Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Tipping Point



I have a confession.  After eating vegetables, fruit, fresh fish, brown rice and lentils for three weeks, it was not a little daunting to reintroduce my body to a meal of my own choosing.  I'm not going to lie, I have bigger sugar tooth than Buddy Elf.  The program says to slowly introduce one food at a time back into your diet in order to see how each food makes you feel.  Suffice to say this was difficult when all I'd been thinking about is baked goods.  At lunchtime I decided on a homemade veggie sandwich (hello bread!  hello cheese!) with tomato, cucumber, lettuce, avocado and onion.  I ate an orange for dessert when I wanted a cookie.  By 4 o'clock, all I could think about was that damn cookie.  I thought to go to a bakery, so at least the cookie would be fresh and preservative-free.  Hm, maybe I would get a cupcake.  The bakery was closed.  Alarm and panic set in as I warped into my six year old self and became consumed with thoughts of the unattainable dessert.  But wait, I am not six, I am twenty six and fully capable of driving to purchase my sugar fix.  I dashed into Kaldi's with the eyes of a crazed woman and ordered the first thing I saw:  a heavenly slice of blueberry pie.  As if that wasn't enough, I drove home to warm the pie up and topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Orgasmic.  You can take Angela away from the pie, but you can never take the pie away from Angela.  Now, back to my delicious veggies.  Here's to indulging every now and then...

Angela

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

21 Days Under My Already Loosened Belt

Hey world!  I just completed the Standard Process 21 Day Purification Program!  I freaking DID IT!  And let me tell you, it was not easy.  At times, my husband had to slowly direct me away from the open refrigerator.  At times, he had to remove me from the computer, where I browsed pictures of cupcakes.  At times, it just plain sucked.  But I made it, successfully, through this maze of vegetables and supplements.  And to be honest, I feel like my most amazing self.  I went to bed last night thinking of lattes and muffins for breakfast, but now that I am awake, I find myself continuing on with my routine.  I drink a lot of water and take Gastro-Fiber pills on an empty stomach, then wait at least an hour before I blend an easy, delicious, and filling smoothie.  I think I may just have to leave the lattes and muffins at the coffee shop.  Shocking!  I finally understand why it was a 21 day cleanse; because it re-teaches you how to eat correctly.  It takes every minute of those 21 days to get there, too.

Well, the results are in; I lost 5 full pounds, 1.5 inches on my waist, and 1 inch on my hips.  That's considerable for 21 days.  That is not water weight and that is not muscle.  As far as eating habits, this helped me reach a new goal:  vegetarianism.  After thinking about it for several months, but not taking action to cut meat (chicken, pork, beef) out of my diet, this program did all the hard work for me.  I am so happy to have finally taken that step!  

I would like to continue with this stream of thought for awhile, so I will continue to post healthy recipes and fitness tips, in case anyone is out there reading!  If you are currently on the program, I wish you the best of experiences.  If there's one thing I was reminded of on this journey, it's that I am the ruler of our own destiny.  We can make or shape any challenge that comes our way and come out of it feeling positive, and able to share that with others.  Life really is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react.  With good health, good humor and good intentions, you really can change your world.

"Everyone will face a challenging experience, whether we want to acknowledge its inevitability or not-- the doctor calls to say he needs to discuss the test results in person, or a police officer has news at the front door, or you find a lump in your breast, or you lose your job, or your child is diagnosed with something, or your spouse walks out the door. When my next moment comes, I want to be strong and centered enough to handle it with some measure of grace. But perhaps even more importantly, I want to be fast enough to be first on the scene when a loved one needs me, and I want to be fit enough to help carry their load for as long as it takes to reach the other side." -Kristin Armstrong


In Health,
Angela

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reflections

Being as it's my third Saturday night in a row staying in, I find it appropriate to lay back and think about all the personal changes I have made these past twenty days...

First of all, I am getting more sleep at night.  Last night I was in bed by 10pm only to be up at 6am this morning, ready to go for a run.  Indeed, it is no shock to think of all the toxins I cut out to fully prepare for this cleansing journey.  I have been without caffeine, medicine, alcohol, bread, nuts, dairy and basically any food that is not found in the produce section for twenty long days!  No, I was eager and mentally prepared for all of that.  My body was tired of consuming too much, too often.

The surprise comes when I think about the many healthy habits that moved in place of those unhealthy things.  I find myself actually eating my veggies, rather than avoiding them.  I find myself reaching for an orange when I want something sweet.  I find myself taking a daily multivitamin and finally committing to fish oil and flax seed oil supplements.  I find myself drinking a smoothie and feeling full, satisfied and energized.  I find myself out walking the dog everyday, attending yoga class regularly and training for my next half marathon!

So, yeah, it's a Saturday night and I'm in bed at 9:30pm.  Sure I am craving baked goods and a glass of red wine (possibly together).  But I know that tomorrow I will be rested, empowered and ready to tackle the task at hand (Sunday yoga and house painting, anyone?).  I want to take this moment to be thankful for this time in life, for all of the challenges and all of the sweetness.  It's making me stronger and it's making me smile a lot.  I am grateful for this space, for this place and for all of the beauty I encounter on this crazy planet.  Thank you world, thank you for this peace.  And as my yoga guru says, "The same peace that lies in me, lies within you."

Namaste,
Angela

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tazo Tea Time

I thought it would be a lot harder to adjust to life without coffee, but it really hasn't been too difficult.  Before this program I wasn't drinking more than a cup a day, but at stressful points in life I have used caffeine as a crutch to get me through the exhaustion.  What overworked American hasn't?  Along with coffee, I am big on green tea, especially one made by The Republic of Tea that has blueberry bits in the tea bag.  But I had to shop around to find a decaffeinated tea that I would actually drink everyday.  In steps Tazo Calm.  The ingredient list makes my mouth water:  whole chamomile, blackberry leaves, lemongrass, rose petals, spearmint, lemon balm, hibiscus, safflowers, lavender flowers, marigold petals.  Doesn't that sound like heaven in a cup?  I went to the flavor profile to see how it was described (who needs to discuss complex sips of wine when you can profile tea instead!).  It uses the adjectives creamy, floral, minty, toasty, sweet & honey-like to wax on about this hot beverage.  I drink it most mornings and every night and have discovered that it really lives up to it's name.  Sip on!

Namaste,
Angela

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cherry "Milkshake"


Is it possible to replicate a delicious dessert in a nutritional smoothie?  I think so...

Whole Foods was all out of frozen strawberries (I suppose I bought them all) so I grabbed a bag of cherries instead.  For whatever reason, I always think of almonds when I cook (or in this case, blend) with cherries.  Blame it on the copious amounts of Jergens Cherry Almond body lotion that I have gone through over the years.

Along with the "standard" two scoops of SP Complete, one scoop of whey protein powder & one tablespoon flax seed oil, I added 1/2 banana, 1 cup of cherries, & 1/8 teaspoon almond extract.  What a decadent dessert.

Yummy,
Angela

Monday, January 25, 2010

Health is Wealth

I have really enjoyed my protein-rich weekend!  Last weekend I struggled a lot, both with lack of energy and the temptations brought from having my meat-eating husband around.  Weekends, for us, are for family breakfasts, fancy brunches and Saturday nights out with friends!  It's not for staying home and eating vegetables!  Well, that attitude has changed, and changed for the better since I have hit my two week point on the Standard Process.  The introduction of FISH into my diet makes for a very happy Angela.  Friday I promptly went out for a favorite- sushi at Wasabi.  It was easy to stay within the Standard Process guidelines and enjoy myself; my husband and I ordered three different kinds of tuna (Toro, Bluefin, Albacore) for a "tuna tasting" and enjoyed detecting the differences between them.  I also ordered miso soup with extra wakame (green sea vegetable), hot green tea and a salmon/avocado roll with brown rice.  Delicious, nutritious and within cleanse guidelines!

This detoxification has helped me focus on cooking everyday, which is healthier and less expensive than eating out.  I have learned how to cook a ton of different, healthy things- like boiling and pickling red beets this morning.  Having thought about this for awhile, I have decided to use this cleanse to transition back to a primarily vegetarian-based diet.  I will also eat fish, eggs and dairy, but will avoid beef, pork and chicken.  As it is Day 14, I already have two weeks under my belt.  I feel really happy about cutting meat out of my diet permanently.  I'm big on fish and seafood and love cooking with meat alternatives.  I believe this is the most positive lifestyle change that could come from this (and as you know, there have been a lot).  Go heart health!!

So with all that comes my first bump in the road:  I don't eat chicken stock.  When I need stock for a recipe, and since I cannot stand store-bought vegetable stock, I have gotten into the habit of making my own at home.  It's the easiest thing I've ever done.  I keep my dutch oven on the stove top and constantly throw in the vegetable peels and any other vegetable waste I accrue throughout my meal preparations.  Sometimes I add things on purpose if they haven't found their way in yet.  I especially love to throw in hot peppers like JalapeƱos or Serranos and fresh herbs that I have around.  Simply boil and simmer it and add more water if necessary.  Leave it to sit out overnight if it's too hot at the end of the day and store it the next day.  Just use a colander to filter out all the vegetables.  I pour mine into a pitcher and use it to transform rice, lentils or any dish that requires water. 

On another note, I made stuffed Cremini mushrooms today, having made the stuffing over the weekend.  When I was washing the mushrooms and removing the stems, I realized that I could use them to add to a stir-fry and threw them into a plastic baggie.  It might seems silly to some, but we waste so much food in America and every household's effort to reduce food waste means reduced landfill waste (http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Supply-Chain/Half-of-US-food-goes-to-waste).  Fruits, vegetables and fresh foods are pricey (it's expensive to be healthy) and by going the extra distance to utilize my produce to the max, I feel better about my grocery bill, my health, and my carbon footprint.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pass the Bharta

I am still on my Indian kick- and I have a new delicious and flavorful recipe for you.  This one is based on eggplant, so dish up cleansers!

Bharta
1 pound eggplants
1 T oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (food processor works great here)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 fresh green chile, seeded and chopped
1 T ground coriander seeds
1 T finely chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 T lemon juice
Salt for seasoning

1.  Cook eggplant in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 mins, or until they are softened.
2.  Cool slightly, slit open, scoop out all the eggplant flesh and mash it with a fork.
3.  Heat oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic and chile and fry until the onion is soft but not colored.
4.  Add the ground coriander, fresh cilantro and salt to taste.  Add the mashed eggplant, stir well and cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes.  Cover and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and garnish with cilantro leaves.

ENJOY!