• In addition to ridding your body of toxins, a juice cleanse can help reset yoursystem so you crave good-for-you-foods like fruits and vegetables.
    Courtesy photo
  • Roots Juices offers individual juices and kits for cleanses, hangover recoveryand cocktail mixers.
    Roots Juices/Facebook

After months of getting this website off the ground and a gluttonous holiday season, my eating habits had, shall we say, deteriorated. I was making poor food choices, so I was tired all the time. Even worse, I simply didn’t feel good.

After reading our roundup of Dallas juice bars, I was inspired to do a cleanse — to reset my system so I would start craving good-for-me fruits and vegetables and boost my energy level. I fretted over the decision, mainly because I live to eat. But, to be honest, I wasn’t even enjoying food anymore, no matter how delicious.

I chose Roots Juices mainly out of convenience, because the Dallas-based online juicer provides free delivery to certain area codes, including mine. Roots offers cleanses ranging from one to five days, for $50 a day. (Roots also does an 11-day program, which includes mostly raw foods in addition to juices.) A five-day juice cleanse is recommended, but I decided on four, simply because I didn’t think I could hang for a full work week.

I had done a three-day juice cleanse once before (with BluePrint Cleanse), and it made me feel alert and energized. So I knew this was just the jumpstart I needed to get back on track with my health and wellness routine. I placed the order and within hours a representative called me to schedule delivery for the next day, as well as a second delivery two days later.

The program includes six daily juices, plus chlorophyll- and aloe-infused waters for added hydration. I also downloaded some information about how to prepare for the cleanse — hydrate, don’t eat heavy proteins (oops) or highly processed foods, give up alcohol (double oops) — and how to ease yourself back into your regular routine. Eating raw foods for a couple of days following the cleanse is encouraged.

The juice assortment includes the following, to be consumed in this order:

  • Wake Up, with carrot, apple, ginger and watermelon
  • Refresh, with cucumber, lime, mint, apple and ginger
  • Lean & Fit, with watermelon and mint
  • Go Green, with celery, kale, spinach, romaine, cucumber and lemon
  • Restore, with beet, carrot, apple, aloe and ginger
  • Health Nut Almond Milk, with filtered water, almonds, dates, vanilla bean and sea salt

Every juice fulfilled my needs for taste, nutrients and satiation. Day one was fairly easy, because I was eager to start craving something fresh and green. I was hungry, yes, but I didn’t fantasize about cheating with a cheeseburger. In fact, I declared to my co-workers that I was dreaming about eating half an avocado — an acceptable supplement from my previous cleanse. (Full disclosure: That night I did.)

Day two was a little different. I didn’t wake up with a headache, which I feared — not only because it was among the listed side effects, but also because I am prone to them. Instead I spent most of the day rather lightheaded and loopy, wondering how I would survive another 48 hours or do my job effectively.

To get my mind off eating, that night I treated myself to a mani/pedi, but I did stop at Whole Foods on the way home. If I was going to cave, I figured I better have suitable backup sustenance. I filled my basket with raw foods such as Larabars, Hail Merry macaroons and Go Raw “real live food” bars. I also loaded up on fresh kale, broccoli and cauliflower at the salad bar.

When I got home, convinced I needed to eat solid food, I dove into my box o’ veg. Interestingly, I had about four bites and decided I was done. So I popped the top on the vanilla-infused almond milk — a delightfully decadent nightly treat — and headed for bed.

Day three was no big deal, and I figured day four would be smooth sailing as well. I admit to eating a Larabar on days three and four, if only to give my blood sugar a boost as I dove into my editing duties. I had stopped thinking about what I wanted to eat, because I was elated to be feeling better.

But the real revelation came in how alert and awake I was every day. I had no trouble getting out of bed, I tackled my work with enthusiasm and I didn’t hit a wall come mid-afternoon. In fact, on Friday night (the day after I completed the cleanse) — when I’m normally half-comatose on my couch, fondling the remote control and wondering how I’ll find the strength to walk the few steps to my bed — I was energized enough to clean my bathroom, do a few loads of laundry and write this story.

(Hey, do not judge me for my Friday-night activities.)

