Juicy Tid Bits

Back to juicing.  Needless to say, I am no longer juice fasting.  I got to around day four and simply admitted that I just want dinner.  Juicing throughout the day wasn’t such a challenge, in fact, I really enjoyed the simplicity of preparing the juice at the beginning of the day and having all my meals and snacks ready when I needed them.  Feeding the family was and still is my greatest challenge.  I like to spend time with them around the dinner table, and with just juice for dinner in the face of their meals, sitting there felt like sheer hell.  Overall, juicing has more appeal to me now from this experience and I can envision including a fresh juice into my daily routine.

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in the country and got to play around with my Dad’s juicer.  He’s got one of those fabulous Breville Juice Fountains.  I could put an entire cucumber through the chute with no chopping.  Whole carrots, beets, radishes, no fuss!  It took minutes to juice for an entire day, versus the hour or more it takes with my own juicer.  However, before I start sounding like a cheesy infomercial, I’ve gotta say, it’s got some pitfalls.  The Breville is a centrifugal juicer and isn’t great with leafy greens, which is the base of most of my juices.  Cleanup is pretty simple, but the enthusiasm of quick and easy juicing faded when I saw that the pulp is still a tad wet and, well, juicy.  I feel a little guilty letting those valuable nutrients go to waste.  Now, I can see that if I included this in my arsenal of power tools, I’d probably juice more frequently.  I’ve just got to decide if I want to give up the cupboard space for another toy.  In the meantime, Dad’s offered me his to continue my test drive.  So generous.

Thanks, Dad.

PS:  This isn’t a sponsored post.  I haven’t gotten enough readers, yet, to make me interesting to Breville, I’m sure.  However, some day… if I am sponsored, I promise I’ll let you know.

A Little Love

I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  Yikes.  I mean, Hurray!  With guests.  So exciting!  Busy, busy, busy.  No time to write.  But just enough time to pass this along in case you haven’t seen it yet.

This little ditty from Love Everybody put a smile on my face this morning.

Next, I’m googling “how to cook a turkey”.

Juice Fast, Day 3

Complete.  I even spent the day at Ikea, and while Dad and his friend gobbled down those fabulous Swedish meatballs, I drank my quart of juice.  Oh lord, and I even made dinner for everyone tonight, and survived.

I think the most difficult part of fasting today was explaining why I was doing this.  To write it seems easier.  When I watched those two men in the movie, I wanted that change for myself.  I want to wake up with less pain.  I want to believe that cleaning up my diet really will improve my health.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I want to lose weight.  Want, want, want… meaningless words unless I take some action.

Juice Fast, Day 2

Can I really say that it’s day two of my juice fast when last night I accidentally ate a piece of pizza immediately after submitting my post?  It was an accident, really.  I wasn’t even feeling hungry.  I did need to get my little guy off to bed, and went downstairs into the pizza smelling heaven – no purgatory – that is my kitchen.   All the leftovers were left out.  Aarrgh.  While putting the food away, oops, I just took a bite.  Then the rest of the slice just disappeared.  Realizing that I was in enemy territory, I scooped up the kid and got out of there fast.

Looking back, I still count the day as a success.  Without my usual coffee in the morning, I had anticipated a terrible day with headaches and major brain fog.  I was more tired than usual, and my head felt a little tense, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  What I didn’t plan for was the 20 plus urgent trips to the bathroom throughout the day.  I should have listened more carefully when one woman who tried the 10-day fast described something similar.  But if I had listened, I probably wouldn’t have started.

Today was a little better.  I woke up with a clear head and 2 pounds down – mostly water, I’m sure.  I had expected much worse caffeine withdrawals, but I won’t complain.  Before leaving for my morning driving rounds, I downed some juice I had prepared the day before.  Ideally, it is better to drink the juice as soon as it’s made.  However, setting myself up for success also means preparing some juice the night before so I have something for the morning rush.  Juicing for the day took about an hour and a half.  That seems excessive, but I ruined a batch by added a particularly hot jalapeno, then had to juice more veggies to tone it down.

Usually when I juice vegetables, I grab whatever I have in the fridge.  But I’ve gone through so many veggies (especially greens) that I needed a little bit more of a plan to help with the shopping.  I went straight to the website, Join the Reboot, that was mentioned in the movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  The plans are free as long as you make a profile.  I’m starting by following the Long Weekend, although I plan to extend it for 10 days instead of just 3.  They don’t have easy peasy shopping lists, but it doesn’t take much to transpose the recipes into a list of what’s needed.

