Sunday, September 25, 2011

(Partially) Juicin' Juice: Day 10 of 10

Nothing major to report. We're still partially juicing and not going nuts on junk food. Can't say that the weight loss has continued at its pre-solid-food pace. In fact, I'd say it's reversed a bit, but that's to be expected. Probably the worst thing we've eaten so far was some frozen custard. I still have a hankering for those Quarter Pounders, but I've avoided McDonalds'. Might head there on my free day. Might not. After all, the new pizza restaurant might be open by then.

By the way, I finally tried butternut squash juice today. Awesome stuff! I was a little dubious as to what it would taste like, but it's very nice. Kind of a pain in the ass to get all the skin off of it, and there's not as much juice produced as you'd think, but it's very good. And you can save the pulp for making soup.

So, today would have been our final day on the juice fast, had we stuck exclusively to it. Have to say, it was overall a positive experience, though I don't recommend a full 10 day stretch at it. Five is probably enough for a reboot, seven if you're feeling up to it. And so far my continuing caffeine fast has gone pretty well. I miss coffee, but not as much as I thought I would. I can't say I feel all that different off it than I did on it, at least during waking hours. At night I have tended to sleep quite a bit better. My brain is not as apt to wake up at 4 a.m. and not be able to go back to sleep. That's been good.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

(Partially) Juicin' Juice: Day 9 of 10

The wife and I breakfasted on a tomato omelet and some grapefruit/pear/apple/plum/beet juice with a hint of ginger. I have to say, the beet, while unholy and dirt-like in taste, is not too bad in small amounts. It always lends an interesting color to things, (before and after digestion, I've found).

We had errands and appointments to meet that day, so we were out for a while. I was hoping the new pizza place would be open, because I'm hankering for some. It was still under pre-opening repairs, however, so we drove on. The only other pizza buffet option available is The Hut, but the wife has an aversion to it for some reason. It was always my favorite growing up, and I worked for one in college, so I have an affinity for it. Not her. Despite the fact that she always enjoys what we get whenever we visit one, she won't willingly go. So we wound up having lunch at crApplebee's. We got their never ending soup and salad, which was pretty nice. During our meal, as I shoveled another bacony bite of spinach salad into my gob, I said to her, "Can you believe that if we had stuck to the full 10 days, we would still have another full day after this? I'm so glad we quit."

And I think that might be at least an unspoken half-goal of doing a juice fast: showing yourself that no matter how good juicing can be for you, eating solid foods is pretty awesome. Even the spinachy ones. You develop a real appreciation for being able to eat real food again, so much so that I haven't yet had the overwhelming desire to just go nuts and buy those Quarter Pounders I'd promised myself. I think sticking to a generally healthy diet, accompanied by juice, during the week will be enough so I can take a free day on the weekend and enjoy some of the junkier things in life. This free day concept is a major part of Tim Ferriss's Slow Carb diet. It made that diet tolerable. Well, that and the glass of dry red wine he allowed each evening. I'm hoping I can still lose a little weight at it, because nothing would please me more than going to my next checkup, having Dr. Ralph ask me what I've done to lose weight and before he can even get the question out say, "Juicin'."

Friday, September 23, 2011

(Partially) Juicin' Juice: Day 8 of 10

Eight a.m. came like Christmas morning. The wife and I arose, dressed and headed to the car for our trip to the Shoney's Breakfast Buffet. She had already warned me this was a bad idea, because my stomach would not easily accommodate the usual amount of grub I eat there without cramping up and making me sick. And that was just the immediate effects. She predicted that I would see other effects later, in the poop closet. She said she spoke from experience, because her first session of salmon and veggies was met with such effects, and she'd only eaten half of it. I feared not, and marched confidently into Shoney's and had a seat. Other than ordering hot water and lemons instead of coffee, this was going to be a normal day.

I loaded up one plate of breakfasty goodness, staying clear of anything sugar-based. Basically just some scrambled eggs, a couple strips of bacon, some breakfast casserole, some dirty rice and a bowl of grits. I then got an additional salad bar plate with some melon, grapes and cherry tomatoes. I sat and ate my first bite of solid food in an entire week. It was not the bacon, as I've been dreaming, but instead one of the cherry tomatoes, just to be cheeky and to ape the actions of the guy who started all this, Joe Cross, who (SPOILERS) ate an apple as his first solid food in 60 days. The tomato was terrible. Not even ripe. I cast the uneaten half of it down and proceeded into the grits.

