Thursday and the open-faced tofu egg sandwich

Last night I went bowling with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We bowled 4 games, which took 2 hours and it was enough to make me warm. Not to sweat or anything but it was definitely good to move and kept my heart rate just above resting. I bowled most of the night with a 12 pound ball, which is a pretty good size too. I actually threw a few strikes in the first two games…I got a 125 and a 109 or something, which is decent for not having bowled in a while. And I picked up a 7-9-10 split which was sexy as all hell, to be quite honest. But over the night, I did have a few drinks (Jack and Coke’s) and got a bit buzzed. I had a late-night bagel when I got home to help soak a bit of the alcohol. Then I started chugging water. I woke up parched several times and downed an entire Mason jar full each time, and never even had to pee! So dehydrated. (Note to self: get some coconut water!)

This morning, all I could think about was easy food or something made with Daiya cheese. I debated back and forth about takeout (no, keep your goals in mind) OR walking to the store (it’ll be a little exercise and be okay to eat the junk for, ha) but decided in the end that I had plenty of food here and that I should really get creative and try to find something that would still meet my cravings. My mind came to tofu eggs since I had a block of sprouted tofu in the fridge that I’d yet to try. I came across this Vegan Hollandaise Sauce recipe and decided that would be my inspiration.

My pledge in yesterday’s post included a high protein and high fiber meal to start the day. With the sprouted tofu and the sprouted bagel I had, I’d be having 28 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, once you count the protein that would be added from nutritional yeast. (I liked this overview on nutritional yeast if you’re unfamiliar.)

So I grabbed a banana for a little energy and hit the shower. I forget how nice it is sometimes to take a long hot shower… It feels so energizing and renewing to let the hot water and steam cleanse you out completely. On the days that I have extra time, I like to use a body brush to exfoliate and then apply coconut oil or lotion. I’ll work the leftover into the ends of my dreads for moisturizing too. I feel extra refreshed after taking the time to do this, and always feel ready to start the day a bit better.

I tend to ravage for snacks or eat handfuls of raw nuts while I’m prepping a time-consuming meal. I knew the tofu egg sandwich would probably take an hour including the cleaning I had to do before hand to get the kitchen ready. There are a few steps involved in making the sandwich too. To avoid the extra calories and fat that those handfuls of nuts add to my day, I decided to make a juice! Kill two birds with one stone. There’s no better cure for a hangover, juice would be very  hydrated, nourishing, and healing and a great way to start the day. I made a juice from celery, cucumber, bokchoy, parsley, carrot, apple, and ginger.

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Then I started in on prepping the tofu. I’d be trying this Nasoya brand sprouted super firm tofu for the first time. PS- I’m sorry I don’t have an actual recipe and I just have a collection of my steps. I didn’t really measure anything when making the sauce and it wasn’t really perfect anyway. I’ll work on it and get a recipe for you someday. 😉

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The package has a tab and is very easy to open, no knife or scissors required. And it was less mess, contained just a little tiny bit of liquid but hardly needed any pressing whatsoever. I cut off a sliver and put it into a container to marinade with Bragg’s amino acids (3-4Tbsp) and rice wine vinegar (1-2Tbsp) and a little ground black pepper. I made sure to continue flipping it over and soaking the liquid into the tofu. It absorbed rather quickly and sponge like, more so than regular extra firm tofu. And just so you know, for storage it says to put in a container with a little water and change the water every day and use within 3 days. That’s a reminder to myself too ha.

As the tofu was finishing marinading, I started in on the sauce. I began inspired by the link I found above, but then I kind of just went on my own, haha. I melted about 4 Tbsp of Earth Balance in a small sauce pan, whisked in a little whole wheat flour, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1/2 an avocado, and a bunch of nutritional yeast. I crushed up the avocado with the whisk as I went. I added a little salt and pepper, and some unsweetened almond milk. I simmered and whisked until it got a consistency I like. Toasted a sprouted grain bagel and topped with a slice of tomato, fresh spinach, the tofu slices, and the sauce.

Overall, it was pretty healthy, but I would like to find a sauce that had less Earth Balance in it some day. For now, I’ll allow myself just a little indulgence if it made me eat such a healthy breakfast otherwise. I think a pine nut or walnut sauce would work great in this recipe. Perhaps similar to this one that I used to top veggies last month?

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Hmm… that gave me an idea and later on in the day I used the leftover sauce from the tofu egg sandwich to coat some steamed cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. Delicious! I had a big salad too with spring mix, spinach, bean sprouts, avocado, mango, cilantro, and oil-free balsamic vinagrette. For dessert, I had a smoothie made from frozen banana, raw cacao powder, peanut butter, raw agave, and almond milk.

