Juice Feast Day 14

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today is day 14 for me.  14 pounds gone.  Changed things up today.  Up until yesterday I've done my juicing in the evening.  Last night I was tired and frustrated, so went to bed with the plan to juice this morning.  Have lost the entire morning of homeschooling my kids because of all the hijinks associated with my morning juicing today.  Plus, the green juice I made tastes horrible.  Frustrated.  Angry.  Wondering how realistic it is for a homeschooling mother of six to continue to do this long term.

Thankfully, my day has turned out better than it began!  After I got all of my venting done this morning, I got on with the day, did school with the kids, made two turtle lap books for two of my boys who need them next week, cleaned up some stuff around the house, and got through yet another day of juicing.  I decided to do some prep work for tomorrow's juicing, so now hopefully I'm ahead of the game.  Going to bed soon.  Thankful that I have made it through two weeks of my juice feast, and looking forward to continuing on!

Juice Feast Day 13

Monday, January 30, 2012

The evenings are not treating me well, my friends.

By the time I put in a full day of homeschooling, work, business, feeding everybody else, and pet care including a new puppy (yeah!  Did I mention we got a puppy too?!), in the evening I am tired and do not want to face an hour or more of juicing-related tasks.  I want to mentally check out and stay that way until morning.  Yes, I do.  It's true.

My husband is on day 4 of his juicing and he is not handling it that well.  I think his state of mind has really messed mine up as well.  Not good.

Truly, I'm not physically hungry.  Physically I feel fine and the juice seems to be treating me well.  It's the mental game that's the real challenge for me.

Earlier this evening I had to shop at Walmart.  By the time I was into the checkout line I was having fantasies of shoving frosted sugar cookies and M&Ms and goldfish crackers into my mouth.  All at once.

That makes for a real pretty picture...doesn't it?  :)

My hope is to eventually exit my juice feast/fast 20-30 pounds lighter than I started, and to feel relaxed and in control of my eating---not like a starved junk-a-holic!  So, this is not the time, and I am going to be fine.  I just have to continue, hour by hour, day by day.

Some of the thoughts plaguing my mind tonite:

I've been thinking about the foods I might not eat much any more after I'm done.  No more fresh warm bread with melted butter?!  No more birthday cake?  No more pizza?  No more cheese?

And if I decide that I don't have to swear off those things entirely, on what basis will I make exceptions?  How often will I allow myself to swerve off of the normal everyday plan?

And if I swerve off, will it just be a slippery slope?  Will I lose the weight and gain it all back again?  If so, should I even try?

How much of my life am I willing to devote to eating and trying to control my weight?

Last time I got on a roll I found that in the long run I wasn't willing to devote the time needed to maintain my weight loss.  What will be different now?

Will I have pushed myself so hard with all of these days/weeks/nightly hours of juicing that I'll just sit and eat a big fat bowl of granola while watching a movie every night?

I don't know.  This is my brain off drugs, off sugar, off grains, off gluten, off everything except fruit and veggie juice for the last nearly two weeks.  Tune in tomorrow to see if my state of mind improves!

Dogs and Deals

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I don't know about where you live, but here in central Kentucky we are having a weird winter.  We have gone from snow and icy cold to springlike temperatures and sunny days, and back again, week after week.  I'm used to some mild temps in February some years, but nothing like this!  Nevertheless, I am not complaining!  It has been great weather for the kids to play outside, and also for us to spend time with our dogs.

Have I never introduced you to our family dogs?  Well, here we have beautiful Brandi, our Golden Retriever.  She is the sweetest and most loyal dog ever.  We often remark that she is the perfect dog....except for her occasional transgression of getting into the trash if we forget to put it up before we leave the house.  :) Brandi has been with us for 2 years now.

Back in December two sweet puppy sisters were found wandering in the road near my mom's house. Long story short, we decided to adopt cute little Rosie.  (some friends of ours adopted her sister Copper)  As you can see, she has a very hard life here with my family.  :)  We have been thankful for less severe weather and sunny skies since it has made puppy training and play time much more enjoyable for all of us!

