Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Are You Grateful For?

Today's word for me is gratitude.  I feel immensely blessed to be where I am in my life.  Not everything is perfect by any means, I could gripe about plenty but in this moment, I am truly grateful.  For what you may ask?  Well, Becca, my friends, my amazing family, kale, Animal Acres, sunshine and my easy-going boss that lets me take off for interviews when I need to.  Thank you from the bottom of my soul today.

Oh what else am I grateful for?  Cafe Gratitude! Becca and I went there last night and decided to try to keep our meals mostly raw as that is my new attempt in life.  Let me just say YUM.  We did order a cooked appetizer but hey we made strides :)  So here is my review of yum.

First we started with the I Am Vibrant which is sauteed greens and pumpkin seeds.  This was seriously so delicious.  The sourness of the vinegary sauce, the crunch of the seeds and the straight-up delishness of the greens made this a stand out dish.

Next up we ordered entrees.  I went with the I Am Complete, which was almond hummus, olive tapenade, live falafel, a buckwheat cracker and a side salad with a creamy mint dressing.  I was skeptical about all of this since it's raw but it all turned really well.  The buckwheat cracker especially was fantastic, which surprised me because I thought it would be dry and gross.  My only issue was with the amount of dressing on my side salad.  It was a little much.

 Becca chose the I Am Hearty.  It's a live onion crust with cashew cheese, marinara, pesto,  and tapenade.  They top it with brazil nut parmesan and basil.  This was very much the winner for the evening, although it was a bit small.  We wished there were two on the plate!  Nevertheless, this is definitely something to try, especially if you're a newbie to eating raw.

Cafe Gratitude rocks my socks.  For serious.  I can't wait to go back there!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture

Ok, so tonight is supposedly the beginning of the end.  The Rapture is supposed to take place I hear around 11 pm PST or possibly 6 pm tomorrow.  I'm a little bit hazy on the details.  Honestly all this talk freaks me out.  I mean, what if we all made fun of it and suddenly all these people started disappearing and ascending?  It reminds me of a Stephen King novel and he scares the shit out of me (except when he guest writes for EW).  So I decided that maybe I should write a blog post about my thoughts if this is really the end, and a reminder of what I want if it's not.

First of all, I love Becca very much and miss her while she's having her bachelor party in NYC.  I wish she was beside me.  Secondly, if this is really the end, I'm bummed because I just got into a new spiritual practice.  I am a lapsed Catholic.  Or rather my parents sent me to Catholic school as a child and rebelled as quickly as humanely possible, but those notions were still drilled into my head.  Now I've started meditating and practicing yoga.  It feels so good and slowly but surely I believe that I am freeing up some energy.  I've been writing again!  That excites me because it's been awhile and I would like to take advantage of the creativity.  I believe that it is true that what you think becomes you.  One of my mantras is that I am open to all creativity and here it is.

What else? What else?  I guess I love my family and hope that should this really be the end, well I'm glad that I'm vegan and hope to carry my compassion even further because this is all silly and the world is not ending.  Love to all!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Red Thai Tofu and Butternut Squash Coconut Rice

So another sterling victory for Isa's Appetite For Reduction!  If you haven't picked up a copy, do yourself a favor and do it NOW!!!!  I don't get paid to endorse anything (though should vegan companies feel like giving me freebies, I'm more than happy to oblige :P) but this has to be one of the best cookbooks I've found yet.  Not only are the recipes delicious, but they're manageable even for little ol' me AND nothing is over 400 calories.  It also helps you out with portion control.

Last night I decided to make the Butternut Squash Coconut Rice.  I had roasted a 2 pound squash a couple nights ago in anticipation of making this recipe.  I know that Becca loves butternut squash so I thought this might be  fun way to incorporate it.  Her trainer recommended that she only have non-processed, veggie-based meals at dinner.  Of course, I've been saying the same thing for eons.  Funny how she only listens to Constance!  Because I wasn't sure if the rice would be filling enough, I decided to tackle the Red Thai Tofu as well.  Becca isn't a fan of spice so I thought this may be a dish only for moi.  However, she ended up loving it as well!

