Catalyst Juice Cleanse Review

Hi my loves!

I recently did a juice cleanse and wanted to share my experience with you. So I snapped some pics and took notes daily about how I felt.

After hearing M rave to me about how much she loved the Blueprint Cleanse she did, I was on the lookout for a cleanse to do myself.

Finding Catalyst Cleanse on RueLaLa for about 30% off with free shipping sounded perfect so I ordered it. (Here is there website. Check it out.)

The customer service department at Catalyst was so friendly and accommodating (even when I scheduled, cancelled, and rescheduled).

I chose to do a four day cleanse. It shipped overnight in an insulated package surrounded by ice packs.

20130313-153257.jpgice packs are still frozen, so that’s a good sign!

The cleanse consists of six juices per day, plus lots of water in between juices, and herbal tea (if you want. And I did want).

Here is exactly what you get:

20130313-154241.jpgAs far as taste goes, they’re pretty delicious. Except for the beet. Ugh, the beet. By day four it didn’t taste as bad, but it never tasted remotely good to me (which is odd, since I like actual beets).

20130313-154620.jpgmy fridge, stocked full of juice.

I’m going to copy and paste directly the Bridget Jonesesque notes I took for you:

Day 1
Some hunger around 5-6 and 8-9. LOVE tea! Tea is amazing. Tea is Godsend. No caffeine no problem. Who am I? Oh, and beet juice is icky. Hard to suck that one down.

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Day 2
Hungry if wait too long between juices. SO cold. Frozen. Goosebumps. I am incredibly cold. And have to pee a lot. A LOT. Beet juice doesn’t taste as bad today. Still not good though. Definitely not good. Skin glowy. Psoriasis flair up pretty much gone.

Day 3
Not really hungry at all. Waterlogged and sick of peeing constantly though. Juices are pretty dense. Take much longer to drink than water. Forty minutes to an hour and a half to drink a bottle. Carrot ok. Beet I could live without. Green and cayenne lemonade delicious. Cashew milk divine. Heavenly. Nectar of gods. Skin glowy. Energy level waning. And feel very cold. Tongue feel weird after juice five. Icky and coated. Yuck. Starting to get a canker sore.

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Day 4
Psoriasis completely cleared. Don’t even need concealer. Two compliments about my glowing skin. I want to juice cleanse once a month! I feel so clean. Except for the canker sore. That shit is gross. Thinking of drinking green juice for breakfast daily now and a glass of cayenne lemonade every day.

Post Cleanse
Lost 9.8 pounds.
Feel amazing. Like I don’t even need coffee. More alert during and after cleanse. Cleaner feeling.

Skin is SO GLOWING!!! Without makeup I look like I have foundation and blush on! Psoriasis completely gone! I would gladly give up solid food forever to look like this all the time.

Eating raw on day 1. Strangely enough, I’m not as full eating food as I am drinking juice.

20130313-155359.jpgsee? Glowing! This is my amazing post cleanse skin with not a drop of makeup on within minutes of waking up.

It’s been about almost a month since I did the Catalyst Cleanse. I’ve continued to drink a green smoothie for breakfast everyday. I also try to drink a cayenne lemonade once a day, and stay as raw as possible until dinner. It’s amazing how much cleaner you feel after cleansing.

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Honest to God, if the juices weren’t $60 a day, I would do a juice cleanse one weekend every month. I hope you’ll try one out!

xoxo,
Elle

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Eggplant Polpette!

Happy Thursday, my loves!

I’ve been fully vegetarian (with the exception of fish occasionally) for over a year. I honestly don’t ever find myself missing meat.

Except meatballs. I could wax poetic about the joys of meatballs. The thought of a life without them makes me sad. Partly, because they taste so amazingly delicious. But mostly because my grandmother made the world’s most amazing meatballs and just the smell alone can transport me to her kitchen, where she’d be frying meatballs while I played at the table and my grandfather yelled in from the living room in broken English. They’re pretty much the taste of happiness.

