Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Toxic avenger.

As I described in my previous post, I've been on Dr. Oz’s 3-Day Detox Cleanse since Monday. All in all, it's gone very well.

Today is my last day, and I am happy to report that I've gotten a lot out of this experience.

On all three days I've had headaches, and I believe these are caused by lack of caffeine. I've been drinking green tea in the morning, which helps for a bit, but I'm also accustomed to an afternoon latte and when noon rolls around, the headache starts. It's not too bad, though... more of an annoyance than anything.

I've also had a little less energy than usual, which is also attributable to no caffeine. Last night on the elliptical, I was struggling. I still went 5.3 miles in 60 minutes, but it was really tough.

So I'm left with the question for tomorrow - to drink coffee or not to drink coffee? I think I will drink a cup in the morning, and instead of a Starbucks latte, I'll opt for tea. Less calories and fat in tea, anyway. I think I'll try to save the lattes for weekends.

Now for the good stuff -

I've mostly felt really good. My head seems clear, I've been in a great mood (in spite of mild headaches and slightly less energy), and my body as a whole feels terrific. All I've ingested for the last three days has been fruits, vegetables, almonds and coconut oil, and my body seems very happy with these inputs.

I've also thought less - and more - about food than I normally do, which is also a good thing for me. At work, when I get bored, I reach for a snack of some sort - granola bar, cheese, grapes - and eat at my desk. I often wonder in the morning what I'm going to have for a snack in the afternoon, if my lunch will be filling enough, what I'm going to make for dinner, if we'll want dessert. These three days, all of that has disappeared. I know exactly what I'm going to eat and when, and that's that. It's been freeing, in a way. As much as I love cooking and food in general, it kind of consumes my brain and these three days have shown me that there's more to life than just food.

I'm actually a little nervous about going back to "real food" tomorrow, because I've done so well within these confines. When all options are on the table, I tend to lose my focus and lots of little slip-ups equal big setbacks in the long run.

So there's another question - what will I do with this knowledge when tomorrow comes? What can I learn from this experience to apply to my everyday food habits?

My big takeaway is that I need to plan better. Make sure I know what I'm having for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner in advance and stick to it. Make sure those options are healthy, wholesome, and nutritious. Got that sweet tooth after dinner? The smoothie detox taught me that I don't need anything extra once I'm satiated. Want a grande latte at lunch? Skip it in favor of tea and save those calories for something else.

As with everything, this is easier to say than do. But for three days I planned and ate exactly what I set out to eat, so why can't I do that for three more days, and three after that, and so on? I've even put at Post-It on my monitor to remind me of past success in moments of bored weakness.

This, by the way, in no means implies I'm giving up my restaurant love. Au contraire, mon ami. We're going to Michael Smith this weekend to indulge in a 6-course meal - preceded by a light breakfast and at least an hour at the gym, and followed up by a light breakfast, more gym and a light dinner the following day.

See? I've started planning ahead already ;)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Detoxing.

To help kick-start healthy living in 2013, I decided to do Dr. Oz's 3-Day Detox Cleanse. I'm not a fad dieter by any means, and tend to eat well most of the time. However, I know I overdid it a little during the holidays, and thought that this would be a good way to get back on track.

The detox consists of four smoothies - one for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any of the three repeated as an afternoon snack. It also calls for green tea with stevia and lemon before breakfast, and supplements of a multivitamin, a probiotic and Omega-3. The detox also includes an Epsom salt and lavender bath each of the three nights, but I'm opting out in favor of my regular after-gym shower.

While Dr. Oz claims that the ingredients for this detox cost $16 a day ($48 for all three days) this number is based on the ingredient cost per smoothie, not the actual cost of purchasing these ingredients. Shopping last night, I spent about $75, but will have coconut oil, almond milk and almond butter to spare. I cut some costs by purchasing frozen raspberries, blueberries, pineapple and mango. I also already had the flaxseed on hand, so that's not included in the $75 cost.
Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Morning Smoothie

1 c. water
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 c. raspberries
1 banana
1/4 c. spinach
1 Tbsp. almond butter
2 tsp. lemon juice

Since I've frozen spinach in 1-cup packs, I used a cup of spinach in this smoothie. Other than that, I've left the recipe the same. It tastes delicious - not too sweet, but sweet still. I especially like the almond butter. It adds a deep, nutty flavor that moves through the sweetness in a pleasant way.
Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Lunch Smoothie

4 celery stalks
1 cucumber, peeled
1 c. kale
1/2 green apple
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 c. almond milk
1 c. pineapple

Based on reading about other's unpleasant experiences with this smoothie, as well as personal preference, I changed a couple of things. First, I used spinach instead of kale. Kale is really, really vegetable-y and fibrous, and I know from past experience that I'm not a fan of kale in smoothies. I had read that this particular smoothie suffered from a lack of sweetness, so I added one stevia packet. These modifications, along with thorough blending in a Vitamix, made this smoothie not only more palatable than others have described, but also quite good. The coconut oil adds richness and a heaviness that I really like.
Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Dinner Smoothie

1/2 c. mango
1 c. blueberries
1 ½ c.  coconut water
1 c. kale
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 avocado
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

Again,  I changed a couple of things, like using spinach instead of kale. I forgot to buy coconut water when I went shopping for ingredients, so I substituted almond milk. I also cut the cayenne pepper back to 1/8 teaspoon. This smoothie was really delicious - just a hint of heat. I think I'll use cayenne in more smoothies.

Since I'm drinking so much water - and liquid food - I have to pee way more frequently than normal. Side effect - having to pee forces me to get up and away from my desk, and take a short walk around my building. Yay - more pedometer steps!

I've felt really good today, if a little tired, but I have to attribute that to lack of caffeine. No problem working out, though - spent 60 minutes on the elliptical in a very crowded gym.

Here's to another good day tomorrow!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happiness is a warm (Smoking) Gun.

My Christmas toy this year was the PolyScience Smoking Gun, a small, portable device used to add smoked flavor to foods and liquids.

The concept of the Smoking Gun is really simple - it's essentially a pipe with a fan on one end and a hose on the other. Where tobacco would go, wood chips go instead, and, once lit, the fan propels the resulting smoke through the hose directed towards or into your target.

Two kinds of wood chips are included in the box - hickory, which imparts the heaviest smoke flavor, and apple wood, which has a milder, sweeter quality. I also received a box of additional wood chips, including more hickory and apple wood, as well as mesquite and cherry wood.

Mr. Awesome requested that our first smoked experiment involve cheese, so we got a chunk of sharp white cheddar from Costco and set out to see what the Smoking Gun could do.

First, we cut some chunks of cheese and put them into a zip-top bag. Mr. Awesome put some apple wood in the Gun, and we inserted the hose into an unzipped corner of the bag with the cheese.

Then we lit the wood chips and flipped on the Gun. Just as promised, lots of smoke poured from the hose into the bag. Some smoke ended up in our kitchen, too, but not enough to be alarming. Enough, though, that a campfire aroma hung in the air for the rest of the evening.

We let the Gun generate smoke for about 30 seconds, then turned it off and quickly sealed the bag with smoke trapped inside.

We left the smoke in the bag with the cheese until we could wait no longer - about 30 minutes. We then cut our slices into bite-sized pieces and tucked in.

The first bite was definitely smoky. Both of us were a little nervous that it turned out differently than we hoped, but then, as the flavor settled in, we both decided that we needed another bite. And another. And another. This cheese was absolutely delicious.

In more pedestrian matters...

  • We watched a movie called Bachelorette the other night. A great cast made up of Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden and Rebel Wilson couldn't overcome the bad casting of Kirsten Dunst in the lead role. It was watchable, and even amusing in some parts, but overall, really forgettable.

  • Spent an hour on the treadmill last night, but not much running. Lots of walking at a steep incline. My legs are so sore today! Tonight, I'm going back to the elliptical, and will alternate treadmill and elliptical every other day to spare my poor muscles.

  • Started working on core muscles the last few nights. Hard, hard stuff, but rewarding. It's a well-earned hurt.

  • I'm working on a new cowl in the most luscious red orange merino wool. It's taking forever to finish - I want to wear it right now! If I could only teach Grizz to knit so he could work on my projects when I'm not around...
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

... and... run!

First gym day of the new year. After using the elliptical exclusively for months, decided to hop on the treadmill and was able to run/walk 2.2 miles in 30 minutes. Then switched to the elliptical for another 30 minutes. Running on the treadmill is so much harder than using the elliptical, but it's also more rewarding.

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll spend a full hour on the treadmill. We'll see...

Weekend breakfast, Starbucks, some grapes, Tasty Thai with Mr. Awesome's parents - cucumber salad and chicken noodle soup. Smoked some cheese to take to work as a snack for the rest of the week.

Back to work tomorrow for two days then another weekend. I'm already looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day.

I am grateful for so much... health, prosperity, love, happiness, joy, friendship.

The start of a new year reminds me to consider gratitude more frequently, to contemplate more fully the goodness that happens around me every day.

Last night we saw our first movie at Alamo Drafthouse - Les Miserables. The entire experience was exceptional, from ordering and picking up tickets, to the theaters, the food, the drinks, the film - all exceptional.  A marvelous way to usher in the new year.

This morning it was eggs and oatmeal, Starbucks, then some shopping at Zona Rosa.  We both got shirts.  Can never have enough shirts, can you?

The afternoon was spent making dinner - braised short rib ragu, served over gnocchi. Paired with a spinach, pineapple and strawberry smoothie and Project Runway All-Stars. Divine.

No gym today, at it was closed for the holiday. Really looking forward to sweating tomorrow.

Now, it's an iPad, a Snuggie, a cheesy movie (1995's Hackers) and a warm cat.

Life is good. So much to be grateful for.

Some resolutions...

Be still.
Be active.
Be honest.
Be grateful.
Be extraordinary.