Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Husband Wants Meat

Today really sucked.  I wanted to cheat so badly today.  I called K to tell her and she talked me out of it.  In retrospect, I shouldn't have called her at all and just cheated.  I have never really stopped to think about what I was going to eat for lunch; I would just get what I wanted.  Today, I craved something other than this week's offerings.  Anything would have worked, I was salivating at eating bacon or pizza.  It didn't matter, I was struggling.  I'm not really sure what I was going to do to get passed today. So I went to my office, shut the door and ate some more fruit and tried not to think about anything and relaxed for 20 minutes.

I'm very grumpy today and found my patience tested today.  I'm usually pretty upbeat and positive, but not only is this cleansing program different from a food perspective; it is mentally exhausting for me.  I fell asleep on the couch with our son sitting next to me as we were awaiting dinner.  Physically and mentally exhausted.

In other words, not having fun.  Can't wait until next week when I can have eggs and fish.

Here's to staying the course.

P.S.  I'm supposed to be funny on these posts.  I'll work on that; just not feeling overly humorous today.

Cleanse Day 4: Dichotomy

Here's where we stand on day 4.  I feel AWESOME.  Is this how other people feel all the time?  Cause it's pretty fantastic.  I have energy past 7pm.  I don't feel as stressed.  I'm actually in a great mood.  Maybe I do have some sort of dairy or gluten sensitivity.

The Husband, on the other hand, feels like shit.  He is hungry, short-tempered, fatigued, and generally unpleasant.  The only thing making him happy is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  He hasn't been eating because he doesn't like the food.  He called me at work today saying he was ready to pass out.  When I asked what he ate, the answer was an apple, an orange, and some carrots.  His exact quote was "I just can't gnaw on vegetables all day like you can."

He is trying really hard.  This is a big adjustment.  To try to make it easier on him, I bought stuff to make guacamole.  I deviated from the action plan and made a citrus spaghetti squash salad from Serving Up the Bounty.  I made a bevy of snacks this evening to try to entice him.  The roasted spiced pumpkin seeds are delicious, as are the sweet potato chips.

He is still quite grumpy.  Ah, first world problems.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Husband's Third Day

Today was the toughest day so far.  My team at work is supportive, but they are also taking time to give me a hard time during the day about what I'm eating and what I'm watching them eat.  Most of them eat fairly well, but today I was salivating at the food they had compared to what I had.  Not that what I had was bad, but it certainly wasn't what they had.

I called K this morning to tell her something and I told her she was going to be mad at me.  The first words out of her mouth were, "did you cheat."  I said no and we went on with our conversation.  I was really tired today and I spend most of my day on my feet and I noticed just how wiped out I was after I got up from my desk after an hour long conference call.

The word on the street is that the third and fourth day are the worst as far as fatigue is concerned.  I hope that changes quick because my body is telling me that I need to eat more which is tough when you are only eating fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and lentils.  What makes it especially challenging for me is that I have never been a big fan of what I'm eating this week, but I'm getting through it.

Tonight for dinner we had a portobello mushroom covered with chard.  I must say I successfully ate everything and followed it up with a pineapple, strawberry, mango, and banana smoothie.  At this time, my favorite thing to have has been the smoothies.  I do have to say that adding so much fruit has allowed me to find a greater appreciation for it and I will continue to keep fruit as a part of my diet when we are finished.

Although today was the most difficult; I know, its only been three days.  I didn't cheat and I am eating foods that I thought I would never eat.  Score one for me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cleanse Day 2: In which we meet the juicer

For a large part of my life, I have suffered from insomnia.  It comes and goes but I remember roaming the halls at night as young as eight.  Last night, I slept wonderfully.  Today at work I felt less stressed and more clear headed.  It may just be the power of suggestion, but I genuinely feel like I have more energy.  There was a little bit of bloat this morning, but it wasn't anything some control-top pantyhose couldn't contain, and the feeling is gone tonight.

Today we were introduced to the most trendy health appliance I am trendy enough to know about: the juicer.  While not listed with other stuff white people like, I am pretty certain the juicer is the must have health conscience hipster accessory.  I purchased the Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed as featured in Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  The decision was made not on its notoriety but on the fact that we have the Breville tea maker and have been very happy with it.  It is one intense piece of equipment.

