SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Review & Giveaway

SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Review

I was so excited when SL3S contacted me and asked if I’d review their new belt with a generous and amazing offer below.

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SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Review - Get 40% off and enter to win a free belt! Click To Tweet

It so happened I was in the market for a new belt because the one I’d had for 3 years just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I hope you’ll keep reading (and watching below) to learn why I think this belt is the best thing since sliced bread.

SLS3 is a German company that creates and develops their products from scratch, is thoroughly tested by athletes and then, if deemed awesome, put into production! They know that runners, cyclist and triathletes want high-performance gear that does its job without getting in the way.

WATERPROOF

I really liked the SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt, primarily because it is waterproof!

As you know, I love photography and my phone is permanently attached to me at all times so I can catch the perfect shot. However, when the weather is bad, I am always putting my Samsung Galaxy S6 in a plastic sandwich baggie for protection from the elements.

Now I don’t have to worry because the belt has a top-grade stretchable waterproof polyurethane lining with water-proof zipper.

CAPACITY

Another critical benefit is the large capacity of the belt when needed.

I run too long and with my allergies and asthma, I need to carry extra junk that most people don’t have that could literally save my life… and save you from having to call 911 and perform CPR on me as my running partner! And, I run long enough that I also need to carry fuel with me, but not necessarily water since our trails have tons of easy access, so being as minimalist as possible on these runs, is great!

The bonus? My large Samsung Galaxy S6 (and your new iPhone) will also fit easily in either of the pockets. I think the Samsung Note might also make it, too!  There is plenty of room for cash, credit cards, sports gels, energy bars, inhalers and any other essential supplies.

The SLS3 belt is soooo roomy, it’s almost ridiculous!  Watch this!

ADJUSTABLE

I appreciate that it’s a fully adjustable belt fitting sizes 24″-38″. I’m a woman’s size 8-10 with hips and there is still room for the belt to expand (like I do!). It’s very comfortable to wear while running.

Use it every day if you want to – this belt can take a beating. I thought it might be a great alternative to keep my money and phone safe while going down Splash Mountain at the amusement park this summer, or take it on our bike rides into town for ice-cream. It is fully washable, so any spilled ice-cream can come right out!

If you’re fashion conscious, it comes in several great colors, too!

BONUS!

SLS3 shared a special 40% off coupon especially for my readers when you use the coupon code on anything in their store. Use coupon code: BLOG40.

You can also purchase this belt on Amazon for a bigger discount here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017DRIKFY

This is a limited time introductory price for the dual pocket run belt. The belt retails at $29.90 and the Amazon store has it listed for $16.90 (43% Off).

And, if you want a chance to win a SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt of your own, sign up right here! Winners will be announced in a week.

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*SLS3 sent me a lime green SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt in exchange for a comprehensive review. All opinions are my own. Thanks SLS3 for the opportunity to showcase your great product!*

Giveaway! Get Your Freekeh On!

Don’t freekeh out… get your freekeh on! Oh YA!

Do you even know what freekeh is?!!!

I had never heard of freekeh before, but, I was extremely curious and raised my farm-girl hand really high when they asked for taste-testers to review their organic product. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and received two different flavors to try: Original and Rosemary Sage.  Yum!

I really liked that it was certified organic, non-gmo and grown in the USA. Most of all, I was excited to find a new whole grain to add to my running fuel repertoire. What’s really great is that it’s a good source of fiber and protein, too.

Even with this knowledge, I still didn’t know what freekeh was. Here’s what I discovered:

Freekeh is a process which means “to rub” in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created.

I love those happy accidents!

So then, my dilemma was trying to figure out how to cook it and what to serve with freekeh. It’s actually fairly easy to prepare… very much like cooking rice and you can go online to their website to find some great recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

One pouch is supposed to serve 4, but as a side dish, we were able to easily stretch it for our family of 5. It’s got a great nutty flavor and texture and goes well with just about every meal.  We ended up making a baked cod, caprese salad, and freekeh.

Wow! Talk about filling! All of us really liked the Rosemary freekeh!

I’m so excited that I have the priviledge of giving away one bag of Freekeh Foods of your choice! The winner gets their choice of Original, Rosemary, or Tamari.

Be sure to leave me a blog comment letting me know if you’ve tried Freekeh before and which recipe you think you’ll try first if you win the giveaway!

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Christmas In July 6-Hour Race Recap

CiJ-Logo-BlueBG-WithDate-ForWeb800px-July2015Event(My quick side note, I wrote this a while back and have just felt so very LAZY and working on catching up with so many things. All I needed to do was add the pictures and here we are 3 weeks later! Thanks for being so patient… here’s my original thoughts).

What’s better than running an ultra-marathon?

Running it when you should be sleeping, of course!!! And, because the night is so long, be prepared to read a long post! HA HA. Feel free to just fast forward to the end. In fact, I’ll spoil it for you… I finished 🙂

A week and a half ago, I saddled up to the starting line of the Christmas in July 6-Hour Race in Lisle, Illinois with 6 of my closest ultra (crazy awesome) girlfriends!  My goal at the time was to at least get to 27 miles or 27 laps. Anything more than 26.2 is considered an ultra-marathon and in this race, the number of laps is what counts on the official results.

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Last year, I found out about this race when I went to cheer on my dear friend, Karen at Trading in My Heels, as she completed this race as her very first Ultra-Marathon! There was noooo way, I’d spend the night cheering her on (this Mama needs her shut-eye) and so I went bright and early to cheer and watch her finish this epic endeavor. I saw her as she just stepped into ultra territory and at mile 27, Karen was in serious pain, sleep-deprived, and exhausted, but even despite that, she planted the seed for me to do this really cool event a year later with her… Just because she was smiling at the end of her 50K!

Karen is amazing! Even after staying up all night conquering 50K,, she looked more awake than me!

Karen is amazing! Even after staying up all night conquering 50K,, she looked more awake than me!

Here’s what went down for my run.

About 6 months ago, I met these women. They were incredible and we all came together toward a common goal. We wanted to do an ultra-marathon and the Christmas In July 6-hour event was the one to do because HEY, girls just wanna have fun!!!

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We had some amazing, hilarious, mosquito-infested, memory-making training runs together as we shared our journey and progress with one another online sometimes on an hourly basis! I’ll be honest and say that they were all a lot more dedicated than I was and I know that without them, I wouldn’t have slugged it out the last 10 weeks of training to make it to this event. (Many hugs, much gratitude, and love to you tough chicks!)

In hindsight, it’s hard to believe there is any way I should have done what I did. I literally ran an average of 24 miles a week in the last 10 weeks… not exactly a perfect training plan.

It was the hottest, most humid day of the year and I had just flown in from spending 3 weeks in Portland, Oregon where it was 70 degrees with no humidity. I arrived 24 hours before the race spending the whole next day sealed up inside my house only opening the door to let the dogs in and out of the house! Each time I met that blast of hot, humid air, I started to worry a bit more. I even cranked down the A/C because I was sweating my boobs off just doing some light housework! Holy Hotness!

I spent the day of the event packing my gear, literally moving stuff out of my suitcase and transferring it straight into my ultra duffel bag. The one thing I changed was my running outfit.

IMG_20150717_125416I normally wear compression shorts & socks for anything over 13 miles, but there was no way I could wear that many clothes with it so hot. So I did a million Madonna wardrobe changes… I almost wanted to run in a swim bikini…(oh, but the thigh chaffing. Nope. I don’t have Madonna’s body).

I also couldn’t figure out what to eat and had a minor panic attack at 1am the previous morning asking my ultra chicks what to do! Normally, most of us eat a light dinner the night before, then sleep and wake up to have a light carbo fueled breakfast before going to the race. But since this race started at 12 am, do I eat a light ‘dinner’ at breakfast and then try to sleep and have a light carbo ‘breakfast’ for dinner?

OK, so this is where I started getting delusional. Yes! It starts 24 hours before the race (Oh stop, I know you’re thinking that signing up for an ultra already makes me delusional.)

