Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Plan – Cleanse and Detox

We finished the three day cleanse yesterday.  Yippee!  I got to have coffee this morning!  Yippee!

All in all it was a good experience.  Neither of us felt hungry during the cleanse, although I experienced a different sort of “pang” – my stomach telling me it’s not used to the foods I've been eating.  Where’s the bread?  Where are the cookies? 

We were warned by the author to expect some fatigue and possibly other symptoms as our bodies flushed out the toxins we've been building up for a while.  Ms. Recitas recommends taking it easy during the cleanse and finding ways to pamper yourself.  And while she didn't explicitly say, “stay close to home,” we found it convenient to do so.  All that water we've been drinking had been doing its job – flushing out the toxins.  Pun intended.

About the menus:  I like the curly-leaf kale better than the lacinato kale, but that’s close to saying I like being stuck with prickly pear needles better than barrel cactus needles.  OK, not quite that bad, but I seriously doubt that kale will make it to the “keeper” list of foods we’ll eat when the twenty day testing protocol is done.  I may not have cooked it enough.  We’ll try again.

And as for Spicy Coco Sauce – I just didn't like it.  There.  I said it.  I’ll take my kitty litter plain, thank you very much.  I’m on a pretty short list, though.  Per the author, most plan followers really like it.

We really liked last night’s dinner menu.  Who would have thought that baked chicken with only herbs and orange rind would taste so good?  Of course, it may have been that we were craving meat – but the recipe was really very good.  And the roasted vegetables were wonderful. 

So far my husband has lost six pounds and I have lost four.  Truth be told, I think we both gained exactly those amounts last weekend on vacation.  We ate many of the foods on the “probably bad” list – and drank beer and champagne.  I expect my weight loss to significantly taper off as we continue the testing protocol.

Can’t wait to have wine and chocolate tonight!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Plan – A New Twist on Grocery Shopping

My husband and I have always loved cooking, and The Plan recipes looked like they could be fun.  The day before we started the three-day cleanse, we went shopping.  Serious shopping.  Our list included items we had never consumed in our lives, many of which we did not expect to find in our regular grocery store.
Our regular staples – bread, milk, eggs, beer, bananas – not on the list.  We test bread on day 8, eggs on day 10.  Not sure when we’ll finally test bananas and beer. 

Dairy is out until it’s tested (day 14) so we bought Vanilla-flavored coconut milk for our flax-seed granola breakfasts.  We didn’t find flax-seed granola in either my regular grocery store or in the Whole Foods Market, so we made our own using whole flax seeds (found on the baking aisle but not in the health foods section) and the recipe in The Plan.

We also needed a can of coconut milk for the Spicy Coco Sauce, a recipe that apparently is quite popular with The Plan followers.  The author is quoted to say “I’ve had clients say it’s so good that they would eat kitty litter if it had Spicy Coco Sauce on it.”  I looked in the baking aisle next to the other varieties of canned milk.  Not there.  I found with the oriental foods.

Years ago, an Asian restaurant in the area had a billboard stating “Shiitake happens,” so I knew this variety of mushroom existed.  I bought them for the first time.  Apparently they are less reactive than the regular variety.  Who knew? 

I knew that kale was leafy and green, but had never actually looked at it, much less purchased it.  Bought two bunches of lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale) at my regular grocery store.  Should have bought the kale at Whole Foods – they apparently sell a lot more kale because they had more than one variety and it seemed to be fresher.  Lesson learned.   I did buy rye crackers (rye is less reactive than wheat), raw sunflower seeds, raw almonds, and raw pumpkin seeds at Whole Foods.  The seeds (including the flax seeds) are the major protein source for the first two days.

Who would have thought that I would buy three heads of broccoli for a week’s worth of meals and then go back to buy two more?  Same with zucchini – I bought four and needed three more.

My refrigerator looks like the produce section in a small grocery store.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Plan

My husband was intrigued by a discussion of The Plan by author Lyn-Genet Recitas on the Dr. Oz Show.  Apparently he was not the only one – when we went to our local Barnes & Noble to buy the book it was sold out.  We ordered it online and waited the two weeks for it to ship.

We both read the book.  The Plan presents an interesting philosophy on food and weight gain.  Per Ms. Recitas, who quotes multiple case studies to back up this theory, weight gain is the result of inflammation caused by foods that are reactive to your body.  She states, “Weight gain is nothing more than a reflection of your body’s chemical reaction to foods.”   It’s personal – foods that I react to may be perfectly fine for you to eat, and vice-versa. 

She goes on to tell us, “Aging itself is an inflammatory process.”  Ouch – I could have gone all my life without hearing this, but it does make sense.  I've known lots of people who could eat anything they wanted – until they turned 40.  Myself included. 