The two dishes were different in flavor and yet complimented each other very nicely.  I was uber proud. We both fought over the left-overs this morning while I tried to make them as even as possible.

In other news, I started my morning with five minutes of meditation, or at least I tried. I realize it is a lot more difficult when I have two cats bellowing that they would like to be fed. The alternative of course being the ting ting of their collars hitting their food bowls while they eat.  Do other people have indoor pets and still meditate?  How do you find inner stillness?  I'm debating shutting them both up in the bathroom for my five minutes, although I suspect that will only lead to scratching and howling instead.  Maybe I will attempt to go out on the balcony instead.  Who said meditation was easy right?

I also dry brushed my skin this morning.  I've been reading about the importance of dry brushing in increasing circulation, working the lymph system and for all the haters out there, helping get rid of the appearance of cellulite.  I won't lie, I have plenty of dimples I would love have disappear so I'm going to try dry brushing every morning in order to help with all that.

Then I had my Hour of Power work out downstairs, though it may have been more like 40 minutes of power when all was said and done.  However, it was nice to sweat a little and get my heart rate up. I intend to take a 2 mile walk at lunch.  I have to get this full feeling out of me. It's not bloating really, just a feeling that I'm always full.  I may have overeaten last night but for serious, how do I empty myself? I had a BM this morning and I thought that would cure it but alas, still full-bellied over here.  I did make myself a green smoothie with cucumber, broccoli rabe, kale, carrot, almonds, spirulina, banana and some strawberries.  It was...interesting.  The consistency was a little thick and Becca wasn't a huge fan but I know that I have some valuable veggie and fruit servings all without engaging my digestion too much. Yay for the future!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brussel Sprout Hash and Curried Tofu with Wilted Spinach

I just have to talk about my dinner (and leftovers lunch) last night.  It was AMAZING.  The picture here does not do it justice.

I really loved this so very much that I may have overstuffed myself (twice)!  I got the recipes from Appetite For Reduction.  The first is the Brussel Sprout Hash, which is basically potato and brussel sprouts seasoned to loveliness.  I wish that I had a proper lid for my skillet. I think the results would have been even better but for serious, this was delish.  I also modified the Scrambled Curry Tofu with Wilted Arugula, mostly because I only had spinach.  This also turned out magnificently.  I even felt like a proper cook weighing out and chopping ingredients beforehand so when it came time to mix, everything was in its own glass bowl just waiting. I also (somehow) managed to have both recipes come out at the exact same time!  It was a fantastic night for cooking.

If you're interested in more recipes like this, check out the Post Punk Kitchen.  It is full of fantastic advice and recipes about veganism.  Isa Chandra Moskowitz totally rocks my world.  Tonight I'm going to yoga and will not be cooking, but I already roasted some butternut squash and have EVERY intention of making her creamy Coconut Butternut Squash Rice.  Here's to another beautiful day in La La Land.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 7

So my detox is winding down now that I've started breaking it.  The breaking of the detox is a tad confusing because it doesn't really specify which of the drinks I still drink and how often. I've tried to stay pretty well balanced.  I had juice this morning. Two hours later I drank the protein so that I gave my body a chance to digest the juice.  I drank my Essential Greens and tea.

At lunch I went to Whole Foods to major grocery shop, or as major as I could do with two small reusable bags and just my legs to carry me the two miles. I didn't want it to be too heavy or I would never be able to get back.  While there I decided to make myself a salad.  Here's the thing, if you know me, you know I'm not much of a salad girl.  Before my vegan days, the only way I'd eat salad was with bacon in it.  As a vegan, I do like the O.C. Raw Chopper at Native Foods, but that's on a limited basis.  (Oh if you're at Native Foods and it's on the menu, the seasonal Buffalo Seitan salad is also kinda amazing.)  However as far as a build-your-own, I'm usually blah about it.

