Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 24: Irrational

In case you haven't noticed, I'm sort of an all or nothing kind of girl. I can't just take up jogging. I have to run a 1/2 marathon. I can't just start juicing. I have to do a 4o day fast. And apparently, I can't just look at pictures of food on Pinterest. I must pin all the food pictures everywhere. And it doesn't stop there.

I started fasting 24 days ago, and because of this process, I am significantly changing my mindset about nutrition and fitness. Good things. I relied way too heavily on convenience food and sporadic exercise, so this shift is overdue. But because of my irrational stance on things, I can't just "eat better." I now have to eat PERFECT. I have developed a slightly insane fear that eating the tiniest morsel of a brownie when this is all said and done will completely derail my progress and send me back into my fatty pants.

I don't always deal in rational thought. For example, I hardly ever eat pasta, because I was brainwashed back in the Atkins days to believe that all pasta is bad. So, while I love it, I NEVER eat it. Yet, pre-fast, I had no problem pulling through a McDonald's and scarfing down TWO of their little crack burgers. No sense whatsoever. And while I'd like to say that I'll just "go with it and see what happens," I know myself well enough to know I need some clear nutritional and physical fitness boundaries. So here they are:

I will work out no less than 3 times per week. I'm aiming for 4-5, but 3 is the minimum.
I will not purchase heavily processed foods with a shelf life greater than that of a carton of milk.
I will choose organic meats. (If you watch Food Inc you will too.)
I will limit my dairy intake.
I will eat a diet heavy in salmon.
I will opt for whole grain alternatives instead of the white stuff.
I will continue juicing veggies at least 4 days a week.
I will eat spinach like I'm growing it in the backyard.
I will come up with healthy, creative meals that will fuel my family in the best way possible.

And every now and then, I am going to eat a brownie and dip something savory in a puddle of ranch dressing without guilt. My history has taught me that I can not be easily swayed in the direction of rational thought.

But I can sure as hell be lured there with a brownie.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 23: Aaarrrgh

I woke up this morning with pinkeye. (Seriously?!?! Ew.) And before you think it, no I did not rub poop in my eye. Jonathan (who I refuse to refer to as The Champ right now, because he's having way too much fun with this) keeps calling me "poo eye." I officially do not like it.

Anyway, I woke up with a nasty eye, so I had to take my contact out. I could have just worn my glasses, but E stepped on them a week or so ago and broke them. So I kept one lens in and took the one out of the nasty eye. I took him to school and quickly swooped by the eye doctor. With a prescription in hand, I wandered through Walmart, dropped it off at the counter, and then realized I didn't have my prescription card on me. When I found out the out of pocket price for that particular "nasty eye ointment" was over $100, I decided to try something over the counter until I could get my hands on the husband's card. (The over the counter stuff

I had two afternoon clients today which luckily left me with some time to kill. I needed to make E some more healthy chicken nuggets as he ate all of the others over the weekend, so I gathered the things from the store and headed home to cook. I also decided that I wanted to try my (thoroughly washed) hand at homemade bread, so I grabbed some white whole wheat flour as well. I'm now obsessed with "eating clean" and have been doing some research on what I can make healthier. I'm on a mission to find a healthy sandwich bread recipe that falls low on the glycemic index. I threw the chicken nuggets in the oven (recipe coming once I've actually gotten a chance to taste them...I think I'm onto something!) and began searching for a bread recipe.

I found one that I had all of the stuff for, but by this time the headaches had started from having only one highly functional eye. I was having a hard time looking at the computer without it going all fuzzy, but I managed to turn out two loaves of something that looked bread like and made my house smell a bit like Subway. I sliced into it and smelled it, but had to wait for Jonathan to get home to taste test it. (It definitely needs tweaking, but he ate two pieces toasted with butter and seemed to enjoy them. This of course, was after I convinced him that I had clean hands while I was making it. Geez. I have pinkeye. I'm not a leper.)

I went to take care of my clients, and decided to skip my normal exercise class for a jog instead. I still wasn't feeling good, still had a headache, and didn't really want to be around people or hear loud music. So I hit the greenway and logged 3 more miles. (Currently, I hate running, and my ears are officially anatomically incompatible with ear buds which makes me sad.)

Then, I came home and sat in front of my computer. I guess my eyes were really tired, because I couldn't focus on the screen at all. Then it hit me! E got a pack of party favor pirate eye patches in his Christmas stocking: the perfect solution for a tired girl with pinkeye. (My husband had a bit too much fun with that as well.)

So here I am on Day 23. Aaarrgh. (But get a load of those collar bones!)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 22: Don't Say That

"I can't do this," I panted.

"DON'T SAY THAT!" She barked it at me almost automatically. And the force of her voice instantly made me reconsider my negativity. So I kept going.

I ran 3 miles today! Well...I jogged/walked three miles today. But I jogged more than I walked, so I call it success. My goal is to spend the next couple of weeks tackling those same 3 miles until I can run all of them without taking a walking break. But OH MY there are some gargantuan hills on those 3 miles, so this will be quite an accomplishment on my part.

I am not a runner. I can ride a bike for miles, or do a non stop extreme cardio class. But running instantly causes my muscles to seize up in sheer panic, and even if my brain says, "RUN HEIFER," my body seems to respond, "Eh...maybe another time."

But she would have none of that. She, of course, being my friend Emily. She has been around for my whole life, although it has really only been in the last 5 or 6 years that we've known each other on a deeply personal level. We have an extremely low maintenance friendship where we can go for months without a conversation but then pick back up like no time had passed. And she's on the list of people who I know beyond a shadow of a doubt has my back. I love her.

She inspires me. She is a rock solid fitness and nutrition guru. She has more marathon medals than I have toes, and she is one of those moms who feeds her children homemade peanut butter and dried fruit that she made in a food dehydrator. (I used to pick on her for depriving her child of the glory of sugary treats and tried to convince her one time that kids were cruel. I just knew they would collectively pick on the little girl that brought cottage cheese in her lunch in a piece of Tupperware. Emily scoffed at this as obviously, her child would not be caught dead eating out of a piece of chemical leaching Tupperware.) And I'm convinced that when, years ago, brain cancer invaded her body, the deadly cells encountered her endorphins of steel and quickly plotted their escape route having realized that they had obviously attempted to mess with the wrong broad.

I hope I'm more like her when I grow up. So when someone like that barks at you, "Don't say that," you stop saying that and you keep going.

I kept going. And I did it.

I'm starting to believe I can do anything.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 21: I've got the joy, joy, joy

This post isn't really about fasting. Fasting is the same today as the previous 20 days.

I just wanted to write about how THANKFUL I am. I have felt something today that can only be described as joy. There weren't really any circumstances that induced this joy. In fact, there were a couple of reasons to not feel joyful at all. The Champ has a terrible back, and, at times, it flares up. Today was one of those days, and I just don't like to see him in pain. And I spent a large portion of the day cooking food/serving food at church because one of our families experienced a tragic loss this week. It is heartbreaking to see other people in inexplicable emotional turmoil.

But all day I felt tremendous joy in my spirit. I was having one of those days where you look around and ask, "Jesus, how did I get here?" My life hasn't always been rosy. For a few years there, it was hard...even broken. There was a lot of loneliness. There was a ton of hard work. And for a larger handful of months than I care to admit, there was fear.

