Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chew On This

I had a conversation the other night with a friend who has gone paleo, as in the famous paleolithic diet that eschews grains and dairy in favor of lots of meat and veg. It apparently mimics the way cavemen ate before people settled down long enough to grow crops. My friend is actually on an even stricter version because she has an auto-immune disorder. She's loving it and feels great.

Another friend recently went on a month-long juice fast. Drinking only homemade juices enabled her to shrink her enlarged thyroid, drop needed weight and go off her blood pressure medication. She's a little sick of juice, but she feels great.

Last week my Darling Cousin completed a cleanse, during which she drank sludgy green concoctions that looked like this:
She posted this picture on Facebook... her dinner that resembles pureed grass clippings in contrast to her friends' chewable foods. You know, DC, I'm thinking this picture isn't the best PR for a cleanse, but maybe that's just me??

She described her experience thus: "The first few days were rough but I feel amazing. I think that working with a health consultant who provided us with daily guidance and support plus having a support group of other people doing it, really helped make the process very easy and enjoyable. It was like we were all stranded in a dinghy working together to get back shore."

Did I mention DC is in advertising?

Anyway, DC says she feels great and that I 'should do it!'

Everyone's feeling great. Isn't that great? I wouldn't mind feeling great. Here's the problem: I like chewing. I like chewing whole grains and dairy foods, like cheese. I'm a big fan of chewing.

I like drinking coffee, too. I think drinking coffee makes me a better mother. I probably can't imbibe my favorite libations while on a cleanse. Instead I'll have to take things I usually chew and liquefy them. Same with the juice fast.

The other thing is that I've done some of my world-famous exhaustive internet researchtm and found  much conflicting information on these topics so as to puzzle me exceedingly. For example, I read glowing reports of juicing and it's benefits, that it delivers more nutrients than just eating veggies and fruit straight. Then I'd read something else about juicing stripping the fiber from the food and that you're better off just eating a salad. Clearly, for my juicing friend, it was an unmitigated success (assuming she continues feeling great.) But somehow I find it difficult to embrace things like juicing.

When it comes to eating and other things I need to do for my health and well-being, I'm all about sustainability. I believe in finding a way to eat and move that I can stick with over time. That's why I struggle with very strict diets or fasts, even those that are designed to be undertaken for short periods of time. I always find myself thinking, what do I do when I'm done? I can't drink my food forever. At some point, I'm going to go back to Peet's and Sam Adams, chocolate and chewing.

My paleo friend eats this way because she needs to. I think she's liking it, too, but she got into it because she needs it to be healthy. I have another friend who has fibromyalgia and can't have gluten. If she unwittingly eats even a little bit of gluten, she aches. If she were to eat a slice of pizza, she'd be bedridden the following day. Obviously, these friends are wise to forever shun these things. Food is meant to fuel us and sustain us. God made food yummy so we'd eat and live. If I react strongly to certain foods, if they aren't life-giving to me, then yes, I'll happily do without.

However, I feel very blessed not to have these types of conditions. I limit some foods that don't make me feel good, but I can eat them without threat to life and functionality, and for this, I am very thankful. I have the freedom to eat anything, and I do.

However, I must confess that lately, I have been enjoying my freedom a little too much. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Someone, who shall remain nameless, brought a big bag of Lindt balls into the house, ate maybe two of them, then left the state. Lindt balls are so addictive they might as well come with a pitchfork and horns.

In all seriousness, I must take full responsibility for my excessive Lindt ball consumption. No one forced me to eat them. I wish I were the sort of person who could eat one or two, enjoy it and put the bag back in the cupboard, but I'm not. These are the kinds of things I really just can't have in the house. I'm a weak-willed woman when it comes to Lindt balls. And donuts. And brownies. And cake.

This morning I woke up feeling puffy, sluggish and decidedly not great, so while the rest of my family were enjoying Darling Husband's world-famous Sunday morning pancakestm, I dug out a smoothie recipe I copied from a magazine I read in a doctor's waiting room.

My smoothie contained greek yogurt, grapes, some avocado, lime juice, a pear and two cups of grass clippings. I also added maybe a cup of almond milk because I don't have a Vitamix and it wouldn't blend without some liquid.

Et voila! I know, the lime wedge was a nice touch.
So this, along with a cup of dandelion tea, was my breakfast this morning (preceded by coffee, since I want to be a good mother.) Now I'm waiting around for the 'feel great' to kick in. Anytime now! I'm ready!

(Feel free to pop my expectations balloon in the comments section.)


  1. Tee Hee at the grass clippings! I also believe that coffee makes me a better mother. I have been thinking about cutting down, but decided I would be way too grumpy. For the good of my family, I will carry on drinking it.

    1. Yes, I've often thought about quitting, because I really am addicted to caffeine, but somehow I can't bring myself to do it. My mood in the morning affects too many people. :) Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

  2. Your post highlights the fact that the same foods/drinks just don't work for everyone. It always baffles me when a group of people see someone who's lost a lot of weight, asks what s/he did, and immediately says they need to try it. Um, if it worked for EVERYONE, then EVERYONE would do it! I like to chew too. And I'm jealous you have Peet's nearby. The only one here so far is in the airport.

    When I was teaching, a mom (whose daughter's lunch consisted of Pop-Tarts, olives, and Go-Gurt) told me she didn't worry too much about what her daughter ate as long as she got a more or less balance meal throughout the day. My theory is kind of the opposite--I eat mostly healthy, which leaves room for treats (coffee, ice cream, etc.) here and there.

    1. I'm totally with you on the eat well most of the time practice. Really, I'm all about sustainability! If you can't keep it up, it won't work.

      And I spent all of yesterday morning hungry and cold! Maybe a liquid diet could be revisited in the summertime, but it was 12 degrees here with the windchill--I need warm food I can chew!

  3. ROFL! Glass clippings. Ironically that's exactly what wheatgrass tastes like and why I prefer to get mine buried in chocolate and other stuff in my daily Shakeology.

    The hardest part of my juice fast was giving up chewing, then I realized I chewed to take my mind off stress, mourning, boredom, you name it. Chewing for me had become a past time, not a way of breaking down food for digestion. I was liberating.

    (Just don't ask about the horrid Dunkin' Donuts Red Velvet Donut I wasted 2 bites on last week).

  4. This: "However, I feel very blessed not to have these types of conditions. I limit some foods that don't make me feel good, but I can eat them without threat to life and functionality, and for this, I am very thankful. I have the freedom to eat anything, and I do. " sounds like me too! And I too am a HUGE fan of chewing - green smoothies are fine. I don't hate them. But a whole month? No bueno.

  5. Yay, Charlotte! Famous blogger posts on mine. I feel like I've arrived!

    The thing with the green smoothie is that it really didn't fill me up. I wonder if I'd feel more full if I chewed the components? Because really, there was a decent amount of food in that smoothie...