20130313-140928.jpgThere’s Grandma, frying up meatballs!

Grandma used ground beef/pork/veal, eggs, and bread as her base. Then she mixed in copious amounts of sultanas (or raisins) and pignoli (or pine nuts), and fried them in a cast iron pan half full of olive oil.

I became resigned to the fact that I would never again taste the deliciousness that is a meatball. I’ve tried a few frozen vegetarian meatballs, but they all taste like, well, frozen meatballs. Ick. And I’ve been hesitant to try a veggie meatball recipe since all that I’ve seen look like they would taste very different than the meatballs in my head.

So imagine the joy I felt when my mother mentioned seeing a cute little Italian grandmother on The Chew making vegetarian meatballs (the link is right here. Click it. Watch the video, then read the recipe and come right back!).

Isn’t Mama T adorbs? I made a few modifications* to the recipe (doubled it, made it gluten free, added sultanas).

Here is my modified version, complete with a photos and nutritional information for both baked and fried versions.** (This made 32 meatballs. The calorie count is per meatball.)

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You’ll need:
2 eggplants
1 1/2 cups (more or less, depending on humidity in the air and moisture level of eggplant) of seasoned gluten free breadcrumbs***
2 cups of finely grated pecorino
A few handfuls of sultanas
Gluten free all purpose flour for dusting
Olive oil for frying (unless you’re baking)****

Cut eggplants in half, place skin side down in a pan half full of water. Simmer, covered, until soft (maybe 20 minutes). (If you watched the video, like I told you to, you already know this.) remove from pan, and place in colander, flesh side down. Let drain for one hour (or longer– eggplant absorbs a lot of water).

Once drained, chop the eggplant up (skin and all) and dump in bowl. Also dump in cheese and breadcrumbs. Mix it all up really well, them add sultanas. Form the mixture into balls and coat lightly in gf flour.

If frying: heat about a half an inch of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and fry meatballs until dark golden brown, turning to get all sides (frying meatballs is really a labor or love). Drain on plenty on paper towels.

If baking: preheat oven to 400. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet, and spray with a tiny bit of olive oil. Bake until done (seriously, that’s what my grandmother would tell you). About 15 minutes should do it.

Serve with your favorite sauce, with or without pasta! Enjoy!

xoxo,
Elle

*Why modifications? Two reasons. One, I’m gluten free. Two, as the descendant of many Italian cooks, I can’t follow a recipe to the letter. Or won’t. Whatever. Cooking is personal and I truly believe that you should put your own spin on anything you make.

**I cook for health probably 90% of the time. This time I was cooking for nostalgia, so I fried.

***All of the gluten free breadcrumbs I’ve tried are pasty and weird, so I’ve started making my own. Just toast sliced gf bread, blitz it in the food processor, season to taste (I use granulated garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, sea salt and pepper), then dry them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

****I don’t care who says you shouldn’t fry in olive oil, I do it and I’m not stopping. It’s healthier than vegetable, canola, or corn oil. Yeah, it smokes so you man up and open a window.

Elle’s Favorite Snacks

My criteria for snacks are pretty simple: they must be delicious, healthy, convenient, and as minimally processed as possible. Oh and they must be vegetarian. Preferably vegan. And I’m conducting a gluten free experiment (partly for health and partly for Lent– whatup my Catholic peeps!), so they’ve also got to be gluten free. Simple, right?

Remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Harry explains that Sally is the worst kind of girl? A high maintenance girl who thinks she’s low maintenance. Just popped into my head for some reason. Weird.

Back to snacks…

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I do most of my shopping in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but I’m fairly certain that all of the snacks I’ve mentioned are available everywhere now. With the exception of the 50% less salt almonds. Why is Trader Joe’s the only store that realizes we want an option in between salted and unsalted? I want a little salt sometimes, please!

(And I know you can make your own kale chips, but let’s be real here. Ain’t nobody got time for that!)

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Sadly missing from the above photo is hummus and red pepper strips since the worst has happened and I ran out of both.