In the end, this four-day “sacrifice” felt like a small price to pay for what I gained. Aside from a little lightheadedness on day two, I experienced no real side effects; the only downside, if you can call it that, was that I had to pee every 30 minutes. Instead, just as I’d hoped, I had a real desire for whole, fresh foods, and I couldn’t wait to “indulge” in the raw vegan “pizza” I had ready and waiting for me my first day back to eating in the real world.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Will I still eat cheeseburgers? Absolutely. But, for now, I’d rather have the raw zucchini pasta and fresh fruit salad that currently sit in my fridge.

  • Pick up your meals at My Private Chef's Deep Ellum location or have themdelivered to your house.
    Photo courtesy of My Private Chef
  • Fullosophie offers "farm to fork" meals that you can purchase ready-made or haveall the ingredients prepped to make the meal yourself.
    Photo courtesy of Fullosophie
  • TruMeals makes fresh, calorie-portioned meals such as turkey sliders, availablefor pickup or delivery.
    Photo courtesy of TruMeals
  • My Fit foods follows the 40-40-20 rule for a daily average balanced meal plan.
    Photo courtesy of My Fit Foods

Where Dallas busy bodies go for healthy and tasty pre-made meals

Eating Well

When it comes to eating right, we need (at least) a few hours to prepare — from grocery shopping to chopping the ingredients. Regretfully, we don't have enough time to cook for ourselves every day, but we still manage to nourish our bodies — with help from these services that prepare calorie- and portion-controlled meals using fresh, delicious ingredients.

My Fit Foods
Founded in Houston by personal trainer Mario Mendias, My Fit Foods offers healthy meals on the run. The menu focuses on lean protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats and follows the 40-40-20 rule — 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, 20 percent fat — for a daily average meal plan.

You can do a three- or 21-day challenge, order online, or simply stop by one of the Dallas locations and pull a few meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks — from the well-stocked fridge. Options include Greek goddess salad, zesty shrimp and scallops, and flat iron tacos.

My Private Chef
Chef Holly Muller takes healthy eating to a new level with My Private Chef. You can start with the basic package, in which you receive three meals — high in protein and fiber, low in sodium and sugar — per day for five days.

Meals are prepared fresh and frozen prior to delivery or pickup at Muller's Deep Ellum location. Some of her clients' favorite dishes include spinach and Asiago quiche with truffle oil, tilapia cakes with mango relish and snap peas, and Tuscan chicken with great northern beans.

Simply Fit Meals
Simply Fit Meals makes all meals in-house, with low-glycemic carbs; lean meats; and 100 percent natural, local and organic ingredients. There are no added preservatives or sweeteners, and everything is sized just right in dishes such as cinnamon French toast, sesame teriyaki salmon, and turkey mac and cheese.

Stop by the Plano location and pick up as many portions as you like; just refrigerate and reheat when you're ready to eat. Simply Fit Meals offers delivery within 10 miles of its store, and a new location on Hillcrest Road in Dallas opens in February. Sign up for a house account and build up rewards.

  • Customizable bento-style lunchboxes by My Square Meal are easy to carry too.
    Photo courtesy of My Square Meal
  • Fill a bento-style lunchbox by My Square Meal with healthy choices.
    Photo courtesy of My Square Meal

4 easy and healthy tips to lunch lighter and snack smarter

Pass the pecans

A paper sack doesn't exactly inspire healthy food choices. After all, you can fit a slice of leftover pizza, a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies and a Coca-Cola in there without so much as straining. But that's not a good thing.

To meet your family's health and weight loss goals, you need to lunch lighter and snack smarter. A new beginning can be as simple as making over your lunchboxes with smaller portions of increased variety and healthier, nutrient-dense snacks great for the office and school.

Eating a more varied diet throughout the day isn’t just more enjoyable for the palate; a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that combination snacks — like vegetables and cheese or nuts and fruit — can be an effective means for children to reduce caloric intake while snacking, proving that a little variety can go a long way when it comes to lunchtime.

The study found that nutrient-dense snacks actually satisfied appetites faster than unhealthy alternatives, resulting in the consumption of fewer calories overall throughout the day.

Here are four simple steps to a healthier lunchbox:

Go bento style
Although what’s in the lunchbox is important, opting for a bento-style container can make the switch to smaller portions easy and fun. Boxes like My Square Meal’s bento box (created by two former Dallas school teachers) come with seven set compartments that hold small quantities of a variety of foods, allowing lunchers to “snack” on their spread and eat a well-balanced meal.

