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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One Hour, FIVE delicious Salads!

With a new school year just around the corner, I'm realizing that my calm, easy morning routine is about to explode!  No longer will I have time to sip my morning green juice while I surf pinterest for dinner recipes... and certainly no time to make my lunch for the day!  I find that the most challenging part of sticking with my healthy eating lifestyle is planning.  If I zip home for lunch without a plan - and with limited time, I'm likely going to make a less than healthy choice, simply out of convenience.  That is why I make jar salads for the work week!  One mess, one hour, FIVE delicious, healthy, fresh salads!

I've documented my process here for those of you who are visual (like me!) 


Step one:  Prep any and all potential salad ingredients!  You could pull some good salad recipes and be very methodical about your salad creations.  I'm more of a "wing it" gal.  I've prepped a good variety of typical salad ingredients, and not so typical ingredients.

GREENS!  Romaine (organic!) is very receptive to "salads in a jar".  This method of preserving will keep your greens very green and fresh and crisp!  To make 5 salads, I chop up 3 heads of Romaine.  I also use about 3 cups of baby spinach (also organic!)  I toss these all together to rinse and then I spin them in my salad spinner to reduce the moisture.


The Usual Suspects:  
Cucumber
Onion,
Mushrooms,
Peppers
Tomato

The not-so usual Suspects:
Black Beans
Garbanzo Beans
Roasted Red Peppers
Artichoke hearts
Hearts of Palm
Corn
Quinoa
Sprouts
Nuts and seeds
Fruit! (ALL kinds!)

I eat a plant based diet, so you won't find cheese or eggs in my salads.  But if those are in your plan, go for it!

DRESSING!  The nice thing about jar salads is that you can incorporate your dressing without risk of your greens getting soggy.  The trick is putting the dressing in first - in the bottom of the jar.  I used to use bottled dressings, but I've found so many amazing recipes that I now make all of my own dressings!  Most of mine are oil free - but occasionally I'll use a little olive or grapeseed oil.  My FAVORITE is just tossing a couple of tomatoes into my blender with a handful of basil.  Zip it up and you're done!  I also tend to use fruit in place of dressing.  Watermelon is my FAVORITE!  Although, tomatoes and mango blended together are amazing!!!  (who knew?!)

Assembly:
Like I said, I'm a "wing it" gal, so I pour some dressing in the bottom of the jars and then I just start building.  A little of this... a little of that.  OH!  How about a Southwestern Salad for this jar :)  Yes, please!  Some beans, corn, roasted red peppers, cilantro ....  When you're satisfied with your ingredients, start shoving in the greens.  I stuff them as tight as I can!  (I like a BIG salad!)







Seal them up!:
To get a seal that allows you to make salads 5-7 days ahead of when you're going to eat them, you really need access to a food saver.  You'll also need a special attachment that goes over the mouth of the jar.  http://www.amazon.com/FoodSaver-T03-0006-02P-Regular-Mouth-Jar-Sealer/dp/B000UQ428A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1377711469&sr=8-3&keywords=food+saver+mason+jar+sealer



Put the flat canning jar lid over the mouth of the jar (make sure the rim is clean and dry).  Slide (more like shove!) the attachment over the top and then vacuum the air out.  You'll be able to see the liquid at the bottom bubbling up a little bit.



When the vacuum stops, pull the sealer off and screw on your threaded jar top.
Voila!  Salad in a jar!


EAT IT!!!  When you're ready to eat, just pop open a jar (you'll need to pry the vacuum sealed lid off), and dump the contents into a bowl.  You'll need a larger bowl than you think!  You stuffed a lot of delicious goodness into that jar.  Once freed from the jar, you'll see that it is the perfectly assembled salad, with the lettuce on the bottom, then the myriad of other ingredients, topped with dressing.  If I want fruit or avocado on my salad, I add it now - rather than include it in the jar.  (I don't want the perfect flavor of the fruit mixing too much with the rest of the salad ingredients.. And avocados just don't last long once you open them up.)