I did eat more than just what I’ve talked about but I don’t want to write all of it. I know we’re talking transparency and everything from the last blog post but let’s just suffice it to say that out of the goals I set in my last post…

  • No takeout when alone (I don’t know what my addiction is to sushi but I got 3 rolls delivered, only one tempura though. I am going to teach myself to make my own sushi next week to start saving money and so I can use brown rice instead.)
  • No eating in bed (I didn’t eat laying down or anything but I sat on the edge of my bed watching Netflix on my computer while I drank my milkshake. Still not great.)
  • Eat 3 meals and 3 snacks each day
  • Start each day with a high-protein, high-fiber meal
  • Eat a large green salad every day
  • Accomplish at least 1 form of exercise every day (walk, bike, gym, yoga, etc)
  • Journal all food intake, exercise, and emotions dealing with food/eating daily
  • Meditate for at least 30 minutes a day (I fell asleep listening early when I usually do some meditation before bed to chase away bad dreams.)

My exercise for the day was about 90 minutes total spread throughout the day of stretching, calisthenics, and hand weights. I really need to get some stronger hand weights because the 5 pound weights are not offering enough challenge for me anymore.

Despite the fact that I didn’t do quite as well as I was hoping with food for the first day of my new beginning, I did incorporate a LOT of nutrient dense foods and more protein into my day, and I look at that as a WIN. I also got back some exercise in, which also felt good. My arms muscles are feeling pretty strong. My VitaMix is supposed to come in the mail tomorrow so that’ll be a huge motivation to play and make really healthy raw foods and smoothies and all kinds of fun stuff. 🙂

Oh by the way – here’s a photo of the raised cinderblock garden bed I’m working on in my backyard! I have a small layer of soil covered with compostable goods that I’ve been collecting for a month (especially there’s a TON of juice pulp which will absorb quickly into the soil.) Then there’s more soil on top. I plan to turn it quite often and then in about 2 weeks add more soil and start my first vegetable garden ever!

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Admitting to my depression and addiction to food: where do I go from here?

I want to start this post by explaining that in November, I basically left my job to begin pursuing self-employment and working hard to focus on my health and personal development. I’ve worked full-time or more since I was 16 years old and I’ve always just barely made ends meet. I have recently felt a huge deficit in my mental health, and turning 24 has really made me want to get a move on in working towards the goals that I have (more on that later.)

It’s true that I have lost 80 pounds over the past couple of years through change in lifestyle. There was no diet, there was no hardcore exercising. It was just a gradual shift into eating better and exercising more. I have pledged to update this blog daily as I am currently out of work and have the time to do so. I am hoping that through blogging I can establish a platform for me to make a living in the health/weight loss community. I have a story to tell and a passion for nutrition, diet, and lifestyle because of how personally successful I feel already in this journey. I still have more of my journey to go. I still am bordering on “obese” according to some standards, and easily could lose another 30-40 pounds to really be at the weight my body would be healthiest at. But I sit on this fact: that I’ve already lost 80 pounds and yes, I do eat healthier overall than most people I know. I feel like I’ve earned the right to sit comfortably around 190-200 pounds because I used to weigh close to 270. The truth is that now, I eat a LOT of food. The food itself isn’t unhealthy, but the quantities are not a joke anymore. It used to be funny to kid about the amount I eat. But I’m not laughing anymore. I need to find the proper amount of food to fuel a healthy active lifestyle and maintain it.

The holidays are a particularly hard time for me, and it’s not something I want to really write about the “why” at the moment. In general, cold weather and less sunlight also really leave me in a ditch, so to speak. Depression and anxiety set in hard, and I found myself in bed for an entire month before I realized it was time to get help. I started some therapeutic measures, and a week of random 80 degree weather in March lifted my spirits and pried me out of bed. But then, I caught my boyfriend’s mono, and found myself bedridden for another 2 weeks! I felt conflicted every day with the thought of pushing myself. I was sick of being in bed and I had already spend literally a month away from my friends and away from my life. I was ready to get back into it, to start cooking and sprouting and everything else. Then my boyfriend and I did a juice fast, and I felt uplifted and renewed and READY.

However, I’ve been feeling pretty fatigued again (lingering depression, leftover mono symptoms?) for the past few days and haven’t updated my blog or really taken time to cook myself good healthy meals. I’ve barely done anything except sleep. I also tend not to post unless I’m having a successful day with recipes, food, exercise, etc. So on these days when I barely get out of bed, I tend to not blog either because I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything worth sharing. What I have done over the past few days is begun to network with other blogs and really get into the nitty-gritty of health food and weight loss blogs. One common thing I found is that the most interesting and inspiring blogs (the ones I will actually read the entire posts instead of seeking out recipes – another confession) are the ones that tell the truth NO MATTER WHAT.

