Whole30 Week 3: We’ve Got Tiger Blood in Our Veins

It’s week three of Whole30 – halfway to cheese! Are we still surviving? Read on to find out.

:Week 1:

:Week 2:

Day 15

Molly: After my through-the-roof grocery bills at the start, I’m in a comfortable place now because some meals stretched longer than I thought, and others didn’t use up all of their ingredients. Since last week’s made-up frittata was a dud, I was glad to use some leftovers in a breakfast that I’m actually enjoying: sweet potatoes with baked eggs, with a side of sauteed kale, tomatoes, red onions and orange pepper. Hello, color!

These harissa portobello mushroom tacos are a hard recommend. If I make them again, I might go for the extra credit and make cashew cream to go on top.

Yes, that’s romaine, and yes, I spent a few hours crossing my fingers that I didn’t get e.coli (I didn’t).

This weekend somebody asked me if eating on the Whole30 is boring, and it’s a mixed bag. I’ve had so much fresh, delicious food that I couldn’t call that part boring. However, constantly thinking about what I have to make, and spending hours on meal prep, IS a bit of a drag.

Traci: I didn’t have to work today, so I’ve put off cooking until now. By cooking, I mean it’s a light day since I only made hard boiled eggs, made some breakfast sausages, cut up items for salad, and cooked the other Blue Apron meal of Togarashi chicken lettuce cups. So. Much. Meal. Prep.

And like Molly, I too spent an arm and leg on groceries the first week, and now I just have food/meals that are lasting a while. Including the kale avocado salad I made with the Blue Apron box, which apparently will last me a month.

Day 16

T: Also worth noting that I made mini fritattas too, and still eating those for breakfast. Also for breakfast – taking a whiff of my co-worker’s cinnamon sugar donut like it’s crack.

I also risked everything and watched “Somebody Feed Phil”, a new Netflix docuseries featuring Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal. I loved his first show, “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”, and the premise is similar for both – Phil goes to different places all around the world and eats their local cuisine. Most of which I can’t have on W30. But let’s be honest, it’s also barely plausible that I will be getting pad thai from a vendor at Bangkok’s floating market anytime soon. Point is that I watched it. Well, most of it. And didn’t crave non-compliant food! Little victories.

Molly and Tori were talking about the reintroduction phase once day 31 hits. I didn’t read the book. Am I not supposed to shove my face with cheese?

M: I put off reading about the reintroduction phase until this week and I’m a little scared I’m going to say screw it and eat all the cheese. What they DON’T tell you is the Whole30 is really a Whole40, with like one non-compliant thing every few days for the last 10 days. I don’t love it.

Somebody Feed Phil sounds amazing – food travel is one of my favorites! –  but I’m not sure if I can handle it as well as Traci did.  Just seeing Call Me By Your Name last week (and smelling everyone’s popcorn) had me missing living with a European family when I was young, in Spain, and allowed to eat grains, sugar and dairy.

Day 17

T: I finally ate the last of the kale avocado salad. With balsamic chicken I’ve had since last week. Honestly I have an overabundance of food. And 80% of it I’m only half interested in eating.

I will say that I feel like not eating all the things that aren’t compliant is becoming second nature to me. Dare I say, easy?

M: This week I ran across the phrase “tiger blood” and couldn’t stop laughing. TIGER BLOOD. These people are serious about the phrase “tiger blood.” That sounds like a disease you’d get in the jungle if you don’t get the right vaccines before you go.

Anyway, “tiger blood” hits around this phase of W30, when you’re feeling fresh, energetic, and like it’s – dare I, too? – easy. I think we’re both there! I’m used to what I can and cannot have, I’m more or less in a rhythm with cooking, and I’m not buying all the groceries in the world.  I’m really enjoying all of the stuff I’m making. It’s starting to feel like I can more or less eat this way when I’m done, bu, t with the addition of bread, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, cheese and the occasional sweet. So, nothing like this and exactly like I ate before. Never mind.

Day 18

M: We’re well past the halfway point (!) and one thing we haven’t brought up is alcohol. In fact, when people ask what the Whole30 rules are I always forget to mention it. I don’t know, both of us will have a drink or two socially but have definitely gone a month without alcohol without meaning to. And at 31, our social lives don’t revolve around going to bars like they did 10 years ago. Plus we don’t, like, Olivia Pope it with a tumbler of wine after work. Anyway, if you’re wondering why we haven’t brought it up, it’s just because it’s really a nonissue. Now, if I had to give up coffee and tea instead we’d have some Real Problems.

T: I’ve had to explain W30 multiple times to people over the past few weeks and every time, I forget alcohol. It’s an afterthought, and TBH it’s only been a problem when I realize I can’t have it when it’s an ingredient in certain dishes, NOT because I want a giant vat of sauvignon blanc.

Today’s self-debate: which of the things I’m not supposed to have will be the first thing i reintroduce into my diet? It’s like Sophie’s Choice. Dairy is winning by the way.

Day 19

M: I’m late to the game with this one, but I went to Chipotle and it was great for Whole30! I ended up with a salad with raw fajita veggies, probably 2-3 kinds of salsa, and a solid cup of guacamole. When I go to peoples’ houses I’ve taken to just bringing a container of leftovers and hoping I don’t seem crazy. This probably only works with family and close friends.

T: Look, we both said it’s getting “Easy” and #TigerBlood and all, but here’s another difficult thing that I faced today: i am starting to get sick of the food I’m eating.

Because I’m starting to get over cooking, it’s led me to only cooking dinners on Sundays, which means breakfast is basically hard boiled eggs, avocado and a breakfast meat of choice. And again, because I’m a rebel, I don’t lunch but rather snack, and there’s only so many roasted plantain chips (i’m not supposed to have) to be eating.

I JUST WANT THE OPTION TO EAT AN ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD WITH BUTTER. I’M NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO DO IT. BUT I WANT THE OPTION.

M: I’m getting testy because I’m realizing that this is not that different from how I eat regularly, except with the ENTIRE LACK OF OPTIONS for “sometimes foods.” It’s important to note that neither of us like feeling bossed around, and I am feeling VERY BOSSED INDEED.

Day 20

T: Today I ate out TWICE! First, I had lunch after the Women’s March, but had to do extensive research for places that had W30 options in downtown LA. We ended up at a generic European place that opened one day before the Women’s March last year. The owner was our server and kept giving us free items like a jelly candy, charcuterie plate and tiny macaroons. I had two slices of the ham and ordered poke on greens without soy sauce. All very delicious.

Then I went out to dinner before seeing Disney’s Aladdin (the musical, not the movie, obvs). We usually eat at a place near the Pantages, Greenleaf, which is a lot of salads and the like. I did a build your own salad (with this great almond-crusted chicken) and my friend and I split an order of baked sweet potato fries and an avocado pesto dip (which we had to obnoxiously ask for an itemized list of ingredients).

Both of us (she is also on W30) were on our way back home and were still hungry. How. Anyways, it’s possible to eat out, just not as many choices.

M: I’m finding it really hard to eat out on the vegetarian version and I’m largely disinterested in the options available to me, like Some Broccoli or A Sad Bare Salad. Maybe that’s what W30Couple wants (I get that it’s Melissa and Dallas but I’ve taken to thinking of them as Melissa and Doug, of wholesome wooden children’s toy fame).

Day 21

T: Second round of Blue Apron cooking today, and it included a seared salmon & harissa vegetables with roasted red onion vinaigrette and then crispy chicken and italian tomato sauce with potatoes and collard greens.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The fact that I have to cook two meals in the middle of my Sunday is annoying to me. But this is what I signed up for. The Whole40.

M: OK, so not only is it a for-real Whole40, but I somehow deluded myself into thinking of it as 4 weeks instead of 30 days. As in, over the weekend I thought to myself “okay, heading into week 4! almost there!”  I was celebrating my last shopping trip of Whole30, then remembered that I’m not done until next Wednesday (plus 10 after that…). Staying positive here, friends.

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Whole30 Week 2: “It’s My Whole30”

We made it another week! What did we learn now that we’re seasoned experts? Read on to find out!

: See Week 1 here:

Day 8

Molly: I should probably mention that I’m doing the vegetarian version of the Whole30. I haven’t eaten meat since some time in high school, which was so long ago that there are now period films about it (Lady Bird, I’m pulling for that Oscar nomination). The W30 description of the vegetarian diet sounds like it was written by Regina George. It’s basically, “you’re a nonsense person who has chosen a garbage lifestyle, but here’s a way you could ruin your diet less I GUESS.” The difference is mainly that I don’t eat meat (obviously) but can eat some legumes. Whole milk organic pasteurized plain yogurt is OK but I’m not going to do it. I mean there were 4 modifiers before I even got to “yogurt.” This is actually the first day I’ve had any legumes – for the most part, I’m doing the regular W30 but with an almost obscene amount of eggs – but I realized my protein intake was a bit low so I made lentil soup and a roasted beet salad with edamame.

Peeling roasted beets is pretty gnarly, huh?

Traci: RX Bars – what is the consensus on these? I had one that contained egg whites, dates, almonds, blueberries, other items and it was super dense. I couldn’t even finish it.

Since I’m on my regular meat-eating diet, for dinner, I had pork chops with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute that you can put on pretty much anything and it will taste like you actually put an effort into cooking. I had that with roasted broccoli and cauliflower rice, and it felt the most like a regular dinner since start this a week ago!

M: I’m not buying RX bars or Lara Bars. I make my granola bars in real life (real life being when I’m not doing W30 I guess?) and switching to premade ones would probably feel like dessert. #Sexpants. [Update: toward the end of the week I had a Lara bar in a pinch. It was OK but not great. I’d treat it as a backup food but not a regular thing.]

Day 9

M: Here’s something I’ve noticed: getting hungry makes me feel way more panicky than normal.  I was at the hardware store tonight and felt famished as I looked at the junk food by the register – and buying snacks on the go isn’t even something I do! But I couldn’t have it, was the difference.

They announced a snow storm for Friday into Saturday and I immediately knew I’d push my weekly shopping trip up to Thursday even though I avoid grocery stores the night before a storm. The idea of being trapped in my house with just a bag of frozen spinach and a dwindling egg supply was terrifying.

T: Do you guys know how hard it is to find a breakfast meat that doesn’t include sugar? 99% of all bacon (not a real stat) includes some kind of sugar, specifically brown sugar. Our friend Tori, who is also doing W30, suggested Pederson’s brand for all my breakfast meat needs. I went to Whole Foods since it’s the only local place that carries it – and a pack of uncooked no sugar hickory smoked bacon is $7.99!!! Gonna have to ration this shit out.

A lot of people at my work are sick, and since I’m paranoid, I felt like I needed to act before those germs could strike on me. But my usual plan of attack is to down Vitamin C and gulp a lot of orange juice. But can’t do that this time around. I’ve been eating a lot of oranges, but it doesn’t seem enough to me. Which is why I went to Whole Foods in the first place. They carry these wellness shots by Kor that are supposed to help the immune system. My friend also told me about these Elderberry & Zinc lozenges that I also purchase because this bitch isn’t getting sick. Especially not on W30.

My friend invited me to an impromptu W30 dinner, since 4 of my friends are also doing it, and 2 others just went along for the ride. They made baked waffle fries and this slow cooker chili (but added sweet potato and sliced carrots and used low sodium chicken stock, not beef). It was so freaking good and again, didn’t felt like it was a typical “W30” meal.

Day 10

T: You know what you shouldn’t do? Take the Kor wellness shot while you’re driving. I knew it had cayenne pepper in it but a greatly underestimated how it was going to effect me. It’s straight up ginger, cayenne, lemon juice, coconut juice, and tiny tiny little shivs made into particles that go down your throat. I had to get rid of the burn by grabbing some cashews originally rationed for lunch. But am I sick? No. Worth it? I guess.

Today I got halfway from the parking garage to my office and realized I forgot my lunch bag in my car. I couldn’t just leave it because it had my breakfast and all my W30 approved snacks for the day! I couldn’t survive off the things from craft services and the commissary – which I obviously would have to spend money on. I walked all the way back. Extra exercise, I guess?

Relatedly, besides all the cooking, my other complaint about this is how much money you spend. Between organic foods and items like coconut oil or ghee, it’s a lot of stuff I don’t usually buy that costs nearly twice as much as my regular groceries. Here are some super helpful tips on how to save money on W30 from 40 Aprons (home of the delish crockpot carnitas from last week) if you can relate.

I also just want to give a shout out to Simply Organic Dijon Mustard – it is giving me life through W30. It’s surprisingly delish and I’m maybe putting it on everything moving forward.

M: I donated blood today because there’s a shortage, I’m 0- (universal donor), and someone in HR specifically emailed me telling me there were cancellations and she noticed I had donated before. Hello, guilt trip. I have a super-low resting heart rate and tend to get woozy after donating, which is admittedly like … two times because I used to be ineligible. I was worried that I’d feel even worse being on the W30, but it was fine! I did have raisins and apple juice (no added sugar or weird stuff in either) right after because I know how I get.

Day 11

M: My Whole30 Mantra, because I have a Whole30 mantra, is “it’s my Whole30.” I use it when I read Whole30 commentary about the ideal way to do things, like not snacking and going full-egg if you’re a vegetarian. I’m doing this to reset my dietary preferences and habits. I know I’m not sensitive to legumes so I’m not stressing about doing the version that allows them. I’m also not trying to lose weight so – Whole30 controversy alert! – I’m still weighing myself since I know I won’t quit if I’m not losing. I don’t know what I’d do if I gained – back off the fruit?  No. “Back off the fruit” is the diet plan of a crazy person.

I really want, like, a single square of chocolate at night, but I am also deep enough into W30 to appreciate the total restriction approach. Until February. Then gimme me that 80% cacao.

T: I totally agree that “It’s My Whole30” should be everyone’s motto. It’s probably against everything the founder talked about in her book we didn’t read, but I still stand by it.

Here’s a good snack I’ve enjoyed at work: carrots and an individual cup of Wholly Guacamole. It feels like guac shouldn’t be compliant, but thank god it is.

Day 12

T: I was 3/4 of the way through eating my hard boiled eggs, avocado, and chicken sausage breakfast topped with Trader Joe’s Chili Pepper hot sauce when I thought to myself, “Hmm this hot sauce tastes a little sweet”. Then I looked at the ingredients. Right there, listed second, was SUGAR. Lit’rally an hour before, I was texting Molly and our friend Tori, and said “I decided if sugar sneaks in i’m going to pretend it didn’t happen.”

WELL IT DID, TRACI. IT DID. How much sugar is in it, exactly? 1 gram. OK FINE. IT’S BARELY ANYTHING, BUT STILL. This is how sugar just comes out of nowhere. We eat too much sugar as a society, y’all.

Anyways, I’m pretending it didn’t happen and moving forward with my life. Because I’ve been super careful up until then.

I’d also like to point out the dessert I just whipped up like a contestant on Chopped. If the contestant was given a basket of non-weird food items that go together.

M: While I’m avoiding anything dessert-y (including nut butters), that looks amaaaazing. I made a cereal that was the first sweet food I’ve had other than plain fruit (food processed walnuts, coconut, chia and raisins) and it was just like Traci with the RX bars – I  couldn’t even get through a serving because it was so dense, like fruitcake cereal.  I only made the damn fruitcake cereal because I have been powering through this frittata I don’t like for about 3 days and I need a break. I spend so long cooking that I can’t bear to waste perfectly ‘good’ food.

Update: 3 hours later my mouth still feels sugary and gross from the ‘cereal.’ There’s a reason the serving size of raisins is one box that fits perfectly in a dollhouse pantry. They’re TOO SWEET. Back to eggs and veggies for breakfast.

Day 13

T: I went to go see Call Me By Your Name and the smell of popcorn was wafting in the air as i watched my new favorite couple fall in love on screen. I just sat there and drank my smuggled in bottle of water.

I also received my first Blue Apron box! they’ve paired up with W30 to provide compliant meals and i thought what a better time than any to finally try it out! i got some kind of deal where i got $50 off (split between boxes) so it works out to be about $10/meal, which provides 2 servings. First up was Mexican spiced barramundi with kale, roasted sweet potatoes and avocado salad. there’s a step by step guide that times everything perfectly, so it’s basically cool proof. It wasn’t too laborious and tbh i wasn’t even sure if it was going to taste good. especially bc i’m so picky with kale. But let me tell you – it was DELISH. Like i was surprised at how good it was. And the kale salad? I went back for another heap of it bc it was that good.

The thing that’s always attracted me to Blue Apron (and similar boxes) is there you’re provided w the exact amount of ingredients and nothing more. EG a bag of Mexican spices. a sachet of pepitas. so much better than having to buy a full container of cumin that i’m never going to use again.

M: The Blue Apron W30 box is non-veg, but based on my friends’ reviews I am signing up for it once I’m done with W30. Most of the expense of this has been buying pricey ingredients that are bigger than I need. Like, why do fresh herbs come in bunches the size of my head?

T: Additionally, I went to a party/movie night where there was cheese, brownies, s’mores, and even tempted my then offer of an ice cream sundae to my face but i said no sir. again what’s super helpful about this is that four of my other friends there are also on W30 so it’s not as bad when other people are eating bell peppers and disregarding the moist brownies on the table.

M: The hardest thing about W30 for me is the fear of seeming rude or bratty for refusing things. It goes back to the vegetarian thing: I feel so sorry for how it inconveniences hosts that I will eat literally anything else somebody is serving. That’s harder to do on W30 – at restaurants too! – because vegetarian options usually contain grains or cheese. I was at a baby shower this weekend where fortunately there were some vegetables, nuts (thank you, charcuterie boards!) and a fruit salad, and I loaded my plate with those so you couldn’t tell I was skipping the assorted brunch foods. I had visions of being that annoying girl listing off all the things she doesn’t eat while everybody internally rolls their eyes. All I wanted was for people to not notice.

It was also my goddaughter’s birthday, and fortunately she chose Friendly’s as her dinner of choice. Their lunch/dinner menu is so bad (so, uh… we’re not getting that Friendly’s endorsement, huh?) that sitting there sipping a tea was fine.

The easier part for me: I couldn’t care less about skipping cake, ice cream, pizza and snacks, and when they talk about ‘trigger foods’ you can’t stop eating, it doesn’t compute. I don’t even keep snacks in my house in ‘real life’ (non-W30) except fruit and plain popcorn, and I’ve never related to not being able to pass up dessert.  Sometimes it feels like the W30 is written with this assumption that we all eat things like cookies regularly.

Here’s a legit vice of mine, though: in real life I drink diet soda even though I know it’s poison water pushing me into an early grave or whatever. I just think a cold fizzy drink tastes more refreshing than a cold-non-fizzy drink. Luckily I enjoy club soda and La Croix just as much, I just don’t usually buy them (to be fair, I wouldn’t usually have diet soda at home, but I’d order them out and sometimes pick one up as a treat when I’m grocery shopping … or to push through a mid-workday energy slump). Now I really wish it was easier to buy club soda/sparkling water on the go because I’d like to keep choosing these post-W30.

Day 14

T: Not to dwell on Blue Apron again (but I am for the rest of the W30, so deal with it), but I went to TJ’s today and barely had to buy anything. It was fantastic. Most of the stuff I was buying for dinner, but I pretty much have that covered thanks to Blue Apron. I’m their spokesperson now, it’s fine.

M: You could copy/paste Traci’s paragraph about Call Me By Your Name here. All of it. Just like last week, I don’t ever get movie snacks but when I can’t have them all I can notice is how everybody else is enjoying popcorn and what I can only assume is cold, delicious diet soda. I never said I had a refined palate, y’all.

That said, here are some recipe recommendations! This curried cauliflower rice kale soup was delicious and ACTUALLY spicy, unlike the disappointingly bland lentil soup I made earlier. I ended up doubling the broth and milk to cover all of the kale, but I think I used a bit more kale than it strictly called for. If you don’t want to use almond milk, I think you could substitute broth and add some more cauliflower, then puree some of the broth/cauliflower mixture and add it back in.

I’d also recommend this cauliflower tabouleh. It loses some of its ‘crunch’ after the first day, but on day 1 I found the cauliflower a little crispy for my tastes. If you want a softer cauliflower to mimic couscous or bulgar, you could roast and rice it like in the soup recipe. I’d also add some chopped olives – green or black – next time.

I Have A Fitbit. Life Is Different Now. I’M Different Now.

The holidays can be super frustrating if you haven’t had any major changes in your life status. It happens to everyone. Whether you’re single, or you’re dating and haven’t gotten engaged – or you’re engaged and haven’t gotten married, or married or haven’t had a baby, or had a baby but haven’t had another baby … whatever it is, you probably had those well-meaning friends and relatives look at you with a frozen smile and pointedly ask “what’s new with you?” You know what they’re asking, but for me, the most honest and accurate response would be something along the lines of Kelly Kapoor’s answer:

This year, the biggest change in my life status has been a Fitbit. It’s like having a baby. Hear me out. It alters the way you go about your daily business, and you have so much to say about it, but unless you’re talking to someone else who has one, you assume they either can’t really understand or don’t really care. When someone would say “so, what’s new with you?” with that doofy grin, what I really wanted to say was “I have a Fitbit now! And…” And here are all the things that would come after that “and,” if I were being completely honest:

Sleep isn’t just sleep. If you asked me before Fitbit, I’d have told you that I probably got a solid 8 hours of sleep a night. Now I can tell you that I’m restless 16 times a night, like this:

But do you ever forget to tell your Fitbit that you’ve woken up? That’s the worst, because it still tracks your steps, but you’re also forced to confront those broad swaths of cobalt blue that mean you’re so motionless that your Fitbit thinks you’re asleep:

I woke up at the first pink line. Yikes.

Sometimes the FitBit thinks you’ve tapped it to track sleep, but you’ve actually pushed a shopping cart over bumpy grocery store tile, or played Rondo A Capriccio on the piano – both happened to me just this week. If you don’t notice it right away, you’ll be amazed by how often the Fitbit thinks you’re sleeping when you’re just being lazy.

And those nights when I charge it while I sleep? It’s like a slumber party in fourth grade – all I want to do is stay up late because I can.

It’s always a minor crisis when that sucker’s battery runs out. I now understand, by way of analogy, what depression must be like. I don’t say that to make light of people who have it. I just mean that when it’s charging I find myself thinking “why should I even move? Why get up? If I go for a walk or if I stay in this chair, it’s all the same – what’s the point?”

You know it’s bad when you consider buying a backup Fitbit so you’re never without a battery.

One part of the Fitbit lifestyle I can’t get behind is the calorie tracking. I’m pretty short and lightweight, and the estimated calories per day for me are almost laughably low. Even when I lift weights and walk 20,000 steps, the calories burned never get anywhere near the 2,000 neighborhood. If you’re active, short and thin, please understand that it might make you crazy.

I sort of wish there was a setting where you could tell the FitBit that you’re sick, and it would reward you for doing nothing. Or when it’s really cold out, it automatically would adjust how much it expected you to do. During the fall I was logging 15 – 20,000 steps a day without even thinking about it, but that gets a lot harder to do when your hands turn blue and red within minutes of going outside. I just had a few days of 30 degree (F) weather (what a treat!) and I was like a kid on the first sunny day in spring, so when I say I quit when it’s cold, I mean really cold.

Sing it Debbie.

