Kim DeJesus shares healthy eating tips

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Kim DeJesus shares healthy eating tips

I was thrilled when Chicago Tribune Live asked me to come share my passion for juicingblending and encourage people to kick off 2013 with a green drink. We had a blast on the show. If you have already wavered from your New Year's goals, get up off your fanny! Today is a new day, tomorrow has no mistakes and it is never too late to start your wellness plan.
First off, let me say I am not an expert. I am simply a vegetarian who loves the way eating clean and juicing make me feel. I have my days where I just feel like eating a slice of pizza, a delicious bowl of pasta or a vegan cupcake! I also enjoy a good night out with friends with a glass of wine (or three, depending on who I am with). Some weeks I do great, and others I waver, so don't expect perfection out of me or my diet because you won't see it.
But I have a wellness plan in place and am very aware of the negative effects that sugar, dairy and processed foods have on me, so I really try to limit them. It is crazy how quickly I feel the negative side effects after eating a sugary snack or processed food choice. Headaches, stomach aches, break outs, etc...my body hates it. Just because the FDA has approved a chemical as edible does not mean it is good for you by any means.
And then there's sugar. Sugar is 'no bueno,' folks. And the major problem with sugar is that it's in so many things. Don't even get me started on artificial sugar or I might pass out. Oh, and white breads and pastas? They turn into sugar so fast your body doesn't really does not know the difference between that and a slice of cheesecake. Yikes. Our country is surrounded with over-processed, sugary foods, so it's certainly not easy to make perfect choices all the time. It's important to be educated on the foods we put into our bodies so when faced with difficult food choices it's easier to make the right choice.
It would make me so happy to see people drinking their greens every day and trying hard to eliminate sugary processed foods! In the DeJesus household you will see lots and lots of green drinks; even my little guy loves his spinach juice! We totally believe in the healing power of green drinks.
It's no secret that we all know eating veggies is good for us (and hold the phone, I'm not talking about broccoli covered in Cheese Whiz or fried mushroom balls, people). Even though we all know this, unfortunately most people don't get nearly the amount of fresh veggies or fruits into their diets. That's why I say juicing and blending is an incredible way to get these raw nutrients into your bodies (and your kids). It's easy and its delicious!
Here are just some of the major benefits you can get from drinking your greens:1. Veggies and fruits are loaded with the vitamins and minerals your body requires to thrive -- there is magic in that fridge of yours (or Whole Foods produce section, depending on what is in your fridge).
2. Many veggies and fruits are anti-inflammatory (inflammation is the cause of many chronic diseases). This is HUGE, guys.
3. Anti-aging, helps with acne (good for your skin)
4. Helps prevent and fight diseases
5. Aids digestion
6. Helps with weight loss
7. Energy! Green drinks will give you energy that won't make you crash or have the jitters.
8. Nice booty ... it can help with cellulite, ladies.
9. Eating clean can help with depression and insomnia.If you are looking for a good juicer or blender, I know it can be overwhelming. There are tons of good ones on the market. I love my Vitamix; I use it probably two times a day. It's an investment but I have encouraged several friends to get one and they all say it's their favorite appliance.
I also have a Breville juicer. I incorporate both blending and juicing into my diet, but on the segment we only made blends. Following recipes is great if you're just starting and don't know what to do (the two recipes we did on the segment are below). I personally just usually use whatever is in my fridge. It's always best to use fresh produce, however I always keep frozen organic berries in my freezer in case I am running low on produce and need to make a quick blend. Plus they make a tasty dessert if you are craving sweets: blend up a frozen banana, frozen strawberries, a tiny bit of almond milk and a little spinach with maybe some blueberries and you've got yourself a delicious dessert. So simple.
Other things you can add into your smoothies to give them an extra kick are hemp powder or hemp seeds (for protein), flax seeds, chia seeds, cocoa nibs or cocoa powder, spirulina (strong taste), almond milk, coconut water or milk, hemp milk, etc. Just please don't put dairy into your smoothies. Whole Foods has a ton of great things you can add into your blends.If you juice and then follow it up with a juicy cheeseburger smothered in cheese with a side of fries, I can't promise you amazing results. That's why a wellness plan is important. If all this overwhelms you, start small and work your way up. If you need to start really simple, how about making a goal to try and start each day with a green smoothie or green juice? Juicing and blending are such easy ways to get so many benefits into your body. Not only is it amazing for your body, it is truly delicious. Kris Carr has a great book out there if you're looking for more info, called Crazy Sexy Diet.I have plenty more I could say but we're in the middle of preparing for our foundation's first official event, "Strike a Pose." We are going to try our hardest to raise money for ALS. It's a brutal disease, one for which there is not cure or treatment. it's coming up here in a few days and I've got lots of work to do! Sure hope to see you there, though! You can check it out on our website at daviddejesusfamilyfoundation.org if you want to come.But basically, guys, I'm not reinventing the wheel here. This is not rocket science. So how about in 2013 we all make a commitment to be nice to our bodies. We don't have to be perfect, but let's try to be nice most of the time. If you have any questions you can ask me at @kimdejesus9 on Twitter. I don't promise to have the answer though. Ha.To sum it up:1. Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods and dairy as much as you can
2. Juice or blend as many greens into your daily diet as possible. Drink your greens. It's fun, easy and incredible for you.
3. Try to eat clean most of the time (don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day)Here are the recipes I used on the show:ZEUS JUICE (recommend this to start off your day)1 pear, quartered and seeded1 apple, quartered and see1 orange, peeled12 a zucchiniHandful of spinachHandful of kale1 carrot, cut in half1 celery stalk, cut in halfabout a half cup of water2 cups of icePut all into a Vitamix and blend. If you don't have a Vitamix, cut up each fruit and vegetable and blend individually. Feel free to mix up the veggies here or use substitutes; the darker shade of green a vegetable has, the better nutritional value it has.GREEN GURU SMOOTHIE from Crazy Sexy Dietavocadoabout 8 romaine leaves1 cucumber1 bananastevia for taste1 cup almond milk (or water)(then I like to add ice to this recipe and also hemp seeds for some protein)This is more of a comforting smoothie; the avocado gives it a nice texture and the stevia makes it sweet. Please don't ever use sugar in any of your smoothies! Stevia is a good way to start if you don't normally drink your greens. I wouldn't add it to every smoothie either, just when your craving something sweet. Go easy with it -- a little goes a long way.Tips: If you're blending, you can even make a big batch and it can keep in the fridge for about two days. Juices you should usually consume right away or within 24 hours if you can for the best impact.

