Monday, April 19, 2010

On the 5th day of juice fast my stomach takes to the stage

Saturday was Day 5 of my green juice fast. I woke up to a very grumbly sound and realized that it was coming from inside me. Disturbed, I jumped out of bed to juice some carrots, kale and cucumber and drank it speedily. Rather than quieting the growl, the juice only seemed to feed the beast. It had somehow gotten louder, filling the entire kitchen. All day the grumbling, growling, roaring followed me around the house while I did my chores and even accompanied me on my errands.

Saturday evening, my 13 year old son and I had tickets to see an off-Broadway play entitled "In the Heat of the Night." I hoped that my loud digestive system would not disturb the two people unfortunately seated on either side of me. When we arrived at 59E59, we discovered that the theatre was an intimate black box. All the action took place in the squared off area, and we audience sat surrounding the square. My seat was in the first of the two rows on the corner from which actors passed to enter the stage. Before the show, we were informed to silence cell phones, unwrap candies, and note that if we needed to leave the theatre for any reason, we would not be allowed re-entry. It was a quiet show, one without much music, sound effects or any props, in a small, enclosed space. My grumbling continued. I glanced around, looking to see whether there was a reaction from the man sitting next to me. So far, he amazingly managed not to notice. As the show progressed, the tension mounted. The murder mystery with racist
At a particularly intense moment, a police officer took down to his knees a murder suspect and cuffed him at my feet. Then the two actors froze in that pose as other actors across the stage had dialogue. "Glurg, grrrr, roarrrrr," filled my ears. Head one foot from me, at lap level, the actor had to try hard not to react to the incredibly strange noises emitting from my gut. But I could see him looking quizzically at me. I shrugged and tilted my head, aimed at the quiet man to my right, as if it were HIS ridiculously loud innards creating havoc.

Fortunately, I was not removed from my seat. The show was outstanding. I highly recommend it. See it on a full stomach, it will save you embarrassment.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Juice Fast Day 2

The second day of my first juice fast has ended. Hunger set in yesterday evening, while I cooked dinner for the family. This experiment would work much better if I didn't have to prepare meals all day long. I stir-fried broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, and romaine lettuce together in a garlic soy sauce and scooped it over red quinoa. As a side dish, I served an Asian style salad made from crumbled uncooked ramen noodles and julienned cabbage and carrots with ginger/soy/maple syrup dressing.

Back to me. Not eating. I suppose this would be a good place to disclose that I Love To Eat! Food is a large part of my life. I like to buy food, prepare food, talk about food and eat food. This is the first time I've ever fasted in my whole life, mostly because I never felt like giving it up before. Day Two was the first day of the realization that I can live without eating.

Fortunately, I really enjoy the taste of juice. I'm also enjoying trying new combinations and flavors. After dropping off my sons for their bowling league, I ran to the supermarket for supplies. I bought a ripe watermelon, a cantaloupe, a cucumber, a tomato, some extra celery and carrots, a cabbage, and some more romaine. For "lunch," I had a romaine, cucumber, celery, tomato juice. It was a little too acidic for my tastes but gave me the energy to talk a nice long walk in the sun before the boys returned. Besides the juice, I am focusing on getting fresh air, sunshine, and exercise everyday as well. After my walk, I felt exhausted. The boys returned home and were playing in the yard, so I lay on a blanket in the grass and took a short nap in the sun. This may have been my first nap since babyhood.

At dinnertime, I drank a delicious juice of watermelon and cucumber. After dinner, and I'm not blaming the watermelon, I became very cranky. The schedule required me to drive back and forth to two different martial arts studios in two different directions, one after the other, then come home and supervise kitchen clean up and math work. But apparently, no one was in the mood to clean up the kitchen or do any math. And the last thing I wanted to do was put away the leftover food I had spent the afternoon alternately preparing and avoiding. The scene went something like this:

me: "Clean up the kitchen, boys,"
boys: "I thought you said you wanted us to do math."
me: "I wanted you to do your math earlier so you could clean up the kitchen after dinner."
boys: "We'll clean it up later."
me: "I want it done now."
boys: "Then why don't you do it?"

I hate it when the boys have a good point when I am cranky. If I wanted it done immediately while they were doing something equally important, I'd have to clean the kitchen myself, including packing up the leftovers and putting them in the refrigerator. But I could handle it, despite my grumbly tummy, and I did. Both my stomach and my mouth were grumbling. Like a child, I complained out loud while washing and drying pots. Fortunately, no one pays any attention to me when I'm like this. On the plus side, at least I didn't have to solve the math problems.

