Monday, November 5, 2012

Gluten Free Waffle Recipe Success!

If you have tried to bake soon after transitioning to a gluten free diet, you've likely experienced the heart-dropping disappointment that occurs the moment you taste the fruits of your labor. The less research, preparation, and ingredient-replacing you've done, the bigger the disappointment. In my case, I tried making cookies three time, all with less than edible results. Sadly, it turns out that the box of "all-purpose gluten free flour mix" really can't just be substituted one for one in all your usual recipes as the back of the of brags. (At least, not without the inclusion of guar, and or xantham gums to bind the flours in place of gluten.)

Since then, I've spent a lot of time researching gluten free recipes and cookbooks. After a trip to Whole Foods to stock up on more useful essentials, I felt prepared enough to whip up a batch of waffles based on a recipe I found online. I tweaked it a bit as per usual, and they turned out delicious. (You'll notice I used only half an egg, because I didn't want to waste a big batch in case they didn't come out--well, these come out, so feel free to double the batch and use one whole egg.) Wifey and sister in law both ate them up with butter and syrup... and neither of them are huge fans of breakfast food, so they would not have eaten them if they weren't actually tasty.

This may not be a cake, or even a batch of cookies, but dammit, I'm feeling pretty proud of misself today.

These are not vegan because of the egg, but you could mash 1/4 of a banana in place of the egg, which was always my standby egg sub for any pancake or waffle mix. Anyway, here's the recipe. Enjoy.


1 cup Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
1/4 tsp guar gum
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs olive oil
2/3 cup milk or nondairy milk (I was out of both, so I used a couple tablespoons of vegan yogurt mixed with water totaling 2/3 cup)
1/2 beaten large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat your waffle iron on medium setting.
Stir together dry ingredients well.
Whisk wet ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk together until well combined (do not overbeat).
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Pour batter into waffle iron and cook according to directions.

This made us three and a half tasty waffles, but again, these are delish, so feel free to double for more waffley goodness.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The ticky, tacky world of Gluten Free

In the three months since I've last posted, I've begun to delve into the world of the gluten free. Not for a fad diet (if I hear another customer at work ask me if gluten free is healthier and then look at the GF cookies, I may lose it--or just have yet another conversation explaining who and why should avoid gluten and why any processed food is avoidable), but because wifey and I put two and two together and realized she just may have some sort of gluten sensitivity.

Let's go back three years ago... to a time when we still lived in the South Bay with three other roommates, I had just left Starbucks to work for Whole Foods Market, and my wife was beginning to experience a few rather strange symptoms that appeared to be allergies. The worst were the welts. Seemingly out of nowhere, large swollen itchy patches would raise up on her neck, shoulders, back, or the tops of her feet, lasting about a day or so. She'd usually get only one at a time, so at first we kind of thought it might be an irritation, maybe to a bra strap or bug bite. Then we thought it must be the chemicals in the laundry detergent, so we switched from Tide Dark to all natural, fragrance-free Seventh Generation, also dropping my favorite-ever vanilla lavender scented drier sheets. Seemed to work for awhile, until she got "one of those bumps" again. It appeared to coincide with the consumption of a rather large amount of Taco Bell--the only fast food we ever ate--so we thought maybe there was some sinister and gross fast food preservative or ingredient that should be avoided. This was probably not a bad idea anyway, quitting fast food, but a bump came up again. Frustrated, in pain, and sick of not knowing when and how these welts would appear (she would come home in tears after having to walk around all day at work with a swollen foot), Wifey went to the doctor on her next day off. What occurred there at that office disturbed her so thoroughly that she had not returned to any doctor for two years. Since she didn't have a current welt at the time of the visit, she went in describing her symptoms and to the best of her knowledge, what she was doing or eating when she got them. The doctor began showing her photos of patients with growths and rashes on their genitalia.

I'm not kidding.

Despite wifey saying over and over that they were not and had never been in a private area--gesturing wildly to her shoulders and feet--the male doctor continued to insist she look at photos of STDs. He did manage to write a prescription for cortisone cream before she left, but failed to ask any real questions that might lead him to a diagnosis other than STD or random skin rash.