During the meal, the wife would pipe up every few minutes and ask how I was feeling. I felt fine. This is not to say, though, that the food didn't feel different as it landed in my stomach. It didn't feel bad, but something definitely felt different about it. Kind of like the extra sensitivity you can feel through your skin after you break your arm and finally get the cast off. I could feel the food filling up my belly. It felt odd, but not bad. Normally, I'm a two plate man at the breakfast buffet. I get all the stuff I want on the first trip, then head back for probably a half-plate worth of the stuff I really like, such as more bacon and breakfast casserole. However, as much as I like the idea of going back for more, I decided to just sit there and let things settle a bit and see what happened. If I was going to be seized with cramps, might as well not waste any food for the trouble. After a couple of minutes, though, I realized I felt fine, but also satisfied and didn't feel a need to return for any more. I'd had more than I normally eat for breakfast already.

And that was really the worst thing I ate for my first day back on solid food. Sure, I'd been having fantasies of hitting McDonalds or a pizza buffet all week, but it's that kind of eating that got me into the shape I'm in and while I'm on the way back down the scale, it'd be a good idea to keep tight limits on that sort of behavior.

For lunch I drank a glass of fruit and veg juice. I even enjoyed eating a few raw grapes as I fed their siblings into the hopper. And then for dinner, we had some chicken stew that the wife made using some of the other veggies we had on hand. Normally, I'm not as big a fan of soups where the veggie to meat ratio is skewed in the veggies' favor, but this was really good. It was nice to be able to taste the individual vegetables without it being a mixture.

But making daily juices is the way we plan to continue using our juicer--as a supplement to solid food and as an occasional quick meal replacement. My guess is that this will not only keep us healthier, but will further encourage weight loss.

As to the poop closet ramifications to returning to solid foods and loading up on greasy bacon as a first meal... yeah, there were some. Nothing too awful, though.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 7 of 7

Hey, welcome to day 7. Yep, that's day 7 of a 7 day juice fast. Boy howdy, it's a good thing we decided to do a 7 day juice fast instead of one of them 10 day juice fasts, cause... cause ten would have just been... um... stupid. Seven. Yessir, that's the magic number. Seven. Some people call it a week.


We awoke and lay in bed for a good while without speaking of food. I didn't want to bring it up, cause I was afraid the wife would say something like, "Well, I'm headed out for breakfast burritos. You're welcome to come if you like," which would force me into decision-time. Then again, part of me was also afraid that she wouldn't say it.

So we lay there, reading our books until our stomachs began to growl.

"I guess I better get up and drink some juice," she said. "My stomach's going nuts."

"Yeah," I said. "Me too."

I tried to drink another glass of the bright red beet concoction from yesterday afternoon, but it was horrifying. The wife mixed some of the remainder of her fruit-based juice that she'd liked from the day before into it and told me to try that. It was better, but arguably so. I got it down.

We sat in the living room, watching Doctor Who, while the wife looked for juice recipes online. Around lunch, the wife said she should get up and make something else. I told her that I should too, because I was having visions of french fries. She tried one of the recipes she'd found, which was supposed to be a cleansing juice. It contained half a grapefruit, half a beet, a quarter lemon, a handful of grapes and two apples. I was leery of anything involving beets, but it was delightful. One of the best juice combos I've tasted. Maybe the real trick to this is to stick to tried and true recipes rather than our more experimental efforts thus far.

Mid afternoon, the wife walked over to me as I sat in a low chair watching TV. She smiled, reached her hands out, took mine in hers and attempted to bring me to my feet in a kind of come-hither way.

"So..." she said with a coy smile. "Let's you and me... go get... those fries."

It was perhaps the sexiest thing she's ever said to me. But I still couldn't do it. I locked my knees. "No, don't make me go eat fries!" I cried.

"No, no," she said, hooking a foot under my knee to bend it. "Lift its little leg," she said.

"Nooooo. We can't, we can't," I said, rising to my feet, my stomach already growling at the prospect of fries. In that moment, I was weak and ready to give in.

"Well, at least let's just eat some stir fried veggies and leftover salmon," she said.

"But... but," I began. Then I considered this. If we were really going to stay home and not eat French fries, then I might as well just keep drinking juice. Veggies and salmon were healthy things to eat, but I'd not been on the diet for even a full week. I couldn't give in so quickly. At the very least I should do the full week, right? I argued this to the wife.

"So we're not going to eat any real food?" she asked.

I thought for a bit, weighed my heart's desire in the matter, then said the opposite. "No."

My wife began cursing the very name of juice. (Actual juice, not me.) She said she was tired of drinking it, she didn't want any of it, not even the good stuff. She needed some solid grub! And then, turning toward the kitchen, she announced. "I'm done."

