I cheated (Day 13 of my detox)

roast chicken
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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Doing the Reboot–A Fruit/Vegetable/Juice fast

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Today is the sixth day of my entry into the 15-day standard “Reboot” program, wherein I am solely ingesting fruits and vegetables — raw, slightly cooked, or juiced.

The idea is to detox my body–eating only pure, fresh food and leaving out processed foods, meats (which includes fish and poultry), dairy and eggs, and all grains and nuts, caffeine and alcohol– in order to re-balance my body and purge impurities, reintroduce myself to fruits and vegetables, of which most Americans do not eat enough, and hopefully, in the long run, create healthier eating habits.

A big bonus for many doing a Reboot is the loss of weight that comes with this program, as well as, according the documentary film, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” even clear up some health problems.

The film is where the Reboot program was born. Australian Joe Cross was overweight, had a terrible skin condition that required medication, and was unhappy with his eating  and overall health lifestyle. He decided to hit the road, the American one, and juice for 60 days while filming his progress and interactions with people across the country. He did quite a bit of juicing from the back of his car (using a generator) and steadily lost weight, cleared up his health problems and began educating others.

One of those people he came across was a trucker, Phil Staples, who was morbidly obese, weighing 429 pounds. Joe told Phil about his personal quest to lose weight and become healthy, and told the trucker if he decided to try juicing, Joe would help him. After Joe went back to Australia in his new trim and healthier state, he got a call from Phil who said he wanted help. Joe set him up in a cottage by a lake and showed the trucker a shirt that was at least five times too small. Joe told Phil that by the end of sixty days he was going to fit into that shirt. The effects of the juicing diet Phil went through could be immediately seen on his face–it glowed and he seemed happier. The film follows much of the quest of trucker Phil, and by the end of his fast, he had lost more than 200 pounds–and fit into the shirt. He quit trucking and began educating others about juicing and eating healthier.

However, the film alone was not the sole impetus for me to start my juice detox. My son had come home one day with a Jack LaLanne juicing machine and said he was going to go on a juice diet. He asked me to join him, but I told him: “No Way! I love food too much!” I also like my wine, chocolate and coffee.

But then, during the same weekend I saw the film and went through an accidental coffee withdrawal. I had forgotten to drink my coffee one day–I was drinking at least two cups a day–and I got a massive headache that lasted three days. Also that same weekend I had received a deep tissue massage and my whole body went into some sort of shock–I lay in bed for the most of three days feeling miserable. I thought if not having coffee (read: caffeine) can make me feel so horrible, it’s got to be bad for you. Then the film’s message of how we consume so much that is not good for us resonated within me.  It was educational about the nutrition received from fruits and vegetables, and not overdoing it on animal protein (which the film’s makers do not recommend giving up, but to balance meals more with veggies and fruits), and how processed foods are just not that good for you.

I decided to do the detox, or Reboot as it’s called.

So the past week I have eaten only fruits and vegetables–and I am amazed at how many vegetables and fruits I do not eat! In one cup I’ve “eaten” a grapefruit, apple, pear, two carrots, and a cup of blueberries. I never eat that many fruits in week! For a dinner I made a delicious vegetable soup with carrots, celery, tomatoes, kale and Swiss chard, onions and leeks, served with baked zucchini that also had leeks and tomatoes with fresh herbs. To have that many vegetables in a week was also rare for me, but now I am having all of this everyday, several times a day.

To be honest, I am hungry quite often, which means I need to eat more often. But when I do eat, I am very satisfied. Today, though, I start ingesting only juice, and will do so for five days straight. The program is five days fruits and veggies cooked or raw and juiced, five days only juice, and then back to the combo.

I don’t know if I can handle it. But I will try.

By the way, I did cheat on my first day of this program. I went to a birthday party where gourmet Mexican food was served, and a tres leches cake. I had a bite of the cake. It was so moist and delicious, the taste made me feel as if I was in heaven. But I stopped at one bite, and vowed to stick through this program. It’s hard.

 

 

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