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Taking a Clean Break

27 Feb

This morning, for the 35th consecutive day, I made and drank a green smoothie for breakfast.  Today’s smoothie defied the laws of physics for concentration of swiss chard in an unusually tasty beverage!  For 35 days in a row I’ve had a green smoothie for breakfast; and for about 30 of those 35 days, I’ve eaten ‘clean’ (no dairy, wheat, soy, corn, sugar or processed food)

In those 35 days I’ve had the initial challenges of: what do I eat, how do I shop, how do I hang-out with friends.  I’ve experienced incredible highs in feeling good.  I’ve witnessed my body systems improving in their functioning. I’ve enjoyed a remarkably easy pollen allergy season.  I’ve eliminated most of my sugar and carb cravings.  I’ve learned some amazing new recipes and have re-friended my kitchen.

But now I need a break.  As I was riding my bike around the waterfront this morning, and in spite of the breathtaking natural beauty all around me, I could not quit obsessing over the idea of melted cheese over a burger and sweet potato fries.   I’ve been on the program long enough that I’ve started to take for granted how good I feel while following the clean program; and it no longer feels like a triumph to eat clean or make the smoothies or snack on kale chips.

So I’m going off the program for a while.  I don’t know how long a while will be; probably long enough to feel really lousy from eating cheese and ice cream, pizza and beer.  But I need a break; I’ll be back when it’s time…  For now I have to get to lunch with my bff at my favorite local greasy spoon; I’m going to have a veggie burger covered in cheese, sweet potato fries and beer!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and (erstwhile) Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or


Top 10 Signs You’ve Been on The Clean Program Too Long

20 Feb

Day 28 on The Clean Program, and I’m wondering what all these signs mean:

1.  It’s not even 9 a.m. yet and you’ve already made two recipes featuring  kale.

2. You talk to friends, family, complete strangers, anyone who reads your blog about how great your ‘digestion’ is on Clean.

3.  Trip planning involves seriously contemplating packing a blender and a cooler full of veggies. (does anyone know how to get a blender through security in your carry-on?)

4.  Dinner out with friends on Saturday featured you ordering 3 sides of veggies for your meal.

5.  Every night about 10 p.m. you check the fridge to make sure there are enough greens to make morning smoothies. (and if there aren’t, panic ensues)

6.  You’ve already burned out the motor on one blender and give some thought to splurging for the $400 Vitamix.

7.  Chocolate cake recipes that include avocados seem reasonable; and actually sound tasty.

8.  You ponder the merits of making happy hour martinis from celery, kale, cucumbers and vodka.

9.  Eating two pieces of red pepper with hummus before breakfast feels like a ‘splurge’.

10.  You know that your ‘Clean’ behavior makes you even more freakish than ever, but you feel so good on the program you decide to keep going.

So here’s to another day, week or month on the Clean Program!

(and an update on the allergies; my spring/oak/pollen allergies have not been bad so far this year. Even when others around me have been sneezing and congested, I’ve been feeling pretty good.  I’m getting a much smaller array and weaker forms of the symptoms.  I chalk this success up to Clean; not eating dairy, wheat, soy, corn, sugar are seeming to make my body less reactionary to whatever allergens come along!)

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and  Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or


17 Feb

Without a doubt, the biggest change I’ve noticed in myself since beginning the Clean Program has been my food cravings.  During the first week or so, my cravings were pretty much as they’ve always been; chocolate, sugar, sweets, carbs.  But a remarkable change has developed over the last 2-3 weeks; I’m no longer craving the chocolate and sweets.  I have to believe it is because I’m nourishing myself so much better while following the clean eating plan.

By eliminating all dairy, corn, wheat, sugar, soy and processed foods (plus I’ve been vegetarian for nearly a decade); my entire diet is basically vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds and a few grains.  And I hypothesize that by eating all these simple, whole foods and not polluting my system with any empty calories, I am finally getting the nourishment my body needs so I don’t have random, chronic, insidious cravings.  Now when I’m hungry, I have a pretty good idea of what will best fill the gap; and my cravings are varied.  Sometimes I crave the heaviness of beans, sometimes the sweetness of dates; yes, I’ve even craved kale!

