Thursday, June 30, 2011

Slaw of the cole

I think coleslaw should be called cabbage slaw. It's just an opinion.

It's summer. I had a head of cabbage, and a new coleslaw recipe from Bon Appetit, so I made coleslaw.

The recipe does not call for carrots, but I like carrots in my coleslaw, so there you have it. 

These are the ingredients that I had on hand: pepper, onion, mayo, vinegar, agave nectar, salt (related: my salt box is the bomb). The ingredients I did not have on hand were: dill pickles, pickle brine, horseradish and celery seeds. I don't believe in celery seeds anyway, so no great loss. The recipe probably would have benefited from the pickles and horseradish, though. I had just run out of pickles a couple weeks ago and the idea of buying horseradish I'll probably never use again didn't appeal to me. So I realize I've completely bastardized this recipe, but whatever.

Also, I used agave nectar instead of sugar. I continue to maintain that agave nectar is a perfectly appropriate replacement for sugar in many recipes, unless you're baking.

I used my food processor to chop up the cabbage and the carrots. I used roughly half the head of cabbage, which combined with the carrots filled a large mixing bowl.

Then I schlepped the above ingredients together and poured the mixture over the slaw. Then I added more salt and pepper, and it was perfect. I loved it. My husband loved it. We married it and had coleslaw babies with it, and I will eat the babies for lunch today.

Here's the slaw, accompanied by a barbecue chicken cutlet. I like LOTS of barbecue sauce. 

What I think is yummy and different about this recipe is that it calls for minced onion. I've seen red onion in coleslaw before and have often found it a bit overwhelming. This recipe calls for just a little bit of minced onion, to give it just a slight onion taste that won't give you dragon breath.

Next time I will throw in the pickles and horseradish, because I think it would take the slaw to another level.

And on another note -- I'm happy I subscribed to Bon Appetit. They aren't paying me or anything, in fact I'm paying them $10 for a year's subscription, but what I got out of the deal was 12 months of magazines, a magnet with measurement conversions on it (brilliant!) and a mini-cookbook of international recipes. And most importantly -- they appear to post their recipes on their website immediately, which is more than I can say for certain other websites (MARTHA). If you want the coleslaw recipe, just click here

The website even includes bonus nutritional information that was not in the magazine.

And now if you will excuse me, there are some crying babies in the refrigerator who need my immediate attention.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some day I will have an answer. Today is not that day.

Today I'm over at Tired & Stuck, discussing last week's doctor's appointment. Visit if you're interested in all things gynecological and fertility-related. If you're not, don't!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In the wake of the cleanse

The cleanse has been over for a week, so I think it's worthwhile to check in with some updates about what I've noticed since the torture ended. With bullet points!

- Firstly, and most importantly, I seem to be sensitive to dairy. To make a long story short, here are the symptoms I've encountered: Acne, nausea, exhaustion, gas, constipation. I would never have thought myself sensitive to dairy whatsoever -- it's one of my favorite things ever. This is an unwelcome discovery to say the least.

- Drinking lots of water in the mornings keeps me on course for drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This helps with so many things -- skin, poops, hunger, alertness. The most important thing I've realized as it relates to water is that being well-hydrated gives me a lot more stamina when I'm exercising. (duh)

- Processed grains are like glue in my system. They gum everything up and are the root of all evil. 

- The more I exercise, the more I want to exercise. Which is weird.

- I think the key to optimal health might be one big salad, every day. Unfortunately, eating a big salad every day gets old real quick.

- Eight hours of sleep a night is life-saving.

- Coffee is not evil. Coffee is my friend.

- Weighing even a little bit less than I did before gives me a self-esteem boost. I don't feel bloated and hideous.

- Meat is necessary in moderation. As soon as I started eating "normally" again, I got a boost of energy. I'm not eating meat every day, but maybe every other day.

More than one person has questioned my sanity as it relates to my tendency to embark on torturous cleanses and diets like the 21-day cleanse I just completed. I argue that every once in a while, I need to press the "reset" button on my eating habits. Too much processed food and not enough vegetation does not a happy body make. Once you are forced to cut out the bad stuff and eat only the "good" stuff, it forces self-reflection and realizations.

Ideally, this results in better eating habits once the torture is done. Sometimes it just results in a terrible binge. I think whatever happens is directly correlated with the level of personal reflection during the diet/cleanse. And so far, I believe I'm on a better track than I was before.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What I talk about when I talk about granola

You know what the main problems with store-bought granola are?

- It tends to be kind of powdery.
- It's just not always as crispy/crunchy as I'd like.
- They skimp on the tasty bits, like dried fruit and nuts. 

HAD I KNOWN that granola was so easy to make, I would have done so long ago. But maybe this was just my time, since I just bought a book recommended by my friend Michelle, and in it is this delectable, crunch-gasmic, awesome recipe for granola.