With her fear of that office firmly in her psyche, wifey and I continued to try to troubleshoot her puzzling symptoms on our own. She kept most of it to herself and I thought for years that the main problems were itching (soles of the feet and palms of her hands) and the welts. We did the Engine 2 diet, and she felt relieved of the symptoms, for the most part. When we went off the diet, ordering a pizza or sandwiches or something else "bad," she felt horrible the next day. She started to notice that when she was on Engine 2 and didn't cheat, she appeared to lose drastic amounts of weight very quickly. She would go down a shirt size in a week. Imagine her frustration when we slowly went back to more "normal" eating and she seemed to gain all the weight back. As time passed, she lost more and more energy, to the point that she would sit down when she got home from work and didn't want to move until she went upstairs to go to bed. I began to get frustrated with her "laziness"! Thinking she just wasn't trying to help me out around the house or go out and do things together.

When we were juicing everyday earlier this year, we noticed that her energy spiked, her shirt size went down again, she lost about 12 or so pounds in a week, and she was experiencing no bumps. Yay! But hey! Juicing is not a sustainable way to live! So despite our best efforts to try and eat "well," she went back to what had become her "normal." Which was not normal at all and was no way to live. I recall one day during the summer that I emailed her at work asking if we could take a walk together with the dogs when we both got home. Her response was, "Sure, if I can move. I can barely walk up and down the stairs here." I didn't know how bad it actually was for her, even then.

Very recently my store hired a healthy eating specialist, and always being very interested in nutrition and diet, I would often talk to her about our attempts at eating healthy, vegan, and most recently juicing. I mentioned to her wifey's improvements while juicing. My friend looked at me and said that when she was advising clients having any kind of issue, she always first told them to try an elimination diet--and first to eliminate gluten. She said there are many common problems that clear up once gluten is out of the picture. I was curious now, but kind of thought this was a whole lot of hippy dippy nonsense--I mean, unless you have Celiac disease, why would you need to avoid gluten--and come on, I think we'd KNOW, right? My wife was a chef... she'd know if she had a food allergy! Still, I went online and googled gluten free. I found websites and blogs with people's personal stories and journeys of how they discovered they were sick. I read for hours, clicking back and forth between windows, cross referencing stories with WebMD and Wikipedia.

I was horrified.

All the stories I read involved the person being sick for years--YEARS!--nearly to the point of not being able to function, or enjoy life. And going to many doctors who never, ever suggested that gluten may be the cause! Until one day, because of one symptom or doctor or whatever, they were tested for celiac disease and eliminated gluten from their diet. So simple--yet doctors seemed to know nothing about this! What was going on?

The symptoms varied wildly and I didn't see much of a connection at first; i just kept reading because I felt for these poor people! I wasn't really convinced that this might be Wifey's issue until I read a few articles in particular that spoke of the varied symptoms, the peculiar effects on weight and how gluten causes malnutrition, and especially the autoimmune effects. These I saw my wife in. Her brother and sister both suffer from autoimmune diseases as well--gluten may even be affecting them. I began firing off the links to her work email right away.

When she got home that day, I explained that it sounded crazy, but this could explain the welts and the bloating and the weight gain and the itching. And I said, I know I bombarded you with a lot of information, but here's why I think you need to look into this... clearly I was expecting an unreceptive response. She just said that she'd read all of it. All the links I sent her. And he began to tell me more about her symptoms that she had never said anything about before. About how her joints hurt so bad that she couldn't move in the mornings and she'd have to swing one leg over the other to get out of bed. How she was so sore and tired all the time, she was certain she had cancer. I felt terrible because the whole time I'd really thought she was being lazy. But this was real pain.

She stopped eating gluten right away, and within a couple days had an appointment with a specialist recommended by a co-worker. She had blood taken for testing. Last week, she received confirmation from the tests that she has gluten sensitivity, but we'd known for weeks--when she stopped eating gluten, she suddenly was made aware of when she accidentally ingested it. Like when we went for Ethiopian food and requested gluten free injera, and she was sick the next day (they forgot and gave us injera with teff AND wheat). Or when we made cocktails and by her second drink the palms of her hands were itching--read the back of the bottle only to discover that Grey Goose is "made with the finest French wheat." Oops. But yes--we learned. We already had confirmation.

