When life hands you lemons…
Spicy Detox Lemonade.
Have you ever tried a juice cleanse?
I thought about it, but then I decided, hey…my body needs real food!
And oh yea…it’s pretty darn EXPENSIVE.
Now, I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about juicing for extended periods of time (case in point: the Jack LaLanne Juicer I begged for for Christmas is still sitting there in my pantry, unopened, and taking up precious cabinet space). On one side of things, I think it’s extremely beneficial to give your digestive system a break every now and then so all that extra energy can go towards cleansing and beautifying your body inside and out, but on the other side, I don’t believe in doing anything that starves your body of the vital nutrients and calories it needs. For instance, I DO NOT endorse in any way shape or form the Master Cleanse, however, the BluePrintCleanse is something that has caught my eye–namely because I know people who aren’t vegan, dieters, or hardcore cleansers who have tried this program, didn’t starve themselves, and have nothing but good things to say about it–even when I raise skepticisms (i.e. no, they didn’t feel like they were restricting, yes, it tastes good, and yes, they felt fabulous after).
The BluePrintCleanse is a three-day, juice-based cleanse (you drink six raw, organic, cold-pressed juices a day) that was born out of the idea that “cleansing needed to be liberated from the rigid dogma and new-age aesthetics of the raw food universe and made more accessible to more people.” And accessible it is– you can buy it online or at your local Whole Foods! The BluePrintCleanse breaks their cleansing program down into three “levels” (Renovation, Foundation, Excavation) and it’s up to you to decide which one your are most comfortable with. The different levels include various juices made of greens, veggies and fruits along with more filling/sustaining nut milks. Don’t worry, you can gauge your comfort level and pick the cleanse that’s right for you by reading these witty little descriptions :
“I know what whole foods are, and I’ve seen people buying them. I would too, but I’m too busy to be choosy – my vegetable intake comes in the form of: Ketchup – “tomatoes” and French Fries – “potatoes.” Salad is found in EVERY cheeseburger I eat: it’s that green-ish color in the middle of the burger. Fruit? Easy, it’s the garnish on my cocktail, (usually an orange). I have cut back on red meat… and know I should only buy organic, free range, hand massaged meats and vegetables raised by people who smell like patchouli oil, but where do they even sell that stuff?”
“I don’t know what I am! I’m not a vegetarian because I eat fish (but not the kind with mercury). I’m definitely NOT, nor will I ever be, a vegan – (I love a good cheese plate…and sometimes a salami plate). I try to eat a big salad everyday and limit those “bad-starches.” When I do have dessert, I order some sort of fruit based dessert, as opposed to that awesome flourless chocolate cake…that, sometimes I do order…but only because it’s flourless, …and a special occasion. But, that’s not even a big deal, cause’ I’ll just work it off at the gym the next day.”
“I am extremely conscious of everything I put into my body. I exercise, I don’t make drinking a habit, and I eat organic. Am I a vegan? A raw foodist? I’m not into labels – so, when people ask me that question, I simply reply: ‘I eat what I want, when I want it.” I don’t consider choosing my food wisely, “missing out.” My only rule is: If it doesn’t make me feel healthy and zaps my energy, I don’t eat it. I’m not trying to live forever; I just want to make sure that while I am alive, I feel as good as I possibly can!”
Sounds easy enough, right?
Yes, it all sounds wonderful, easy, and grand but here’s my first issue with the cleanse– it only last three days. I don’t think a cleanse– any cleanse for that matter– will change your life in just three days (and I’m willing to bet that many people who end up jumping on the “cleanse bandwagon” are looking for a quick fix or rapid weight loss rather than a lasting lifestyle change).
NEWSFLASH: Don’t expect lasting success if this is your mindset!
If you’ve been filling up your body with sugary, trans-fat-filled, processed junk for years and year and years…drinking juice for three days is not going to magically undo all the damage, nor is it going to take off any of those real unhealthy pounds. That being said, I do believe that a quick juice-cleanse can prepare you, motivate you, and set you up for a continued pattern of heathy eating and success if you do it right. And by doing it right, I mean don’t go back to eating all that unhealthy crud as soon as your three days are up! Use your freshly rejuvenated system as a baseline or starting point for continued dietary success and a commitment to healthy choices .
Now, my second issue with this cleanse is that it’s a pretty hefty investment for three days– I’m talking $195 for three days. Now, I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t have $195 hanging around to spend on three days of juice. heck, that’ more than a spend on three weeks worth of groceries! And finally, my last issue with the BluePrintCleanse? It uses agave (you can read all about the reasons why I don’t like to use agave in this post here).
So…what’s a penny-pinching, ingredient-inspecting, juice-craving girl to do when she wants to clean up her diet and pave the way for healthy habits and longterm detoxification?
Why, she modifies by creating her own cleanse of course .
NOTE: Please allow me remind you- I am NOT a dietician or doctor of any kind. In no way am I attempting to give you medical advice in any way, shape or form. Instead, I am merely looking to share a few healthy options that you might decide to try to include in your diet while sticking to eating clean, whole, foods and healthy meals if it feels right for you. Each person has different dietary needs– I find the following plan happens to work wonders and feel right for me, but I cannot speak for everyone else. Also note that I will be speaking in regards to the Excavation Cleanse level of the BPC for the following couple of paragraphs.