But somehow, God lifted me out of all of that crap. I wake up every day to two of the most amazing boys any woman could ever dream of. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am loved and valued. I know that my husband has my back, and I know that my son is content and treasured regardless of where he lays down to sleep each night. (Although he would be slightly more content at my house if only I had a Nintendo DS.)

I have really good friends. I don't have a lot of them. I always thought there was something kind of wrong with me for not having a "group." I sort of felt left out. But I'm starting to realize that I'm more of an introvert than I ever imagined I would be, and I'm kind of a one on one friend. I love having REAL conversations with REAL women. And God has given me a small handful of REAL women that I can do that with. I love them. I miss them when I don't see them often enough. And my life is made so much better because they are in it.

I LOVE MY CHURCH. I haven't wanted to be in church for years, and then when the urge came back, I didn't want to be in any of the churches I visited. I didn't feel like any of them were genuine or that they were really living out the kind of Christianity that Christ intended. My church does. We became regular attenders a couple of months ago and are both quickly finding our roles. I feel so at home, and I am so thankful. It is a church full of broken people with bruised hearts, shattered egos, and really intriguing stories. And everyone is so okay with that.

Life is not perfect. There are ups and downs in all of my days, and fasting brings those ups and downs to the forefront for me. But God is restoring me. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. He is bringing me to a place of purpose, and so I feel joy.

I have no idea how I got here. It seems like one minute my entire life was broken, and the next He had glued it all back together. I didn't even see it coming. But there are times in my daily life where I randomly look up from whatever I'm doing and in complete awe and wonder just say Thank You.

I had nothing to do with any of it, but I can't imagine it getting any better.

Friday, January 27, 2012



I can't believe I've gone 20 days without food. In all honesty, I can't believe I'm still doing this whole thing. I didn't really think I would ever give up, but I could still not grasp the concept of actually doing this. And even though there have been tremendous ups and downs, and it's been really hard at times, on the whole it hasn't been that difficult. The last 10 days have flown by, because it feels like just yesterday that I was celebrating double digits. Now, I'm celebrating the halfway mark, and tomorrow I will officially have fewer days to go than I have already completed. I know I'm not there yet, but I feel so accomplished right now.

And there are a ton of great things happening as a result of this fast.

We have gathered enough sponsors to seriously impact the lives of several young people for the better. (THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE SPONSORING US! We are grateful, and I'm sure those kids are too!)

I'm learning so much about clean eating, and I've put together several lists of healthy foods I want to try when this is all said and done. And I'm seriously working on ways to get E to eat better as well. The other day I managed to make some healthy homemade chicken nuggets, and they totally passed the picky eater test. In recent attempts, I couldn't get the breading right without using actual bread crumbs. Everything else "looked funny" to him, and he wouldn't eat it. But then the Champ got me a food processor. As it turns out, finely processed almonds make excellent nugget breading.

I feel amazing, have incredible energy, and am still only craving healthy foods. PLUS, I've lost about 12 pounds, and I'm down a grand total of 9.5 inches . I had started working out prior to my fast, and the inches had started to come off slowly, but when I measured today there was a major difference. I even wore my "goal skirt" today...the one I couldn't wear a month ago...couldn't even zip. So I'm a happy girl.

I think I've already said this, but if you are thinking about doing a fast (and don't have any chronic medical conditions that would stand in the way) DO IT! I honestly think this is the best thing I've ever done for myself. Yes, it's hard. Yes, I want to eat. Yes, sometimes it flat out sucks. But the positives FAR outweigh the negatives. I feel like it is changing me from the inside out. Not just the physical me. But ME.

I'm already looking for my next challenge. There may be a half marathon in my future. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 19

There's really nothing new to report. I'm still going strong, very excited about tomorrow being the halfway point, and still daydreaming about food.

I discovered a pumpkin tortellini recipe today that made me practically come unglued. It looks SO good, and I can't wait to try it. I still feel good overall, although tonight, in extreme sculpt, I felt like I was going to pass out several times. I don't know if that was because of not eating for 19 days or because he made us do about 1000 squats. Could go either way.

So yeah....boring blog....but tomorrow is HALFWAY!!!! I'll try and come up with something more exciting for that one. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 18

In two days I will have made it halfway! On one hand, I can't believe it's already here, and on the other, OHMYGOODNESSIWANTFOOD.

I've pretty much made peace with the fact that the mental hunger isn't going anywhere. I still sort of pine for food all day long. Today was worse than most, because I was away from my juicer and went WAY too long between "meals." The physical hunger sort of sent the mental hunger into overdrive, and now, even though I'm home and have juiced, I'm still sort of salivating.

I was talking to a client today about the tight knit connection of risk and reward, and how it's hard to experience the fullness of any reward when there was no measurable risk involved. We all go through this. The risk of changing careers. The risk of falling in love. The risk of diving in and making your marriage work, or the risk of leaving it altogether. Nothing good ever really comes to us without some amount of challenge, some little swell of fear, some momentary question of "am I really about to do this?"

Eighteen days ago I found myself taking a risk. It wasn't like I was doing anything earth shattering. And honestly, if I failed, all I'd really have to deal with was a little bit of public scrutiny and a whole lot of personal shame. But it was a risk all the same. It has definitely been accompanied by challenge, there was a healthy dose of fear, and several times during that sermon on Sunday I asked myself, "Am I really about to do this?" But 18 days from now, I'll be rounding the end of the challenge and ready to collect my reward.

New eating habits that will enhance my life.
Motivation to make the right choice for me and my family.
An encouraging amount of weight loss.
A definite sense of accomplishment.

And a few lives made better on the other side of the world.

I sort of think it already, but in 22 days I will know it for certain.

This is well worth the risk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 17: THIS Moment

Ha. Today I was writing a client note, and on the line marked "date" I started to write "day 17." I think it's safe to say I'm completely entrenched in fasting. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.

I have a tendency to get too wrapped up in moments that are of some time other than this one. When it comes to focusing on the past, just call me the Queen of Rehashville. And I'm a champ at worrying about things that I think might happen, but are, in all honesty, very unlikely to happen at any given point in time. I dream up worst case scenarios. I replay old hurts. I feel dumb for things I said...or didn't say. I generally can find myself at any given moment, living in a completely different one.

And I know it's not just me, because on a daily basis I have conversations with clients who do the same thing. There's a therapeutic technique called "mindfulness" that is a good little skill to possess. It consists of doing something that firmly plants you in this moment. Everyone does it differently, but it can be something simple like examining the fine lines in your hand, listening hard for sounds in the room that may have previously gone unnoticed, or focusing on feeling how the material of the couch hugs your skin. It is a process that uses your senses to pull you into the here and now.

I'm a teacher of mindfulness, as it works well for moments of anxiety and panic, but I'm also a student, because as I previously stated, I'm terrible at being in the right now. (I have to practice A LOT.)

But y'all, fasting will flat pull you right down into the belly of right now. It forces you to focus on just this one day, just this one hour, just this one minute, because if you focus on too much more than that it feels unmanageable. Like you have a really long freakin' way to go! Like you might never eat again.