 That's it!  Super easy - and so convenient.  You will LOVE the freedom you feel at lunch time when all you have to do is open the jar and dig your fork into your beautiful luscious salad!!

Enjoy!!



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day 50 - Reset Button

WAGON  
ME


Are you getting the picture yet??  Today is DAY 50!!  It seems like DAY 50 would be a great day to celebrate! Instead, I find myself needing to push the reset button. As I've mentioned in recent posts, I've been recently plagued with temptations that sadly, I've succumbed to.  Before you lose all respect for me, you should know that I have not stopped juicing!  I'm still juicing daily and consuming 1 to 1.5 gallons of fresh, wonderful juice each day!  BUT... to that, I've added food (when tempted) - which is really not acceptable on a juice feast.

I knew that 92 days was a huge goal.  I knew that it would not be easy.  But I have felt very strong from the beginning that it is an achievable goal.  I still believe that it is!  I'm super disappointed in my lack of stick-to-it-ness recently.  On top of this disappointment, I've finally come to terms with the sad fact that I cannot run in the 1/2 marathon next weekend.  I've been training since December - but after messing up my back 2 months ago, I just can't get it back to normal.  I've continued to try to run, but then end up back at the Chiro.  I'm very sad about this as well.  So Day 50 is truly a disappointing day for me. :(

But God is SO good!  He sent me a perfectly timed message today via a blog that I subscribe to:  Here is what it had to say today:

There is this funny concept out there that many have somehow internalized. The notion that we have to do things perfectly, or they aren't worth doing. The idea that if we make one mistake, we've messed up so badly we should just throw in the towel.

How we ever arrived at this silly idea is beyond me. Particularly when you are doing something that is new and different. You have to approach new things being willing to learn from mistakes because even people who have been doing it forever make mistakes. This is the learning process. This is how we learn and internalize something new. Mistakes are how we learn. Don't try to skip over the mistakes because if you do, you are definitely doomed to fail. Consider approaching mistakes from a different angle, and success will eventually follow.


What a wonderful lift for my spirit today, when I'm feeling so down about my tumble from the wagon.  
 On Tuesday of this week I began a new job.  It's made for a busy, (exciting) week.  But it's a life change - and one life change can cause other life practices to get off balance.  In addition, tomorrow I'm heading to a conference for 3 days.  I am signed up for vegan meals at the conference and I'm leaving my vitamix at home for my daughter to use.  (My hotel does not have a kitchenette - so juicing would be very nearly impossible for me).  If I hadn't already fallen off the wagon, I would certainly find a way to make it work.  But since I need to reset anyway, I'm going just give myself a three day break from juicing.  When I return, I am not starting over with day one.  But I will be adding a few weeks to the length of my feast.  From the moment I hit THE BUTTON, (Thursday), I plan to do 60 more days of rock solid, detoxifying, focused juice feasting!  This will result in a total of 111 days of juicing.  My end date will now be June 30th. 
I hope that those of you who don’t stop reading this imperfect woman’s blog will, instead, be even more inspired to try juicing.  OR, any other health related goal that you have in mind.  Knowing that you don’t have to be perfect to still be successful should be liberating!  (That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway! )

So – I’ll be back at the end of the week, recommitted and ready to share!

Be blessed this week!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Juice Feast - Day 40! 53 days to go!

YEAH!!! DAY 40 today!  It feels great to be at this point in the feast.  But I have a confession to make before I go any further....(yes... another one!)


I've had some cheatin' moments!  I don't know why!!!  Ever since my little detour in Chicago, I've been struggling to be perfect.  (YES!  It IS ok to strive for perfection!)  A handful of popcorn here... a taste of the dinner I'm making for the family there...  I'm very frustrated with myself for not having rock solid discipline.  Especially since I truly don't want to put anything in my body except for juice right now.  And yet...  indiscretions keep finding me!

In the beginning (first 4 weeks) I was going strong on sheer excitement and passion!  I've read that in the last 1/3 of the journey, I'll be a rock star - knowing the end is near!  But this middle section of the journey... TOUGH!  So I guess this is where I reach out for some help.  HELP!  Pray for me! Shoot me an accountability message once in a while if you think of it! I sincerely, desperately want my final 53 days to be wholly successful!  Help me tame my cheatin' heart! 