One of the main drinks that can be found in all three BluePrintCleanse cleanses is a lovely green juice called BluePrintGreen. It’s a delicious combination of organic greens (a whopping 6 lbs. worth!), spices, and fruit including romaine, celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, parsley, and lemon. I’ll be 100% honest with you. This drink is INCREDIBLE. I wouldn’t change a thing. Which is why I decided I’ll allow myself to splurge for this beverage now and then if I can squeeze it into my budget– it’s worth it.
Another BluePrintCleanse staple is the BluePrint cashew milk. This drink is meant to be the main BluePrintCleanse protein source. It’s a filling combination of organic cashews, filtered water, agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and organic vanilla bean bits. Now, instead of spending upwards of $12.99 per bottle for this drink (and because I don’t like agave nectar) I decided to swap this out for my own protein drink using Vega or Garden of Life protein powder (my favorites!), organic almond milk, and a couple teaspoons of chia seeds for good measure.
Aside from the high cost, I also didn’t think seven grams of protein two times a day would be enough to fill me up and keep me going around the clock and during my workouts. Instead, my protein shakes have between 15 and 17 grams of protein with a few additional grams added in thanks to the chia seeds (oh, and did I mention it costs under $40 for a few weeks worth of each of my fav proteins? Buy Vega and Garden of Life at your local Whole Foods or here and here).
The last component of the BluePrintCleanse that I wanted to make-over was their Spicy Lemonade. Their version consists of filtered water, organic lemon, organic agave nectar, and cayenne extract (Mexican Habanero, jalapeño, African, Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese peppers in distilled water, and grain alcohol). It also costs $6.99 a bottle. So, instead, I decided to make my own cheaper version using organic lemons, filtered water, stevia, and cayenne pepper.
Now, this particular drink is not a part of the Excavation Cleanse, but it is a part of their Renovation and Foundation Cleanses. The reason this is a cleanse-worthy drink? Lemons and cayenne pepper have a variety of health benefits and they have long been touted as weight loss and detox staples. I’ve outlined a few of these benefits below:
- Alkalizing: Even though lemons are acidic to taste, they are alkalizing for the body and help restore balance to the body’s pH.
- Rich in vitamin C: Helps to protect you against colds, flu, infections and neutralize free radicals that can promote aging and other diseases.
- Cleanses/detoxifies the liver: Lemon stimulates the liver and helps to rid it of uric acid, bile, fats, old cholesterol deposits, environmental toxins, and other poisons. When your liver is clogged with junk, it isn’t working efficiently and may lead to low energy and fatigue, weight gain, hormone imbalances, intolerance to alcohol or fatty foods, high cholesterol, headaches, skin irritation, nausea/bloating, PMS, aches/pains, and digestive complications.
- Cleanses your bowels: Adding lemon to warm water helps to increase peristalsis in the bowels and eliminate waste.
- Have 22 anti-cancer compounds: Lemons contain limonene oil which is believed to prevent the growth of cancer tumors in animals and they also contain flavonol glycosides which have been known to stop cell division in cancer cells.
Anti-bacterial: Lemon juice has been known to destroy bacteria associated with malaria, cholera, diphtheria, and typhoid.
- Reduces high blood pressure: Lemons contain vitamin P (bioflavinoids) which have been known to prevent internal hemorrhage and reduce BP.
- Curbs appetite: Studies have shown that consuming cayenne pepper can reduce appetite and curb cravings (especially for salty, fatty, and sugary foods).
- Prevents blood sugar spikes: Over a period of time, continued consumption of cayenne pepper may improve insulin sensitivity of the body’s tissues and eventually, less insulin may be required in order to move glucose from the body’s blood to the tissues. This can reduces blood sugar spikes (aka crazy cravings!).
- Thermogenic: Consuming cayenne pepper has a thermogenic effect on the body (due to capsaicin). It raises the body’s core temperature, potentially increasing the body’s metabolism (up to 20% according to some sources) and may increase its ability to burn stored fat.
- Fights inflammation: Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P– a neuropeptide associated with inflammation. Consuming cayenne can help with treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders and even arthritis.
- Reduces cholesterol: Studies have shown that cayenne has cardiovascular benefits in that it can reduce triglyceride levels, blood cholesterol, and platelet aggregation. It also can help the body dissolve fibrin– a substance critical in blood clot formation.
- Natural pain relief: Cayenne can help to improve cluster headaches and treat osteoarthritis pain.
- Prevent stomach ulcers: Cayenne kills harmful bacteria and stimulates stomach cells to secrete protective juices that prevent ulcers from forming.
- Immunity boosting: Cayenne is high in vitamin A (beta-carotene) which is a well-known anti-infection vitamin that is essential for healthy epithelial tissues (these tissues protect the body from germs that can enter through the mucous membranes like the nose, lungs, intestines, and urinary tract).
- Relieves congestion: Cayenne stimulates secretions which can help to clear out your stuffy nose and lungs.
My Hot and Spicy Detox Lemonade is a great way to reap the benefits of both!
Now don’t get me wrong–lemons and cayenne pepper are NOT going to magically detoxify years worth of poor eating habits and peel off unwanted pounds. However, I find sipping this drink throughout the day between meals keeps me feeling light and refreshed and prevents those sugary snack attacks and cravings by the afternoon! Plus…it tastes pretty darn good .
Hot & Spicy Detox Lemonade
(makes 1 pitcher worth)
- Three to four lemons
- 8 cups of water
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Stevia (to taste)
- Squeeze lemons into a pitcher.
- Add water.
- Add cayenne pepper and stevia* to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cayenne and add more depending upon how much you can handle).
You’ll like it hot in no time