I protested that I was not. I'd nearly made it a week and as much as I wanted to tuck into some salmon (or head for McDonalds) I just didn't want to do it until after I'd been on for the full week. Somehow the number was important. After all, most people who do a juice fast (except for stupid Joe Cross and his stupid 60 days) only do a five day cleanse. The majority of people don't make it to seven days, let alone ten. But if we could only make it to seven, that would at least be something. The wife then pointed out that it was already past lunch time, so I was only really talking about the difference of one meal and a few hours. This made sense to me. In particular, it made sense to my interior engines of rationalization, which had kicked into overdrive. But still I fought the urges to give in back and beat them about the face with a beer bottle... (Mmmm beer. Forgot about that stuff.) If I made it to at least seven total days, I could forever more say, "I went without solid food for a week." It doesn't sound nearly as good to say, "I went without solid food for six and a half days."

Temptation be damned, I was going to go the full week!

So while my wife cooked up some amazing smelling veggies and salmon into a stir fry, I feasted on a fruit juice combo and looked all surly about it. I wasn't mad at the wife for eating. I knew exactly how she felt and wanted to join in. But I was irritated at my own predicament. I didn't want any more juice, was determined to get through my week of no solid food, but still mad that I couldn't have what I really wanted, which was a cheeseburger and fries.

"Oh, don't be so cranky," the wife said, looking at my grimace of hunger.

We had to go to Wal-Mart a bit later on. I didn't trust myself to go close to the food section. Too many bags of Nutter Butters lurk in there. The wife seemed astounded we'd even made it to Wal-Mart, though. She thought I would just keep driving past it and head right to McDonalds.

"Don't think I haven't thought about making a midnight run there," I said.

We returned home whereupon the wife made for me the same kind of delightful citrus/apple/beet juice she'd made earlier. She had to add some extra grapefruit, though, cause it was too beety on first sip. If I never see a beet again it will be too soon.

I then sat for the rest of the evening, grumpy yet determined to get through it. I succeeded, but as I went to sleep my stomach was already growling with thoughts of Shoney's breakfast bar.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 6 of 10

The wife did indeed go back on her juice fast today. She took the leftover salmon and veggies she'd not finished back to work with her, just in case, but she also made a mass quantity of a very nice fruit-based juice this morning that had no yuck-factor.

Meanwhile, I was left with a cauldron of the less-than-nice juice's she made over the past couple of days, that I can't bring myself to pour out. I drank a glass of it for breakfast and it was pretty awful. At lunch, I tried again but only made it half way before accidentally pouring the rest of it into our countertop compost bin. At least the nutrients won't go entirely to waste.

I made a replacement juice that was pretty nice. However, the afternoon brought more thoughts of the sort of food I'd rather be eating. During a trip to Wally World, the smell of the chicken fingers at their deli was intoxicating. And it sucks that the veggie and fruit aisle is right there by the deli. I bought some of the standard juicing fruits and veg and then branched out into some beets and a couple of starfruit. I then went home and was determined to make another of my soup-like juices.

I juiced half a red pepper and then one of the beets. I've never liked beets. They taste like dirt. I've even given them second and third chances, but no matter if they're salted, peppered, wrapped and roasted on low heat for two hours, they still just taste like dirt. I tried the beet juice raw with a spoon. It didn't taste like dirt. It was earthy, by all means, but not dirty. Actually, the bright blood red stuff was very sweet. I didn't think it would work well in a savory juice, so I then added pear, grapefruit, celery and starfruit to the mix. When it was finished, it was the sweet equivalent of the nasty savory juice the wife had been unable to finish. I got a glass of it down, but almost regretted it. I put the rest in a container and stuck it in the fridge.

So pretty much the whole day was spent drinking nasty, unwise juice concoctions.

The wife came home and confessed that she'd eaten one tortilla chip with salsa at work that day. The whole office was doing chips and salsa, so she allowed herself the one. I told her that was fine, but that I would rat her out on the blog.

"Do you think we should just do a nine day fast?" she asked.

"Why?" I said. But even as I did, I could feel my heart warming to the idea, particularly after my day of shitty juice.

The wife's reasoning was that she would have to go back to work on Thursday, which would be Day 11 of this 10 day fast and thus the first day of solid food. What fun would it be to head back to work for three days and not be able to go out to dinner to celebrate. (I had wondered about that, myself, but had already planned to give myself a free day on Thursday and eat some of the things I've been craving regardless.) Plus, she said she was now well and truly sick of drinking juice, even the good stuff, and was ready to have an end of it. She knew we were perfectly capable of making it the full 10 days if we wanted to, but she didn't really want to anymore. She didn't want to stop drinking juice altogether, mind you, as it's been her goal in this to incorporate the stuff on a daily basis for nutrition's sake. She didn't want to pig out on junk; she'd be perfectly happy to eat stir fried veggies and salmon, as long as she could have some food. As much as I wanted to say, yeah, let's quit after six days, then wait for midnight and make a McDonald's run, I knew that as a team partner in this it was my job to try to keep us on track. Moments of weakness could be expected, but as much as we both wanted to have a rest from juice, I felt responsibility to stay on program and encourage her to as well. Plus I'd already started blogging about the whole thing (Damn my ever-typing fingers!) and felt a responsibility not to bail on it unless I had to.