After reading the book, my husband decided he wanted to try The Plan’s 20-day testing protocol.  That’s right – it’s a testing protocol, not a diet.  The first three days are designed to cleanse and detox the body using foods that are friendly for 90% of the author’s test population.  The cleansing phase sets a neutral baseline for your body to begin testing foods that could be more reactive.  The menus are set, with recipes included in the book.

I looked over the menus, and decided to go on The Plan.  While I don’t need to lose weight, wouldn't it be great to know if there are certain foods that cause inflammation for me?  Then I could avoid those foods, or at least, know that inflammation was coming and be prepared to deal with it.  And of course, I wanted to support my husband’s goal of dropping the extra 20 pounds that have eluded him for years.

We started The Plan yesterday – day 1 of the three-day cleanse.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bloggers Against Drunk Driving

My good friend and former co-worker Adrian posted her drunk driver story on her blog, Adrian’s Crazy Life, Wednesday morning under this banner.  After reading Adrian’s story, I was curious about the Bloggers Against Drunk Driving campaign.  I found their Facebook page.  The description of the community reads, “Bloggers have such a huge community of support, after too many of our own have been affected by drunk driving it's time for us to take a stand. Help join the fight in Standing Up for Sobering Up.”

I, too, have a drunk driver story.  I was fifteen years old.  My mother was driving; I was in the front passenger seat.  What happened was a blur.  A jeep driven by a man with white hair was coming at us – head on.  Mom swerved the car to the right.  The jeep hit us on the driver’s side.  I hit the passenger side door.  I heard the crackle of shattering glass and the crunch of folding metal.

My mother was crying.  She didn't say anything about pain; she just kept sobbing that her glasses were broken.  I opened the passenger door.  “Mom, we have to get out of the car,” I told her.  Her door wouldn't open.  She continued to cry. 

Someone had called the police.  Someone had called my dad.  Not sure how any of this happened because there were no cell phones back then.  Mom went to the hospital.  Dad took me home.
I was not injured – not even a scratch.  Looking back, I know that my mother saved my life that day.  By turning the car, she saved us from a head-on collision that would likely have cost us both our lives.  Our 1963 Rambler station wagon did not have seat belts.  My mother took the impact, suffering whiplash-type injuries and severe bruising.  40+ years later, her neck still bothers her from time to time.

The driver who hit us was both drunk and under-insured. 

Shortly thereafter I became every Driver’s Ed instructor’s nightmare.  I was terrified behind the wheel.  I stopped at every intersection, even if I had the right of way – just to make sure the other driver stopped.  After I finally learned to drive, a friend laughed at me for putting my seat belt on just to move the car across the parking lot.  I still do this, by the way.

After telling of the severe injuries she sustained and her long road to recovery, Adrian’s blog post went on to say, “I think just the act of getting behind the wheel of a car after you've been drinking, is a form of attempted murder.  If you don't manage to kill or injure someone, it's really just a matter of luck.  It just means that someone didn't happen to get into your path that night.  Even if I were willing to take that chance with MY life, it certainly isn't a decision I'm willing to make for someone else's life."

I concur wholeheartedly.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Writing About Writing

When I was a stay at home mom 27 years ago (wow – has it been that long?) I attempted to write and sell magazine articles.  I say “attempted” because I got far more rejection slips than I got sales, but I did sell a few articles and had a few more published without compensation.  In fact, my most prized acceptance was Network Magazine, a local publication focusing on women’s issues.  I still have the note from the editor telling me, “You write well.” That was all the compensation I needed.

Back then I bought, studied, and took to heart Shirley Biaggi’s book, How to Write and Sell Magazine Articles.  Just for fun, I re-read it.

The book was published in 1981.  Much has changed in the art of writing since then.  The Internet wasn't mainstream; we did research by going to the library and rummaging through the card catalogs.  Laptops weren't invented yet; we took notes on 3 X 5 cards with careful headings so they could be easily indexed.  Digital photography wasn't invented; we took photos with our 35mm cameras and had them developed.  Word processing was in its infancy; and while many writers had word processing programs (anybody remember WordStar?), many magazines explicitly stated in their writers guidelines that they would not accept manuscripts printed on a dot-matrix printer.

So we broke out the typewriters, typed our manuscripts in double-space with one-inch margins, and sent them, with photographs and the required self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to the magazines we wanted to consider our articles.  Of course, we wanted to focus on primary markets, which paid more than $400 per article. 

Much has stayed the same in the art of writing since then.  Then, as now, content is key.  Writing style and organization are important, but if the article isn't interesting, all the polish in the world won’t make people want to read it.