How a juice fast made me slightly food obsessed

This is a guest post by Barbara, a good friend of mine who signed up for a three-day juice cleanse with a juicery. She spent $240 for 24 bottles over three days. Here is her experience diary-style, showing you her thoughts over the hours and days.

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 1: Rookie Cleanse

a juicery

8am: I’m quite excited to be starting on my cleanse! I set my alarm to go off earlier so that I could prepare my lemon water.

8.15am: I gulp down my cup of warm water with lemon. I thought it would be acidic, but the warm water is very comforting for my stomach and the lemon cleanses my tongue. I am not sure how much lemon to put, so I just throw in two small slices.

dr green tonic

9am: I start on my first bottle of juice Dr Green Tonic. It has bok choy, celery, cucumber, romaine, spinach, apple and lemon, but what I can taste most of the time are celery, cucumber and lemon.

citrus ninja

10.55am: I’m feeling a little peckish now.. Time for bottle no. 2 – Citrus Ninja! This has apple, orange, grapefruit, turmeric, lemon and cayenne pepper. This is really nice and somehow the bitterness of the grapefruit and the hot kick of the cayenne pepper goes¬†well together.

12.37pm: On the advice of my friend who has had experience with a juice cleanse, I have been sipping my juices slowly instead of gulping. Otherwise, I may feel hungry! I finish the last drop in bottle 2. Think I need to get started on bottle 3 soon! I am starting to feel slight hunger pangs after accompanying my colleague for her lunch takeout and was walking along all these food stalls with yummy stuff.

smells like green spirit

12.58pm: I open the third bottle, Smells Like Green Spirit. This has Bok Choy, Sweet Potato Leaves, Romaine, Apple, Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut water. There is a nice green taste and the ginger comes through as well. Another trick I’ve been doing? I pour water into the juice bottle after I’m done and drink the water so as not to waste any of the goodness.. ūüėõ

sweet renegade

 

2.35pm: Time for the 4th bottle! Yay! Sweet Renegade has carrot, sweet potato, ginger, tumeric, apple and lemon. It’s cold in the office so I’m taking out the bottle slightly earlier to “defrost”.

2.43pm: I can taste the sweet potato, carrot, turmeric and lemon. This one is really yummy. So far, I’ve been looking forward to opening each bottle and savoring the contents.

3.33pm: I’m not hungry but I think I’m hungry. I want some food! I’m supposed to get my next juice at 5pm! Trying to drink some ginseng tea now. I assume that’s allowed?

5pm: I stare at my watch and am aware of the gnawing feeling in my tummy. Darn, this meeting is still going on…..

lemon drops

5.40pm: I get back¬†from my meeting and I’m absolutely starving. I’m 40 minutes overdue for my juice! I take a big gulp¬†of¬†Lemon Drops. I think I’m starting to dream of solid food because this tastes like my mum’s soy sauce ginger chicken. There is definitely NO chicken in this and it has lemon, ginger, mint, filtered water and coconut sugar. Now I know a vegan substitute!

6pm: I meet my husband for dinner but I’m really just watching him eat while I sip my Lemon Drops. He offers me his food, which looks really tempting. Maybe just one spoon? That little voice in my head says. I politely decline and sip more of my Lemon Drops and wish they were really soya sauce ginger chicken.

the real cool aid

7pm: Still feeling like I need to eat something and my tummy is growling just ever so slightly. Bottle 6 is my absolutely favorite. The Real Cool Aid has pear, lotus root, water chestnut, lemongrass and coconut water. But it tastes like lychees which I love! This was the juice that won me over to A Juicery. Ok, off to the tennis court to distract my mind from food.

8.28pm: Done with tennis and some stretching. Tummy is growling again!

