Actually, I’m writing this on Day 3, reflecting on Day 2, and let me just tell you: I’m tired. I haven’t had coffee for the last three mornings and UGH I WANT SOME SO BAD!! I don’t want to complain, though, as the past few days have been replete with bad news. In a way, I’m grateful, because it reminds me not to dwell on my self-inflicted exhaustion. There are plenty of reasons to engage more fully in the world, to feel compassion for folks suffering under unjust conditions, and the rumblings in my tummy do not qualify. What I’m doing is not about suffering. I am choosing to spend a week focusing fully on what I put into my body, and it’s important for me to remind myself that each day is a gift and a step towards living a fuller, healthier life. I just typed fuller and thought about eating an entire pizza.
Day 1: So Far, So Good
It was a long night of no sleep for me leading up to Day 1 of my cleanse. This was due in part to the fact that Ryan took me out for a belated birthday meal, during which I ate bone marrow, octopus, trout, five different kinds of cheese, three different kinds of liquor, wine, and a dessert which consisted of a dark chocolate crust underneath whipped vanilla custard, topped with salted caramel. I ate it with a spoon. A fitting end to normalcy, no? Suffice it to say I was enjoying myself so much it took me a while to fall asleep. And before I even ate breakfast I had to pack Ryan his lunch–only because those were the conditions to him doing the cleanse with me.
Condition 1: he still gets to drink coffee and have whatever he wants for breakfast.
Condition 2: I make him lunch and dinner every day.
Seeing as that wasn’t all that different than our normal habits, I agreed (it’s way better to do these with a buddy!). So I got up extra-early and made him lunch: curried lentils and rice, sauteed spinach with lemon, and sliced radish and carrots with a couple rice cakes on the side. I made extra for me, too, so it all worked out in the end.
Is anyone else getting excited for the upcoming week? I know I am. I spent the morning at the market stocking up on vegetables, rice, fruit, and juice for the week. My refrigerator is completely stuffed. I’ve assembled recipes, steamed up a batch of rice, organized the pantry….and cooked myself an appropriate final brunch.
In preparation for this little project of mine (starting Monday!), I needed to do a little organizing. It’s usually my habit to scribble down recipes on whatever scraps of paper I can find, but luckily this time I have these adorable little notecards to record cleanse ideas (thank you, sweet Ryan!):
Armed with a template, I started with the recipes I jotted down during my last round of cleansing last year. Wait–where are they? Oh, that’s right, they’re in my storage unit. In Michigan. Crap. Onto scouring the internet…
About two or three years ago, when I was still waitressing regularly, a bunch of my coworkers decided it was time to do a little spring cleaning: from the inside out. Someone had read somewhere that the “Master Cleanse” was a healthy, no-fuss way to kickstart your natural mechanisms and boost your energy, mental function, and overall well-being. If you’ve never heard of it, read all about it here. Essentially, it’s a juice fast that typically lasts ten days and involves, ahem, flushing the toxins in your body out the back door, if you know what I mean. You drink lots of the special spicy lemonade, which is a mixture of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and filtered water, and you also do what’s known as a “salt water flush” daily. It can get a little gross but it’s suppose to be very good for you. At least, that’s what we reasoned.
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It was my birthday on Monday. Yep, the big 2-9. It honestly felt a little anticlimactic in essence, because what good does it do you to be 29? I just want to be in my 30s already! I’m ready to be done with my 20s! I’m sure I’ll look back and wonder why I was …
Orange Almond Cake
After my dinner party the other night, I had a few blood oranges and almonds left over from my dessert platter and wanted to put them in a cake. I haven’t baked a cake in ages, mostly because I would have to eat the entire thing myself, and, while that does sound exciting, I actually know I’d just get sick of it after about two slices and end up throwing it away. But I changed my tune when I thought of a citrus kissed, nutty, gluten-free cake that I could eat for breakfast or dessert–and also I guess I just decided I didn’t mind the idea of eating an entire cake alone. I also had a potluck to attend, at which I knew a few guests would need some gluten-free treats. Perfect excuse.
I’ve been traveling a lot lately, back to Michigan last month and NYC last weekend. This means a lot of eating out, and a lot less eating sweet. Well, a lot less writing eating sweet. But I have spent a lot of time walking, and enjoying the sunshine and little buds just starting to bloom. I discovered a little park not far from my apartment and I’ve been walking there almost every day, snapping pictures and catching up on NPR podcasts. (Am I a full-blown yuppie or what?)
My boyfriend doesn’t eat vegetables. I say this in all seriousness. He’s a relatively healthy guy, mind you, though his diet isn’t what you would call diversified. His ideal meal: chicken, mashed potatoes or pasta or white rice, some kind of sauce that is orange or tan, and bread. Soft white. Creamy yellow. Simple, straightforward textures. I, on the other hand am all about the crunchy greens, the crackly browns, and the color. As much color as possible. I do most of the cooking (ok, all of the cooking) around these parts, and he is normally a very good sport about the ways I try to sneak vegetables into every meal. The truth is, though, that left to his own devices he would be more satisfied with a nice big plate of Trader Joe’s frozen Channa Masala than tasting my experimental warm bacon spinach salad (I mean it had bacon on it, and he still was wary!).
So you can imagine my joy when he pronounced this ratatouille (which, just so we’re clear, is all vegetables) the “best meal” I have “ever made.”
In Like a Lion
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Again, no pictures of the guests. I’m embarrassed to snap photos during dinner! It’s like, “Put your fork down, I’m going to put this on my blog.” I suppose I’ll get the hang of it eventually. Here is the menu for my “In Like a Lion” vegetarian feast, in honor of Jesse and Alice, spring, and …