Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Juicing Day 5

A third of the way there, woo!  I feel re-energized...ok, not really, but I am happy with my progress and results, so I'm going to suck it up and stick it out.  Today's juice of the day is apple (2), jicama (1 medium), celery (2 stalks), lime (2 small), and mint (2 cups).  While I have to say that it's a little heavy on the lime, it's quite tasty (and not nearly as minty as I had feared).

For the record, I'm not starving.  I'm not depriving my body of calories (fat is another story), and while I may not be getting 100% of the protein that I "should" be getting every day, 1.) I wasn't eating enough animal protein per day to meet those needs anyways and 2.) not everyone needs a standardized amount of protein in their diet.  I don't live my life according to charts and formulas.  I've found (before and during this juice fast) that listening to your body is critical.  Counting calories will drive you crazy.  Eat when you're hungry (or in this case, drink a raw, fresh pressed juice) and stop when you're full.  Make sure you get enough exercise/movement for the amount of food that you're ingesting.  If you're moving less, then eat less.

I've been catching a lot of criticism for my experiment, everything from joking around to "poor baby" to downright lectures.  Well, you can rest assured that I'm not dying or getting sickly, and I'm certainly not a victim here.  I find it amusing how people tell me what conventional "experts" consider norms (did you know that the mayo clinic discourages people from drinking juices at all?  And if you do drink juice, they suggest you get store bought pasteurized juice...HA), mostly bits and pieces of information without really asking me about the juice fast or researching it on their own.  Juicing, in general, is something that most people should at least incorporate into their daily diets, especially given the fact that the majority of us don't get nearly enough fruits/veggies in our diets.  In each of my juices, I'm getting at least a daily dose of veggies/fruits.  If you are thinking about juicing, just remember to "eat your colors" and juice a wide variety of vegetables and fruits (although, you should probably limit the amount of fruits in your juice...just enough to add a touch of sweetness).  Heck, "eat your colors" should be a daily mantra when it comes to fruits & veggies in general.



PS I promise to update my posts with some pictures as soon as I charge my camera.

PPS I am planning on changing the frequency of these journal style entries.  Since I've transitioned rather well into drinking just juice, I will be just posting some recipes (with photos) of my juice successes.  I'll probably update and summarize at the 15 day mark and then again at the 30 day mark, just for progress sake.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Juicing Day 4

The word of the day today has been "negotiation."  Pretty much all day it's been my stomach v. my head in a very child-like back and forth that goes a little something like this:

"I'm hungry"
Have some juice.

"I already had juice.  I'm bored of juice.  How about Dante's 3 layer fries?" (fries, cheese, bacon, jalapenos, sour cream)
You already know the answer to that is no.

"Fine, what about potstickers, you know, the ones from Lily's Garden...they've got ginger in them, sort of like those juices you keep drinking."
Um, no.

"Alright, what about Doritos.  You' haven't eaten Doritos in ages.  All that cheesy crunchy goodness...don't you miss crunching?"
No and no.

"Roast beef with potatoes?"
You don't even like beef.

And then my stomach deals a low blow...

"Vietnamese spring rolls?  You don't even need to put the noodles on them, just veggies, green apple, herbs, and that delectable peanut sauce???"

Oh crap...

I've been bugging my nutritionist friend for support a LOT today, to the point where I'm sure she's amused and mildly irritated at the same time.  She's been a great deal of help with talking me off the ledge over the past 4 days, and she told me that 60 days is a really long time to subsist on juice alone.  We talked about my motives and my 2 upcoming races that I should start training for soon...60 days is a heck of a long time to go without chewing and crunching.

So here's the revised deal:  15 days (so my stomach is just going to have to suck it up and stop thinking about food other than fruits and veggies) of pure, unadulterated juice.  I'm going on vacation for a long weekend at the end of the 15 days, so I'll be transitioning into eating some solid foods (again, fruits & veggies only, with maybe a little protein in the form of eggs).  Then for the remaining 11 days (so 15 more days total), I'll be juicing for breakfast and lunch and eating a nice solid scrumptious salad for dinner.  She suggested this would be a great way to transition back into the land of the living (er...eating).  A 30 day juice/raw veggies & fruits stint sounds doable.

So for now, back to the juicer I go.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Juicing Day 3

It's only day 3, and I think my stomach is submitting to my will.  I woke up today sans headache and/or cravings.  I haven't been hungrier than normal, and I really like the taste of the mostly veggie juices that I've been making.  Although I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding me feeling so great, but it's yet to happen, so I'm hoping it will not happen.  Today's juice of choice was a carrot, watermelon, lemon juice...super tasty and refreshing.

I also met a friend at a French Market to buy more veggies...ended up with great conversation, a bunch of new spices (including a pickling blend, since I've got cucumbers a plenty in my garden), and some dog treats.  I did purchase a couple of fat cucumbers and some rhubarb, which will make some tasty juice, for sure.

