Friday, November 22, 2013

My 7 Day Juicing Experience


It started when a passionate juicer coworker of mine was working on my computer.  We got to talking about juicing because talking about computers would be boring.  He has done a couple of 60 day juice fasts.  The first fast was due to a bet on who could lose the most weight in the IT department here at work.  Funny how that works--like my vegan friend who became vegan on a bet and chose it as his lifestyle.  Good for them.  My coworker did his research and was filling me in on details.  I got really interested in giving it a try.  I said, “Why not? Sounds like fun…”  Okay, I didn’t say “sounds like fun,” but I wanted to challenge myself to try it.

Before the Cleanse
 
I've never seen the show,
but these BPA 32 oz bottles were
on clearance for $7 each!
I choose to call it a cleanse versus a fast or a diet.  I wanted to focus on cleaning my system out and starting fresh for the holidays of gorging and feasting.  My goal was not to lose weight or choose to do this longer than 7 (ish) days.  Heck no was I going to do this for 60 days.  I love food too much.  I love mac n cheese, garlic bread, broccoli, tacos, chicken.  Oh, sorry, getting off track.  Moving along, I read more of my coworker’s blog (which can be found here) and glanced over Joe Cross’s Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead website.  I printed recipes and made a grocery list and borrowed my mom’s Magic Bullet with her juicer attachment (not the regular magic bullet).  I talked to the husband about it and let him know I was interested in giving this a try.  He must have been taking the crazy pills that night because he said he would accompany me in this juice cleanse adventure.  Nevertheless, we were in it together and I appreciated that support.  Plus it was nice I didn’t have to juice while making dinner for him.  Not that I always have to make dinner for him.  He’s a big boy and this is modern times.  He can make his own food.  Sorry, off topic again. 
The week before, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah for a conference (I’ll work on that blog post next!) and gorged on yummy meals.  Mostly vegan ones, but again more on that in another post.  I also drank a lot of bourbon.  Don’t tell my acupuncturist that though.  When I got home, the next day I ate Indian food for lunch (naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and some rice… oh so yummy!!) since I didn’t have anything to bring and knowing the husband was probably not going grocery shopping while I was gone.  I wonder what he ate all week?  Then after the gym, I visited our local Costco (one of three within a 10 mile radius of where we live) on my way home to check on my grocery list for juicing!

·         Apples
·         Carrots

·         Spinach

·         Kale

·         Strawberries

·         Blueberries too expensive

·         Raspberries

·         Celery

·         Cucumbers

·         Grapefruit

·         Oranges

·         Lemons

·         Bell peppers

·         Watermelon

·         Pineapple

·         Jalapenos, habaneros

We got home, went through my print of recipes and got to juicing for the next day!

During the Cleanse
I felt like the first few days were maybe the 2nd toughest.  Just getting over the fact that juice is all I get throughout the day and thinking “how is this going to keep me full all day?”  I don’t know if I just psyched myself out or what, but even after working out on my lunch those days I didn’t feel so bad.  Day 4 I felt great.  I even got complimented on looking good that day.  I felt my skin was less oily, I wasn’t as bloated, I didn’t have as much gas (TMI?  We’re all friends here now), and I wasn’t falling asleep at my computer in the afternoons.  I thought, “Ok, not bad.  I can do this!”  Then Day 5 came…

It was a Saturday and we had decided to go to the beach to get some exercise and walk from Balboa Pier to the Newport Beach Pier.  Something we have done numerous times before.  However, since we took Friday night off juicing for the following day, we didn’t have anything in our stomachs except water.  BAD MOVE.  I couldn’t even make it all the way to the pier just knowing we had to walk back.  I was starving and getting lightheaded and my head started to hurt (enter sad face here).  We stopped by Mother’s to get a small 12 oz juice to share and I took one sip and almost threw up.  It was disgusting!  It was called Beet Me Up which has a carrot base, beets, parsley, and garlic.  I usually love beets roasted… and when I am chewing them.  But in juice form with garlic?  It was too weird for me.  Of course, the flavor grew on Tim and he had the rest.  We got home, my stomach still growling and my head still spinning.  Unfortunately since we took Friday night off from juicing, we still had to juice for the day.  It felt like eternity before getting something in my stomach.  Sharp pains started poking in me.  Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but you get the idea.  I got cranky and angry and light headed even more.  Finally I got the breakfast juice in me and I bottled up my lunch juice for later.  I felt fine after getting something in me and I learned I will never do that again. 

