challenge groups, Nutrition, Recipes
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The inside scoop on the 3-Day Refresh

I have never done a cleanse before. The idea of not eating, losing weight only to bust up my metabolism and gain it right back seemed like a certain way to mess up the healthy fitness and eating habits I’ve worked so hard to adopt.  When I heard about Beachbody’s 3- Day Refresh and how it was specifically designed to keep your metabolism stable while cleansing your body of toxins and giving a fresh start /regular tune up  – it seemed like this could be the cleanse for me. I can’t describe the overall premise any better than Beachbody:
The 3-Day Refresh is a scientifically designed program that helps you fast-track your weight loss, kick-start healthy eating, and get a clean break from bad nutrition habits. 3-Day Refresh is a simple, straightforward program that will help cleanse your body and improve the way you feel— without starving yourself. Unlike juice cleanses or liquid fasts which tend to be high in sugar and low in protein (leaving you feeling weak, hungry, and sluggish), this easy-to-follow program helps support your metabolism while nourishing your vital organs. For 3 days you’ll follow a program of 3 shakes a day, a fiber drink, plenty of filtered water, plus a wide array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats throughout the day to keep your energy and metabolism going.

Whatever your “maybe” may be, we all have those times when we want to get our nutrition on track—and that’s what the 3-Day Refresh is all about. This program is the easiest way to break the cycle of bad eating habits while creating new ones, conquer your cravings, flatten your stomach, feel lighter and more energized, sleep more soundly, detoxify your body, and dramatically improve the way you feel—ALL WITHOUT STARVING!**