Happy News!!  I've been talking with a co-worker of mine (and precious friend!) about my juice feast.  She is really struggling with her own health.  Scopes... tests... pain....and no understanding of why.  I encouraged her to try juicing for 30 days - to give her digestive system a chance to rest and heal.  Today she told me that she is ready!  And she is EXCITED!  Tomorrow I'm taking all of my supplies to work, along with bunch of produce, to teach her how to juice.  I have no doubt that she is going to feel like a new woman 30 days from now!  So, while I'm clearly not perfect, I  feel great that others are seeing the benefits of this whole foods lifestyle!

More good news... My darling daughter is back on the wagon!  If you recall, she did the first week full on with me. At the end, she transitioned back to whole foods. (sort of!)  And now, she wants back in on juicing.  Her plan is to juice all day, and then enjoy a whole foods dinner.  She's on day 4 and doing great.   I think this is a VERY DOABLE plan for many people!  How convenient to drink a quick juice before work, and then enjoy a juice lunch during a busy day!  All that goodness, knowing that a lovely dinner awaits.  Smart girl!

SUMMER is fast approaching!  (On the calendar, anyway)  I am longing for my garden!  We're moving it to a new spot in the yard this year because we're also putting in a pool.  I'm anxious to see how it all pans out!  Did you know that Swiss Chard is a perennial plant?  Its growing in my garden right now - and I haven't planted any since last spring!  I'm learning so much... :)

So - as I close for the day, one more plea for your support!  I covet your prayers and encouragement!  NO MORE TASTING!  Juice power!!

Blessings!

Monday, April 8, 2013

DAY 32 of 92! One Third of the Way There!

Last week was a challenging week on the Feast!  That 2 day break in Chicago lent itself to many cravings this week.  It took a great deal of focus to make it through!  But here I am - on day 32!  It feels good to be 1/3 of the way done.  But it feels even better to know that I still have 60 days worth of exciting body/life changes still ahead of me!  I feel a great sense of resolve to continue to the end!

Here are some things I'm noticing so far:

My skin looks more alive - less dull! (Others have noticed this too and mentioned it!)
I've lost 12 lbs this month.  (I won't weigh in again until day 60)
My stomach feels flat and light When I ate last weekend, I immediately felt bloated!  I also woke up Monday morning with a huge headache and puffy fingers.

As I've been studying about detoxification, I've come to realize that our bodies are completely inundated with toxins all day long.  Before we even leave the house in the morning, women apply approximately 300 toxic chemicals to our bodies/hair through our personal care routines.  I know that there is no way to completely eliminate toxic intake in our current environment, but I'm working really hard to remove toxins via juicing, dry body brushing, enemas, etc...  And then - I turn around and use shampoo and conditioner, make up, and acrylic nails!  Yikes!  So I've decided that phase 2 of this feast I'm going to focus on eliminating "those" types of toxins.  I've already removed my acrylic nails.  What a mess!  I am certain that restoring their health is going to take many months! But that's ok -- it will just be one more measuring stick for healing!

Now you're wondering... "how is she planning to eliminate shampoo and conditioner!?"  Great question!  More and more  people are going "poo-free"!  The substitution is baking soda (instead of shampoo) and Apple Cider Vinegar (instead of conditioner).  **Side note**  About 2 months ago, after reading an article about the hazards of hair care products, I decided to reduce my wash/condition routine to about 2 times per week.  The result is that my hair is noticeably shinier and very soft and silky.  Not oily!  Not smelly!  So In my mind, ditching the products is the next logical step for me.  Here are a few additional reasons you might consider it for yourself:


1. Chemicals in shampoo are simply hazardous to your health.
2. Chemicals in shampoo can irritate and dry out your scalp and hair.
3. Your body produces oil to naturally condition your hair and keep it healthy. Using shampoo daily upsets the natural balance and causes you to produce more oil than necessary to compensate.
4. Hair care products are expensive!

