In the new year, as many people resolve to do any number of self-improving endeavors, from exercising more and eating better to drinking less and finding a more peaceful balance to life, you may be on your own personal journey to finding a new you.
If, like me, you nibbled and snacked your way through a Thanksgiving and holiday season of sweet treats, mom’s famous jalapeno cheese grits, and a second helping of Christmas ham, then you’re probably starved for a kickstart to a new nutritious year. (Perhaps “starved” isn’t exactly the right word.)
Snap Kitchen may be the remedy. Though it’s not the only health-driven prepared foods concept in town, it certainly is winning fans for sourcing organically, locally when possible and responsibly with ingredients such as grass-fed beef.
9:45 a.m. — Decide to drink half of juice #2. I tried waiting until 10, but I felt like I was about to start eating my arm.
The healthy food restaurant offers a 21-day Snap Commit program, a three-week program that includes a one-on-one meeting with Snap’s registered dietitian and a personalized meal plan. Why 21 days? Research shows it takes 21 days to develop a habit and the commit program is designed to help create a new lifestyle, rather than provide a quick fix.
"Through the Snap Commit program, we want to build a foundation to help our customers make lasting, educated changes in the way they eat," says Snap's registered dietician Andrea Hinsdale.
Snap recently launched the “Clean Start” program, a one-day juice menu consisting of five cold-pressed juices to help eliminate toxins and give your body a fresh start to healthy eating. All of the 16-ounce juices are vegan and gluten-free and are designed to meet all of your nutritional needs while giving you enough energy and calories to get you through your busy day.
Snap uses the cold-press method which keeps the ingredients at the lowest possible temperature and is pressed rather than blended to result in the maximum retention of vitamins and minerals. Each of the five juices are designed to be sipped in a specific order to achieve the best balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Full disclosure, I became a regular Snap customer about a year ago after I had my son. Cooking and eating right became more difficult than in the past. I took the Snap Commit program and regained my healthy focus, lost 10 pounds and have been a regular customer ever since.
Together, the Clean Start juices are an ideal way to kick off the Snap Commit. At least that’s the idea Andrew Elefanio, one of the managers with Snap, gave me a few weeks into the holiday season.
So, I decided to try it. Following a phenomenal New Year’s celebratory weekend, I picked up my five juices and began the combined three-week program.
I’ll be your guinea pig to give you a glimpse into just how satisfying, challenging, enjoyable, bland or flavorful the whole experience is.
Below is a brief journal of how my first day on the Clean Start juices fared. I’ll report back at the end of the program to share my overall experience. Until then, Happy Healthful New Year!
Monday, January 2, 2012
7:30 a.m. — Began the day with juice # 1, “Super Green” with kale, spinach, romaine and parsley. This juice was a stark contrast to my usual steel-cut oats and morning coffee. It felt more like sucking down a big salad without all the fun parts like tomatoes, cheese, walnuts or dressing. But it did seem to stave off my initial pang of morning hunger.
8:30 a.m. — I’m starving!
9:45 a.m. — Decide to drink half of juice #2. I tried waiting until 10, but I felt like I was about to start eating my arm. The watermelon-papaya-mint combination in this “energy juice” is fantastic. The flavor is sweet and refreshing and it seemed to give me a little extra pep in my step.
11 a.m. — Finish juice #2. Had to run a couple of errands and my eyes strangely seemed to lock on to every billboard promoting any and every food product while driving around.
12:30 p.m. — Took a large gulp of juice #3 (Spicy Apple Beet) and was immediately alerted to where the juice got its name. There’s an emphasis on the word spicy for this one. Packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as apple, carrot, cilantro, garlic and beets, this little number also has jalapeno and cayenne pepper. If you were feeling low on energy before this juice, you’ll definitely perk up after a few sips.
NOTE: If you’ve got a mild taste for spice, you may want to re-think drinking this juice. I can handle a decent amount of heat in my food, but I’m no adventurist. I still like to taste what I’m eating rather than have a pepper overpower my food. In this case, you can still taste the juice, but your senses will definitely be distracted by the spice.
3 p.m. — I have a dull headache behind my eyes. Think it may be protein withdrawals. No meetings this afternoon, so I decide to rest my eyes for a while.
5:30 p.m. — Crack open juice # 4 made from apple, carrot and ginger. At this point, I’d kill for something to chew on, but I have to say the fresh ginger in this juice has a bright, energizing quality and I found a nice, satiated feeling when finishing it.
8:30 p.m. — Last juice of the day: the Cashew Protein Shake made with cashews, water, agave, vanilla and cinnamon. Finally a little fat and protein to stick to my ribs. I had to go in the other room while my family ate dinner — was concerned I might attack one of their dinner plates. But now that I’ve had this creamy elixir, I feel fairly certain I can make it through the night without raiding the refrigerator.
In summary, I definitely feel like I’ve treated my body to a steady stream of sustainable nutrients. Although I don’t feel I have as much energy as I normally would, I do feel like I’ve done something good for myself. The most challenging time for me was in the morning. I’ve always been a fan of starting the day with a good breakfast and it took me a while to feel satiated for the first half of the day.
But even though I found the Clean Start a bit challenging, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t suggest it. I certainly feel like I’ve given myself a fresh, clean slate for 2012 and it’s given me a new appreciation for the smell, taste, and texture of real food.
A few quick tips:
- Surround yourself in a pleasant environment — My biggest challenge for the CleanStart juice day was fighting off hunger. Theses juices will get you through the day, but they’re not a substantial meal replacement. If you’re anything like me and tend to get a little cranky when you’re really hungry — I like to call it “psycho-glycemic” — then I suggest picking a low stress day. Skip big meetings, presentations, or just generally having to be around people that may put you on edge.
- Skip the workout - This is not the day to begin training for a marathon. Although each juice is designed to give you the nutrients and energy you need for a day, they are not designed for endurance and performance. In my experience, I had enough energy to get from juice to juice, but not nearly enough to tackle a 90-minute Bikram yoga class. Use this day to relax and rejuvenate. You can always get that workout in the next day.