Since we just don't have enough to do are dog lovers, last week we decided to take on the adventure of also fostering a Great Pyrenees from our local animal shelter. She was so big that it was very hard on her to be in the shelter environment and she really needed room to run.  We decided to get involved, so for a few days we hosted Miss Carli, the gentlest giant you could ever hope to meet.  (How could I say no to that sweet face?!)  Happily, Carli was adopted and moved to her new home last Friday.

Although it was very busy, it was fun to have a dog pack in the house.  I started calling them "small, medium, and large."  :)

We are now planning to take some "time off" without any extra pets in the house for awhile.  (6 kids, 2 dogs, 3 cats...what *is* this time off of which you speak?!)

And what does all of this have to do with Supermom's Health and Wellness?

Mostly nothing.  :)  I just thought you would enjoy a little visual peek into our life.  Animals isn't all of it, but we do what we can. Maybe someday soon I will introduce you to our cats!

In the store this week we have some 25% off sales going on!

#1: Vitex: Don't let the combination of winter blues and PMS cause you to do any damage to anybody! LOL Stock up now while it's a bargain and enjoy having your hormones on a more level playing field. (Your husband and children will thank you!)

#2. Winter Breeze: This is one of those items that you want to have on hand ahead of time in case of respiratory illnesses, because once you need it, you need it NOW.

#3. Supermom vitamins 180 tabs:  One of our most popular items is now even more affordable!  This is the week to stock up.  Great for anyone--men or women, even teens, who need an excellent quality multivitamin with iron.

Sale prices are valid through February 5.

In other news:

I am slowly-but-surely working on a re-launch of my online health eating class, which includes a new format that makes it easy for all past and present class members to have all of the latest information handy, additional classes have been added, updated information, personal coaching options, and even a way for all of my previous class members to earn money by telling others about the class!  I had hoped to have it ready by January 1, but here we are still plodding away. (For some crazy reason it is really hard for me to do big work projects while also homeschooling and wrangling dogs!  Strange, isn't it?)   I'm hoping to somehow make the big push toward completion within the next two weeks and will be sure to let you know when it's ready to roll.

Phew.  I think that's enough newsy bits for one night, don't you?  Stay cozy, my friends!

Juice Feast--What day is this anyhow?

I skipped a day of blogging, and now I don't know.....I guess this is day 12 for me, and day 3 for my husband.

Dave had a rocky first two days.  He's doing better today, although the ground venison cooking in the crock pot for our children all day has made it hard for both of us.  House smells good BUT WE WON'T BE EATING!!  Oh my sometimes this feels hard.

Today is one of those days when I need to remind myself why I am doing this.  Since my husband joined me and I've heard his "Know what I wish I could eat right now....." it has messed a little with my mental strength cocoon that I enjoyed for the first 10 days of my juice feast.  Getting through it, though, although today has caused me to wonder what my exit strategy will be.  When will I stop?  On the one hand, setting a date is good because you know what you're shooting for.  But what if I stop before then?  Will I feel like I've failed?  What if I go longer?  Then what will I be shooting for?  I don't know.  All I know is that today a nice black bean and wild rice dish with homemade guacamole and salsa and shredded carrots sounds really, really, really good.....

Thinking about diet, and man oh MAN I'll tell you what--conflicting information about health sure is frustrating!  One thing tells you to go all raw.  Another sells you on vegan or vegetarianism.  Another tells you how important meat and dairy are and how immature it is to think that you can be healthy without meat.  For crying out loud--HOW is a person to sift through it?

I guess the easy answer is to do a middle ground of real foods (non-processed, and local as much as possible), with a lot of veggies and some fruits as well.  (sigh)  I don't know.  Eating for health shouldn't be this hard!

So my quest to figure it all out continues, and of course testing it out on myself is going to be a big part of this.  When will I get to test it out and start eating again?  I haven't decided.  Stay tuned!

Juice Feast Day 10

Friday, January 27, 2012

My husband watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead yesterday, and today he decided to start a juice fast/feast!  He has some chronic health issues including terrible sinus trouble, so I am hoping he sees a great improvement.  I have believed for years that if he stopped eating dairy that would help, but with his job as a firefighter, he eats away from home 35%+ of the time, so it is not always easy for him to control his diet that well.  This juice feast will give him the opportunity to get a clean slate, food-wise.

