I cheated (Day 13 of my detox)

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Here I was, having made it through 13 days of just eating vegetables and fruits, five of them drinking only juice, and ready to celebrate this weekend by making it to 15 days. But I cheated.

My son had put a whole chicken in the refrigerator a few days ago to defrost and I knew he wasn’t going to cook it, so I took it out and decided to prepare it for my children in case they got hungry later. I squeezed lemon all over it, and rubbed salt and lemon pepper everywhere, including under the breast skin. I also put some mint leaves under the skin for an extra flavor kick. Then I stuffed the cavity with chunks of onions and put it in the oven. The giblets and neck were left over, so, I thought, I’ll just fry these up with some pepper and salt. That was when I knew I was going to eat them. I just couldn’t take it, I could imagine the tasty pan-fried giblets, and the fried skin on the neck…my mouth was watering.

I told my daughter that I was going to eat the chicken.

“Be careful mom,” she warned. “You have to come off these detox things slowly, so you don’t get sick. You should eat only soups and salads, and maybe some nuts and grains first.”

I’ve been eating salads and soups for two weeks, I thought to myself, and I’m done. I want chicken.

“But if your body is telling you that you need it, go for it,” my daughter added.

That bit of encouragement was all I needed. I finished frying the giblets, heart and neck, warmed up the Japanese eggplant from last night, and sat down to eat. I savored every bit, eating every piece of meat off the chicken neck, even popping it in my mouth so I could suck all the juices out. It was so good.

And I didn’t feel one bit of regret. It was worth it, stopping two days short of my overall goal.

I can always do this again, and do the whole 15 days, but in a place where there are no people ordering pizzas, tacos, steaks and wine in front of me, away from restaurants. I’ll have to become a monk or nun or something. Those people are used to self-denial. I am not, but I have learned a great deal about myself these past two weeks. I can deny myself the many pleasures of food and drink, knowing in the end what I am doing will be good for me. I can sit with people eating and exert willpower. And I have learned that there are many interesting and tasty ways to prepare vegetables.

A few hours after I ate the giblets and neck, I tore a leg off the chicken and ate that, as well as some of the tasty crispy skin that was soaked in lemon. Just a little, that’s all. Then I made a juice with apples, cucumber, parsley, and celery to make up for my transgressions.

I feel good.

 

Eating food a violation (Day 11 of my detox)

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Today was the first day I have eaten solid foods since five days ago.

In the morning I had a blend of banana, kale, apples and coconut water, for lunch baked zucchini with tomatoes and leeks, and baked sweet potatoes and carrots. In the late afternoon I had a “snack”– a salad with red leaf lettuce, avocado, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and radishes with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. For dinner: sautéed broccoli with onions and some potatoes. I added balsamic vinegar and some soy sauce to that.

I felt heavy and sleepy after eating lunch. As I was eating I felt like I was violating myself, even though it was fresh, or only slightly cooked, vegetables and fruits that I was eating. For a moment I felt like I wanted to continue juicing. “I’m going to miss it,” I thought. But heck, not as much as I miss pizza and wine!

Seriously, I’m going to stick to more fruits and vegetables from now on. In just one glass of juice I’ve eaten more vegetables than I would have in a week. Health advocates, according to RebootYourLife, recommend that a meal consist of 50% plant foods, 25% animal protein, and 25% of some sort of grain. Most Americans, according to the Reboot program, eat 50% animal protein, 25% overcooked vegetables, and 25% white starch foods for a meal.

I have four more days until I start eating other foods. The Reboot guidelines for going back to solid foods after juicing is to eat only plant-based proteins, salads and smoothies during the first week, and then slowly reintroduce animal proteins and other foods, limiting, or even eliminating processed foods if possible.

But I won’t give up the pizza, or salami and cheese. I’ll just limit the intake, which will allow me to fully savor those foods when I do have them…

 

Fresh is best (Day 10 of my detox)

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Today was the best day yet of my 15-day veg/fruit/juice fast. I had stayed out late and slept little, yet this morning I felt good. I woke up late, but was not immediately hungry.

