New Lifestyle

A month ago I posted about doing a ten-day raw food detox.  It was about as difficult as expected.  The first four days were extremely tough, but it got easier from there.  By day seven I was getting very sick of the food prep but not the food itself.  Days eight through ten were almost as mentally excruciating as the first four.  But we did it!  And my body became healthier for it.  All in all, I would highly recommend this detox from the book “Detox for the Rest of Us.”  The one major complaint I have is that each meal is extremely specific and the book doesn’t explain why.  I wish I knew why the meal plan had us eating specific foods on specific days and if my taste buds wished for a substitution, what could I use?  Why an orange instead of a lemon?  Why red bell pepper instead of yellow?  What if I don’t like sesame seeds?  Because they were in some form in damn near every dish.  I’d like to know the bodily benefits of each ingredient.  But regardless some less than informative details, the cleanse did its job.

Since the completion of the cleanse, I’ve actually kept up with a great deal of the raw lifestyle.  Part of the cleanse included the elimination of coffee (and basically all caffeine) from my diet.  A month later I’m still essentially caffeine and coffee free.  I say essentially because some of the herbal tea I drink has a little caffeine in it.  And occasionally I’ll break and have a decaf coffee.  I’m also allowing myself one cheat soy latte every Friday night for Craft Night.  Where giving up caffeine cold turkey was a mother fucker, I have to say I’m loving the caffeine free lifestyle.  I’m sleeping better, I’m less jittery and anxious, and I’m much more alert in the mornings.  It no longer takes me two hours of grumpy grunting and gallons of coffee to get me functioning first thing in the morning.

My new morning routine is fixing up a 32oz smoothie.  That’s my breakfast along with some gluten free cereal or granola if I’m still a little hungry after the smoothie.  But generally I’m not.  My smoothie is different every morning.  I use 3-5 fruits plus some leafy greens (usually spinach or kale), pure pumpkin, almond milk, coconut, cinnamon, hemp protein, pressed juices, almond butter, ground flax seed… etc.  I just play “mad scientist” every morning and make sure all of the essentials are represented.

My lunch every day is raw.  I’m still putting salads, fruits, and dinner inspired raw dishes together the night before so that I have a good meal every day at lunch.  Before the cleanse I skipped lunch a lot.  Mostly because I don’t have anywhere healthy around my office to grab food.  It’s pretty much all drive-thrus and processed God-knows-what.  Those things make me sick.  So I used to opt out of eating at all if I was rushed and didn’t bring food with me to work.  Or sometimes I’d just be so into my work I wouldn’t stop to eat a full meal.  I’d have a granola bar and a banana.  By dinner time I was ready to consume an entire village and their pet elephants.  NOT a healthy way to eat.  But now?  Now I have truckloads of food with me every day.  And it’s good food.  Good for me and tastes amazing.  But most importantly I don’t feel sick during/after eating.  I’m becoming less and less afraid of food and that’s amazing for me.  When you suffer from chronic nausea, food is pretty much your mortal enemy and every meal is a mental struggle.  But not when I eat raw.

Click image for larger, easier to read view.

When it comes to dinner, I just make sure it’s clean and healthy.  I’m not eating all raw at dinner because Rhonda is not keeping up with the all raw diet, and that’s a tough thing to do: preparing two separate meals in a two person household.  Plus, I know my limits.  Where I very much enjoy this raw diet, I know it’s unrealistic for me to think this is all I could eat for the rest of my life.  If I eat meat it’s generally chicken white meat, lean turkey, or fish (or tofu as substitute).  I’ll eat cooked vegetables.  I’ll eat starches. I eat dairy, but now I try to stick to vegan cheeses.  My big goals in the evenings are eating lots more vegetables than meat, keeping my grains as gluten free as possible, and cooking everything without processed spices or sauces.

It’s only been a month, but I’m seeing some incredible progress in my health.  And I know it’s going to keep improving.  I’m sleeping better.  I have more energy.  I’m less worn down and exhausted from fighting my body all day (because I’m not having to as much).  My skin is getting clearer and cleaner looking.  My digestive system is happier.  And I’m not under weight, nor am I struggling to maintain a healthy weight.  Eating this way keeps me there.  The results are pretty incredible.  So much that it makes me wonder why it took me so long to get to this point.