Wifey is going back today to discuss the results of the testing in depth and learn more about how to get her health back. I'm nervous but excited. It is incredibly hard to see your spouse struggle with an unknown enemy, watch them change into a different, sad person before your eyes and not know how to help them. I'm optimistic and I can't wait to jump into a new way of living, and seeing my wife be alive again.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dinner is Served

Homemade veggie patty--made with SooFoo, lentils, and oat flour--open face with spinach on spelt toast, with leftover Mediterranean kale salad.

I haven't been perfect with the Engine 2 diet, in fact the other night I had cheese pizza for dinner (oops), but for the most part I check myself before I put random food in my mouth, and am enjoying eating more whole foods.

I also bought the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook by Lindsay Nixon. I love her blog, even have used her recipes, so it's about time I bought a book of hers. What I love about this book is not only is it mostly Engine 2 compliant (although not with the salt), is that the recipes are super fast, easy, simple and CHEAP. Lindsay developed them living in St. Maarten, where she didn't have access to, say, a Whole Foods. So the ingredients aren't too exotic, and are more accessible for everyone.

Her veggie burger recipe inspired the one pictured here. (I promise to try to follow recipes more closely--but as usual, I get inspired and segue off in my own direction.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Environmentally-Friendly Oven Cleaning

My healthy eating challenge has been going well, and today on my day off I felt inspired to deep clean my kitchen. While I don't think any natural cleaner replaces bleach for things like red wine spills on our white countertops, I didn't feel like contaminating our home with caustic and toxic oven cleaner. After researching natural oven cleaner recipes online, most of which involve borax and letting the mixture sit overnight, I decided to give it a go with a cup of baking soda, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Wow--I was surprised that this combination actually worked really well! I used a soft scrubber and used it on the interior of the oven door and glass. After only about ten minutes, it was clean. No toxic fumes, no waiting, just a lot of dipping a washcloth in water and wiping over and over to get the residue off. Voila... Clean sparkling oven, naturally. Next project is the bottom of the oven. I didn't tackle that today because it's not nearly as dirty as the door was, and was much improved with simply a wipe down with a wet paper towel. Yay!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

28 Day Challenge

I've been offered a challenge, and I accepted.

Today begins the 28 Day Challenge featuring the dietary stylings of Rip Esselstyn, author of the Engine 2 Diet. I have done Engine 2 before, a couple years ago, and stuck with it pretty hardcore for about 4 months. The lingerings of what I learned about plant-based eating formed the basis of how I think about food today... although I am sorely in need of a reboot.

This morning I ordered a book by one of my favorite plant-based bloggers, Lyndsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore. I've found the recipes she posts are tasty and simple, and align with E-2 in their no-oil-ality. E-2 can get a little complex, so having cookbooks like Everyday Happy Herbivore and Appetite for Reduction will be welcome departures.

Speaking of AFR, allow me a minute to sing the praises of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I love every single one of the books I own by her (I think I have all but 2 or 3, as she has a Vegan with a Vengeance empire by now), and AFR is hugely recommended for anyone trying to get healthy. Girl can cook, for sure.

Alright. Enough talk, let's do this.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NoPulpLeftBehind Bread

Juicing is fantastic. The amount of end product left behind is not, especially if you plan on tossing it in the garbage. It's a huge waste of nutrients and cold hard cash to throw away perfectly good juicing pulp.

If you've never used a Breville juicer, I'll tell you right now that though I adore the thing, the spent vegetables and fruit spinning out into the pulp collector are not hard, useless fiber rocks. Greens are challenging to juice because the spinning blades tend to juice a more solid item better (carrots and celery, for instance, fare better). Soft citrus fruits give out a lot of juice, but this kind of juicer isn't ideal for them and the juice comes out frothy, the pulp a ravaged but fairly intact moist fruit skin. But even the harder items have a slightly wet pulp, with plenty of vitamins and phytonutrients left amongst the fibrous remains.

Reusing the pulp has become a mission of mine. I love my spicy broth with kombu and cayenne. It fills you up and satisfies you, but let's be real here... you can only make (and drink) so much broth when you are juicing for two people two to three times a day! My dogs have adored the fruit & veggie pulp treats I've made them a few times, and we give them plenty of shredded carrots, beets, and greens with their dinner and they LOVE it. Still, a pile of pulp remains that has much goodness left within.

