Cleansing: Day Two

April 24, 2012

Well, well, well. Apparently I’m not so immune to the effects of caffeine as I thought!

Still no headache from the lack of it; I had my dandelion root tea this morning as I did yesterday. But it’s 11:00am and I’m already starting to nod off! I used to claim that caffeine seemed to have little effect on me, and I meant it: I can drink coffee almost right before bed and still sleep no problem. But now it seems that, since I’m lacking it, my brain uses it more than I knew.

I did an 8:00am yoga session that was designed specifically for energy. It definitely had an excellent short term effect. I felt super awake after it, but seems that it worked just like a couple shots of espresso: only for a few hours.

It might be the rain too. It’s rained for 2 1/2 days here and it’s made me feel somewhat groggy.

For breakfast, it was not the smoothie but breakfast quinoa: 1/2 cup quinoa with almond milk rather than water, a touch of agave nectar, cardamom, and raisins. I can’t decide how much agave nectar I’m going to allow myself but I figure small doses can’t be much harm. I always feel full very quickly whenever I eat breakfast quinoa.

I already know a way I will be cheating this afternoon: a friend of mine who is a nutrition major at the local uni invited Dave and I to a beef tasting. Beef! They’re wanting tasting notes and the like, and I think there might be local beef involved. I’m not a huge beef eater but it’s hard to pass up almost any tasting opportunity. Unless it was caviar or something.

Cleanse: Day One

April 23, 2012

The terms are as follows.

None of these:

  • Dairy
  • Chicken/Beef/Pork/Most meats except fish
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee/Caffeine
  • Sugar and related sweets
  • Wheat and bread

The protein comes in the form of fish, tofu, and legumes. Tea, water, and almond milk are in order. Juices are fine, too. Lots of greens and vegetables, plus fruit and alternative sweeteners, in sparse quantities. I still haven’t decided about eggs.

This cleansing comes after three weeks in Edmonton, eating far more packaged food than I am used to and eating in ways I’m not used to. I’ve messed up my digestion, it seems, and I’m also having heartburn, which I never, ever get. Enough is enough. I would like to feel better!

And how do I feel after day one? Interesting, to say the least.

In the morning it wasn’t nearly as hard as I excepted to replace my usual coffee with 1 cup of dandelion root tea–and then I had another cup of raspberry tea later at work. No headache! I’m shocked and delighted.

I had also a smoothie made up with coconut milk (the kind thinned to a milk consistency, not the canned, super fatty kind), blueberries, and raspberries. Very simple but very good. The frozen bits of the berries were frustrating both me and my blender, so maybe I should think to let them defrost overnight in the fridge if I’m to have it tomorrow morning.

For lunch, I had a bean salad, made up of four beans (Jacob’s cattle, Great Northern beans, black beans, and kidney beans), green pepper, celery, tomatoes, and seasoned with lemon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was lovely, and the boys were impressed with it too! It was really quite satisfying.

Later in the evening, Dave sauteed scallops in just a touch of oil and seasoned with pepper, and I had some lemon juice to dress it as well. It was going to be root vegetables for the side that I’d had in the crock pot since 9:00 this morning but apparently they’re cut terribly thick and 9 hours just wasn’t long enough! So I put them on low and it’ll have to be for lunch tomorrow. I made a ton of the salad so we had more of that on the side.

I was still craving something sweet, and I just didn’t feel like an apple. So I tried this recipe for date-almond-coconut balls from this lady’s food blog, which is a lovely blog. She eats the way I often would like to incorporate more into my life. This recipe took all of five minutes to make and features no dairy, eggs, sugar, or gluten.

The pros:

I feel absolutely full! I usually can snack and snack and snack and still don’t feel satiated, but it’s 8:40pm and I don’t have any desire to eat anything. I am quite thirsty so I do have my water at my side. I could stand to drink a bit more of it.

The cons:

I’m a little tired. I think that might be the lack of caffeine. I did a 1/2 hour yoga session which felt great; it was one that worked my lower body, especially my hips, and I need more of those. But during the last part, shivasna, I completely zonked and napped for maybe 20 minutes! I never do that.

—-

For tomorrow, I’m going to have the smoothie again for breakfast, maybe add some flax and hemp to it to boost its benefits. Another cup of dandelion tea would be good. It’ll be the veggies for lunch. Sometime with tofu for dinner. But what?

Dave has been very supportive. For lunch and breakfast, we generally do things separately, sometimes the same lunch though. And he’s happy to have the same dinners as I’ve been making. This isn’t too terribly different than what we normally do, and he understands my need for it right now.

Fidget

July 6, 2011

I was never scared to go to school. I remember very distinctly my mother telling me to not fidget in class, to remain very quiet and still, and always listen to my teacher. Given how antsy I was as a five year old, she started prepping me months before that fateful September.

And this is not the cool month of September, nor is it school. This is July, it is bloody hot outside, and I sweat badly enough, let alone deal with the first day nerves that are associated with a new job.

I quit my previous job as a barista, traded it in for a pay cut and hopefully fantastic experiences at a bakery in the next town over.

Her website is fantastic. Drool.

