Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Suja Juice Cleanse Review

Before Mother's Day, I thought for a long while what I wanted to get for my mom. We're usually a very clean eating family, but there are times when we are in an unhealthy food rut, and when that happens, we usually don't feel all that great, especially my mom. She gets upset, and is always looking for ways to cleanse her body. When I came upon Kristyn's Suja Juice Cleanse review on her blog - Creative with Kristyn - I knew immediately what I would buy my mom for Mother's Day, and I decided that I would do it with her. It was the cleanest juice cleanse I had read about - Non GMO, certified organic, Kosher certified, dairy free, soy free, and gluten free. I checked out the prices on the Suja website, but decided that Amazon had much better prices. We had never done a juice cleanse, and so I decided to buy the 1 day cleanse, as opposed to the 3 or 5 day cleanse. The 1 day cleanse included 6 juices [Glow, Fuel, Purify, Fiji, Green Supreme, and Vanilla Cloud] that would be consumed throughout the day, 2-3 hours apart. No food would be consumed, and that in itself is tough.

When our juices arrived, they were in boxes kept cold. I immediately put them in the fridge. We didn't drink them right away, we tried to wait until a family event came up. She ended up going through her cleanse a few days prior to me. It just ended up being easier for her to do it on a different day than me because of her work schedule. She had the day off so she had easy access to a bathroom as it flushed her system, and she enjoyed every juice, mentioning how fresh and tasty they were. She ended up losing almost 4 lbs, and she felt much lighter. I was proud of her for getting through it, and looked forward to my own cleanse.

I don't know why, but I ended up choosing to do the cleanse on a day I had work. That was probably a bad idea, but I was determined. I woke up, weighed myself, and had a shot of apple cider vinegar, followed by a cup of tea with lemon, which was not all that great to be honest. That was at 8AM... 3 hours later at 11AM, I began drinking juice #1 - Glow, which took me roughly an hour to drink. I know you're supposed to drink them quick, but I couldn't get it down. I just kept tasting celery and I'm not a huge fan of celery unless it's following wings, dunked in ranch dip. Juice #2 was consumed from 130-230PM - mid morning Fuel, was a little better than the first one, but it was still difficult to drink since I don't eat carrots unless they're cut small on salads or already cooked in something like soup. I drank lunch juice #3 - Purify at 4PM, was almost unbearable to drink, just imagine a combination of carrots and celery. A short while later at 730PM, I drank my mid afternoon snack, Fiji, which tasted like ginger. Of course, you can imagine why this one was just another drink that I had to pinch my nose just to get down.

I realized that I should have been drinking them quicker and that I probably should have been on dinner by now, but it was so tough for me. I had rushed home from work to rush out to my cousin's art show and so I was drinking them as fast as I could. When I got home at 9PM, I drank my dinner juice, Green Supreme. This was probably my favorite out of all of them because it tasted like green apples. Dessert came around 1030PM, and was the most delicious juice of the day - Vanilla Cloud - of course because it was made out of almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon - three things I just love. It recommends that you drink it three hours before bed to ensure digestion, but I'm not sure I listened to that entirely. I didn't go to bed hungry, but my jaw felt odd, having not chewed anything all day.

When I woke up the following day, I immediately weighed myself and lost 1.8lbs. While I didn't do it to lose weight, I was happy that I was able to cleanse out some of the toxins. I probably would not have been able to make it through a longer cleanse, but I'm glad I didn't give up - even though those 24 hours were extremely hard. I would not do a Suja Cleanse again, but I would buy the Green Supreme and Vanilla Cloud juice whenever I'm in Whole Foods for a quick snack or healthy dessert! My mom said she would definitely do another cleanse, and enjoyed it. 

I had never juiced prior to this cleanse, and I'm pretty sure I had never even had a 'juice.' I'm sure if I had, I may have known what to expect before I took my first sip of the juice. Maybe it's something to get used to, or maybe it's just something I don't like. Either way, I did not enjoy my juice cleanse, but that's just my opinion.