So I am working on that whole transparency thing which I know is so valuable in the blogging community. I’m working on it, and I’ll get there soon. I think the hardest part of it is actually writing things like, “Today I ordered 8 rolls of tempura sushi and ate them all.” I’m ashamed of the money, calories, and health wasted on the food and maybe a part of me thinks that if I don’t write about it or tell anyone, that it never even happened! But then my stomach yells at me the next morning and I get depressed looking at my checking account, and maybe transparency and accountability to someone (even a blog written mostly to myself) can help handle some of these recurring feelings of failure and guilt and help me break my issues. I’m ashamed and embarrassed to blog some of these (okay, ALL of my failures) because I don’t want to be perceived as a hypocrite. But what I should be embracing instead are the steps to my recovery and the realization that addiction and food disorders are a real and serious thing. If I keep trying to hide it, I’ll never address the real problem and more importantly, break the vicious harming cycle. This idea of transparency will also help me in my emotional and mental struggles, as next month I begin therapy for anxiety/depression/mood disorder as well.

I’m slowly coming to the concrete conclusion that yes, I do have “disordered eating”. I don’t know how to properly classify it, but it falls somewhere between compulsive eating and binge eating. I’ve also had trouble with binging and purging (through both vomiting and laxatives), as well as extremely restrictive diets, and of course EMOTIONAL EATING. One site suggested the term “Partial Syndrome” and that seems to fit the best. My quick understanding of it is that those who suffer from partial sydrome swing through extreme cycles with food. Ultimately,I am a food addict. And I need to treat that like a real problem, the same as I would if it was alcohol or drugs or gambling or any other damaging addictive compulsive behavior.

I think over the past few years I’ve attempted to fuel my obsession with food into a healthy one, and I’ve certainly gone a far way in doing so. But it’s still an addiction. It’s everything I think about from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep (and then often as I wake up many times in the middle of the night.) I am now concentrating fully on it through my blog while I unemployed, attempting to turn this addiction into something positive. But it’s still a fine line. Because as I attempt to portray myself one way through this blog, I then find myself engaging in more binging/compulsive eating, claiming every time that, “Tomorrow will be the day you start your blog and get on track correctly! Better get takeout.” That’s another big issue with me because it’s easy for me to have food delivered and not leave a trace even to my roommates. No dishes or trash in the kitchen. I can eat it in my room.

My other big issue is trying to correct everything at once, thinking that a huge life overhaul is better accomplished by “starting fresh.” This doesn’t have to be the case. As the day goes on and I gain the energy to begin thinking productively, I make to-do lists that are ridiculously way too ambitious, and then beat myself up for not being able to accomplish them. But there is a sense of overwhelming anxiety when I try to think about making all these changes (which sometimes include things like: cook 2 recipes (one for blog and one for cookbook), walk for 2 hours, yoga for 1 hour, meditate for 1 hour, read 100 pages in XYZ book for research, run XYZ errands, etc). What I realize anyone would say to me as I try to get back into the swing of things as I deal with a major episode of depression accompanied by mono is that GRADUAL changes are better. Incorporating one or two small new things into my day and resting and taking things at my own pace is not necessarily a bad thing. I also find that there are days when I do get everything done, but then I’m so drained that I sleep an entire extra day to make up for it. That’s not healthy either.

I’ve decided that this time that I am able to take off of work really needs to be the final home stretch in my goal to establishing permanent healthy habits and truly dealing with my negative relationship with food. I am going to channel that addiction into a positive light, in hopes to inspire and help others to make permanent healthy changes as well. I want to share my story, and I realize now that the only way it will be relate-able is by finally admitting those ugly things that I know so many people deal with and showing how I’m finally getting past the addictions and obsessions that have plagued my health (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for well over a decade.

So I’m setting small attainable goals. Isn’t that what they say is the first step of weight loss, too? These will be pledges to myself so to speak, but I am pledging them out loud to this blog. For transparency, for accountability. For myself. Because that’s what’s really important. Many of these things I do on the regular basis, but I don’t do them all every day, and this is what I want to build up to. NO MORE EXCUSES.

  • No takeout when alone
  • No eating in bed
  • Eat 3 meals and 3 snacks each day
  • Start each day with a high-protein, high-fiber meal
  • Eat a large green salad every day
  • Accomplish at least 1 form of exercise every day (walk, bike, gym, yoga, etc)
  • Journal all food intake, exercise, and emotions dealing with food/eating daily
  • Meditate for at least 30 minutes a day

These are reasonable goals and I will post on my progress as I work on them. Then, once they become habit, I will set more goals and work towards them. Baby steps. 🙂 This post, in itself, has been a huge step for admitting and accepting my issues and beginning groundwork for real, positive, permanent change.

Happy Hump Day!!

 


Juice feast day 5: feeling AMAZING!

As I was just writing the subject for the post, I realized that I’ve completed five full days of juicing! Huzzah!

Now here’s the crazy part…

For the past few days, the posts have talked about a bit of fatigue, crankiness, muscle aches, sore throat, headache, etc. My breath has stunk and my pee has stunk and the trips to the bathroom have been less than ideal. Detox symptoms. So if you’ve been reading along and wondering why anyone would “starve” themselves for days just to feel like crap… I’m happy to report that TODAY was the reason why.

