Food Sins

Last night I came home from my wild and crazy Fall Flow class, starving. On the counter stood a warm rotisserie chicken and a bottle of wine at the perfect temperature. Oh god, it was the sight of heaven.

I fixed a plate, poured some wine and settled into the couch for a DVRed episode of The Amazing Race.

Ever since I have come off Clean, I have been super-aware of the effects of food on my mood, my sleep and my energy levels. This past weekend, for example, I indulged in pulled pork on a roll and, of all things, Cheese Balls.

Yeah. You know, cheese balls–those things that come in a jumbo plastic jar that are nothing but salt, preservatives and chemicals? Yeah, I ate those. After the 10th one I felt like I was going to throw up. Seems I no longer have the “palate” for crap I used to.

Cheese balls

The white roll that housed the pulled pork was this tasteless piece of “meh” that didn’t even offer that chewy, doughy, satisfaction of really-bad-for-you carbohydrate. It was just a hunk of processed white flour posing as food.

Last night though, the chicken was tasty and greasy, the wine fruity and satisfying. Alcohol has not been a big player in my life for the past 2 months, so as I sipped this nice Cline Zin (on a Monday, no less) I was aware that even though this probably wasn’t the best thing for me to be drinking, it nourished my soul.

The biggest problem with me and wine is not the wine itself, but how it lowers my resistance to other things. Like chocolate.

After I drained the first glass, I went to the kitchen for “just a splash more” and returned to the couch with my splash, plus a square of Ghiradhelli.

And then another one.

I went to bed and slept the sleep of the dead.

For 2  hours.

Then I was UP.  Chocolate at night. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I looked at the clock at 1:30. Then again at 2:45. Then at 3:30. I adjusted pillows. I started the fan for some white noise. Squinted at the clock again at 4:45. I planned my NaNoWriMo project in my head for awhile then woke with a jolt at 8 AM.

I shuffled to the kitchen and made a big batch of amaranth cereal with apples and dates, and while I ate it I said 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys.

Clean slate.

Recipe for Amaranth cereal:

3 cups almond milk

1 cup amaranth (find this in the bulk food section of Wegmans, near the candy)

1 apple and 5 pitted dates pulsed in the food processor until they are in little pieces.

A good healthy shake of cinnamon.

Put all of these ingredients into a pot and bring to boil. Continue to simmer uncovered until the cereal is of the consistency you like. For me, this takes about 20 minutes. It makes a lot, so save it and heat it with a little almond milk the next day.

Amaranth is an ancient grain with a lot of protein, fiber, lysine and magnesium.  It will absolve you of the sins of cheese balls and chocolate and wine at night. I hope.

Eating Out

There’s something great about eating out: ordering from a menu, having a cocktail, choosing a dessert. And the whole thing about having someone else cook your meal, bring it to you, then whisk away the dishes, leaving you to linger over your wine, or a coffee? Yeah. I’m all about it.

So tonight G suggested we eat out.

I didn’t teach today, her game was postponed until Sunday, and we both are going to be spending a lot of time in Crazy Town in April, so this might be our last chance for a nice dinner out for at least a month.

But where to go? That was the question.

The local brewpub where we usually go? Or to the place where we used to go, before the brewpub opened.

It was a hard call because the local brewpub serves locally sourced meat, but I was in the mood for a martini and a nice dessert, and I couldn’t get either of those things there.

So we went to the place where we used to go. I am about to go back on the Clean program starting Sunday, but even if I wasn’t, I’m still concerned about where my food comes from and how it’s prepared. That’s why it’s often hard for me to eat out.

I am never really happy with any place we go. I want a place that will make me a delicious meal with locally sourced meat and produce. I want a place where I am confident that the chef is conscientious about getting fresh ingredients, and preparing them with care and attention. I don’t need to have as much info as these guys from Portlandia did, but I need some reassurance that things in the kitchen are cool.

So tonight we went to the Nest and I had a martini and the crabcakes, and we got the chocolate peanut butter mousse pie to take home.

It was lovely. But I wish we had a restaurant like this one around here. If we did, I would be eating out a lot more, methinks.

Cleanse: Day 7

I actually heard myself say today, “I don’t really strive to live my life; all I really want to do is create contentinteresting content.”

Today I cooked. All day.  Homemade chicken soup and a tofu stirfry. Living “clean” is labor intensive.

I also sorted recyclables, walked the dog, did some laundry, washed dishes, and taught my class.

(So far, zip on the “interesting content” meter.)