Super G

8.51pm: 7th bottle of juice! At this rate, I need 10 of ’em. Super G has kai lan, cucumber, Napa cabbage, watercress, lemon and coconut water. I find the lemon taste a little too strong and wish for more taste of the greens. But anyhow, I can taste the napa cabbage and watercress in this. I shall do some¬†stretching to take my mind off being hungry.

coco cloud

10pm: I am finally not hungry!! And it’s time for the last bottle! Coco Cloud has cashew, coconut meat, cinnamon, coconut sugar, vanilla and filtered water. Tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie which is basically a cinnamon sugar cookie. The coconut meat makes the drink taste like a smoothie. Maybe this should be a mid-day drink instead!

10.20pm: I have been sipping my coco cloud happily but I don’t really like eating too near to bed time so I gulp down the remaining half bottle. Time for bed!

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 2: Fanatic Cleanse

I decided on two days of the Rookie Cleanse and one day of the Fanatic Cleanse so I can switch things up with different bottles of juice. The Fanatic Cleanse also has eight juices, but several bottles are slightly different.

8.40am: I’m late!! I forgot to set my alarm! No time for lemon water.

9am: I’m on a cab to work and I realise I don’t feel hungry! The Coco Cloud yesterday must have worked wonders. Then, I notice a picture of a mackerel, then an otak. That orangey slab of fish meat looks delish and I could do with one now. But it’s day 2! Holding on!

9:45am: I take my first sip of the first bottle of the day –¬†Dr Green Tonic. This is the same starting juice as the Rookie Cleanse.

marmalade skies

11am: Bottle number 2 is Marmalade Skies and this has carrot, lime, mint, orange and pineapple. This tastes like a cocktail and is super yummy because I love all the ingredients. Also, I’m still not hungry! Yay!

12.52pm: Ok, those hunger pangs are starting to set in… Time for bottle 3, Smells like Green Spirit. Starting to think of food again…

1pm: I sit down with my colleague while she has a nice steaming hot bowl of Korean kimchi soup. They give her banchan (complimentary sides) meant for two but I obviously can’t eat them… Boo! I sip my juice and stare longingly at the leftover kimchi.

never miss a beet

2.45pm: Still kind of hungry, but maybe it’s more in my mind than in my body. Bottle 4 is a different one, Never Miss a Beet. There’s beetroot, carrot, kai lan, ginger, pear, pineapple and lemon.

evergreen potion

4.57pm: Definitely hungry now, but I’m getting busy at work so I don’t have as much time to think about it. Bottle number 5 is also different, and it’s Evergreen Potion. This has celery, chyesim, wheatgrass, aloe and orange. The celery taste is pretty strong!

5.20pm: I meet Paleorina for a cuppa tea and I debate between an earl grey lavender and a green rooibos. Since I’m advised not to have caffeine, I go with the green rooibos. I sip my Evergreen Potion in between the tea.

6pm: I’m still feeling hungry. I debate whether I should go to the gym. I decide I will to¬†take my mind off eating.

6.30pm: I go to the gym and bring bottle number 6 Lemon Drops with me. I power through my Fitness Blender lower strength workout and I am not tired! It still amazes me how I’m still able to workout whilst subsisting on juices. So we really don’t need that many calories after all.

7.44pm: As I leave the gym sipping my Lemon Drops, I pass by some bars and I smell PIZZA!!!! Too bad girl. Drink up your ginger soya sauce chicken, says the voice in my head.

7.55pm: I’m really just greedy. I’m not hungry now but someone in the train mentions “..Prata shop…” and my mind starts racing. “Prata?? Prata!!! Where?? I want one now!!” And to make things worse, a lovely Indian lady has a nice smelling box of Indian takeaway that I swear smells more and more like prata to me.

8.45pm: I think the Devil is out to tempt me. I’m in a cab and it smells heavenly. I tell the driver there’s a nice smell and he seems to think I am being¬†sarcastic. I convince him that I can smell some nice food and he says “I packed some Hokkien mee.” It’s time for my 7th bottle, Super G. I taste cucumber and the coconut water. It’s no Hokkien mee, but it’ll do for now.

9.10pm: I work on my assignments for my upcoming yoga teacher training as a way to distract my mind and sip more Super G.