Never say die: Cubs battle back for wild walk-off win over Pirates

Never say die: Cubs battle back for wild walk-off win over Pirates

It would have been so easy for the Cubs to just chalk this one up as a loss and head home.

But this 2016 Cubs team isn't built that way.

They showed what they're made of again Monday, walking off the Pirates, 8-7, in front of 38,951 fans at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs had plenty of chances to score all game, including in extra innings as Javy Baez was thrown out at home plate to end both the 10th and 12th innings.

In the top of the 13th, the Pirates finally broke through, loading the bases with nobody out against Rob Zastryzny and scoring a run — but only one run.

In the bottom of the 13th, the Cubs got their offense going again as Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant led the inning off with singles to put runners at the corners. Anthony Rizzo then singled through the infield to tie the game and drive home Fowler.

Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked to load the bases with nobody out, setting the stage for Miguel Montero's walk-off single to start the Cubs' homestand off on a positive note and send Zastryzny home with his first MLB victory.

It capped off a game in which almost 465 pitches were thrown and took more than five hours to complete.

"We got in late last night," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I got back about 3 a.m. So these guys — they're coming off West Coast to the Central Time Zone, they're tired, we had to show up today early for a picture — that happens sometimes — and they came out and played until Midnight.

"Of course you want to win that game. That's a tough game to lose. But understand the effort that you saw tonight based on a lot of fatigue. And that's probably what I'm most proud of."

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The Cubs opened up a 3-0 lead on Pirates rookie starter Steven Brault early, but they could have easily had more, narrowly missing home runs in the first (Zobrist) and third innings (Jorge Soler).

The Pirates, meanwhile, came roaring back against Jake Arrieta. 