I tried to be encouraging and point out that we'd already made it 6 days, what was four more? It was really like three days, if you thought about it hard enough. She wasn't buying it.

Meanwhile, my body was seized with a fit of itching like you wouldn't believe. I don't know that it's food-related, either, because it had been a while since I'd had any juice. Fortunately, the wife offered to scratch my back for me and that was bliss.

As we went to bed, it still seemed an open question as to whether or not we, or at least she, would remain on the fast come the morning. I had to admit, though, that the idea of waking up and heading to Shoney's was tantalizing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 5 of 10

This morning the wife made a fruity juice for breakfast, then took extra caution to try and make a better-tasting savory juice for her lunch and dinner gulps at work. As she ground each ingredient, she stuck a spoon under the flow to test each item to see which one might have infected her batch yesterday. It wasn't even a matter of testing for the initial taste of the juice, but instead the aftertaste. She still wasn't sure which one it was, but decided that the half runner beans I'd bought didn't taste good at all in juice form. I had a spoon of that, too, but it just tasted inoffensively like snow peas to me.

My own breakfast juice was different and tangy, for today I incorporated that old breakfast staple of grapefruit, along with pear, apple, mango, grapes and strawberries. The end result tasted like one ingredient too many (probably the mango), but was still good.

I went out to buy some celery in the day, which didn't make it into my cart on yesterday's grocery excursion. Celery contains an impressive amount of juice. I guess this makes up for the veggies we try that barely have any. It's so disappointing to feed two cups of spinach or some broccoli into the hopper only to have two drops of juice come out. We have acquired more skill at running the machine, learning to juice each item as slowly as we can to extract the most from it. However, some fruits are just over ripe to begin with and just explode when they hit the whirling blade disc, and their wet pulp just flies past the mesh screen and into the pulp container. Had some sprite melons do that this morning. Celery, though, juices like a charm.

While I was out, I happened to drive past several fast food places without incident, but when I hit the stretch nearing McDonalds my brain kicked in and I imagined how amazing it would be to order two Quarter Pounders and a truly large order of fries, no doubt forced from the fry cook's hands at gunpoint, cause that's about the only way McDonalds will treat you fairly on the fries here. (And speaking of McDonald's passing the cheap on to the customers, I don't normally eat two Quarter Pounders, but I've noticed recently that McDonald's Quarter Pounders have gotten quite a bit smaller than they used to be. They used to be a substantial sandwich, but now they're barely more than one of their standard cheeseburgers in size. Did the price shrink as well? I doubt it. Don't think this sort of food embezzlement is going unnoticed, Ron!) As soon as I had this lovely vision, my mouth began to water. And it was in that moment that I realized that I had the power to make that vision a reality if I wanted. I could eat four Quarter Pounders, if I so chose and would enjoy every bite. But at the same time, I wasn't so hungry or impulse driven that I would break my juice fast barely five days into it. I assure you, after my fast is over, those burgers and fries will be mine as a reward, but I'm still doing pretty good.

I did notice as I was nearing home, that I was feeling a bit mentally hazy. I've been expecting my brain, free from the ravages of caffeine, to snap into some sort of clarity, but at that moment I wasn't feeling it. I felt like having a nap, in fact. I didn't, but I felt like it.

Turns out I wasn't the only one feeling mentally down. Late in the afternoon, I texted the wife about something and her response was "Yeep…this juice is awedful….I am dying. Weak, can’t think… headache… can’t drin k it." I started to write her back to see if I needed to mix something else up to bring to her, but the phone rang first. She said she felt awful and her brain wasn't functioning right. She was forgetting to write prescriptions and couldn't remember which patient was in which room and generally screwing up her job.

"What do you want me to do?" I asked.

"Would you please bring me some stir-fried vegetables and some salmon?"

"Uh... really?"

"Yes. Really," she said. "I can go back on juice tomorrow, but I need food right now. I can't work like this."

"All right, then," I said. "See you when it's done."

So I went to the freezer and retrieved one of our precious frozen salmon filets, all Alaskany and everything, and fried that sucker up along with some zucchini, red peppers, broccoli and squash. And not tasting any of it, dammit. It was incredibly hard, because my favorite bits are the little bits of salmon that flake off and get all crispy in the bottom of the pan, and there was a really good looking one in there, too. I even started to pop it in my mouth, then forced my hand down. I completely understood and agreed with the wife's reasons for going off the diet, but as much as I wanted to, as much as I wanted to drop off her fish and head directly for my Quarter Pounders, I just didn't want break the fast. If you'd asked me on day one if I truly thought I'd make it through all 10, I would have told you that I wouldn't be at all surprised to only make it 5. Five seemed like a good and doable number. Now, on day 5, half way to the end point, I knew how much better I would feel if I didn't.