This article echoes the lessons I’m learning with my own cravings; chronic cravings for things like sugar, carbs, chocolates may just be my body asking for some specific nourishment it isn’t getting.

So the next time you find yourself obsessively wanting pancakes or brownies or a martini; stop and check to see if maybe your body really needs something else. Then the trick is to not just add in the needed nutrient, but to free up enough space for that nutrient to do its job; but more on that in a future post.

Here’s to another few days of Clean!


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and  Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or

21 Days of Clean

14 Feb

The Clean Program has helped me feel better than I’ve ever before felt in my life!  Really,  no exaggeration; I’ve felt better while following the Clean Program than I’ve even imagined in the past.

Being a vegetarian for nearly a decade now, and then having also given up dairy and caffeine 8 months ago; I thought I ate a pretty healthy diet.  I had been eating healthier than most people I know and much better than the standard american diet; however, the clean program, with its morning smoothies, raw salad lunches and soupish dinners has completely transformed my cravings, my digestion and my energy levels.

As mentioned on this blog before, I was concerned that eating only a green smoothie in the morning wouldn’t provide me with the energy needed to do hours of  Thai Yoga Massage with my clients.  Prior to Clean, breakfasts were usually protein-loading affairs filled with eggs and Ezekial tortillas, avocados and nuts.  Amazingly, the green smoothies give me more energy through the morning than the protein loaded breakfasts do.  Further, I’ve learned that eating just 1/2 handful of nuts if I get hungry between meals provides me with all the energy needed to make it another hour or two.

I love the feelings of lightness and energy in my digestive system when eating Clean!  On Clean, there is no post-meal bloating or indigestion.  There’s no heaviness in the intestines; and freeing up all that energy the body normally uses to digest food means feeling more vibrant, awake and excited through the days.  This extra energy has meant I wake up feeling refreshed, feel excited and engaged most of the time through long work days, and I can work or play much longer into the night.  Also, I’ve not been getting the mid-afternoon slumps which used to trigger a desire to eat.

Who knew I’d end up craving smoothies?  To celebrate my successful completion of the 21 day ‘cleansing’ period on Clean and to celebrate the chocolate and food-laden holiday of Valentine’s Day; I indulged every craving.  I ate spinach pie, a big chocolate muffin, chocolate candy, hot chocolate and pizza & tiramisu for dinner.  Woke up this morning craving a green smoothie with some lovely kale and chia seeds!

My first 21 days of Clean have been a superlative experience: I’ve felt better than I expected to feel, the program is easier to follow than anticipated, the recipes taste better than expected, my body has transformed faster than I’d dreamed.  I want this to be the way I eat now. Period.  I love feeling this good and want to live my life going forward feeling like I’ve felt the last 21 days.

So onward!


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and  Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or

Recap of Clean Start 2012 Part I

13 Feb

As we wrap up our first series of Clean Start 2012 I can honestly say the following things have occurred:

1.  I have eaten things I never even heard of:  Star Fruit, Tatsoi.

2.  I learned how to use my juicer.

3.  I bought a food processor and used it.


5.  I ate more fruit in 21 days than I had in 43 years.  This is not a lie.

6.  I pretty much ate spinach every day.

7.  I felt better.

8.  I started a new exercise program – CrossFit.

9.  With the exception of dinners out, I didn’t eat much if any processed food.

10.  I became a member of a CSA to get organic veggies every two weeks

11.  I am madly, truly, deeply in love with parsnips, spaghetti squash and ginger root.  Not together!

12.  Bean is sitting here sniffing with allergies….I am not.  Hmmm.  The raw honey?  The gluten free diet? Non-processed food?

I think that’s probably enough to make me realize that even if I didn’t function perfectly on this plan, that I did one heck of a job for me.  I have never had fruit every day.  I have rarely had veggies every day.  Now I have organic baby spinach in my daily smoothie.  There have been so many profound effects on my daily diet.   I like the way this feels.  On the TMI front, my digestion has improved, I don’t feel as inflammed and I feel much better and stronger all the way around.