(Hint– life is easier if you cut a crapload of celery, carrots, and pepper strips when you come home from the store. There are many days a week when it’s so easy to grab a sandwich bag full of those veggies and a little container of hummus or nut butter, throw it in my purse and lunch is done!)

What are your favorite snacks?

xo,
Elle

Elle’s 2013 Oscars Red Carpet Roundup

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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How flawless are all of the ladies above?

Anne Hathaway may be the only startlet who can pull off nipples as an accessory and still look completely pulled together and amazing. I wish her hair was a little more slicked and less Dorothy Hamill though.

Giorgio Armani and Naomi Watts pulled off a feat of almost impossible dressmaking engineering here. The cut of this dress makes the possibility of armpit fat, cleavage, and any errant squishy bits gone awry very real, but there are none in sight! The fit is impeccable. Naomi’s choice for super simple hair and jewelry suits the dress beautifully as well.

Amanda Seyfried has been gorgeous in white this season, and this gown is no exception. Just the right amount of sparkle, and somehow (even with the train) this dress does not come across as “bridal” at all. Hair, makeup, and jewelry are all perfection. I think this is my favorite look of the night.

Sandra Bullock’s Elie Saab has enough detail and sparkle to make black seem fresh and new. The straight hair really lets the dress shine. Love. (Don’t love the clutch though. Doesn’t seem to match or contrast with the dress at all.)

The amazingly detailed spiderweb beading on Jessica Chastain’s gown elevates the flesh toned Armani to angelic proportions. Ms Chastain has made questionable choices this award season, but this time she got it right, down to the pop of color on her lips.

JHud is a sparking vision in Cavalli. Everything about her look is just right.

There weren’t any looks that I outright hated, but there were a few I strongly disliked. Here they are.

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While I’m sure that Helen Hunt’s dress is supposed to look like that, I really hate it. She looks like a wrinkled mess. I want to rip it off of her, steam it and then give it back. I also don’t think the fit is great.

As far as I’m concerned, Nicole Kidman and Salma Hayek look a little too much like mafia wives at the don’s daughter’s wedding. The hair, the gowns, all of it. Ick. I’m not loving either of their looks.

What were your favorite looks? Same as mine? Or do you think I missed the mark? Lemme know!

xo,
Elle

High Five For Friday!

It’s Friday, which means I am once again linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk to share my five favorites of the past week. Here they are in no particular order.

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1. My pretty new pink teacup filled up with pretty pink tea (Trader Joe’s Pomegranate White Tea, to be specif.)

2. THIS. Best teabag quote ever. Truly words to live by.

3. The last bite of deliciously amazing bread I had on Tuesday night before embarking on being gluten free for the next five weeks. Wish me luck!

4. Mon couer on mon … nail? I don’t know the French word for nail, so I’m just going to stop typing now.

5. Valentine’s Day fun and festivities! Hearts were everywhere. Intense.

Hope you all had a great week!

xo,
Elle

Sometimes there are blizzards named after cartoon fish…

…on the East Coast and I get bored after shoveling for hours. So I download silly apps. And I make M do the same because she is bored too. Then (thanks to group messaging) we rope Nikki into our pass the time fun even though she’s where the sun always shines.

Then suddenly there is a collage with cartoon versions of us.

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Download I Made Face immediately. You’ll hate me for making you waste so much time and for that I apologize.

xo,
Elle

Gold, gold, gold!

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Leggings: Old Navy; Cardi: J. Crew; Top and Ring: H&M; Shoes: Sam Edelman; Watch: Target; Blue Gemstone Necklace: Bauble Bar; Multi Colored Necklace (doubled): SO old

If you haven’t noticed by now, my daily uniform (of sorts) is pretty much leggings, a cardi, and flats. Then I pile some accessories on top. The day I wore this was sad and grey out, so I really needed to bring my own warmth and sparkle to the day. Enter a giant flowy golden top (which I would never normally wear with a cardi, but I loved it once I tried it!) and layers of gold everywhere. On my shoes, my wrists, my neck, EVERYWHERE!

