Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Four Week Cleanse

Exercising and eating right go hand in hand. You shouldn't do one without the other. I have found I can NOT do one without the other. We joined the Y when G was 9 months old. After two years I found that I wanted to drastically change my diet and did so. After that it was so easy. I exercised regularly and ate wonderfully. I dropped excess fat, gained extra muscle and was at a good weight for my height and body type. I wasn't excessively skinny, but the weight loss was noticeable to friends and family who'd only known my adult form as carrying a baby or nursing a baby. By the time my second baby was 3 years old I weighed less than I had when I got married, which I did at the age of twenty. (I'm still not certain if my age has been revealed yet. I really need to look this up!) I wasn't my high school weight, but I was certainly my high school size, maybe even leaner. Why wasn't my weight the same as it was in high school? Because of muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and when I was in high school I did not exercise. I never played sports or did too much outdoors, so I wasn't fit and I wasn't lean and muscular. At all. I was skinny. But it was a soft skinny. Except I was bony. Is that difficult to picture? Oh well.

So anyway. The point I'm making is that when I moved from NC to MD, abandoning my beautiful, wonderful Y and its wonderful instructors (I still miss you gals!), I eventually stopped exercising. As I've said, I tried. I walked/jogged with a jogging stroller. I walked S to school. Will and I went on long walks leaving the girls at home with my parents. But it wasn't the same cardio and toning routine I had been doing and eventually winter came and I stopped. I was teaching and I was busy. And I was TIRED! Sooooo tired. I was more tired than I'd ever been. Commuting by car on the highway is exhausting in itself and much more so with two antsy, hungry, cranky children after a mentally exhausting day of working with teenagers (who are on all sorts of different levels of maturity--BUT I love my job). When I stopped exercising and winter came, my mom noticed there was considerable dust on my juicer and suggested we store it in the garage. Had I not been using it? Nope. Had I stopped eating salad? Yep. It's cold in the winter. Who wants salad? Not me! Don't get me wrong, I was still on the path to vegetarian and got to pescatarian by August '09. I was still eating good stuff like kale and sweet potato and plenty of other cooked vegetables (thanks, Mom!), but I was eating bread for breakfast, drinking sugary coffee (still am) and often eating more than my fair share of sweets. Exercise gone, high raw diet gone.

Without green juice, the high raw diet doesn't work. Without exercises I have no motivation to eat well. Having joined a local gym and having gone to a hand full of group exercise classes, I am once again motivated to fuel my body. I don't have the stamina I did when I left NC. I want it back. My pants are all getting tighter and tighter. Some don't even fit at all. I don't care about the number on the scale. I can see the difference in the mirror and feel it every day when I get dressed. I want to change. I want to go back. No, I want to go forward!

I've already started. I stopped by the grocery store today and picked up my ammunition. I'm gonna blast my cells with clean energy and detoxify them of the crap I've put in. That means green juice and smoothies in the morning, raw nuts or nut butter during the day, salads at lunch and dinner, cooked vegetables in the evening. I'm not perfect at this and today, being the second day back since break, had a difficult time getting up this morning, so I stopped by Dunkin Donuts. I ate a veggie egg white flat bread sandwich. I'm sure there was sucralose in the flat bread and there was cheese on it, or something called pasteurized cheese product, but I don't feel bad about the veggie egg. (Though I can't shake the feeling there probably is something in there I should feel bad about.) So, after the coffee and egg sandwich this morning, I had bean burgendy. It's like boeuf bourguignon, only with beans and vegetable gravy. My mom made it this past weekend and I ate it over egg noodles until today when I didn't have anymore noodles left. Lunch=good. Dinner=EVEN BETTER! First, I got some nice kale sauteing. Then I boiled some whole wheat elbows for the girls. I also put four sweet potatoes in the oven. While all that was going on, I made a big salad for me and left extra chopped/shredded veggies in the fridge for tomorrow. The girls ate dinner while I finished chopping veggies. After I ate my salad, I got soup started and did dishes and then put the girls to bed. I also had a glass of red wine. Yum. Surprisingly I'm not craving beer. Then I sat down to Biography: Christian Bale on Hulu and ate my sweet potatoes. Eating and watching TV is one of my favorite things to do. I know you're not supposed to do it and I can't deny I've overeaten while watching, but I still love to do it. Then I went and fixed up my soup and had a cup, and I mean a small tea cup of soup. It's 8:36 pm, I'm full and I haven't had any bread or other grain since this morning! More on that in a minute.