First, Josh Bell hit a solo homer just over the basket in left field in the fourth inning. Then Gregory Polanco deposited a three-run shot down the left-field line in the sixth inning, two batters after it appeared the Cubs had gotten a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play. Home plate umpire Tripp Gibson disagreed, calling the pitch Ball 4 to Bell and putting two runners on with nobody out instead of two outs and nobody on. Arrieta was irate, staring down the umpire and prompting a visit from Maddon, who proceeded to get in Gibson's face at the base of the mound after calming down Arrieta.

"That's an entirely different baseball game right there that occurred on that particular pitch," Maddon said. "Everything turned on that particluar pitch.

"But I'm not gonna denigrate the umpire. We had plenty of opportunities — PLENTY — to win that game in a normal fashion or earlier. We had so many great at-bats to set it up and then we could not seal the deal."

Arrieta was also saddled with a pair of runs in the seventh inning, with Travis Wood letting two inherited runners score on Josh Harrison's two-out double to make it a 6-3 Pirates lead.

The reigning NL Cy Young winner finished with a tough-luck line that flashed six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings on five hits and three walks.

Then the Cubs began their comeback.

In the eighth, Jason Heyward doubled and Willson Contreras homered to straightaway center.

With one out in the ninth, Soler sent a charge into Tony Watson's offering to tie the game with a blast to center.

That set up Montero for the storybook ending.

"The resiliency of our team is incredible," Arrieta said. "That's what you need down the stretch. ... Just a crazy ballgame all the way around."

Cubs: Theo Epstein believes Kris Bryant can follow in Dustin Pedroia's MVP footsteps

Cubs: Theo Epstein believes Kris Bryant can follow in Dustin Pedroia's MVP footsteps

Joe Maddon has been trying to find a chance to give Kris Bryant a day off.

But how do you sit the hottest hitter on the planet?

Bryant just finished a torrid road trip in which he staked his claim to the National League MVP Award by hitting .417 with a 1.365 OPS, five homers, 11 RBIs and 11 runs in nine games. 

That pushed his season line to .305/.398/.588 (.986 OPS) with a league-leading 35 homers and 107 runs plus 89 RBIs.

So is he the Most Valuable Player in just his second season in "The Show"?

"I don't want to get too wrapped up in individual awards," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "He's an outstanding player having a great year. It's never too early.

"(Red Sox second baseman) Dustin Pedroia is another guy we drafted over a decade ago and he did the same thing — Rookie of the Year in the first year and then MVP the next year. It can be done.

"(Bryant is) helping us win in so many different ways. Obviously coming up big of late, which is great to see. He deserves all the accolades that are coming his way and that may eventually come his way.

"But I think he'd probably be the first one to tell you he wants the team awards; he wants the team recognition in the end. The only one that really counts is winning your last game and the parade. Everything else is nice to fill the trophy case, but that's what everyone here is all about."

Bryant will undoubtedly split some MVP votes with teammate Anthony Rizzo (.946 OPS, 25 home runs, 89 RBIs), but the Cubs third baseman/outfielder woke up Monday morning leading all of baseball in WAR on FanGraphs' page.

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Even the Cubs admit Bryant has progressed beyond their realistic expectations.

"I would never have held him to this standard," Epstein said. "I wouldn't say, 'This is his development path. He's gotta go be maybe the Most Valuable Player in the league in the second year.' But at the same time, it doesn't surprise me.

"He's always been outstanding at making adjustments. Very cerebral player. Makes great use of his down time, whether it's the winter where he can work on swing adjustments or even the time between at-bats or pitch-to-pitch. He's just really, really good at making adjustments and thinks about his own game at a really high level.

"He's such a good athlete, he's able to take it right out on the field."

Bryant has also surprised Epstein and the Cubs with how he's evolved as a player.

"In some ways, surprising," Epstein said. "I thought he would always hit five to 10 opposite field home runs a year at a minimum, and he hasn't this year — that was his first one of the year the other day at Dodger Stadium.

"But he's added the ability to turn on the inside pitch and hit it in the air and keep it fair, so he's hitting more home runs as a result. So I never saw that coming.

"It's interesting the way his swing and his game have evolved."

In discussing the difference between 2016 Bryant and the rookie model, Maddon pointed to a decrease in strikeouts (from 30.6 percent in 2015 to 22 percent) and a smoother product on defense.