I feel energized, uplifted, clean, light. My mental focus is extremely clear. I haven’t had one single hunger pain or craving today at all. I even watched my roommate cook a veggie burger and it didn’t phase me one small bit. I’ve had no headaches, no pains, no aches. I had a regular bathroom trip this morning. (Yes, there’s still solids to come out after 5 days of juicing!) The white detox “fuzz” that comes out on the tongue during the first few days has lessened. I never wear deodorant, and the sweat from today’s walk was significantly less toxic smelling than previous days. I had the energy to walk about 5 miles today too and didn’t feel incredibly wiped or exhausted afterwards. I will even have enough energy to do yoga tonight which I haven’t felt like doing in a few days. I’ll probably do the “Crunch: Candlelight Yoga” from Netflix Watch Instantly. It’s a very easy, relaxing 45 minute routine that just helps stretch out the kinks from the day, nothing too intense.

And these are the feelings that make the effort worth it.

Beyond the physical changes that I’ve experience over the past few days, a juice fast or other cleansing program can prove to be emotionally lifting as well. It’s a reaffirmation to your will power and allows you to feel a great sense of accomplishment that you’re doing something for yourself. It makes you feel like you can do anything. (And right now, I definitely feel like I could do anything that I set my mind to… and I’m only halfway through!) And more over, focusing on all of these good feelings and the reasons behind why I feel them will help me stay motivated after the fast is through. I’ve been literally flooding every inch of my body, every cell, with this insanely nourishing substance. The thought of taking away this nourishment makes me sad! The idea of refined oils or refined sugars or a huge meal just doesn’t interest me right now. The detox symptoms proved that there was some icky stuff I was holding on to, which would only contribute to a sluggish, fatigued, unhappy existence. Moving forward, I’ll be able to feel clean and ready to stay on track with healthy eating and that renewed energy will help me with my physical fitness goals too. It’s so hard to move off the couch when you’re being plagued with aches and pains and tiredness. Don’t get me wrong, this sense of renewal and re-invigoration is something you have to work to maintain, and eventually everyone starts to slip on their diet and lifestyle. I know I’ll do it. But that is why a “reset” or “reboot” is so necessary, at least for me. It helps start fresh and helps you get rid of cravings. A palette cleanser. A mind cleanser. And pretty soon you find yourself noticing that you honestly do not want those foods that contribute to that overall decrease in health, and you’ll automatically have adapted this healthier diet. Over the past 3 years since I’ve begun my journey to wellness, I’ve had dozens of time where I considered the foods I was eating to be very unhealthy and I was “off the wagon.” Juice fasting has proved to be the best way for me to get back on track, and I’m finding now that the periods of time when I’m “off the wagon” are growing fewer and far between as my body grows a distaste for the foods that harm and craves the nourishment of fresh organic whole foods. The juice fast also creates awareness about the amount of food our body really needs to maintain, and helps shrink our stomachs back to their intended size. In the long run, this helps with natural portion control too.

Today also marked the 7 pound down mark. (From 200 pounds to 193 pounds.)

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Juice #1:

  • 1 pear
  • 1 orange
  • 6 strawberries
  • 15 asparagus stalks
  • 1 cucumber

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Clean, light, refreshing. Not too sweet.

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Juice #2:

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/4 head cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 green pepper
  • 5 brussel sprouts
  • 2 bokchoy stalks
  • large handful bean sprouts
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 lemon

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Mmm.. I loved the color and taste of this juice. As the days of juicing goes on, I’m definitely finding myself being more satiated by the heavy vegetable juices and less fruit juice.

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Juice #3:

  • large handful green beans
  • approx 2 cups broccoli
  • 2 bokchoy stalks
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 radishes
  • 5 asparagus
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • apple
  • pear
  • chunk of ginger
  • 4 turmeric root nubs

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This juice was insane. I can only describe the flavor as ‘deep’. I guess maybe it was a bit earthy too. The turmeric root is definitely a nice way to add a different flavor into juicing. I also like adding a tomato or two because that adds a different bite. I do think that I liked the apple and pear in this to add a little contrast to the flavor overall, but instead, could maybe just do a couple extra carrots instead to nix the fruit. I bought so much fruit to finish out the fast and now I’m not even craving it! I’ll probably end up cutting a bunch of it up and freezing it for smoothies instead and as the days go on, beginning to filter on over to more entirely vegetable juices.

In case you were wondering, I am definitely MISSING some things from my juicing regiment. I wish I could incorporate more kale, spinach, watercress, romaine, etc. However, my juicer is a cheap juicer (I don’t even think it has a brand to be honest – ha!) and it does a good job for anything except leafy greens. For some reason it spits juice everywhere when it tries to process leafy greens. This is why you’ll find me using broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choy, and asparagus as my main sources of greens. With a better juicer, I would have at least a good handful or two of leafy greens in each juice, and would definitely recommend it as part of a juice cleanse.