Here's what was in my salad:
Shredded Purple Cabbage
Red Pepper slices
Organic Baby Greens
One Roma tomato
Four slices of soft goat cheese with chives
Topped with Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Here's how I made my soup:
1.5 boxes organic vegetable broth
1 bag of organic baby carrots
Simmered on the stove until the carrots were soft.
Added the cooled and skinned two sweet potatoes.
Added the following spices: dried basil, dried thyme, coriander, cinnamon, curry powder, chili powder, garlic powder and sea salt. I didn't measure, I just sprinkled. I put in a very little bit of cinnamon, but more of the other seasonings.
Then, I blended with an immersion blender. And voila! What a complex flavor in such a simple recipe.

Where did I get the inspiration for such a beautiful soup? Natalia Rose's book Detox For Women. I should have checked her recipe, because it calls for ginger, which I have in the freezer, but forgot about! Oh darn. Hey! That doesn't mean I can't add it after it's cooked. I'll be reheating it on the stove, so no big deal. I'd made her recipe before, so I remember the basic ingredients and just added the spices I know I like and have on hand. I love that I can cook this way now. When I was younger I had know idea what spices worked with other spices, or what I really liked in the way of seasonings. My mom did all the cooking growing up and I had no interest in learning. She recently told me that when I was 19 she asked if I'd like to help her make dinner sometimes to learn some recipes before I got married (remember, I was only twenty when I got married). I replied, "I know how to read a cookbook." What a smart ass I was! Ha! Well, I do know how to read a cookbook and I'm a self-taught cook and baker in many ways, but observing my mom and eating her food also taught me many aspects of cooking from preparing dishes and prep- strategies in small spaces to the best ways to serve food on the table or buffet style and the cleanup. Thanks, Mom. You really did teach by example. I hope I'm doing the same for my kids. S should probably help with preparing dinner, but often I take solace in the kitchen after a day at work. I want to be alone with the food and not talk. As a teacher I explain the same thing over and over again. I just don't want to do any more teaching and explaining when I get home. The summer, though, is the time when I really focus on teaching my kids skills at home.

Back to the bread and grain problem. First of all, bread is like glue in the body. It's not helpful for the digestive system at all. Even whole wheat. It's one of the reasons my pants don't fit well. I'm also really, really tired of something which no one wants to hear about, much less talk about, but I'm going to say it: I have an itchy rump. Rectum, that is. I think it's a yeast problem. Candida thrives on sugar. I want to get rid of it. That means no sugary fruits, no bread, no sugar or sweets. Oh, I just remembered I forgot to pick up some dark chocolate. I think I have chocolate chips in the cupboard. Anyway, I still have coffee in the morning to contend with. I should switch to Stevia until I can give up the coffee altogether. Detox For Women really focuses on helping women flush their bodies of excess yeast. It's certainly a problem in our culture. Acid reflux is one of a long list of symptoms dealing with candida. It never went away when I was high raw, but I still consumed lots of fruits and sugar. (Oh man, it's itching right now just thinking about it! And yes, I talk this way with close family and friends. And you.) So what am I to do about it? I'm trying my very best to follow the four week cleanse Natalia Rose lays out in her book. That's it. Four weeks. I'll take it one day at a time. I can still have berries and grapefruit and I can have eggs when I'm really freakin' hungry and I can have wine and goats cheese. I can do this! By the time spring comes I'll join a CSA and have fresh greens out the wazoo so I'll have to juice, juice, juice. I want to feel GOOD and AWAKE and ALIVE! Oh no, I'm getting really excited. Watch. In two days I'll hate everyone and everything. Ha! Maybe I won't. I'll try not to, at least. I have 1.5 logs of goat cheese in the fridge, grapefruit, frozen berries for smoothies, sweet potatoes, rice noodles for when I'm craving carbs. Now I just have to get me some good chocolate. I even bought unsweetened vanilla almond milk for my smoothies. Oh, I'm set. The way to be successful is to be prepared and I'm there. Now, I've put it out there. I'll update even if I muck up.

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