But when I sit down into the now of it all, I realize how okay I am. I'm not hungry. I'm not hurting. I'm not cranky. I'm not suffering. I'm just here, being firmly planted in the now and keenly mindful of the moment. It's almost freeing, as if the 23 days left have no power over me. I don't think I've ever been here before.

I expected fasting to reach its arms down into the recesses of my body, but I am continuously shocked at the way it has also thrown back the curtain on my mind.

In this moment, I am blessed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 16: The Reason

I really needed a reminder today of why I was fasting. And then I opened Facebook this morning and had a video of the boys in Uganda on my wall! (I tried to upload it, but an hour later it's still just "thinking" about it. Sorry!)

The video is of some of the boys in Uganda, along with the team from my old church, who will benefit from the money raised by Fast it Forward. I don't know our current total of sponsors, but we are either AT our goal or SO CLOSE that it's kind of crazy! This is so exciting, because it means that at least 5 lives will be changed this year. Five more kids will be pulled of the streets, fed hot meals, clothed, educated, and loved on....FOR A WHOLE YEAR. I really needed to remember why I wasn't allowing myself to eat. And they are why.

I'll be totally honest, my heart wasn't burdened specifically for these boys or this team. My heart was simply heavily burdened to fast and raise money, and to send it somewhere in Africa. But God burdened my cohort with the ultimate recipient of the funds, and it all fit together. And people have told me I'm crazy. People have told me I couldn't do it. But no one will ever tell me it wasn't worth it. No one.

And the bright side is, that as hard as this is, and as much as I want to eat, this experience is changing me from the inside out. I crave things that I have NEVER wanted before. I am craving good things for my body, and this, in turn results in good things for my life. I'm sure that once this is all said and done I'll enjoy cheesecake again. I'm sure I'll sometimes want a brownie. And maybe I'll want a cheeseburger. But I have zero craving for that stuff right now, and that's just unheard of in my life.

If you are considering doing this, DO IT! I know it's not for everyone, and I wouldn't expect people to do a 40 day fast, but I would imagine just 10 days is enough to reboot your system and change your habits. It's hard. But it's SO worth it.

As much as I want to eat, and as much as I can't wait for February 17th, I'm incredibly thankful that this is a journey that God decided to take me on. It's worth it.

I am worth it.

And so are they!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 15: The Affair

I have cheated on my beloved spouse with a cup of broth. It was so hot and steamy.


Other than that, there's really no change. I'm staying the course, and the course is staying the same. For another 25 days. Almost 24. Not that I'm counting.

I keep trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be learning from all of this. Obviously, there have been some physical and mental revelations. But I really expected more spiritual upheaval, and it has yet to happen. In fact, God has been largely silent since the day He told me to fast and raise money. I've been listening, and I've been praying. But I've heard nothing. That's frustrating, even slightly annoying. (However, writing it makes me nervous, because I fear God will think I'm taunting him. I'm so not.)

That's not to say that I haven't learned plenty. Here's what I know now that I didn't know 15 days ago:

*Some people are extremely encouraging. Others will call you crazy. Some will place a cuss word in front of "crazy" so as to let you know they think you are a complete whack job.

*When people say they are "starving" they are not. They. Just. Aren't.

*It is a waste of time and money to try and juice raspberries, mango, or blueberries.

*I will never buy pre-cut pineapple again. I have spent my entire life thinking that pineapples were packaged in an extremely inconvenient and complicated casing. They are not. They cut easily, and smell delicious!

*Watermelon juice tastes like summer and makes me happy.

*I no longer have any desire to eat anything made with refined flour, sugar, or corn syrup. And regardless of how my child whines, I will not feed him these things if I can keep from it.

*I have spent my life using food as a surrogate for other things...comfort, friendship, distraction, celebration, socialization, stimulation. It makes me sad to think of how much I have missed out on because of this little fact.

*I am meant to finish things I start. I have attempted so many different things, and only finished a small handful. I believe this fast was God's way of pointing out to me that it's time I manage my endeavors in such a way that I complete them every time.

*Food is meant to be fuel, and fuel is meant to give me energy, and energy is meant for me to accomplish God's purpose for me. Therefore, a lifestyle of eating crap cannot be synonymous with living out God's purpose in my life.


Ok, so maybe God hasn't been as silent as I thought. I guess, for me, the physical shifts taking place as a result of this process might have been what God needed me to get. I'm sure there's more. But I feel like that was the one area of my life I have never acknowledged with much importance. I've never worked out faithfully. I've never eaten completely healthy. I've never had balance in that area.

I have examined the extremes of my emotions and my spirituality. I have pushed myself mentally. And in those areas, I have found my footing, a place where I can both rest and reinvent. I have found the place where I am supposed to be for this moment, so that I might end up where I am supposed to be in the next. But I had never found that balance in my physical life.

I guess sometimes you really are supposed to be still.

Maybe it's because He whispers.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 14: Two Weeks

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I haven't eaten solid food in 14 days. I WANT TO EAT! I keep thinking this will get easier, and I guess in some ways it has. I am fine physically. I'm fine emotionally. I'm no longer cranky, and I haven't killed anyone. I'm able to get through the day without feeling extreme hunger pangs, and I can work out with the same general intensity that I did before.

But the mental hunger has not gotten easier. I think about food constantly. However, my view on food is shifting. I no longer want greasy, processed foods. I have been doing some research on the food industry and the findings are, well, disgusting. Did you know that squeeze cheese contains a chemical commonly used as a stain remover? Assuming this is true, I could shampoo the carpet of an entire house with the amount of squeeze cheese I consumed during the summers by the pool when I was a kid. Gross.

I'm currently plotting ways to cook healthy foods that will be appetizing even to my 5 year old. I feel like I've failed him. I haven't spent any time worrying about his nutrition. I was the mom who ran through the drive through, threw together a p,b, & j, and/or heated up some frozen chicken nuggets out of convenience. I sort of hate myself for it, and I'm making up for it now. Unfortunately, it's difficult to undo 5 years of bad habits, so I fully expect some discourse. And since he's at his dad's half the week, where he tells me he gets to eat chocolate donuts for breakfast, I expect that this culinary shift will leave me much less popular.

I'm already in the doghouse for not having a gaming system in my home. I fear that feeding him oven roasted plantain chips might send him packing.

However, I think I've got 14 days that says I'm not one to back down from a challenge.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 13: Lucky Me

I think I'm about to go on a date night with the hubs!!! So excited!

But what the heck are you supposed to do on date night if you can't go eat somewhere?!?! I think we're going to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I warned him that it's a tear jerker, but he's such a good husband that he said he didn't care. Lucky, lucky girl.

It's amazing to realize how many of your daily interactions are scheduled around food. Even a simple outing like going to a movie is usually accompanied with some sort of something to nibble on during, or a cold diet coke, or possibly a frozen yogurt stop afterwards. Or you might stop and have a coffee at the bookstore nearby, or maybe a glass of wine. I can't do any of that. I can watch the movie, and then come home. Our society is just COVERED UP with food!

Because of this fast, I'm learning a brand new way to separate my wants from my needs, my mental hunger from my physical hunger, the need to be introspective and the need to release. It's all consuming, almost insatiable. I've never felt more connected to myself, to the hours, to the days, to the process.