I used to come home at night and eat my face off.  Right before bed.  It was a habit.  I never do that now.  Mostly I don’t like to eat after 6 regardless of the day.  The only reason really, is when we go out to dinner for socialization purposes.  But you have seen that post from Suz.  Goes for me too.  Food, Friends, Entertainment.

This Program, even in my tweaking paleo in it, has opened up a whole new world for me.  Great new habits and I am now open to trying new things.  And as I just said to Suz, “What a great gift we gave ourselves.”

Tomorrow will be Suz’s Star Fruit Smoothie and I will continue to eat REAL FOOD.

So, who is up for Clean Start 2012 Round II?

Is Honey Good for You? | Mark’s Daily Apple

8 Feb

Suz’s post had me thinking about honey.  Ask and ye shall receive: This appeared in my inbox this morning.  I have been sweetening my coffee (I need coffee for my 4:30am CrossFit wake up calls) with a dab of honey.  Nothing like I used to do with the Agave Nectar in the morning, but I thought perhaps the honey would be better from the same standpoint as Suzanne thought – allergies.  Real, raw, local honey.  If you can’t find it, I will be happy to pick you up some.  There’s three different places on my way to Land O Lakes that have it…

This is pulled from Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple Paleo Lifestyle Guru.

Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

honey 1I pride myself on making the Primal Blueprint an easy lifestyle to follow. If you were just starting out, you could easily read a few articles, do a couple hours of research, and start making positive changes to your diet, exercise routine, sleep schedule, or daily life immediately. You could ditch grains or replace some chronic cardio with weights or switch to grass-fed meat, and even if you did nothing else, you’d have made a significant improvement to your life and eventually your health. I often receive thank you emails for putting together a program that Internet-illiterate grandmas and grandpas can get into and actually understand. That said, sometimes things get a little confusing.

Like with honey.

See, as a general rule, I am against the consumption of refined sugars, especially sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. To understand why – if you’re still wondering – check out my definitive post on the subject. But what about the preeminent unrefined natural sweetener – the rich amber nectar that’s been available to humans from the very start (albeit protected by barbed, flying suicide stingers)? How are we to approach honey? Because while refined sugar and particularly fructose are to be avoided, alone those are refined, manmade, processed “foods.” White sugar is just sucrose, which is just fructose and glucose. High-fructose corn syrup is just fructose and glucose. Isolated fructose is just fructose. Those aren’t even foods, though they can be eaten; they’re just disaccharides and monosaccharides, with zero minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients, flavonoids, and other micronutrients.

Honey, on the other hand, contains over a hundred different compounds, not just fructose and glucose. It has a small amount of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins, but the point is that it’s not just sugar. Entire colonies of honey bees thrive on the stuff. It’s food by any definition. And whole foods are different than refined foods, and especially refined food-like products. They have different effects when you eat them. Eating an almond is not the same as taking a shot of rancid seed oil. Eating a handful of berries isn’t the same as sprinkling an equal amount of berry-extracted sugar in your water and drinking it.

The question, then, is whether or not this holds true for honey. Is honey “better” than sugar or HFCS? Are some of the harmful effects of the sugar contained therein mitigated by the presence of bioactive compounds? Let’s take a look.

(Speaking of which, I won’t get into the individual compounds found in honey, because each batch of honey is unique. Besides the whole vomiting thing, honey bees don’t really have strict manufacturing standards, and which bioactive compounds end up in the honey depends on the variety of flowers visited by the bees, as well as the season. I might refer to different honey varietals, like buckwheat or wild flower, but keep in mind that buckwheat from area to area and even harvest to harvest will have different pollen concentrations, giving the honey different qualities.)

Humans have certainly been figuring out ways to get their mitts on the sticky mess for as long as we’ve realized it tasted good: a 6,000 year-old cave painting from Spain even depicts a honey hunter climbing a ladder, stick in hand and satchel at its side, gathering honey as bees swarm. Modern day people, like the San bushmen and the Ache of Paraguay, are honey hunters, with the Ache getting upwards of 10% of their calories from wild honey (and the larvae found in the honeycombs). For a visceral idea of the great lengths some people go to for honey, check out this incredible video of a tribesman from the Congo scaling a 40 meter tree to get at the hive. That’s dedication. After that climb, I imagine his muscle and liver glycogen stores were rather depleted and the honey was a welcome fuel source.