As for me, I'm doing well, and down 12 pounds.  It's very rewarding to lose about a pound a day.  In the past it would take me 4-7 days of hard work to lose a pound.  A mighty nice jump start in the weight loss department!

I am told that after day 15 or so weight loss usually slows to half a pound a day or less, so I'm prepared for that, and just enjoying what's happening now.

Doing lots of thinking about what we will be eating whenever the fast comes to an end.  Leaning toward raw vegan, but not sure how realistic that is, or how the kids will accept it.  May need to go for something more middle-ground for them.  Not sure what that will look like yet.

Juice Feast Day 9

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not much to report today.  Not hard.  No drama.  Felt fine.  Plenty of energy to do a full day of kids to basketball, household stuff, homeschooling stuff, juicing, meal prep, etc.  Heading to bed soon.  Good day.

11 pounds down, as of this morning.  Pretty nice.  :)

Juice Feast Day 8

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The sniffles, sneezes, aches, chills, and coughing is less severe today.  Thankful to be feeling a bit better than yesterday.

Down 10 pounds.

Still not having any problems with the juice or not eating.

End of the day:
Still no hunger or cravings, although some food items do sound good to me.  Still, I'm fine and enjoying all of the good nutrition that I'm taking in.

Happily, juicing is going faster for me!  Now that I know what I like for what's in season, it comes together pretty fast.  I had to do it all by myself tonite, but got it all done in an hour.  Great improvement over 8 days ago!

Juice Feast Day 7

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Well, I knew that it couldn't be easy for the entire time!

My sniffles, runny nose, and aches went full-strength all night and continue today.  It's like having a bad cold.  Nothing I haven't been through before, though I'm thankful I started this juice feast before we got back to school!  Hopefully by Monday I will be feeling much better.

I'm doing a lot of thinking and reading about how I want to eat once I'm done with this juice feast.  It's nice that once you're free of addictive foods and habits, you can make free choices.  I'm excited about that.

Evening:  Rough day here.  I went to my book group, plus had to pack orders, etc. so I forced myself through those things, but felt worse and worse.  Now add chills to everything else.  Thankfully, my younger boys are very enthusiastic about helping me juice, and they are doing most of the work of it tonite.  I do not know if I would have the strength to do it all by myself.

Did an epsom salt bath in the late afternoon, felt really wrecked afterward.  Took a long nap and thank goodness my nose cooperated so I was able to rest for a few hours.  Right now my goal is to finish the juicing and get the kids to bed, then crawl back into my bed for the night.

I will say that it has been really nice, though, that I've had no cravings.  The juice tastes good and I am doing fine, aside from the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, and chills!

Juice Feast Day 6

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another easy day.  Other than the coughing and sometimes runny nose, today has been easy.  Little-to-no hunger, no cravings, no problem.  In fact, things were going so easily that when I had to leave the house for a couple of hours I hadn't even given it a thought, and left without taking water or any juices with me. Ha!  I was back in two hours and survived just fine.

End of Day 6.  Detox seems to have arrived finally.  The cough and sniffles have increased some, plus some skin blemishes.  All normal.  Will proceed and conquer!  :)  Heading to bed now.

Juice Feast Days 4 and 5

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yesterday was not a hard day for the juice feasting at all.  I had to do several errands out of the house, had people stop by, cooked dinner for my family, packed orders, trained a puppy, and everything else there is to do in a normal day around here.  A few mental twinges of things I might like to eat on a cold, wintery day, but otherwise I've been absolutely fine.   I stayed up until midnight working, read some before I went to bed, and am up and enjoying the day at 9.  So, I'm now starting day 5 feeling good, plenty of energy, and so far no problematic detox symptoms.  The only weird thing I'm noticing is that maybe I now have a super Spidey sense of smell.  Smells are seeming really strong to me right now, which I have found out is not unusual for juice feasters.

End of day 5 report:
Today has been very easy.  I've been coughing some and having intermittent runny nose, both of which are mentioned as being common detox symptoms around this point in the juice feast. A little bit pesky, but nothing too bad.  On a scale of 1-10 (easy-hard) I would say today has been a 2 or 3.  Really not hard.  If it wasn't for the time I spend juicing each day it would be super duper easy!