The book is "Babycakes Covers the Classics." It's full of gluten-free, vegan BAKED recipes. The clincher for me was the donut recipe. Since he figured out he's gluten-intolerant, my husband has been lamenting the loss of donuts in his life. I'm looking forward to bringing them back.

FYI, Babycakes is actually a vegan bakery in New York, and from what I understand they're going to be opening one in San Francisco soon. I will definitely make a pilgrimage.

And for those of you who are like: I thought you hate vegan food! Be ye not mistaken: I pretty much do. But when it comes to baked goods, I can't use gluten, and my husband also happens to be sensitive to dairy, so vegan pastries will do us just fine.

Now, on to the granola!

This is my favorite way to eat granola, but the way this stuff tastes I can totally see myself snacking on it throughout the day. Could be dangerous.

Here are your ingredients -- gluten-free oats (Bob's Red Mill makes 'em), agave nectar, ginger, cinammon, pecans (optional, but why would you NOT?), dried berries (I used cranberries - awesome), canola oil or coconut oil, and unsweetened coconut (not pictured: salt).

You throw all this stuff together in a bowl, then you smooth it out on a rimmed baking sheet that's covered with a piece of parchment paper.
Go bake, you delicious bastard.

And then you bake for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for another 10 or 15 minutes. Your house will smell like oatmeal cookies and you will feel very domestic and accomplished.

Here's what it looks like straight out of the oven. For the most part it doesn't have those big chunks that some store-bought granolas have, but it doesn't NEED them. It's still crunchy and flavorful. The pecans have a wonderful roasted flavor and the cranberries get even chewier and yummier. There's just no comparing fresh granola and store-bought. Fresh is gonna win every time.

Now to round it all out, here's breakfast again. 

Strawberries, blueberries, greek yogurt, and granola. Seriously the best granola I've ever had. 

Now, for non-fanatics of granola, be ye warned: My husband says this is "pretty good." He's not on the granola bandwagon. Probably if it had M&Ms in it he would like it better.

For the rest of you -- what are you waiting for? I'll post the recipe below -- hopefully Erin McKenna won't mind! 


- 4 cups gluten-free oats (if gluten is not a concern for you feel free to use regular oats)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup pecans (optional)
- 1 cup dried berries (cranberries or blueberries are the bomb)
- 1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil or canola oil
- 1/3 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger, coconut, pecans (if using), and dried berries and mix together. Add the coconut oil and agave nectar and toss until the oats are covered. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My sons

I've been a very bad mommy.

My sons turned 2 years old last month and we didn't throw a party or give gifts or anything. It's quite possible that we completely forgot it was their birthday, and didn't acknowledge it whatsoever.

They don't seem to have noticed.

This is Simon, mid-yawn. Sometimes when he yawns, I blow on his face and then he gives me this cocked-head look of mild surprise. 

A little bit like this. Simon hates the dishwasher. When I turn it on he walks around the house yelling MEOOWW. MEOOOW. MEOOOW. Simon wants as much attention as he can get, but doesn't want to be held, nosirree. That doesn't stop us from holding him, though. And he never scratches or bites. He's a lover, not a fighter. Unless he's doing battle with Murray. Or if he's biting through an electrical wire.

This is Murray. He's my little one. That's what I call him: Little One. Or Sweet Muffin Crumble Cakes or Honey Sugar Baby. Murray licks my feet and curls up on my lap and loves nothing more in this world than the tiny strip of paper you peel off your Netflix envelope when you're going to seal it back up and send it off for more True Blood DVDs. I plan to catch his love of Netflix paper on video soon, for your viewing pleasure.

What is it, Mother? Murray wants to know. I was in the middle of a twelve-hour nap. You are dismissed.

Don't go! Simon says. This is what he does when he wants me to scratch his belly. He knows I am powerless when he casts this spell of cuteness.

Happy Friday. I hope you and your beasts have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tomato Pasta Thing Redo

After last week's gnarly vegan tomato pasta, I was eager for a redo. So I was very pleased to see a similar-ish recipe in the latest edition of Everyday Food (I know, dead horse. I do have recipes from other sources that I'll be dragging out soon).

May I present: Linguine with tapenade, tomatoes, and arugula.

This is so fresh and delicious, there is no question you should make it some time this summer. You can even make it vegan -- just leave out the feta.

Ingredients include cherry tomatoes, arugula, tapenade,  and feta (not pictured: olive oil, pasta, parsley, salt, pepper). Do you see that thing there, on the top left of this picture, next to the coffee maker? (counter space is at an all-time premium 'round here if that wasn't abundantly clear). THAT IS A CANTALOUPE. I got it in my organic delivery last week, and was rather horrified, because you may recall: I hate melon of all kinds. NO - honeydew is not exempt. I hate honeydew. I hate watermelon, and I especially hate cantaloupe. I'd told the company that delivers the produce NO MELON, but they don't seem to have received the memo. My husband tells me he will eat it. We'll see.

