Saturday, August 22, 2015

Advocare 24 Day Challenge- Phase 1: 10 Day Cleanse

August 10-19, 2015
10 Day Cleanse
I wasn't 100% sure about writing this post because I am no nutrition expert or health food nut. I try my best to eat right during the week, but I definitely splurge on the weekends. I usually try to follow the 80/20 rule, but this summer my eating habits were terrible. I ate out entirely too much, sometimes 2-3 meals a day. I am not one to weigh myself excessively because I don't want to let a number on a scale define me. However, at 5'5 I feel a healthy weight for me is 120-125 pounds. I hadn't weighed myself since I completed my last 24 day challenge in the spring.
I spent most of the summer in shorts and t-shirts. When I put on regular clothes for the first time, just weeks before school started, I realized how bad I let things get out of hand. A pair of capris that usually require me to wear a belt wouldn't go over my hips and thighs. I stepped on the scale for the first time in months, and I had gained 10 pounds since earlier that spring. It was time to get back on track.
I've trusted Advocare products for two and half years now. Michael introduced me to Advocare in 2013. He's used their products since he played football in high school, and several of his co-workers use and recommend their products. I had just started running regularly. I wanted to start eating better and see how the products would complement my running. After my first challenge I lost 6.5 pounds and 6.5 inches. I try to do two challenges a year now, one in the spring and fall. It is really recommended that you do the cleanse every 90 days.
I just completed the Cleanse Phase earlier this week. The purpose of this phase is to help the body better absorb nutrients and rid the body of toxins. There's a common misconception about cleanses. No you won't be in the bathroom for hours on end. This is a very gentle cleanse, primarily focused on helping you establish better eating habits. Here's what it's all about:
The Advocare Cleanse comes with the Fiber drink, Priobiotic Restore, and Herbal Cleanse tablets.
Optional products, but two that I rely on every day are: Spark Energy Drink and Catalyst.
 I am not a coffee drinker. Before Advocare, I drank Coke every morning. Spark gives you long lasting energy without spiking blood sugar. With B Vitamins and Amino Acids, it helps sharpen your mental focus and alertness.  There are several flavor options, but I love the fruit punch.
Catalyst supports and preserves muscle tone and enhances your energy and strength during workouts.
30 minutes before breakfast, you take the Probiotic Restore tablets. These tablets strengthen your immune and digestive systems and helps your body maintain normal, healthy bacteria. I took these with the Spark and Catalyst.
You drink the Fiber drink with breakfast. This drink scrubs your intestinal track and also helps curb your appetite. I would recommend the Peaches and Cream flavor over the Citrus. The texture is still thick and kind of gritty, so I do what I like to call the chug and chase. I just chug it as fast as I can and chase it with water.

Before bedtime, you take the Herbal Cleanse tablets. These tablets help cleanse the body of impurities and toxins.

So what do you eat on the cleanse? Trust me you won't starve. Try to eat five times a day: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. Make sure you balance carbs and protein with each meal.

For Breakfast, I ate plain oatmeal with fruit and fried or boiled eggs.

For Snacks, I ate a serving size of plain almonds with fruit. I like to dip a banana in crushed almonds. I also ate a plain rice cake with natural peanut butter and a banana.

For Lunch, I ate leftovers from dinner which included a lean meat, veggies, and whole grain rice. If I didn't have leftovers, I ate a salad with grilled chicken, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I would recommend Walden Farms or Maple Grove Farms of Vermont dressings. These dressings contain no oils, no fat, and none or very little sugar (5 grams or less).

For Dinner, I ate a lean meat, veggies, and whole grain rice.

Foods to Avoid on the Cleanse
-Coffee, soda, energy drinks (Stick to Spark)
-White Foods/ Starches (white pasta, bagels, bread, crackers, chips)
-Cooking with most oils (Cook with water, broth, or olive oil)
-Sugar and Desserts
-Mushrooms ("Molds" keep toxins alive)
-Dairy Products (Yogurt, Cheese, Milk will feed the toxins)
-Fatty foods, Fried Foods, Fast Foods
-Ground beef or fatty meats

Foods to Eat
-Fresh/Raw fruits and Vegetables (Eat plenty of them.They will help scrub out the toxins)
-100% whole grain rice (brown or wild rice); Quinoa
-Plain oatmeal (add fruits or cinnamon for flavor, not sugar)
-Lean Meats (Chicken, Fish, Turkey Breast, Ground Turkey)
-Healthy Fats (Avocados, Raw Nuts/Seeds, Olive Oil)
-Peanut or Almond Butter (no sugar or oils added)
-Beans, Lentils
-Chicken or Vegetable broths
-Garlic, Spices, Herbs, Fresh Salsa , Taco Seasonings (low sodium)
-Almond Milk or Rice Milk
-Drink plenty of water

Two of my favorite things we ate on the cleanse.