I hit up Caputo's on my way back from the market and was pleasantly surprised by the variety and prices of their fruits & veggies.  I was stoked to find golden beets, so I stocked up on those along with some red beets, jicama, lemons, and ginger root.  I will definitely keep them in mind for my juicing needs, especially since there's one just minutes from my house.  I also stopped at our local Woodman's to bite the bullet and get a bag or two of $7.99 a pound organic apples (if you juice apples, pretty pretty please buy organic.  They are uber sprayed with pesticides that penetrate the skin, so even if you wash them to death and skin the apples, you're still imbibing copious amounts of nasty pesticides).  To my surprise and delight, they have granny smith apples on sale for $4.99 for a 3lb bag...I bought 6 bags cause I'm crazy like that.  If you've got a Woodman's by you, I highly suggest checking them out for their diverse produce selection, including a decently sized organic produce section (they also have a fairly extensive organic & gluten free area of the store, which is pretty cool for a local chain).

I felt like a kid in a candy store as I unloaded bag after bag of juiceable produce when I got home.  As soon as my juicer parts are out of the dishwasher (top shelf, of course), I will be firing it up and making an amazingly delicious (I'm guessing) glass of apple juice, which is something that I've been craving since I saw the documentary, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead."  As I've briefly mentioned before, our family eats pretty darn clean as it is.  We've kicked out the majority of processed foods in our house (with the exception of the occasional bag of whole wheat organic pasta and/or loaf of whole grain sprouted bread), we rarely eat out, and veggies make up the bulk of our dinner plate.  This juice fast has been just another way to simplify eating habits and jump start a routine of even better consumption into our daily lives.  Suffice it to say, I'm going to be incorporating raw, fresh juices into my diet when this juice fast is completed.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Juicing Day 2

  Who knew that juicing on a weekend would be so hard?!  I woke up this morning with a dull headache that originated from behind my eyeballs, but since I couldn't just rip my eyeballs out in order to alleviate the pain, I just drank some water and dealt with it.  I didn't quite notice it at first, but day 2 left me cranky and craving every kind of solid food known to man.  Every time I made a meal for the cousins that I was babysitting, it took every last fiber of my body to refrain from sneaking a few bites of the food.  Seriously, who would I be sneaking from other than myself.  I felt so ashamed for even thinking about giving up after 24 hours.  I've been trying to incorporate more fruits than veggies in my juices, so today's "winner" consisted of 1 wedge of pineapple, 1 cucumber, 4 stalks of celery, half a pint of blueberries, and a boatload of mint.  If you need a name for the juice, I'd call it "cool as a blueberry mojito."  It was super refreshing and tasty.

As far as the gastro problems that I had anticipated, other than having to pee every 30 minutes or so, I haven't had any other discomfort or pressing issues.  I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop but hoping that since I eat a relatively clean diet normally that I won't have and number 2 issues (crossing my fingers).

I've noticed that the constant hunger is sort of background noise by the end of the day.  I'm used to it and don't feel the need to just drink juice every time my stomach growls.  I'm a lot more tired today than I was on day 1, but I'm going to attribute that to 2 very energetic little girls sleeping over last night and wanting to constantly be on the go and entertained today.  Taking an afternoon nap helped alleviate the hunger too, which was nice.

I'm starting to run low on produce already, so it looks like tomorrow will be a shopping day again.  I've decided that I really like the taste of beets, nectarines, cucumbers, celery, carrots, lemon, strawberries, ginger, mint, kale and pineapple.  I've also realized that berries aren't worth the effort and volume that it takes to produce enough juice to taste.  Juicing broccoli is a bad idea-yuck.  The taste of broccoli overtakes all other flavors in the juice, and unless you really like broccoli, I suggest you skip it.

Despite the constant cravings for pretty much everything other than juice, so far, so good.  I do think that I was a wee bit crazy thinking that I could tackle a 60 day juice fast, but we'll see how it goes.  For now, on to day 3.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Juicing Day 1

  Breakfast this morning was a carrot/orange/grapefruit/beet/ginger juice, which has been very tasty.  It's a little bitter, which I'm guessing is from the 2 white grapefruits that I juiced.  Note to self: use ruby red grapefruits next time.  They are sweeter.  This juice is fantastic, and I haven't really been hungry at all.  Ok, I lie, I drank 8 oz of the juice at 8, and I was really hungry around 11.  Apparently I'm supposed to be drinking at least 16 oz of juice per sitting...oops.  I'm currently sipping the second 8 oz jar that I have & I'm feeling a lot better.

I've also made a juice for later on with strawberries, rhubarb, kale, carrots, and beets, which I'm excited to try.  I used an entire stalk of rhubarb and a pint of strawberries, so I'd imagine it's going to be a whole lot like drinking a strawberry rhubarb pie...yum.

I have also noticed that I'm very cold.  I'm so cold that I've got goosebumps and everything from my toes to my nose is cold, which usually doesn't happen to me unless it's the dead of winter.  I'm not exactly sure why I'm feeling cold, but I suspect that only drinking cold juices has got to lower your body temperature or something.  I've been told that people who are transitioning to a raw diet experience similar feelings, so I find comfort in the fact that I'm not an anomaly here.