Today I added a little of all the lettuce options: mixed greens, spinach, romaine and raw kale. Then I added some grated carrot, cucumber, black olives, celery, garbonzo beans, jalapenos and beets. I topped it off with Follow Your Heart Ginger Miso dressing, which turned out to be quite excellent.  So here's the amazing part. When I sat down to eat my salad, I was shocked by how delicious it all seemed. Perhaps it was the extremely satiating ability to chew food but I truly enjoyed every flavor my salad offered.  The textures, smell and tastes were divine.  It really makes me wonder how bent out of shape my tastebuds must have been from eating nothing but processed foods.  I mean, I will not hate on Veggie Grill or Gardein because they are both amazing, but they should be treats rather than the norm as they had become in my house.  I look forward to to making more meals at home and keeping my life as fresh (and raw) as possible.

Tonight I'm taking a page from Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I'm going to make Brussel Sprout Potato Hash and a simple Tofu Scramble.  Becca's personal trainer has recommended no processed foods after lunch so she is pushing me for more plant-based meals at dinner. I'm more than happy to do this for her, although it does add pressure on me to make sure that I always have a meal up my sleeve!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 6

Day 6! I can't believe it.  So rather than continuing my detox and drinking the protein drink, I decided to start to break the detox.  Five days was a good amount of time for me, though I look forward to trying this again in the near future, most likely before my wedding.

What I ate: I started my day with the berry drink and then my vanilla protein drink.  I went to yoga class at the Heartbeat House, which I loved soooo much. I haven't tried Kundalni Yoga before.  It was fantastic. I love the chanting and singing. Though the moves seem relatively simple (stuff like rock pose, frog pose, etc), it really did get my heart rate up and had some muscles trembling with exertion. I look forward to attending this class on a regular basis. I literally felt my head and hands tingling during the exercises.  It was great.

In the afternoon, Becca and I went to The Gentle Barn.  I must say that I prefer Animal Acres because it feels much more like a sanctuary than a business. The Gentle Barn seemed to have some lackadaisical animals that were motivated more by food than love and attention, although the cows were fantastic.

I stayed mostly on schedule with my Green Drink and VegeSplash.  Becca and I went to Real Raw Live for lunch.  I was ready to try my hand at solid food and figured a raw food restaurant would be perfect. I got a tofu pesto wrap and Becca got the chicken parm wrap.  First of all, the service was horrific.  Becca and I waited about 20 minutes in line just to pay. The women behind the counter were rude and unfriendly, especially when we said that we didn't want a smoothie as well.  Also, their credit card machine was down so we had to do it old school where they took an impression of our cards.  When Becca asked for a receipt, the girl said, "Abso-fucking-lutely."  Just not proper way to talk to paying customers. When we got home, I realized that the wrap was not raw at all as I previously thought it would be.  I thought the "bread" was dehydrated zucchini or something along those lines but nope, regular tortilla.  They also don't make the food in house it turns out.  Instead they ship it in from San Diego. So much for that place.  I will never return.

The food almost instantly made me sick, I think because of the tortilla so I put it in the fridge for some other day.  Instead I just drank my VegeSplash instead.

For dinner I made a quick steamed stirfry made of collards, celery, carrots, green beans and garlic.  I didn't use any oil because I was afraid it would hurt my tummy.  I ate about a cup and felt even hungrier than I did when I started eating.  It's the first time in about 48 hours that I've felt hunger pangs so obviously I restarted my digestion.

Tomorrow I plan to eat a salad for lunch. I will probably go to Native Foods and get the dressing on the side in order to make sure I don't eat much of it.  I don't know what my stomach can or can't take at this point.  I also plan to make some hummus (I roasted garlic on a whim last night!) tomorrow night and possible start cooking some beans.  I have been craving them for days now.