My first glass of juice was at 1 p.m. and although by then I was starting to feel hungry, I wasn’t desperate. Tomorrow I start eating solid fruits and vegetables again, although a friend urged me to try another day on just juice. I thought about it for a second, but noooooo. Five days of just juice is good enough for me this time around. For me, the fact that I’ll have gone two weeks on just fruits and vegetables is a strong enough cleansing and readjustment of my intake of what kinds of foods I ingest.

One important thing to note is that anyone who tries this and is trying to lose a great deal of weight, or has health problems should consult a doctor first and be monitored while on a fast or detox. I wish I had my vital signs taken before I started. I didn’t even weigh myself. But I am pretty healthy anyway; my cholesterol, blood pressure and other vital signs have always been good.

Right now, I am having my evening juice meal of tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red onion, parsley, fennel and lemon. It’s quite tasty. It reminds me of a Mexican salsa.

My good friend who urged me to do another day asked me if it was amazing to me, that I have done this, to exert the mental willpower to overcome an internal desire and succeed in it. I suppose it is. Because food is a necessity, not just a desire.

We humans have come up with some fantastic ways to feed ourselves–some of them sublime; some, such as bioengineered food, creepy– and constantly a chef or at-home cook somewhere in the world is creating another fantastic way to consume food (such as the interesting miso soup made with Saki, crimini mushrooms and a blast of some sort of cream that was served at the fifth anniversary of dineLA at the W Hotel Westwood).

But it’s the types of food we desire that can cause a problem. Whether  it is fast food, what I call cardboard, that offers little to no nutritional value or bioengineered and chemically altered food of which the lasting adverse effects are not yet known, or just not enough balanced consumption of food groups, people are basically eating themselves to death. The list of ill effects from being overweight is enough to make one change their eating habits: coronary heart disease; high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes; cancer; sleep apnea; reproductive problems; gallstones; osteoarthritis….

An acquaintance on Google + posted a photo of a hamburger that was sitting on a counter for two years and it’s basic shape and texture had not changed; it did not decompose as natural food does, decaying and becoming moldy. So your body has to work much harder and longer to digest processed foods. The doctor who conducted this experiment said she has not eaten fast food since.

Enough of the soapbox…

I am still looking forward to that pizza I watched my friend eat the other day, and to upcoming events that are centered on food. I’ll just balance it now–more vegetables, more fruits, and definitely limited intake of processed foods. Fresh is best.

 

Juice and jokes (Day 8 & 9 of my detox)

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Well, I made it through Saturday night with my friends and their cheese, wine, marinated artichokes and some sort of bean that Christina called, “Big Beans.”

They made some jokes, such as Jeff when he asked, holding up his bottle of fine red wine, “Want some juice Laura? Isn’t this juice?”

Everyone laughed. It was funny. Although they joke around with me, my friends are very supportive. One girlfriend, Nancy, and her mother decided to try juicing after she told her mom about it.

“Can we have coffee” Nancy’s mom asked.

“No mom, no coffee.”

“What about tea?”

“No mom, tea has caffeine. Just juice.” (Herbal, non-caffeinated tea is actually okay.)

“Well, I’m making menudo tomorrow, we can’t start tomorrow. First menudo then on Monday we start.”

I didn’t get into it then with Nancy, but I will send her a link  to the Reboot program (joingthereboot.com) where it explains you have to prepare a week in advance before you do any variation of the program. First thing to go is coffee and alcohol. Then you start to reduce the amount of animal proteins–beef, chicken, fish–as well as slowly start eliminating all processed foods, including pasta and bread, and all dairy two days before you start the program. That way your body won’t go into shock when you starting eating fruits and vegetables–at least that’s my take on it.

Sunday morning, or afternoon rather, which was Day 8 of my quest, I blended an apple, grapefruit, three carrots, and some honeydew melon for starters, and took a bottle of blended red cabbage, Swiss chard, kale, honeydew melon, Italian parsley and beets, as well as a can of coconut water, with me to meet some friends at LACMA for a movie screening (LACMA has a great free film series). Afterward, we went to Marie Calendars so my two girlfriends could eat and have some wine.