Yesterday I tried both the Sunset Blend Juice (with sweet potato, carrots, red bell pepper, beets and apples) and the Gazpacho Juice (with tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red bell pepper, onion and parsley).  Both were delicious and a total diversion from what I typically juice.  I wasn’t so excited with the Citrus Green Juice, but it was much better after adding some ginger and lemon.

For tomorrow, I’ve got to plan a little.  Most of the day will be spent out of the house running errands with my dad, and a stop at Ikea is among them.  Oh, the Swedish Meatballs.  Sigh.

Juice Fasting

Finally, after so many people have recommended it, I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  That was Saturday night after spending a lovely evening dining with friends.  The dinner we had was healthful and fantastic, and if I had stopped there, I would have been fine.  But the wine – so smooth.  And that coconut cake, I devoured every last crumb.  I would have licked the plate if I had the chance.  As if that wasn’t enough, back at home I took out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream to soften.  What the heck – I don’t even eat ice cream!

On a side note, do any of you remember when chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream first came on the scene?  I do.  I remember as a kid sneaking into the freezer to dig out some of the frozen, lumps of dough, only to find one of my siblings had already beat me to it.  Arrrgggh.  All that teen, hormonal angst paled in comparison with the disappointment of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream sans chocolate chip cookie dough.  Okay, back to my story.

At home, house quiet, kids in bed, with my very own pint of ice cream softening on the counter with no siblings around to wreck it, I decided to watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix.  Crazy.  If you haven’t already watched or heard about it, the movie documents Joe Cross’s decision to go on a 60-day juice fast to lose weight and regain his health.  Along the way, he meets Phil Staples at a truck stop in Arizona.  Phil is morbidly obese, has all sorts of health problems and is desperate to make a change.  At the end of his rope, he calls on Joe for help.  That’s when the story gets really good.

As soon as Phil entered the movie, I had to choke back tears all the way.  Some of it was because how humbled he was at his condition and he was so open to do anything to get better.  While I thought Joe was a bit showy, he showed some real generosity as he extended himself to help Phil.  I think it’s amazing that the two just randomly met that day, and how they each gave so much of themselves to the other.

Meanwhile, I’m glued to my iPad while watching this, but still devouring the ice cream.  Not my best moment, not even close.  I went to bed Saturday night feeling physically crappy, but also full of possibility.

Sunday I updated FB, “Juice fast begins tomorrow.”  One person commented, “I thought you only ate raw food, do you really need to go on juice fast?”  Ouch.

You may notice that sometimes I write a lot about food – I’m probably eating very well.  Then I’ll go through times when I don’t, because I’m not eating so well.  I think if I had exceptional will power, I probably wouldn’t still be fighting my weight after all these years.  After watching Phil’s story, and hear him talk about never having will power, and being depressed because of the weight he’s gained, yet feels like he can’t stop eating – oh, I relate to that so much.  I may not have 200 lbs to lose, but the feelings, hopelessness and desperation are all too familiar.  Last spring when I first got serious about eating well, I experienced such a sudden change in my energy.  Losing just a small amount of weight took a tremendous amount of pressure off my hips, knees and feet.  Eating primarily plant foods directly related to the reduction of inflammation in my body.  For the first time in years I would wake up in the morning without that dreaded whole body pain that I often experience.

After that initial surge of success, I’ve been up and down ever since.  Consistently eating well has been quite a challenge.  Overall, my diet is soooo much better than it was two years ago.  But now is the time of year that those challenges get more and more intense.  Starting with Halloween candy, the time change, chilly windy days, dark afternoons, more wine in the evenings, stronger coffee in the mornings and now Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

In the movie, Joe challenges people to try juicing for just 10 days and see how you feel.  I chuckle, just ten days?  Ha!  But then I grabbed my calendar to see what 10 days would look like.  If I start right away, I can tie this up a few days before Thanksgiving.  I’m hoping that a juice fast will bring me back to that level of clarity and resolve that I experienced last spring.

For Thanksgiving I’m hosting a large family gathering this year.  I’ll serve the traditional basics with Turkey, potatoes, stuffing and pie.  Everything else I hope to share some of the fantastic raw vegan dishes I’ve fallen in love with so there will be something for everyone.  I think we’ll have a well rounded table with a lot to be grateful for.