Last week, I decided to make loaf bread and muffins. We have carrot cake, zucchini bread, and banana loaf, so why not combine aspects from all three, along with my veganizing, oil free awesomeness? I had one banana left which was at the perfect stage of softness, so I mushed that up with just a couple tablespoons of raw honey. I soaked some chia seeds to serve as the binder. I gathered two heaping cups of the best pulp from the morning's juicing--apples, carrots, kale, zucchini, strawberries, and beets--and whisked them with a bit of bottled tangerine juice (we had bought this prior to juicing, not a bad use for it). I grated fresh ginger into that for some bite. Then I whizzed up a flour blend in the vitamix from oats, almonds, flax, lentils, amaranth, and whole wheat. This was a heavy batter, so I threw in big spoonfuls of baking powder AND soda, and seasoned it with cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and allspice, and stirred in a teaspoon of vanilla.

I hardly need to tell you that the batter tasted amazing.

Hoping against hope that my calculations of time and temperature would do the trick to fully bake this dense and super moist bread, I put the mini loaf pans in 15 minutes before the muffin tins. When the timer went off and I hesitantly opened one of the muffins, it was steamy inside but set. They had risen just enough, and even though the bits of green that were exposed on top were a little, erm, charred, they were spicy, slightly sweet, and delicious.

My next experiment may be pulp soup. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beeting Heart

I love this photo. Beets have come to be one of my favorite vegetables. They have a quirkiness to them for sure, they stand out once rooted out of the soil... much as they would prefer to blend in and hide. Sweet, bright yet dark, beautiful, unexpected. They leave their mark on everything they touch.

For in depth nutritional info on beets, go here:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ten Pounds

Brief post to say that this morning (the day after I worked a pretty physical eight hour work shift moving and lifting 50 pound boxes all day!), my scale says 123.4 today! I even ate a big no oil hummus wrap yesterday (cut it up and ate it in thirds between juices).

That makes a ten pound weight loss in six days, folks.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ramblings on Juicing

You know what's good? Food you can chew! I decided to stop fighting my instincts and start incorporating more food into my days of juicing. So yesterday I had my banana and bit of avocado after I got home from work, before dinner juice. After dinner, I had a couple bites of canned cannellini beans. Perhaps not the highest of culinary escapades, but my god those beans tasted fantastic.

Then there was today. After breakfast juice, I ate half a sumo mandarin, and made a little plate of sweet brown rice with beans, some avocado, tahini cashew dressing I made right before we bought the juicer, and a splash of Papalote roasted tomato salsa (which, by the way, is the most amazing salsa I've ever put in my mouth, for reals). It was a perfect tiny meal, and I followed it the rest of the day with broth I made from last night's dinner juice pulp. After dinner juice tonight I had a few raw cashews and almonds. The amount of real food I actually ate was fairly tiny, but it did feel strangely like I basically gorged myself.

I realize this has gone from blog to food diary, so allow me to steer us back onto the road. Let's talk hoe to juice and why. You should be buying lots and lots of greens, as they are the most nutrient-dense vegetables and are, in essence, a miracle food. In five days, wifey and I have probably gone through a dozen bunches of greens, including kale, chard, and collards. That doesn't include the spinach, cabbage, or beet greens.

By the way, bunched beets are probably the best deal you can find in the produce department. At Whole Foods, one bunch of organic beets is $1.99, and usually you can find a bunch with three huge or four medium beets, with a gorgeous mane of red-blooded greens the size of your typical bunch of kale. Do you realize how happy that makes me? It's like a two-for-one. We've gone through about three or four of these beet bunches. Beets are super sweet and put out a good amount of juice, turn your juice blood red (unless it's a golden beet, still delish without the dramatic flair of color), and the greens of red beets put out red juice as well. If your pee turns red after eating or drinking beets (a condition called beeturia, no joke), you may have an iron deficiency. Fun fact, before I started juicing I used to have beeturia, but it hasn't happened since day one, even though I'm drinking one or two beets a day. That's because I'm consuming so many dark leafy greens--and adding citrus to the greens juice helps your body absorb more iron, so the lemon, kiwi, or oranges have a role to play beyond just being delicious.

The other amazing produce deal is the five pound bag of carrots for under five bucks. We're on our second bag, because carrot juice is amazing and delicious and we juice at least a couple carrots in every juice. Some folks say carrot juice can cure cancer. I also just read that drinking it can solve symptoms of vitamin A deficiency like night blindness, which wifey has, so I'm curious to see if hers goes away after juicing.