I really am a lucky girl.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 12 Obsession

I think I'm losing it.

I have become completely obsessed with looking at pictures of food on Pinterest and pinning healthy meals to cook. I almost drooled on the computer today looking at a picture of oven baked zucchini fries. I. Can't. Stop.

Then, E laid down for a nap, and I decided to lay down for a bit too. I fell right to sleep. I know this, because the next thing that happened was I was in a fancy restaurant, all dressed up, and someone was serving me a plate of snails. Live ones. With the shell still on. I bit into one of them and felt the crunch between my teeth, but couldn't make myself eat them. Texture issue. Then, instantly, I was in my living room and had decided to make some lasagna with spinach. I knew I needed to go to the store for lasagna noodles, and spent a suspicious amount of time stewing over whether to by the regular ones or the awesome "no cook" ones. But I couldn't get out of my house! I forget why. But for whatever reason, the forces that be would not let me move my feet to the other side of my front door. No lasagna for the family. :/

Clearly the universe is against me consuming food.

I knew it was a dream.

I would totally eat a live snail right now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 11

I'm starting to settle into a predictable routine with the fasting. I wake up and juice something fruity. I go to work, and then come home and juice something veggie. I drink one or two cans of v8 to tide me over, and juice more veggies when I get home. I've also started drinking a cup of broth at night, just because I need something warm.

There's not much to report really. I still desperately want to eat, and today I was hit with the most random cravings, almost pregnancy like. (I'm definitely NOT pregnant.) But they spring into my mind with the same urgency and intensity that I remember from when I was pregnant. Today it was my mother's baked chicken and mushroom casserole. I could almost taste the savory goodness of it. I want warm, thick textured foods. And while my stomach tends to gurgle and churn a lot during the day, my physical hunger is fine and my energy level is great!

I think I've passed the worst of the detoxing, because I really do feel wonderful. But in all honesty, February 17th feels like a REALLY long way away. I'm trying to remember all of the great reasons I'm doing this instead of caving and deciding the whole thing is dumb. I KNOW it will be worth it. It really already is.

But man, I could go for a casserole.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



I can't believe I've made it 10 whole days without food! Without chewing something savory, or something melting in my mouth. Gosh, I miss that.

I made it to my first major milestone! 10 days! Double digits! A fourth of the way there! Halfway to halfway!

When I stop and think about how far there is left to go, I get a little panicky. I mean, 30 more days of this?! I REALLY WANT TO EAT! So I try to approach it like an alcoholic, or in this case a foodaholic, and just take it one day at a time. I didn't eat anything today, and tomorrow is looking good too.

I'm ashamed to admit this, but the last meal I ate was an Angus cheeseburger and french fries from McDonald's. We didn't want to cook, there was no food in the house, and a buy one get one free coupon had just come in the mail. It was the trifecta of dietary blunders. I felt terrible after I ate it, and I really had no idea I would start fasting the next day. But again, I think this fast is doing its thing, because a big greasy cheeseburger and fries just doesn't sound appetizing to me at all! Give me something HEALTHY! (It's sort of a miracle. )

I've been researching healthy foods I want to make when this is all over. Because of this I have learned two things:

1. There are a lot of interesting uses for quinoa, many of which I will be attempting in late February.

2. In the middle of a lengthy fast, opening the food page on Pinterest is somewhat akin to having a tiny orgasm.

30 more days! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 9: The Upswing

Today, I think I reached some sort of fasting euphoria.

I woke up feeling MUCH better physically. My sore throat and congestion are almost gone, and I've made it all day without taking any ibuprofen. I was supposed to have a busy day today, with 5 clients spaced just far enough apart that I would have a small break in between but not long enough to really do anything. The Champ ushered E back to his dad's for me and I got ready for my day.

But as it turned out, 4 of my 5 clients had to reschedule for later in the week, so I only had one client for the whole day. This added to my great mood, because The Champ was off work, so I took care of my client and then ran back home to have a quiet day date with my friend. :)

I went to work out tonight, and there were times when I felt the need to take it a bit slower. I was very aware of the hollow feeling in my gut, and by the end of a very long 45 minutes I was dizzy. But the feeling passed quickly, and by the time I got home, I felt fine.

I really think I'm on the fasting upswing. Everything I've read says once you get through the first few days it's smooth sailing. I still miss food. I would love to sit down to a hot meal of grilled salmon...roasted onion sweet potatoes...broccoli......brown rice with mushrooms...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Oh, sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes. I do miss food. A lot. But I'm noticing that I'm really only craving healthy things. I truly believe this fast is rebooting my system to want the good stuff. I've also noticed that it takes MUCH less juice to make me feel full. I started downing about 20 ounces at a time, and now I'm down to about 12. I guess my stomach is shrinking?

So here's to things looking up. Tomorrow is DOUBLE DIGITS!!!!

I've SO got this.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 8: Balancing Act

I feel much better today. (And if you want to try juicing, pears, pineapple, and strawberry makes an amazing little treat!!!)

I spend a lot of time talking to my clients (I'm a therapist) about the various aspects of their "self". Often, I get them to rate each individual part of themselves, the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. I believe that health and healing are vital in all 4 different aspects in order to have complete peace and balance in life.

These 4 aspects of my "self" are, without question, being stretched during this fasting process. In this blog I have broken down my experiences for each of them.

The Mental: I have experienced a wide range of mental shift so far. I've felt both extreme clarity and intense fog. But overall, I believe my mental energy is greater than it usually is. I'm more alert, and the thoughts running through my mind don't seem to get bogged down in the muck of a sluggish head. The mental hunger is getting much better. I was even able to go back on Pinterest last night and begin researching recipes I want to try when this is all over. A few days ago, looking at all of those pictures would have killed me.

The Physical: Here's the part where my brother in law gets frustrated with me for talking about poop. My digestion is experiencing dramatic changes, and the proof is in the poop! In the past 8 days I have gone from regular bowel activity, to none at all, to extreme gassiness, and today, we've arrived at Diarrheaville! (Sorry, Alex). I realize this is GROSS, but I also realize there are some people reading about my fast who are considering it for themselves. You should know in advance that weird things will happen in a faster's toilet! Beyond digestion, I feel pretty good. I think I have a touch of a cold, because I have a sore throat and some congestion. Those sound less like detox symptoms and more like "It's winter" symptoms. It's nothing a little advil can't fix.My energy level is fantastic, and I've lost 5 pounds so far. Today I even wore a pair of pants to church that I couldn't even button last week!

The Emotional: If you read yesterday's blog then you know this has been a roller coaster. I feel MUCH better today. I'm even downright chipper. I know there will be more emotional battles during this process, because I'm an emotional person, and that's usually the first place where stress shows up in my life. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I have never been able to really hide what I'm feeling. Yesterday was just HARD. But today, I feel back to my usual self, content, loving, and positive. I'm in a great place to start week 2.

The Spiritual: Oh good grief, I don't even know where to start! I've spent a lot of my life the past few years bouncing back and forth between anger and ambivalence. I looked at God as a bystander in my life, and had little interest in Him being much of anything else. I didn't want to be plugged in. I didn't crave connection. I was just sort of ill with Him, and was happy to place Him on an indefinite hold. But He's softened my heart to the point that my desire is to be back in RELATIONSHIP. I'm sparked. I'm excited. I'm craving connection, like I craved food.