Messy Books

Earlier last month I enjoyed a quick visit from my SIL, Mara, from A Blog About Love.  (She’s lovely, if you don’t already know it.)  While staying here, she sneaked a few photos of my home and posted them on her blog.  Actually, we talked ahead of time and I got all excited like, oh, maybe this will prompt me to move forward with a designer and get the rest of this home furnished.  Maybe I can document it on my blog.  And maybe, I’ll get some traffic!  Or, even maybe Design Mom will feature my home in one of her Living With Kids posts.  Ha, ha, ha.  Like having a gorgeous living space isn’t enough incentive.

Messy Counters

Home design is not something that I like to write about because, while I love looking at great design, I got pretty burnt out during the design and build process, moving, and selecting the few furnishings that I do have.  Oh, and the housing market collapsed.  And the financial markets.  And, hmmm, maybe I won’t get into all that.  To top it all off, seeing the wake of destruction that a mastiff puppy and a small boy can inflict on a home, sent me over the edge.  I threw in the towel and turned my attention to more gratifying pursuits like Zuma (just kidding, wink, wink), homeschooling, running and raw foods.

Messy table.

When I saw the photos that Mara posted, I was quick to notice that in every single one of them, there were piles of stuff lying around.  Yikes!  What a mess.  My husband and I lovingly refer to ourselves as “loose space” people.  Usually, it is a comfortable level of messiness.  If all the surfaces were clear, I’d feel anxious.  However, if I can’t find a book title, or an important piece of mail, I get frantic.  I look for the happy medium between sterile and chaos.  Seeing my mess, even my comfortable mess, on Mara’s blog made me slightly uncomfortable.

Messy Bedrooms

Just this last weekend I really felt the pain.  My husband had invited his colleague and family over for dinner.  I’ve met them before and think they’re great people.  To have them in my home, I wanted to make a decent impression, so I went on a cleaning Frenzy of epic proportions.  Did I really need to completely empty the coat closet and reorganize everything into plastic bins???  An hour before they were to arrive, I was exhausted and cranky.  Unfortunately, our friends called to cancel.  I was disappointed, yet I enjoyed spending a quiet evening (before my big race) with a clean house.

In a book, oblivious to the mess and everything around her.

During my cleaning frenzy, I was very conscious of how much space goes unused in my home.  The extra bedroom that I had hoped would be filled with more kids (story for another day) is now an office where unpacked moving boxes still line the wall.  The separate living and dining area, it is used only when we have company – even then, we all typically congregate in the kitchen.  The little den off the master bedroom – I’d hoped it would be a nursery.  Otherwise, I still don’t understand why master bedrooms are designed as suites.  How much space does one need for sleep?  Otherwise, who has the time to lounge about their master bedroom all day?  The piano room – I won’t argue that luxury.  Someday I imagine bookshelves will line the walls and we’ll all be fighting for couch space to read and gaze out the window.  Yet that is even redundant with our family room that also has books and a comfortable couch.  I could squeeze in the piano if need be.

Master Mess Maker

Please don’t get me wrong, I am grateful.  If it were only my decision, I may not have picked a large home.  However, I’m married, and with that partnership, decisions of this magnitude are never made by one.  The result, I have enjoyed the extra space as I fill my home with visitors, short and long term, and extended family members.  We have room for a foreign exchange student, and maybe, just maybe, more children.  It’s just a lot to maintain, and I am very aware of how consuming consumption can become.

There are days when I want to let go of it all, pack an RV (or boat!) and travel for a few years.

Image from Tiny House Family

My favorite design and home trend these day is Tiny Homes.  This particular family is so inspiring to me over at Tiny House Family blog.  While their small home of 320 square feet seems extreme, it’s a stepping stone as they become debt free and build a larger, but still small home.  I love how because there isn’t a huge amount of space inside, they spend so much more time outside gardening, exploring, creating, etc.

After my most recent, exhausting, cleaning frenzy, I’m going to be far more selective of what enters my home.  What do we want?  Versus, what do we need?  What can I give, sell or throw?  It’s a particularly good time to think about this as the holidays are quickly upon us.

How do you contain the mess with kids, dogs, family, etc?  I’d love to know.

Photo credit for all images of my home go to Mara Kofoed.


My day sure started much brighter than yesterday.  When thundering upstairs in search of shoes, I heard my son exclaim with a great deal of enthusiasm, “I’m going to school!!!” as if her were going to Disneyland.  Wow.  What happened between today and yesterday is beyond me, but I’ll go with it.