The family owned business is everything I love: high values, high quality, highly local, very small. I don’t want to lose this opportunity. I feel more nervous coming to this job that I have in a long time.

I bake for friends and family all the time. I get high praise. This is totally different. I’m walking into a bakery that prides itself on making high quality, artisan European breads, pastries, and cakes–and lots of them. This is what I said I wanted to do. I still do. But I never thought of how gut-wrenching the idea would be on my first day.

In my interview with the owner of the bakery, she told me, “Impress me. I want to see what you can do.” I’m afraid all I can do right now is pace, bite my fingernails, drink coffee, and fidget with my purse, making sure I have everything I need in there. And so I’m five again. Nothing has changed. Still fidget.

Yesterday, on my carpool ride home, my coworker and I stopped at a corner farm (Noggins, if you’re in the NS area).

I don’t get to go there much, to be honest. I ride a bike or carpool, and if I carpool, I don’t ask for favours like stopping off at a particular place to pick up something unless it’s dire straits. The Farmer’s Market here is every Saturday, and guess when I work? Every Saturday. My boyfriend goes for me and we get all our veggies and meat there, but I definitely miss the social interaction, and the beautiful way the vegetables and fruits are displayed, with such pride and care. Not like at the grocery store, where I have to painstakingly analyse every tag and bag to make sure it’s from Atlantic Canada – at least. Else, I don’t buy it. It sucks sometimes. I don’t buy bananas, oranges, avocados, and other such fruits that I love. And for those that say, “Oh my god, how can you not buy bananas? They are such a good source of potassium!”

You know, there are many other sources of potassium–and every other vitamin and mineral, in fact–that you can find in vegetables and fruits that grow well in temperate climates.

It’s not an easy step to take, cutting out tropical fruits, because now we group apples and bananas together as if they were from the same group. They’re not. Oranges used to be a once-a-year treat for children, only at Christmastime. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them. I love them. But I don’t feel right.

(Sidenote: I just about died when my boyfriend and I went to Malaysia and Taiwan. In the latter, there was a fruit man who spoke no English and we spoke little Mandarin, but we still managed to get fantastic fruits from him almost daily. The exceptions were when he fell asleep while watching his little T.V. he had hooked up outside.

In Malaysia–Kota Kinabalu, more specifically–they had every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine, many that I’d never seen before, and plenty. The young girls who worked at the reception in our hostel thought we were insane when we’d return from the Filipino market with armloads of fruit and a knife from the dollar store to cut it all up and eat it for supper.)

Night Market in Malaysia

I guess my point is… this is how I feel food should be enjoyed: in season, in the place where it is originally grown. I’m not opposed to say, growing tomatoes in Canada even though they’re originally grown in hotter, Mediterranean climates. But I don’t want to eat one in Canada that’s from Mexico, the U.S., or further. They sell basil at the grocery store that’s grown in Israel, packaged in Ontario, and shipped to Nova Scotia. I don’t even want to think about adding up those miles.

And back to my Noggins trip. I was talking with my coworker about whatever we were talking about, and we both stopped mid-sentence when we saw one of the first stands in the corner market: strawberries. They are finally in season, and they sold for $3.75/quart. I bought two, and have almost finished off one already at home. They were grown in Port Williams, which is less than 10 kilometres from my home. And my god, they were delicious.

Mmm, all I could want after a long day at work would be chocolate. Dark chocolate.

(Ahem… of course, after a nutritious meal of chicken pita wraps loaded with vegetables and tzatziki on the side. Seriously though, I did, I promise. I have to start eating better after that trip to my Mom’s, she has nothing but bad-for-me food around the house. I’m back on the healthy stuff and this was delicious. I also smothered mine in hot and sweet mustard, which I just discovered this week–where has it been all my life? But don’t worry, I avoided mixing it directly with the tzatziki. That would probably be gross.)

But back to the chocolate. This chocolate in particular:

I'm surprised the chocolatey goodness lasted long enough for me to take a photo.

To the left is the dark chocolate peppered with candied ginger, and to the left the inferior milk chocolate with roasted hazelnuts. The latter I brought home for my boyfriend. Clearly I could not resist on the dark chocolate, as it was already half gone when I took the photo.

Before all those in fervent support for milk chocolate come out with their pitchforks, here me out: you are wrong. Sure, milk chocolate is fantastic for combining some lovely flavours (see hazelnuts above, and also, peanut butter, strawberries, and other decadent treats I don’t even want to think about), but I dare you to try and not gorge yourself if given the opportunity.

Dark chocolate is infinitely more complex than its counterparts. It is the femme fatale of all chocolate, tempting and rich, but only allowing its admirers a few bites before they feel satiated. But while they might not have more in this particular moment, they will always remember the experience. And that will lead them to yet another love affair, same time next week.

I can justify it because it’s healthy. Sort of.

And don’t get me started on white chocolate. I’ve been known to cheat on dark chocolate with high quality white every now and then, but at the end of the day, it’s not the real thing. (I have found two Facebook groups agreeing that “White Chocolate is Gross” with a combined total of 22 people, so it must be true.)

The only thing that can top this love affair is to finish it off with a glass of red. Too bad Nova Scotia doesn’t make great reds all that often. But I drink them anyway. Damn you, conscience.