All in all, I think my stomach is a little sensitive so I want to be kind to it.  I don't want to immediately put the wrong food into my body.  I have lost 5 pounds and intend to keep it off while continuing to lose for my wedding. I am going to be one hot ass bride!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 5

Ok, so today will be my final day of the detox.  I woke up this morning worse than ever before. My head was killing me, my stomach was upset.  I decided to stop taking the Inner Cleanse because lots of people have trouble with it.  However, I still vomited up my juice and could do nothing more than go to sleep.  I walked downstairs to work out but just going down two flights of stairs made my heart pound like I'd run a marathon.  I thought I would faint. I think that this detox is no longer safe for me to continue.  Plus, Becca just about force fed me out of sheer worry.

So I had a protein shake this morning. I chose vanilla and it was actually pretty good.  Otherwise I stayed mostly on track. I could barely get through the soup though. It made me nauseous to even smell it.  So I ate some but not all.

I am disappointed that I didn't make it the full 7 days, but my body obviously wanted something very different.  Annemarie Colbin says that it's dangerous for people to push their bodies just to stay on track so I'm taking that advice to heart.  She says that you should always ask your body, "Is this OK or not OK."  This morning I knew that it was NOT OK. So I leave my detox with a mild sense of regret at my failure but knowing that I did well for the 5 days I've stayed on track.  I will still break my detox properly with raw veggies tomorrow and slowly moving up to beans and rice, which is all that I've wanted since I started this detox.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 4

So I won't lie.  This morning was a bit rough on me.  First of all, I didn't get up early as planned to have my Hour of Power as Tony Robbins calls it.  And by that I mean I work out for 30 - 60 mins while expressing gratitude, picturing life as I wish it looked and having a mantra.  My mantra goes something like this, "Every day and every way my ass is getting smaller" or "Every day and every way I am getting more successful."  Instead I slept in as late as possible. In fact, I can't seem to get enough sleep.  Maybe it's catching up on my sleep debt or I'm being lazy, not totally sure.  What I do know is that I'm having bizarre dreams, this time I was living in Sex In The City and I think I was Samantha.  That's not totally the weird point though.  What is strange is that for the last two nights, I have been able to wake up then go back to sleep and resume my dreams!  This has not happened to me before.  I don't know if this is because my body is cleaning itself or my mind is reaching some place of lucidity.

I knew going into this cleanse that it's possible to evoke some long-stored emotions and boy did they come up this morning. I woke up so lethargic that I could barely drag myself into my shower.  I had to tell myself that I am grateful for this day, this body, this life.  But I'm sorry if my brain refused to believe it.  Instead all I could think was that I was a failure. I would fail.  There was no way I could ever finish this cleanse and I would have to tell my friends, family and the blogosphere (is there anyone out there?) that I didn't succeed.  But the thing is I haven't failed at all. I've stayed on my regimen every day so where were those feelings welling from?  Well, they were accompanied by the strongest desire to eat pasta, lots and lots of pasta, particularly from a restaurant called Goodfellas on Melrose.  Now I've maybe eaten there twice but realized that the first time was with my ex-boyfriend Derek when we were 18 and drove to LA on a whim.  We were broken up at the time but he desperately wanted to get back together and I was considering it even though I knew we weren't right together and the relationship would fail.  Could it be that I stored those feelings of failure and doubt along with the sensory memory of pasta?  That I finally released it out of my fat cells and dumped it into my bloodstream?

So my muscles ached and I also had a stuffy nose.  This lasted through most of my morning, especially when my stomach started growling at 11:45 am and I almost threw in the towel and ate some Lays potato chips, which are all over my office.  But alas, I sipped my tea and something miraculous happened.  Levity hit and I felt an overwhelming wave of OK.  By that I mean, I suddenly felt like everything was alright with the world.  Or as Elizabeth Gilbert would say in Eat, Pray,  Love: "All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."

My soup is a tad disappointing. I made it up and hoped to give it more flavor but alas it tastes fairly bland. Again, I am not eating for pleasure, I am eating for my health.  I have to give my body fuel to clean out its closet.  I look forward to the weekend and only hope that I can stay on schedule.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 3

So it's a little after 6 and I'm trying to get through my Creamed Broccoli soup. Unfortunately I added waaaaaay too much parsley in an attempt to eat through it before it goes bad.  This tastes like Creamed Parsley soup.  That coupled with the fact that the Whole Foods Juicing Woman also added too much parsley to my juice today makes me a cranky girl indeed.

