5 Questions With: Ashley Cuff of CEDAR Juice

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Photo credit: CEDAR Juice

I LOVE fresh pressed juices. Hands down one of the best purchases I made last year was getting my own juicer. I try to make at least one fresh juice a day but when I don’t have time to make them myself, I love grabbing a CEDAR Juice.

Since I’ve started training intensively for my two upcoming races – the 10k in May and the Nike Women 15k in June, I noticed that adding these juices to my daily food regimen, have been a great energy boost. In case you haven’t heard of them yet, CEDAR Juice, is a rad local fresh pressed juicery based in Toronto that has been making delicious organic juices for the past couple of months. They’re known for their doorstep delivery cleanses but they also offer maintenance packages and custom juice packages for those wanting to incorporate juices into their daily diet. If you live in the city, you’ve probably seen their juices pop up more and more at different shops and events.  I really wanted to know more about the benefits of drinking these juices particularly when training so I was thrilled that Ashley Cuff, the co-founder of CEDAR Juice agreed to answer a few questions about their juices. Hope you’ll learn as much as I did from reading this 5 Questions With interview!

1) What was the goal behind starting CEDAR Juice?

Everyone is working hard, living busy lives, but wanting to be healthy. It’s just hard to do when you are constantly on the run. We wanted to create a healthy juice, which tastes amazing that people can incorporate into their daily life and make being healthy just a little more easy and simple. There is a lot out there which claims to be healthy, but is really just filled with sugar.  At CEDAR the only ingredients are listed on the label, so you know exactly what you are getting – all 3-4 lbs of fruit & vegetables  in each bottle. 

2) How did you go about creating these juices?

The juices which are apart of our cleanse were developed to replicate our normal eating throughout an average day.  We give you our Kale Made Good at breakfast & lunch when you are looking for a hit of energy & nutrients.  As the day progresses and you are looking for something heartier we have Skip to the Beet (our beet, carrot, apple, lemon, ginger) and lastly  Cracked It (cashew, hemp, vanilla and coconut nectar), which has the health fats, glucose and protein you need for a restful sleep.  The juices are chosen to have a balance of green juices, fruitier juices and lastly a cashew nut milk to end the day.  We try to really balance the efficacy of the juice from a cleansing perspective with flavour.

3) What separates CEDAR Juice from other cold pressed juices?

There are some great cold pressed juice companies across Canada, but we hope that ours tastes better…nutritious & tasty! Our juices are 100% organic & cold pressed.  We use local ingredients when we can (tough in the winter), and are made in the west end of Toronto in the Junction.  

One of our big goals is to excel at simplifying the cleanse experience.  By having our bottles numbered, making it easy to order, shipping to your door at a reasonable price (quickly) and providing a lot of resources and support for our juicers during their cleanse, we think we achieve this.  We get a lot of positive feedback on our customer service and this is keeping us motivated to keep moving in this direction – make it simple, stupid.  

4) Can you explain some of the benefits you can get from drinking these cold pressed juices?

A cold pressed juice has 2-3x the nutrients of a typical juice.  With minimal heat & oxidation of the fruits and vegetables during the making of the juice all of the nutrients, minerals and enzymes stay intact.  That really is the simple science behind cold pressed.  Our most nutritious juice is our Kale Made Good. This is because the 3-4 lbs of greens which is in just one of our bottles, such as kale and swiss chard are alkalizing, loaded with minerals such as calcium and magnesium, plus they contain a lot of vitamin C.

5) How you would recommend incorporating these juices into one’s training regimen and diet?

Any one of our juices can be a great addition to your diet if you are training for a run, or other sport event.  However there are 3 juices in particular that I think should get a particular shout out!  Skip to the Beet (beet, carrot, apple, lemon & ginger) is a great endurance enhancer & is the perfect juice to have 2-3 hours before a workout.  Cracked It (cashews, hemp seed, vanilla & coconut nectar) has got the right amount of protein and carbohydrates, is easy to digest, and is therefore your perfect post workout juice. Lastly is our Kale Made Good – our green juice is filled with the nutrients and alkalizing effect your body is craving. 