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Needed a new shot to use on my blog, etc – and just got a new apron at Target (my first real apron as an adult, on sale for $7 – score!) This was before I started prepping for the first juice of the day.

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It was nice to see some sunshine and flowers on the trees even though the weather was a bit chillier today.

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And then I found this pie, with the strangest set of leftovers I’ve seen in a while. It reminded me of the Cookie Monster’s chocolate chip cookie. “C” is for… pie???


Juice feast day 1: benefits, cost, recipes

 

Today is the first day of my “Welcome to Spring” Juice feast. I’m aiming for ten days.

 

 

The benefits of a juice feast

I’m using it as a way to completely reset and reorganize my goals. I’ve had a few rough months, dealing with high levels of anxiety and depression, and that resulted in my addiction to food kicking in hardcore. I gained about 15 pounds. I’m currently back at 200 pounds, which is a bit depressing since it took me forever to reach under 200. But! I never thought I’d see a ONE starting my weight, and I know with a little bit of effort, these winter pounds will shed and I’ll start feeling better. Luckily, we’ve gotten a break with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been graced with. This is a phenomenal motivator for me, because I love to be outdoors, and I walk everywhere and go on hikes and bike more. I rejoined at Planet Fitness too, which is a 5 mile round trip walk. When it’s nice out, it’s one of my favorite things to do is walk to the gym and lift then walk home. It’s a great workout overall and a good chance to clear my head every day.

So back to the main topic… to embrace the warm weather and help get back on track with my health, I’m doing a 10 day juice feast. Amazingly, my boyfriend is joining in with me. He’s almost actually more excited than I am somehow. He went out and bought a Hurom Slow Juicer and woke up early this morning (he compared it to Christmas morning!) and we’ve successfully completed our first day juicing together. This will be his first time attempting a juice fast, but he is a regular juicer anyway, usually once a day. I have to admit, I’m a bit smitten that he’s into the idea of a juice fast… it’s really great to have someone as interested and passionate about it as I am, and of course, it always helps to have a friend or partner in challenging health or weight loss endeavours such as this. It’s important to remember that a juice fast should not be done strictly as a way to shed extra pounds. Rather, weight loss is a byproduct of regaining control of your body and nourishing it correctly. It’s not a quick fix, and it’s just as important to maintain a healthy diet after the juice feast in order to continue the journey to wellness and prevent the regaining of unwanted, unhealthy fat.

This is my 5th or 6th juice reboot. I’ve also done the Lemonade Diet a few times (Master Cleanse.) The first time I changed from the MC Diet to a juice feast, the difference was beyond obvious. With the MC diet, you feel toxic and weighed down and ill, even if you do maintain a fairly clean lifestyle. Especially my last time through, I didn’t even last two days because of how ill I felt. Then, when my system restored a bit, I went into my first juice feast. I remember I’ve tried to keep journals throughout them but usually end up being too busy. This time, I’ll be keeping notes and photographing the juice (before AND after!) because I really want to show how much food you’re actually eating. People think they will waste away by just drinking juice – but you feel exactly the opposite chugging down these huge liters of vegetable juice. You feel full and invigorated and reenergized. You feel nourished, and that’s the key here. That’s why I decided it was time for something like this. You see, once your body is truly nourished, it really starts to crave the foods that made it that way. I also think Daylight Savings Time has made a big impact on my food cravings as well. With the additional sunlight (well, later in the day at least), and warmer temperatures, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time outside and exercising and walking like I mentioned, which naturally makes me want to eat less and keep my energy up. Last summer, I was probably about 60% raw on average for the hottest months. I really want to be close to 85-90% raw this summer to experience what its like. I am going to do at least one whole month. I’m building up to that slowly with the increase of fresh juice as well.

The cost of doing a juice feast, and why it’s worth it

OKAY – so, let’s talk cost first. The produce we purchased cost about $80 each and it was mostly organic, even a few local things now. I think it will last us at least 4 days, but we’ll see how it turns out. That would end up being about $20 a day. It sounds like a lot to spend. But let’s really think about it: give up your 2 large iced coffees and 2 alcoholic drinks at night and there you go. Most people don’t realize how much those swipes at Dunkin or bar tabs add up to be. I’ve pretty much given up alcohol for the past two months and its allowed me to spend a little extra on healthy, organic, whole foods. It becomes difficult to break the pattern of going out, having a drink or 2, and recovering in the morning with a coffee. Its how our society works.

Caffeine and alcohol are both stressors, triggering the body to raise its cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is released when our bodies are stressed. It’s basically a fight or flight trigger: our blood pressure and heart rate increase, and all other systems kind of shut off except for our stress response. When cortisol levels are raised repeatedly from different stressors, whether from the world around us, our own mind, or the food we eat, the body tends to become fatigued from all the spikes and crashes. And it’s a neverending cycle. Start the day with something like coffee and donuts, and your body is going to release a whole bunch of cortisol to counteract the processed food. The simple carbohydrates (white flour, refined oil, sugar) and caffeine will metabolize quickly and provide a huge burst of energy. But what comes up must come down. Our pancreas responds urgently and releases a rush of insulin. The quick letdown leads us to reach for another fast fix – an afternoon iced coffee, a bag of chips, or a candy bar. This repeated abusive cycle is what often leads to many health problems, which can be as mild as fatigue and joint pain, or possibly as serious as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

So, when you think about what a juice fast can do to benefit your body and health, $20 a day doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. Remember, daily care and investment in your health can save you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in health care bills later on in life. Plus, I find that eating well and living well allows me to accomplish more day to day since I don’t feel weighed down and ill. Spending more money on organic and natural whole foods has resulted in my living a fuller, happier life. (And I write this to REMEMBER it, because there are often times that I slip into ordering take out and eating junkier, and that always leads to a decrease in exercise and a lessening desire to do my favorite activities. By writing this down and focusing on how good these foods make me feel, it’s a way to stay motivated and stay on track. Try it the next time you notice you’re feeling particularly healthy and focused. Writing things down makes our brain process them an extra time, and then you have the ability to reread and remember it too. Just something that’s worked for me from time to time.)

Juice Feast Day 1: Recipes and photos

Since we didn’t get a start until after noon, the first juice we made was about double the size. I aim for 5-6 twenty oz juices a day (this was kind of determined by what Joe Cross, the inspiring film maker and juicer extraordinaire, consumes in his film “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”) By the way, I recommend anyone embarking or considering a juice fast, or even just the idea of incorporating more fresh juice into their diet, see this film and really pay attention to his messaging. His website has a ton of great resources as well.

Juice #1:

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 lemon with peel
  • 3 small apples
  • hunk of ginger according to taste
  • 6 radishes
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 1/4 pineapple

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This recipe yielded about 5 cups, like I said, about double the amount I’d normally make for one sitting due to a late start. This particular juice was a bit too heavy in the ginger, but I think it was only because the new juicer processed the ginger much more efficiently. I’ve used thumb size pieces before and never gotten such a strong flavor. Almost immediately after I finished drinking the juice, I found myself running to pee about 15 times over the next few hours!! The first time, my pee was very dark and strong smelling, which was unusual for me, as I’m usually extremely well hydrated. I had some water too with the juice, but this seemed like a crazy amount of trips to the bathroom. As soon as I was done, I had to go again. For someone who’s used to peeing quite frequently, I was a little alarmed at the sensation. Later, I did a bit of research that showed that radish juice is specifically used as a kidney cleanser and often used in aiding the passing of kidney stones. Neat!

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Juice #2:

  • 4 stalks of celery
  • approx 3 cups of broccoli, including stalk
  • 1 apple
  • 4 carrots
  • handful or parsley

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This yielded about 2 and a half cups, so it was just about the right 20 oz serving size. I really love the refreshing taste that celery and parsley give together. By the time this juice was done, I didn’t have the crazy diuretic feeling anymore. I downed another 32 oz of water after to help continue flushing. The juice helps stir the toxins out of your cells and the water helps flush it out. Yay!

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Juice #3:

  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 8 asparagus stalks

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This one also yielded just under 3 cups, again, a great size for one juice meal. Red pepper and pineapple is one of my absolutely favorite juice combinations. In the summer, I like to juice an entire pineapple with a couple red peppers and a jalapeno. It results in this sweet, crisp, spicy juice that is just not a flavor you can get anywhere else. (And in case you were wondering, yes, asparagus juice does make your pee stinky!) I drank another 32 oz of water after this juice too.

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We also had a nice large helping of homemade vegetable broth, repurposing some of the vegetable broth from earlier with potato, onion, garlic, and spices. Boil all together in filtered water, strain well, and enjoy. This is especially a good way to help curb cravings when you feel the need to eat, not because you’re hungry, but because you feel like you SHOULD be eating something. The act of eating the broth with a spoon and the fact that it’s so warm and flavorful, and so strikingly different from the juice you’ve been feasting on all day, is surprisingly satisfying. (Here’s a post I wrote before on the process of making homemade vegetable broth from juice pulp.)

I know a lot of people wonder about other bathroom effects of a juice fast, and so far I have not had any terrifying bathroom experiences. This could be because I’m very regular normally, so I’m not very backed up. But remember that if you are, the juice will definitely swoosh in and help clean out. Maybe more to write on that tomorrow… For now you just get to hear about my pee! 🙂

Since we didn’t get a start until after noon, the first juice we made was about double the size. I aim for 5-6 twenty oz juices a day.


Get physical, 15 minutes at a time, and remember how good you feel!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve started “getting physical,” it was that every small thing you do adds up. You read on websites that “15 minutes here and there make a difference.” So you add in a 15 minute walk 1 or 2 nights after work. That’s not a bad start, but it’s true that they mean these quick bursts of exercise to happen much more frequently. I aim for 3-4 a day, because that then means I’ve added one hour of physical activity in each day! That’s the kind of time that will make a difference.