These opinions are my own and I have received no compensation for this post. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fitness Yoga in the Park

I am always looking to try new workouts, and when I find them, I try and invite other girls I know that will love them, specifically my Tone It Up Sisters ((other girls who do the Tone It Up workouts - if you haven't, you MUST at least try them!)). I am lucky that some live close to me, so that I am able to send out a quick email and gather up as many girls as I can to join me. My friend Alisa and I had gone to a couple of yoga sessions at a nearby yoga studio, and that's when we met an instructor who also had her own yoga business, specifically holding yoga classes in the park, and yoga hikes over the summer. As soon as we heard that we'd be doing yoga outside, in a park that we both love, we knew that we needed to go. We sent out an email, and got a few people interested.

It just so happened that I had the weekend day off from from, so I asked Alisa to meet me at my house bright and early, so that we could be the first people there in case any other girls showed up. We met the instructor and a couple of other people that were joining in on the Yoga Fitness Class. We started the class doing laps around the park's lake, and alternated between sprints, lunges, and jogs. It was intense, being that it was so early in the morning, but I didn't complain - I loved the views, the deep breaths on fresh air, and the chill of the summer morning as the sun peeked out. Even though it was just Alisa and I, as well as another friend who had showed up, I was happy. I was even happier when I realized two other people that had been participating in the class were Tone It Up girls as well! We hadn't said anything to each other because we weren't sure, but right before we went into yoga mode, we asked each other and started laughing when we realized who everyone was!

We went on top of the band stand for yoga, and even though there was a fair going on in the park, once you're in that meditation state, you don't hear the people talking, selling their products, or see them staring at you from down below. It was a truly, incredible experience, and if you haven't tried a yoga class outside, I would really recommend it. You feel powerful, as if you can achieve anything, except maybe a headstand on cement. Those, thankfully, were not attempted.

Afterwards, when we were all calm, relaxed, and centered, some of us headed across the street to a local place for fresh, healthy smoothies, which were delicious to say the least. I had been to the place once before, and had gotten a smoothie that I wasn't a huge fan of, but I changed it up this time and was quite pleased. We strolled back to the park, taking our time... talking about our morning, and our daily lives. It felt so great to just live in the moment, not rushing around getting our errands done or working hard. Sometimes it's nice to just be.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lake Life

If you didn't know from my previous posts, Sal and I would choose the lake and country side over the city anyway. Our getaways are always to states like Pennsylvania and upstate NY for wineries and hiking. We prefer a slower, quieter way of life and although I'm not sure when that exactly started, I'm pretty happy it did. Ever since Sal's friend bought a house on the lake, we've been there almost once a week. We make sure we head to CKO bright and early, head home to shower, pack our bags and then we're off. It doesn't take too long to get there, but enough to ponder what's for lunch. Often we grab food to make at his house, but more often than not we stop for sandwiches at a little place up the street. Before we know it we're putting our chairs out to bask in the sun. Okay, I'm basking in the sun, while Sal fishes. 

When I first went to the lake, we walked around it, and I realized there was a small beach - how perfect, I thought. Since that day, I haven't spent any time on the beach, aside from a stroll here or there. I would much rather stay near Sal and watch him fish, honestly. I'm not sure why, but I always have such pride when he catches a fish, and I love being the one to photograph it, even though I complain to no end. While he's got his fishing pole in the lake, I'm buried in my NASM Personal trainer books, studying for the big exam. Aside from the occasional wind, it's a perfect place to study. I take study breaks occasionally, to just breathe, and once, I even caught my own fish! You could just imagine my excitement. That rush when you feel the tug on your fishing pole, and you reel it in, knowing that you've caught a fish, it's indescribable - and at that moment you get why your boyfriend loves it so much. Don't worry, I threw him right back, but not after I made Sal the photographer!

Whenever I go to the lake, I feel myself breathing deeper, easier. It's as if I am finally able to relax, and I feel all of the tension leave my shoulders. I take in deep breathes, and let them fall out of me. I say this every time we go to the lake, but it never gets old for me. I swear I see myself living there, though I don't think they have any hospitals in the countryside.