I've read that when you stop using shampoo and begin using BS and ACV, you will probably experience a transitional period while your body gradually adjusts to produce just enough oil to keep your hair healthy. During this time, which can range from a few days to a month or so, you may have some extra oil than you're use to.  Although, many people report that they see immediate positive changes with zero negative side effects.

For more information, including "how to" details, check out this great blog:  mymerrymessylife.com
OR, just google "Baking soda, ACV for hair".

I would be remiss if I didn't also take a minute to tell you about a wonderful documentary that I watched on Friday.  I found it on Netflix and it's called "Hungry for Change". http://www.hungryforchange.tv/  This is a very practical documentary which outlines WHY it's difficult for us to lose weight; what effect sugar has on our bodies; how food is manufactured specifically with addictive chemicals so that we'll keep eating it; and most importantly, what to do about it. 
I was so pleased with it's down to earth, easy to follow format that Sunday, I begged my family to watch it with me.  Reluctantly, they did.  They (Ryan!) made sarcastic jokes and comments all the way through it.  But about an hour later, he told me he is on board.  No more processed food or sugar.  No more fast food!  My daughter and son (though teenagers, and still prone to enjoy junky treats on occassion) have been on board for a while.  When I told Sophie what dad said, she responded "Good!  It'll be so much easier if we're all on board!"  FOR SURE!  Only my college student refuses to comply.  Good think he's only home on the weekends.

Over the course of my 18 month journey, I've watched a number of excellent documentaries on this subject.  Following is a list, for your reference.  I was able to watch all of these on either Netflix or Amazon.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Food Inc.
The Gerson Miracle
Food Matters
Forks over Knives
King Corn
The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue  (Presented by Forks over Knives)

I feel like I'm forgetting one... I'll keep thinking!  These are ALL worth your time!

I can't believe how many recipes are out there for juice concoctions!  Yes, many of them are similar.  Nonetheless, I'm finding no shortage of variety!  I have discovered that I LOVE pineapple in my green drinks!  I'm trying to really focus on drinking mostly green (with just a tad of fruit to sweeten it up) every day - allowing just one totally fruity drink. 

My Daily Routine:  Generally, I start my day with 1 quart of warm lemon water.  This causes the liver to force out toxins!  Then, within the same hour, I have my green juice made up of a pound of dark leafy greens, 1 bunch of celery, 1 cucumber, 1/3 pineapple.  I also like to add some parsley or cilantro, as they are especially good for detoxing.  I take 3 quarts of juice to work with me.  One fruity juice (the possibilities are limitless!).  I drink it mid morning.  In the early afternoon, I drink a quart of green juice.  It's just recently that I've started taking a thrid quart of juice to work.  Actually, it's my dinner juice.  But I take it to work so that I can drink it on my way home. I follow it with at least a liter of water.  This is a strategy I've developed to help me come home and prepare dinner for my family without feeling so tempted to nibble.  (Yes, I have to stop cooking and pee repeatedly!!)  I feel very full by the time I get home, AND I've fed my body the nutrients it needs to ward off cravings.  Very useful strategy! There is one exception with when I drink my fruity juice.  If I'm going to run, I wait and drink it about 15 minutes prior.  It provides a surge of energy with helps fuel my body for running!

Tonight at Barnes and Noble I picked up a little treasure called 100 Foods to Stay Young.  Guess what!?  You don't need to buy it, because I'm going to start featuring one food in each blog post!  Our special guest today is...... CUCUMBER!


Cucumber is actually a squash, long used for it's cooling effects, inside and outside the body, reducing inflammation and speeding repair for young-looking skin! 
As well as drinking fluids directly, we need to receive water from the plant foods we eat.  The high water content of cucumber makes it a hydrating food that prevents dryness and wrinkling of the skin, as well as helping to remove the toxins that can age us.

Cucumber is rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber, so works to  reduce high blood pressure by balancing the fluid in the body. 

