Saturday, April 27, 2013

Juicing Day 3 - An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Day three of the Raw Project was the least brutal by far. I woke up for the first time without feeling sick and had normal amounts of energy. Day three was the last day of full juice at each meal.

I started the morning with my shot of Kale as usual then made my blend of carrots and apples. It's interesting to think in just 12 oz of liquid, I can have around 3 carrots, 2 apples, and an additional citrus like a lemon/lime. This really gives my day a good boost instead of the normal caffeine most North American intake each morning.

According to "The Goodman and Gilman Manual and Pharmacology and Therapeutics," Coffee may have a higher caffeine index but apples have more sugar with a lower Glycemic index. Because of this, the sugar in the apples may not have as quick of an onset action as your coffee, but will last longer. Apples also have 12% of your daily recommended intake of fiber, 10 percent of your vitamin C, and traces of other minerals like calcium, potassium, and manganese.

I like to start my day with Apples :)

By the end of the day I enjoyed a nice bag of clean popcorn. The next few weeks will consist of integrating more fresh, uncooked vegetables/fruits into our diet. I'm following the basic principles from the book Get Naked Fast - trying to avoid foods cooked over 180 degrees and intake as much fresh, organic food as possible. I just love seeing so much green colors in our refrigerator!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Juicing Day 2 - Who Wants to do Shots?

I woke up today with much more enthusiasm than I went to bed with. When we finally made it to bed, I had convinced myself juicing was not the way for me. I had lost all motivation and excitement about the project - sound familiar?

When the alarm went off, I somehow had found a new hunger to continue my journey. So today I tried a few new tricks from the lessons I learned yesterday. First lesson was:


It tastes gross, looks gross, even smells gross. Adding the Kale to my Mean Green lunch shake didn't help it's appeal at all. So instead, today I juiced my eight leaves of Kale and drank it like a shot! Lets just say my tummy wasn't too pleased with me - but the vitamins were in and I didn't have to think about the Super Food for a while.

The second lesson was when you let juice mixes sit for a while, they start to... ferment? Is that the word I want? I think it mostly happens when using a citrus fruit in the mix, for example if you're adding a lemon or lime into the mix. So today instead of juicing my lunch, I took it all in a salad. I still ate all the same veggies, only I didn't feel so empty and they didn't end up in a gross concoction that sat in the fridge all morning while I worked.

The Third and last lesson I learned from yesterday is DON'T BE A SIPPER. Sipping your juices causes them to get warm and draw out. I thought I would enjoy sipping on a nice cup of carrot juice all morning, but instead it turned into a weird... something or other - I haven't found the word for it yet. Today I juiced Breakfast with some Apples, Carrots, and a Lemon and drank it all at once.

The Bright Color of Red Cabbage!

Dinner is the hardest, especially with having to cook for Eric. Although today he had his tooth pulled out, so maybe he'll try some of MY dinner.

As North Americans, our lives are so centered around our food, even our homes are; everything is centered around the kitchen! Not being "allowed to eat" is really opening my eyes about all the terrible things I have been subjecting my body to over the last several years.

Does this mean I'll be vegan for life? No. I enjoy my meats and milk and mayo! But right now I need to help my body heal and renew its strength.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Juicing Day 1 - Motivate Me

I think motivation always come easy the first day of any new challenge. We're excited and eager to meet our goals and make plans about how we'll reach those goals. Today is no exception.

I woke up early, excited to try out my new Breville Juicer, Shredding all the veggies I bought at the Garden of Eaton Market last night. Today's goals are simply to realign my taste buds! Drinking Kale is the worst thing on the planet - not going to lie!

As I started shredding assorted fruits and vegetables through my juicer, there were three things that I noticed most about it; The Smells, the Colors, and the Mess!

Like fresh baked bread smells good to the soul, the smell of fresh vegetables just invigorates me for some reason; like my body knows it's about to get a large infusion of fresh-goodness! The most vivid color of the day had to be the red cabbage with it's DARK purple juice. With each new veggie came a bright new color that could only mean one thing; Healthy!

I wasn't surprised about the mess really, rather I was anticipating more of it. The juicer we chose is a compact version, for our small, galley-style kitchen so there is no external "bucket" for the pulp. It is all collected at the top of the machine around the centrifugal shredder so doesn't make for easy extraction when I wanted to run the pulp through twice.

I think my favorite part is how easy the entire machine is to clean. I simply took the top off the entire machine and was able to wash the entire contents down our garbage disposal. The more familiar I become with the juicing project, the more I'll take the time to find uses for the pulp such as breads and so forth.

I packed up my lunch and a snack juice and headed for work.