Some random thoughts on weight loss and gain:

I have quite a few reasons for doing this juice feast.  Part of that is my desire to drop excess weight.  While I guess it would be obvious that a person would lose weight while only drinking juices for an extended period of time, the process goes farther than that because of the detoxing, and all of that toxins that are stored in fat, and how all of that works together to release both fat and toxins.

While I do not know how long I will continue the juice feast, right now what sounds really good to me is sticking with it until I reach a weight that would be considered healthy for me.  Happily, the scale tells me today that I have lost 7 pounds, so I am on my way!

Of course the question remains in my mind--what will happen when the juice-only stops, and eating regular food resumes?

Some things floating through my mind these days:

1.  When you are no longer addicted to sugar, grains, dairy, caffeine, MSG, or junk, there is nothing pushing, pulling, or controlling your food or eating choices.  Once you get a clean slate with food, you are free!  That is one of the reasons I wanted to do this.  While I already made pretty healthy food choices (and I'm thinking that may be one reason why I've enjoyed almost no detox symptoms thus far), there were some things I felt I needed an extended break from so I could get some clarity about whether or not they are good foods for me.  (Wheat and grains is one thing I want to check on.)

One nice thing about this is that my blood sugar is really stabilized, and I experience hunger differently.  I first noticed this a couple years ago when I was eating a high percentage of raw foods, and zero sugar or junk.  Whereas I used to experience hunger with a blood sugar drop and a sense of urgency that I HAD TO EAT SOMETHING right away or I was going to get super shaky or even faint.  When I was eating a healthy, high-raw diet, I experienced hunger as a feeling, but not one that commanded I do anything about it.  It was just like, "Oh, I guess I'm getting hungry.  I'll eat sometime pretty soon, I guess."  But if I was in the car or on my way to a meeting or in whatever situation where I wasn't going to be able to eat, it was no big deal.  Yes, I'm hungry.  No, there is no urgent need to do anything about it.  I'll be ok until I can sit down and eat.

I am imagining for those of you that have never experienced such a thing, you are probably thinking that sounds nuts.  All I can say is that it is interesting to experience, and I probably would not have thought it likely or possible if I hadn't experienced it myself.  I love it that I can do this now.  That hunger isn't really a driving force.  It's a signal, and I'll get to it when I can, and there is no race against the shakes!

During this juice feast, yes I am feeling a little bit hungry some of the time.  It is not hurting me.  It is not distracting me.  I can function all day, have my juice every hour or so, and keep on trucking without any ill effects whatsoever.  My hope is that when the juice feast ends, and I wean myself back onto solid food, that I will continue to eat a diet that continues to give me high nutrition and no issues that make me feel like I have to eat now or will fall apart.  I like to be the one in control of the eating, not feel like a slave to my blood sugar highs and lows.

2.  When you are eating a diet that is very high in fruits and veggies, your body gets satisfied faster and easier than if you're eating junk.  I know that a lot of people look at their regular diet and they look at something like a salad for lunch and they compare the two and think that no way could they survive on the salad for lunch without being super hungry. In my experience, your body is hungry for nutrition.  For fuel!  If you stuff your belly full of a bunch of stuff that has little or no nutrition, your body will continue to ask for more.  YES it knows you just had six slices of pizza, but it needs FUEL, and you've given it none.  (or little)  When you give your body a big salad full of minerals and vitamins and micronutrients, your body says THANK YOU!  Over time you will probably find that your body doesn't even need as large of a salad as it does to begin with.  Your ability to satisfy your body becomes easier as you consistently give it good things and not bad things.

When I end my juice feast I want to continue enjoying a very nutritious eating plan that gives my body the fuel it needs.

3.  Now that I am investing almost 2 hours per evening in juicing, I am thinking that I wonder if I would like to continue to make juices daily and share them with the entire family.  Other juicy ideas include replacing one meal a day with just juice, or having an ongoing habit of doing a 1 or 2 day juice feast each week.  Seems like it would be a good ongoing thing, especially if I am still in need of keeping inflammation down for the health of my back issues.  Plus, seems like it would help control weight as a side benefit.

It is too early for me to say for sure how any of this will go, so these are just ideas that I want to record for my own benefit as well as for anyone else that they can help.  I'm sure I will be learning a lot more in the days/weeks to come as I continue this journey.

