Archive for November, 2011

Should I be a Juicer? The Food Saga continues…

The other night, I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” on Netflix.  I had been hearing from a lot of people that this movie was some kind of amazing experience, and people who had seen it were suddenly changed from the pizza-consuming, fast food addicts I had known them to be into vegans who lived mostly on the juice concoctions they made from their shiny new juicers.  For that kind of transformation to happen, this movie must be pretty stellar, I thought.  It needs to be watched.  So, after the husband left for his night-shift job, I put the kids to bed and got myself all settled with the ‘mote.  I was ready to be persuaded and educated.

I was already mostly on board with the vegan thing as it was, what with my lactose/gluten intolerances, my newly vegetarian husband, and the piles of books I had been checking out from the library about making myself into the healthiest person on the planet.  From Eat Right for Your Type to Sugar-Busters, I began collecting enough food information that I could tinker and toy with my diet for the rest of my life.

The piles of books by my bed can make walking in the dark challenging

*With my A negative blood type, meat and dairy were making me sick – I should be a vegetarian.

*Warm lemon water in the morning would clean out my kidneys.

*Pineapple would speed up my metabolism.

*I was a sugar addict who was totally enslaved to the roller coaster that was my blood-glucose level.

*My lack of a gallbladder meant that high fat foods needed to be given up for good unless I wanted to have shooting abdominal pains for a few hours.

*My TMJ muscle spasms were making me re-think the amount of coffee and chocolate I was eating each day.

I found there was a book for every ailment I had, every kind of food adaptation I wanted to make, and every mood I was in.  There were unlimited amounts of things to learn, and I spent a lot of my time trying most of them out.

But really, when it was all boiled down, what I really learned from reading all those books and watching all those films is this: if you have enough time and are looking for a project to consume lots of mental energy, start looking into improving your diet.  It’s a never-ending balancing act between knowing things and actually doing things, with a dash of emotional attachment sprinkled on top.   For most people, women especially, you can’t usually just say “Eat the correct foods and be nourished”.  This whole dance begins between you and your self-esteem, and deprivation, and how you feel about your worth, and the always present shame spiral that comes from not following your new plan to a T.  It can be very binding, if you let yourself get really bogged down in the “rules”.  I had to go all the way down that road to realize it was probably better to get off of it altogether and give myself a giant break.

So anyway, all of this background is to say that I have been a target audience member for healthy eating styles for a hell of a long time, and I while I was open to learning about the benefits of juicing, I was reluctant to put my all behind another fad that would be unsustainable.

I watched the movie that night, and it was pretty good.  I got the message loud and clear, I believed in all the things that Joe Cross was doing, and I even called my mother to ask her if she still had her juicer stashed in the back of her cupboard.  There were parts of the movie that were pretty heavy on the cheese factor, it was a little too fast and free with the cartoon depictions (a la Super Size Me), but he seemed really sincere and I could identify with his desire to be healthy and free of his medical ailments.  He seemed to be genuine in his desire to make people healthier, and the premise of the vegan eating style made sense to me.  It essentially boils down to eating all fruits and vegetables (around a 70-30 veggie-to-fruit ratio), mostly from juices.  He spent the entire documentary drinking only juices for 60 days, and of course lost a shit-ton of weight.  After looking at his website, it looks like he does have plans for people who aren’t going to be on it for so long, and for people who want to eat actual food along with the juices.

So why am I so hesitant?  The juicer is here, mom brought it over and we tried it out.   I found out that carrot juice really stains.

Maybe it’s because the holidays are coming, and we all know it’s a dumb-ass move to diet around the holidays.  Maybe it’s because I know I will get through the “reboot” just fine, but I’m worried about what kind of crazy behavior I will have once it’s over.  Somehow I see myself diving into a pile of donuts – not even the gluten-free kind.  From the posts of the people on the reboot, they say all the food cravings end after 4 days, and that they have never felt so in control of their eating.  Maybe that’s the part that’s holding me back…it’s all starting to lean a little too closely to eating disorder-ville for my comfort.  Am I crazy for thinking that?  I mean, on the one hand, I can totally understand the correctness of eating just fruits and veggies for a short period of time to clean out your body and help get rid of all the junk we have clogged up in our systems.  But I’m getting a little hung up on the idea that they should be juiced only.  Why am I throwing away all the fiber and cellulose that is left in the bottom of my juicer bin?

Maybe I am laying some of my own food struggles on this movie, and it really has nothing to do with this guy’s food plan.  There was a scene where he is maybe a week in to the juicing plan, and he goes into a pizzeria.  He stands in the doorway, juice in hand, and talks about the smells of the pizza shop – the dough, the cheese, the meats – with a wistful look on his face.  You can tell he is longing for a slice.  He finally says, “I better get out of here”, and leaves.  That scene may as well have come from the 18,000 diets I have put myself on, and unhealthy way that I treated myself all those years, the cycle of deprivation followed by bingeing.  But that was just me, my way of making food an emotional issue, and it really has nothing to do with this man or his movie.

Maybe I will try adding juices into my diet, for a meal a day.  Maybe I can try to go on a full reboot once the holidays are over.  In the meantime, I probably just need to get back to working on treating my body well – it wasn’t a pretty sight around here over Halloween.   Besides, if I never started using the juicer, after all, I would never have known that I really like carrot juice with fresh ginger and a squirt of lemon.  It can’t be that bad.

Yeah, my ass is jiggling.

There was a point about a year ago that the thought of running within 200 feet of another person, car, or opinionated dog would have kept me indoors, wishing that I was the kind of person who was brave enough to run in public without turning into a self-conscious nutjob.

I’m not really sure what happened, but I seem to be over it now.  Maybe it was running in a real race and seeing that it wasn’t completely populated with men who seemed to be made up of only muscle and nylon shorts.  Maybe it was the bit of weight I lost and realizing I look kind of okay in my lycra running pants (and it didn’t hurt that my husband was totally okay with having me wear them around the house).  Maybe it was just that I liked being out there so much that I figured anyone who was going to judge my-less-than-perfect body could just suck it.  Accomplishing something, even just one of my regular weekly runs, is a real boost to anyone’s day.  So what if there are still jiggly parts of me on display for all the cars passing by?  I think I managed to get over being self-conscious because I was running, and they were riding.  In something with an engine.  And protective windows.  And a heater.

No matter how many parts of me have more jiggle than firm muscle, I’m still out there dealing with the wind pushing me back, the sun shining in my eyes, my stash of kleenex balled up in my shirt pocket, and getting up and over those damn hills.  So now when they drive by, instead of imagining all the shitty things I used to think they were thinking about me, I imagine they are thinking God, it’s cold out today. That is a really big hill.  I wonder if she has been running up the whole thing?

And yes.  Yes I have.