These boxes are also eco-friendly and dishwasher safe. Plus they come with a reusable spork made of biodegradable cornstarch.

Blend your food groups
Two food groups are always better than one, and the added variety keeps lunchtime exciting and healthy. Popping in a well-balanced snack that delivers a combination of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates sates you and your kids until the next meal.

Examples could be skim-milk cheese paired with whole-grain crackers or a KIND Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate bar accompanied with a sliced apple.

Grab more grain
Most Americans get only one serving of whole grains per day, largely because they don’t like the texture of typical options. The solution? Keep things crunchy and satisfying with a side of whole grain pretzels, a mini-bag of popped Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Popcorn or a mini bag of KIND Healthy Grains.

Unleash your inner artist
Make healthy snacks look more appetizing by tapping into your creative side. A cookie cutter turns whole-grain sandwiches and cheese into something fun to eat. Build colorful kebabs by skewering fruits and vegetables.

Dallas spots to tap that kombucha, the fizzy, probiotic energy elixir

Drink Up

Kombucha, a bubbly elixir made from fermented tea, contains probiotics, antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids believed to help boost the immune system and digestion. Although it's sipped cold, the fizzy drink is currently a hot, hot trend.

Meddlesome Moth and Spiral Diner were two of the first restaurants to offer kombucha on tap, but they currently only sell the bottled version, as do many grocery stores like Central Market and Natural Grocers.

By the glass, kombucha ranges anywhere from $2 to $6.50. Three spots from our juice bar roundupWhole Foods Park Lane, The Gem and The Juice Bar — offer Texas-made Holy Kombucha or Buddha's Brew on draft, as do these six other local spots.

Company Cafe
The vegetarian- and gluten-free-friendly cafe serves Buddha's Brew kombucha in cranberry and peach flavors. Order it by the glass or fill up a growler, which you can take to go and bring back for refills.

Green Spot
This East Dallas cafe and market has Holy Kombucha on tap in three flavors: green apple-ginger, prickly pear and a pomegranate-blood orange-passion fruit blend.

All locations of the 24-hour eatery have Holy Kombucha available by the glass or growler. Current flavors on tap include cinnamon-apple spice, hibiscus berry and pineapple passion.

Bikram Yoga
After an intense class at the new studio in Uptown, yogis can refresh with a Holy Kombucha — blood orange-pomegranate, green apple-ginger or prickly pear — from the tap.

This coffee-centric bistro in Fort Worth sells Holy Kombucha on tap and in bottles. Current flavors include cinnamon-apple spice and blood orange-pomegranate.

Garden Cafe
This comfort food cafe with a backyard garden has two taps for Holy Kombucha. Current flavors are hibiscus and blood orange, and they change about every two weeks.

  • The Irving Las Colinas Marathon hopes to one day be as successful as the DallasMarathon seen here.
    Photo by Robert Bostick
  • Participants in the Irving Las Colinas Marathon will run along theCampion Trail.

Get your run on at the inaugural Irving Las Colinas Marathon along Campion Trail

A First Time for Everything

The beginning of a new year means more crowds at the gym and more guilt for skipping them in favor of your couch. But those living in Irving, home to the nation's most diverse zip code, can now fulfill their resolutions another way. It doesn't require leaving the city limits, but it does involve a crowd — albeit a different kind.

For the first time ever, Irving and sexy-sister-to-the-north Las Colinas will hold a marathon along the Campion Trail. The events on April 27 will include a marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-miler.

All races have cash prizes for the top finishers. The marathon has partnered with the Irving Healthcare Foundation to benefit Our Children’s House.

The main course, which is 13.1 miles, will take runners from Las Colinas to Valley Ranch. Marathoners will take two laps around the USA Track & Field-certified course. Race officials expect around 3,000 participants for the inaugural event.

Registration will be open through the morning of April 27, but those who sign up early score better rates. The first hike in fees goes into effect January 27.

Reduce your salty habits for good in just 21 days with the Sodium SwampChallenge

New Year, New You

Exercise for an hour each day, limit reality TV time and cut alcohol intake in half? Let's not kid ourselves — it's less than two weeks into the new year, and we've already broken those lofty resolutions.