I was in. All in. The night before the cleanse was like Christmas Eve for me. I had so much fun planning my healthy fruits, vegetables, healthy fats (hummus?? avocado???) and choosing my dinner options.
The recipes (all vegetables prepared with minimal oil and some nuts) looked great and can all become part of my standing veggie side dish repertoire. I made some homemade veggie broth to accompany dinner as suggested by the plan.  Using my recipes for my usual “leftover end” chicken stock but added some extra veggies and left out the chicken carcass. This is worth a sidebar in and of itself because I may do this regularly now as my dinner drink. It was THAT good. See my entirely separate post on Veggie (and Bone) broths, which I actually posted prior to my refresh recap because I am apparently a huge fan.
Day one of the cleanse started like any other morning (I recently adopted a “water before coffee” mantra thanks to my challenge group so I’m accustomed to downing 8oz first thing. I drink my coffee black so I still had my usual up of coffee and then my usual chocolate Shakeology but without the PB2 and had a half a Banana with it.  I decided not to blend the banana into the shake so I could have something to chew since I’d be doing a lot of drinking over the next few days. The addition of the half a banana was really satisfying and I think I may continue that going forward to sustain me until my morning snack. I’m usually ok but drink a lot of coffee. I’d love to continue post cleanse with just one cup each morning!
I heard from friends and read in the materials that water is critical, so I filled up my 32-ouncer and took it on the commute with me (in place of cup #2 of joe) I actually drank the whole thing while commuting to work.
Upon arrival at the office I got a cup of green tea (usually would have been coffee #3) and filled old faithful water bottle again. I finished both of these by around 11:30am and then it was time for morning snack: fiber sweep.
I heard fiber sweep had a gritty texture (being made from flax and chia seeds) so I was prepared with my blender ball and added cinnamon. I was not at all a fan but choked it down. I heard from others that it gets chunky if you don’t drink it fast enough but luckily I didn’t have that problem. (Doing beer funnels in college really paid off here). By the end of the cleanse, I actually liked the fiber sweep (not sure if it was hunger or the adjustments I made) but here are some tips:
1. Use cool water but do not add ice
2. Use a blender cup (with the metal ball in it) and shake it vigorously for a bit
3. Add lemon juice. I added a quarter cup and it tasted like a lemonade. I also know someone who used “true lemon” orange packets and said it was good. I imagine you could also do lime juice.
4. Don’t dilly dally. Just drink it. Do you want results or what??
Also, I thought the fiber sweep was going to be like a colonoscopy cleanse and I’d be running to the bathroom after drinking it. I actually didn’t have my first “movement” until day 3… so no issues on that front (actually the reverse).
After fiber sweep I went to body combat. I did a much less intense version than I usually do. Since my fuel at this point very different from what I usually have by this point in the day, I felt great and normal. If anything, I was probably more hydrated than usual so that was beneficial. I had another 32 oz during my workout. By the end of workout I was pretty hungry.
I got my lunch together: a red pepper, 2 tbsp avocado, 6 strawberries, 1/3 cup of blueberries and vanilla fresh shake. The first day, I added some cinnamon and ice cubes to the vanilla fresh mix and shook it around. Still wasn’t great. So  by the third day after some experimentation (and hunger) I actually enjoyed the shake. The best add-ins for me were vanilla extract (a hearty pour) and cinnamon (good cinnamon like Vietnamese cinnamon and a hearty tablespoon of it).  By the day three dinner it was like a dessert to me! On day one, I was a little worried that I had 5 more servings  of it. If you do the cleanse know that it gets tastier as you get hungrier and your taste changes.
I felt satisfied after lunch and drank another 16 or so ounces of water and then had my green tea. I was starting to get hungry but it was only 3:30 and I wanted to wait a little longer before next snack. So I had more water. Before I knew it, afternoon snack time! Boy, was it delicious. I had off the vine tomato (sliced up) and drizzled with a teaspoon of really good olive oil and some pink Himalayan salt.
It was delicious. I drank the seeds and pulp and licked the salty olive oil from the container. Next: time to go home! I packed up a water for the road and felt good on my commute home. When I got home an hour later I was starving. I couldn’t make dinner fast enough, but I have kids and needed to get them going first. So I had a bottle of seltzer (wow that really helped) and then prepared the asparagus recipe from the refresh guidebook. Roasting asparagus with olive oil and sea salt is my typical preparation method, but usually it would be my side dish. Tonight it was my entree along with the veggie broth (yummmm what a delicious warm drink that accompanies dinner so well!) and the vanilla fresh shake.
I made things easy for myself and doubled the asparagus recipe so my family could have have it as their side dish along with pre-made scallop potatoes from Fresh Direct and already marinated chicken breast. Interestingly, their food didn’t tempt me.
Dinner was surprisingly satisfying and when complete, I drank some more water and then sleepy time tea before bed. I had adopted a pre-bed tea when I did my booze free challenge in October and occasionally kept it up but sometimes ran out of time between dinner and bed to feel the need for tea. Since I was eating earlier, the tea was a nice nightcap as I settled in for the night (about and hour earlier each night). Day one was over and I went to bed happy, calm and satisfied.
I woke up day two and had a little hunger but immediately felt better once I had my water. Had some black coffee again and then my shakeology and banana. I forgot my water bottle and was really thirsty on my commute so I drank my son’s water and then refilled it once we got to his daycare. I was surprised that I felt so energetic considering my light dinner the night before.
Day two went similar to day one:
10am green tea with stevia then more water
11am fiber sweep (no ice plus lemon juice) followed by more water
12pm body combat (more water during and a modified workout: lower weights for all tracks)
1:30 lunch: 6 strawberries, 1/3 cup blueberries, one red pepper, two tbsp avocado and vanilla fresh with vanilla extract and cinnamon. And water.
3pm green tea with stevia followed by more water
4pm a vine ripened tomato with a tsp of olive oil and a dash of sea salt (and more water)
6pm seltzer
6:30 recipe #2 from the refresh guidebook. I chose the veggie stirfry and it was delicious! As the ginger and garlic were cooking in the pan, Mike came in the kitchen and asked what smelled so amazingly delicious. It also had sliced carrots, fresh green beans, red peppers. This was a really good recipe that I plan to make again and again as a quick side dish. Kept things simple again and made hamburgers for the family to have with the veggie stirfry. I also enjoyed my delicious broth again and vanilla fresh with extract and cinnamon.
8pm herbal tea with stevia and… More water.
My stomach was growling a little so I had some more water and went to bed.
Oddly, I wasn’t hungry when I woke up on day three which seems strange considering a felt hungry 8 hours prior. Anyway, I drank my water, then my coffee, followed by shakeology and a banana. Brought my water with me for the commute and I would say that day three went exactly like day two except I did body combat and it was incredibly challenging for me to get through the workout even at my moderate level of excursion. I took it easy but made it through. For dinner, I tried the carrot and seaweed salad from the refresh recipe guide. Holy cow this was good! A little onion sautéed in sesame oil accompanied by shredded carrots, a touch of seaweed (could easily be left out if not your thing), red peppers and edamame. The recipe called for the veggies simmer in some water, but I used my veggie broth for extra flavor. All topped off with some green onions. Yum yum yum. I could have that again as my dinner and would be completely  happy.  Family had the seaweed salad along with some Korean BBQ flanks steak and brown rice.
I was a little surprised that the fiber sweep didn’t cause anything different in terms of my “movements” until later that morning. I definitely felt swept but not in any unusual way. (‘Nough said)
I also found myself craving my healthy foods (couldn’t wait for that delicious juicy tomato! Or that creamy avocado following a sweet crispy pepper). I’m not sure if my taste buds changed, if I was hungry or if my palette grew accustomed to the fiber sweep and vanilla fresh.
I realized that so many times when I thought I was hungry water or tea were completely satisfying. Interesting. I wonder how many times I mistook thirst for hunger in the past?
My results? Well, I did something sort of dumb and forgot to weight in at the start of the cleanse. So I’m not entirely sure since the last weigh in prior was before Thanksgiving, after a body combat class (during which I drank 32oz of water but probably sweat out 64 oz of water!) Anyway, I’m down two pounds since prior to Thanksgiving is  incredible for me!
I think my picture shows it all. My belly is smaller. The post baby belly that I have been trying to lose for almost four years (including rigorous abwork almost daily) seems to have shrunk in size. I’m not posting belly shots here on the web for the whole world to see just yet, but if you’re curious I’ll personal message you my result pics.
Want to try the 3- day refresh? Contact me for details and join my january 2015 challenge group. I’m going for a round two!

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