That was stressful. Let's open some wine. I got this wine because it had a donkey on it and my husband LOVES donkeys. It's a decent wine, around $12 at Whole Foods, a little tart so eating it with cheese is a good idea.

And while we're looking at stuff on my counter, may I present: Dawn. I normally use hippie dishwashing liquid because I'm trying to save the world, but I got Dawn so I could wash the exterior of all the windows in my house last weekend. Some window washer dude on eHow said to use either Joy or Dawn, just squirt a teensy amount into a bucket of water, and go to town. I recommend one of those squeegies with a scrubber thing on the other side. Works like a charm. The windows are damn clean.

Speaking of saving the world, you do know that gluten is going to be the death of us all, yes? May I present: Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta? It tastes EXACTLY like regular pasta. To hell with rice pasta: quinoa pasta is where it's at. Try it. My only beef is that these come in 8 ounce packages, instead of 16 ounces, like "normal" pasta.

Ok, let's get back to business. You'll recall our ingredients:

This couldn't be easier to make. Boil the pasta, then cook the tomatoes in olive oil for a few minutes, then throw the pasta back in the pot, dump in the tapenade, mix it in, then dump in the arugula and mix that in. Salt and pepper it. Then split the whole kit and caboodle between four dishes, drizzle with olive oil, and top with parsley and feta. DELICIOUS. The arugula is a bit peppery. The tapenade offsets the sweetness of the tomatoes. The feta wraps it all together.

 Hello lover.

The recipe's not on the website yet, so I'll put it below. Enjoy!

Linguine with tapenade, tomatoes, and arugula

- coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound linguine
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (you could really just use a whole pint)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tapenade
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1.5 ounces feta, crumbled (1/4 cup)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook linguine according to package instructions. Drain pasta. In pot, heat oil over medium. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Return pasta to pot, stir in tapenade, and cook until heated through. Add arugula and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among four bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with parsley and feta.

Serves 4.
557 calories per serving. 12 g fat; 19 g protein; 89 g carbs; 5 g fiber

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Wednesday, so: Vagina.

Today the morbidly curious can catch up with my vaginal goings-on at Tired & Stuck. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The results

So in twenty-one days, I lost eight pounds. I will take it, gladly. It's nice when your pants fit better and you don't feel like a bloated whale all the time.

But eight pounds in twenty-one days on a VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE CLEANSE? Is not impressive. It's not that the cleanse doesn't work, it's that I don't work. If I'd stuck to the program completely, I wouldn't be surprised if I'd lost double the amount of weight.

Ah, well. Baby steps and all that. 

You know, I used to be the sort of person who exercised on vacation. Like, I would purposely stay in a hotel that had a gym, so I could work out. I'd spend half an hour pounding out a few miles on a treadmill and then carry on with vacation.

Half an hour isn't so bad. I wish I hadn't stopped.

There were major changes taking place in my life, so I stopped working out. Lesson learned. Life will change over and over again, but I shouldn't allow it to derail my health.

In any case, aren't you relieved the cleanse is over? I can't tell you how thrilled I am that I didn't have to drink a big glass of juiced kale, brocolli, lettuce, and celery for breakfast. I had a smoothie with a nectarine, a little yogurt, and some almond milk.

I'll be getting back to my regular shenanigans shortly -- posting photos of food and describing how my cat puked on the hearth (abundantly!). I have lots of posts in the works, none of them cerebral or diet-related. We shall be back to the mundane and fluffy very soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

CLEANSE DAY 21 (holy. mother. of. me.)

I knew this woman a long time ago who used to skip breakfast and lunch and eat only dinner. She was very thin. I think she was onto something.

I'm not saying I'm gonna start doing that -- we all know I have little to no self control. But what I am thinking might be a good modus operandi is light breakfast, light lunch, and normal dinner. Is this how regular people eat? Someone tell me. How do normal people eat?

Also: What do normal people look like?

There's a diet called the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet (and hell yes I tried it) that operates by a similar credo: No carbs for breakfast or lunch, and then for dinner you eat whatever the hell you want for ONE HOUR. Fourteen donuts. A cake. A gallon of ice cream. If you could eat it at a normal rate within one hour, it was yours.

And you were supposed to be able to LOSE WEIGHT on this diet.

The diet works. Until you realize you can't eat everything you want in one hour. And then it's like Hour Two and you're eating a bowl of ice cream. FAIL.

Another diet bites the dust. 

This body of mine... This is the body that Taco Bell built. Beer and ice cream had a hand in it as well.

And the funny thing is I haven't had Taco Bell or beer in a long long long long long long time. I had ice cream last night (I'M ONLY HUMAN).

