Iced Mocha

Had a craving for some Honey Dew Donuts iced mocha today, but when I opened my wallet a few moths flew out and that was it. So I took a shot at making my own and it came out ok. Wanted to capture the “recipe” because I have a mind like a sieve and if I try to do this again I’ll forget.

1) Made coffee in the french press. 4 scoops of fairly generic Folgers ground coffee.
2) 2 packets of Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate hot cocoa mix
3) 4 tablespoons of sugar
4) 12 oz boiling water
5) ~10 ice cubes

Combined hot cocoa mix, sugar and hot water in a pitcher while the coffee brewed. Got that all dissolved, then added the coffee. Mixed it up and added the iced cubes (just to jumpstart the cooling process). The coffee was made strong so that the iced cubes wouldn’t weaken things too much.

After a couple hours in the fridge, serve it over ice and add a couple ounces of milk to each glass.

Results:
It’s decent, but I think the coffee could be stronger and/or more of it compared to the other ingredients.

Yoga For Regular Guys

OK, so I have to admit I bought Yoga for Regular Guys (Yoga Babes Included!) half jokingly. I was looking in the yoga section for some kind of basic book that’d maybe teach me a few moves to help me get un-kinked. I swear as I get older I feel more stiff and brittle every morning.

Anyway all the books looked rather, ah, effeminate. But here was a yoga book written by a professional wrestler with a foreward by Rob Zombie and full of pics of hotties in yoga poses. How could I resist!? (I did end up buying a more ‘serious’ yoga book as well…I’ll be reviewing that at a later date.)

I sat down this afternoon and read it cover to cover and damned if I didn’t find myself getting motivated. Basically its a yoga workout aimed at both getting you stronger and more flexible. Diamond Dallas Page starts with the story about having mangled his back and being told he’d never wrestle again, and how his wife got him to try yoga, which led to him eventually getting back into the ring.

In addition to the exericises we get plenty of anecdotes and ‘real guy’ sexual innuendo about getting yourself a flexible yoga babe, and the models are an even mixture of hot babes and ‘regular guys’ demonstrating the moves. It’s all pretty good natured fun, but the workout seems real enough. I’ll let you know because I’m going to give it a go…

The book is a bit ‘padded’ in that the exercises are illustrated in both left and right handed positions and so forth, but at the same time this makes it easy to follow along without losing your place, so that seems like a wash.

No word yet on whether the regime is effective, but it was certainly an entertaining read, and yes, fairly inspirational. I’ll report back after I’ve done the beginner routine a couple of times.

Detox Battle Results

The Raw Food Detox Diet  

VS

 

The Great American Detox Diet

When I first came up with the idea of comparing these two books, I was a little worried they’d be so similiar as to be interchangeable. Boy, was I wrong. I also kind of assumed that Alex Jamieson would be a little bit whacky, being hooked up with the Super-Size Me guy. But if either of the books is more ‘out there’ it’d have to be Natalia Rose’s.

The basics of the diets offered in these books is fairly similar: more fresh foods, no processed foods, no or very little meat. That’s probably not rocket science, I guess. The biggest places the two differ seems to be the topic of soy. Rose is strongly against soy products and Jamieson features it frequently in her recipies. So why does Rose hate soy?

Because its mucusy. The main emphasis of Rose’s book is eating foods that leave your stomach quickly. “Sticky” foods like soy, she says, gum up your insides and slow things down, allowing food to ferment or harden inside of you. A big part of her plan is also figuring out what you can eat with what. You can have as much fruit as you want, as long as you eat it alone, and stop at least half an hour before eating something else. Why? Because, she tells us, fruit takes about half an hour to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine. Veggies go with almost everything and…hell, I can’t even remember the other combinations. I found trying to figure out what I could eat with what was too complicated and too annoying to go with.

Also some of her science seems pretty suspect. You don’t want to eat acid and alkaline food together because the stomach releases acidic digestive juices to digest the alkaline food and alkaline juices to digest the acid food, and if it has to release both at once they’ll neutralize each other. Huh? Who ever heard of stomach alkaline? Also she warns us not to drink too much water with food because it’ll dilute the digestive juices and make your system less efficient. And if you eat just one big meal in a day, make it dinner, which goes against all common folklore I’ve ever heard. Why? Because when you go to sleep your whole body can focus on digesting the meal.

The plan is, first, to eat lots of raw foods (no big surprise, given the title) because of their natural enzymes (which break down in cooking). That much makes sense to me. Second, we should attempt to keep as light a load as possible on the digestive system, so your body can get digestion done quickly. The theory is that it’ll take all the energy it was spending on digestion and use it for taking care of self-repair in other parts of the body. That, to me, sounds a bit far fetched.