I am on Day 7 of my cleanse.  It’s getting easier.  I’m taking supplements this time, lots of supplements, and I’m drinking this shake in the afternoon called “Nourish.”  I’m still hungry a lot, but it’s okay. The shake is good.  I put blueberries in it. It makes my whole mouth blue. Blue like when you’d eat a blue popsicle. (or a Smurf.)

(The interesting content needle has still not budged.)

A few months ago I bought a fancy scale that gives me not only my body weight, but also my body fat percentage and my hydration percentage.

It also tells me what percentage of of my body is muscle, and how much my bones weigh. (I don’t know about you, but I find this scintillating.)

As some of you may know,  I am not a water drinker by nature, preferring extra bold coffees from Africa in the morning, nothing in the afternoon, and a perfectly chilled glass of California red in the evening. But during this cleanse I have been sipping hot water by the gallon in order to “flush toxins” and today I am proud to announce that my water number climbed to 58% from a previous low of 51%.

(now, we’re talking!)

Oh, and there’s also been dry brushing! (Can’t forget the dry brushing.) Did you know that your skin eliminates a couple of pounds of material, including perspiration, daily? Brushing your skin with a dry brush before you shower removes large quantities of that waste material that would have to be carried by your blood for removal through the bowel or kidneys. So, I’ve been dry brushing up a storm!

(now it’s starting to getting good.)

And because I have Vata tendencies, I have also been slathering myself in sesame oil after the dry brushing in order to warm and soothe and ground myself as the weather turns windier and colder and my nervous system to starts to throw sparks.

(ooh, sparks!)

Showering follows, wherein all the oil (0r most of it) gets rinsed off, leaving me feeling clean and soft.

(the end.)

Tomorrow I go to Ithaca to write, and not a moment too soon methinks.  I really need a little more content added to my life of kale, bok choy, tofu, dry brushing, oil and crazy herbs.

 

Clean: Day 2

I forgot how hard this cleanse is.

Right now I’m sitting here, wanting something to CHEW!  But it will pass. I’ll go to bed, and in the morning wake up feeling light, and start all over again. Happy that I made it through Day 2.

But tomorrow is Friday, and I like my glass of Pinot on Friday.  This is when Clean gets sad. Happy Hour Yoga followed by no Happy Hour.

*sigh*

The first two weeks are the hardest on this thing.  It has to get sad before it gets glad.  It’s sorta the rule.  All my edges are sharp now; sharp and pointy and jagged.  I’m a little on the grouchy side.  I’ll be nice again.  In 2 weeks.  That’s how long it takes for me to detox.

And the thing is, I shouldn’t really be complaining because I have my one oh-so-wicked cup of coffee in the morning, and the last time I did this I didn’t even have that.  (That’s how pure as the fallen snow I was the first time.)  This time I am being totally bad.  (Though only with the coffee.)  In everything else I am  pure and good.

When it comes to Clean, that is.

Fire Hose vs. Lawn Sprinkler

I have decided to do another cleanse.  Same thing as last January (if you’re interested I wrote about it ad nauseam in the January 2010 archives.)

Now that I’m an old hand at this, it doesn’t have the same charge and excitement of last year.  I know the ropes. I know I can do it. I know what’s involved and what’s going to suck, and I’m ready.  The big difference is that this year I bought the “kit” with all the supplements, so that will be the “new experiment” this year.  I have a queasy stomach, so I hope I’ll be able to handle them.  But we’ll see, won’t we?

This week is the ED (the Elimination Diet) part of the program.  This is where I get rid of all the fun things that have snuck back into my diet.  Things like wine and beer and ice cream and bread and pasta and eggs and cheese and coffee.

Bye, Fun food that makes life worth living but which nevertheless depletes and dampens me!  Byyyyeeeee!!

I am not doing this  because my diet is so horrible–it’s not.  It’s pretty stellar when compared to the typical American diet these days.

**I just learned that there is now a Krispy Kreme hamburger sandwich.  Yeah, a Krispy Kreme donut functions as the bun around the hamburger.  ew.**

No, my incentive is to get back to feeling like a fire hose again instead of a lawn sprinkler.

Last year when the 3 weeks were done I felt like I could leap tall buildings with a single bound.  Seriously.  My vibe was so AMPED, I could hardly contain myself.

In yogic terms (it always has to come back to that, doesn’t it?) it’s called prana, aka: life force, personal vitality, va-va-va-voom!  And mine was at Fire Hose intensity.

Lately though?  Lawn sprinkler.  You know those ones that arc back and forth lazily over a 6 foot piece of lawn?  The ones you have to go out and physically move every few hours?