Doing my best to remember this, whenever I find myself shunning my workouts, I start adding back in a few minutes here and there of simple movements until I begin craving an actual more intense workout. That’s where I finally got back to today. The winter time is especially hard for me to keep up with working out. It’s not necessarily the cold, it’s more the lack of sunshine. I lose my motivation. I’m not good at being active inside. But I’m going to make an effort. It’s my goal to get my body strong enough and my mind confident enough to bike wherever I need to go in the city by the spring. In fact, it’s supposed to be like 45 degrees tomorrow, so I am promising myself I am going to get a bike tire pump and get on my bike, for at least an hour tomorrow.

There are two things which I think really pushed me over that barrier into saying, “Okay, it’s time to seek out a workout.” First, I’ve been consuming a large fruit smoothie every day this week with a greens powder and almond milk. I haven’t had any fruit in a really long time actually. This was a great boost to my overall well being the last few days, so I’ve been feeling physically ready to do a workout. No fatigue, good digestion, free from aches and pains. The second thing that really got me itching for some endorphins was when I went out to sweep the front porch. Sounds strange right? Well our front porch and stairs and sidewalk all connect, and I kind of started getting carried away. When I went to return the broom to the backyard, I decided the whole thing needed cleaning. So, I went to work. My heart rate definitely picked up and I could feel the muscles in my arms and back working. It felt great.

So, to ride that high, I decided I’d download some Workout of the Day Apps on my phone, and I went through the Arms and Butt one, both the 10 minute versions. They were definitely a good reminder of why I need to get back to working out, haha. But really, even though I was feeling a little shaky, my muscles were almost screaming out with gratitude.

Then I did the 45 minute Crunch: Candlelight Yoga on Netflix Watch Instantly. If you’ve never checked it out, I highly recommend it. It’s very soothing and easy and it’s a great full body stretching workout. It always gets me feeling significantly more limber after just a few days in a row, and you’ll become motivated to maintain this type of stretching in your daily routine. Not to mention, you’ll sleep better and be in a better mood. Or at least, that’s what it does for me. My muscles get so angry at me if I add yoga back in regularly and then take it away. But once you remind yourself the difference it makes in everything from posture and weight loss to digestion and stress management, you won’t deny your muscles the privilege either.

Let me perfectly clear. There are plenty of days that I do not want to work out and there are plenty of weeks that go by that I do not. The same with unhealthy eating, the best way to break it is slowly. Like I talked about at the very beginning of this post, a little bit here and there makes you crave more. It really is exactly the same as the process of incorporating whole, nourishing foods. Give your body a little, and it will ask for much more. It’s a great cycle to be in. The more I continuously exercise, the more my body continues to avoid empty calories, and literally, those foods do not taste as good to me. If you’re taking the time and making the effort to work your body hard, why negate all that? Healthy foods lead to a quicker recovery rate (that means less sore for less time, but still able to work hard!), healthier digestion which aids endurance and overall performance, and it also allows your body to develop muscles and shed fat with more ease (and you’ll have more of a shot maintaining it.)

Everything I’ve said, of course, is just my personal experience. In fact, I’m thrilled that I’m finally writing it all down because when I’m feeling that the last thing I want to do is get off my butt and do 10 squats, it will help motivate me. Eventually, remembering these positive feelings, and embracing the feeling of being strong, limber, and fit, will help me maintain a consistent exercise schedule. At least, the gaps between times when I’m working out consistently and times when I’m spotty are getting shorter in length and less frequent. Victory!

How do you motivate yourself to stay working out or get back on the wagon if you’ve taken a little too much time away? How do you feel when you consistently maintain a workout schedule?


Green protein smoothie and introduction to coconut oil

After a gross hiatus from exercise, I am getting back on track officially today. That means at least 1 hour of physical activity each day and also a protein smoothie to add nutrition and help build fitness. I got rid of my vehicle lately, which has forced me to start walking everywhere. I have done this before, and every time I’m in a pattern of walking, I tend to get more and more motivated to work out and get stronger and be able to zip around town on my own two feet. I will be biking again soon, but feel not strong enough quite yet. I need to exercise for a week or so and then hop back on. My plan is to gain energy and confidence in myself again before my 1 month vacation in January (heading back to my hometown in California – 29 palms! I’m even doing a 10 day silent meditation retreat, but I’ll have to write about that later.) I do feel pretty good most of the time, but I’m getting a bit squishy after this hiatus from real exercise. So yea, time to step it up again.

Today’s workout was 45 minutes on the Cross Ramp, interval setting, alternating between resistance 1 and 8. I hovered around 115-125 strides per minute. (This is my first attempt at actually tracking progress with speed, resistance, and when it comes to strength training, the weight that I’m using.) I also walked 4 miles total, as it’s 1.5 miles each way to the gym and then another mile to the grocery store.