I find myself making unnecessary trips during the day, like walking from my seventh floor office to the second floor bathrooms, or buying my coffee from the farther-away coffee shop. Neither of us here would consider ourselves athletic people. We’re just not very team sports-y. But I look at my daily steps and realize that I’m at least an active person. I’m pretty much always moving. Our most recent blog meeting found Traci pacing around a kitchen table to meet her step goal. This didn’t seem weird to me, and besides, we’ve both been reading about how sitting will kill you and it has us a little nervous.

You start to discover how many things you can do while pacing. For instance, this post you’re reading? I wrote the first draft on my phone while bouncing on the balls of my feet. If someone had passed by my window, I like to think that I could have pointed to the rubbery band on my wrist (something I NEVER would have worn before Fitbit) and they would have nodded knowingly. If you have one, you just get it. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, when you ask what’s new with me I probably won’t tell you all of this.

 

The (Half-Assed) Juice Cleanse Diaries

In my four years living in Los Angeles, this is probably one of the most LA things I’ve done. Because the stereotype is true, a lot of people here are obsessed with being healthy, which means if you go out to a lot of restaurants, you’ll see the words ‘vegetarian’, ‘vegan’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘soy’, ‘probably completely inedible’ etc. One of the most popular trends is the juice cleanse. You’ll hear a lot of people talking about how they’re “juicing” this week, or getting “green drink” from Whole Foods or whatever.

So the reasons I decided to try the juice cleanse is threefold:
1) I was genuinely curious to see what all the fuss was about
2) I thought the idea of cleansing your body of toxins (and maybe losing some weight) seemed like a good pro.
3) I like a good challenge that involves consuming items

For about four consecutive years during my youth, I participated in something called the 30 Hour Famine, which was a fundraising event for children less fortunate in third world countries. Basically you only drink water and juices for 30 hours, while participating in activities and a sleepover with your pals. So I figured if I could get through that (and think it really wasn’t as bad as it sounded), how difficult it be to only drink fruit & vegetable juices for 3 days?

Ok so herein lies the problem: JUICING IS EXPENSIVE. I’m talking the pre-made, ready to drink juices that are made by juice cleanse companies. The company I decided to go with, Suja Juice, was the least expensive of the four or five brands I researched, and each bottle is $8.99. HELLO?! No wonder I usually only see celebrities doing it.

So I decided to cut my cleanse from 3 days to 2. And from 6 juices a day to 2 plus 2 mini juices (so, 4 for you non-math majors).

THIS IS PROBABLY NOT HOW YOU SHOULD DO THIS. I REPEAT DO NOT FOLLOW MY LEAD, I AM NOT A SPOKESPERSON FOR JUICING.

That being said, I survived so everything came out fine, so I mean if you do do what I did, you’ll probs be okay.

Anyways, here are some notes I took during my 2 day juice bender, and maybe it’ll make up your mind on this trend.

Pre-Cleanse

I went to my local Whole Foods to purchase said juice, but turns out they didn’t even have all the available flavors. So I chose the four that sounded the tastiest, and then four called Suja Elements which I believe are supposed to be taken as supplements. Luckily, this woman who worked there saw me purchasing all this juice and gave me a coup for $5 off! Still expensive. but grateful.

The day/night before you’re supposed to alkalize your body for the cleanse, but eating stuff like lettuce and non processed foods. I did not do this. I took this opportunity as a last meal situation and had fish and rice, just like my Filipino ancestors. I also had food I knew I needed to eat because I was doing this cleanse four days before leaving for vacation so I needed to eat things that were perishable. I mean I didn’t need to but I had wasting perfectly good food. I should’ve probably abided by the rules.

Day 1

Photo Oct 21, 9 55 32 AM

1:01pm

First juice of the day, again this is probably not how you should do it, but whatever it’s fine, I drank plenty of water before 1pm.

Juice #1

Fuel: Carrots, Orange, Apple, Pineapple, Lemon and Turmeric
Surprisingly good. Still tastes like carrot, which I think is odd, but the fruits in there make it taste much better.
Here’s a more accurate description: This juice tastes like Jamba Juice smells.

2:30pm

I may or may not have just fell asleep at my desk… that may have to do more with the fact that I’m tired as opposed to the fact I haven’t had solid food… TBD.

3:30pm

You know what helps when you’re doing a half-ass juice cleanse? Water. I love water. Water is my jam. Give me water and I’m a happy gal. Am I delirious?

5:30pm

Juice #2

Suja Elements – Mango Fuego: Apple, mango, banana, baobab, ginger, serrano chili, lime, pink Himalayan salt, camu camu
This is absolutely delicious. Like a liquid mango.

7:14pm

I’m at work trolling on FB and just saw sweet potato tater tots and I think drool actually came out of my mouth. I miss food.