I assured them I was fine with this arrangement, I had my bottle of juice and my coconut water.  I was okay until after they consumed their dishes of ahi tuna served on a bed of noodles and fish tacos and one of my friends ordered a pizza. The pizza was so freshly made its tomatoes were steaming as the waiter brought it to the table. Then, with the pizza next to me, the waiter grated fresh parmesan on top and as he moved it over to Christina, the smell wafted up and filled my senses.

Wow, I had to go I thought to myself or I will break down. But I didn’t. I stayed, finished my juice and then finally told them I had to go because I was hungry. I needed to go home and juice.

Now it is Day 9 as I write this, and so far it has been the best day of my juice fast and detox.

I did yoga for 20 minutes in the morning, made a delicious juice blend of apples, carrots, grapefruit and red cabbage and took another blend of vegetables with me on the road for my appointments.

Here’s a partial list of vegetables and their benefits from my list on Day 8, courtesy of Reboot Your Life:

  • Apples contain antioxidants that help protect “good” HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Beets are potent antioxidants with liver-protective properties.
  • Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that promotes natural detoxification in the liver. It is high in sulfur and iodine.
  • Carrots are the richest plant source of vitamin A, good source of potassium.
  • Cucumbers contain potassium and phytosterols, which help lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Grapefruits provide a rich source of vitamin C, and are a good source of lycopene (a carotene with prostate cancer-protective properties).
  • Kale is an especially nutrient-dense vegetable with many potent micronutrients. Rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K, kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein, another potent carotene. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, making it a good source of the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol. Research shows I3C has many anti-cancer actions, such as promoting estrogen ratios in the blood that are weak, but needed to discourage breast cancer tumor growth. Crucifers are also potent detoxifiers.
  • Parsley is a good source of folic acid, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers. It also promotes fresh breath.
  • Swiss chard tastes sweeter in juices than spinach. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Foods rich in potassium have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.

French toast and wine denied (Day 7 Juice Detox)

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My girlfriend  just called me to warn me about tonight. We’re gathering with friends at the Tango Room for a night of dancing.

“I just want to let you know that Jeff is bringing a really good bottle of wine,” she said, laughing sympathetically, if that’s possible, “and I’m bringing some crackers and cheese…”

My tango friends and I with all the wine and cheese they bring to the Tango Room.

Oh boy I thought, Jeff brings really nice wine…really good. I pictured a large glass of deep red wine, slowly sipping and savoring it, and brie cheese! Christina always finds great cheese. I love cheese, especially with crackers and some olives.

“Oh, I’ll be fine! I cooked French toast and turkey sausage for my son this morning, and I was fine!” (Actually, as I cooked I had imagined a slab of butter slowly melting all over the French toast and pouring Trader Joe’s maple syrup all over it, but I stopped there, I didn’t dare imagine how it would taste in my mouth.)

“Really?”

“Oh yeah…I’m on day two of just juicing and I’m getting used to it. Yesterday I baked a pizza for my son and my mouth was watering, but I made it through. I’ve had about five glasses of juice today and I’m feeling good.”

“That’s all, I thought you would be drinking more than that.”

“No, I’m following the program and it has recipes for a morning juice, a mid-morning and then lunch and a dinner, with coconut water in between. Now that I think of it, there’s no snack juice between lunch and dinner … I’m just going to have to throw that in…and I’ll bring a late-night juice with me tonight.”

Christina and I laughed, but inside I was crying. Okay, that’s a bit on the dramatic side, but the idea of sitting with my friends around the table with glasses of wine,  gourmet cheese and crackers, not to mention the nice food spread that’s always at the Tango Room, and me with a big jar of juice kind of sucks. (I don’t like to use terms like that, but it’s appropriate right now.)

It really is okay, this juicing thing, except for the occasional hunger pain. Got to go buy more vegetables and fruits–one week, $150 and I’m almost out. It’s expensive this juicing–especially if you buy organic. Have to buy organic though. I don’t want to drink glasses of pesticide. That would negate the whole purpose of my quest to eat healthier.

As for tonight, I better make that juice a double if I’m going to last past midnight.