I realized on the way to church this morning, that yesterday had plenty of my emotional self, but none of my spiritual self. I pulled an "old Sara" and shut the door on God, because I was just too cranky to deal with him. I don't know why I do this. The therapist in me can come up with lots of possible connections, but I don't ultimately know which one it really is. I just know I do it. When there is stress or disturbance, I throw my hand up in God's face and say, "I can handle this. Stay back." And it never fails that I CAN'T handle it, and I don't really WANT Him to stay back. I'm realizing the overarching need in my life for all 4 aspects of my "self" to be intertwined, for GOD to knit them together so that I function in true balance, neither overeating nor dieting, neither over-analyzing nor being flippant, neither reacting nor numbing out, and becoming neither a judgmental zealot nor a lackluster disciple.

I'm learning, day by day, that balance isn't achieved by a tightly held grip, but rather the ability to loosen up and let go.

"Play with life, laugh with life, dance lightly with life, and smile at the riddles of life knowing that life's only true lessons are writ small in the margin."
Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 7: Detoxing Out of my Eyes

Brace yourself. It's about to get real.

They say a certain amount of detoxing is to be expected. You can expect hunger pangs, a white, thickly coated tongue, headaches, dizziness, and even extra foul body odor.

What none of the websites told me was that I would literally want to hibernate. It's not because I am hungry. It's not because I feel bad. It's because fasting has made me mean.

I have been doing the best I can for the last two days to keep my emotions in check. I've taken deep breaths. I've prayed. I've gone in the other room. But ohmigosh I'm cranky! And today, crankiness culminated with me in a heap in the kitchen.

All day I've wanted nothing more than to be ALONE. Then, because E and The Champ are both here, I immediately felt guilty about that and tried to plug in as best I could. I gave out lots of hugs to my kid, kissed his cheeks numerous times, and told him over and over how much I loved him. I apologized to the The Champ for being so testy, I hugged him, and offered to cook food for him. I'm REALLY TRYING. But the little things annoyed me all day long. EVERYONE JUST GET OUT OF MY WAY!

My patience has been paper thin, and I'm coming up with the most out of character ways to busy myself in solitude. I even got down on my hands and knees and mopped the kitchen floor for a moment of peace. But E has practically turned into a little barnacle the last few days (a precious, lovable little barnacle), and it's next to impossible to get a moment alone. He wants me to cuddle on the couch with him. He wants me to color with him. He wants me to sit with him while he uses the potty. In my decent moments, I've done the good mom/therapist thing and asked him if there was anything he wanted to talk about, was he okay, did he know he was loved? All that stuff. But in my thoroughly fasted and wrung out moments I just want to yell, "LEAVE ME ALONE! I WANT TO POOP BY MYSELF AND WITHOUT YOU PLAYING STAR WARS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR!"

Then later, after a conversation about wanting to eat healthier and introduce healthier habits for E, we fixed him a lunch of chicken, spinach leaves with ranch dressing (which he loves) a cheese stick, and some sliced strawberries (sprinkled with stevia). I was proud of us for making the effort. But all he would do was whine about not liking the strawberries and kept making faces like we were asking him to eat chunks of acid soaked asbestos. I think what I actually said was, "Just eat as many as you can," but in my head I heard, "JUST EAT THE DAMN STRAWBERRIES!"

I haven't been any better to The Champ. The man will deserve a medal when this is all said and done. I've been super sensitive to him all day long. If he looked at me a certain way, I assumed he was pissed. If he used an irregular tone of voice, I immediately questioned him. I think The Champ recognized he was living in a war zone and quickly shuffled E right out of the door to the safety of walmart. I was so thankful. Then, just a bit ago, he and E came in from the store where they had gone to buy a few healthy goodies so they could start this whole healthy eating endeavor now instead of waiting until I'm done fasting. AND THEY WOKE ME UP.

I chose that precise moment to attack. I waited until my prey (The Champ) had innocently made eye contact when I snapped with as much indignation as I could muster, "WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU? WHY ARE YOU SO PISSY?! WHY DO YOU KEEP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT?!" Poor thing never knew what hit him. He stumbled over his words, rightfully wounded, trying to simultaneously to fend off his attacker and keep from losing his shit. He gathered his composure (because he's The Champ and he's miraculously able to remain calm when faced with my complete irrationality), and he said sweetly, "Babe, I think you're being a little overly sensitive."

And THAT'S when I started crying in the kitchen. Full on, head buried in his shirt, heaving sobs, 'what is wrong with me, I feel like I'm losing my mind', crying. I felt him put his arms around me, and I heard my 5 year old say, "What's wrong with mommy?"

The Champ replied, "Oh she's okay. Mommy's just..." and then he trailed off as he patted my back, because really, there just weren't words for what Mommy was right then.

And then I felt two little arms stretch around me, and a little 5 year old hand on the small of my back, and a little 5 year old forehead leaning into my side, and I heard a little 5 year old voice say, "It's okay Mommy. I know just how you feel."

I knew about the headaches. I knew about the hunger. I knew about the dizziness and the coated tongue and the body odor. But none of the websites, not a single one, mentioned that I would find myself in my kitchen, in the middle of the day one Saturday,

detoxing out of my eyeballs and sandwiched between my whole wide world.

I have never been more unlovable. And I have never felt more loved.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 6: The Hunger Zone

I want food. I don't just want to eat it. I want to bathe in it. Roll in it. Wear it as a jacket. I want to be so in the middle of food that people will think food is eating me.

It's not even that I'm hungry. I can curb the hunger with juice! I can keep my energy up with juice. I can go about my day and accomplish my daily tasks by the power of freshly squeezed pears...and tomatoes....and celery....and spinach...and....the list goes on. I can get by.

But I MISS FOOD! It really shows me how much of a mental dependence I have on eating. I rely on it for socialization, for comfort, for distraction, for focus. I use it as a weapon to fend off anything unexpected, uncomfortable, unappealing. I use food for so many things, and I bet less than 10% of them have anything at all to do with actual physical hunger.

I'm learning what the hunger zone feels like- the small rumble of your belly as your gut rolls over on itself, the hollowness in your core, the feeling of nothing hitting nothing. It's a feeling with which I have recently become quietly intimate.

I still don't feel great. Detoxing. Since yesterday, I have felt feverish and achy. It's easier when my day is busy and I'm loaded with ibuprofen. But it's been harder the last two days to table my crankiness, and I find myself wielding a sharp tongue. However, I'm still able to keep my eye on the goal. I can't see me quitting...only counting down the days.

Only 34 more. Pass the Advil.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 5: Ugh

I wish I could write that every day is a new revelation about God and that it's the best time ever! It's not.

Today was probably my worst day so far. I hadn't really experienced any detox symptoms until today. I woke up with a headache, a sore throat, and a coated tongue. (Sexy, huh?!) I took some Tylenol, and did my best to deal with it. I was at home all day with E, so I was able to lay down for a bit in the middle of the day. That seemed to help.