Day 6 was a challenge as well.  We had San Diego Wild Animal Park tickets and they expired soon so we packed our breakfast and lunch juices along with a juice snack bottle.  My husband is the best because he carried the 2 lunch and snack bottles along with a bottle of water in his backpack all throughout the park.  There were definitely a large number of temptations all around the park: donuts, popcorn, sodas, ice cream, cotton candy and more.  However we stayed strong and didn’t get anything.  We drank our juices for lunch at this Elephant Talk Session thing and all was good.  However by around 3 pm I was definitely getting tired and weak.  It is interesting to recognize the difference when your body feels it’s weak and hungry from the lack of nutrients while juicing versus feeling weak and hungry from not having food to eat throughout the day.  That doesn't make sense... I’m not quite sure how to explain it.  Perhaps as my coworker mentioned, “think of the juice as fuel for your body” and not as something to enjoy or experience.  So during the juicing, I could feel my body needing the fuel to energize myself versus feeling like I need french fries because they sound good. 
Our juices to-go for a day at the Safari Park

Day 7 we made another little mistake.  We juiced a watermelon for breakfast (with basil and lime) and while delicious, I felt like it didn’t have any nutrient substance to keep me going that morning.  I was sluggish and hungry and all I could think about was fooooooood.  I drank my lunch which was mistake #2 that day because it wasn’t a “green juice.”  Instead of the usual greens we used for lunch such as kale and spinach, we used some small sweet bell peppers.  I continued to feel whacked all day with even some light headedness again.  However it could have just been all in my head and I was going crazy knowing 7 days was the minimum I was going to do.  Speaking of, as just mentioned, I knew I wanted to do at least 7 days with the possibility of 8 or 9 total just to get through all the rest of our vegetables and fruits we had purchased.  But by the end of the work day on Day 7, I had had ENOUGH.  I was tired of juicing and so hungry.  I texted my husband and said let’s eat tonight!!!

After the Cleanse
I won’t go into too much detail about the aftermath of not easing into eating solids after 7 days of juicing.  But let’s just say, please don’t do what I did and eat half a burrito after 7 days of cleansing.  You will NOT feel good I promise you that.  For the record though it was not my idea to get a burrito for dinner that night.  Anyway, let’s look at the positive side of things:

·         Ended up losing 8 pounds (let’s remember though weight loss was not the goal)
·         My skin felt smoother and brighter and definitely less oily
·         Didn’t have as bad as breath (or gas for that matter!) as normal
·         Didn’t feel as bloated
·         Had more energy on the days I made the right combination of juices for myself
·         Didn’t have to cook anything for 7 days

 

 Here's a snack I bought from nekter, a trendy juice bar around the corner from my work.  If I could afford buying my juices from here every day, I would a happy camper!















Here are my cons:

·         We went through the fruit and veggies quickly especially not having a high quality juicer (it did the trick though for 7 days).  We went to the grocery store probably around 4 or five times in the 7 days (8 days including the night before for the initial purchases).

·         Some of the juices were gross.

·         The cleaning of fruits and veggies, the prepping, the actual juicing and the cleaning were the worst parts of this whole thing.