**Ashley and CEDAR Juice are offering a 10% discount to those interested in their doorstep delivery cleanses and also maintenance packages. They offer free shipping to anyone in the Toronto area but can ship elsewhere across the country. Get all the shipping details on their site. If you’d like to place an order with them, please use the code: melsays10% to receive a 10% discount! If you’re looking for a great package of juices to drink while training, I recommend getting the “Fitness Freak” pack but you can also make your own customized pack by emailing: orders@cedarjuice.com. Want to pick up a CEDAR juice at a local retailer in Toronto? Click here for more info. 

Juice. Cleanse. Energize.

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Yes, this post is about a juice cleanse but this is a different type of juice cleanse, a cleanse that includes the consumption of food. Yes, you read right!

If you’ve read about my previous cleanse experiences (here), you know that my experiences have not been positive. As someone that works out several times a week and that has a very active job, I simply cannot afford to not eat anything solid for a couple of days. The last cleanse I did, consisted in 2 days of raw food, 3 days of juicing and 2 additional days of raw food before eating “normal” again – that’s a full 7 days of not eating regularly. Some people swear by cleanses, but it left me feeling terrible, so much so that I vowed never to do a cleanse again… Until I was asked to try Freshii‘s 1-day #JuiceCleanseEnergize.

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I like Freshii, they offer healthy food options for people on the go. They’ve been a saver many times when traveling to the Pearson Airport, offering the only healthy food option around! Plus, they’re also a Toronto-based company, which makes them even more appealing to me.

Being a big consumer and maker of fresh juices (I usually make at least 1 fresh juice a day – anything from green juice to an apple, carrot, ginger juice to a yummy grapefruit juice in the morning!), I know the benefits of making your own fruit and veggie juices. In the past year, since I purchased my juicer (honestly, best purchase ever!), I’ve cut out store bought juices all-together from my diet and grocery list. Wohoo!

Last week, I went to the Freshii headquarters in Toronto to learn more about this new juice cleanse along with some amazing people from the fitness and media community in Toronto. I was immediately surprised when Freshii’s nutritionist explained that this 1-day cleanse would also include food. WHAT?!  Yes, it IS ok to eat something during a juice cleanse. Some will argue that it isn’t but to me, it’s a WAY more realistic approach to juicing if you can actually EAT something and not starve yourself for days on end.

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Photos by: Natalie Sorichetti

Though I’m a very clean eater, I do have a sweet tooth and a thing for baked goods (Can you blame me? Part of my family is from France!). That said, I’ve been making a real effort as of late to only eat homemade baked goods or organic locally made baked goods, that don’t contain any preservatives, any added sugar, etc. That said, taking a day to super-charge my nutrient intake and energize my body can’t hurt so I gave it a shot!

Basically, the cleanse is super simple. You have 4 juices to drink 2.5-3 hrs apart and you finish your day with a salad. Here’s basically what your day looks like on the cleanse:

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1) You start off your day with a glass of warm lemon water.

2) You have the Green Energy juice (apple, cucumber, kale, lemon, carrot, romaine, spinach) to start.

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3) You then have the Carrot Zinger juice (carrot, apple, ginger) a few hours later.

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4) Your next juice is the Mighty Detox juice (pineapple, cucumber, celery, apple, ginger).

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5) And your last juice is the Red Power juice (beet, carrot, lemon, ginger).

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6) You finish your day off with the Metaboost Salad juice (field greens, spinach, kale, carrots, mango, edamame, almonds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette).

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All the juices were super yummy and the salad was also a nice treat at the end of the day!

You can conveniently pick up the cleanse at one of the Freshii locations in Toronto in the morning or the night before your cleanse. If you’re a big fan of the juicing, you can also opt for a 3 or 5 day cleanse. For me, the 1-day cleanse was sufficient and the only thing I could do realistically, but I know that everyone is different. Whether I’ve fully cleansed my body or not, I personally believe it all has to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating clean as much as possible and being active. Also, a healthy body isn’t the only thing one should strive for, I think a healthy mind is also incredibly important. I know that when I’m in a positive mindset, my stress levels and anxiety decrease and I always feel so much better about everything.

All in all, I did enjoy my Freshii experience. It was nice to not have to make my own juices for a day and I did like their more realistic and healthier (I find!) approach to the whole juicing craze!

Would you try a juice cleanse? Share some of your personal experiences with me!

Cleanse Day 4

Yesterday was Day 4 of my cleanse and my 2nd day of juicing. I woke up feeling really hungry, my muscles aching and my head hurting but it totally makes sense when you’re just feeding your body with liquids I guess. I spent the whole day in training at work and I realized that I really wasn’t focused, I also had a hard time really concentrating. I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning 100% or as it should. That said, I continued with the juicing but started really doubting if this cleanse was really going to cut it for me.

So as I did the previous day, I started my day with another Detox juice, followed by the Vanilla Cashew Glow juice and then a Clean juice. I also drank a lot of water and even a hot tea. As the day went on, I was talking a lot to my boyfriend, who’s also doing the cleanse with me right now about how he was feeling, what kind of effects he was having, etc. Unlike me, he wasn’t feeling very hungry but he’s not someone who usually gets hungry. He eats because he loves to eat but he does get low blood sugar or irritated when he doesn’t eat or eat as much. Contrary to what he had initially expected, he was also starting to feel like his brain wasn’t functionning fully, he wasn’t feeling on top of his game and had a bad headache that he couldn’t shake off.

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Throughout the cleanse and even before embarquing on it, I’ve read a lot about cleansing. I had read mostly positive things on individual blogs, bloggers that I follow, girls I had spoken to and some ok and not so positive things on newspaper websites, more health/nutrition/scientific sites. I know that everyone does it for different reasons. Like I’ve mentioned before, my main reasons were 1) just plain curiosity because so many people seem to be cleansing these days and 2) a personal challenge. In 4 days, I didn’t really lose any weight, I maybe lost 2 lbs but the reason why I think I didn’t lose any weight is because I didn’t have much to lose in the first place (if any at all!) and also because I have a pretty healthy lifestyle overall. I don’t really drink coffee, other than red wine here and there I don’t drink very much and try my best to eat fresh, homemade and organic fruits and vegetables as well good food in general.

My boyfriend who’s from France explained to me yesterday that cleansing is definitely not as popular there and hasn’t really taken like many other recent food trends such as the Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free craze we’ve been seeing in the last few years. People tend to think that people from France eat only pastries, bread and cheese and wine, a lot of them do, that’s a fact but they also eat a lot of fresh produce, meats and cheese from local farmers that they get from their city’s farmers market every week. A lot of my family lives in France and none of them are obese and all live to 80+ years and so does my boyfriend’s family. It’s apparent that cleansing is more of a American/Canadia phenomenon.

After work, we headed to the movie theatre to watch Elysium and on the way there and back we read more than a handful of articles (here’s an example: http://archives-lepost.huffingtonpost.fr/article/2010/11/05/2293630_la-detox-ou-l-intox.html) on cleansing, juicing, the effects on your body, etc. After 4 full days of cleansing, without any cheating at all and after much discussion, my boyfriend and I decided to stop our cleansing adventure. We both felt that we had reached our goal – that the process had made us think a lot about nutrition, what we put in our bodies, what kind of lifestyle we live, etc.  That said, we both didn’t stop and immediately pigged out on a ton of food, instead, we celebrated with a nice homemade salad, guacamole and organice brown rice cracker.

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We still have a bunch of juices left over because we initially had planned to do 3 days of juicing instead of 2 and also because I only ended up drinking 4 bottles a day instead of 6. So what we’ve decided to do is keep drinking those bottles as a healthy snack in between meals for the next couple of days. We’re easing back into food with raw meals and I think overall we’ll just be even more careful than we used to be with the food we eat. That said, it’s a lot harder to find a good farmers market close by or buy only organic/local/sustainable produce without dishing out a fortune here in Toronto as compared to California. We’ve made a pact to be more conscious of the food we eat and make even better choices but to also keep enjoying food in general! We’re both big foodies and both take pleasure in treating ourselves to good meals!

For those wondering, even though we did the more DIY cleanse, it was still pretty pricey. We bought over 100$ of raw food groceries at Whole Foods plus over $50 of fruits and vegetables for our 2 days of raw food cleanse plus we each paid over $200 for our juices. At $9.99 a juice bottle x 6 bottles a day, you’re looking at over $60 + a day of juices. That said, we wanted to do the full experience and wanted to do it the right way so we went all out and made sure we had everything we needed.

All in all, it was an interesting experience. Though I’m not sure I would do an actual “cleanse” again, I would definitely consider drinking these types of juices more regularly as snacks or if ever I’m on the go. I also think it’s a good exercise for people to go a week or so without alcohol or coffee, it can never hurt. It’s always a good thing to also re-evaluate your eating habits, your lifestyle, etc. As someone who travels a lot and as a vegetarian, it’s often hard to find healthy food options on the road, but this experience has taught me that maybe I should just bring some lunches if I can, or get some raw bars or juices and keep those with me while I travel. I have keep eating lot’s of fruit and veggies, eat organic and local if available and keep being active. Also, take pleasure in eating good food & most importantly ENJOY LIFE!!

PS. I know that everyone who’s cleansed before has had a different experience. I was not paid or did not receive any discounts for writing this blog during my juicing experience. It’s an adventure my boyfriend and I decided to take together independently. Everyone has different views on detoxing, juicing, raw food, etc. These were simply my own taken from my own personal experience! 🙂

Cleanse Day 3

Yesterday was my 1st day ever of juicing. I was super anxious when I got up in the morning because I had no idea what to expect, I had no idea how my body was going to react and also how I was going to deal with it mentally. I also woke up feeling super hungry having only eaten raw food the previous night and having spent the night with my stomach in knots.

It’s instructed on the Live Organic Cleanse bottles to drink 6 juices a day, drinking them every two hours and drinking tons of water and tea in between. So I started my day with their Detox bottle. The taste wasn’t so bad but I was having a really hard time finishing it. Though I do drink relatively a lot during a normal day, ingesting all of these liquids was actually pretty difficult for me.

Surpringsly, that juice kept me going for almost three hours. When came time for lunch, I had the Cashew Nut Glow bottle, which tastes pretty sweet and feels filling but is almost too heavy compared to the other juices. I was having a really hard time finishing that bottle as well.

Because two of their bottles were out of stock, including their green juice bottle, I decided to go and buy myself a green juice at the supermarket located in my office building. It may now have been a Live bottle but I made sure that it contained no preservatives, was only real vegetable juice, etc.

I followed that up with a Clean bottle, which tasted really bitter and made my head hurt but I was able to finish that one though.

I spent most of my day at work yesterday going to and from the bathroom, I was feeling like a pregnant lady! Here’s hoping that all the “toxins” in my body are actually being flushed out as supposed to.

Though I wasn’t really feeling that hungry all day, the hardest part was definitely the evening. Psychologically, I love having a nice dinner after a long day at work or going out to a restaurant so only feeding on a juice wasn’t definitely not fulfilling.

I went to bed last night feeling extremely hungry. Though they recommend drinking 6 different juices, I ended up only drinking 4 during the entire day. After 4 juices, I had had enough!

Because I’m doing this cleanse as more of a personal challenge and out of curiosity and not because I wanted to lose weight, I’ve realized that I’m basically just starving myself. Even if I were to lose some weight, I would put it back on as soon as I finish with the cleanse. Though I hope it’ll get rid of the “toxins” in my body, I’m not sure I’ll have too many benefits from this cleanse. It’s a good discipline to adopt for a few days but seeing as I’m someone who eats pretty healthy, I make a lot of my meals myself, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables naturally since I’m a vegetarian and exercise a lot, so I’m not sure cleansing is necessary in my diet. I’m feeling a lot more tired than usual, my muscles are aching and my head hurts. The only positive thing is that I’m feeling a little lighter than usual but who wouldn’t after only ingesting several hundred calories in one full day…

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Today I’m onto day 2 of juice cleansing… We’ll see what the day brings!