Day Three ended when I took to the bed, saying good night to the boys and insisting that they go to bed early (11:00 for the teenage night owls in this house is very early). Here is the best part, last: according to the dreaded bathroom scale, I have lost 5 pounds!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Juice Cleanse Day 1

My jeans no longer fit. I weighed myself and was appalled at the number glaring at me. I lost 30 pounds several years ago, only to have regained a large portion. Winter was long and I spent too many days indoors, eating too much pasta, rice, and other heavy foods. So it is time for a spring cleaning of myself. Yesterday I began a Green Juice Cleanse/Fast, hoping to rid my sluggish self of excess.

I read about it online. Green Juices plus herbal teas and water constitute all the "foods" I can intake. According to the experts, when the body is no longer slogged down with digesting processed foods and white foods, it can begin to expel all the clogs. As it happens, I love green juice. In the morning, I juiced a huge fistful of kale, two celery stalks and a carrot. Later in the day, I had an entire bunch of dandelion leaves, more celery, carrots, and an apple juice. That was all. Then I waited for the magic and the darker side, the dreaded side effects I'd read about on the net.

But either my new face cream is doing an awesome job of squeezing my pores shut or my toxins are good and locked inside, because so far, I have seen nothing. No evidence of detoxifying. My skin looks fine, clear and pristine. I read that there could be boils (!). I have not experienced any unpleasant explosiveness, nor do I have terrible body odor.

So Day One passed uneventfully. How much longer do I have to do this? I will take it one day at a time. Green Juice Fast Day Two is beginning simply, with lukewarm water and lemon juice. I hope I start to smell bad soon.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Inspired by Vermont and the Massachusetts World Food Market

Recently my son and I spent some time in Vermont, working, exploring towns we had never seen, and getting to know people we had never met. The company was so interesting; in fact some of the most interesting people anywhere. Talking to them was educational for both me and my son. We learned details about the sugaring process from a woman who produces her own syrup at home as a hobby. We learned a great deal about Japanese culture from a woman who lived abroad for over ten years. And we explored the terrain of St. George on a guided hike by a long-time resident.

The food we ate was also stellar.

At the home of a new friend, my son and I enjoyed what is known as "Vermont Curry." Apparently, it is very common but new to us. There are many varieties. Our friend showed us the package label in Japanese and read the ingredients, all vegan. And at the home of another Vermonter, we enjoyed a delicious stir-fry which included among the farm-fresh vegetables, some canned seasoned seitan which I'd never encountered before.

During a lovely dinner at A Single Pebble in Burlington, with blogger @Cookveganlover, Lindsay, and her husband, we shared a rich, scrumptious tapioca pudding made with coconut milk. We declared that we would recreate it at home, using rice. But then I found some very nice pearl tapioca at the World Food Market in Hadley, Massachusetts. Searching the aisles, I also located the previously mentioned "Vermont Curry" blocks, which I was able to identify by sight as the package is written in Japanese. (I made sure to buy the ones that did not have cheese or honey in the ingredients.) Then I stumbled on the seasoned seitan that our friend Peg threw into her fresh vegetable stir-fry. Now I have all of the hard-to-find ingredients so I can recreate these wonderful Vermont dishes at home.

Last night, I chopped onions, celery, potatoes and carrots and threw them into a large pot with water. Adding Vermont Curry cubes (2), and boiling red rice in a separate pot, I thought I'd done exactly what needed to be done. Wrong! My curry was so much thinner and soupier than the one I'd eaten in Bristol. Sad. I had to add several tablespoons of corn starch mixed with water in order to thicken it to the desired consistency. After the thickening, it still tasted watery. So I added two more cubes for seasoning and it was just right. It yielded a ridiculously large amount, so I have lots leftover and some frozen.

I was more successful with the tapioca pudding. So I will share that recipe here.

Tapioca Pudding

1/2 cup pearl tapioca
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan cane sugar
2 tablespoon corn starch
3 tablespoons warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest

Combine pearl tapioca and milks and salt in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Slowly add sugar while stirring. Beat corn starch and warm water with a fork, add to pan. Continue stirring and heating until boiling. Allow to boil for about one minute, then lower heat. Pudding should start to thicken. Once thick, turn off heat. Add vanilla extract and orange zest and allow to cool. Can be served warm but is better chilled from refrigerator.

Makes 4 - 6 servings.