I put half the salmon and all of the veg in some Tupperware and ran it up to the wife and hung around while she ate some of it. She was afraid to eat too much, especially as rich as salmon is, for fear of hurling, but she said it was very good and kept offering me bites. I declined. Instead, I drank the rest of the juice that she couldn't stand. It didn't seem too bad to me. Not my favorite, but not the worst I've tasted, or even made myself. I took the remaining bottle of it home, intent on trying to doctor it. Instead, I just poured into it the remainder of my juice from lunch and the wife's evil juice from the night before, shook it up, poured myself a glass and took a big sip. It was definitely worse than the juice I tried earlier, but still not the worst. I finished the glass, then went and brushed my teeth, cause the aftertaste was not enjoyable. Sucks to be me, cause there's at least two more glasses in that container, the wife won't touch it and those veggies and fruits cost way too much to just pour it down the drain. We'll just have to learn to juice better next time.

The wife says she intends on getting back on the juicin' horse as of tonight. She just needed food for her brain today.

Still no headaches from caffeine loss. However, I have been especially itchy. I woke up last night itching and scratched until the itches were bumps. It was like having scabies or something. I wonder if there's something I'm juicing that my system isn't fond of, or if I just really do have scabies.

As if that wasn't a gross enough thought, I'm now at the end of day 5 of this thing and I've not stopped pooping yet. Evidently my wife's occasional claims that I'm full of shit have some merit to them after all.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 4 of 10

Thus far thus good.

Lost another pound or so and can feel my clothes fitting better. I have had a few more cravings for junk food today, particularly pizza and cereal, but they've not been too bad. I was even able to walk through both Kroger and Wal-Mart on a veggie run without straying too close to the beer and snack aisle.

Had to go out and pick up some ginger root for the wife, because I forgot to in my grocery run yesterday. For some reason beyond me, she loves the stuff and puts it into nearly every juice she makes. Usually, I only tolerate ginger in ale form and have learned that nothing turns me off of a juice quicker than its presence. The spicy hot sensations that make your jaw ache are somehow pleasurable to her, but not so much for me.

A veg we both can agree is of the devil and should not be juiced or otherwise consumed in any form is the common radish. Just ungodly, it is. We each tried some raw radish juice and decided it was terrible. The wife hoped it would be better when mixed with other things. It was not. In fact, it infects anything it touches with its radishness to the point that she poured a whole glass down the drain. Never again. To the compost heap they went.

However, while I was out buying ginger, I did find a few other veggies that seem pretty good so far. I tried a mix today of celery, tomato, greenish yellow chili pepper, onion, lemon, mustard greens, spinach, kale and parsnip. Not bad at all. However, I have reached the conclusion that what raw onion adds in flavor is not beneficial enough to outweigh the tremendous stank breath it gives you otherwise. I only used a little bit, so as not to repeat the horrendous onion incident of Day1. No more for me, thanks.

The day went well enough. I'm getting my hot liquids craving met with hot lemon water, which is good because part of this fast is drinking lots of fluids.

When the wife came home, she was starving. She had abandoned the juice she'd taken to work with her mid-afternoon, because one of the ingredients (we're not sure which one) was so awful that it befouled the whole thing and she could barely choke it down without throwing up. I tried a sip of what she brought home and agreed it was not nummy, though I wasn't immediately repulsed by it. She said that drug reps brought in pizza for lunch, which smelled really good. Her coworkers felt bad that she had to suffer in its presence, but offered to juice some up for her if that would help. Alas, no. Otherwise, I would have been pizza juicing two days ago, for I too have been Jonsing for several slices. We even have a new pizza buffet place that's about to open in town and it looks like it just might be ready in time for my reward day at the end of this fast.

I put the wife's vile juice in the fridge in hopes of finding a way to doctor it tomorrow. Fortunately for her, I still had half a glass of my fruity concoction left from breakfast, which I offered to her as a palette-cleanser. She said it was just what she needed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 3 of 10

Day three has been not bad at all. Still no headaches from caffeine withdrawal and the cravings have remained and a mostly objective level. And now I'm starting to feel results. I've lost between three and five pounds. (I'm not sure of the exact number because our scale has decided to be indecisive and just fluctuates in a three pound range. But it does it consistently, so I can see that the three pound range is getting lower.) Not bad.