Logically, you would think that once a person stops eating the thing that is making her terribly fat and starts eating things like turnips and pears and salad and no gluten -- you would think she would lose weight. Well, maybe if that person were not descended from a long line of pear-shaped Germans and apple-shaped Mexicans that would be the case. Let us not forget the chipmunk-faced Swedes. 

(Incidentally, do you know what you get when you cross a pear, an apple, and a chipmunk? There's a lot of cellulite involved.)

I'm sure my body's desire to hold on to every last bit of chunk also stems from the fact that I have a vagina, and as everyone knows -- vaginas make you fat. 

So, the cleanse. The almighty, peace-making, skin-clearing, life-altering, energy-giving, poop-shooting, weight-losing, hair-shining, cancer-curing cleanse. Today! Is the last day of the cleanse.

Cleanse: I hardly knew ye. 

Just kidding. I knew ye way too well. Goodbye and good riddance.

You helped me realize I can never be a vegan, or a vegetarian for that matter, because living that way makes me feel terrible. Which is strange because aren't vegans supposed to feel awesome (and morally superior) at all times?? But you also helped me figure out what I need to do if I do want to have energy and lose weight, and poop awesomely.

Thank you for that, dear cleanse.

And now? Don't let the door hitcha where the good lord splitcha.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The thing about vegans (Cleanse Day 18)

What vegans seem to have forgotten from their meat-and-cheese eating days is that food used to actually taste good.

It was creamy or smoky and had different textures and tangs and made you want to watch cooking shows and fire up your barbecue and make reservations at fancy restaurants where they don't ask you if you want the bacon foam with caviar amuse-bouche, they just give it to you, and you eat it and say thank you sir may I have another.

If I had a dollar for every vegan recipe I've read that touts the fabulousness of a certain brand of fake cheese that shall remain nameless, I would have maybe $30. Are you a vegan who loves Mexican food? these cookbooks want to know. Lucky for you there is this fake cheese that melts just like real cheese and tastes oh-so-yummy!

These silly bastards either really believe that cheese tastes good or they have forgotten what real cheese tastes like. Upon the recommendation of a number of what I though were reliable sources, I bought this exact brand of cheese, ate it, realized it has the taste and texture of boogers, and threw the rest away.

Not all vegan recipes suck; just most of them. I unfortunately made another one that sucked last night. The source is unimportant. Behold:

Almond pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes.

I think this picture is deceiving. I think it looks yummy. The picture I saw online looked yummy. Usually when something passes the yummy picture test, it passes the yummy-in-my-mouth test as well. Let's read on. 

First I lathered some cherry tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them. I usually enjoy roasting veggies in the oven, since they usually turn out pretty awesome. These could have been awesome of they'd been used in a different application, probably. As it turned out they were just way too sweet and didn't complement the dish at all. Sun dried tomatoes would have worked better.

 Here's how they looked when they were done cooking.

Here are the ingredients for the pesto. (not pictured: olive oil and salt) Almonds, basil, lemon juice, garlic. A normal pesto would use pine nuts and probably parmesan cheese. Some even use cream. Do you see where the vegans start to go downhill from here?

Here is what the pesto looked like. I guess I could have thinned it out with more olive oil. Overall it was way too garlicky and just didn't have that bite, that cheesy edge, that parmesan would have given it.



The last day of the cleanse is Monday. I have a "cheat evening" coming up Saturday night, thank god. Wine, meat, cheese, chocolate: here I come.

I can't say the cleanse has been a pleasant experience, but what I can say is that it's been a learning experience. The most important takeaways are:

- More veggies and fruit are important, especially for your pooper. 
- Agave nectar is the bomb and should be used in place of sugar in many things.
- I don't need that much meat, but I do need meat.
- I don't need that much dairy, but I do need yogurt and cheese.
- Too much dairy and sugar probably cause breakouts. My skin is clearer than it would normally be.
- Exercise is an everyday necessity. This is the key to weight loss, hands down.
- Fake cheese is the devil.
- I need coffee in the mornings.
- Two big glasses of water every morning are important for your pooper and hydration in general.
- Twenty minutes of sun every day makes me happy.

I hope one or more of those tips helps someone out there, other than me. I can't promise I'll never do another cleanse or another crazy diet. I battle my weight every day, so every new diet plan/book/video that comes out always intrigues me. If I can just keep a tight grip around some of my new habits, I think I'll be on the right track.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stop whining

This week has been very woe-is-me and self-doubty, which is annoying, so today! Shall be! A day of bullet points.

- I ate chicken last night.

- My book is so close to being finished, I can almost taste it.

- We are watching Arrested Development on Netflix since there ain't shit to watch on TV right now. There are so many great inside jokes in that show. Never-nude and "leave a note!" It slays me.

- If I am eating meat on my cleanse, does this mean the cleanse is basically over? I am pretty much a cleanse fraud.

- I highly suggest reading "Game of Thrones." It's a masterpiece. The level of detail blows me the hell away.