Juice Feast Day 3

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not as good of a sleep last night, stayed up over an hour later than I really felt good about last night (New Year's Eve), but woke up with my body feeling fine.  Not overly hungry, but I think I waited too long to have my first juice of the day. Feeling kinda tired and shaky this morning.  Nothing too terrible, though.  Will do some computer work and rest.

Feel almost like I have a current running through my body.  A humming I can feel.  Not a bad thing, just noticing it.

4:46 pm and I'm doing fine.  Took a little nap this morning and got over the initial blahs.

I thought that today I would share a little about my juicer and some recipes that I enjoy.

We purchased a Green Star Juicer about 6 years ago and have used it off-and-on.  We picked the Green Star because it is a masticating juicer.  It gets the most juice yield out of the fruits and veggies than it would if using a centrifugal juicer.  Also, the Green Star does not heat up and destroy enzymes in the live food.  The other issue that is most helpful for me is that the juice I make with my Green Star can hold it's nutritional value for longer than others.  When I was casually juicing, it was nice to have some juice for now, and to keep some in the fridge for later.  Now it is really important to me because I am doing my juicing in the evening, in preparation for the following day.  So far it has taken me about 2 hours to do my juicing when I haven't had any help.  There is a lot that could be shared labor, though, so that time could be cut in half if you had an assistant.

I have been taught that the body can only utilize 8 ounces of juice in 30-60 minutes, so I use half-pint glass canning jars to store my juice.  I fill it right to the tippy-top and immediately refrigerate.

Since I am making about 10 jars of juice to have each day, I like to make a variety of juices.  What I have done so far is start with fruity ones, and gradually move to veggie ones.

On day 1 I had a big bowl of cut up apples, pineapple, oranges, and grapefruit leftover from Christmas, so I juiced those right up and that made a wonderful juice.  I did an amount that I wanted, filled the jars, put on the lids, and straight to the fridge.  Then I went on to the next batch which was:

2 pears
2 apples
2 beets
1 cup cabbage
3 handfuls of kale
3 handfuls of mixed salad greens (dark leafy types)

Turned out nice!

Then I made:

Sweet N Tart Citrus
3 cups fresh cranberries (which was perfect since they were marked down after Christmas so I bought a bunch!)
a half inch piece of ginger
3 oranges
2 grapefruits
1 lemon

In this case I found that my juicer didn't handle the citrus fruits that well, so I used my citrus juicer for those, and ran the cranberries and ginger through the Green Star, then combined all of it.  The ginger was a new thing for me, and although it was ok, I left it out on the next day.  Also, I had some tangerines that I used in place of the oranges one day.  This recipe is quite tart, and I have found that adding about 5 drops of plain stevia to the mix works well for me.  Very, very refreshing!

On day 1 I also had a juice made with a bunch of tomatoes, and it didn't turn out that good.  I felt pretty sick after drinking that one, so probably won't be making that again.  Live and learn!

My standard basic juice recipe that was one of the first ones I ever learned is still one I enjoy.  It goes like this:

dark leafy greens
half a beet or a whole one
an apple

There isn't a perfect right way to do this.  You can just play with the combinations and find what you like.  So many things taste different when you juice them as compared to eating them cooked or raw, so be open minded to trying new things.  You may not like cooked beets, but may love beet juice!

I have gotten some recipes from the Reboot web site, which is run by the guy who made the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  I also bought The Juice Fasting Bible which has a lot of great recipes, as well as much advice and information about juice fasting/feasting.

It is more ideal to have juices freshly made, so I am going to try to move up my time of day for juicing to more like 6pm so that I can have some of that fresh juice right away, rather than saving all of it until the next day.  Know what that means?  I need to get off the computer and out to the kitchen!  Time to juice!

Difficulty level today on a scale of 1-10:  probably a 4.  Easier than day 1, but a little harder than yesterday.  Definitely NOT THAT HARD TO DO!  :)

Juice Feast Day 2

Friday, January 20, 2012

Woke up feeling calm, peaceful, clear-headed, and not overly hungry.  In fact, I had time to take a shower, do dry skin brushing, and several other-self care things for over an hour after getting up, without needing any juice.  Am now enjoying 8 ounces of apple, pineapple, orange, and grapefruit juice.  So refreshing!