So this morning I made apple (granny smith and gala), pear, broccoli stalk (left over from soup), 1/2 cucumber, 1 celery stalk juice.  It was light and tasty and just fine.  I drank it down while I did my hair.  I only wish I could clean my Jack LaLanne Juicer was as quick and easy to clean as it is for me to polish off the delicious juice.  I took my digestive enzyme and Inner Cleanse.

Then I stayed on schedule for my Green Drink, Berry Drink and water count. However, I decided to stray away from the VegeSplash.  I'm sorry but I just don't like how sweet it is.  I would much rather just taste the veggie taste instead.  However, I got a scolding by Dr. Roni about it so I will go back to drinking it.  Instead I made my 2 mile walk to Whole Foods and got a Green Giant with beets added.  It was very pretty, but tasted like parsley.

On the whole, I feel good today. I slept well last night, having a strange dream in which I was living inside the movie Crybaby and had a wicked beehive hairdo.  I think I may have even made out with Johnny Depp so that's aces.  I woke up with a slight headache that has stayed with me all day, settling on the bridge of my nose, but it's nothing I can't handle and/or ignore. I am noticing that my back muscles are very stiff, almost flu-like.  Again, I tell myself that sometimes you have to feel bad in order to heal.  I also have the mantra, "I am not eating for my palate, I am eating for my health."  This seems to be helping me as I choke down my latest concoction.  I'm not sure what kind of soup I will be making for tomorrow but think that I will try my own version.  There just aren't enough recipes in the book and I'm still a little unclear on what's ok to eat and what isn't.  For instance, I was told not to eat red pepper but can eat cayenne pepper.  Are onions ok? I know that garlic and ginger is so where does that leave me?  I will be safe of course.

Oh and on another sad note, my teapot has officially died.  It's one of those super old school ones from the '70's that I stole from my mother.  Alas, the bottom has become so thin that it is leaking and for some reason, the sides kinda' caught fire last night and scorched the whole thing.  RIP dear teapot.  Now I must buy another, perhaps something along the lines of this!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 2

So I have arrived at day 2 in my detox.  This is the day that most people say that they hit a wall, that it's the hardest and I think I understand what they mean.  First off, I will finish off last night's adventure.  At 6 pm on the dot, I had one cup of broth from my Collard Green Soup.  The broth was actually pretty good. I'm not really one for drinking broth even when I'm sick but I made sure to drink broth first in order to convince my tummy that it was a little full before embarking on the soup.  The Collard Green Soup (located in the back of the book) was a bit on the bland side but that's because you can't use salt and I didn't get super creative with spices.  Then at night, I finished it up with the Inner Cleanse Nighttime Formula and some CALM, which totally knocked me out.  I didn't do my shot of aloe juice because it says it's optional and should be used if you can't tolerate the Inner Cleanse, but so far so good for me. I might have some aloe tonight though because I want as many nutrients as possible.

So today!  I got up early to have my colonic, which was a long trek to Santa Monica.  I had a Gather Green coupon to use so it was basically free!  However, this colonic was on a self-regulated machine. I know! I'd never of heard of a DIY colonic before either.  It's not the most comfortable process but neither is it bad. After 40 minutes, I felt much lighter and told myself healthier as well.

So I headed into work a few minutes late and stayed perfectly on schedule.  I drank my tea, Essential Greens and VegeSplash.  At lunch I walked a mile to Whole Foods (getting my exercise!) and got a Giant Green juice, which is celery, parsley, apple, cucumber and mixed greens. It was fantastic and rather cooling, a total plus given that I had to walk a mile back uphill in the heat.  I finished it before I made it back to work.  I also took my digestive enzyme and Inner Cleanse Daytime pills.