- I do not have HBO, so I have not seen Game of Thrones yet.

- To self-publish, or traditionally publish? That is the question.

- Men were just here to deliver a piece of bedroom furniture. They were Tongan.

- I would like a mani-pedi now.

- I forgot to write a fertility update on the fertility blog. There's no update though: Still not pregnant! Shocking, I know. 

- I plan to eat meat again tonight.

- Where do highly motivated people get their motivation?

- Cleanses are basically bull shit, anyway.

- But my poops are still outstanding.

- It is hot. The air conditioner works splendidly. Life is beautiful.

- Remember when Carrie's mom yelled: "They're all gonna laugh at you!" I worry that they're all gonna laugh at me.

- I'm going to drink wine this weekend. Wine is forbidden on the cleanse.

- I have a headache.

- One symptom of progesterone deficiency: Poor sleep. I sleep great for two weeks, then shitty for two weeks. At least I'm reliable! 

- Not only did we not win last night's Mega Millions, we didn't get a single number. I was planning on buying a cabin in Tahoe.

- Actually, I take it back -- I was supposed to have slept great last night, but I didn't. Damn unreliable progesterone.

- You know what's good? Cheese.

- You know what's funny? The phrase "cotton pickin'."

- My cursor disappeared. I've been less than pleased with Blogger over the last couple months.

- I shall take this as a sign, publish this post, go eat lunch, and turn on the A/C.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cleanse: Day 15 (love thyself?)

The older I get, the harder it is to lose weight. And one thing that's always been true for me is: Regardless of what I eat, I will not lose weight if I don't exercise.

Unlike my husband, who stopped eating gluten and lost 30 pounds.

Today I weighed in and the total weight lost so far is 7 pounds. Seven pounds is good on a normal diet, but on a cleanse? I can't lie -- I expected more like 15. Of course I haven't been exercising regularly, and I did cheat a couple times, so... 

Have you seen the new show -  Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition? They take a morbidly obese person and follow them for a year and usually the person has lost like 200 pounds. It's pretty cool.

One thing the trainer on that show (and trainers on other shows like The Biggest Loser) is always harping on is lack of self love. They say these people eat the way they do because they don't love themselves. I've read in various books that overeating is a way of stuffing down emotions we don't want to feel. 

What I know from personal experience is that overdoing anything is a way of stuffing down emotions. Over-shopping, over-working, even over-exercising.

I used to work in a high stress job that had me doing about 15 things at once, at any given moment. When I finally quit that stupid job and didn't have so much going on all the time, it was like I'd dived into a pool of emotional issues that had never been dealt with. I mean old, old issues. I was hurt from things I thought I'd already healed of. I was angry. I cried. And then, about six months later, I felt a lot better. I'd had an epiphany and it changed everything for me.

Except my weight. My weight hasn't budged in years, and I started wondering: Is this a lack of self love? I've read that I should treat myself gently, like I'd treat a child. That I should treat myself with kindness and curiosity. When I ask myself: Self, do you love me? The answer is no. I am wracked with self doubt every day, pretty sure everything I am trying to do in my life, I am doing wrong. Pretty sure I will fail. Every now and then I go back and look at a piece of my work that I haven't looked at in a while and I realize -- You know what? This is passable. This ain't terrible

I feel something closer to acceptance than love at those moments.

I don't know how a person loves herself, or if she even should. Maybe this love yourself stuff is just a crock of crap. Kindness I can do, in bouts. Curiosity -- I have that in spades. Trust is out the window. Love probably needs to be earned.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cleanse: Day 14 (cleanse-ing in the red tent)

Maybe I should have tried to organize this cleanse around my period -- so that I wouldn't be anywhere near a raging hormone fiesta while eating nothing but juiced vegetables, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, and did I mention vegetables?

But whenever I find out about a new diet or cleanse, I typically jump in right away, without giving it much thought. Thusly, I found myself completely exhausted on Friday, then starving all weekend. I juiced each day and ate salads, but I also messed up a couple times. Because meat! And cheese! And chocolate! I love them all. Life without those things is not a life I want to keep living. 

Twenty one days is a long damn time to be on a cleanse. I'm not giving up. I'm just stating the obvious. Because I'd like to go back to eating yogurt and the occasional chicken breast. Oh, and coffee every once in a while. Is that too much to ask?

And yeah, I know I was going to write about something else other than the cleanse, but in case it wasn't already abundantly clear, I am completely consumed with it.

Unfortunately, the cleanse has not made all of my dreams come true, as it was foretold. My ultimate hope was that I would be full of energy, but to be completely honest, I feel almost exactly the same physically (low energy). There are minor improvements where bloating is concerned.