Because Ultimately I Just Like to Torture Myself

It’s not news that my health is pure crap.  I have Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Pelvic Wall Dysfunction (domino effect to SI Joint Syndrome, Piriformis Syndrome, and Sciatica), IBS, Migraines, and an overall immune system of a goldfish.  I’m constantly juggling ways to help my body better function so that I may have some semblance of a normal life.  My brain calculates basic human functions as if each day were the most intense chess game of my life.  Every move counts.  Every ounce of sleep.  Every bite of food I take.  Every activity from watching paint dry to playing in a softball tournament.  I have to prepare my body for everything I do, or my body crashes and I end up either bed ridden or in a hospital.

I digress.

In the name of perhaps working myself ahead of my body, attempting to eliminate symptoms over living a life of constantly treating them, I set the proverbial ball rolling on a ten-day Raw Food Detox.  Rhonda was totally on board from the get-go and in a fit of momentary insanity, our dear friend, Becky jumped on the bandwagon.  We are currently on day two, which means all we can think about is eating deep fried cheeseburgers wrapped in pizza and dipped in peanut butter.

Going into this I knew the first few days would be extremely tough.  I’m actually eating more food during the day than what I’m used to, but the design of the what and when I’m eating is boosting my metabolism (as well as, eh-hem, cleansing my system).  So I pretty much think I’m perpetually dying of starvation.  Dramatic?  Absolutely.  But I also gave up coffee/caffeine cold turkey, and whoa buddy the withdrawals!  Last night I had a dream about that old coffee commercial starring that Columbian guy and his coffee bean toting donkey… you know what I’m talking about, right?  I’m pretty sure dream me tried to ride off into the sunset with that donkey.  Which is beyond ideal because then I’d have a pet donkey and two baskets full of raw caffeine.

Where was I?  …Right! Detox!

I know if I stick with it it will get better.  Even day two is easier than day one.  And each day, more food is added to the meal plan.  I can absolutely do this.  And the food IS truly enjoyable.  I love everything we’re eating and I’m already experiencing some interesting results as well as noticing some changes in my body’s functionality.  I’m growing more hopeful with each meal that this process will teach me so much more about how to manage my body, and how to get it feeling better on a more consecutive and long term basis.  I just need to get through this first handful of days.

Ugh… I’d kill for a mother fucking BLT right now.

*If you’re interested: The plan we’re following is Chapter 3 of the book “Detox for the Rest of Us.”

When I figured out I only consumed 1,266 calories a couple days ago I freaked so now this is happening. I’m dragging you all down with me.

Because of ongoing health issues, I’m constantly focused on food: How much of what kinds of foods I’m putting in my body, and is it enough?  I’ve realized that though I may eat a huge serving of food and feel so incredibly full that surely another bite would have me exploding all over the walls Monty Python style, I’m still not getting a healthy calorie intake.  I eat foods that are so lean that I need truck loads more of them to gain any weight.

I’m desperately trying to gain weight.  It’s harder than it seems.  I could eat all the fried chicken and cupcakes you want to serve me, but I actually end up losing weight eating straight crap like that because of how sick it makes me.  Besides, I need healthy calories and fats, not grease and sugar.

In an attempt to better keep track of what I’m eating and subsequently my calorie intake, I’ve turned into that guy who photographs everything they ingest with their smart phone before eating.  At least I’m not posting every one of those photos on Instagram while flashing a fingerstache.

Instead I’m posting them here!  Sans fingerstache.  You’re welcome!

Turkey bacon and Kale with peanut sauce.
Steamed squash, zucchini, carrots, and green peas.
Fresh pineapple and raspberries.
Vegetable (wheat) pasta, turkey meatballs with zucchini and mushrooms (baked), tomato sauce, and a handful of raw mushrooms.
Potato rosemary bread, fresh mozzarella slices, and “all berry” jam.
Frozen yogurt with strawberries, pineapple, cherries, Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch.
And of course, more soy lattes than I can count.

Yup… this is what my life has come to.  Calorie counting photos of my food.  ABSOLUTELY THRILLING, isn’t it?  Yeah, I don’t really think so either.