 Please note: The theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey should be playing in  your head.
So I prepared cucumber-pear juice, when all this...
became this.
Pretty, green, and frothy
What part is missing from the movie?  As Joe is driving around the country, dealing juice out of his trunk, they never show how he deals with the resulting pulp.  There isn't a scene of him in a rest stop bathroom struggling to clean all 7 pieces.
The pulp seems a bit wasteful, but according to Michael Murray, ND, the pulp can be used to make stock or muffins.  I don't have any immediate plans for the sludge.  Somehow celery ginger muffins don't sound enticing.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Husband's Big Change

I've always appreciated K's outlook on food and how she takes extra care to make sure that our son eats the right food, but a few months back when she wanted to be a vegetarian; I was a little shocked.  She had been contemplating it for some time.  My first thought was how is this going to change what I eat.  I haven't been a particular healthy eater throughout my life, but K has made me eat more healthy food and less junk food.

I have worked in retail for a long time and with that comes a certain lifestyle.  Grab what you can and eat fast or you don't eat is that lifestyle.  I have always fallen back on having a good metabolism and a fairly active lifestyle to make myself feel better about my eating habits.  I didn't really eat that many fruits and vegetables or fish outside of lent and I rather enjoyed some fast foods especially Skyline.

So one day, I came into our study after putting our son in bed and K is watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix and I found myself interested in what was going on.  One of my team members did the juicing thing a couple weeks back and really talked about the benefits of it and how much better she felt after doing it.  Being the smart guy that I am put two and two together and realized that she must have gotten the idea from the documentary.

After watching the show, K and I started talking about doing something similar.  She really wanted me to do the cleanse diet with her.  It wouldn't be straight juice, but a variation of that diet.  Regardless of what it is, I couldn't say that I was overly excited about giving up meat and my guilty pleasures for three weeks.  I know that three weeks isn't much time, but I can't even have a beer which is another post altogether.

So yesterday, I stopped at McDonalds on my way to work for one last meal before we started and had a beer when I came home after a long day......and we fast forward to today.

For breakfast, a tropical fruit and tahini smoothy.  It was pretty good.  Lunch, not so much.  K replaced my usually fast food or not so fast, but still not good for you food with some kind of lentil salad with a side of almonds, pea pods, and an orange.  Didn't do so well with the lentil salad, but got the rest down and remembered how much I like oranges in the process.

Needless to say, I came home from work famished.  When I got home, there was a bowl of broccoli soup with avocado.  Ideally, not what I would eat when I got home, but it was good and it filled me up which was a nice surprise after a long day.  I washed it down with a banana/strawberry smoothie.

First day down; 20 to go.  K doesn't think I'll hang with it, but I plan on it.  Then maybe she'll stop making fun of my slightly enlarged gut.

Cleanse Day 1

First, I would like to say something obvious.  People are fat because being healthy is hard.  I spent a number of hours yesterday planning and shopping and prepping and cooking.  At one point I had beets in the oven, 2 simmering concoctions on the stove, the blender whirring, and broccoli on the cutting board.  Every pot I own eventually landed in the sink.  I was working so diligently I even forgot to watch the Oscars.

It's so much easier to order pizza.

Normally I *try* to plan meals for the week.  Then life happens - I get home from work late, I'm really tired, and I make pasta and jarred sauce.  Sometimes if I'm fancy I throw in shredded carrots.  Or we eat carry-out.  It's easy to fall into the trap of the convenience food.

As for the cleanse, so far so good.  Mango tahini smoothie for breakfast, lentils and cabbage for lunch, and broccoli soup for dinner.  Supplemented with snacks.  A little hungry right now but not unbearable.  I am waiting for the Husband to cheat.  It's only a matter of time.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reason number 3

Ok, so detox reason number 3.  I woke up this morning and my jeans don't fit.  Time for some changes.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Starting Monday the Husband and I are embarking on a 21-day cleanse.  I predict this is going to be much easier for me than him, but I anticipate we will both be hungry.

The Husband is very much a meat and potatoes guy, although he has been slowly integrating fruits and vegetables into his diet over the 7 years we have been married.  His gateway vegetable was asparagus, oddly enough.  He is a product of his environment - no one else in his family eats vegetables, either.

I have a couple of goals for this cleanse.  First, I want to eliminate my sweet tooth.  I am hoping the dietary changes for the next few weeks will clear my body of those cravings.  Awhile back I read The End of Overeating by Dr. David Kessler, which discusses the evolutionary reasons for why we eat the way we eat.  Basically, our bodies are built to hypereat in certain circumstances.  When we encounter a calorie-dense food source, high in fat and/or sugar, our bodies drive us to eat more and more.  This is a remnant from a time when high calorie food sources were few and far between.  Our ancestors needed to eat as much as possible when they encountered these food sources.  Who knew when they would eat again?  Unfortunately now foods high in fat and sugar are plentiful, so we are driven to hypereat frequently.  We also don't have to do any work to get our food.  This adds up to all those extra pounds.  Dr. Kessler argues the food industry preys on this predisposition to hypereat by creating foods layered with fat, sugar, and salt.  But that's a whole other discussion.