* Source of silica, a trace mineral needed for a healthy complexion.  (I'm in!)
* Cucumber juice is known to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatic conditions and keep joints healthy and young.
* Contains the trace mineral molybdenum, which is needed to keep bones and teeth strong and healthy.  (That's right - you don't need the body secretions of another species to accomplish this!)

Cucumber Juice Recipe
1/2 cucumber
2 apples
1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)

If you don't have a juicer yet, just throw these in a blender and drink it as a smoothie instead!

I realize this was a long post!  Thanks for hanging in there! 

Sweet dreams, friends!




Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 23 of 92 - Full Disclosure!

I will start by telling you that I FULLY INTENDED to lie to you all.  I swore  my husband to secrecy, even!  But then I realized that there is no shame in being human.  I am 23 days into a juice feast.  Few people are able to do that.  And I still have 70 days to go!  I am not superhuman!  Period. 


This weekend, I went to Chicago for a getaway with my husband. 

(Here we are!  I'm sporting my new Ann Taylor sunglasses!  Came with a SASSY case!)  GORGEOUS, SUNNY WEEKEND in the Windy City!

 I scoped out juice bars before we left.  I planned how I could successfully stay on tract with my feast.  I COULD HAVE juiced while I was there for a mere 24 hours.  EASY.   But when I talked to my husband about it, (and a few friends) I realized that it would be a drag for him to sit and eat alone while I sip lemon water at unique Chicago restaurants.  He is supportive!  No doubt!  And it's not like I'll never get back to Chicago.  We plan to go again next month, in fact.  But I made a conscious decision to eat in Chicago.  Sensibly.  (I almost stuck to that "sensibly" part!  If it weren't for that damn Garrett's Popcorn!!)

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at West Egg.  I had a veggie egg white omelet. I did not finish it.  I was VERY AFRAID of being in pain, after not eating for 21 days! Fortunately, I felt fine after.   About 6 hours later, hunger set in for Ryan.  My hunger signals have been asleep since about day 5 of my feast.  So I was not hungry.  BUT, I knew we wouldn't be eating again until around 9:00 pm, after seeing a theater production.  So we went to an Armenian restaurant across the street from our hotel.  I ordered a sampler platter which turned out to be tiny!  (That was a GOOD thing!)  I had red cabbage marinated in lemon; two grape leaves filled with rice, dates and humus; and about 6 spoonfuls of white bean and veggie soup.  It was a very small and sensible meal.  Things I would totally eat in my every day, clean eating life.

After seeing the AMAZING show, Million Dollar Quartet, we went to Ditkas for dinner.  (As in... Mike Ditka).  It was a classy joint!  I had a delicious romaine salad followed by Mahi Mahi.  I was stuffed after the salad and only ate a smidge of the Mahi Mahi.  It was lovely restaurant and I felt privileged to be able to go there and enjoy an unique dining experience with my love.  (Did I mention there was wine?!?  I'm counting it as fruit juice!)



This morning was our final eating adventure.  Today is Easter, and the GRAND LUX CAFE has a FABULOUS menu!  We were the second party to enter at 9am.  We got the best seat in the house!   The corner window overlooking Michigan Ave and Ontario.  (A great opportunity for people/fashion watching!)  I enjoyed another eggwhite omelet, filled with asparagus, avocado, onions and mushrooms.  Yum!

THE END.

Back to juicing for the next 70 days.  We stopped at Meijer on our way home and bought everything I need for the week.  I do not consider my juicing efforts to this point lost or wasted. I refuse to feel guilty.   I've juiced for TWENTY ONE DAYS WITH NO CHEATING!  I'm telling you this story so that you don't feel like you could never do this.  Molly is not perfect.  Molly is HUMAN!  JUST LIKE YOU!  My two goals in telling my story via this blog are 1) To inspire you.  2) To hold myself accountable.  I want you to know that YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!  And it's ok to not be perfect!