Studies on honey paint a pretty favorable picture, actually, especially when it’s compared to table sugar or other more refined sweeteners. Let’s dig in to a few, shall we?

In one study (PDF), researchers compared the effects of honey and refined fructose feeding on rats. Using equal amounts of fructose – just different sources – the authors explored the effects on several health markers. Feeding fructose raised triglycerides more than feeding honey. Feeding fructose decreased blood levels of vitamin E, while honey did not, suggesting less oxidative stress. Feeding fructose also promoted more inflammation than honey. All in all, honey did well for itself.

Another set of studies compared the effects of honey, sham-honey (a mix of fructose and glucose), dextrose (which is just glucose), and sucrose on several health markers in various groups of people. There’s a lot to wade through, but the gist is that honey performed well. Honey resulted in smaller blood glucose spikes (+14%) than dextrose (+53%). Sham honey increased triglycerides, while real honey lowered them (along with boosting HDL and lowering LDL). After fifteen days of honey feeding, CRP and LDL dropped. Overall, honey improved blood lipids, lowered inflammatory markers, and had minimal effect on blood glucose levels.

In rats, honey produced lower triglycerides, less body fat, and greater satiety (as indicated by the spontaneous reduction in food intake) when compared to sucrose.

Looks like wildflower honey might go well in a meat marinade, too: wildflower honey inhibited lipid oxidation in ready to eat beef patties. I’m not sure what a ready to eat beef patty is, and I don’t think I want to know, but the honey info is good to have. Wildflower honey, which comes from bees dining on a wide variety of wild plant life, outperformed clover honey in the study.

Although discerning the full effects of individual honey-based compounds is many research years out, it looks like honey with lower levels of bioactive compounds acts more like regular sugar while honey with higher levels of compounds acts more like a whole food. In one study (PDF), buckwheat honey was found to be the richest in phenolics and flavonoids, while rapeseed (yes, canola) honey was found to have the lowest number of compounds. The researchers didn’t explore the metabolic effects of the two honeys, but another study did find that people who ate rapeseed honey, but not acacia honey, displayed highly elevated levels of serum fructose. The same thing happens when you eat HFCS. That tells me the bioactive compounds are probably responsible for the “benefits” of honey.

Darker honeys are typically higher in bioactive compounds and show greater antioxidant activity. They also taste better, if you ask me. Buckwheat is a personal favorite of mine and ranks quite highly in antioxidants, even showing some beneficial effects on serum antioxidant status in those who consume itWhen in doubt, choose the darker honey.

Now, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I don’t go out of my way to dip my paws in a jar labeled “Hunny,” but I keep some raw buckwheat honey around. The last pound I bought has lasted me well over six months, and there’s still plenty left in the bottle. And in the past, it has certainly proven useful. Can you eat it? Sure; you can do just about anything you want. Should you eat it? That depends. Are you active and in need of liver glycogen repletion like the guy who climbed the Congolese tree? Then raw honey might be a nice choice for a treat. It’s clearly superior to refined sugar, and the extent of the damage we normally see from sugar intake doesn’t seem to occur with honey.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

7 Feb


I am completely in agreement with Suz about keeping the smoothie in the mornings well after our Clean Start is “over”.  Which btw, I will sign up for another if y’all are up for it!  I get more nutrients in the morning smoothie than I probably did all day previously.  I ran across this months ago, and thought about it yesterday.  This is a great way to concoct something new, courtesy of Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete.  If you are doing the paleo gig, some of this won’t work for you, but if you are doing the paleo gig, you already know how to tweak.  Just throw some bacon in it.  Kidding!!!!   Enjoy!

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

“Give a man a smoothie recipe and he’ll be healthy for a week, teach a man the Perfect Smoothie Formula and he’ll be healthy for a lifetime.” – Me

The way I see it, you only need to eat healthy twice during the day.  While you’ll certainly eat more than twice a day, just two healthy meals make it pretty hard to screw up the rest of them.iStock 000003942941XSmallOnce is in the afternoon, when a big salad loaded with greens, other raw vegetables, and nuts will fill you up and give you more veggies than most people eat all day.  And as a bonus, it’ll give you the chance to get even more good stuff, when you dress it with quality oil, lemon juice, and a little sea salt.