But the flip side of that is that I was at home all day with a growing 5 year old. He eats a ton! First he wanted sausage biscuits, then chicken fingers, then a peanut butter sandwich. It took every ounce of self control I could find in my achy body to not eat the last little bite of chicken or the crusts from his sandwich. When he asked why I wasn't eating, I showed him pictures of hungry kids on the other side of the world and tried to explain. It was a good reminder for me, and about an hour later he asked if he could save some of his sandwich and send it to the hungry kids. If nothing else gets accomplished by this little journey, then at least my kid has a greater world view.

The Champ had to ditch his fasting early due to a root canal and some CAPITAL LETTER pain meds. He would get violently ill if he didn't eat something with them, so he came home and started (is still!) snacking on garlic laden pretzels. By this time, my headache was back and my throat was starting to ache again. I had successfully completed extreme sculpting class, but by the time I got home I could tell my fuse was short. I made myself go take a shower just to avoid biting off any of the heads of my loved ones.

It only worked mildly. I am currently toeing the very thin line between slightly irritable and nasty witch. I remembered to read my Psalm today. Psalm 36:8 says "they feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights."

So I'm meditating on what God is trying to teach me through this. I have no desire to be Super Christian. I have no desire to even be anyone's role model. It's been a good long while since I even desired to pay God any attention. But I am now. So I'm focusing on feasting on the abundance of His house.

I wonder if His house smells like garlic and sounds like crunchy. Mine does.

Lord, help me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 4: Brown juice

As I write this, I'm waiting for a mug of freshly squeezed veggies to cool off so I can drink it and pretend it is soup. Now, please, don't everybody run right over to try some. Warm, poopy brown soup is not as appetizing as it sounds.

Today was tough, but the physical hunger isn't really the problem. I can get my belly full on juice. But the mental hunger....WOW! I really miss the process of chewing, tasting, and swallowing food. Any food. All day long I was hit with random cravings. Ooh, chinese chicken from the place beside my old dorm! Ooh...herby bread from macaroni grill! Ooh...grease from the bottom of a burger vat at McDonald's! It was a fun day.

Here's the list of things I've juiced so far:

raspberries (They don't juice. They DO gunk up your juicer.)
bell peppers
mustard greens
collard greens

My brown soup tonight is a combination of tomato, celery, collard greens, carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers. It's actually much better warm than cold. I think that kills off some of the good nutritional value of the juice.

I asked myself if I care.

I don't.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 3

So far, this has been better than I expected! I really thought I would feel terrible for the first few days, and I'm rounding the end of Day 3(!) and still feel pretty good. I would even venture to say that I am more mentally and spiritually taxed than physically.

I worked out last night, although I skipped my regular extreme cardio class and opted for a zumba style "devoted fitness" class. It was a lighter workout than I'm used to, which was probably good for me. I was a bit sluggish last night. But today, I've had good energy, and other than a bit of hunger, physically I feel great!

However, I've had some spiritual side effects that I wasn't quite prepared for. Do you ever have that feeling that God is about to do something TO YOU? I do right now. In fact, the only way I know to describe it is I feel that God is going to turn me inside out. I'm seeing a lot of areas in my life that He may be trying to polish up, and in all honesty, I just don't think that's going to be much fun.

I guess I should get excited about God working in my life. And I do get excited-for the results. But sometimes the process is HARD. If we're being perfectly candid, I've been known to run and hide from that kind of polishing! But I've thrown myself to the proverbial wolves here. All of facebook knows about Fast it Forward. People are counting on us to finish what we start (never a strong suit of mine!) and frankly, quitting is just not an option! And it's not like I can cheat and get away with it! People will know if I'm doing this or not, because an all juice diet will yield weight loss. With all of those balls rolling, hiding is not possible. This is a vulnerability that would most definitely give me digestive issues, were the juice not already taking care of that.

On a positive note, we've got about 33 sponsors on board (last I checked) and only need a handful more to meet our goal of 45! (If you feel led to sponsor, please let me know! We still need more people!) This means that all of the boys that our team in Uganda have been praying for will have sponsorship through the year. They will be fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated. Their lives will be BETTER...maybe even GOOD. We are making a difference. One glass of juice at a time. (Oh wow...that is still just SO WEIRD.)

So turn me inside out, God. I will not hide from you.

This time. ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Random musings

I'm tired today. My head is starting to ache, and I feel a little feverish. All of this is to be expected. I'm detoxing. Detoxing sucks. I expect by the end of the day, I'll want to curl up into a teeny, tiny ball and kill any living thing that does not also want to be curled up into a teeny, tiny ball.

I'm still baffled as to why God has called me to do this. I'm not Super Christian. I say entirely too many curse words to be useful to most conservative Christians. And at this present moment, my fingernails are painted an absolutely whorish shade of red. Most of the time, I'm not even all that reverent. I have to admit, if I were God, I would think I was kind of a handful. So it's confusing to me why this is playing out the way it is. I'm curious as to what God is going to teach me through this process.

I decided to read a Psalm each day of my fast, and will be doing Psalm 40-Psalm 1 in reverse order. That means that today is Psalm 39. The very first verse says, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin."

Funny, God. Real funny.

Day 2

I'm ok so far. But it's early.

I had planned to begin my 40 days in late February. I wanted to wait until then, because it would be after a trip that The Champ and I are planning to take, and also after both of our birthdays. (mmmmmm.......cake!) It would simply be a more convenient time.

And then I went to church yesterday. I didn't realize that while God was speaking to me, He was also heavily working on the heart of my friend, Beth. God just told me to fast and raise money. He told her to fast and where to send it. So we joined forces for Fast it Forward.

Then, I listened to the sermon in church, where they kicked off The Biggest Loser series about letting go of things that weigh you down, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And at some point during the sermon, I can't even tell you what happened, but I leaned over to The Champ and whispered, "I'm supposed to start fasting today." For a split second he looked at me in complete shock, but then he said, "Ok, let's do it!" LET'S! As in, he's going to fast with me! But he's planning to do a 10 day fast, not the full 40. So THEN, they did the invitation and I sobbed.

I kept thinking back to the brokenness in my life, all the ways that my life has crumbled and God has still called me His. I thought about the mess He pulled me out of and what a special gift He gave me in the man that was sitting beside me. I thought about how wonderful my life is, and how I had nothing to do with that. I thought about how I really have every need met. And how others don't get the same set of circumstances. How could I have gotten it SO WRONG SO MANY TIMES and still see so much GRACE from God?

He must REALLY love me.

So I'm on day 2 of Fast it Forward. So far, I'm ok. Hungry, but not hurting. I expect as the day goes on it will get harder. But now my friends in Uganda know about the project, so there's no turning back! There is a handful of young men, who need this whole thing to succeed. In like a serious God kind of way.

Fasting for 40 days will not kill me. Not fasting for 40 days, just might kill them. It's the first time I've ever felt that I was making a real difference!

Can you help?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fast it Forward (Day 1)

So God's been doing something really "weird" in my life. And of all things, He's doing it through juicing. I can't really explain it. I just know that I can't ignore it.