Now for the bad stuff.  Today has been hard. I'm hungry damn it!  There's no other way to put it. I. Am. Hungry.  However, I know this is just my brain's defense mechanism playing tricks on me. It's afraid that I've found myself in a drought or famine and will die without nourishment. However, brain, listen here, I'm getting nutrients so back the eff off!  I've also found that I have a mild headache in the back of my head, a strange taste in my mouth, and I've been unnaturally sensitive. I'm serious. I got so angry about a Facebook headline that I almost started to cry...not normal behavior.  So I'm trying to do some deep breathing and keep my shiz together.  I've also felt some panic about money and my job in general, but I realize that these are just intensifications of my regular worries. I never make enough money and it IS time to find a new job, but there's no point in worrying in this moment now is there?

So there it is. I'm trying to remain positive and focused.  I just wish that time wouldn't creep by quite so slowly. Seriously just want to go home and go to sleep and hope tomorrow is a better day.  Here's to 44 hours without solid food!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 1 Detox!

Ok so it's only 3 pm but I'm a little excited and decided to start the blogging now.  So I woke up this morning feeling much better than yesterday, which proves what Annemarie Colbin says that the body naturally wants to heal itself if you allow for it.  I juiced when I got up.  Today I mixed 1 green apple, 1 gala apple, 1/2 pear (other half fell on the floor oh well), 1 collard green leaf and a handful of kale. It was yummy and split between Becca and me a perfect 10 oz apiece.  I also took a digestive enzyme.

On my way to work, I drank 8 oz of distilled water.  Then I had a tea because everyone was making and eating bagels so I wanted something warm to combat any cravings for bread.  Then my package finally arrived!!!!!!  I took my 3 internal daytime cleanse pills and had a shot (1 oz) of berry drink, which immediately made me nauseous. However, those hunger pangs I was feeling were eliminated so it's sort of a wash on that one. Not sure if it was the drink or the pills but something sat wrong with me.  But then I had a BM (gross I know. I considered not talking about this but I want this to be informative for anyone thinking about the Martha's Vineyard detox) and that made me feel much better.

At 12:15ish I had a glass of water mixed with one scoop of VegeSplash.  Gotta admit I like green drink better. I got the apple carrot VegeSplash, which smells like green apple suckers but tastes like sickeningly sweet green drink, though it does dissolve easier.   Then I went on my 2 mile walk from my office to Whole Foods.  Partly this is because Dr. Rani recommends moving 1 mile each day and partly because I needed paper towels and face wash.  Unfortunately it is about 90 degrees outside and I'm totally wearing a dark blue shirt that darkens when it gets wet (ie sweat spots grooooooosssss).  I'm hoping I dry out fast as my boss has 2 meetings with some pretty prestigious writers and I don't want to look like some disgusting sweaty mess.  Also, I smelled someone cooking or bbq'ing outside and it made my tummy grumble in protest.  This is the first real hunger pains I've had but since they dissipated as soon as I was out of sniff's reach, I think my body was just faking it, the big lie-teller.

Now I'm settling back in and continuing to drink from my Bobble.  At 6, I have Collard Green soup made right out of the book (though I couldn't find green beans right now).  Basically, it's carrots, distilled water, collard greens, broccoli rabe (I added that because I didn't want it to go bad), and kale boiled down and pureed.  I also have a cup of broth from the soup to drink.  Though the soup smelled fabulous when it was simmering, I'm worried it will be bland when I actually eat it.  However, I can deal with blandness if it's for a good cause.  And cleaning up my body is most definitely a good cause!  I'll probably try to blog later today about how I'm feeling for the rest of the day.  But I will say that I'm feeling clear-headed and the sickness I had yesterday has all but gone.  Just the tiniest hint of a runny nose left. Yay.  See you later and/or tomorrow!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Martha's Vineyard Detox

So I have to postpone my detox because after all my traveling, drinking, overindulging I now feel a bit sick.  Also, my detox package still hasn't arrived, which is a total bummer.  So today is sorta a free day. I'm following parts of the detox.  The water, the green drink, detox drops and hot tea.  I even took a bath in Epsom Salts, Baking Soda and lavender oil.  It was divine.  But I think that I will eat some food today, not a lot, just enough to stave off hunger.