9:04pm

Juice #3

Purify: Carrots, Apple, Celery, Cucumber, Beet and Lemon

 Dinner is served. Ok so this actually taste like I’m drinking vegetables. There’s a reason why I didn’t get the green juice.

10:04pm

I never realized how often people post pictures of food until now. It’s like taunting me. Unavoidable taunting.

10:20pm

Seriously considering eating some lettuce right now. It’s allowed y’all. So is avocado. But by itself. Who eats avocado on its own? Like just straight up avocado without putting it on a chip or toast or something. I need to know how these people do it. Well, they probably don’t eat at all. I decide to not eat at all.

10:30pm

Downloaded Katy Perry’s new album and she has a song called Birthday and talks about cake. She most likely doesn’t mean cake in the literal sense, but still I CAN’T ESCAPE FOOD.

10:45pm

Look on Suja website. Apparently dizziness can occur. You know what else can occur? Irritability. Thank God I don’t have to interact with too many humans today. Tomorrow is a different story.

11:01pm

Juice #4

Berryoxident: Apple, orange, strawberry, banana, raspberry, tart cherry, chia seed, flax seed, baobab, camu camu, acai

Last drink of the day! There’s something called camu camu and baobab in here and I’m hoping an exotic plant doesn’t start growing in my stomach.

On second thought,  I think I might start growing camu camu and baobab in my backyard. Can you grow these things? I don’t even have a backyard. Forget I said all that.

Day 2

Photo Oct 22, 10 39 08 AM
12:00pm

Juice #1

Glow: Apples, Celery, Cucumber, Spinach, Collard leaves, Kale leaves and Mint

Photo Oct 22, 11 53 37 AM

I had time to stop at Whole Foods before work so I decided to go and grab another juice. Except here’s the problem – I FORGOT THIS WHOLE FOODS WAS HUGE AND HAD AHUGE BUFFET SECTION AND SUSHI AND BREAD AND COFFEE AND FOOOOODD. I got the juice and ran out.

The green juice was actually not as bad as I thought, so I suggest folks who are wary of green veggies in liquid form should start with this.

1:40pm

Apparently having gum or a mint is discouraged in this cleanse because it contains ‘chemicals’ so my apologies to anyone who has to smell my kale spinach celery breath rn. Which is no one.

3:30pm

Juice #2

Spark: Lemon, Strawberries, Raspberries, Tart cherries, Honey, Stevia and Cayenne

Okay this is the first one I’ve actually am struggs to get through. There is cayenne pepper in it. CAYENNE PEPPER. That’s the shit used for like lemon cleanse and it has the worst aftertaste. It’s like my throat is on fire. Like little spikes coming in through my esophagus. Drinking it faster doesn’t help either. bahhh.

Also, there’s Stevia in it. Breaking Bad fans: note I didn’t die. Basically I risked my life for this friggin juice cleanse.

4:01pm

You know, I think I’ve finally gotten over that hungry for food aspect. The Suja site says the first day is usually the worst, and I can attest to that. It’s not that I’m hungry, since I’m having a lot of juice (and if I did it the real way, I would have way more juice), it’s that need to like chew. I haven’t even chewed or had solid food in my mouth in over 24 hours. Weird.

5:50pm

Juice #3

Suja Elements – 24 Karat: Carrot, apple, orange, pineapple, peach, banana

Drinking this after that cayenne disaster is like drinking a delish chaser after being forced to take a shot of jack daniels. I cannot express how horrible feeling that cayenne was, guys.

7:30pm

Remember food?

9:35pm

Ah, so here’s the ultimate test: I’m at my friend’s apartment to watch the Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars and there are so many delicious snacks within mere inches from me. Like homemade chocolate peanut butter bars and chicken tortilla bowl apps and halloween candy and wine and I just sat there watching the PLLs do a horrible crossover with Ravenswood and drink my dinner juice.

Juice #4

Vanilla Cloud: Coconut, honey, Almonds, Cinnamon, Vanilla and Nutmeg

I was looking forward to this one the most, mainly because it was more dessert like than fruit or vegetable, but it was meh. It was more nutty than I thought and I could really taste the almonds. That being said, it was still good, but could be a tad sweeter.

12:35am

I have one juice left and I’m home free!! Please note that I work from 12pm to 8pm, so my sleep schedule is usually a little later than most. I still probs shouldn’t be consuming anything this late, but I figure I should get in the last one while I can.

Suja Elements – Blutrients: Apple, blueberry, blackberry, banana, chia seed, pomegranate, acai, chlorella, baobab, camu camu

Yum yum yum. Ew. What am I even saying anymore. IDK. Basically this was really good, and I’m glad I ended the cleanse with this and not Vanilla Cloud.