Now that I'm essentially a juicing expert (kidding, but I'm really good at it right?), I need to add a workout into the mix. I sometimes run with my dogs on their walks, have a job that usually keeps me on my feet at least six hours a day, and I'm one of those nervous energy types who can't sit still for very long. That's about all I've got. It would be tragic if I end up gaining weight when this juice fast (as it were) ends. Yes, I know I'm playing it fast and loose with the word tragic, but I'm so looking forward to getting back to the weight I was at my wedding, and not be skinny because planning a wedding is harrowingly stressful... but because I'm healthy. Woot.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day Three

Today marks my third full day of juicing, a little milestone for me. I planned to do at least three days, see how I felt, and consider my options. Despite a headache yesterday and the evening cravings (which I recognize as NOT hunger due to the fact that my stomach has not rumbled once on this juice fast...!), I feel fine overall and am going to juice again tomorrow. Woot! Check out the gorgeous ingredients that composed our dinner tonight. We used five types of greens (dino kale, chard, beet greens, spinach and cabbage), carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, beet, red pepper, celery, apple, and cucumber. I may even be forgetting a thing or two. It was the most delicious juice wifey has made yet.

Today I had a mostly fruit juice for breakfast, and brought a juice to work again for lunch. I drank that by 11:30 or so (stressful morning--does chugging my juice early count as stress eating?), so I had an iced goji berry green tea on my actual lunch break at 1. We had dinner around 6 and I was mildly hungry at that point, but certainly not ready to kill anyone for a Klondike bar or anything.

I weighed in at 125.6 tonight, a couple hours after my snack of a quarter of an avocado and lots of water. Giving myself the leeway to eat something at night has allowed me to get a little extra nutrition (I think the healthy fats are keeping me sane, to be quite honest) and let me feel that I'm not depriving myself. I actually feel pretty great and that with every juice, I am treating my body to something it needs, and has been craving. And my body has thanked me today by not giving me any more stomach issues, thank you god.

Work comes early tomorrow, so for now I must sleep.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Actually, I cheated last night too, but I cheated more today, hence the title.

After a good strong day of juicing, and a minor headache that felt major because I so rarely get headaches (which I cured with a glass of iced twig tea, low in caffeine but with enough of it to take the edge off), I felt good about this juice fast. I had made two juices this morning, one for breakfast and one to take to work for my lunch. Then, soon after my dinner juice made by wifey--a tomatoey, celery-y, beety and greeny glass of tastiness--I had some sort of intestinal issue. An hour later, again.

I shall spare you the details, as I hope to keep this blog classy.

I will add that I've lost six pounds since the night of my first juice two days ago. I weighed in at 127.6 tonight. Now, my weight normally fluctuates a few pounds anyway, but I do feel I'm being cleansed. For sure. Maybe I've even lost a real pound or two.

I decided that I've been doing super great doing just juice for over two days straight (with a few bites of avocado last night, s'what?), and I was so craving something sweet and creamy. So I ate the other half of the avocado and a banana. They were so delicious.

If you tell me that eating a couple pieces of fresh organic produce during a cleanse is wrong, I will tell you that YOU'RE wrong, friend! I googled it. Bananas and avocados are actually the two fruits that can help make a juice fast safer for people with conditions like diabetes, because they are slow to digest and help stabilize your blood sugar. I don't have any conditions, but that sounds good enough to me.

I do feel as though I've eaten a fairly heavy meal right now, though perhaps those slow-digesting fruits will ease up the effects of this fast on my gut. I don't plan on cheating all the time, because after all, I want this fast to kick-start my metabolism and stabilize my mood, as well as detoxify my body. But if I do, I'm proud of myself for choosing healthy choices that, frankly, would be awful for juicing. Which makes me brilliant, really, for rounding out my juice diet! Like what I did there? I made my puny willpower sound like science.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Juicing Up, Day One

Today I juiced, but that's not all. In true Roots and Leaves form, I made the most of juicing. And, ladies and gentlemen, it was good. I think I may be able to do this for longer than three days if I give myself time to juice, prep for the day, and mix up the variety so I'm not bored. Here's a rundown of today:

Breakfast juice: orange, 2 apples, 2 carrots, 2 kiwis

I learned a fast lesson on the truth of how quickly juices get absorbed into your system. On the way to work a couple hours after breakfast, I drank a green tea. Green tea and I are not friends on an empty stomach, but today I figured the juice would provide the necessary stomach buffer. Not so. I felt like I might hurl any second as I attempted to find a parking spot. It took almost an hour for the nausea to dissipate. Will stick to herbal or puerh from now on.