The other time is in the morning, when a smoothie made from fruits (and even vegetables) will not only set the tone for the entire day, but act as a vehicle for other superfoods or supplements you want to work into your diet.

That’s it. Just two healthy meals.

Even if you ate whatever you wanted the rest of the day, I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t get fat, as long as you made sure to drink a smoothie and eat a big salad every single day.

Sure, if you were to eat at McDonald’s for lunch and Outback for dinner the rest of the time, you could probably succeed at packing on a few pounds.  But here’s the thing.

The smoothie and salad act as “anchors” that keep you on track, to remind you just how great it feels to put real, fresh fruits and vegetables in your body.  After you start the day with a smoothie, McDonald’s for lunch doesn’t seem so good anymore.  And when it’s time to start thinking about dinner, the salad does the same.

In this way, those two healthy meals become three or four—which doesn’t leave much time for junk.

Why people suck at making smoothies

Most people are alright when it comes to the salad.  But there’s something about the alchemy of throwing a few fruits, ice, liquid, and whatever else into a blender and ending up with a perfectly smooth and delicious drink that causes lots of people to struggle.

Since nearly everyone has a blender, I suspect that the reason most people don’t make smoothies consistently is that it’s overwhelming.  There are too many possible ingredients, and too many variables to tweak to get the proportions just right. And if someone should stumble upon a good recipe, they end up making it so often that they get sick of it and never drink it again.

We need a formula

Over the past few years, I’ve had a smoothie almost every single day.  I’ve constantly tweaked it, experimented with new ingredients, and kept track of what worked and what didn’t.

What follows is my version of the smoothie genome project.  It’s a formula you can follow to create nearly endless variations.  And the best part is that the uncertainty has been taken out of it for you.  You’ll need to experiment with different flavor combinations, of course, but the guesswork about proportions has largely been removed.

The recipe below specifies general amounts and types of ingredients (like “2 tablespoons binder”) and then below, you are given a menu of several recommended ingredients of each type from which to choose to make your smoothie.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

(makes 2 smoothies)

  • 1 soft fruit
  • 2 small handfuls frozen or fresh fruit
  • 2-4 tablespoons protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons binder
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil
  • 1.5 cups liquid
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener (optional, less or more as needed)
  • optional superfoods, greens, and other ingredients
  • 6 ice cubes (omit if soft fruit is frozen)

Select one or more ingredients of each type below and add to blender in specified proportions. Blend until smooth.

Recommended Soft Fruits

  • Banana
  • Avocado

(If you have a high-speed blender that can puree, say, a whole apple or carrot without leaving any chunks behind, then the puree of almost any fruit or vegetable can act as your soft fruit.)

Recommended Frozen or Fresh Fruits

  • Strawberries (you can leave the greens on if you have a powerful blender)
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Peaches
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

Recommended Protein Powders

  • Hemp
  • Sprouted brown rice (tastes chalkier than hemp, but packs more protein per dollar)
  • Pea

(Soy and whey are higher-protein, generally cheaper options, but for a variety of reasons I don’t recommend either for long-term use.)

Recommended Binders

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Almond butter or any nut butter
  • Soaked raw almonds (soak for several hours and rinse before using)
  • Rolled oats, whole or ground
  • Udo’s Wholesome Fast Food

Recommended Oils

  • Flaxseed oil
  • Udo’s Blend or other EFA blend
  • Hemp oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Almond, macadamia, or other nut oil

Recommended Liquids (unsweetened)

  • Water (my favorite)
  • Almond milk or other nut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Brewed tea

Recommended Sweeteners

  • Honey (not technically vegan)
  • Agave nectar (high in fructose, so choose this only before workouts)
  • Stevia (sugar-free natural sweetener, the amount needed will vary by brand)

Optional Superfoods, Greens and Other Ingredients

  • Cacao nibs (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Carob chips (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Ground organic cinnamon (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Chia seeds, whole or ground (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Greens powder (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Whole spinach leaves (1-2 handfuls)
  • Maca powder (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed (one small pepper)
  • Ground cayenne pepper (small pinch)
  • Sea salt (pinch)
  • Lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon)

There’s plenty here to get you started.  But you certainly don’t have to stay within these guidelines if you determine that you want more or less of a certain ingredient, or more than one ingredient from each category. (For example, almond butter and ground flaxseed are both in the “binder” category, but I sometimes include both in my smoothie.)