I ended up have a light spaghetti dinner early and then attempted a 2-hour nap at 6 pm. I got in a 1-hour nap and then reality hit waking me up!

Karen picked me up at 10 pm and as we drove to the event, there were these beautiful huge clouds filled with lightning. Hmmmm. We arrived in the dark at almost the same time as Penny, Kim, Barb, Michelle and Maggie. We basically gave each other play-by-play texts… “Leaving now”, “Be there in 5 minutes”, “See you soon!”, “We are crazy!”!

Once we walked to the main race course area, I picked up my race packet and was happily surprised to see a warm winter cap, long-sleeved tech shirt AND short-sleeved tech shirt! WOW! I had no idea we’d get so much great gear… I guess I didn’t read the fine print. I thought I was just paying for food and lighting! HA HA! (or HO HO).

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This was also the first time I wore an ankle timing chip. I thought it might bug me, but it was actually very soft and I forgot I was wearing it until they had to help me take it off at the end!

This year, the event also allowed participants and those cheering to set up open tents along the course route for drop bags and other spectator comforts. Of course the UBAGE girls (Ultra Bad Ass Girl Extravaganza – coined by Kim) had a blanket and a chair and we just threw our stuff in the grass about 50 paces from the aid station and starting line along the route.

The aid station was AMAZING! In all honestly, I got hungry just looking at the aid station before the race even started!

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Isn’t this ULTRA AWESOME aid?

The race stocked up on water, Gatorade, soda, various forms of food, candy, fruit, gels, pizza and other special request items on 4 tables. They rotated food items throughout the night, too which was perfect because when you’re running that long, something that sounds appetizing at 2 am, doesn’t always sound appetizing at 3 am! In fact, it’s quite possible it sounds good when you grab it and as soon as you put it in your mouth you decide it’s no longer tasty. (I did a few double takes and back tracks myself).

We started promptly at 12 am with about 50+ other 6-hour runners. Believe it or not, there is also a 12-hour race and a 24-hour race, both of which had started an hour or two earlier with all of us running our respective raced concurrently. We started off to one side as we watched these amazing people on their journeys!

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It took me a couple of laps to take in all the wonderful sights and sounds all along the course.

The starting line was all decked out in Christmas lights and red & white stripped tents. Along the way, the volunteers set up luminary candles around the entire course with signs pointing the way. I specifically remember a huge blow up snowman and a huge Santa on The Hill (more on this soon) along with several other Christmas displays. The back part of the course was really dark, but it was one of my favorite spots because the lightning bugs became God’s disco ball creating a party of their own and it became my quite place to reflect when things got tough.

I also really appreciated a few glow sticks thrown into puddles and around that sharp bend. And the fan?! Thank you to the spectators who had that glorious fan set up around the bend when the air became stifling! I did happen to notice your nice blender and margarita mix station, too… I wanted to stop, turn on the Jimmy Buffett and join you. I think that will be in my drop bag next time!

Surprisingly, even with all the darkness, at some point I just turned off my knuckle lights (thank you to the best Mom in the whole world for the very handy gift) for all but the darkest sections because my eyes adjusted to the low light and the harsh lights just annoyed me. Might be that lack of sleep thing?! LOL!

Now que up Queen! Thunderbolts and Lightening… very, very frightening!

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From the moment we arrived at the race, there were huge clouds giving us a great lightning show just to the south of us. But as we started running, the clouds started building up and the lightening was all around us. It finally opened up on us about a half hour into the run for about 1.5-2 hours. Honestly, the rain felt WONDERFUL, but I’m a huge scaredy cat when it comes to being outdoors in dangerous weather. Kim and I were running together at this point and she probably wanted to push me off the path because I wouldn’t shut up about how freaked out I was every time I saw the lightening.

At some point we were separated and then it was like a Merry-Go-Round as I somehow caught up to Penny, Maggie and Karen who asked where Barb, Kim and Michelle were. Then as I found Michelle, she’d ask where everyone else was. I lost Kim and Barb for a good part of the evening and at one point Michelle I think ran backward to try to find Karen!

funny-pictures-this-kitten-is-confusedEven my coach, Tom apparently said hi to me several times through the night, but I was oblivious and didn’t see him until it started to get light and my iPod stopped working. I also was blaring it, so I didn’t hear much else except Straight No Chaser for a couple of hours – sorry, Tom 🙂

There was also this little-ish hill. I don’t hate hills, I actually love hills and am a pretty strong hill runner. But after 23 miles and 23 times of seeing this hill, I named it, ‘The Stupid Hill’. I still didn’t hate it. It was just that now I had to walk The Stupid Hill. When you’re running an ultra marathon, you need to walk. Most people will never make it if they don’t. Ask everyone who ran that race because they walked up The Stupid Hill, too. And at some point going DOWN The Stupid Hill becomes as tiring as going up it.

As far as fueling, I hadn’t even thought of my plan, other than drink often and make sure I had something to eat every half hour. It didn’t occur to me I would lose complete track of the time and thankfully, Karen shared her plan to drink every 2 miles and eat every 5 miles.

To be honest, I followed that rule for the first 10 miles. After that it became a blur. I know I drank my Isagenix e+ shots at miles 13 and again at mile 25 which helped tremendously, but I also ate a lot more frequently and drank more, too. I pre-made quite a bit of concentrated Caffeinated Raspberry Buzz Tailwind and Lemon Tailwind for my drop bag which has worked great for me on 4-hr runs. I also had umeboshi and brown rice balls that I nibbled on for extra salt and carbs, too.

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I predicted the humidity might take a toll on me and it still did despite my best fueling efforts. I also alternated with extra water and Gatorade every loop, a few pieces of candy, a half a banana, and at dawn the aid station provided boiled potatoes I actually LOVED!!!  Who knew?! I tried Mountain Dew around 20 miles, but it was too sweet. #gag

At the 2 hour point, I couldn’t believe we still had 4 hours to go. At the 4 hour point, I couldn’t believe we still had 2 more hours. At 23 miles the leg cramps started. Just like in my Chicago Marathon! GRRRRR! This time I didn’t panic. I just stretched a bit, walked for about 2 miles and started pounding down the Gatorade at every single lap to see if I could curb the cramps. At this point, I knew I would make my goal of 27 miles, but now I had it in my mind to reach 30. It meant I had to speed up and go faster than the 18 minute miles I had just finished. If I could go under 15 minute miles, I could do it.

At 25 miles I adopted a very funny hip shuffle run that got the job done. I finally saw Barb who I thought had flown by me at the very beginning. She looked so strong and decided to stay with me for the last few miles as we crossed the finish together! She probably could have run another whole lap around me, but I was grateful for her company. Thank you, Barb!

This was Barb’s and Kim’s first Ultra and they both ROCKED it! I’m so proud of them and know the ultra bug has hit its mark with them, too.

I still can’t believe I ran 30 miles in 6 hours. We walked past the finish line until my Garmin said 30. It was 30 official laps. Each loop was a 0.9732971994 mile. I finished in 6 hours.

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I was shocked when I discovered I placed 4th overall for women and was 1st in the Women’s Master’s Division. REALLY? ME? AAND… Barb took 2nd!  WOOHOO! We both received the coolest nutcracker awards and Mr. Pirate is happily sitting on my mantle next to my finisher’s medal.

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Do you think he’ll get lonely and want a friend to join him next year?

Maybe there’s a rumor of us getting together for another ultra event in the future? Time will tell and you’ll just have to wait and see 🙂

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This race experience has been one of my best ones ever. In the past, I felt proud of my running accomplishment, but this time, I really believe this was an amazing group effort. It took all of us working together, sharing ideas, plans, motivation, encouragement, (pickles and bug spray) and so much more for all of us to make it to the end of this race!