Lunch, drank throughout the day: Broth. Yes, that's right. I made broth with the veggie pulp from last night's juice. Took about a liter to work in a water bottle and chugged it all day long.

Dinner juice: a bit of broccoli, a parsnip, 2 carrots, 1/2 bunch of dino kale, a beet, 2 small sweet potatoes, and a zucchini. So good.

After dinner: A quarter of an avocado (I'm only human, for reals, people), and more broth! I made more and drank the hell out of it.

And the icing on the cake, I took more of the veggie pulp from dinner (that juicer makes a ton of pulp!), whipped up a flour mix of rices, wheatberries, flax seeds, nutritional yeast, and lentils in the Vita-Mix, and made fresh homemade dog treats. My dogs went nuts, which always validates my love for them instead of making me feel like a crazy dog lady. The pups also enjoy getting snacks of veggie pulp by itself.

Of course, any pulp we didn't use, the cooked pulp from the broths, and all the peels from oranges, et al, went straight to the compost bin. Composting FTW! I would like to experiment more with using up all that pulp, though. There's just so much.

I felt fine all day, maybe even a little happier than usual. Of course, getting compliments on my hair at work is great, so it could be that. As far as hunger goes, I felt satiated all day, until after dinner. Thinking of all the things I would normally have reached for (soy yogurt, chips and salsa, candy or cookies), I realize it's all JUNK and that I'm probably not actually hungry or craving nutrients. I'm simply craving the empty calories (sugars, salt and carbs) I usually fill up on in the couple hours before bed. If I can break that cycle--wow. I'm golden.

Time for bed. More updates soon!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Juice is Loose

The last couple months have been a bit rough. Maybe it's the post-holiday lull, maybe it's winter, maybe it's that I haven't had my hair done in over six months. (Yes, the fact that I feel like an overgrown weed has taken over my head definitely takes its toll on my psyche.) I get momentarily inspired, then bogged down once again by something or other. One step forward, two steps back.

One step forward was watching the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. In the film, Joe Cross treks across America, juicing his way from New York to California, his end goal not only to lose weight and rebalance his life and health, but to actually cure the rare auto-immune disorder that had plagued him for eight years. During his 60 day juice fast, he meets as many people as he can, telling them about juicing and a nutritarian diet and how it equates to a longer, happier and healthier life. The film is especially inspiring as he meets a trucker with the same rare condition he suffers from, who reaches out to him for help. It ends up being a life-changing meeting, as this man also takes on the juice fast challenge and turns his life and health completely around.

I literally had to pause the movie so I could jump into the kitchen and make myself a green smoothie--wishing I had a juicer the whole time. Man! I love my Vita-Mix, don't get me wrong. In fact, it was the first of my dream appliance trifecta that we acquired and we use it almost daily. But watching these people juice their way to nirvana makes you wish you can have what they're having, When Harry Met Sally style. In fact, I watched it twice in a couple days.

I figured that the last thing I needed to do was drop a couple hundos on an appliance we may not end up using. I had a brief flash of inspiration to ask some neighbors to go in on a juicer with me, maybe keep it in the bike lounge of our building, but realized that there was no place to clean it. I was pretty bummed that juicing was not in the cards at the present. Falling back to the grind and feeling defeated.

One step forward. Wifey and I decided together to do our own sort of cleanse. Ironically, we started the day after Mardi Gras, despite the fact that we are neither Catholic nor religious. Essentially we are giving up alcohol as well as going back to a low-fat nutritarian vegan diet... for Lent. Or until our trip to Boston at the end of April, whatevs. Getting our groove back, getting our balance back, losing some weight and getting our happy on are the main objectives here.

Then, the day after we started our no-drinking, nutrient-dense extravaganza, wifey watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead with me. Alas! She had the same epiphanous experience I had the first time I watched it. But wifey goes for the gold with gusto. She wanted to get the juicer. Elated, I immediately did some research and found that the machine featured in the film, Breville Juice Fountain model JE-98XL in case you were wondering, was in stock at the Bed Bath and Beyond down the street. Score. 20% off coupon? Check, double score. We were in business for a lot less scrill than I'd imagined.