Would I do it again?  Yes.  Definitely.  Anytime soon?  No.  Maybe at the beginning of the year to cleanse myself from all the holiday gorges.  Here are a couple of my favorite recipes from the week:

Morning Fruit Juice via http://blog.theproofisinthejuice.org/:

·         1 large grapefruit

·         6 oranges

·         4 apples

·         1 pound of berries (I preferred strawberries while the husband preferred the raspberries
 
Juice these ingredients, strain and bam!  Scrumptious!


Green Lemonade via http://www.rebootwithjoe.com:

·         1 green apple

·         2 cups spinach

·         2 cups kale leaves

·         ½ cucumber

·         4 celery stalks

·         ½ lemon

Juice these ingredients, strain and bam!  Slurp, slurp, slurp!!!

 
Random Thoughts
·         Yes, juice is all I had for 7 days.  No food, no anything else (except supplements)

·         Speaking of supplements, invest in a good trustworthy brand or your big sister will give you sh*t about it (my parents can agree with me there).

·         Don’t tell me you had a smoothie for breakfast and think that’s the same thing.

·         Yes, I did get full off the right combinations of juices (fruit blend for breakfast, green juices for lunch and dinner)

·         Yes, I peed every 25 minutes, but not throughout the night which was nice.  I slept very well too.

·         Day 3 I experienced two very awful and painful “Charley Horses” in the morning.  This was due to not consuming enough water.  I made sure to drink so much water I was peeing every 15 minutes instead.  (I’m exaggerating)

·         The idea of mixing your lunch and dinner juice recipes with spicy peppers to change up the flavor is a great concept.  Executed… not really for me.

·         Double straining the green juices makes it for a much better experience.  No one wants to be slurping up bits and pieces of kale.

A photo of some baseball cookies I made
for a 12 year old birthday boy. 
Random, I know.
 
·         Because I love food so much (the experience of flavors and the act of eating itself along with the social aspects of getting together with friends and family for a meal), I really had to remember whatever I consume is to fuel my body.  My coworker friend told me on the first day—don’t smell the juice just drink it.  You’re not drinking it for enjoyment; you’re drinking it for nourishment and fuel.  So then that got me to think…French fries can be good fuel too right?  J

Disclaimer: If you want to try juicing, please don't use my blog post as real medical advice or anything like that.  I know nothing.  Consult your doctor and all that jazz.

P.S. I saw this today from a buzzfeed.com post and thought it would be fun to share:
 


Image Taken From:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinchirico/things-youre-only-afraid-of-if-you-live-in-los-angeles

 







Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Heart Popcorn Chicken!

I'm going to be honest here.  I want you all to know about my love for popcorn chicken so here is my review for a place that has the best popcorn chicken.  Not Guppy House, not Tapioca Express, not KFC.  haha  Check out my Yelp review for i-Tea.. a Taiwanese street food type place.  I'm not Taiwanese and I'm not an expert on popcorn chicken, but I know what's good.  And it's good here! :)  It's owned by a family who is a part of our dance group and I want to spread the word on how great and scrumptious this place is.  So check it out!



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What are Blueberries Doing in my Mac N Cheese?!

So a couple of Christmas vacations ago, my husband and I drove from the family cabin in Rose Valley, WA to Cannon Beach, OR. It was a dark and stormy night which made it for a scary drive to and from. Because the rain and windy was getting so bad in the evening, we decided to stop and get some dinner hoping everything would calm a little down before heading back to the cabin. We Yelp'd to see what was good around town and came across a restaurant called Castaway Tini Tiki Hut. Um ok, I thought, a tropical themed restaurant in the middle of a cold and stormy little town? Sure, it's a beach town... but ok never mind. Good Yelp reviews=worth a try. In the end, the food and drinks were fantastic and anytime the chef comes out to greet you, that is a sign of a cool place. I approve.

Fast forward to why I'm writing this. Husband got the crab fritters and I got the mac n cheese. But when the dishes of deliciousness came out, there were these mysterious little blue round things sprinkled on top of the food. What is that? I wondered. I took a bite of one and it was a blueberry!? Who in the world puts blueberries on savory dishes?! Well, the chef at Castaway Tini Tiki Hut does and you know what? It totally works!!! Don't knock it until you try it. In fact, we tried it last night.