10.10pm: Time for my last bottle Coco Cloud. I put in a request earlier to swap out one of my Coco Clouds to a Choco Sutra but I guess they forgot. I have also been looking at pictures of Japanese food in Hokkaido on a food blog but I think I should stop. No more mind games! Day 2 is almost done!

I seem to be permanently cold from all the cold juices so I make myself a “Healthy Fasting” yogi tea, which consists of herbs like licorice, burdock and fennel.¬†Unfortunately, I don’t feel any fuller from the tea.

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 3: Rookie Cleanse

8.00am: I try to get out of bed but am feeling super lethargic and tired and cold. I decide to continue sleeping.

9am: Oops, I overslept and jump out of bed. No time for warm lemon water.

10:20am: I’m not hungry, which is surprising again, but food is definitely still on my mind. Back to the rookie cleanse and it’s Dr Green Tonic. It’s a great juice for the morning as it wakes me up with the celery and slight hint of lemon but in a gentle way. I’m also kinda happy that I get to drink my next bottle soon!

10.57am: Starting on bottle 2, Citrus Ninja! Loving the mix here and I can taste the orange, grapefruit, turmeric and cayenne pepper.

12.31pm: I got busy at work and that took my mind off food. I’ve taken my third bottle Smells like Green Spirit out of the fridge so that it’s less cold and it’s also looking less green than the previous days. I think it’s starting to oxidise! Someone is eating food on my floor and the smell is coming through the aircon vents… Food food food….

12.47pm: I’m going to start sipping the juice!

2.30pm: Now its time for Sweet Renegade. I share some with my colleague who thinks it tastes pretty nice too! I take a walk to the fruit shop and buy a canteloupe for Sunday. Can’t wait to eat it!

4.08pm: And now for my all time favourite, The Real Cool Aid. Lychee in a bottle! Yummmmm

5pm: And I’m gonna drink bottle number 7 before 6 because I’ve decided to eat dinner tonight! So this is Super G. My husband wants to do dinner with me and it will really suck to just watch him eat. Life is too short to miss out on food. ūüėõ

I shall keep Lemon Drops and Coco Cloud for breakfast tomorrow as I feel they can last longer since there are no veggies in them.

Barbara’s conclusion: Would I do this again? Maybe just a one-day or two-day cleanse. Three days were really hard since I would still like to be able to exercise. I didn’t feel lighter or clearer in the mind like other people have experienced but my stomach was definitely not bloated. (I have irritable bowel syndrome.) In fact, my stomach was mostly feeling slightly hollow. My portion control has been getting out of hand and the cleanse has been really useful in resetting that as I feel full pretty quickly when eating regular meals. Hopefully this will last! All in all, I really enjoyed the juices and there wasn’t single one I didn’t like. Really yummy!

Paleorina’s thoughts: I’m so glad that my friend shared her experience with me on this blog! I would never do a juice fast myself because I know that restricting food would make me slightly deranged. I am okay with having smoothies for meals as the fibre helps to fill the tummy but I imagine that a juice fast is too much for me. If you have tried a juice or smoothie fast, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Nut butters made in Singapore

Nuts are great for your health. I love my nut butters and I usually buy them from Melrose or Meridian. They sell everything from almond to macadamia butter. Now, instead of buying them from foreign brands, we can reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time, support local butter churners.

One such company is Nuts About Butter, which creates their butters using baked nuts, raw honey and sea salt. They have three different flavours: almond, almond macadamia and almond sesame. You can buy them in full sized jars or small little cute ones like these below.

Nuts About Butter

I have never had nut butters with sweeteners before. The honey was a nice addition because it balanced out the creaminess of the nuts.

Blender in action
Nuts are blended into a creamy paste

Nuts about Butter can be purchased at:

On my recent trip to the Kranji Countryside Farmers’ market, I also came across nut butters made by The Hunters’ Kitchenette. Continue reading Nut butters made in Singapore

Eat the right cheese

“Why is this cheese so expensive?” said my friend Jenny, frowning as she picked up a box of Camembert cheese at Fairprice supermarket.