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I’m so proud of these women and the nutcracker award is really a win for all the UBAGE chicks. I’m incredible honored to know each of them and have their friendship. They inspire me daily. They make me a better runner, friend and woman. I’m forever grateful to each one of them!!!

Have you ever thought about running a race that seemed out of your reach? Is an Ultra on your bucket-list? Do you have friends who are crazy enough to challenge you to check off your goals and dreams… and join you at the same time?!

If not, you should go find some. They are out there 🙂

P.S. Blogging hasn’t exactly been on the forefront of my mind in the past 3 months as I’ve been focused on some pretty important things with my family that needed my love and attention. I hope I’m back on track and wholeheartedly appreciate your patience, love and support as I get re-energized and focused again!

Food Matters 3-Day Detox Review

real-foodI wanted to deconstruct a few of my thoughts about the 3-Day Detox from Food Matters as quickly as I can. Honestly, I’ve been struggling with how to put my gut feelings and the science behind them into writing. I have perfectionist tendencies and for this particular blog, I’m going to just let them go and write.

It’s overwhelming because I tend to get bogged down in the weeds… I can go really deep with my research, but life has a way of taking over all of my extra time!  I have a lot to say, but will add a bunch of links so you can read more of the science on your own if it interests you!

A few Pros:

  1. The plan encourages eating lots of vegetables. If you’re not a veggie eater, you’ll definitely get some great nutrients your body is probably already missing and you’ll be exposed to a few greens you may never have tried before!
  2. The plan is simple to follow.
  3. The soup and salad were really tasty and would be an even better as a complete meal with chicken, fish, tofu, or any of your favorite lean proteins!
  4. They give you a few new healthy ideas for hydrating during a normal eating day (fruit flavored water, green juice, herbal teas) and encourage getting rid of the processed foods. (but you already knew you’re supposed to do that, right?!)

And then there were lots of Cons things that really bugged me:

  1. I didn’t see one bit of science presented as to how and why this particular plan works to help your body detoxify. They just said it would and you would feel great. Where is the registered dietician or nutritionist in this plan?
  2. They say you can exercise during the 3-days. NO! NO! NO!  Even if you’re just beginning an exercise program and walking 10 minutes is difficult for you, your body is not getting ANY protein (according to them you do – see #3), and not enough nutrients, both micro and macro, to allow for proper fueling and recovery.  As you all saw in my videos by the end of day 2 I was struggling to focus and concentrate and I ended up having to take 3 full days off from exercising even though I started eating a balanced diet on day three. I honestly can’t imagine how bad I’d feel if I’d exercised.
  3. During the Q&A video, someone asked if not getting any protein was healthy. The lady said something making me pause the video to do a quick google check. She said, (and I’m getting as close to her words as possible) “If you can go 10 days without eating meat, your body is not withering away…. How do cows get protein? They eat grass all day, they are still getting protein from grass” WOW. That’s a stretch. If you honestly think a cow and a human process all food the same, you are wrong. See here.
  4. Food Matters actually endorsed doing this detox for up to 10 days. Forget it. To be honest, my friend Carrie and I felt like this plan was a precursor to an eating disorder. Even Laurentine said in the video, “Mum was saying, I don’t even feel like eating on day 3… I don’t need to eat.” And that’s exactly how we felt. It was HARD to eat again and I did not like that feeling at all. I ate like a toddler for a full day because I couldn’t eat and I felt hungry all the time. I can’t imagine how someone who has gone through gastric bypass or stomach stapling feels. (A Food Matters documentary review…just more bad science)
  5. Juicing is a big part of their lifestyle. I’m not a nutritionist, but juicing takes out all the great fiber our bodies are designed to utilize in order to properly digest the nutrients we are eating. Granted, the plan was all greens and no sweet veggies or fruits, so no big sugar spikes you’d get with fruit juicing, but I felt like there was so much waste. Their premise was by drinking a high nutrient, low fiber drink, it aids detoxification by eliminating the strain on the digestive system. Plus, you can call me lazy, but cleaning the juicer is a huge pain in the BLEEP. I prefer to be a blender meal-making chick.
  6. Many people mentioned feeling very hungry, light-headed, wanting to pass out, shaking, weak, out of sorts and feeling nausea. Food Matters said they were detox flare ups from caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants like sugar.  By day 2 and 3, those symptoms would ease away. You would experience a detox ‘high’ but recommended not to let that go on because you need to rebuild and regenerate. The analogy they used was “you can’t detox too long because not only will you sweep the dust out of the house, but you’ll sweep out the furniture, too”. (So why can you do this plan for 10 days?!. You lost me.) As an FYI, I don’t use nicotine, drink caffeine about once a week and I cut way back on sugar prior to starting this. Was I detoxing hypoglycemic?
  7. They told me to mediate. UGH. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried in my lifetime – it just makes me irritable and frustrated and then I fall asleep. When I was irritable and couldn’t think during this three days, the only thing I could mediate on was steak. In reality, my meditation time and opportunity to refocus is when I’m running!
  8. Laurentine says “You may feel pain in your spleen or in your liver because unwanted foods or toxins get stuck in there that are coming out through bowels, or you’re sweating it out. Continue for 10 days. It’s not dangerous, it’s super healthy, you are getting the right amount of nutrients per day. You can always increase the amout of juice, soup or salad if you are hungry”. (Where the heck is my spleen? And how would I know if it’s good or bad pain? And since I am not a cow, the same salad every day is going to give me salad aversion and I’ll need to see a therapist… see how this can be a precursor to an eating disorder?)
  9. Remember when I ran the 50K in November and wanted to eat like a monster for days on end after? Ya. This is the same thing. I felt so depleted that instead of wanting to continue to eat healthy beyond the detox, I felt like I would eat anything that would satisfy me. I really tried to eat as healthy as possible, but it didn’t take away my desire for a treat here and there. Eating so few calories for just three days made me want to eat more… um, binging anyone?! I binged on chicken and pasta, just so you know. Which makes me remember that I need to eat more in my next ultra!
  10. My rapid heart rate on day 3 was scary! And this is what I read. “Many early very low calorie diets caused fatal heart rhythms when body levels of magnesium or potassium dropped in susceptible individuals.” If this is what happened in my body, obviously, the detox plan does NOT have enough nutrients for my body. As this article mentions, as soon as I started eating more and adding back in my vitamins along with dense nutrition in the form of colorful veggies, whole grains and proteins, those symptoms quickly went away.

Bottom line: It’s my personal opinion this detox plan is not safe for me (and probably not for most of you, either). I’m a very healthy, active woman with a normal BMI. This particular plan does not provide my body with the nutrients it needs and I can’t say I felt like I had any energy or felt great as Food Matters claims I would be feeling.

For the record, all four of us who started this detox plan all agreed we are not believers in the 3-day detox for healthy living. Three of us actually went through with starting it, one of us had to modify from the beginning for the calories and nutrition for training during the 3 days, I quit after day two and the third quit a couple hours after I did. No one felt more energy and I don’t believe any of us will do this ever again.

You can watch the Food Matters Q&A video here and come to your own conclusions:  Q&A Video

So here’s the skinny. JUST EAT HEALTHY!!! 

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  • Cut out processed foods. No artificial stuff. Eat clean.
  • Shop the outside edges of your grocery store. Have you noticed all the healthiest foods are on the outside and those boxed foods are on the inside isles?
  • Eat organic as much as you can.
  • Drink more water. Quit soda.
  • Sleep more.

Blah blah blah… we know how to do this!  And if you’re working on it? So am I!

Let me know if you’re working on eating healthier and improving your lifestyle!  What are your favorite resources for clean eating recipes and tips?

Day 1- Food Matters 3-Day Detox Video Review

YAY! I finally figured out how to get my first day review up!  (don’t you just hate love computers?!) Apologize for the grainyness… will work on that for today. Here is a link to the Detox Plan.

If you want to see a funny little video of my kids trying the green juice, check out my facebook page later today as I’ll try to get them on there!

What’s your opinion of detoxing or cleansing?