On the caffeine front, I'm thinking that I might try to go a full month without it. It's an experiment I've wanted to try for a while, but have been afraid of the withdrawal headaches. Now that I seem to be beyond those, it would be interesting to see what life is like without caffeine for a while. I've probably not spent that amount of time without it since I was in elementary school, and probably not even then. But I've been coming to the conclusion that I might be a touch ADD. I have trouble sticking to a given task without leaping to some new shiny object task I think of, so nothing gets finished unless I have a deadline. I wonder if that's just naturally how my brain is, or if it's a symptom of caffeine intake. I figure, let's try a month without it, see how scattered I feel and proceed from there. I love coffee too much to give it up, but perhaps I can curtail my intake, switch to decaf, or start up on some Ritalin.

I also found out my piping hot soup idea is flawed. The wife noted that according to the literature it's no good to bring any veggie juice soup to anything near a boil because that kills off the vital enzymes in the juice that you're hoping to transport and cultivate in your gut. So it's okay to warm the soup, but not to actually bring it to a boil.

Today was her first day back at work. The juice she made last night got her through the day okay, although she said there was an enormous bag of powdered doughnuts being passed around the clinic that kept calling to her. Glad it wasn't me. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, powdered doughnuts are my one true weakness. My Achilles heal, if you will. (Actually, it's Nutter Butters, but little powdered doughnuts are almost as nummy.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 2 of 10

Day two was a little better. I awoke still feeling achy, but not headachy--so my caffeine withdrawal symptoms are still being mellow. However, the dreams of Shoney's Breakfast Buffet had not quite left my noggin.

The wife was off again, and as we were seated in our dew soggy chairs on the deck, drinking our respective morning breakfast juices, I asked if she truly thought we were going to make it the full 10 days. I'd been very optimistic about our chances last week, when I was still eating eggs and cashews and the marginally good zucchini browned pancakes I'd made from the pulp of a massive farmer's market zucchini. Now, barely a day into it, I was thinking my resolve wasn't going to last. She said she would be on for the full 10. More to the point, we would still be on for the full 10. I shrugged and took another sip of my fruity concoction. It was good, but not bacon good.

The funny thing is, though, there's something very filling about these juices. I do think that the concentration of nutrients is what does it, because they're not really thick like shakes. (Though you can achieve that to some degree with certain fruits and veg, like melon.) One minute I'm craving breakfast buffet and a little while after I finish my juice I'm suddenly able to see such cravable foods from an objective distance. It's like I know that stuff would be awesome, but I'm also content not to rush out and eat it immediately. And in these calmer states of stomach and mind, I can envision actually making it to the end.

By lunch time, though, I was jonesing for Mexican food again. I decided to keep quiet about it, though, least I be the guy who says "fajitas" or "super burrito" in front of the wife, setting off a chain reaction of craving in her that leads us to bolt for the car, pajamas be damned, and haul ass for the border. (And, fortunately for us, there are two good Mexican places on the way to Taco Bell, so we have yet to actually make it to the Bell.) I must have looked forlorn about it, though, because she said, "Stop thinking about it."

At dinner time, after she'd barely choked down a particularly foul mix of lord knows what, the wife announced, "I could murder some salmon, this big," holding out her hands bowling ball width.

"I know," I said.

"How can it be wrong?" she said pitifully.

When it came to my dinner juice, though, I decided I needed some soup. The juicer comes with several recipes for making soup bases and I thought I'd rather try something hot and savory than another cold glass of green stuff. I mixed tomatoes, celery, spinach, kale, a sweet pepper and a wedge of lemon together, then heated it on the stove. I added salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. It was amazing stuff! Very savory and satisfying and just what I wanted. The wife claimed from the other room that it smelled awful. Then she came into the kitchen and tried a sip and agreed it was really good. With soup at my disposal, suddenly 10 days didn't seem so much of a stretch.

We had an odd thing happen in the evening. The wife was in the kitchen, making enough juice to carry to work, I was in the living room playing Little Big Planet online with my godson, when suddenly there was a tremendous clang in the kitchen.

"Are you okay?" I called.

"Yes. But this pot just jumped off the EFFing counter at me."

I was confused as to what she meant, so I went into the kitchen to see my soup pot lying on the floor. The wife had been standing at the little counter beside the refrigerator, where the juicer lives. The pot had been resting on top of the counter along the opposite wall, behind her. Yet somehow it had come off of the counter and crashed to the floor. The wife seemed a little freaked out by this, because there was no apparent way for that to have happened. The counter the pot had been on isn't even attached to the one with the juicer on it, so vibrations shouldn't have been the cause, though I can't rule them out.

"Here's the culprit," I said, petting D.J. Kitty on the head, where he was sitting on a completely different countertop.

"No," she said. "He was right there the whole time."

Oooooeeeeeeooooooh. Maybe poltergeists are attracted to kale. Or maybe this influx of nutrition has given us telekinetic abilities, a la Brandon Routh's vegan warrior in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Oh shit.

Technically... I'm on a vegan diet.

Does this mean I have to stop making fun of them?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 1 of 10

Day one of the 10 day juice fast was not as easy as I had anticipated.