We were doing some grocery shopping with her one-year old son Aidan and we were faced with a wide array of different cheeses, ranging from sophisticated French cheeses to slices of Kraft.

image

Being the food guru I was, I proceeded to explain to her that good cheeses contained just milk, bacteria and a coagulant such as acetic acid (from vinegar) or rennet (produced in stomachs of mammals to digest milk). According to ancient stories, cheese was first created when a trader put his supply of milk into a pouch made from a sheep’s stomach and he set out across the dessert. The heat from the sun, combined with the rennet in the lining of the pouch, caused the milk to separate into curd (cheese) and whey. So cheese has a very natural beginning.

One example of a cheese made like that is gouda, which is a Dutch hard cheese.

Gouda is a Dutch cheese made from cow's milk
Gouda is a Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk

The ingredients of gouda are milk, salt, cultures, rennet.

Simple ingredients
Simple ingredients

“I want a baby cheese,” said Jenny.

“I don’t think baby cheese is necessarily better,” I replied, “It’s probably just the packaging that looks cute.” Continue reading Eat the right cheese

Review: Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste

Fancy a quick Thai green curry without the hassle of buying all the herbs and slaving over the dish for hours? I certainly do because I love Thai curries and I know how to make one from scratch but always balk at the idea of the number of ingredients needed for just one dish.

To make my “instant” green curry, I employed the help of Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste, which contains no sugar so it’s very paleo friendly and great for low-carb diets.

The ingredients are: green chillies, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, salt, galangal, shrimp paste, kaffir lime peel, coriander seed, pepper, cumin and turmeric.

Mae Ploy green curry paste and coconut milk
Mae Ploy green curry paste and coconut milk

When you open the 400 gram tub, you will see the curry paste in a thick plastic bag. I cut it open and squeezed out a quarter of the bag (100 gram of paste) into a pan, along with a small 200 gram packet of coconut cream. Fry the cream and paste together. You will be greeted with the most amazing aroma of Thai spices.

After frying for one minute, add the second packet of coconut milk. So now you have 100 gram of paste, and 400 gram of coconut milk. Bring to a boil.

Now you can add your meat, tofu and vegetables. As you stir them in, add 1 cup of water.

I added ingredients into the mix
I added ingredients into the mix

This step is completely unnecessary but to add extra flavour, I fried tomatoes and garlic in a separate pan before adding them to the curry. Continue reading Review: Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste

Now online at The Naturalyst: paleo condiments and cooking essentials

I’ve lamented before that it’s never easy to eat paleo in Singapore. Every time I go to the supermarket, I have to read the ingredients label of everything I buy. Recently I was looking for miso soup paste and I had to study the back of every packet to find one that didn’t use MSG.

There is now a new online shop in town called The Naturalyst catering to us fussy paleo eaters. Run by a lady named Regina Soh who shares the same frustrations as me about the difficulties of healthy eating, she has stocked her online shop with essential paleo ingredients such as Red Boat fish sauce, which contains just two ingredients: fresh caught wild black anchovies and sea salt. Popular paleo blogger Nom Nom Paleo loves it in her dishes. It’s really freaking difficult to find sugar-free sauce so Red Boat fish sauce is a must.

I’m also excited by her supply of coconut aminos, which is used in the paleo world as a replacement for soy products. Coconut aminos are great when you need salty flavouring. I’ve used it to fry Shirataki no-calorie noodles. Before knowing of the existence of the Naturalyst, I bought my bottle of coconut aminos from iHerb.

So without further ado, let’s meet Regina and see what the paleo diet has done for her health.

