All posts by Stephanie Madrid

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Immunity Boosting Soup

Serves 3 healthy guts

Well New York, the cold has frigidly made its way here. We’ve all become heavily aware that we are always at the brink of contracting someone’s cold or flu symptoms. No matter how much the MTA asks us to cover our mouths.

I’ve recently picked up some light reading on a comprehensive guide on understanding/harmonizing energy centers. Otherwise known as chakras. There is a rule that believes that there are four energy bodies that live together to create the human organism: the ethereal body, the emotional or astral body, the mental body and the spiritual body.   The ethereal body is the closest body that resembles our physical body in shape and dimension. I’ll save in depth chakra talk for another post but essentially, I’ve gathered that our physical body (ethereal body) gives off a protective layer of rays through a porous structure that serve as a shield against germs and harmful materials entering the body and simultaneously, it serves as vital energy for the environment as well.  Chakra teachings essentially believe that “this natural protection means that a person cannot fall ill from external causes. The causes of sickness always lie within”.  Even down to your negative thoughts and emotions & lifestyle will not harmonize with the natural needs of your body to be healthy!

One of our CasiClean sisters has fallen to the clutches of the cold/flu season. Jennifer recently came back from Colombia and came back with the uglies. Although she went to the sun and fun – FUN means extra work for your body. Between the decadent foods, copious amounts of alcohol and introduction of new foods, your body works overtime. Which as you can guess, has less energy/time to keep your immune system strong.

Below is a recipe for a detox soup we recently posted on our Instagram. You can look at it as a detox soup or as a major immunity booster. It may look funky but it really made our ethereal bodies sing and shine like love at first slurp!


1 tablespoon of Ghee (clarified butter) or Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped small
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
4 cups vegetable stock (2 cups of stock and 2 cups of water to reduce the sodium)
2″ piece of ginger, minced
1 cup of cabbage, chopped
2 cups chopped curly kale
a large handful of spinach, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
fresh chopped parsley, flax oil and fresh black pepper for garnish
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional*
We used an Ayurvedic seasoning (Ginger, Pepper, Coriander and Turmeric) dedicated to Kapha dosha types.

Heat the ghee or olive oil in a medium sized pot over high to medium heat. Throw in the onion and garlic and begin to sauté until onions are slightly translucent. Add the sweet potato and sauté until they just begin to soften. Stir in the stock and ginger and simmer for 10 minutes. We added the salt, pepper and Kapha seasoning here.

Add the cabbage and kale and cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes, covered. Once the half hour is up, stir in the spinach and lemon juice. The lemon juice is key! Trust us, it made all the difference. Ensure that the spinach wilts.

Next, puree half the soup in a blender and serve with fresh parsley and more pepper if you’d like. Enjoy it!

This recipe came from Fran’s House of Ayurveda (http://franlife.blogspot.com/2008/01/recipe-detox-soup.html). As with most recipes we try, we tend to drastically alter it to increase the flavors we’ve grown to love. Blame it on our background, but we are some mamas that love our sabor! However, if you’re looking to truly detox, we recommend Fran’s recipe for the real deal.

My Break-Up with Coffee

Let’s just come out with it now. I haven’t had any coffee for more than 30 days.  The cleanse indeed initiated this surprisingly astonishing news that breaks people’s hearts when I tell them. The faces I get are equivalent to notifying a recent breakup of your favorite couple. I can’t say I was an obsessive coffee drinker to begin with – you know the type that gets migraines if the coffee bean ceases to exist. That said, I enjoyed the coffee culture and what it had become. Living in Brooklyn didn’t made it easier – Brooklyn has perfected the art of coffee shops. Visit South Brooklyn and you will gladly agree. On average, I had 2 cups daily. But the real question was – what did my dependency stem from? I realized that I leveraged it simply to enhance my mood.

It has been an average of 2 months since my last cup of coffee.  The question you might have for me is – what has improved or changed?  Well, I don’t have a dependency on a stimulant to keep me awake.  If I feel the need for a “pick me-up”, there could be a number of things my body is trying to tell me: I need more sleep, eat a snack, drink more water or brew some tea.  One of these always settles my issue. What I’ve learned is that feeling tired is typically a state of mind, similar to being hungry all the time.  As I mentioned above, coffee drinking is also a cultural movement.  I have found that it takes other creative proposals, on my behalf, to meet up with others outside of the coffee shop scene.  It’s funny how many invitations begin with “let’s catch up over coffee soon!”

If you are thinking about letting go of coffee because you’d like to break free from the enslaving chains or want to experience natural energy – highly recommended. I did devise a list of ways you can slowly develop this shift.  Especially if you do experience the heavy side effects:

1 ) Do Not Cut Coffee Cold Turkey

As with any addictive drug, you want to lower your dependency gradually.  Here you can find one blogger who  set out a week by week plan on how to decrease your intake.

2 ) Find Your Ideal Substitute

Find the substitute to coffee that works for you.  For me, I started to drink Yerba Mate tea every morning because it scratched the itch for something warm on a cold morning.  Other alternatives are matcha lattes, green teas, chai teas and any kind of herbal tea.

3 ) Develop a Sleep Schedule

Begin to understand how much sleep your body needs.  Do you operate better on 5 or 7 hours of sleep?  What habits are keeping you up late at night for no good reason?  When you establish a sleep pattern and give your body enough sleep to restore a day’s work, it pays you back handsomely with good energy all day.

4 ) Water Please

Nobody believes me but drinking water actually can keep you from being tired as well.  Our cells love to be hydrated.   Think of yourself like a plant, we stand taller and prettier with fresh water.