I procured the machine today, as well as what must have been fifty pounds of fresh produce (or at least it felt that way carrying my one very full grocery bag to the car in on hand while juggling a whole pineapple and my purse in the other. The photo below is my bounty on the checkout belt at the store.) After that, I got my haircut. I was feeling really pretty great about life, and much cuter myself to boot. Wifey got home and we ate some leftover vegan chili and curried wheatberry salad, watched deleted scenes from FS&ND, and started to fall asleep on the couch. I woke up from my brief doze and looked warily at the Breville, which sat on the counter, mocking us.

I had a moment of horror that this was our two steps back. With over one hundred pounds of produce (so it seemed) in our fridge ready to rot, our juicer out of the box but not yet fully assembled, I feared that we would not jump into this as readily as we thought.

I couldn't let that happen. Not when we'd come so close.

So at 9 PM, I finished assembling the machine and brought out some veggies. Screw it. Juicy nightcap. And so I juiced. A beet, two carrots, most of a parsnip, some cabbage, a bit of broccoli, a bunch of kale, and half a cucumber. It made almost three cups of juice, sweet and earthy from the root vegetables, and such a deep beety red it looked like blood. We drank it from stemless wine glasses. I saved the pulp, mostly dry except for the kale and broccoli--I must find tips for getting more juice out of greens--and will make broth with it tomorrow.

And so our juice fast begins in earnest tomorrow. I hope that armed with inspiration, and a crapload of nutrients, we won't fall two steps back this time. I'm ready to feel good again. I am doing at least three days of the juice fast. Wifey plans on doing at least ten. After that, we'll be trying to juice at least one meal a day until May, a feat not too difficult as we already usually blend a smoothie most mornings in the Vita-Mix. It's no 60 days, but we'll see how it goes and do longer if we feel good about it.

My weight tonight was 133.4. I plan on documenting our little adventure here, so stayed tuned.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holiday Hangover

The holidays are over. Three days into 2012, I woke up this morning well aware of a looming sense of melancholic despair. That sounds a little melodramatic, but it has truly been a long time since I have actually started my day by wanting to cry.

The holidays are gone. Today was many people's first day back at work (including mine). Perhaps I indulged in too much sugar, cheese, and alcohol in the past week and a half. But a friend posted on Facebook today about the week after the holidays being the most depressing week of the year, and I'm relieved it's not just me.

Apparently other people can feel that lovely air of suckiness, too.

I just loaded the dishwasher and hand-washed the wine glasses and champagne flutes from New Year's. Our festively decorated tree in the living room corner, which we had just put up the week before Christmas, may not come down for a couple weeks (unless I get a spurt of energy after my cavity gets filled this Friday--my day off... not impossible, but hardly likely). After the hustle and bustle so many Christmas songs love to reference passes, we're left with a sort of anti-climactic crash back down to day-to-day reality. It's not nearly as fun as spending every day searching for the perfect gift online, wrapping presents, spending time with family you won't see again for maybe months or another year, but in a few weeks it will be our normal again.

I feel drained, like I used up all my seratonin in the past couple weeks and I've got nothing left. I'm thinking of taking up running again, biking, making some art. I have been cuddling my dogs more than usual. They are very aware right now that they are loved. Dogs are good for that.

I did not have the energy to make any resolutions this year. I was fairly hungover on the first, not an uncommon ailment on the day after the last party of the year, and I sure as hell didn't feel like eating a salad. We ate leftover chips and salsa, and drank mimosas for breakfast. The next day we went out to lunch for pizza and beer. Day drinking makes me feel kinda awesome and naughty, like I'm on vacation even if it's just a day off, because it doesn't happen often. I was off for two days, and it felt rather freeing. But now... now the dullness of non-holiday life is definitely weighing me down. I have a birthday next week. I feel too tired to plan anything. Sleeping through turning 32 sounds best at this point.

How do you fend off melancholy after the holidays? Help a sister out. Maybe the holy basil, vitamin D, and St. John's wort will even do the trick. Or maybe the sun will come out and shine some sunny hope on my face through the fog. Here's hoping I make it.