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Eat Your Way to a Healthier You

Blog

Eat Your Way to a Healthier You

Ana Polanco

At the end of last year, Librada and I felt strongly about promoting everyday Latinas on the blog who are making transformations in their own lives. As part of our effort to meet that promotion we are collaborating with every day Latinas who have developed some knowledge or expertise in a specific area.

Our first post is from Stephanie and Jennifer Madrid, the Authors of CasiClean, a blog about two Brooklyn based sisters “who aspire to live clean although they've historically been a little sucias…” – so cute! 

Part of living a fuller life is really taking care of our bodies. Check out the conversation with Jennifer and Stephanie about what it takes to transition to clean eating.


STQ:   So who are the CasiClean Sisters?

Madrid Sisters:   We’re two sisters living together in Brooklyn, New York. Jennifer works in the digital financial industry and Stephanie works as a digital designer in the city full time. With demanding schedules and modest budgets, we hadn’t ever adopted a consistent kind of diet or regimen in years. Our intention with CasiClean was to share our goals, successes and challenges when it came to adopting an alternative lifestyle mostly aligned with “clean eating”.

STQ:   What inspired you to change your lifestyles when it came to health?

Madrid Sisters:   Our inspiration primarily came from the serious red flags that our bodies started to throw down signaling us to slow down and listen. We felt richly overweight, lethargic and unstable. As we listened, we realized that being in our early 30's and mid 20’s should be an energy rich period and we wanted that.

STQ:   That makes sense. So how did you get started?

Madrid Sisters: We started changing gears after reading Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program. He promotes a cleansing regimen that resets your gut by eliminating food that is naturally difficult for your body to process (e.g., coffee, alcohol, processed meat, processed milk, processed sugar, etc.). Dr. Junger argues that our bodies were built to naturally heal themselves and essentially, to be its own hero! Unfortunately modern food & lifestyle norms keep our bodies and mind at full capacity or overloaded, causing us to be in a constant physical state of emergency.

STQ: I’m curious. What’s the first thing you noticed when you began changing your eating habits?

Madrid Sisters: Three days into Junger’s program we distinctly noticed higher energy levels, immaculate skin, and a physical and mental lightness. Even the whites of our eyes glimmered!  Experiencing mental clarity at work was a big win for us. It fueled focus, ideas, creativity and shifted our perception on what it means to be truly productive at work. Suddenly, we didn’t have Monday woes and felt a complete change of attitude towards work. When your mind and body feel nourished, those healthy brain neurons are happy and want to work with you instead of against you.

STQ: You mentioned your body being in a state of emergency when you’re eating poorly. What are some warning signs that we should listen to when our body and mind are demanding a lifestyle change?

Madrid Sisters: The signs vary from person to person. Before CasiClean, we weren’t facing any life-threatening illnesses but our main issue was not feeling like we were at our full potential. The first sign for us was jealousy. We found ourselves wondering how some people accomplished everything on their do list before 2 p.m. or how they found the stamina to run in 25 degree weather at night. I mean are they drinking some magical elixir we don’t know about! There is definitely not an elixir but our bodies are pretty magical. Our body is constantly throwing out red flags signaling us to a problem. We cover up those signals with over-the-counter drugs and alcohol.  Lethargy, bloating, headaches, acne, depression, dry skin, and constantly falling in and out of being sick were our warning signs. Some of these might sound like every day problems anyone can experience but they actually shouldn’t be symptoms you experience on a daily basis.

STQ: There are several alternative food lifestyles out there. What alternative lifestyles have you both tried and stuck with?

Madrid Sisters: We actually began trying out Paleo. When we started justifying eating bacon-wrapped mini meatloaf regularly because it was considered a “protein” we instantly knew it was going to be a diet where we would have a hard time keeping our boundaries in check. Then, we fell into the Clean Program which motivated us because it became a project and it was supported by an educational manual with facts that made sense to us. It required us to change our entire pantry and we found we learned the most about our bodies and delicious recipes! I mean, have you seen our Instagram account?!  Experimenting with Clean allowed us to experiment with multiple lifestyles: veganism, pescatarian-ism, and vegetarianism. We were mostly Vegan for 6 months and can’t tell you how many times people still ask us “so are you still Vegan?” with complete bewilderment - like we visited Mars or something. Now, we are the true definition of CasiClean. Being stringent on one “dietary label” of eating is unnatural to your body unless you’re accustomed to a specific lifestyle for more than a few years. Our focus now is balance and eating real food. We keep it organic (when necessary), local (if possible), and minimal processing. We’ve recently become Ayurveda nerds as well and you can see the influence of that in our posts. It is a perpetual state of learning, trying new things and we find it fun.  

STQ: For some people adopting a new lifestyle can be challenging. What are some challenges? How can you overcome them?

Madrid Sisters:  Any change is a challenge. Especially when it completely uproots your norms. However, before embarking on a dietary or physical alternative lifestyle, it is important to schedule a doctor's visit to ensure that you won’t get hurt during the process. Research will knock out a lot of fear and anxiety around lifestyle challenges.  Once you learn more about your chosen alternative through blog/vlogs, Instagram personalities, recipes and books - you become aware of what it takes. Informed visibility is important because of the abundance of misinformation in the interwebs. You almost have to do research on top of your original research. It may sound time-consuming but don’t let that discourage your efforts. Learning leads to inspiration. Nothing beats being inspired and why miss the opportunity to get to know a better version of you? 

  • Find a “Travel Buddy.” Part of our success, is having each other through the process. You definitely need a person who is on the journey with you.
  • Save your pennies. Being healthy can be expensive. We should be pushing food industries every day to provide real wholesome food at affordable prices. Having a partner helps with this challenge because you can share the expenses. Shopping at farmer’s markets, joining a local CSA and learning which produce to buy organic or not are some ways we cut costs.
  • We promise that when you decide to invest in your mind and body through good food and healthy practices, your body pays you back three-fold. That is the benefit of investing in your body. The return on your investment makes you feel like you struck gold.

STQ: What books or articles do you recommend on specific alternative living or getting your mind, body and gut to inspire our readers?

Madrid Sisters: You can follow us on twitter @casiclean where we share interesting articles and recipes.  Here are a few of our favorite resources:

  • To learn about detoxing your body and get slammin recipes check out the books for the Clean Program by Alejandro Junger. We have yet to be disappointed! You can also buy his books on Amazon.
  • The nonprofit Environmental Working Group keeps a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
  • Our go to bloggers for yummy recipes are Detoxinista and Against All Grain  
  • Check out the Oh She Glows Cookbook which has educational articles and recipes on the body and recipes.
  • If you think you want to do Dr. Junger’s Clean Program and you are on a real budget, then you should read Shelly In Real Life. She explains how she did it without having to spend half as much as you would with the program.  

For more information about CasiClean, go to http://casiclean.com or you can follow them on Twitter @casiclean and IG: casiclean

Your turn: How do you celebrate your culture and the culture of others at work?

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