I feel GREAT right now. Remember that! Note to self: you feel GREAT right now. I can’t wait to go sweat it out some more.

That’s how it’s really been my entire weight loss journey. I’ll begin by really buckling down and keeping a food log and exercise log. Then eventually I get into the rhythm of how good it feels to maintain health, and I stop tracking it, but then that leads to me cheating here and there and falling a bit off track. My “off track” days used to mean slices of vegan carrot cake and 300 calorie vegan cookies and chocolate bars and salt and pepper potato chips and fried buffalo seitan and popcorn drenched in Earth Balance (all former cravings even after lifestyle change!) I don’t crave most of those things too often now. My cravings tend to centralize around savory foods and not sweet ones. I do have a very fond attachment to Daiya Cheese and like to use it in several dishes. I had been using a lot of Earth Balance and Daiya lately, and that’s my “off track” cheat now. But today? Right now? After hitting the gym and sipping on this smoothie? I don’t feel cravings for ANY of that. I think this really the key in weight loss or any type of struggle really. Remember, make a mental note (or physical – write it down!) about how good you feel, your energy level, your confidence level. If you feel sexy, remember that! It will help motivate you on the days when its a bit harder to get your workout in. And another thing to remember, that food that nourishes, such as this protein smoothie, will taste even better the more your body needs the nutrients to refuel. The more you feed your body the fuel it needs, the more you’ll actually feel like working out. And the more you feed your body nutrient-dense foods, the less you’ll crave empty calories. Your body won’t want that crap anymore, trust me. It’s a positive cycle.

So, I’m going to make a protein smoothie with baby spinach. The reason I specifically start any kind of reset or “back on track” period of time with a smoothie is because of how much nutrition it packs in for not a lot of calories or really energy to digest. It’s already liquid!

OKAY – so what’s in my smoothie today??

  • 2 cups organic unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 large organic banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 heaping scoop Lifetime Life’s Basics Plant Protein (hemp, chia, rice, and pea)*
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil**

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*This protein is my absolute favorite. It tastes GREAT just even on its own. Even to someone not used to protein powders. It’s soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free. And it packs a great nutritional punch. Find it on Amazon.com for the best deal. They have a Subscribe & Save program where you can get it on autoship each month (or however often) and you get free shipping and 15% off too. Crazy!

**In a recent post, I explained the benefits of getting healthy fats from whole foods and how I’m a supporter of limiting (or eliminating, ideally) all refined oils. I have never cooked with or consumed coconut oil. I have heard through the grapevine that it is extremely healthy for you, even from people who generally don’t consume extracted oils. (Must be virgin coconut oil – unrefined.) The consensus seems to be that coconut, flax, and hemp seed oils are still very beneficial to our bodies. The big difference being that these oils are often just extracted and not refined. Since they haven’t gone through that processing, many of the healthy fats are still intact and have not been destroyed through heating.

The benefits of coconut oil that I’m interested in gaining include nicer hair and skin, healthier digestion and metabolism, effective weight loss, and increased immune support. Before beginning to consume an oil like this on a regular basis, I want to make sure I understand WHY it is so beneficial. The knowledge behind the healthy benefits of certain foods is really what motivates me to try new things and increase the nutritional density of every meal.

So let’s start with the benefits to hair and skin. I have been using coconut oil externally for approximately 6 months now (on and off) as both a deodorant and moisturizer. What I’ve noticed is that my skin feels smoother for longer, it tends to have a nicer overall hue, and just looks generally more healthy and less blemished. Coconut oil is also antimicrobial. Using it as a deodorant helps kill the bacteria which cause bad body odor. (Of course, body odor is affected by what we eat as well. A clean diet will definitely result in less of a toxic smell from your pits.) And since its moisturizing and antimicrobial, it works great to help heal cuts or skin abrasions or other problems. It also makes sense that if coconut oil has these properties, that consumed internally, it would help boost the immune system in fighting free radicals. Also, the healthy fats will help increase skin elasticity and keep it looking healthy from inside too!

As far as metabolism and weight loss are concerned, it seems to be that coconut oil behaves differently than other oils due to medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When fat is consumed, the fat is broken down and sent into the bloodstream and directly to the cells. The MCFAs in coconut oil are actually sent to the liver instead, where they convert to energy the same way that carbohydrates would. This quick efficient boost of energy speeds the metabolism, which could help boost weight loss!

Some resources on the benefits of coconut oil: Coconut ConnectionsCoconut Oil CentralLIVESTRONG

And now that I’m way off track… how about a photo of that smoothie I’m sipping on? And then I’m off to work on some sprouted grain breads!

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Approximate Nutrition Facts

Calories: 631

Calories from fat: 211

Total fat: 23.6 g

Saturated fat: 13.7 g

Sodium: 384 mg

Potassium: 1356 mg

Carbohydrates: 67.4 g

Fiber: 13.2 g

Sugar: 36.57 g

Protein: 42.8 g