Also, note that which ingredients you use from one category often dictate how much you need from another.  For example, if you’re using avocado instead of banana as your soft fruit, you’ll need more sweetener than you would with the banana, and you’ll probably want to go light on other fatty ingredients, since avocado provides plenty of good fats.

So be creative, and don’t worry if at first you like more of the sweet ingredients and not so much of the healthier ones. Over time as you eat less and less processed and sugary foods, your tastes will change and you’ll actually crave the healthy stuff.

This is an excerpt from my vegetarian guide to your first marathon, but I’d like to turn this concept into a more comprehensive “database” of smoothie ingredients.  Leave a comment with some of your favorite smoothie ingredients or tips that I haven’t included, and maybe this will turn into something cool!

Day 15 = Star Fruit Smoothie and Progress Update

7 Feb

Two weeks into the Clean program, and day 15 of a green smoothie for breakfast every morning;  I’ve discovered my favorite smoothie blend yet, the Star Fruit Smoothie:

  •  Apple
  • Star Fruit – Carambola
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Ginger
  • Chia Seeds
  • Local Raw Honey
  • Coconut water

Half the fun of star fruit is finding a tree in the neighborhood to harvest from; and most trees are overfilled with ripe fruit this time of year.  This smoothie is light and refreshing with a great sweet, citrus taste.

So two weeks into this Clean program and I believe I’m going to try to adopt the Smoothie for Breakfast plan permanently.  I enjoy the feeling of lightness and energy in my body that the smoothies seem to be creating.  It is nice to have much of the energy usually used for the digestion process available for other uses; and I like the idea of front-loading each day with a large dose of macro-nutrients found in the greens, the fruits, the seeds.

Two weeks of Clean means my clothes are all looser, my sleep is better and I’ve not yet been hit with seasonal allergies.  Usually, I’ll start noticing allergy symptoms as soon as the first azaleas bloom; and so far, none.   To combat seasonal spring/oak allergies, I’ve been taking local raw honey daily since mid-January, started taking nettles when I feel congested and made quercitin (via apples and red fruits/veggies) part of my daily diet.  My goal is to use diet to manage seasonal allergies; hopefully by having a diet without meat, dairy, soy, wheat, corn, caffeine and sugar, my body won’t need to have so many allergic reactions.

All that stands between me and the perfect diet are all these cravings; and so my attention in week 3 on the Clean program will be on using all my accumulated meditation and yoga tools to better manage my cravings.

So here we go – week 3!


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or

Making the best of a bad craving….

3 Feb

I woke up hungry this morning.  Not that usual peaceful, easy, empty stomach, ‘I wonder when and what I should do about breakfast’ kind of hungry.  I woke up with stomach growling, rumbling, urging me to jump out of bed, run to the refrigerator and devour the first thing inside kind of hungry.  Yes, the Craving Monster woke up with me this morning!

Since the Clean program doesn’t generally include breakfasts of assorted crackers and nut butters, leftover quinoa, old Christmas candy, take-out from Tuesday, etc.  I had to come up withe another plan.  My rational brain had one good idea: wait.  Eat your breakfast smoothie and then see what you want.  If you’re still craving more food, you can have it after the smoothie.  While making the chard-celery-cucumber-apple-chia seed- coconut water smoothie all I could think about was how much I wanted a ‘real’ breakfast – eggs, an ezekial tortilla, sliced tomatos, salsa – a real breakfast! Again, I bargained with myself: if you still want the ‘real’ breakfast after the smoothie, you can have it for lunch.