Best part of the weekend (aside from thoroughly enjoying time with the love of my life!) is that I SHOPPED!!  A LOT!  And I bought SIZE SMALL IN EVERYTHING!!!  (I hope you are happy dancing for me right now!  THIS IS HUGE!)  I was 185 lbs just 17 months ago when I began my Clean Eating Quest.  I am now 133 and dropping.  I bought 4 adorable, classic, somewhat vintage style summer dresses and several blouses.   I tried on size small skirts THAT FIT.   It was SO MUCH FUN!!!!  I can't beging to describe how great it felt to walk into Ann Taylor's Loft and have to ask for smalls off the high racks. It DOES pay to make wise food choices! 

So... that's it.  Full disclosure.  Judge me if you'd like - it makes no difference to me.  I'm 100% committed to this goal.  AND, at the same time, I'm human, flesh and blood. 

Thanks for allowing me to be transparent. :)

Easter Blessings to you!  HE IS RISEN!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Juice Feast Day 21 of 92 - Surviving....

Easy has not arrived yet....  but I'm hanging in there!  I know this will be 100% worth it in the end!  (Just 71 more days!)  I think the sunshine today has been helpful.  I've been so cold for the past 4 months!  And drinking cold juice all day doesn't help.  I do enjoy warm tea (decaf) and warm water with lemon on occasion, but I really just need some warm weather to arrive!  

I've decided I don't care for any type of pepper in my drinks.  Not red, green, yellow, or orange!  I've tried them all.  Just not diggin' it in my juice.  I've gotten in a bit of a rut with my green drinks. Time to get adventurous and try something new!  My morning juice routine has become... routine.  And that's good in some ways!  It's easy and I don't have to think about it.  But it's getting a little bit boring.

Watermelon and Strawberry juice was on the menu yesterday.  Yummy!  There is very little pulp involved.  When I strain it through my milk bag, there is almost nothing left in there when I'm done.  I like that!  It means I'm getting my money's worth!

I read an article on juicefeasting.com this week regarding the sun.  REALLY interesting (and intriguing) information!

Sunlight and Sunbathing

Steve Arlin, in Raw Power! writes: A common myth is that the sun causes skin cancer.  The sun doesn’t cause skin cancer, the sun causes all life on Earth!  Skin cancer is caused by toxicity within the body.  When this toxicity is detoxified through the skin (our largest eliminative organ), it is sometimes “baked” onto the skin, bringing forth a cancer condition.  Blaming the sun for skin cancer is like blaming fresh air for lung cancer.

You must have internal protection from the sun’s rays in the form of proper, natural, raw-food nutrition.  External “protection” like sunscreen is an abomination.  The same internal mechanism that keeps a plant from burning up under the hot sun can keep you from sunburning.  A plant is in direct sunlight for hours upon hours every day of its existence.  A plant dries up and dies when it no longer has the internal protection that it requires.  The second best protection from sunburn is knowing when to retreat to shade for a rest.

David Wolfe nicely summarizes some of the health benefits of sun in The Sunfood Diet Success System


Sunlight lowers blood sugar. It is a natural insulin. A diet high in sweet fruit must also be accompanied by Sunshine on the skin to help metabolize the sugar. Sunlight helps to store the sugar as glycogen in the liver, muscles, and cells for later use.

Exposing the skin to the Sun stimulates the capillaries and brings more blood to the skin surface. This helps to heal cuts, bruises, and rashes. In World War II it was discovered that exposing abrasions, open wounds, and broken bones to direct Sunlight led to quicker healing.

Fungus is destroyed by direct Sunlight. Candida cannot survive in direct Sunlight. I have worked with numerous people with candida. The first step to overcoming candida is Sunlight on the naked body (reference Lesson 13: How To Use The Sunfood Triangle, Eating To Overcome Candida).

Sunlight increases the strength of digestion. Sunlight increases the body's internal "fire." In Chinese oriental medicine we find the concept of yin-yang balance and we see that "cold" raw foods may be balanced with hot Sun energy.

Sunlight improves the eyesight and regulates the hormones. Occasion­ally bringing direct Sunlight into the eyes just for a brief moment, unmit­igated by glasses, windows, or filters, will help balance the body's hormones.
 I read something similar last summer when I was eating 100% raw.  (I was reading the 80/10/10 Diet.  GREAT book!) I made an effort to be out in the sun more with no sunscreen. My husband was unhappy with this!  He kept telling me I was going to get cancer and I was setting a bad example for our kids.  That's a logical response.  It's what's been preached to us again and again.  But this article makes some sense to me.  I think I'll continue to research this...