Interview with Regina from The Naturalyst

Regina

Continue reading Now online at The Naturalyst: paleo condiments and cooking essentials

Coconut water – the real deal vs the packaged drinks

Coconut water has become the latest health craze in the US over the last few years, spurred by celebrity endorsement from Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. The latter did a three-week cleanse in which she survived on coconut water, pumpkin seeds, miso soup and fruit smoothies, among other food. In 2010, Madonna invested US$1.5 m in Vita Coco, which as you can see from this graph below, is the market leader in the US for coconut water.

coconut water trend

I regard this with some amusement. I grew up drinking coconut water (and eat coconut flesh) straight from the husk. If you live in South-east Asia, coconuts are plentiful and cheap. You can go to any hawker centre and buy a fresh coconut for S$2. You can choose between young and small coconuts to the larger, less sweet varieties. Heck, I’ve even went camping in Pulau Hantu, which is a small island off Singapore, and my friends climbed a coconut tree to pluck the fruit fresh off the branch.

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Continue reading Coconut water – the real deal vs the packaged drinks

Review: Chocoelf sugar free chocolates

The last time I tried sugar-free chocolate did not turn out so well.¬†The brand was¬†Sugarless Gourmet Fresh Mint and I wrote about how the chocolate, which used maltitol to replace sugar, didn’t taste genuine enough. It wasn’t dark enough, it was too sweet and the mint taste was too strong.

I told myself that I would just stick to my favourite Lindt Excellence Extra Dark Chocolate 85%, which was a “real” chocolate that didn’t use fake sugar. But I was craving for other flavours so when I came across Chocoelf’s sugar-free chocolates at NTUC¬†Unity, I caved and bought two flavours – mint and green tea. Each sold for $6.80.

Chocoelf singapore

Cocoelf beat the Sugarfree brand by miles. The chocolate was creamy and had the right balance of chocolate, cream and sweetness. I find that fake sugar tends to be quite cloying, and I have written about how I hate Stevia with a vengeance. Chocoelf, on the other hand, was pleasant and well balanced. Continue reading Review: Chocoelf sugar free chocolates

What’s in my Kopi? Oh, I don’t want to know…

Ordering local coffee and tea is a whole art by itself. There is a whole unique lexicon to specify what you want. For starters, coffee is known as kopi and tea is known as teh. The milk used is not fresh milk but either condensed milk or evaporated milk. The most commonly ordered drinks are:

Coffee with milk – kopi (condensed milk)/kopi-c (evaporated milk with sugar)

Tea with milk – teh (condensed milk)/ teh-c (evaporated milk with sugar)

What I like is either kopi-c kosong or teh-c kosong (coffee/tea with evaporated milk and no sugar).

Kopi – coffee
C – evaporated milk
Kosong – no sugar

So it’s kopi-c kosong! Continue reading What’s in my Kopi? Oh, I don’t want to know…

Alternatives to peanut butter

I remember when I was a child, my fridge was always stocked full of various spreads because eating plain white bread was our breakfast staple. We had butter at first, which was then replaced by margarine (eww) as our health promotion board told us that plant oils were better. We also had strawberry jam, kaya, chocolate spread, marmalade and marmite. But my all-time favourite was peanut butter. I loved crunchy peanut butter. I loved the chunks of peanuts trapped in a creamy, sticky mess that was both sweet and salty at the same time. I could eat peanut butter straight from the jar and I often did.

skippy super chunk

Skippy Super Chunk was my favourite. Continue reading Alternatives to peanut butter

Review: sugarless Blues Gourmet Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate

First of all, this chocolate bar is NOT paleo. It is low-carb, low-sugar and gluten-free. But it is definitely something to be avoided on a paleo lifestyle. That being said, I am reviewing this because I didn’t pay attention when I picked it up. All I thought was, “Ooh chocolate! Ooh sugarless chocolate!”

chocolate no sugarlow carb chocolate

This Sugarless Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate bar, which I purchased from SunMoon, contains: Maltitol, Cocoa Paste (Minimum Cocoa 52%), Cocoa Butter, Inulin, Cocoa Powder, Soy Lecithin, Natural Mint Flavour. There are 12 squares in the package and each square contains 39 calories and 0.02 gram of carbs. Continue reading Review: sugarless Blues Gourmet Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate