Clean Eating for the New Year


Day 21 of Clean Start 2013

Today marks the end of the 3 week cleanse for me.  And it is oddly, just in the last 3 days that I’ve had the most profound results from the program.  Tonight, as I prepare to exit the program, I feel better than I have during the whole three weeks; and better than I do most of the time.

Clean Start 2013 is the second time I’ve followed the Clean Cleanse protocol.  In 2012, many of the habits formed during the 21 day cleanse stuck with me throughout the year; cooking for myself, eating mostly salads for lunch, eating mostly soups and stews for dinners, consuming little sugar, wheat, dairy, etc.  So while I didn’t follow the cleanse protocol to the letter throughout all of 2012, I made a quantum leap in improving how I eat, how I cook, what I put in my body and subsequently how I feel.

With 2013 being the second Clean Cleanse I’ve done; many of the mental and emotional challenges were easier.  I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I could do the cleanse, I’d done it in the past.  I didn’t have to create new skills  like cooking or equipping my kitchen or shopping for healthy foods; I had all those habits down pat from last year and most of them had stuck with me.  I’d already learned to reschedule my social life and explain to friends about the cleanse,  I’ve figured out how to allocate my time to prepare foods for the day ahead so I wouldn’t go hungry; and this program has offered me a great opportunity to practice my skills of saying ‘Not No, but Not Now’.

So was I ever surprised by all the negative physical feelings of this cleanse.  I spent several days with a headache, several days craving eating anything containing flour, too many days feeling weak and tired; I’ve taken too many naps, spent too many days feeling fuzzy in the head and generally felt rundown for about half the cleanse.

Then along came day 18, and everything started to flow.  In the ‘Clean’ book, Junger talks about how the body may detox through elimination patterns.  Let’s just say three days ago my body started to eliminate.  Not the urgent, messy elimination like the stomach flu; but rather an hourly elimination of more stuff than I ever thought could be housed in my body.  After 18 days of nearly perfect adherence to the Clean protocol, I was in the bathroom hourly; and releasing, releasing, releasing.

And oddly, after three days of stupefying amounts of elimination; I feel great!  I feel better than I’ve felt the entire program so far, better than I felt at the end of last year’s cleanse; better than I feel most of the time.  I’m guessing my cleansing process is slower than most people’s, perhaps because of my thyroid disease, but I’m finally feeling ‘clean’.  Inside and out; I feel light, vibrant and clean!  This is somewhat of a new place for me; and I don’t have the best words to describe it, but I really do feel clean, as cheesy as that may be.

So tomorrow, I’ve already scheduled several gatherings with friends, and I’ll go off the program into food mayhem.   But starting the next day ( or Wednesday, or Thursday) I’m going back on the Elimination Diet, and I’m going forward with the Elimination Challenge to find out once and for all which foods trigger which responses in my body.  I feel so good right now, I’m scared to change anything, I’m scared to return to how I felt before the program or early on in the program. So maybe I’ll just stick with the program instead……not sure, going to sleep on it.

TTYM_logo150x136Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and General Health Zealot.  Contact her directly at or 727-641-6941


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Elimination Challenge Diet

What to eat, what to eat, what to eat?

Eating while on the Clean Start 2013 program is pretty straight forward, there’s a list of foods that are okay to eat and a list of those to avoid.  Simple – not always easy, but simple.  However, these last few years of focusing on my health and improving my nutrition have caused me to want to dig deeper and discover exactly what sort of reactions troublesome food groups cause in my body right now.

A little background, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 15 years; the first 10 or so of those I was basically a ‘junk food vegetarian’; eating whatever I wanted as long as it didn’t contain meat.  I was also an overworked, stressed out corporate executive who spent much of my time living in hotels away from home.  With that lifestyle, processed food was in, cookies and cakes and ice cream were in, nightly sessions at the bar was in; I ate the majority of my meals either at restaurants or from prepared foods purchased at the store.  On one hand, I was starting to awaken into health with a yoga practice, meditation practice and losing some weight; while on the other hand,  I was still feeling tired much of the time, struggling with frequent allergy attacks and colds, getting sick 3-4 times a year and suffering from chronic bloating and intestinal pain.

In the past 4-5 years, I’ve gradually become more and more aware of the effect certain foods have on me.  Two years ago I gave up caffeine and dairy and noticed an immediate improvement in how I felt.  Gone were the morning grogginess and energy swings of caffeine, gone was the chronic intestinal pain, gone was the chronic sniffles.  Last year on the Clean Program, I noticed that eliminating wheat and all processed foods minimized my allergy symptoms and further stabilized my energy levels through the day.

So now my quest is to figure out exactly which types of foods cause which reactions in my body.  A few times over the past few weeks when I’ve been low on energy with a big work day ahead, I’ve eaten eggs.  However, I’m finding that the day after I eat eggs I’m bloated and a bit foggy.  So perhaps I have a slight allergy to eggs, too?  I don’t know.  But I do know I’d like to figure out exactly which foods are best for me to eat at this time in my life.

The elimination diet is basically what we’ve been following the last few weeks on Clean Start 2013.  The next phase of the Elimination Diet is the Elimination Challenge.  You add in foods from the suspect food groups for one day, eating the potential offender 2-3 times throughout that day, then spend the next 2-3 days on the Elimination Diet again, noting changes in your body, mind, emotions.  So after completing the 21 days of Clean Start, I’m going to move into the Elimination Challenge Diet.  I plan on testing these food groups in my body:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Chicken/Turkey

Here’s an article about the Elimination Challenge:

I’ll keep you all updated on what I learn, and welcome your thoughts, ideas, comments; and if anyone wants to go along with me on the Elimination Challenge, I’d love the company!


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and General Health Nut.  Contact her directly at or 727-641-6941

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My Favorite Smoothie Recipe Yet

This morning’s smoothie for Day 15 on the Clean Start 2013 program is my favorite smoothie to date.  This smoothie is filling, refreshing and completely satisfying.  Here’s the ingredient list:

  • Collard Greens
  • Fennel
  • Apple
  • Pineapple
  • Ginger
  • Local Raw Honey
  • Raw Protein Powder
  • Coconut Water

I’d forgotten what a lovely, smooth flavor collard greens add to smoothies; they’re a much softer green taste than kale or even spinach.  The fennel, ginger and pineapple add a bit of refreshing zing, and the local raw honey gives the drink just enough sweetness.  If you haven’t tried adding collard greens or fennel to your smoothies, give them a try!



Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and general health zealot.  Contact her directly at or 727-641-6941.

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Staying Motivated

Here we are into the second week of Clean Start 2013!  While the first week of a new eating & behavior program is always interesting just because of the novelty, sometimes motivation can be more difficult to find as we settle into a new set of habits.  This is the time to surround ourselves with all sorts of great information, encouraging stories and positive people to help make these new habits we’re developing stick around for the long-term.  I find it helpful to seek out motivational support from a variety of venues:



  • Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead – probably the most poignant and powerful movie showing why changing how we eat is essential for many of us
  • Food Matters – terrific documentary showing how our food choices affect our health, illnesses and recovery
  • Hungry for Change – explores the hidden stories behind the addictive nature of processed foods



These are great to listen to in the background; the calls can be a bit long, but there are so many great nuggets of information included.




It is much easier to stay motivated when there are great tips showing up in your email box, you’re listening to a pod cast while driving to work, and  your evening entertainment is a food documentary.  Now that we’re into week 2, let’s stay strong, focused and committed to achieving the goals we set when we started these programs!   Here’s to all of us who are trying to live healthier lives – cheers!



Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and General Health Zealot.  Contact her directly at or 727-641-6941.




Cravings? Cravings? Cravings?

Here we are at day 5 of Clean Start 2013!  Five days of breakfast smoothies, five days without sugar, wheat, soy, processed foods…..and I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve already noticed several positive benefits from the days on Clean Start:

  • Pants that were tight at Christmas are now loose
  • Seasonal allergy symptoms – gone
  • Sleeping through the night


So it feels like I’m making good progress on the program; but this morning the food cravings will not settle down!  My body is craving some big, bulky food that will make me feel full.  These cravings caused me to review my journal from Clean Start 2012 to see how I handled the cravings.  And those times when I didn’t cave, I discovered that supplementing with L-Glutamine was quite helpful, as was drinking a glass of psyllium husks in water.  Here’s a great article about several supplements that may be helpful for food cravings:


And here’s one about the benefits of psyllium husks:


With all their fiber, psyllium husks quickly create a feeling of fullness in the body.  So that, plus their positive effect on cholesterol in the body make psyllium husks a great choice for most people.


Happy cleansing!   And please, please let me know if you’ve found any other great ideas on how to beat those food cravings.




Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and general Wellness Zealot.  Please contact her directly at or 727-641-6941.  


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Lentil, Collard Green & Mushroom Soup

Nothing smells better than walking into a house where the slow cooker has been making a fresh pot of soup all day while you’ve been out.  I just came home to a crock pot full of Lentil, Collard Green and Mushroom Soup.  Here’s the easy recipe:

IMG_11691 c. French Lentils (any other type will do)

1 c. chopped Collard Greens – packed tightly

1 c. sliced Mushrooms – packed tightly

1 c. sliced Green Beans

1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/2 c. chopped celery

1/2 chopped onion

2 chopped shallots

3 cloves garlic – diced

1 t. salt – more to taste

1 T. pepper

1 t. cumin – substitute oregano, if desired

4 c. vegetable broth

Put all ingredients in crock pot/slow cooker.  Cover. Heat on low for 6-8 hours.


Walk in the door after a long day and be so, so happy with yourself for planning and prepping ahead to take good care of yourself tonight.   Celebrate making better choices!


Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and General Health Zealot.  Contact her directly at: or 727-641-6941

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Clean Start 2013 Musings.


Overview of the Program:

In its most simplistic state, CLEAN is a liver detox.  We jettison processed foods and sugar. CLEAN  will reset your body.  When feeding your body proper fuels it will naturally heal itself.

A focused period of detoxifying is a reset for the whole physical and mental body.  It delivers an all-access pass to boundless reserves of energy you didn’t know you had.  You will find that every part of your body works better.  Imbalances are rectified, and irritation symptoms get a chance to melt away on their own – all by you simply “switching on” a system that you were born with that has patiently been waiting to serve you.

– CLEAN by Alejandro Unger

Clean — Expanded Edition

Click above to order from  Reading the book will give you a better understanding of the way your body functions.  While I am not in total agreement with everything in the book (I am pretty opinionated – Hence the reason my niece calls me Ms. Bossy-Pants.) I think you will find that it covers a goodly portion of necessary information and should whet your whistle for more nutrition and lifestyle information.

What to Eat:

Real, un-processed food. No sugar, limit your dairy and in my humble opinion – ditch gluten.

We are focusing on traditional foods.   (See http://nourishedkitchen.comfor information on traditional foods).  If you are doing the Whole30 Challenge in conjunction with this, see bottom of post.

How to Eat It:

Every day you will have one solid meal and two “drinks” or liquid meals.  Think Smoothie, Juice or Soup.

  • Plan to have liquid meals for breakfast and dinner.
  •  Solid meal for lunch
  • Leave 12 hours between your last meal and your first.
  • Snack as needed. Broths, veggies, nuts, seeds
  • Drink somewhere near half your goal body weight in water (if you want to be 150 lbs. drink near 75 oz.)
  • Read pages 163 -166, 188-190

Other Necessities:

Move:  Start something, Play. Go to PetPal and walk the dogs.  Do something that you have forgotten you love.  But move for an hour daily.  Yes, daily.

Skin Brushing: See Suzanne’s post about it –

Read: Educate yourself on nutrition.  See Check my website and Suzanne’s for lifestyle information, recipes, resources.  We have been culling knowledge for quite sometime.  We pretty much geek out on this stuff. and

Sleep:  Once into the detox you may feel really crummy.  Really, really crummy.  Success – you know you are detoxing.  But be kind to yourself and try to get 8 hours at night and by all means – NAP!  Sleep is when repair occurs.  Sleep.,

How the Challenge Works:

It’s the honor system.  As soon as my nephew comes home I will upload a tracker for you to count your points. He’s way better at this computer stuff than me.  🙂

You get points for:

  1. Clean Food (2 liquid, 1 whole) – you get 1 point for every meal done within guidelines. = 3 points per day
  2. WOD – Workout of the Day – you get 1 point for everyday that you walk/yoga/workout.  NOTE: Starting your cleanse can be tough on your body. This is not the time to go hard core.  Just move for the next 3 weeks and be kind to yourself.
  3. Supplements –  1 point per day for taking a supplement,. Everyone should supplement with a multi and an Omega 3.  You, however, are an individual.  Take some time to research. Which leads me to…
  4. Bloodwork.  3 points per challenge.  It’s a great time to go check in with your doctor.  Get some labs done, I personally would get a saliva test done.  Invaluable information about what your thyroid and adrenals are doing.  This sets you up to be your favorite experiment.  Clean up your diet and lifestyle and check back in with your labs to see how far you have come.  If you do not have a doctor, get one.  If it takes sometime to get in, we have Tina coming to Island Massage on January 4th.  She can do some testing.  Reach Tina at
    (813) 689-8909 | 1-888-667-7587 |  Or I happened upon a doozy of a new company that I really like.  The WellnessFX health professional of your choice will analyze your lab results, answer your questions, and offer personalized recommendations. Everything is web based so it is very easy.
  5. Sleep – 1 point for every evening you get 8 hours.

My Adventures from CS2012:

When Suzanne and I started this last year, I was up for a challenge.  I had been playing with doing a Paleo/Primal -centric diet for a few months, but just couldn’t get it all together.  When I read CLEAN, it made sense for me to use the format to get more veggies and raw foods in.  It corresponds with about 80% of my Primal guidelines, But in all things 20% of what I do nutritionally is based on my own personal needs.

I really enjoyed the CLEAN START.  I am a bona fide sugar addict.  Ask anyone.  So coming off the sugar was very difficult for me.  The hardest part was not putting any honey in my coffee.  That was VERY hard.  In my reading/stalking/researching I found many alternatives and found that using an organic coconut milk made me not miss my honey.  It’s the little things….

CLEAN went on for three weeks and I did fabulously.  I felt much better, my asthma improved with the eilimination of gluten from my diet.  Things were generally better over all.  The REALLY interesting part is that just taking control of my health for that short three week period led me to major lifestyle changes:

  1. I started buying produce from a CSA (
  2. I started buying grass-fed/pastured meats from a local chef ( who delivers to me.  How cool is that?
  3. I started going to CrossFit En Fuego.  Boy did I move! And – found a whole new community of lovely people.
  4. i went on to further my CrossFit education by becoming a Level 1 CrossFit Instructor.
  5. I became a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation for my interest in traditional foods.
  6. I home brew Kombucha now.  It looks like I went totally hippie.
  7. With the exception of special occasions – I have eliminated, gluten, grains, bread, dairy with the exception of grass-fed butter and the occasional cheese from my diet.
  8. With the exception of special occasions – I don’t eat processed foods.
  9. I cook.  Me.  I cook now.  Amazing.
  10. i started doing more Yoga – and went for Yoga Teacher Training
  11. I rarely listen to the radio.  Just Podcasts on Nutrition and Lifestyle. My favorites from itunes: Robb Wolf, Abel James, Liz Wolfe/Diane SanFillipo.  Can’t get enough.
  12. I know all the sinister names of sugar (Great Way to Uncover Hidden Sugar: ).
  13. I completed a 21 Day Sugar Detox.
  14. I completed a 60 Day Paleo Challenge.
  15. I learned that fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat is nourishing.
  16. I learned that your body composition is 70% nutrition, 20% exercise and 10% genetic.
  17. I never realized that the big 3 are pretty much in all processed foods. Corn, Soy or Wheat in some type of derivative.
  18. I feel like I have been given a huge gift of understanding.
  19. My relationship with food has completely changed.  For the better.

So I urge you.  It’s 3 weeks. Just think of all the positive things you can do.  Fuel your body.  Let it heal.  Open yourself up to a whole new world.

I know you don’t want another form of social media, but I will tell you I have resourced hundreds of recipes on my Pinterest board. You can connect through my website or look for me as Debbie Forbes or IronSherpa.  This is a fantastic way to cull great recipes.  It’s worth the time.

Sample Recipes:

Debbie’s Favorite Smoothie:

  • 2 handfuls of organic baby spinach
  • 1/2 or 1 can of organic coconut milk
  • Handful of Blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Optional Almond Butter (somedays I do it, somedays not.)


  • Coconut-curried-butternut squash:
  • Cauliflower Soup:


If you are doing the Whole30 Challenge – everything resource based is here: or read the book.  Click for Amazon link.

It Starts with Food

Whole 30 is a 4 week program based on Paleo/Primal principles.  I would suggest reading the book.  The differences between CLEAN and WHOLE 30 in my opinion, lie with the fruit juicing.  Whole30 limits fruit if you are trying to lose weight.  Another Paleo/Primal issue stems from Smoothies.  Some like them, some authors say they don’t like liquids dumped into the system.  My approach is this: If it gets me to eat a handful of spinach and good food, keeps my energy levels up and fortifies my body – I’m okay with it.  For 3 weeks I will drink smoothies in the morning.  After the 3 weeks I will probably back off to 2/3 a week. I am really addicted to my eggs in the morning.  Do the research and see what works for you.  Please do check out my Pinterest recipes, I have a Paleo board and a Paleo Treat board. Tons of recipes.  My other favorite is

 How I Am Preparing For the Challenge:

  • I would suggest you read Mark Sisson’s post to simplify your life:
  • I finally bought a much needed small chest freezer.  This way I can stock up on my meats, freeze all my soups and meals for transportation.  I can get better prices since I can freeze a majority of foods.
  • January 1-7 I am going to make a pot of soup everyday (buy a crockpot.  Really.) so I am well stocked for my 3 weeks.
  • Cleaning out the pantry.
  • Download these PDF’S for the fridge:
  • I am going to re-read Melissa Joulwan’s book Well Fed. It helps with the cooking and maintenance.
  • Well Fed

  • Since I am pretty Primal-centric this year, I don’t have as much to do.  Just tweaking and learning about more foods and trying more things. So I will be “pinning” tons of recipes!

I hope you will join me.  Feel free to post questions on the Facebook Page. ( Suzanne and I will be monitoring and finding resources for your questions. Or email me directly at  I am happy to share my opinions.  🙂

Namaste’ and Cheers to you!