Also, the scale tells me I have lost 3 pounds.  :)

I had a busy day away from home today.  Had to work, go to a birthday party,  and go to Kroger for more veggies.  Was away from home for 4-5 hours. I took my juice with me in a cooler bag, and that worked out really well.  I have continued to have good energy today (better than most normal days), no withdrawal symptoms so far.  Feeling good and excited to see where this adventure will lead!

It is also really interesting to think about how much food I would normally be eating, and how I'm doing just fine with just an 8 ounce glass of juiced goodness every hour or two or so.  In the past when I was eating a high percentage of raw foods I noticed that the high-nutrition food ended up being more filling and satisfying than anything else.  This is a similar experience, except additionally interesting because there isn't really anything in my stomach to make me feel "full."  I guess I don't really feel full, but I feel fine.  Not bothering me.  Probably the only little issue I've had today is, again, just the mental game of seeing or thinking of a food I like, knowing I can't have it today, and not knowing when in the future I will allow myself to have it again.  I keep reminding myself to relax and enjoy the experience and not worry about what the food terrain will look like in the future.  This is all going to work out.

Juice Feast Day 1

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yesterday I went to the store and bought more 8 ounce glass jars, plus a big cart of fruits and veggies.  I went through my Kroger produce dept. and bought up anything organic that was on Manager's Special (marked down) since I knew I would be eating it soon.  Also had to get some non-organic items just because the selection was limited.

I've decided to do my juicing in the evening, to prepare for the next day.  With our school schedule, etc. I didn't think it would be realistic to think that I was going to start each day with juicing.  As it was for last night, it took me two hours to get all of the juice made and clean up.  Sounds worse than it was.

I made about 3-4 different types of juice.  One was straight fruit (juiced a bunch of leftover cut up oranges, grapefruits, and apples), one has cranberry, grapefruit, ginger, and apple, one had more veggies (cabbage, carrots, celery, etc.), and one had a lot of tomato.  The tomato one didn't work that well in the juicer and is the only one I am not liking today.

Woke up bright and early this morning (6:30) and had some juice.  Have watched the clock a lot, saying to myself, "OK, I made it another hour...." a lot.  LOL  Funny how in such a short time I am already craving a few things, even things that I don't normally like. I think just the mental issue of seeing food I like to eat, and realizing that it may be quite some time before I eat it again.  A big hearty salad, a fluffy baked potato, a juicy and cool orange, a rich and creamy avocado....   Have to keep riding it out until I get past this part, which I have heard will be worse in the next day or two.

I haven't been intensely hungry, just mildly.  I have been told that only about 8 ounces of juice can be utilized by the body within 30-60 minutes, so I'm trying to only have one juice per hour or so if I feel I need it.  I took a nap this afternoon, partially as a method to escape my cravings.  I am feeling kind of nauseous tonite.  That tomato juice really didn't sit well with me.  Won't be making any more of that anytime soon.  Everything else was good, and I have many more fruits and veggies waiting for me to do my juicing tonite.

One thing I have experienced is just feeling kinda chilly.  Thankfully, herbal tea is permitted on the juice feast, so I did have one cup of mint tea to help warm me a bit and soothe my nausea.

So far, so good.  On a scale of 1-10 difficulty, 1 being a total breeze, and 10 being the hardest, I'd say that today was maybe a 5 or 6.  Definitely doable.  It helps to keep my WHY in mind.

Awesome Dinner!

We had such a beautiful and delicious dinner tonite, I just had to share!  Sadly, I took no pictures.  Still, I want to tell you all about it.

Let me preface this by saying that my children are not always that excited about NEW or HEALTHY recipes that are different from what we usually said.  But, what I always tell them when we are having one of *those* meals:  This is a meal for open hearts and open minds!  :)

Strawberry Pecan Salad was beautiful and the kids looooooved the dressing.  The salad basically consists of a large bowl of mixed organic salad greens, or you could go with all baby spinach.  Add in 2 cups sliced strawberries, half a cup sliced raw pecans, and a half cup sliced or diced red onions, if you like.  (I left them out.)

The dressing was made in the small food processor:
1 cup sliced strawberries
quarter-cup fresh orange juice
4 dates
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Mix it up and voila!  It's done.