"The biggest for me is consistently shorter swing. More contact," Maddon said. "He's had smaller windows of chasing pitches out of the strike zone compared to last year when he did it more often.

"But recently, he's been using the outfield gap, which is really impressive. So offensively, that's what I'm seeing. Defensively, better feet on the infield.

"You'd see a lot of the patting of the glove as the feet were moving. I see it on occasion now, but not to the extent I saw it last year. He's still a great baserunner.

"So primarily — shorter hack, greater contact, less chase, right central is coming back into play right now and better feet on defense. That's what I'm seeing."

Put it all together and you have an MVP frontrunner entering September.

With season's final month looming, Cubs will apply lessons learned from 2015 playoff run

With season's final month looming, Cubs will apply lessons learned from 2015 playoff run

What a difference a year makes.

Last season, the Cubs put the pedal to the metal in advance of a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field in August and never looked back until they ran into the brick wall that was the New York Mets in the NLCS.

This season, with another four-game set with the Giants at the "Friendly Confines" on tap this week, the Cubs are in a completely different position.

There is no need for Joe Maddon to step on the gas and floor it into the postseason.

The Cubs entered play Monday 14 games up in the NL Central and they've already started counting down their magic number before the calendar has even flipped to September.

This year, it's going to be about rest and keeping guys sharp and fresh entering October, which the Cubs learned is key after last season.

Right now, the Cubs don't need to lean on Jake Arrieta to come close to a complete game each time out or utilize relievers on three straight nights in tight ballgames.

"I think our guys understand where we're at and it's going to be important to get where we want to go to be at their best," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Monday at Wrigley. "Last year's stretch and playoffs especially was instructive.

"I think we pushed guys hard during the year and it'd be nice for them to be at their absolute best during the most important time of year down the stretch and hopefully into October."

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The Cubs also have some reinforcements on the way with rosters expanding to 40 players Thursday.

Tommy La Stella continues to work out in the minor leagues and Epstein acknowledged Monday the left-handed role player could be back in Chicago as soon as this week.

"The guys coming up will get some playing time," Maddon said. "I've always talked about in a bad game or even in a really good game, to get guys off their feet, that's important.

"Whoever we're going to bring up right now, they're going to be pertinent people that are going to help us win also right now."

Hector Rondon (triceps) and Pedro Strop (knee) are progressing "really well," Maddon said, with Rondon nearing a return while Strop threw in Chicago during the Cubs' recent road trip and reported no issues. 

"We're just trying to really play it smart, not push them to come back too quickly," Maddon said. "But they're both making great progress."

John Lackey (strained shoulder) is slated to throw a pair of bullpens this week and could return from the disabled list on the current homestand if all goes well.

When Lackey does come back, the Cubs could keep Mike Montgomery as a starter and go with a six-man rotation to keep everybody fresher down the stretch.

With all the rest in mind, Maddon isn't worried about his players getting rusty or losing their edge at all.

[RELATED: With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?]

Maddon admitted he's never been in a position like this where the Cubs are close to locking up a playoff spot and still have a month to play. But he compared the idea of taking the foot off the gas to the same way teams handle pitchers at the end of spring training before the regular season starts.

"You're trying to conserve their moments for the most important time of the year," Maddon said. "Regardless of any kind of pushback you might get from the players themselves, I still think you can do it and control it and not worry about the rust component.

"I think by this time of year, rest in a more intelligent manner - limiting innings or number of pitches thrown - I don't think that's going to cause a negative downturn in their abilities by the end of September."

Of course, just because the Cubs are prioritizing rest doesn't mean they're going to take their foot off the gas completely.

Epstein, Lackey and Jon Lester saw firsthand how quickly a large lead can evaporate with the 2011 Boston Red Sox

"I think once you go through a year in which you have a double digit lead right before Labor Day and screw it up and don't even get into October, you don't take anything for granted," Epstein said. "I guess that's the only good thing to come out of September 2011 for me - I'll never look too far ahead and I'll never take anything for granted.

"You have to have a broad perspective and look ahead and understand what might lie ahead, but you have to go earn it. That's been our team's approach from the very beginning - not to accept some of the praise that's come our way. It's to go out and try to earn it with our play and that's definitely true in the month of September."