Secondly, I want to determine if dairy or gluten contribute to my ongoing struggle with fatigue.  The cleanse starts out eliminating everything from the diet except fruits, vegetables, lentils, seeds, nuts, and oils.  By week three, eggs, fish, and soy are added back in, but dairy and gluten are still absent.  I am hoping my energy will be increased.  Even though a life without cheese seems dismal.

I am preparing by stocking the fridge with lots of fruits and vegetables and totally gorging myself this weekend.  After my Little Sweetpea goes to bed, I will settling down with some wine and Girl Scout cookies.  Kind of against the point, I know.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

I finally gave in and watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  I had put it off for a long time because dismissive attitudes towards health upset me.  And there were definitely some parts when I was feeling a little dismayed, like the guy who said if he dies at 55 at least he ate the way he wanted.  His son looks on as he shoves forkfuls of beef and mashed potatoes with gravy into his mouth.

Back in the day, external things were responsible for a person's demise.  Infection.  Tigers.  The inconveniently placed cliff.  Now it seems we have a large share in the responsibility department.  Heart disease.  Type II diabetes.  Hypertension.

Anyway, I'm not completely convinced about the whole juicing approach, but I can certainly appreciate the philosophy behind it.  Taking control of your health and reprogramming to rid your body of those cravings for the toxic trio of sugar, fat, and salt is fantastic.  But an extreme approach can set people up to fail.  I personally believe one of the ways to maintain healthy eating is developing a positive relationship with food, and this includes enjoying it.

I was completely impressed with the way Joe and Phil changed their lives around.  The second half of the movie was very inspiring.

As I type this, my son is starting to throw a tantrum because I told him he couldn't have m & m's before dinner.  Oh, irony.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Enlightened Soul?

My sister was in town this past weekend.  I invited all the family over for dinner.  I rarely do this.  Here's why.
Me: Do you want to come for dinner Sunday?
Dad: What are you making?
Me: Soul food.
Dad: ....
Me: What's the problem?
Dad: I just find the things you choose to make amusing.
Me: I don't know what that is supposed to mean.

The reason why I chose soul food is, not because it is black history month as my mom later suggested, but because this month's Vegetarian Times contained some delicious sounding recipes.  One of the articles "Enlightened soul food" had a spread I *thought* I could make and no one would notice the lack of meat.  Spoiler - I was wrong.

I stopped eating meat a few months ago.  I still eat fish, so I guess I am technically a pescetarian (who knew I could be so trendy?).  It has been a bigger adjustment for my family than it has been for me.  They act somewhat as though I made the decision to become a cannibal.

Do I crave hamburgers and goetta and bacon?  Sometimes, but usually only after I've been drinking.

Anyway, back to dinner.  I made black-eyed pea and stewed tomato salad, baked hush puppies, and corn grits with swiss chard and caramelized onions.  For dessert was banana pudding made from scratch (well mostly, not the vanilla wafers).  I paired it with a semi-sweet white table wine because of the vinegar.  Everyone sits down at the table and Stepmother asks what everything is.  I explain, and she says "Oh, so I guess when we eat at the vegetarian's house we don't get meat.  Even when we make her dishes without meat at our house."

This is not a good start.  I mention that I have said there is no need to make me special food when we come over, and then I get up to make my 2 yr old a PB&J.  From the dining room I hear commentary from Stepmother "I don't like black-eyed peas","I don't like corn","what is that" and similar.  So I lean my head in and ask if she wants me to make her a peanut butter sandwich, too.  The response is a withering glare.

Ok, I was being pretty snarky but I don't understand what the big deal is.  Where is it written that meat has to be served at every meal?  The food was good (all the recipes definitely keepers), there was plenty to go around, and no one left hungry.  Isn't it ok to not have meat on the table?  I guess I am struggling with the proper etiquette for hosting a dinner party with different dietary desires. My sister pointed out that even though a person eats meat, that doesn't mean they can't eat vegetarian food.  But maybe they shouldn't be expected to forgo meat just because they are dining at the home of someone who choses not to?

Next time I eat at their house I expect all that will be on the table is half a deer carcass and some mead.  Not even plates.  Those barbarians.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


It has been over 2 years since I last wrote on Westside Foodie Wannabes.  A lot has changed in that time.  I am still food-obsessed, but my perspective is different.  This is my healthy reboot.  Unfortunately, unlike JJ Abrams, genius does not come so easily.  It's a process.