Since I had to see clients all morning, the craving beast was forced to stay quiet in the corner for a few hours.  Then lunchtime came.  Because all the ‘Clean’ meals are already prepared and pre-packed sitting in my refrigerator (I cooked earlier in the week)  it seemed like the easiest thing to just grab a salad and eat that for lunch.  Great, I was doing great; salad for lunch, some sparkling water and vitamins for desert, I was doing great.

Then the Craving Monster decided to wake up from his nap in the corner.  And I just had, had, had to have something; something sweet, something heavy in my stomach, something filling and slightly decadent.  (yes, I know at this point I should see a therapist…)  So I decided to surround (justify, I suppose) fulfilling my craving with as much healthiness as possible.  So I walked  a mile to the local health food store instead of driving. To be honest, I could have walked to some local fast-food pastry shops much quicker, so one more point for health.  Standing at the health food store in front of the bakery case, drool oozing our of my mouth, I did not choose the lemon bars.  I did not choose the blueberry muffin.  I did not choose the kiwi tarts.  I did not choose the pound cake.  I did not choose the apple pie.

I walked 2 miles to the health food store and chose to buy a vegan, gluten-free spelt flour chocolate muffin made with applesauce, beets, coconuts and other healthy things.  Granted it was a big muffin; and my stomach is uncomfortably full right now.  But the Craving Monster has been fed, and while it may not be in the spirit of the clean program; I do believe the chocolate muffin fits within the Clean guidelines.  Even if it doesn’t; I ate it, and I’m happy about that.    When I totally ignore the Craving Monster, he’ll poke his head out and make me completely derail from the program for a whole meal or a whole day.  I know I’m justifying this; but I think I made a good choice, and I know this will allow me to spend the next few days on the program without being teased by temptation.

Making peace with what is.


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or

Status Check: Week 1 on Clean

31 Jan

After 1 week on the Clean eating program; having a green smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch and soup/stew for dinner, I felt surprisingly good.  Actually, my body felt more vibrant and alive than I remember it feeling ever.   Avoiding all dairy, soy, wheat, corn, sugar and processed foods while adding in even more greens, seeds and fruit than I normally eat is having positive consequences in so many ways.

First, I’ve never before understood how much of my body’s energy is wrapped up with digesting food.  In the past, when I’ve fasted, it has always been so extreme and unpleasant I wasn’t able to be fully aware of things like digestion.   I’ve been so much more energetic this week; much of the energy previously used for digestion has been available for the rest of my body functions.    And without the ups and downs of hunger, eating, bloating, hunger, eating, bloating; I’ve felt a much more consistent level of energy through my day.  The mid-afternoon energy crash seems to be gone!

It has been amazing to me how much fuel the morning green smoothies provide.  I expected to feel hungry in the mornings, even after having a smoothie.  Frankly, with doing thai yoga massage as my work, I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough energy or strength to physically manipulate my clients.  Actually the opposite has proven to be true; I’ve had much more consistent energy through the day and am able to approach each client with more to give than when I’ve eaten a heavy meal.   The fact that the ingredients in the smoothies are all fresh, organic, raw foods – whole, living foods seems to make the smoothies sort of vibrate in my cells for 3-4 hours after drinking.

Then I’ve started noticing some of the bonus gifts of eating clean; some weight loss, minimized dark circles under my eyes, lack of achiness in the gut; and hopefully what will be fewer allergic reactions going through oak pollen season.

So after having this amazing 1st week on the program, it was easier and far exceeded my expectations for feeling good; I went out various groups of friends all day yesterday and completely blew it.  I ate conch fritters and chips & guacamole, a chimichanga and lots of beer.  And while I enjoyed the socializing aspect of my day and my meals; I didn’t really enjoy all those comfort foods as much as I’d anticipated.  By the time I got home last night, I felt bloated and icky, fell into a fitful sleep interrupted every few hours with indigestion; and learned my lesson.  This morning, I work up ready for another collard green smoothie!

So I’m back at it, imperfectly, but enthusiastically.  I want to feel good. Period.  And the Clean program is giving me a path to feel really, really good more of the time.  I’m staying on it; and working to figure out how to make it a permanent lifestyle choice.


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: or