Other than the constant cold feeling, so far, so good.



PS if you're as out of your mind as I am and are thinking about embarking on a lengthy juice fast (or even just a weekend juice fast), here are a few tips:

* Please juice as organic and local as you can.  When you juice fruits and veggies, you're essentially concentrating all the nutrients and pesticides that are in the produce.  I recommend printing out (or at least saving in a handy place) the Environmental Working Group's 2012 dirty dozen (& clean 15) list of veggies and fruits that is categorized by pesticide level.  It's a great quick guide to help determine what's ok to buy conventional and what you should steer clear of when you're grocery shopping for the juice fast and beyond.

* If you're more of a night owl than a morning person (like me) and are planning on juicing the night before so that you can savor a few more hours of sleep, invest in 8 oz. wide mouth mason jars to store the juice that you've made.  Make sure to fill them to the top so as to slow down the oxidation process.

* It is best, of course, to consume your juice right after you make it, but that's not always an option.  Juice usually keeps for about 24 hours, so you will have to make more at least once a day.

* Invest in a good quality juicer.  This doesn't mean that you have to blow this month's rent on the most expensive one, but look around at reviews and ask friends for suggestions.  I've got the Breville Ikon juicer, which I picked up for about $180 (normally $200, but I had a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon), which isn't terrible.  I'm told that Breville is a great juicer brand though.

Creating a New Reverence for Food Preface

  I have decided to undertake a major challenge and tackle a 60 day juice fast.  That's right, 60 days of cozying up to my juicer with a bag of produce, drinking it exclusively, and liking it.  So many people take food for granted, they eat junk because it tastes good or because they have decided that they are to busy to prepare and consume healthful food.  Others hold food in such high regard that they practically worship artisinal, vegan fed, nitrate free, bacon anything.  They are more interested in the culture of food snobbery than the origin and purpose of their food.  My aim is to understand the fundamental nature of food, the interplay of flavors of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices as well as the important nutritional role that fruits and vegetables have my body.

  Food, in its purest form is nourishment both for the body and soul, and I am hoping that by completing this juice fast, I can gain a better understanding of the food that I grow and consume.  All the fruits and vegetables that I am going to be juicing are going to be local and organic whenever I can find it.  I will be purchasing the bulk of my ingredients from local farmer markets so that I can have a better understanding of the hard work and passion that goes into the foods that I eat.  I will be documenting my progress here in the form of daily updates (well, most days) as well as photos and recipes of my tastiest juices (as well as produce combinations that just don't work for me).

  I will be regularly consulting a nutritionist in order to monitor my nutritional intake as well as to talk about the effects of the fast on my body.  I will also review the process approximately every two weeks in order to gauge my progress, in case something happens and I can't continue with my journey.  I welcome any and all questions that you might have, as well as any funny comments and words of encouragement for me.  Here's to a journey of culinary enlightenment.



Monday, February 6, 2012

Taco Party!

  If you live in a mixed household (aka meat eaters & non), might I suggest always keeping on hand taco fixin's?  Tacos are just about the easiest thing in the world to whip up, especially on a weeknight when you don't feel like slaving over a stove/oven for hours on end.  My husband has told me on several occasions that there's nothing that can't be stuffed into a taco shell-he's even made turkey leftovers into tacos.

  Last night, which just so happened to also be Superbowl Sunday, we had a taco fiesta.  I boiled an entire chicken with some herbs and veggies that I had on hand (carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and parsley) for an hour (put the veggies in the pot, place the chicken on top of the veggies, fill the pot with enough water to just cover the chicken, bring to a boil & reduce to a simmer...simmer with the lid cracked slightly to prevent boil over).  I then removed the chicken from the water & shredded it.  I tossed it with spices and the chicken was good to go. 

  I grilled up some peppers and onions on my stove-top grill, until they were caramelized and tender as well.  And for my black bean tacos, I opened a can of organic black beans, drained them & tossed them with the same spices as the chicken.  I then heated them up in the microwave for about 2 mins.

  For the fixins, I sliced up an avocado, pulled out the sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, tomato salsa, and hot sauce.  I also like to keep corn tortillas and 10" flour tortillas on hand (just in case we don't feel like making a creative meal), so I pulled those out and heated them up too.

  What's great about taco night is the fact that you can customize your own tacos, filling the shells with only the ingredients you like.  My husband and his friend had chicken tacos, and I was satisfied with black bean, avocado & pepper tacos.

  Like I said before, don't limit yourself to traditional fillings either.  We've done turkey tacos with stuffing & cranberry sauce.  Breakfast tacos are in regular rotation for dinner.  Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy (or haven't gone grocery shopping in ages), I'll just do cheese tacos with veggies and hot sauce.  The sky is really the limit with these.

Avocado, black bean & pepper tacos-ole!