Like I said, I'd been doing my own juicing experiments over the past couple of weeks, and had even done some juicing with the new juicer before and after we returned from the beach. (Let me just say, for the sake of anyone near you for a 12 hour period, I advise juicing onion only with extreme caution in small amounts. The day before the fast, I juiced half of a medium onion and then could barely stay in the same room with myself for the rest of the day due to the variety of fumes escaping my person. It was awful.) However, on each of my days of early juice experiment, I also ate solid food to some degree; mostly eggs in the morning for protein, and some cashews and almonds in the afternoon when I wanted something crunchy. This fast was going to be juice only. For 10 days.

Now, even the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead juicing website ( doesn't advocate a 60 day juice fast by any means, and doesn't even offer a 10 day juice fast program that's juice only. Their three programs have whole fruits and veggies involved to varying degrees. The most extreme program they advise is one where you do five days of juices and whole fruits & veg, then five days of juice only and then five more of juice with whole fruits and veg. I was all for doing one of those, because it offered opportunity for snacking on veggies and nuts when you get hungry. But the wife has insisted that she's doing a 10 day juice only fast, so I would be as well. Fine.

My major concern was the lack of caffeine. See, I'm a caffeine addict, which I know because when I go without it for more than 24 hours I start to get headaches. Even if I only have a single cup, that's enough to tide me over. But going on a proper juice fast means abstaining from caffeine and alcohol, drinking only water and juice. So that's what I was going to do. I'd been dialing back on my caffeine intake in the days approaching the fast, and was down to one scoop of real with three of decaf for my morning coffee the day before the fast. Still, I was pretty sure that some time in the afternoon on day one of the fast, I was going to get a caffeine headache that would turn me surly. Didn't happen, though. In fact the only result from cutting back on my caffeine from the day before that I noticed was that I had a really good nights sleep.

We chose today to start because the wife had a couple of days off in a row and wanted to ramp into it to have a non-work environment in which to go through any ill effects at the start. In preparation, I'd already been to Sam's Club for mass quantities of veggies and fruit, and then hit up the local farmer's market for even more produce on the cheap. ("Those tomatoes look awesome. I'll have all of them, please.")

Breakfast for day 1 was a mix of fruit juices, including apple, plum, pear, orange and grapes. Seemed tasty and filling and not unlike the breakfasts I'd made for the past couple of days, minus the eggs. I thought my head would likely start aching mid-morning, but it didn't.

Lunch was a mix of veg and fruit, with kale, swiss chard, tomato, celery, carrot, spinach and pear. Really, when it comes to the veggie mixes, my goal is to create something that resembles V8 juice, because I love it. So far, I've not quite reached that goal, but I have made some tasty juices all the same.

While my head never began to ache from caffeine withdrawal, the rest of me did. The early stages of a juice fast are, from what I've read, the worst with lots of muscle aches and potential for some gastro fun. I had a good bit of both. You'd think eating lots of veg would really keep things moving through the gut, but that has not been my experience. I guess the disconnect is that I'm consuming most of the juice but none of the fiber.

My major trouble of the day was that my brain was constantly sending signals to my body to go to the kitchen and find something solid to snack on. And if we'd been following any of the reboot programs I would have been able to eat cashews and almonds, which was what I wanted to snack on in the first place. But when I didn't give in, my brain began floating images of fajitas at our favorite Mexican place. And when that didn't work, it floated a big image of Shoney's breakfast buffet with a lingering shot on the trough of bacon. And forget watching television, because our favorite channel is the Food Network. Even watching documentaries proved iffy, too, because I had to turn off the doc about the Appalachian Trail I was watching when they featured one of the trail stations that served hamburgers and showed lingering shots of them being fried. Sonofabitch, how did Joe Cross manage 60 days of this?! It was maddening!

So, end of day 1 I have survived, but can't clearly see how I'm going to make it the full 10. I felt so burned out on juice by 8 p.m. that when the wife fired up a brew heavy on kale and Swiss chard, the smell alone sickened me and I decided I was definitely not having any more of them. At least not the chard, which comes out VERY grassy tasting.

They say the first day is the worst, though.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Juicin' Juice: The Prologue

Long time readers of this blog and its predecessor, Tales from the "Liberry", are probably used to seeing ol' Uncle Juice try out a number of dietary lifestyles. Hey, here's another.