Thanks for sharing in my journey!  Don't be afraid to subscribe to this blog (on the right).  By doing so, you'll automatically get a link sent to your email each time I submit a new post. 

Blessings!


 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 16 of 92 - Harder Than I Expected!

Today wraps up day 16 and I'm struggling!  I thought that by now some of those cravings would go away - but they seem to be increasing.  I have to admit I've had a few "licks" of things.  Nothing bad -- a lick of salsa and a taste (or two) of guacamole! But I know that's a dangerous path to go down, so I've vowed not to do it again!  My mind has been preoccupied with food the past few days.  It probably doesn't help that I've been spending time on Pinterest - where recipes abound!

I know that the key for me will be to keep learning!  I'm very thankful for juicefeasting.com!  There is an incredible abundance of information to keep my mind going in the right direction.  Also, blogging helps.  Knowing that people are watching me keeps me accountable.  I created a little countdown calendar that hangs on my fridge.  (Visual aides really help me!) Every morning I cross out the previous day so that I can see clearly how far I've come and how far I have to go. Looking at it right now is rather daunting - as I'm still in the early stages!  I have 76 days to go.  That seems like a long time - but I'm trying to remember that 76 days AGO it was the beginning of January, when I was anxiously setting new goals for the year.  That seems like it was just yesterday!  So I know that this time will go quickly and June 8th will be here before I know it.(I'll just keep telling myself that!)

I'm sure I've mentioned that I am training for a 1/2 marathon right now, which will happen on May 2nd.  Four weeks ago I messed up my back shoveling and have not been able to train at all!  I've missed 4 weeks of my training.  After seeking advice from a good friend (and cross country maniac!), I jumped right back in to the schedule where I should be - not where I left off.  On Saturday, I ran 8 miles. I wasn't sure how that would go - especially considering my juice feast. I know that I'm fueling my body with the most nutrient dense foods possible, but making sure I'm drinking enough to sustain distance running is the key.  So I loaded up!  Just before my run, I drank about 12 oz of pure orange juice.  Then I filled my water bottle with fresh orange/grapefruit/apple juice, mixed with a little water, and I set out.  I live in town, so my strategy was to head out into the country for an 8 mile loop, rather than looping multiple times around town.  I knew that if I did that, it would be too easy to quit and go home.  But heading out of town meant I had no choice but to finish.

I had my musical friends from the 80's (pandora 80's cardio) playing on my ipod and I spend most of my run chanting "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength..." over and over!  It worked.  He helped me get through it!  I only stopped 3 times, and each time only for about 2 minutes to stretch/walk and chug some juice.  I'm as slow as a snail!  It took be 1:43 min to do those 8 miles.  But I honestly don't care at all about my time!  I just care about finishing.  Next weekend, I "get"  to run 9!

I made a fun purchase today!  We have an island (counter) in our kitchen and it is always filled with bowls of fruit.  Big bowls... several of them. Very messy looking. (I should have taken a before pix) They take up half the island and it drives my husband batty!  Today we stopped by Pier 1 and I found a three tiered basket that sits on the floor.  I filled it up and still have a bowl of lemons and limes on my counter!  But it looks much better!

Today I've been drinking a concoction I call "Everything but the kitchen sink".  Literally, I put in a little of everything.  I even juiced some green beans from my garden that I flash froze in August.  I pulled them out of the freezer and thawed them before juicing them.  Super tasty!  I also enjoyed a yummy Italy inspired drink.  It was 10 roma tomatoes, a cup of basil, 1/2 clove of garlic and 1/2 bunch of celery.  Very bruchetta-ish. Finally, in the evening I drank a sweet treat of blackberries, blueberries, pears and kiwi.  Delicious!

So, that's where things are on day 16.  I'm holding my own - but I do hope it gets easier. 

Blessings!