’m slowwwwwwly getting back into my blogging groove, I promise! I actually have a lot I want to write about, but I’m just feeling a tiny bit nervous about how certain things will be received. Blame the insecure 14 year old who comes out from time to time.

Like, this post. I intend on putting up before and after weight loss pictures, but does anyone really want to read about that? Or will I come across as braggy and self-absorbed? Shouldn’t I be occupied with raising my kids rather than worrying about my looks? I’m going through with showing you the photos, but I’m just saying… it’s hard for me not to feel weird about it. You’d think that by how I speak so openly about pretty much everything that goes on in my life that I’d be all comfortable with putting up a few pictures, but yeah. I’m kind of shy right now. And awkward. Aaaand I’m shutting up now.

So yes, my weight. I gained a whopping 50 pounds and a full-on butt shelf during my pregnancy with Jack. That was no big surprise, seeing as how I ate nothing but crap the entire time. I went from a size 4 to a size 14. YEAH.


Now, I completely expected for that weight to melt off like it did after I had Madeline. With her, I was nursing, running myself ragged, depressed, and back at the office in 5 1/2 weeks. The atmosphere wasn’t quite as relaxed back then. I’ll save my breastfeeding experience for another post, but let’s just say that nursing Jack didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. I was, however, in very high spirits (for which I am extremely thankful), but also pretty high in calories. After giving birth and losing a whole 9 pounds (she says sarcastically), I stayed at that same exact weight for almost two months. NOT OKAY.

Enter Zumba. And the radical change in my eating habits. And the effort I started making to actually get my butt shelf off the couch and go DO something. (Granted, I was spending money and arguing with my toddler over gas medicine in the aisles of Target, but still. I was off the couch!)

For the first time in my life, I made exercise a priority. Let me be very straight with you all here: I DO NOT LIKE TO SWEAT. If sweat had a face, I would punch it. During the time period where that 7 week photo was taken, I was the annoying skinny girl who came to the gym 2 times a week, took an hour long class, and skipped outta there with makeup still perfectly in place. For some reason, having a second kid has sent me into my own little sweaty hell over here. I don’t get it. I walk out of the gym looking like a mentally unstable swamp creature.

Anyway, after 3 months of watching what I eat and working out 4-5 times a week, I am so happy to say I’ve lost 40 pounds. My body is so different than it’s ever been and far from perfect (thanks, babies), but I’m not that upset about it. I’m just proud of myself for doing this the right way for once.

March 2011, chowing down with full force.
July 2011, taken at the same restaurant.

I’m also currently doing The 30 Day Shred, so when I’m finished I will show the full body changes. For now, you get my face. :)

Edited to add:

It’s been brought to my attention that some of the things I’ve expressed about my body changes and weight gain have come across pretty harsh. I just want to apologize and clarify: I do NOT think a size 14 woman is gross, unhealthy, or unattractive. No way, no how. I never intended to single anyone out when I said what I did, so I’m sorry, ladies.

For me, though? Gaining 50 pounds in such a short period of time made me jump 5 sizes and THAT made ME feel unhealthy. Curves are beautiful, I think women with big booties are fabulous, and I’ll just leave it at that. xoxo