Blueberries in Pasta.  Who'd have thunk?
We had some friends, Katherine & Brian, over the other night and I made some penne with meat sauce. Well we had another friend, C.J., over last night to help finish the leftovers (sauce is always better the next day right?). I got the recipe from what else? Pinterest (see the recipe here).  And I substituted the ground beef for lean ground turkey.  Boiled up some al dente penne and TA DA!  Pasta with homemade tomato meat sauce.  So easy and simple, yet so delicious and impressive. 

So when our buddy came over last night, the husband washed some blueberries and put a bowl of them on the table.  The boys sprinkled them on their pasta and instantly C.J. loved the combo.  So I encourage you to all sprinkle some blueberries in your pasta and give the flavors a try!  Don't get me wrong, it's totally weird.  But it really does bring the flavor out!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Red White and Blue Transportation Baby Shower

So this happened over the weekend...



An adorable red, white and blue transportation themed baby shower for a dear friend of mine.  These cookies were inspired by the theme from the invitations that were ordered from Etsy

I got the car and the airplane cookie cutter from Sur La Table.  I used Wilton's icing color in red-red, royal blue and sky blue.

Super adorbs!


Summertime Spring Rolls

Last week, as I was planning dinner for the week, I wanted to find some light and healthy recipes to make.  Not only did they need to be light and healthy but the recipes needed to be simple as I did not want to buy a million ingredients to make one night's worth of food.  I know I am not the only that thinks that way.  I was Pinteresting around and came across a picture of shrimp and avocado spring rolls.  I like shrimp.  I like avocado.  I like spring.  I like rolls.  So there you go!

I remember there was a week or so when I was younger when my mom went through a phase of making spring rolls.  I'm not talking like one or two spring rolls, but like we-were-going-to-eat-spring-rolls-for-two-weeks kind of amount.  That's a lot.  And naturally I got soooo sick of them.  Don't get me wrong, they were so delish, there was just too many of them and I needed variety.  Like a steak.  Yummm steak.

Anywho, ingredients for spring rolls are simple and easy to find even at regular grocery stores (as opposed to thinking you must go to an Asian specific store.  Here are the ingredients I included in my spring rolls:

  • cucumbers
  • green leaf lettuce
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • avocados
  • carrots
  • red cabbage
  • cooked shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise
  • dried bean threads, aka vermicelli or rice noodles I think
  • spring roll wrappers
To make spring rolls, it's all about the preparation.  Assembling them is not difficult as long as you don't over stuff them causing the delicate wrappers to rip.  But prepping all the ingredients so they are ready to go is the key!  Slice the cucumbers and avocados, chop the lettuce and herbs, cook the shrimp and slice them in half and to make it easier on me I brought pre-sliced carrots and cabbage that was already shredded. 
As for the rice noodles, I remember my first experience with this weird stuff.  I totally ruined it back in the day when I thought I was suppose to treat it like regular noodles and boil the stuff (think ramen).  However after reading instructions, you're suppose to boil water, then take it off the heat and soak the rice noodles in there for about 5 minutes then drain.  Mix it with some rice vinegar and line it up with the other ingredients on your assembly line.

For the spring roll wrappers, this was my first time working with these as well.  I poured hot water into a glass pie dish and dipped one wrapper at a time to soften it.  See the wrappers are dried, weird and stiff paper thin things that come to life after soaking for about 15 seconds in the hot water.  It was tricky getting them out because the water was so hot it burned my fingers so I had to use chopsticks but then it was too slippery.  Ah, such issues I have.  :)  Just kidding.  Eventually the water cooled down a little to where it was bearable to touch and grab the wrapper out.  I placed it on a piece of parchment paper and started assembling.  Another key to a successful spring roll is not to over fill it.  I'm such the fan of the philosophy "more is better" hence the reason I like all you can eat buffets so much. But if I overfilled the spring roll it would make it quite difficult to roll up and as a result it would just fall apart and that is an epic fail (see pic below).  Ok, not an epic fail, but not good.
After a while, I got the hang of it and make around 12 of them.  I didn't want to bother with a homemade peanut dipping sauce so we got some premade sauce in a jar and added chopped peanuts for additional crunch. 