3 out of 4 of the boys at my table tonite loved this salad so much that they said they would like to take some in their lunch boxes on the days when we go to our homeschool group!  THAT, my friends, is high praise coming from my kids!

I also made brown rice and kale with a peanut sauce.

For the rice, I cooked it in veggie broth, and added in Thrive freeze dried carrots, onion, and celery.

For the kale, instead of doing the usual sauté, I decided to try going oil-free and boiled it instead.  I used a large bunch of kale, chopped up, and plunged it into the boiling water, left to boil for 3 minutes.  Then drained and plunged it into cold water to preserve the color and stop it from cooking any more.  I'm not sure if I would do the cold water step in the future because it made the kale cold, and I think I would have enjoyed it even more warm.

For the sauce, again I used my small food processor and combined
2 tablespoons honey,
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter,
3 tablespoons organic shoyu (organic soy sauce, you could also use Bragg's liquid aminos),
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (go easy!),
half a teaspoon ground ginger, and
 3 cloves of garlic.
Whiz it all up and done!  I mixed some of this sauce in with the kale, and saved some.

I plated the food with a generous amount of the rice, placed the kale on top of the rice, and then for those that really like the sauce, added more on top.  Mix all of that up and YUM!  It was so hearty, flavorful, and delicious.

Other than the cost of strawberries out of season ($3.99), this was a pretty economical meal, and fit with our current healthy eating goals.  It was easy to make as well. :)

I got the strawberry salad recipe from a wonderful collection of resources from Frederic and Veronica Patenaude that I would highly recommend to you if you are looking for fresh ideas for eating more delicious raw foods.  Click here to read a review.

I'm going on a juice fast!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A few years ago I got busy with exercising regularly, eliminating sugar from my diet, and eating a much higher percentage of raw foods.  (probably 50-70%)  In about a year I lost 30 pounds, yet I didn't feel good.  Exercise never yielded any wonderful energetic high--only aches, fatigue, and hunger.  While some aspects of my diet felt good (my blood sugar seemed very stable, I found that I could feel satiated with reasonable/smallish amounts of highly nutritious food), my health did not feel good.  I still felt surprisingly tired, achy, almost always feeling like I was on the verge of getting the flu or a cold.  How could I be doing so many of the "right" things and not be getting the health payoff I was looking for?  Yes, the weight loss was wonderful and I was very glad about that, but still feeling tired and junky well over a year later?  No thank you!

Eventually as my homeschooling responsibilities increased and my schedule changed, my exercise time was crowded out and never replaced with anything.  Eventually I started making a little exception here and a little exception there on my no-sugar policy, and before I knew it, I was back to eating pretty much like I had been before all of my health efforts.  (which, truth be told, is still *quite* healthy, certainly much moreso than most Americans.  Everything I teach you in my class--I was doing it!  But, alas, that combination of moderation in all things was not working for my waistline!)

You know the rest of the story, don't you?  Oh yes---all of that lost weight found the way right back onto my body, plus bringing a couple extras along for the ride.

Interestingly, although I wouldn't say I feel *great* these days, I would say that I feel better physically than I did back when I was 35 pounds thinner than today.  Obviously being overweight is not a positive thing either for my self image or my health, but feeling less junky all the time has been nice.

In my confusion about what has happened I have considered many things, mostly without finding answers.  Some advocates of healthy diets will claim that if you feel bad it's because of "detoxing."  So, how on earth am I to know if I'm detoxing, or if something is just not working for my body?  I HAVE NO IDEA!  (but I can tell you that after well over a year of staying the course and not feeling one bit better, that was a long enough experiment for me!)  I read things that talked about eating more or less of various things that I was/wasn't eating a lot/a little of.  Just a couple weeks ago I came across the book Wheat Belly and read it.  That book tells me that wheat is evil and basically all grains are bad for me too.  Oy.

So here I sit, overweight and unhappy with the way my body feels, moves, and looks.  I still have some health ailments that I would like some relief of.  (bulging disc in my lower back causes pain and difficulty at times, some joint pain, not as much energy as I would like, not as much mental clarity as I would like, generally not feeling as healthy and vibrant as I would like to)  While I know that obviously I need to get away from eating sugar again, I have no idea about the wheat/grain/gluten issues for me, and also don't really feel like I can tell any more about which foods are working well for my body, and which are not.