Jamieson, on the other hand, is a lot more straight forward. Drink more water, and cut out all the things we already know are bad for us. Sugar, fat, caffeine, and so on. Cut out processed foods completely. No white flour. Lots of whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruit, and so on. She includes no meat in any of her recipies but suggests that organic meat now and then is ok.

Her 8 week system has you going cold turkey on a new thing every week, except for week 1. Week 1 is all about drinking a lot more water (but not from plastic bottles because they’re toxic, she says. Ummm, ok….). Week 2 is getting rid of refined sugar, and she’s kind enough to realize it’s going to be hard for a lot of people. Week 3 is caffeine, and so on.

Contrast this ‘item by item’ system with Rose’s 5 step plan. She has you adjusting your eating across the board. At the first step (step 5, we’re counting down), for instance, she tells you not to worry about a morning cup of coffee because you’ve got so much self-repair to get through that a cup of coffee isn’t going to make much difference at this phase. And though the title is about “Raw” she acknowledges that many people will never get to the 100% raw stage. But by step 2 and 1, life is getting pretty weird for the person following this diet. Rose strongly urges monthly visits to a colonic therapist to flush out the toxins that are loosening up from the sides of your colon. Fun stuff. And basically fasting every day until mid-afternoon, or at most having some ‘green lemonade.’

So which plan am I following? Mostly Jamieson’s. It just makes more sense to me, and its much more manageable, really. I’m taking bits of Rose when I can fit it in, or sometimes as a way of ‘cheating’ on the Jamieson food plan. For instance Rose has us indulging ourselves with a bit of 74% chocolate now and then. I’m all for that! And I’m eating a lot more things raw. Like corn on the cob. I just shuck it and eat it, and actually its pretty good, but once I bit into it I remembered that from playing hide and seek in cornfields as a kid (stealing an ear now and then for snacks). I’m buying raw nuts instead of roasted. Avoiding peanut butter (another of her no-nos) and replacing it with almond butter. Cutting way down on dairy. Yogurt and a bit of cheese, although Rose would frown upon either of those.

But mostly I’m on the Jamieson plan. More water, a lot less refined sugar (I can’t in all honest say none yet; I haven’t been able to give up crystalized ginger, for instance) and in particular no high fructose corn syrup and or other heavily chemicalized sweeteners. No caffeine, no soda. No processed foods, very little animal fat. I haven’t cut out alcohol when going out, and in general if I go out for dinner I eat pretty freely. I give a bit of thought about which choice is more healthy (or least unhealthy, as it more often turns out), but I’m not going to sit at a Mexican restaurant drinking water and eating a salad when my friends are into burritos and margaritas. Life is too short.

So what have I found out? First, eating healthy is freaking expensive. My food bills have gone through the roof. I finally had to admit I couldn’t afford to eat all organic fruits and vegetables; they’re just too expensive. I also have to shop at least every other day, as opposed to the every other week that I used to.

Second, my body is in some kind of a shock state. Do I feel better? Honestly, no. I feel worse. I have a lot of stomach/GI issues that I’ll spare you the gory details of. I’m hoping that this is just an acclimation phase. Rose in particular warns us that we might feel like shit for a little while as our body adjusts. In my case, at least, she’s right.

Third is that I have lost some weight, while not exercising much at all (been too damned hot). Not a lot, but a bit. That’s a good thing.

Four, juicers are noisy, messy, and churn through a LOT of produce. They feel very wasteful to me. A huge colander of washed fresh vegetables gets reduced to a couple of glasses of juice.

But the most interesting thing that I’ve found out is how much impact some foods have on us. After about 2 weeks of no caffeine and eating better, Saturday morning I binged and had a large iced coffee with an extra shot of espresso, and a couple (OK, OK, three!!) donuts from Dunkin Donuts. And my god, was I wired for the rest of the day. I honestly felt very much like I was on speed (don’t ask me how I know how that feels) and really didn’t start feeling ‘normal’ until Sunday. Once the speediness wore off, I just felt… gross. Greasy or something. Donuts of course are loaded with trans-fat, and I felt like I’d been dunked in it.

So anyway, back to the Detox Battle. Who wins? I have to give it to Alex Jamieson. The Great America Detox Diet: 8 Weeks to Weight Loss and Well-Being makes sense, is easy (technically easy…willpower is something else) to follow and an interesting read. Rose’s The Raw Food Detox Diet : The Five-Step Plan for Vibrant Health and Maximum Weight Loss is also an interesting, sometimes fascinating book but I still doubt some (ok, lots) of the science behind it. And its hard to follow the plans. You end up obsessing over food. “Let’s see, it’s 11:20. I can eat this peach as long as I eat it in the next 10 minutes…I’m not really hungry yet, but if I don’t eat it, I might get hungry at 11:40 and then I’ll have to delay lunch… hmmm.”