While my cholesterol and blood pressure are firmly under control, thanks in part to Crestor and laying off the bacon, my weight hasn't significantly diminished. My doctor, Dr. Ralph, makes this his chief complaint each time I go in for a checkup. And when I first started having my cholesterol issues, Dr. Ralph was bigger than me. But he himself has been on a health kick for the past few months and has dropped 30 pounds, so I have no ground to point any fingers. In my defense, all of the programs I have tried (low carb, MediFast, Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Body, Mediterranean diet--eh, well not so much the last one, as I didn't actually stick to any kind of formal plan and ate Ben & Jerry's with abandon because I was pretty sure Mediterranean people would like it, too) have worked and I have lost weight. It's just the whole gaining weight back once you go off it thing. Well, that and working as a script consultant for a 3 week summer writing camp for kids back in July, where we were basically fed three meals a day of Chik-Fil-A. And 4 Hour Body, which I found to be the most enjoyable of the programs, didn't shed pounds as swiftly as it claimed.

During our recent Netflix documentary kick recently, one of the docs we saw and enjoyed was called FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD. It's the story of an Australian businessman named Joe Cross who suffered from uticaria, or chronic hives. He'd been treated for nine years with no improvement. He was overweight, enjoyed food and drink to excess, but had began to suspect that his diet, with its high fat and processed content, might be the ultimate cause of his illness. So with doctor supervision he went on a 60 day juice fast in which he forwent solid foods altogether and used a juicing machine to extract the juices from an enormous pile of fruits and veggies and mixed that up to drink, three meals a day. The theory on this was that by juicing the veggies rather than eating them whole (which would have been a chore considering the size of the pile he had), he was retaining all the nutrients within the juice of the veggies because none of them could be lost in the cooking process. This supercharge of nutrients, in theory, would allow him to get his daily nutrition without his body having to pull those nutrients out of digesting food, giving his digestive system a rest from the processed foods and give his excretory system time to divest his body of built up toxins. Joe also theorized that by allowing his digestive system to have a bit of a rest, his body's healing systems would have added fuel and nutrients to get to work on wiping out his illness. And he filmed that 60 day fast, which became the first half of the documentary. And (spoiler alert) he lost 82 pounds and his uticaria cleared right up. There's more to the documentary than that, of course, as Joe's story was only half of the tale and the rest is quite compelling. I recommend viewing the whole thing and it's streaming on Netflix if you care to.

But after watching that documentary and the pretty astounding results it depicted, the wife and I decided we'd like to at least give it a short term try. We knew we weren't up for a 60 day juice fast ourselves, but a shorter term 5 or 10 day cleanse (reboot) seemed doable. After all, Joe Cross was not advocating an all juice diet as a way of life; he was merely saying it's helpful to reboot your system once in a while using such a plan, get your body into a more optimum health and then proceed with real food, eating healthier and incorporating juice into the diet as a supplement. He eats and drinks what he wants to these days, but in moderation. And this philosophy is nothing new. Guys like Jack LaLane had been juicing and selling juicers since the 60s.

So we ordered a Breville juicer, cause no one around here sold any that were rated particularly well. While we waited for it to arrive, I began to try out the juicing possibilities by using our blender to blend up veggies, which I then strained through a sieve. The results weren't always tasty, but were pretty darn filling. And sometimes they were tasty.

The juicer finally arrived, but we had a 6 day trip to the in-laws ahead of us in which my mother-in-law promised me biscuits and gravy, so we waited and stuffed our faces with loads of fried things in the interim. (Hey, ya have to build up the toxins first in order to have something to remove.)

I had a couple of days to play with the juicer when we returned from the in-laws. It's pretty sweet. Breville makes a sincerely well constructed machine. There's nothing flimsy or half-assed about this thing. I'm pretty sure it could take a bullet. Or at least juice one. And cleanup for the unit is pretty quick, which is important, cause it makes a contained mess. Juicing veggies and fruit produces quite a bit of pulp, so with two of us juicing our composter is going to be running on overdrive and the farmers at the farmer's market happy to see us coming.

A 10 day juice fast will likely not have radical results for us, but I expect we'll lose a few pounds and have at hand a device that will help us continue to grow more healthy. Will I ever do a 60 day fast? At this point, I'm saying no EFFing way. But can I go off solid food, not to mention coffee for 10 days? I think so. At least the juice part. I'm not sure I can give up the coffee.

Tomorrow, our 10 day juice fast begins.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Birthday Vengeance!

Ohhh McDonald's, you poor deluded purveyor of tasty things that will fill my arteries and ultimately destroy me. You chose to EFF me on my fries in your drive thru on the wrong day, my friend. For today, you see, is my birthday. And on my birthday, above all other days, I desire to eat a large order of fries and will broker no hindrances to this goal.

"Excuse me," I said, holding out the large fry box containing a medium amount of fries that barely reached the box's lower edge. "Could I please have a LARGE order of fries?"

The drive thru lady looked at the box then shook her head, seemingly in amazement at the bass-plated balls the fry crew must have possessed even to attempt to fill so tiny an amount. She then carried the box away and returned a few seconds later with a HUGE HONKING extra large order.

Happy birthday to me.