But the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have come up with one that we can get behind: The Sodium Swamp Challenge, a program for reducing your salty habits for good in just 21 days.

Although it may seem like just a fleeting commitment, the organizations say that participants should be able to notice a difference in the taste of their food and in their overall health by the end of the month.

"To get started with the association's challenge, we ask that consumers get familiar with the food labels and nutrition facts for the foods they eat and track their sodium consumption over the first two days to get an idea of how much they are eating, which I'm sure will be surprising to many people," said Nathalie Sessions-Fye, registered and licensed dietitian and AHA volunteer.

Find more information here, and check out the chart below for fast facts on sodium.

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Texas hot spot hooks No. 1 ranking as best college city in America

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows.

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the No. 1 college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside in Austin, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169).

Dallas landed well down the list in every category: wallet friendliness (226), academic & economic opportunities (168), and social environment (147).

Fort Worth fell even farther down the list in the same categories: wallet friendliness (242), academic & economic opportunities (201), and social environment (149).

Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Christmas spirit is in full swing, with all but one of this week’s events being holiday-themed. Check off pics with Santa for both the family and fur babies; take a Christmas cocktail-making class; sample holiday spirits from around the world; and stroll acres of candlelit walkways while indulging in holiday hors d’oeuvres and drinks – just to name a few. ‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 6

Caymus Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Decadent four-course meal features pairings with wines from award-winning Caymus. Courses include Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp, Rigatoni Al Forno with Chicken, Filet & Scallop Spiedino with Mashed Potatoes, and Crème Brulée, paired with Caymus wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Conundrum Red Blend. The dinner is $75 starts at 6:30 pm. For the Dallas location, reserve here, and for Plano, reserve here.

Fontodi Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina Verace
The Dallas Arts District Italian restaurant will host a five-course dinner paired with wines from Fontodi, a producer located in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Courses will include beef carpaccio, butternut squash cappellacci with brown butter and sage, porchetta di Pienza with marble potatoes, Wagyu New York strip tagliata with porcini mushroom and butternut squash, and apple crostata. Dinner begins at 7 pm and is $175 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, December 8

Santa Paws at Texican Court Hotel
The Irving hotel invites furry friends and their humans to pop by for photos with Santa and complimentary hot apple cider and s’mores by the fire. Santa will be available for pet photos from 5-7 pm. Also enter to win a “Pups Night Away” overnight stay. Don’t miss the hotel’s pocket tequila bar, Salt, for new holiday cocktails in jolly keepsake glassware.

Reindeer Games Bar Crawl
Here’s a holiday bar crawl that spans beyond just drink specials. Participants get their money’s worth with a night of mini golf, axe throwing, unlimited video games, a chartered “sleigh bus,” and a pizza buffet. Start at Another Round and make stops at Flashback Retro Pub, LoneStar Axe Dallas, and Sylvan Avenue Tavern. Participants will also get a beer or seltzer at each stop. Tickets are $150 per duo, and the crawl will run from 6:15-10:30 pm.

Holiday Spirits Around the World at Hotel Vin
Sample an array of global spirits during this tasting experience at Grapevine’s Hotel Vin. Spirits to be served include Montenegro Italian liqueur, The Dalmore Scottish whiskey, Komo tequila, and Horse Soldier bourbon. Each spirit will be paired with globally-inspired bites. The tasting is $50 and will begin at 7 pm.

Friday, December 9

Cocktails by Candlelight at Old City Park
Candlelight will feature more than 13 acres of holiday cheer with decorated buildings, carolers, craft vendors, and candlelit walkways in Old City Park. Its 50th edition is set to begin on December 10, but adults only can get a sneak peek the night before during Cocktails by Candlelight, which comes with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Shaken, Not Stirred, Holiday Cocktail Class at Elm & Good
The modern American restaurant inside the Kimpton Pittman Hotel will host a holiday cocktail class great for groups looking to make spirits bright. Elm & Good’s lead mixologist Indy Acevedo-Fowler will guide guests through creating three cocktails: a cranberry margarita, peppermint espresso martini, and sangria rosa. Guests will also receive a branded take-away gift. The class is $35 and will begin at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 11