By the way, despite the titles, neither book really concentrates on losing weight, and neither is a “diet” in the most common sense of the word. They’re more books about changing your lifestyle and life-long eating habits. Its a big committment. I’m interested to see how long I can keep this up.

“Green Lemonade” Pt 2

Today I followed my intended recipe (see prior post). The only other change is that I realized yesterday I used red kale, and today I used green kale. WTF is kale, anyway? What else is it used for?

Anyway, the results were much better. First, I got a lot more juice. I filled up the juice catcher to the point where it started to overflow just as I finished (oops). Second, it took a lot less time to do the actual juicing. Celery is a perfect food to juice because you can push/guide the other foods into the juicer with the stalks. Third, the actual juice is less challenging. It’s a much lighter green and tastes vaguely of V8 (that must be the celery). This batch isn’t as limey as the first was. which I guess makes sense seen I got more jucie but used the same number of limes. But it also isn’t bitter. The ginger flavor is still too subtle. So probably next time, another (or a bigger) lime and more ginger.

The downside of all this is that I can’t see myself having time to go through all this on a weekday. At best, I could juice the night before. Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, though. I had the tail end of yesterday’s juice in the afternoon and the flavor had improved quite a lot. I guess, like a good stew, it needs time for the flavors to blend.

“Green Lemonade”

So, I read the Raw Food Detox Diet, and one of the staples of it is “Green Lemonade”. Suffused with an enthusiasm to detox, I ordered a juicer from Amazon. It arrived yesterday. I washed all the parts and set it up, and luckily opted to wait until today to use it because the thing is freaking NOISY. I doubt my neighbors would’ve appreciated hearing the equivalent of a lawn mower from my apartment late at night!!

So I just made my first batch of “Green Lemonade” and while I realize this isn’t going to be a very interesting post for most, I thought a record would help me, at least.

Into the juicer went:
1 head of Romaine Lettuce
5 stalks of Kale
2 small limes, whole
2 large apples, whole at first but ended up having to cut them
fresh ginger, about a 2″ chunk

Now mind you, this was a heaping big pile of produce, at least in my worldview. I ended up filling the quart juice catcher maybe half full, and lots of that was foam. I really hoped for all that, I’d have lots of juice. I can see where this could get expensive…

The juice is a dark green. Not very appealing to look at. I raised it to my mouth. The smell was of fresh cut grass (if you’ve had wheat grass juice you know what I mean). I love to smell cut grass but drinking it…well, let’s get this over with. I sipped.

The good news is that it didn’t *taste* like fresh cut grass!! It didn’t taste entirely good either, but a handful of ice cubes to chill it down improved the flavor a lot. It’s a little too bitter. Now, the recipe called for a lemon, unpeeled, and I used 2 small limes, and they weren’t very good limes at that (they’re the ones I skipped over when I was cutting wedges for my Corona!!). So probably the rind< ->juice ratio wasn’t very good. Also of course Romaine lettuce is fairly bitter, too. And I *love* the taste of ginger and it was a bit too subtle for me.

So next time I’m going to try the recipe this way:

1 head of celery (easier to clean, less bitter, and probably more juicy)
5 stalks of Kale (the juice from this stuff is almost black, its so green!)
2 better limes (at least partially peeled — I just prefer lime to lemon)
2 large apples (quartered. The juicer manufacturer brags that you can use whole apples, but mine didn’t fit, and even cut in half they jammed. Plus I was glad I cut them because the core of one to them was pretty funky and I’m really glad I cut it out.)
fresh gingers, about a 3″ chunk

I wonder how adding a cucumber would effect it? (I’m thinking of ways to maximize the juice quantity for the amount of work that goes into making the stuff.)

Detox Battle

Astute observers will notice I have 2 ‘detox’ lifestyle/recipie books in the sidebar. I’ve already finished The Raw Food Detox Diet and I’ve started in on The Great American Detox Diet. I’m totally new to this ‘detox’ concept, and totally lost. I figured if I could read a couple of books and compare them, maybe someone else can learn from my trial and error.

Natalia Rose is the nutrition director for The Frederic Fekkai Spa, while Alex Jamieson is perhaps best known as the fiance of Morgan Spurlock, the guy who did the documentary Super Size Me. The system in her book is the same one she used to ‘detox’ Morgan after he came off his 100% McDonald’s diet.

Being one person, I can’t really compare the results of following the programs in the two books, but I can at least give my thoughts as to what parts seem manageable and what parts might seem a bit extreme to me.