Which brings me to the juice fast.

The other night I came across the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  (it's on netflix instant play)  The guy in the documentary does a 60-day juice fast in order to try to heal his body of a chronic illness as well as obesity.  I have done some juicing before, usually on a daily basis while I was being consistent about it, and I have really enjoyed the juices.  I have all of the equipment, and I no longer feel like I know what I should or shouldn't be eating half the time! As I considered how a juice fast could help me, here are the things that stood out to me:

--a juice fast can let me break free from sugar, wheat, grains, and anything else "bad" all at once, getting the whole thing over with in one withdrawal effort, and hopefully moving me to a point where I am at a healthy base line for my health.  When I end the fast, I can carefully try out various whole foods, and hopefully be able to evaluate which foods feel nourishing and beneficial for my body, and which do not.  (I will admit that I am not sure if feelings are 100% accurate on things like this, but I am hoping to get some more information about this before ending my fast.)

--juice fasting is supposed to be incredibly efficient at helping your body detox and clear out all sorts of bad junk from your body. When I worked with a naturopath back when I was looking for answers about why I was still feeling so bad even though I was going so much "right" she suggested a detox to me, though the one she recommended was not one I felt comfortable with doing.  I like the idea of clearing out the junky toxins from my body and seeing how I feel without them.  (several years ago I did a candida kill-off and wow!  It was amazing how much different my body felt.  I hadn't realized how much of a negative difference those yeast bugs were making!)

--Juice fasting is supposed to be an efficient way to lose weight. Once those toxins (that are stored in fat cells!) start to go away, so does the fat.  Boy Howdy I could stand to say goodbye to some fat cells!  (can I get an amen?!)

Since so many ideally healthy things have not seemed to work that well for me in the past, I feel somewhat hesitant to boldly declare that THIS IS THE ANSWER FOR ME.  Obviously, I'm optimistic, but I won't know until I try it.

I plan to see my doctor and get some baseline blood work done, in the hopes that if later on I feel like I'm not doing well for some reason, we could compare blood work and hopefully identify any problems or deficiencies.

I do not know how long I will do the fasting.  From what I have read, most people need to get past the two week mark before really hitting their stride with the fast.  I'd like to get beyond that and then see how I'm feeling.  If I feel good and all is well, I'll carry on and do what I can to blast away this extra weight.  (wouldn't it be awesome if I could juice fast myself to a more ideal weight?!)  I'll also be continuing to read, learn, and consider what nutritional goals I will be working on post-fast.

I'm not a person who does well with pressure, either real or imagined.  Originally I had this idea that I would blog or do video posts each day of my juice fast, but then I started wondering if that would feel like too much pressure both to produce, plus to live up to, plus to deal with any naysayers or honest concerns at a time when I might be not feeling my best or unsure about my experience.  So for now I've decided to compromise: I may blog or do videos, but I am not going to release them right now.  I'm hoping to start my juice fast on December 29, but I'm going to hold onto what I have to share until maybe Feb. 1 or so.  It feels like it might be safer for my head and heart to just keep my juicing journey close while I'm still toddling my way through unfamiliar terrain.  I hope I have a wonderful story to share with you all at the end of this, but if not, I don't have to add on the pressure of living some sort of example along with all of the other challenges involved in this experiment.

How to Make Nut Milk

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Since we've been blessed with a supply of truly raw almonds, I've enjoyed learning how to make almond milk at home.  I've also done this with cashews and it works very well.

Soak one cup of raw nuts in about 3 cups of pure water overnight.
In the morning drain off the water.
Place your soaked nuts plus a fresh 3-4 cups of pure water into your high speed blender, vita mix, or whatever you have.
Whiz it up really well, then strain off the pulp.  Voila!  Nut milk!

If you prefer your milk to be sweeter you can also soak 3 dates with your nuts overnight and whiz them up in your blender as well.  You could also add pure maple syrup or pure vanilla extract.

Very economical and only takes a few minutes!  I use the nut milk in our smoothies, which works great.  Leftovers store in a glass jar in the fridge for several days.  I have even used nut milk instead of cow milk in various recipes without any problem.