Spaghetti Squash with ground turkey in all natural tomato sauce (low fat, low sodium)

Michael makes the best smoothies.
-Fresh Strawberries, Bananas
-Frozen Mango
-Wheat Germ
-Almond Milk
So far, I have lost 3.5 pounds. I am less bloated and my clothes don't feel as tight. I am now in Day 3 of the second phase of the challenge: the 14 day Max Phase. I will post all about it and my results when I've finished my challenge.
For more information about the Advocare 24 Day Challenge and other Advocare products visit:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Smoky Mountain Vacation

It's been two weeks since Michael and I got home from Gatlinburg, but I'm just getting around to writing about it. This is our second year vacationing in Gatlinburg together. My mother in law has a time share, and we've been fortunate to have time off to go. Here are just a few highlights from our trip.

On the first night, we ate at the Smoky Mountain Brewery. Michael and I both had steaks, baked potatoes, and salad, which were delicious. The pizza here looked and smelled great! Next time we go, I'm definitely trying the pizza.

On the second day, we went to the Craftmen's Fair in downtown Gatlinburg. They had several vendors with handmade arts, crafts, jewelry, and much more. We went with intentions to just look and kill time, but we wound up doing some Christmas shopping.

After the Craftmen's Fair, we drove to Pigeon Forge to eat lunch at my favorite place, the Apple Barn restaurant. The Apple Barn restaurant offers country cooking at its finest. I love the apple fritters and apple juleps. I also like to walk around the apple orchards, winery, and cute shops after eating.

After lunch, we toured the Titanic Exhibit. I wanted to do it last year, but we didn't have time. Unfortunately, they didn't allow pictures inside the exhibit. They were pretty strict before allowing us to tour. We had to cut our cell phones completely off beforehand or it would signal the alarms. I don't know if that's true, but I wasn't taking my chances. We each got a headset to hear additional information and a card with a passenger's name on it. At the end of the tour, we would learn if our passenger survived. The exhibit took us through Titanic's construction, departure, the boiler room, the control room, living quarters, the Grand Staircase, and the night of its sinking. I was impressed with the uncovered artifacts. I wanted to read more, but it was so crowded.  The coolest part was the iceberg room. There was a giant block of ice to mimic an iceberg. It's still a mystery to me how they keep it from melting. There was a pool of water chilled to 28 degrees, the same temperature of the water the night Titanic sunk. It hurt just to stick my hand in there, but when I moved it back and forth it was unbearable. My hand was in the water only seconds. It's hard to imagine what it was like for the passengers that night. I was disappointed that they didn't allow pictures, but they did offer to take our picture in front of the Grand Staircase towards the end of our tour. We got a free digital download.

After the Titanic tour, we played putt putt at Ripley's Old McDonald's Farm. This was one of many games of putt putt that we played on this trip. There's plenty of putt putt courses to choose from in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
On the third day, we rode through Cades Cove. Last year we did the 11 mile bike ride on a Wednesday when the roads are closed to cars until 11:00  This year we rode through in the truck with intentions of stopping at some of the trails, but it poured when we first got there leaving the trails muddy and slick. We still got to see plenty from the truck including some deer and a bear. I didn't get a good picture of the bear. It was trying to cross the road and it was moving quickly. Cades Cove is beautiful! I would highly recommend it. I personally preferred riding bikes, but we still saw plenty from the truck.

After riding through Cades Cove, we headed back to downtown Gatlinburg. It was still pouring rain. We rode around in circles looking for parking. It was late in the afternoon, and we were starving. We finally broke down and paid $10 to park. We ate Chinese for lunch. Then, we toured the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium. There was a lot of interesting stuff  there, but I was most impressed with the artwork.

World's Longest Gum Wrapper Chain
This rug is made from a continuous gum wrapper chain measuring over 6,600 feet long!
Bob Marley
Made of cassette tape film
 This painting was done with fingernail polish

 This artist was ambidextrous. He drew both portraits at the same time.

This picture was painted while the artist was swimming.

Bottle cap art
How's that for a recycled art project?
On our last full day, we ate breakfast at the Pancake Pantry and walked around the shops downtown.
The Village Shops
We watched them make taffy at the candy factory while we waited in line for the Pancake Pantry.


I loved these flowers! They were all over the place.
We had a great time! It just went by too fast like all vacations. I did two 5K's while we were vacationing: the Northview Academy Beat the Band 5K on Friday night and the Color the Smokies Color Fun Run on Saturday morning. You can read more about them in my race recap section or by clicking the links.