Mentally, the overriding emotion has been frustration. In any diet, the weight just doesn't come off fast enough, does it? It would be simple for me to gain three pounds today if I wanted to, but then to lose those same three pounds would probably take a week and a half to work off. It's not the cleanse I'm frustrated with -- it's me. I'm a cliche, standing in front of the mirror and wondering what exactly happened. 

And wondering why I don't control myself around food. I know the exact right things to eat and when to eat them. The formula for weight loss is there, but I'm like a willful child who refuses to behave. I haven't done it for myself. I haven't done it for my husband (who has never criticized my weight - smart man). I haven't done it for the child I want to conceive. What exactly needs to happen to me in order for me to change? A disease? I wonder if that would even do it.

So it doesn't take a psychotherapist to see I am basically really pissed off at myself. And I know that's not a healthy mental state, and certainly not one conducive to weight loss. I'd like to get to a place of caring for myself, but I've been known to hold a grudge.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Cleanse: Day 10 (back to where I started)

I weighed in today and I'd lost another pound and a half, which puts me back where I started at the beginning of the year.

Good grief. 

I blame dark chocolate M&Ms.

So I realized last night that I completely skipped the day of fasting on Monday, when I was supposed to only drink green juice all day. Oops! This is probably because I'm not following along as closely as I should be to the book, which has an outline of things you should do on each day of the cleanse.

I may try fasting next Monday but would prefer not to until my period starts, on the off chance that I am pregnant, which I am so not. But you know, remote possibilities and whatnot. I wouldn't want to be starving some poor 5-day-old fetus by feeding it only green juice.

As it is, I'm not eating much. Yesterday I didn't eat any salad! I know. I'm a bad cleanser. But I had decided that if I had to eat another salad that day, I was going to ... well, I'd just be very sad. So I ate a couple brown rice cakes and hummus, then later some strawberries, then later a banana, then for dinner a veggie stir fry with quinoa. I realized at the end of the day that it wasn't much food. But I wasn't starving, so it was OK.

I'm constantly evaluating how I feel during this cleanse and I'd say new observations today are that I am definitely getting less tired every day, and my skin is marginally better than it would normally be at this time in my cycle -- that is, two days before my period's supposed to start. Also -- and I hate to keep bringing this up -- but my "elimination" continues to be spectacular. I'm eliminating once a day and everything comes out very easily.  I feel I have to mention this because normally I'd be pooping once every couple days, and a couple days before a period I would normally start to get constipated.

Sometimes I wonder to myself if I am ever going to regret sharing these things. The simple fact is, I feel no shame about it. I'm not sure if that's because I'm mentally ill or because it shouldn't be a shameful thing. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure everyone's just about had it with the cleanse updates, so I'm probably going to mix it up over the next 11 days with posts about - *gasp* - other stuff! I'll of course update on the cleanse, too, when there's something new to report.

Now, for a salad ...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cleanse: Day 9 (look at the pretty pictures)

Who's tired of reading about the vegan cleanse?

If it's any consolation, I'm tired of doing it, and thinking about it.

There are no new updates today, cleanse-wise, other than that I made my husband a hamburger for dinner and I ate a Buddha bowl and then I wanted to cry.

So today you should either visit my post at Tired & Stuck or just look at these photos I took on the way home from the mountain wedding over the weekend.

This was a full on double rainbow, shot through the moonroof. It really was almost a triple rainbow. :-)

 It was a pretty drive after it stopped raining.

 This little piece of rainbow popped up and floated there for a while.

Happy hump day.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Cleanse: Day 8 (if I never eat another piece of lettuce again)

Right now I'm drinking the juice of five lettuce leaves, two kale leaves, a zucchini, piece of ginger, and an apple. I ran out of celery and broccoli stalks so threw the zucchini in there for giggles. It .... is not a good taste.

So as promised, I weighed in this morning and I've lost 4.5 pounds. Which is good. I was hoping for more, but a person who indulges in hamburgers during a cleanse can ask for only so much.

I hit a low last night after dinner. Because before dinner I realized there was no way in hell I was going to be able to eat another salad. So I didn't. And that bummed me out because I had this vision of becoming a Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free-ist, which I should have known is unrealistic.

What is realistic is taking lessons from the cleanse and incorporating them into my life when this is all over. Things I can do after the cleanse include:

- eating gluten-free. Done and done.
- eating way less dairy. We've switched to almond milk. I may still do yogurt, though. 
- juicing veggies for breakfast every now and then. Not every day.
- eating more salads. Not two giant meal salads a day, but I can do a modestly sized salad every day.
- more raw-ish veggies in general. I'll steam my veggies for just a couple minutes if I cook them.
- eating less meat. The meat I do eat is going to have to be super-duper-hippie.
- exercise. I feel good when I do this.

So what I ate last night instead of a salad was a pasta sauce (recipe from Crazy Sexy Diet) over gluten-free noodles. I was supposed to eat the sauce raw over raw zucchini noodles, but realized I'd want to shoot myself if I did that.