I made it through breakfast just fine with a mix of Carrots, Oranges, and Cabbage. By mid morning I started to feel the hunger pains. Juice goes through the body more quickly, leaving the stomach empty and hungry. When I sat down for lunch and pulled out my mix of Kale, Apples, Celery, and Cucumber I took a sip and knew I would never make it through the whole glass. I think I would rather starve than finish the entire thing.

Suddenly my motivation from the morning was completely gone. My mind started running through alternative methods of trying this changes, bargaining with myself, and looking for any way to cheat the system. Take a way a girl's food and you'll reveal her true self!

I swapped my lunch for my snack drink (Watermelon, Lime, and Basil leaves) and decided next time I'll just take the Kale in a quick shot instead of mixing it into the entire glass.

By nightfall I was so hungry, tired, and had such a massive headache, I decided the fast wasn't work the pain it was putting me through. For dinner I had some apple and that was it. I was too depressed about this project I had taken on to eat anything else. I went to bed hungry and undetermined to continue the fast. There must be a better way to get healthy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Going Raw - My Juicing Project

When I tell people I'm changing my diet - the average American assumes it's to shed some pounds, boost my self esteem, or maybe even have bragging rights. I haven't even started my raw diet and I've already suffered much teasing and antagonizing.

Well too bad - I'm going Raw!

Most people don't understand what it means to be Chronically Ill. I've spent the better part of the last four years in doctors offices, researching and reading different books, even trying various life style changes to try healing my body. Those who have yet to suffer from every day pain and disease have yet to reach that absolute low of willing to try anything to make a difference in the day to day life.

So tomorrow morning I'll turn on my Breville Juicer for the first time and try my hand at my new hobby of Juicing. I've decided to follow Joe's 3 day Reboot Plan then start transitioning to a more Vegan Style living. After 60 days I should know if this new lifestyle can help overcome the daily challenges my Chronic Illnesses bring.

Who knows, maybe I'll loose some unwanted pounds along the way!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

How my Puppy is Saving my Life

Living with CFS and Fibromialgia is a daily challenge that come with its own set to symptoms that is often manifested in ways that the "normal" person would not be able to recognize. It's often emotionally taxing to help loved ones around you understand the seriousness of the illness as well as its impact on your energy, your motivation, and even your physical fitness. For all intents and purposes a person living with CFS or Fibromialgia may look and completely normal on a regular basis, however that person has great challenges that the average person will not understand unless they experience it themselves.

Support groups are often encouraged for these illnesses, however they are few and far between. When I suggested to Eric that we take on the responsibilities of a puppy, I never realized what affect she would have on my life or how she would help me cope with the day to day struggle.

I recently read this study on the CFS/Fibromyalgia webpage on how pets (cat or dog) can reduce stress and help sufferers to cope better. After reading this study, it helped me realize that the daily frustrations of teaching Stella to not pull on her leash or not bark at the neighbors is actually worth it when she sits with me and helps me feel loved and calm. I think it's a gift that God has given animals that we as humans cannot obtain. I wanted to share the highlights from the article:

The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership, By Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

When thinking of ways to reduce stress in life, usually techniques like meditation, yoga and journaling come to mind. These are great techniques, to be sure. But getting a new best friend can also have many stress relieving and health benefits.

While human friends provide great social support and come with some fabulous benefits, this article focuses on the benefits of furry friends: cats and dogs. Research shows that, unless you’re someone who really dislikes animals or is absolutely too busy to care for one properly, pets can provide excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits—perhaps more than people!

Here are more health benefits of pets:
Pets Can Improve Your Mood:
For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours, or when a super-soft cat rubs up against your hand. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets. A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. (According to one study, men with AIDS who did not own a pet were about three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than men who did not have AIDS. But men with AIDS who had pets were only about 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression, as compared to men in the study who did not have AIDS.)

Pets Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs:
Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a recent study, groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Pets Encourage You To Get Out And Exercise:
Whether we walk our dogs because they need it, or are more likely to enjoy a walk when we have companionship, dog owners do spend more time walking than non-pet owners, at least if we live in an urban setting. Because exercise is good for stress management and overall health, owning a dog can be credited with increasing these benefits.
Pets Can Help With Social Support: When we’re out walking, having a dog with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet, giving us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits.

Pets Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love:
Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. In fact, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people! All these benefits can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people.

Pets Can Reduce Stress—Sometimes More Than People:
While we all know the power of talking about your problems with a good friend who’s also a good listener, recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better! Recent research shows that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present! (This may be partially due to the fact that pets don’t judge us; they just love us.)
It’s important to realize that owning a pet isn’t for everyone.

Pets do come with additional work and responsibility, which can bring its own stress. However, for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks. Having a furry best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times get tough.
Evenson RJ, Simon RW. Clarifying the Relationship Between Parenthood and Depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. December 2005.

I love my puppy Stella!