I plopped them in front of my husband for dinner and after his first bites, he praised how amazing they were and that this was the new most amazing thing I've ever made!!!  I don't remember the old most amazing thing I've ever made.  Oh well.  We devoured almost all of them and managed to stop ourselves from eating the last two so they can be saved for his lunch the next day.  I think next time i will switch out the basil and cilantro and go a more traditional route with mint.  I'd also like to add small slices of chicken with the shrimp.  YUM!
 
 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Feast

Best Dad in the World
Dang, those chicken legs are humongous!
My dad is the best in the world.  No really, he is.  You think your dad is the best?  Well my dad is better.  tee hee.  Thank you dad for all you do for me.  Thank you for killing spiders in the house, thank you for letting me trade cars with you so you can take my car to Frank's for a tune up and oil change, thank you for yummy Costco hot dogs, thank you for installing new toilets in the house when we moved home, thank you for putting up with Tim in the house for two years, and thank you for loving me.  Father's day was a little rough for Tim and I as we are still fighting this darn cold.  But I didn't want to miss celebrating a special day with my daddy.  Mom cooked some Chinese style BBQ ribs and chicken , marinated some cucumbers and cooked rice of course.  I helped grill some zucchinis and squash on their new BBQ! I also had a craving for garlic bread, caprese and fruit popsicles.  Oh, and avocados were on sale so why not?  Dad loves avocados.  So yes, I got all of those too.  Best part is when I asked my mom how she marinated the ribs and chicken her response was (in a Chinese lady accent) "Oh, I use whatever I have.  Kat-sup, soy sauce, oyster sauce, green onion..."  So random.  Maybe I'll look up a recipe for Chinese style ribs.  Anyway, Happy (couple of days later) Father's Day!


Monday, June 17, 2013

It Stinks Being Sick

It's like 7-10 days of awfulness.  My energy has been completely drained out of me and to top that off my taste buds are out of whack!  Luckily, my tasting abilities were around 76% working right Saturday and just in time to take Big B to his first Korean BBQ experience.  For those who haven't been, typically Korean BBQ in Southern CA is a grill yourself all you can eat meat-tastic adventure.  Big B wanted to go somewhere California-y (he already went to In N Out) and what's more California-y than all you can eat?  Thus, we took him to Gen in Tustin.  Located about 6 minutes away from our home, the wait could be up to 2 hours but we got there before noon and it was about a 15-20 minute wait.  YAY!

Big B grilling up some brisket!
We got seated and waiting for us were various banchan or side dishes that included kimchi, pickled daikon (one of my favs), bean sprouts and potato salad (random I know).  Also, a yummy salad and side of white rice balanced my meal with the tons of meat we ordered! 

Here's what we ordered:
Gen Signature Prime Steak
Beef Bulgogi (marinated sliced beef)
Chadol (thin sliced brisket)
Hawaiian Steak (terriyaki marinated and pineapple)
Chicken Bulgogi
Garlic Chicken with Jalapeno Cheese Fondue
Spicy Pork
Mushrooms & Onions

Whoa, when I type that out, that's a lot!  It is so delicious though.  And Gen is awesome because it's only $20 per person!  Sure, in LA my friend Adonis took me to an AYCE KBBQ lunch for $12.99 but still $20 at Gen is not bad considering it's so close.  The service is really great and the atmosphere is really fun.  A shower is a must after eating here because your clothes, hair, skin will all smell like KBBQ afterwards!  However I would find that quite enjoyable!!