The recipe said to blend a cup of grape tomatoes, a cup of basil, 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, a yellow bell pepper (I only had red), a tablespoon of olive oil, and some thyme, oregano and salt to taste.

I broke my blender some time back, so I used my food processor, which probably resulted a less creamy texture, and more salsa-like. But I heated it up and put it over quinoa noodles and it was still pretty good. The husband even approved. I think next time I'd add a little garlic and red pepper flakes for zing.

There are 13 more days left on the cleanse. Why do I fall for these crazy things? Every time.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Cleanse: Days 5-7 (bless me father for I have sinned)

Things I ate Saturday that were not on the program:

- two glasses red wine
- paella
- 3 peanut butter M&Ms
- hamburger
- french fries
- 7-up

If I'd really wanted to, I could have managed to stay on the cleanse on Saturday, although it would have required more mental willpower than I obviously possessed. I was feeling really great in the morning, all light and airy instead of bloated and heavy, like I usually feel. The SECOND I was done eating the paella at the wedding, I felt bloated. That is the first time during the cleanse that I've felt like that.

The rest of the weekend I did well. I've been drinking my morning green juice and eating my giant salads. Honestly, the green juice is easier to down than the salads are at this point. I think I need to experiment with different dressings. I did probably eat too many brown rice cakes with jalapeno hummus. (whole foods makes a great jalapeno hummus if you like it a little spicy)

I also discovered brown rice tortillas. On Friday I cut one of those in half and covered it with marinara and mushrooms, then baked for ten minutes and then threw on some sliced basil. It was delightfully crispy.

My detox symptoms seem to be abating a bit. I'm not as tired, and I don't have headaches. I was downright cheerful on Saturday, up until the hamburger, fries, and 7-up, and then I just felt ill.

Intestinally, I am spectacular. I am more regular than I've been in probably years, and it's apparent my insides are still getting scrubbed out by all the new fiber, if you understand my meaning. This probably contributed to the feeling of lightness I had Saturday morning before I went and ruined it all. 

In an effort to stay motivated, I watched Food Inc last night. I'd read the book, as well as Omnivore's Dilemma so was really familiar with all the content, but it is altogether something else to see it. It recommitted me to staying off meat for the next two weeks. I won't go into detail here -- just suffice to say that if you watch this and it doesn't make you want to either become a vegetarian or ensure all of your meat comes from pasture-fed, hormone & antibiotic free animals, then there is something broken in your brain. The film is downright disturbing.

There are still a few things I'm supposed to be doing that I haven't really committed to yet, and those include:

- meditation. Haven't done this at all, but I think it could be beneficial by keeping me focused.
- dry brushing. Haven't done this at all, either, and I think it's a load of crap but I'll try it.
- exercise. I only exercised twice last week, but that's two times more than I usually exercise, so...

That's it for today. Tomorrow for my one-week update I'll do a weigh-in. Toodles!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Wedding in the (wet) woods

Kudos to a couple who I'm sure never suspected it would rain buckets the day of their June wedding, forcing a host of last-minute revisions, including tents, plywood, footwear, umbrellas, heat lamps, and golf carts to ferry more than 200 guests up and down a muddy hill.

They handled it with grace.

I left my camera in the car, and considering I'd had to change into tennis shoes in order to slog through the mud to get to the wedding site, I was not going back for the camera. Used my phone instead. Here you can see they used mason jars for water glasses -- cute idea for a country wedding.

Here's one of the bridesmaids in a sundress and rain boots, carrying a parasol. Sorry to say I wasn't quick enough to get a close shot of the bride, who was beautiful in a strapless lace gown.

You can just see the 16 members of the wedding party (eight groomsmen, eight bridesmaids) standing outside, holding umbrellas.

 Cabin in the woods. Totally badass.

 Tiny mason jars for wine. Yes, I drank. That will be included in my post of shame on Monday.

The party favors were recipe cards tied up with string. There's a rendering of the cabin on the front card, as there was on the invite. Really cute idea.

The handmade invite.

 The car, once we got it unstuck from the mud and down the hill, at a gas station. Phew!

Stuff I took photos of that didn't show up in my phone because my phone's a POS: Dinner was family style -- a large bowl of salad, and a huge tray of paella. Delicious. The couple also had a "thumbprint tree," which was the first I've heard/seen. Each guests presses their inked thumb onto the branch of a tree painted on a large canvas. Pretty unique idea.

Congrats to Sarah and Ivan!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Cleanse: Day 4 (detox blows)

I did not juice this morning.

I know. 

How can I expect the right results if I don't juice?

Well, I have another question. How can I be expected to juice when detox symptoms include nausea and headache? Oh, and irritability.

The very idea of gulping down green juice right now induces my gag reflex. So I'm eating a pear. Maybe I'll have a frothy mug of green juice this afternoon. Deeee-lightful.