At the time I got out for my run, the skies were still sunny and blue.  Then I rounded the bend and it looked as though I was walking right into a storm.  The skies held back and let me linger, taking photos along my route.  The lake was beautiful and misty and had that feeling of closeness, like walking into a room full of books.  The fog, perhaps.

The harbor may be empty of boats, but not short on activity.  I guess this is clean up time as the park district brings in all the buoys for the winter.

I confess that while I now know that I can run the distance without stopping to walk, breathe or rest, today as I stopped frequently.  I think I like taking photos far more than running.  But then, running gets me out there to take more photos – the opposite of a viscous circle.

Even without the leaves, I love those trees.

Invasive Zebra Mussels.  Strangely beautiful in spite of all the damage they cause.


Copernicus, again.  He’d look so noble if it weren’t for the gull on his head.

I went a bit farther than usual and felt that I could just keep on going.  Alas, lunch, kids, driving, bills, you know, life, turned me around for home.  Sigh.  What a beautiful day.

Simple Raw

I haven’t been eating so great, lately, and so have been having a hard time writing about food.  It’s incredible to me how a bad habit will creep in slowing and then suddenly perform a complete take over.

The same can be for a good habit.  Like today while packing my son’s lunch – a half cucumber for his lunch, and then I sliced the remainder and ate it with my breakfast.  Eating raw doesn’t always have to be complex recipes that require hours for soaking, cutting, processing, and dehydrating.  Oh, believe me, I love those foods and find great satisfaction in preparing them.  But raw can also be as simple as peeling a cucumber and eating it, just like that.  Add an apple.  No prep required.  Maybe a handful of nuts with a cup of tea.  So simple, quick and stress free.



Cold and Gray.  The weather seems to reflect my mood.  Or is it that my mood reflects the weather?

My son pleaded desperately not to leave him at school this morning.  His teacher scooped him up giving him gentle, comforting words while gesturing for me to go.  Walking to my car I felt terrible for leaving him behind, uncertain that it’s even necessary, and convinced I ought to take him out and teach him at home with my daughter.  Only, I’m not so certain.  If I was certain, I would either drop him off at school with conviction while he’s kicking and screaming (literally, today, and at least a couple days a week, every week), or withdraw him today.

His teacher called before I made it home to assure me that he calmed down within seconds of me leaving.  At pickup, he was cheerful, chatty and incredibly energetic.  Aaaargh.  I’m relieved and happy he had a good day.  I wish I didn’t feel so conflicted over it.

Not feeling so vibrant, today.  Just gray.

Running, Running

Today I ran my first 5k race in over 15 years.  It was amazing.  My goal for the race?  Run and don’t stop.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude for my running buddy who could have started way ahead of me and who would have finished before I made it to the starting line.  She said, “Are you kidding, and miss you crossing the finish line.  No way, I’m running with you.”  I was choked up for most of the run and nearly burst into tears when we crossed the finish together.  Tearful not because I had finished the race, but of her expression of friendship as she ran by my side.

The slogan for this race was “Will Run for Chocolate.”  Here is a smidgen of the 37 thousand plus people waiting for their hot chocolate finisher’s mug.  Yep, I put all those good, healthy raw vegan thoughts aside and I dipped my apple slices, banana, pretzels and marshmallow into the best chocolate fondue I’ve ever had.  (Tomorrow is another day :) )

It was an even greater pleasure to walk home along my favorite route.  After taking in the intense energy of this huge event, it was grounding to exhale deeply while gazing at calm waters.

Later today I connected with my sister from Staten Island.  She and her family were incredibly fortunate to have been safe and sound during and after Hurricane Sandy when so much of Staten Island had been devastated.  When we spoke, she’d just returned from spending a day with a friend helping her clean out her flooded home.  While there, a group of runners from Austria, marathon runners with no marathon to race, ran by with donated bags of food and supplies.  Seeing the horrible damage, they spent the remainder of the day helping this woman clean out her mostly destroyed home.  Because the NYC Marathon was cancelled, more than a thousand runners met at what would have been the start line in Staten Island, grabbed what they could carry, and ran all over the island to deliver supplies and help to those in need.  Others, met in Central Park and circled the park, running to raise money for hurricane victims.  Amazing.  More than amazing.

My SIL, Mara, posted some links of very direct and local ways to help in her area in Brooklyn.  Check it out here.

New York, you will always be in my heart and soul.