Half the battle of reducing your coffee dependency is the fear of letting it go.  After that, the results speak for themselves.  It definitely feels powerful to be the individual at work that does not need coffee to enhance their productivity.  I dare you to be different!

 

Day 18 – Clarity

Each of us have a very different reason in choosing to be holistic or clean.  Let it be weight loss, healthier-looking skin, consistent energy or to simply improve our diet.  I do it for all these benefits however one of the best gifts so far is mental clarity.  The Clean Program has helped me pay attention.  Our body sends all kind of alerts and signals when enough is enough.  If I’m tired, I can feel it and automatically know I need to slow down.  Before, I’d fix that feeling with a large cup of coffee and look for inspiration to push my body.  Besides self-awareness, I also found it interesting how it applies in the social spectrum.

Experiencing nightlife on a cleanse diet is half torture and half exhilaration. This past week, I finally decided to tackle a night out with old friends.  I knew I would be out late and surrounded by drinks, tempting food and SMOKERS.   Aromas are definitely heightened. On the one hand, I’m breathing in secondhand smoke, and could smell Chinese food or Pizza every other second, especially near the 1-2 a.m. block in the LES. While on the other hand – the bright side – I felt so clear and full of energy. I was high on life.  Finally there was no room for beer goggles with the opposite sex – success!  I was drawn to those who earnestly were having a good time by conversation or dancing.  I felt vibrant and fully present.

What I could remember from previous nights (pre-clean program) there was impatience around having another drink or the horror of hooking up with someone who soberly, I would have never been drawn to.  God forbid, the nights I’ve spiraled into the trap of mixing drinks and ending my night spinning in a cab ride home.  Those are hardly fun.

It was sincerely sweet to enjoy the moment, maintain all my mental faculties throughout the night and wind up being treated to frozen mangoes and blueberries by a very good friend at the end of the night to curb my snacking urge.  It has raised the question if I will quit alcohol altogether but … I’ll save that for a future post.

P.S.  New Yorkers, you also save a lot of money!

– Stephanie

Day 6 – A dose for your own good

If you saw my last post, you might have noticed I was slowly turning into a frog with my voice.  Friday morning proved that I was officially a fallen soldier and had to call out of work.  I had lost my voice completely, felt feverish and had a mean sore throat. I wasted no time and took a visit to my local City MD. If you live in New York, you would have to agree that these new City MD establishments are kind of fantastic.  However, I have a new tale to tell because I left there a little bit surprised. This has a lot to do with what I am learning about our body’s natural ability to heal itself, the systemic issues that exist in our healthcare system and some common sense. I was diagnosed with Laryngitis which most likely was contracted from my contact with children.  He prescribed me lots of rest, fluids and four prescriptions: Ibuprofen (800 mg tablet)Magic Mouthwash Liquid, Azelastine Nasal Spray Aerosol  and Hydrocodone-Homatropine (Cough) syrup.

Out of curiosity, I asked the medical assistant, “Why do I need the 800mg Ibuprofen? Wouldn’t an Over the Counter ibuprofen be sufficient?” He simply answered, “Well this is stronger.”  In my opinion, this is a perfect example of when to self-reflect.  For the most part – a golden rule if you will – always be skeptical of the advice and information you receive.  What I am trying to get at is, sometimes your body will have to combat a sickness.  In that time, you will feel discomfort, unease and possibly some pain.  All of the above that was prescribed to me were not cures for my laryngitis.  They are simply intended to numb me through the uncomfortable process.  Not surprising since our modern American culture conditions us to believe we need to comfortably heal ourselves.  According to Eastern medicine, healing is not always an easy going process.  Not to mention that filling prescriptions is a detriment to the pocket!  If I decided to fill each prescription, I would have walked out of Walgreens with a sweet $85-105 expense.  Adding hard-earned dollars to the pockets of pharmaceutical companies. Just think about it.

Ok, so let’s talk about alternatives.  The Ibuprofen was intended to ease my discomfort.  If you don’t know, 800 mg is a large dosage, enough to ease a stallion.  My throat is in a state of inflammation and it needs the assistance of an anti-inflammatory.  If needed, I saw no harm in taking one if I felt uncomfortable but I could use the one in my medicine cabinet.  Oh and Hi! I am in the process of cleanse that is based off anti-inflammatory foods and practices that could only enhance my cause.  For the Magic Mouthwash Liquid, you could gargle fresh lime juice and salt.  This is an old school fix that my parents always told us to do whenever we felt soreness in our throats.  For the Azelastine Nasal Spray, you could use some kind of nasal irrigation device like a neti pot. This will flush out all the guck from your nasal trap.  I also learned that nasal sprays are an unexpected but common source of heavy-metal exposure. The most commonly found metal in nasal sprays is aluminum.  Ick!  As for the Cough Syrup, I went to my local health food store and asked the vitamin counter lady what alternatives she suggested. She recommended some lozenges instead by a brand called Olba’s.  So far, they’re great.

It has now been 2 days since my visit to the doctor’s and I feel tons better already.  I still have a slightly sore throat but I’m easing it with lots of Lemon Ginger tea that I make from scratch.  Let go of the teabags mi gente!  Oh, and according to my sister, I sound a little less painful to listen to 🙂

– Stephanie

Day 4 – Hey! I’m on video talking about the Cleanse.

I decided to change it up and post a video!

Excuse-me for the raspy voice. I’m feeling a bit sick but I couldn’t wait to talk about Day 1 of the actual Clean Cleanse. I talk a little about the Pre-cleanse experience and what the Cleanse actually means now moving forward.

Continuing on our path to being CasiClean!

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