PS. Someone bring me a cheese platter stat…. AH! Cravings!!

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Cleanse Day 2

So yesterday was Day 2 of my cleanse – another day of raw foods. I was feeling ok after breakfast but as the day went on my stomach really started hurting and I was feeling really hungry. Though I’ve only been eating raw food for over a day, my taste buds were already telling me that they were over all of these raw snacks, the seasoning and whatever I was eating. Props to people who do these cleanses often or who only have raw diets. I don’t think I could ever do it! Even questioning ever doing a cleanse again…

After work, Offner and I took a trip to Whole Foods to buy all of our juices for the next three days. Unfortunately, a lot of their juices were out of stock. Though the juice brand Live recommends drinking 5 different types of juices a day, two of them were sold out. So we made due with what they had and also got ourselves a ton of raw food items for our last supper 😉

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MEAL 1

Freshly pressed unpasteurized orange juice

Peanut Butter Lärabar

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MEAL 2

Homemade salad with sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, hemp seeds,

Grapes, strawberries and shakaroons

MEAL 3

Live raw lasagna italiano, Live raw kale caraway bread and fresh pesto

Live raw organic walnut brownie, pineapple and an orange

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I was feeling really anxious yesterday at the thought of starting the juice cleanse. Here’s hoping not too many food pictures pop up on my twitter and instagram feed in the next few days. Though I’m really motivated, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle three days of juicing… To be continued!

 

Cleanse?!

After having spent almost three weeks in the land of juicing and cleanses, otherwise known as LA, I’ve decided to try it out for myself. I’ve seen many of my friends try juicing and go on cleanses for the last little while but I’ve never really thought of giving it a shot myself. After spending a few days with my friend Lisa Ning from This Beautiful Day, she convinced me that I should give it a shot after my vacation. After having done a handful of juicing cleanses herself, she suggested I start my cleanse with two days of raw food instead of right away going into the cleanse itself, in order to start detoxing my body slowly.

With Offner‘s motivation and having decided to do it together, we stocked up on a ton of raw food snacks from Whole Foods before leaving LA to get us through the first two days.

Because juicing isn’t as popular in Toronto as it is in LA, there are a lot less companies who can provide you with already made juices. If I were to juice in LA, I would without a doubt try Pressed Juicery. I had a few of their juices while on vacation as a snack and they were delicious and filling. Though I initially wanted to go with Belmonte Raw, we opted for the cheapest route and will be going to try the Whole Foods juices.

So for this cleanse, I will be doing 2 days of raw, followed by 3 days of juicing followed by 2 additional days of raw to transition back into regular food.

I’m already at Day 2 of raw foods and let me tell you I’m feeling pretty hungry and already miss cheese, butter and bread!

For Day 1 yesterday, I stocked up on tons of fruits and vegetables from the grocery store and stopped by the West End Food Coop in Toronto to get some freshly made pesto, salsa as well as raw cookies.

Because I flew back from LA overnight, I slept in pretty late yesterday and only had two meals. Here’s what I ate:

MEAL 1 –

Homemade raw salad with cucumbers, sprouts, almonds, strawberries, lemon juice

Crackers and homemade fresh salsa and pesto

Raw rolled oats cookie with cinnamon and fresh fruit bowl

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MEAL 2 – 

Ranch kale chips

Avocado, fresh salsa, hemp hearts, tomatoes and fresh basil

Fresh fruit melon bowl with bananas, kiwi, apples and cinnamon. Accompanied by dried rasberries, mangos, almonds and a shakaroon bite

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After Day 1 of eating raw food, I felt the same, somewhat hungry at the end of the day but not too bad.

To be continued…