God has instructed me to do a 40 day juice fast. It's not for weight loss. It's not for self fulfillment, although it did start with those motivations. He has taken this inkling and turned it into a full fledged mission! The mission is to sponsor children in Africa. Specifically, 5 young men named Timothy, Ivan, Edwin, Bwanika, and Fred. There is a small team of people from my former church currently serving there, and they have come in contact with these 5 young men who are living on the streets. By sponsoring them, we can provide them with food, shelter, clothing, and education for an entire year. The goal is $1800, as that will cover their sponsorship for the full year. Read about them here.

My former mother in law/friend/mentor/fill in the blank, has agreed to fast with me, as God had been working on her heart for these young men. Forty days is going to be HARD. We both love food, and love socializing over food. It's going to be challenging. It's possibly going to outright suck.

But on my very worst day of fasting, my life is easier than the lives of these men, who have lived on the streets, gone without food, been beaten and abused, and don't have anyone to have their backs.

I'm going to have their back. I'm going to do what I can from the other side of the world. I can Fast it Forward.

You can help. By sponsoring me with just $1 per day, we can reach the goal of providing for these boys needs for a full year. If you are interested in being a sponsor of Fast it Forward, please either comment here, or find us on facebook by searching Fast it Forward. And tell your friends! The more people who sponsor me for Fast it Forward, the more young people's lives we can change. All proceeds will go to sponsor these young people!

Stay tuned for daily updates!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


It's contagious. The Champ is juicing! He generally incorporates more fruits than I do. I think this concoction has:

2 green apples
1 pear
1 stalk celery
A handful of mustard greens
some baby carrots

He loves it! If only I could convey the magnitude of this victory! I mean, I kind of married a walking Hot Pocket. So proud!


Friday, January 6, 2012

That still, small voice

"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" (1Kings 19:11-13)

Do you know that feeling when God speaks to you?

It happened to me today. Actually, it's been happening more frequently lately, possibly because God is speaking to me more, or perhaps just because I'm paying closer attention. Either way, something is going on.

In my previous post, I mentioned the possibility of doing an extended juice fast. I don't just want to do a juice fast. In fact, I really think it will be rather terrible. It's that I feel called to do a juice fast. Something is going on.

I can't explain my passion for juicing. Really, it's shocking even to me. I've spent the last 30 years smearing mayonnaise on things and trying to find ways to make chocolate a breakfast food. (What is, Nutella, Alex.) But when I started this whole juicing thing, something changed in my gut. My physical one and my spiritual one. Something is going on.

Then, I watched "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." Again, probably shouldn't be so enamored with a documentary about juicing. But I've watched it three times. In a month. Something is going on.

And today, as I was arguing with God over why I wouldn't be able to do this, He spoke to me.

"There's no way I can go 40 days without food. I just can't. I. Just. Can't."

"Yes, you can. I will be there."

"But I'll be hungry all the time. It will be bad for my health. It will be bad for my clarity. It will be bad for my MARRIAGE!"

"Do it anyway. I will be there."

"But I will starve!"

"Sara...this is starving."

And then a heartbreaking picture flashed through my mind, like this one of "Little Guy" and I realized why God was calling me to fast. I'm not supposed to do it for me. I'm supposed to do it for them. (Which is just weird, because while I've always hated seeing pictures of starving children, I've never felt called to action like this!)

God didn't speak to me through the wind, or an earthquake, or a fire. He spoke to me in His still, small voice coming from the quiet whir of a Jack Lalanne Power Juicer. And He asked me what I heard.

And I heard, "Help them."

Something is going on.

Stay tuned for how you can get on board.

Y'all, God is so weird sometimes!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I can't say that I've ever really pushed myself. I mean, sure, finishing grad school was challenging. And the single mom thing was hard. But physically, I'm kind of a wimp. I didn't play sports in high school, so I have no mesmerizing stories of running until I puked. And until recently, I couldn't be bothered to stick with an exercise regimen for very long.

But I've been making changes lately. I started working out consistently over a month ago, and it's become part of my weekly schedule. I go to "extreme cardio" 3 times a week, and occasionally throw a yoga class in there. I'm loving it! And I'm noticing changes in my body, although not enough to be noticeable to others, because until the past week or so, I haven't been altering my diet. The extreme cardio drill sergeant's favorite saying is, "You can't train away a bad diet." So the purpose of my working out over the last month has mainly been to get in the routine, because I have most certainly not been eating right. I blame all that cake I ate for Baby Jesus.

But I also started juicing about 8 weeks ago, and while everyone (myself included) thought it would be something I would do for about a week and then give up, I absolutely love it! And then I watched the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." (trailer) It follows a man through his 60 day juice fast, and after watching it I started considering an extended fast. Maybe I could do a weekend? A week? Surely I could do 10 days?

Yes, I want to lose weight. But this is more than that. I really want to reboot my body, and ultimately face my food demons. I have an unhealthy relationship with food that deserves some exploration, and I feel that an extended fast will connect my mind, body, and spirit in such a way as I have never before experienced. So in bed last night, I tried to wrap my brain around what that might look like.

I'm praying about doing a 44 day juice fast during Lent, which will start in late February. The Champ and I are planning a short getaway vacation that month, and the fast would start right after. Obviously I realize that you're not supposed to broadcast your Lent sacrifices. But if I choose to do this, I'll have to write about it. It's not to boast or draw attention to how awesome I am. It's because I know I'll want to quit. I'll likely fail. And blogging is a great accountability partner. Even the thought of doing it is overwhelming. It scares me, but also exhilarates me. It's the same feeling I felt on my first day of grad school, or when they wheeled me in to the operating room right before they pulled a baby from my belly. It's the feeling that something is about to change.

I haven't made any decisions about it yet. I'm gathering research and trying to figure out the pros and cons. But if there is anyone who would like to go on this journey with me, let me know! Happy juicing!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Warm Little Fuzzies

It's cold outside. The kind of cold where your snot freezes in your nose and your car doesn't begin to get warm until you are pulling into the parking lot of your destination. It's weather like this that reminds me why I have such a passionate love affair with my car's heated seats.

While I was killing time on facebook today, I noticed a picture of an old friend. I haven't talked to her in years, and likely didn't really leave a great impression the last time she saw me. We lived in two different worlds at that point. Hers was situated somewhere in the galaxy of conservative Christianity. Mine was in a completely different galaxy, commonly known as "Sara has lost her ever loving mind." (I think some of my decisions in the last few years would prove that there is no intelligent life on that planet. But I digress.)

Mandy was one of the first friends I made in my freshman year at Western Kentucky University. She was smart, friendly, witty, and my favorite trait, sarcastic. She would slather it on thick like peanut butter, and did it with such a straight face that I joked she needed a sign to hold up so the rest of the world would know when she was kidding. She was amazing, and I enjoyed her friendship for several years.

This is a picture of us from (I think) 1999 at Christmas
Conference. I have no idea whose hat I'm wearing,
and I can't apologize enough for those overalls. If I had known that a.) I looked like a truck driver, and b.) a few years down the road there would be this little thing known as social networking where these pictures will resurface without warning and show up on your profile for the whole world to comment on, I may have made a wiser wardrobe selection that morning. Damn you, Mark Zuckerberg.