Brunch with Santa at the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria
Meet the big guy himself while indulging in brunch dishes during this family-friendly Sunday Funday. Tickets are $25 for adults (includes one mimosa) and $15 for kids 3-12. Children will get to meet Santa and take family photos. Brunch will run from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Monday, December 12

12 Days of Thompson
The Thompson Hotel Dallas will spread Christmas cheer with 12 days of daily holiday activations. The festivities start Monday with Home Alone, S’mores & Sips, a movie night with cocktails themed after the Christmas classic, a s’mores bar, and movie screening amid downtown views. The price is a $15 charitable donation. Doors opens at 5 pm with the movie to start at 6 pm. Other 12 Days of Thompson events range from a pie-baking class and cookie decorating to brunch with Santa and Holiday High Tea. See the complete calendar of events here.

Dedicated volunteers extract Spaghetti Warehouse trolley from Dallas' West End

Trolley News

Thanks to a dedicated team of conservation-minded folks, the vintage trolley from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End has been moved to a temporary new home: in a warehouse at Orr-Reed Architectural Co., the salvage store just south of downtown Dallas, which will provide a safe space for the vehicle while it undergoes a restoration.

A permanent home is still TBD, but Orr-Reed will be housing the trolley for at least the next 12 months.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar got a bid from an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was donated to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association in Old East Dallas who wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights.

Orr-Reed is providing the space and backup manpower for free.

"The first time it went on the auction block, I wanted to buy it because I'm obsessed with keeping the city’s history," says Orr-Reed owner Hannah Hargrove. "Dallas is known for tearing things down and replacing it with bigger and better things, but 'bigger and better' only lasts 50 years. Since we have the space, we wanted to be helpful in providing the trolley's next chapter of life."

spaghetti warehouse trolley A team unloads the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley into a warehouse at Orr-Reed.Johann Huebschmann

The move
JD Middleton, who builds out restaurants and bars for his "day job," oversaw a team of volunteers who broke the trolley down into pieces and transported it to the new location.

"My buddy JJ Velez and I saw it in the news, we both had a personal connection," Middleton says. "My grandfather drove the trolley, it's possible he drove that one, while JJ had seen it when he was a little kid, after the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas."

With another friend, Randy Lasiter, assisting, they volunteered to do it on a 100 percent volunteer basis. For the past six months, they've been going there in the early morning, before heading to their regular job sites.

"We do a lot of crazy things for customer requests, and this was right up our alley," Middleton says.

This entailed cutting the exterior into parts: removing the front and back "nose pieces," breaking down the body of the trolley into panels, then splitting up the chassis foundation — like a vertebrae that they cut up, to be reassembled by a welder.

Middleton says that Uncle Dan’s Pawn Shop donated saw blades and trailers and other equipment, as did Frida's Social Club on McKinney Avenue, who provided a big trailer and truck to haul it over to Orr-Reed.

Middleton assembled a group of friends who spent four hours on December 3, loading the trolley piece-by-piece onto trailers, then unloading it at Orr-Reed. He's also volunteered to help restore it.

"There's some rusting on the inside, it's like an old Ford Model-T that's been sitting in a garage," he says. "We'll get it sand-blasted and primed and painted, then put it back together again."

Their work is saving the Junius Heights Historic District hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's like an art project for us, and we're getting the opportunity to help take care of history," Middleton says. "JJ ate there when he was a little kid, and he'd like to take his kid to see it when it's finished. That’s why we're doing it."

Spaghetti Warehouse trolley Spaghetti Warehouse trolley, in pieces.Johann Huebschmann

The new home
The Junius Heights group does not yet have a permanent home for the trolley, nor a plan for how it will be managed or maintained. Details details.

For now, it resides in Orr-Reed's "dry house" — a warehouse they've used for overflow and for items that need to be kept out of the elements such as big furniture items, casement windows, and things that cannot get wet.

Hargrove and her staff built shelving and redesigned the warehouse to make it work.

"It'll definitely affect our day-to-day routine — there's a giant cumbersome trolley that's taking up space — but it’s worth it," Hargrove says. "If we hadn't done it, they would have had to spend a lot of money on storing it rather than restoring it. I'm a keeper of history, it’s my duty, although I've never done anything on this scale."

"We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it because someone has to," she says. "I feel like I'm doing the right thing."