Conclusion

All in all, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I suppose I felt a little better – clean? – at the end of it, but again, I didn’t really follow all the rules. I would probably do it again, but the real 6 juice cleanse in order, and since I’ve had this experience, I think I could make it 3 days. Should you do this cleanse? I don’t think it’s completely necessary to do any type of cleanse, just eat healthy. But if you’re up for a challenge, try this one out. Like I said, you’re consuming a lot of juice throughout the day, so it’s not that bad. It’s also not as bad as just drinking lemon juice and cayenne pepper all day. But hey, what do I know, I’m the person who half-assed a juice cleanse just to save money.

World’s Worst Diet Foods (and what they taste like)

The phrase “diet foods” is really a misnomer, and we all know it. These aren’t foods that you eat while trying to lose weight — at least, not for everybody. Instead, these are lower-calorie approximations of real foods. In college, finding these foods was like a hobby. It was probably the only hobby I’ve had that was even a little useful, actually. Considering a typical college Saturday would find me getting a diner breakfast sandwich at noon, snacking on Goldfish crackers while watching afternoon tv, getting Chinese for dinner, drinking until 2 a.m., then getting pizza and garlic knots — well, a few aspartame-laden cancer puddings probably offset things. Having the rapid-fire metabolism of a 19-year-old didn’t hurt, either.

So, yeah, diet foods are not really foods for being on a “diet.” And — well — they’re not really foods in the traditional sense. They’re factory produced food-equivalents. These are the worst of them:

Shirataki Noodles

One of my friends used to go to this website where they’d give you low-cal approximations of actual foods. Instead of pasta, they recommended these zero-calorie noodles. That’s right, ZERO! You know what else you can eat for zero calories? Air and water, both of which would be better than these. It’s no accident that “shirataki noodles” is a perfect anagram of “akin shit-loosed air” (or “one kilo sad shit-air” if you’re eating a whole lot).

You knew you were in for it when you read the caveat: “these may produce a slight fishy odor.” Know how smell and taste are connected? They tasted like fish noodles, too. If you boiled one of those curly phone cords after soaking it in a bucket of mackerel, it would taste like shirataki noodles.

Better’n Peanut Butter

What could be better than peanut butter?! I don’t know. Probably not this shitty spread that was made of like 50% crushed peanuts and 50% crushed hopes and dreams. Maybe, if I weren’t expecting this to be a little bit like peanut butter, it would have been okay. Maybe if my expectations were more on-point, it wouldn’t have tasted like peanut butter cut with plain gelatin and desperation. Just call this Creamy Self-Loathing Spread instead, and I’d be all over it.

Handi-Snacks Sugar Free Gelatin Dessert

If you have strep throat, and don’t think you deserve real Jell-O, and have a coupon or something, then I guess it’s okay to buy this. Otherwise, skip it. I actually like sugar-free Jell-O, but there’s something about the off-brand that you don’t have to refrigerate that’s just terrifying. The texture is jiggly and gummy all at once. I imagine if you added a Kool-Aid packet to that 90s toy where you could suspend an undersea diorama in a tiny tank, it would taste like this.

Diet Bread

At 45 calories a slice, it’s better not to think about this as bread in a traditional sense. After all, it does taste like reconstituted sawdust. It’s more of a vehicle — a vehicle to make it easier to swallow egg salad, sliced turkey, or your self-esteem.

Wegmans CoCo Lite Pop Cakes

Please don’t take this as me saying anything against Wegmans. I love them so. And, well, it is pretty fun watching these cakes pop out of the machine in the store! I’m sure there’s even a topping that makes these 20-cal disks taste good. I just haven’t found it yet. If you’ve been looking for a frisbee-sized communion wafer, then this is the snack for you! So if you want to pretend that you’re an elf or fairy receiving the Eucharist, you should probably buy these.

Low Fat Cream Cheese

If you like yourself enough to buy bagels, but hate yourself enough to buy low fat cream cheese, I don’t think I can help you. Or, maybe I can. Just go with neufchatel instead! I think it might be lower-cal than regular cream cheese, AND it doesn’t taste like cream cheese made with the way baby formula smells.

Light ‘n Fit Yogurt

This product’s ad slogan is “Eat Light ‘n Fit – Be Light and Fit!”. Sorry, no. Light ‘n Fit is about as likely to make you BE light and fit as it is to make you be yogurt. Just buy the Fage or Siggis. A friend said that yogurt tastes the way bad breath smells, and generally I disagree, but that’s the most apt descriptor of Light ‘n Fit I can think of.

Lest you think I sit around eating chemical-based food equivalents, let me set you straight. All of these purchases were a one-off after I realized how awful they were, and I really do eat a lot of whole grains and fresh veggies and quality vegetarian protein.

But, let’s be honest, I’m also drinking a giant bottle of Crystal Lite as I write this. I’m pretty sure it’s washing my insides in cancer. What can I say, old habits die hard.