Anyway, Mandy became my friend quickly and we went on many trips like this one with the Christian organization we were both involved in. But my experience with this group turned sour, and as this happened, I began to rebel against all things Christian. I've had a lot of anger about it for several years, and have (shamefully) lumped most of the participants of this organization into a group I've labeled, "People that will never get me."

But there are a couple of old friends that I think of from time to time and get warm little fuzzies. Every now and then I'm reminded of the good times. The late night talks, the inside jokes, and the encouragement. It's moments like these where I catch a tiny glimpse of the amazing grace of God, and remember that even in a bad experience that His grace was still there.

My heart leapt with joy when I saw Mandy's picture today. She's lost A TON of weight and looks A-MAZING! She took control of her life, stopped running away from her issues, and from what I can tell just started running her ass off. I don't think I've ever rejoiced so freely while alone in my kitchen as I did when I saw that picture of her today. If only she could put her awesome in a jar, I would most certainly buy it and smear it on a wheat thin.

I guess it doesn't matter how cold it is outside. You just can't stop a warm little fuzzy.

Monday, January 2, 2012


It's only the second day of the new year and already I want to skip my work out and sit around eating Evan's "chocolate triangles." (Hershey's kisses.) Ugh. Just ugh!

I think the phrase "trying to lose weight" is a crock. You either are or you aren't. There's no trying. You're either making the choices you need to make to be healthy and see results, or you aren't. I'm the only person who can make me fat, and by God, I'm the only person who can make me not fat.

So as much as I want to skip my workout and sit around eating chocolate triangles, I'm lacing up my tennis shoes and heading to "extreme cardio" with the drill sergeant who thinks lunges to the tempo of a Ke$ha song are a warm up.

Today, I'm losing weight.

And also, chocolate triangles are from Satan.

Sa'mon (because the L is silent)

Does anyone else hate when people say "SALL-mon"? Sort of drives me crazy.

Part of my "getting creative in the kitchen" experience includes eating more fish. I love salmon, because it's tasty and you get the added bonus of heart healthy omega 3's from this super food. (When you hear the term "super food", do you kind of feel like the salmon of the world should be swimming around with little capes on?) The only problem is that it's expensive to buy fillets all of the time. Also, I'm the only person in my home that will eat it, so it's kind of a hassle to make. I decided to figure out a way to incorporate canned salmon into my diet, because it's cheap and still healthy. What better way to do that than

Salmon Croquettes!

I made some modifications to a standard recipe to make them as healthy as possible. I rarely ever measure anything, so I just sort of dumped things in a bowl until I was satisfied with the portions.

I used one tall can of pink salmon, which you should be forewarned still contains the skin and bone. However, they have been cooked with the salmon, so they are perfectly edible. Just drain the can, dump it into a bowl and flake it so you can't see the skin anymore. Then I added about two stalks of diced celery, 1/4 red onion diced, 1/4 red bell pepper diced, and about 1/2 c. rolled oats (in place of bread crumbs). I chopped a couple of sprigs of fresh dill and threw that in, then mixed in three egg whites (instead of the whole egg) and a dash of lemon juice.

I preheated a skillet on the stove and sprayed it with a thick layer of cooking spray. Then I patted out the fish, threw it into the skillet, and browned both sides. Once both sides had cooked slightly, I reduced the heat, added a couple of TBSP water, covered the skillet and let the patties steam for about 15 minutes while monitoring them. Then I turned off the burner and LEFT THEM COVERED FOR ANOTHER 10 MINUTES. When I removed the lid, they were cooked through! I kept a couple in the fridge, and wrapped the others to freeze for a quick healthy meal.

I analyzed the nutrition facts using this online calculator and it came up with about 200 calories per patty and 20 grams of protein!

Also, I tried a new juice combo this morning, that was pretty tasty!

5 stalks and leaves of kale
2 stalks celery
handful baby carrots
2 pears
1/2 a cucumber
3 large strawberries
dash of lemon juice

I would imagine this combo is fairly high in sugar, and thus higher in calories than my usually veggie drink. But I wanted to try something new, and this was pretty pleasant. Very sweet and refreshing!

I'm currently plotting ways to get my 5 year old to drink fresh juice. I'm on the prowl for a "magic glass" that will make it an exciting endeavor for him and also hide the god awful color of freshly squeezed juice.

Juicing is not a pretty business.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kitchen Endeavors

A lot of people make resolutions this time of year, and in all honesty, I believe they simply set themselves up for failure. I think it's a safe assumption that at any point in time where you have been doing something to an extreme (like laying on the couch and eating things like fried cheese) and then proclaim that you are going to go to the opposite extreme (like running a marathon) that you are suffering from delusions of grandeur. The simple act of flipping over a new page on the calendar is just not going to change your life. So I try not to make resolutions.

However, there are a couple of goals that I have in mind. I'd like to continue juicing, because, as established below, it gives me great "results." I'd like to continue my exercise program, and maybe even enhance it, because I can tell it's working. And my most recent endeavor is to get creative in the kitchen. It's time that I broaden my dietary horizons.

I possess a palette that is naturally attracted towards the food group known as "used to be alive, but is now dead and covered in cheese," and while this is all sorts of yummy, it's a great way to undo all of the benefits of my other personal goals. So I'm working on branching out, learning new recipes, and getting creative with healthier substitutions. This makes for exciting kitchen experiments and has significantly upped The Champ's raised eyebrow quotient. Part of my new blogging motivation is just to have a place to journal my progress with these goals.

So far, I have filed "Nutella Banana 'Ice Cream" and "homemade yogurt" in the "WTF is that?!" category. More about those later.

Today, however, I am a culinary bad ass. These are my success stories.

Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad
(Please excuse the poor photo quality of this blog. These are taken with my phone. A photographer I am not.)

1 lb. chicken breast tenders
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 red onion (because it's prettier), diced
1 avocado, halved
1/4 c. light mayo
1/2 packet Buttermilk Ranch seasoning
a handful of Turkey Bacon Bits, optional
salt and pepper to taste

I simmered the chicken in water with chicken bouillon cubes, salt and pepper until tender, then cubed it. In a large bowl, combine the diced chicken, diced celery, diced onion, turkey bacon, and half of the avocado, cubed. In a measuring cup, I mashed the other half of the avocado until I had 1/4 c. of avocado gunk. Then I combined that with 1/4 c. light mayo. Add the ranch seasoning to the gunk and then stir it into the chicken mixture. Refrigerate and serve in a wrap or on a Wasa cracker. Yum! I am planning to try this again using even less mayo and substituting Greek yogurt, but as stated before, my yogurt endeavor didn't end well. The avocado introduces plenty of heart healthy fats, cuts down on the mayo, and works as a great binding agent for the salad.

My other success story today involved juicing! I was making my usual Old Faithful this morning (substituting kale for the spinach!) and The Champ asked me to make him something. Since he doesn't like pure vegetable juice I whipped up this little concoction with things I had on hand. It got The Champ's "I Won't Eat Vegetables" seal of approval!

4 stalks and leaves of kale
1 handful baby carrots
1 stalk celery
2 small red apples
1 pear
4 strawberries
about 1tsp lemon juice (to cut the bitterness of the kale)

Because I'm allergic to raw apples, I couldn't try it. But he was pretty adamant that it was delicious! If you try it, let me know what you think!