The fatigue is still here, too. Currently the result of this experiment is causing two warring thoughts:

1) Fuck the cleanse. Life is short. Eat yummy food. The second the cleanse ends I'm going to Hobee's and ordering coffee cake.

2) What have I done to myself? Eating and drinking organic raw vegetables is causing detox symptoms. Yummy food is poison. Eat salads forever.

I can't decide which one of those thoughts is going to win. Good thing I still have 17 more days to decide. 

Once you get over the initial detox hump and overcome old cravings, you won't be hungry because you'll be eating the highest-quality nutrition on the planet. - Kris Carr, Crazy Sexy Diet

Will I ever decide I don't want coffee cake? We shall see.

Now on to my next dilemma -- a weekend of driving and wedding-attending.

Never mind that I have no idea what to wear to this thing: It's an outdoor wedding and is supposed to be raining, possibly snowing. We've been advised to wear flat shoes and bring umbrellas. I guess trousers and ballet flats?

No, the real dilemma here is, of course, the food. I can pack stuff to eat on the road, but at the wedding ... to eat or not to eat? And cake? I'm still deciding what's going to happen.

Kris says:  If you bottom out or revolt over the course of the next 21 days, just giggle and recommit.

So we'll see. Wedding food usually sucks anyway, so maybe I'll just stick to salad.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cleanse: Day 3 (raw matters)

The side effects of this cleanse are beginning to rear their ugly heads.

Yesterday, I felt a fatigue that permeated every bone in my body. I have rarely been that tired in my life. And upon checking Crazy Sexy Diet today, it lists fatigue as the top detox symptom. Others include headache, a foggy brain (hello, yes), skin rashes, and muscle weakness (yes).

The book says this is the body removing stored toxins. Blergh.

So anyway, last night I needed a little affirmation. Someone to tell me I'm not insane for trying this. And I happened to stumble across a documentary on Netflix called Foodmatters. As a disclaimer, I have only watched about half of it so far, but what I've learned from it has definitely jibed with what's said in CSD.

And that is something that can't be ignored even after I'm finished with the cleanse: We've got to eat mostly raw food if we're interested in being as healthy as we can be. The documentary says eat 51% raw food and you'll be fine. Crazy Sexy Diet advises at least 60% raw veggies at any given meal. 

The documentary says the reason for this is that our bodies attack non-raw food as invaders, resulting in a toxic environment in our systems. Eating more raw than non-raw is supposed to prevent that.

The book says the same thing in a different way. Carr writes that non-raw foods throw off your pH, which creates an acidic system, resulting in a number of health issues. She calls raw foods "the fountain of youth."

And Foodmatters goes so far as to say that food is medicine and will cure what ails you, regardless of what it is. Cancer, depression, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, you name it.

They didn't mention infertility, but I'm willing to give it a shot and find out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Cleanse: Day 2 (scrub the colon)

(Warning: This post is mostly about poop. If you have problems accepting that all humans defecate, this post may not be for you.) 

Crazy Sexy Diet says we are all carrying around between seven and ten extra pounds of crap in our colons. Which is pretty disgusting, but I believe it.

Because normally, I do not poop like a champ. I often feel bloated and sometimes I will go a day or two with no poop. Which is probably a testament to the lack of fiber in my normal diet.

Anyway, the book says this happens because of all the meat and mucus (from dairy) and processed foods that get gunked up in our systems. It can take a steak a full week to pass. (Aren't you glad you visited this blog today??)

So this morning, I pooped like a champ. It was awesome.

And it's a good thing that happened, because I was wondering quite seriously how long I can keep this cleanse going. I ate juice, two giant salads, an apple, and some tofu and soba noodles yesterday. To say this is a deviation from my diet would be like saying my neighbor with Aspberger's is a little socially awkward. I'd spent much of yesterday thinking about foods I'd much rather be eating, namely baked goods smothered in butter (Gluten! Sugar! Dairy!).

In related news, I lost two and a half pounds in one day.

I had to let that sentence stand on its own because I think it's pretty impressive. Two and a half pounds in a week would be nice, but in one day? It's just like crack for dieting addicts like me.

So anyway, moving on to Day 2. I'm drinking my juice right now. Today I modified again. It's got one celery stalk, two kale stalks, two romaine leaves, ginger, a pear, and a broccoli stalk. And then I added about a tablespoon of pineapple juice, which I am not supposed to do, but holy hell. I can tolerate only so much green juice.

Last night's dinner was one of the aforementioned giant salads and some baked tofu and soba noodles.

I marinated these tofu squares in a mixture of tamari, agave nectar, rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, ginger, garlic and some other stuff. Then I baked them for an hour. 

It ain't meat, but it had a decent texture and the sauce was really flavorful. Going to eat some leftovers with a giant salad for lunch ...

P.S. Visit me at Tired & Stuck today for a fertility update....