When his friend comes home from work, we make sure we either have things for him to grill for dinner, or know he's stocking tons of burgers in his freezer. Grilling after a day on the lake - what could be better? We hang out on his deck, that overlooks the lake, and admire the sun going down. We talk and we talk, listening to his friend play the guitar, take in the smell of the steak or burgers on the grill, and watch as the stars pop up one by one. It's truly incredible how many stars you can see when you're in an area without lights and buildings; I swear I could stare at the stars all night if I could.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Year 1 of Being a CCLS

When I first applied for Child Life Specialist positions, I was always asked that same question... "Why do you want to become a CCLS?" Not only did I hear this during interviews, but I heard it when I spoke to family members... all they wanted to know was why? What was my inspiration for becoming a CCLS? Well, since you're probably also wondering why, I'll tell you. I've always known that I wanted to work with children, I have such a strong passion for child development and psychology, that I never second guessed the age of the population I wanted to work with. A few years back, while I was in my sophomore/junior year of college, I was working as a teacher's aid in a preschool. While I loved it, I noticed that I would spend more time thinking about other ways that I could help children. Now I know teacher's are extremely important in a child's life, but I wanted to help children in a different aspect. I wanted to be that someone in their life, in a different environment. I researched for what felt like forever, for other occupations. I eventually changed my major from education to psychology, but that still didn't feel right. That's when I discovered child life. That's when I knew. I changed my major once more (three times is good luck right?) and I signed up to volunteer under the supervision of a CCLS in a children's hospital.

I quickly fell in love, not just with the profession, or with the feeling I left the hospital with, but with the smile on the children's faces, and their resilience shining so bright even when they weren't feeling their best. I eventually moved on to my internship, and that only made me more positive that this was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I make the hospital experience a little less traumatizing and frightening, and a little more therapeutic and fun. I prepare children for medical procedures using pictures, videos, dolls and simpler explanations, I educate them on a new diagnosis, I distract them during procedures, and I provide support for the family. There's also a playroom that helps the child just be exactly that... a child! Play is extremely important for any child, especially when they're in the hospital.

It took me a year after graduation to land a position as a CCLS. Some people say that's pretty good, and I have to agree. I had a year to focus on me, and figure out exactly where I wanted to work, and search high and low for jobs, all the while boosting my resume in any way I could. Turns out, I had two offers in two completely different settings - one in a children's hospital, and another in a medical day care center. Once I figured out what was going to work better for me financially, I attended orientation, and before I knew it I was a working CCLS.

Since then I have met hundreds of children, and families. I have guided them through their hospital experience in more ways than one, and I have learned more things in my first year than I ever thought possible. Each individual child is unique and different. What works for one child, may not work for another; what works for one family, may not work for the one down the hall. Sure I've had my fair share of failed interventions, but I've also had extremely rewarding moments - when a patient picks up on the guided imagery I am providing while they're getting their IV, and imagines they're on a beach, with the dolphins jumping in and out of the water, when a family calls for you specifically to help distract their child during a medical procedure, when you explain a diagnosis and you see the child understand - it's as if a lightbulb goes off in their head, when a child you've been working with, feels good enough to bust out dance moves in the playroom during Zumba, when a family finds out good news and they come back and visit to share, when a child calls your name down the hospital hallways and wants a hug. It's so much more rewarding than upsetting or depressing.

In my first few months there, I was rewarded by the nurse managers for going 'above and beyond,' as the months went by, I held a Child Life Refreshment Refresher for our nurses to make sure they understand what we do, I presented at our very own Child Life Conference, I started Movie Night Mondays, we've created a brochure so that more families know who we are, and I have networked with a great amount of professionals, just to name a few.

No one can quite understand why I do what I do, even after I explain it to them, but they haven't
walked the hallways of a pediatric unit... they don't understand how resilient these children are - they don't give up, and they're stronger than most people I know as an adult. I am a Child Life Specialist because these kids need me. Here's to another year as a CCLS!