(Note the perfect braided bun. I finally figured out the trick to this not looking like a mess and I’ll be sharing it with you next week!)

Hope you’re all having a great week (and staying warm if you live where I do)!

xo,
Elle

Elle’s Grammy 2013 Best Dressed!

This best dressed post is going to be a bit different from my usual red carpet roundups because of CBS’ batshoot crazy dress code this year. No side boob? No underboob? No fleshy bits? No nip slips? What the what, CBS? This isn’t the Oscars or Golden Globes when we all tune in to see our favorite stars dressed to the nines in high glamour! This is the Grammys! Home of rock and roll and shocking outfits! Such a disappointing move, CBS.

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In light of the new dress code, the four ladies pictured above earn my vote for best dressed.

JLo’s leg. Nice working around the rules, Jennifer.

Katy Perry’s cleave. Don’t you let anyone tell you to hide your fleshy bits, Katy! They’re spectacular!

Kelly Rowland’s mass of sheerness which could have shifted at any moment. Live on the edge, Kelly! Destiny’s Child forever!

Alicia Keys’ performance dress which showcased the elusive Grammy underboob. (Also, how amazing was that performance? Drums? Adam Levine? Love!)

These ladies all straddled the line of what CBS considered appropriate and looked great doing it.

What were your favorite looks?

xo,
Elle

High Five For Friday!

Friday means I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk again to share my favorite things this week! Here they are, in no particular order:

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1. My perfect Dirty Chai! I’ll share the recipe/formula with you guys next week.

2. Last Sunday’s perfect glittery dusting of snow. (Fingers crossed that today’s is no more than this.)

3. Shopping fun at Bauble Bar Unwrapped (BB’s awesome popup shop in Meat Packing) with our own M and my friend R. Picked up some really cute goodies and got to play with all the pretty baubles!

4. Fake names at Starbucks. It’s a hobby of mine. Who will you be today?

5. Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t watch football. I do however watch amazing halftime shows and enjoy snacks and themed merriment. It’s a win all around.

Hope you all had a grey week!

xo,
Elle

Elle’s Spanakopita

I LOVE spanakopita. It is by far my favorite thing to order at a Greek diner, even though I’m sure the way they make it includes about seven sticks of butter and five thousand calories. Enter homemade healthified spanakopita. And quick! This took maybe an hour start to finish!

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Elle’s Healthified Spanakopita

1 bag frozen chopped spinach
1 bag frozen chopped kale
1/2 package phyllo dough (or however much you think you need), thawed
1 package reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
2 small onions, chopped
2 eggs plus 1 white, beaten
2 heaping tablespoons chia seeds
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper to taste
(I purchased all of the above from Trader Joe’s.)

Thaw your spinach and kale, then squeeze all the liquid from it. Chop it up a little smaller if there are larger stems of kale. (I’m lazy and didn’t want to dirty a cutting board, so I did this with shears.) Let that stuff hang out on the side and preheat your oven to 350 F.

Sauté your onion in some olive oil. Once it is soft, translucent, and starting to brown, add the spinach and kale to the pan. Sauté all that together until the leaves are dry and heated through. Dump that into a bowl and let it hang out.

Spritz your 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ square pan with some olive oil. Lay down a sheet of phyllo, fitting it to the corners of the pan. Spritz lightly with olive oil. Repeat this process with about four or five more sheets of phyllo. (While you’re working with your phyllo you should cover it with some plastics wrap and a towel so it doesn’t dry out.)

Now, go back to your bowl o’ leaves. Stir the feta in and then check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Now stir in the eggs and chia seeds. Dump the whole pile into your phyllo lined pan and smooth it out.

Now you’re going to top the whole thing with about 6-8 sheets of phyllo, spritzing with olive oil in between each layer. In all honesty, I do this very haphazardly.

Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, covering halfway through. Once the top is golden brown remove from oven and let cool. This really tastes best at room temperature or refrigerated.

Enjoy!

xo,
Elle