Yeah. That’s me now.  I’m kind of a drip.  And I want to get my force back, my prana pressure UP!  And the quickest most efficient way to do that, I know, is by tweaking my food.

So I have cleaned out the fridge and have started to reintroduce the 2 liquid meals and one solid meal concept back into my life.

I will not be having any wheat or dairy or sugar or alcohol for the next month  but I am allowing myself a single cup of coffee in the morning.  Last year I learned that I “sparkle” just a teensy bit brighter with a little caffeine. So my ritual “one cup a day” will stay.

I’m ready to be a force of nature again.  I really am.

 

The End Of The Cleanse

It’s officially over.  The Cleanse, that is.  And I made it all the way through.  21 whole days.  Here’s how it ended.

On Saturday night, after a liquid (Serious Green Juice) breakfast, and a liquid (Cream of Cauliflower soup) lunch, G and I decided to eat a (chewy) dinner out, and maybe have (gasp!) a glass of WINE! to celebrate.

Because this eating regimen was a pretty big deal for both of us.  No caffeine, which I completely did without for 3 whole weeks.  No sugar.  No wheat, not a single piece of bread, not even a cracker.  No dairy, not even soy milk, because guess what?  No soy!

No eggs. No bananas. No tomatoes. No pasta.

No alcohol.  This wasn’t a huge deal during the week, but on Friday night it was really sad.  Weekend evenings felt flat.  I hated them. But I sipped my tea, and made the best of it.

But in the end, it was all so very worth it.

We went to the Wren’s Nest.  I had a cream of crab soup, a dinner salad, the stuffed flounder.  No wine. No dessert.

And you know what?  It wasn’t all that great.  It wasn’t all nom, nom, nom this is yummy!  And I went home with a little bellyache from the cream in the soup, I think.  (Good discovery, though.  Dairy doesn’t agree with me.)

So the take-away from all this?

I’m not done. Not by a long shot.

I woke up on Sunday and had my juice, my Caffix, my lemon water. I am going on with it, with some variety from time to time, but I have decided that this is the way I will eat from now on because I feel flipping AMAZING! My energy is strong.  My insides feel light. My skin is pink and clear.  My eyes bright.  I would totally recommend this Clean program to anyone.  I think it’s a great way to raise one’s consciousness about food.  All your addictions show up.  All your cravings rear their ugly heads, then are vanquished by the food you are allowed to eat.

So here’s the plan from here on out:

Juice breakfast, big lunch, light dinner.  Wine on the weekend. No caffeine. Dessert rarely, only as a treat.

And hopefully, no more posts about this or FOOD!

(Thanks for bearing with me.)

Cleanse: Day 17

So, it’s day 17 of my cleanse.

Here is a list of what is going to stay:

“Serious” green juice for breakfast.  It may not be the “only” thing I eat for breakfast the way it is now, but it’s going to be a major player.

The big mid-day meal. This is so working for me.  Love this.  I usually  get home from the studio between 7:30 and 8 PM and then eat dinner.  Bed time is around 10.  See the problem?  No time to digest.  So just a very light snack for dinner so there can be a “fast” before “break-fast.”

Coffee as a treat.  I roll so much more serenely through life without that coffee buzz (though today I was incredibly tired and I really wanted a boost.)  Yerba Mate is allowed on the Elimination Diet, and that is naturally caffeinated, so I will try that when I need a lift.

Severely limit sugar. I already know what sugar does to my system, and it’s not good.  This won’t be hard.

Limit dairy.  I already do, and although I’ll miss cheese, this won’t be much of a hardship either.

Sprouted grain bread. I am not gluten intolerant, but bread just feels like a gastro burden that I don’t need.

What’s coming back:

Wine! But only on Friday night.  Oh wine, I have missed you. Friday nights have been soooo depressing.  Not only is there no good food to eat, there is no glass of Pinot to signal that I am entering a new time zone: the Weekend Zone.

More variety of food.  I really miss bananas (especially in smoothies) and tomatoes and eggs.  I miss strawberries and peanut butter and fake meat. I miss oatmeal.  It will be great to have my vegetarian chili again, and an omelette on Sunday morning.

What has been good is that I am feeling light inside, and I have a lot of energy.  According to the scale at the gym I have lost 5 lbs in the past 2 and half weeks.  And while that is good, I don’t put a lot of stock in the scale. Scales are all different,  so I depend on the tape measure, and how my clothes fit to tell me how I’m doing. Much to my dismay, there hasn’t been any big changes there–yet!  I am hoping by continuing with the Elimination Diet after the Cleanse, to become more lean.

All it takes is patience and persistence over time, and thankfully, I am good at that.