Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

Let the Juicing Begin…

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Come and get it!

Come and get it!


I will not quit I will not quit I will not quit…

This has become my mantra today, Day One of the Great Reboot, undertaken in solidarity with my daughter, who has had to begin a vegan juice fast for some stomach problems she’s been dealing with.

My daughter is already a vegetarian, so the idea of a straight-up veggie liquid diet ought not to be so foreign to her, though it is. She likes her veggies in a chewable state, thank you, and isn’t thrilled with this whole juicing mandate, which his why our family decided to support her cause by joining along.

Me? Well, I hate vegetables. I was weaned on Froot Loops and it was only downhill from there as far as my nutritional intake from the get-go. I grew up on a steady diet of Fluffernutter sandwiches and Twinkies and processed garbage that tasted not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Sure I ate fruit here and there. Usually in the summer when peaches and plums were in season. But veggies? No way, man.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I gradually incorporated a handful of vegetables into my annual diet repertoire. Yeah, you read that right: annual. Not like veggies are a daily part of my life anyhow. I’m exaggerating a bit — I do consume vegetables, but not often. With the ironic twist that I’m all about the Buy Local food movement, and buy local produce as much as possible. Mostly for my family.

I mean I’ll eat a salad if someone else makes it and it’s super gourmet. And contains things like nuts and dried fruit and goat cheese and artisanal croutons and homemade dressing. Now that’s my kinda salad. And I pick around all of the vegetables in it and mostly eat the add-ons. I’m fine with a veggie platter as long as it’s really fresh and it has a homemade ranch yogurt dip in which to drown said veggies. Throw in the occasional asparagus, maybe a mushroom or two (only if they’re fresh white button mushrooms), perhaps a sugar snap pea (the operative word there being sugar), and well, you’ve got the extent of vegetables I can tolerate. In fact most of the “vegetables” I find palatable are technically fruit, anyhow (tomatoes and peppers, for instance).

So you can imagine me trying to fathom undertaking a vegan juice fast. Might as well insert the true name: starvation diet. Alas, as explained by my daughter’s doctor, you have to keep your grehlin levels on an even keel, which means starvation isn’t an option, because it will defeat the whole idea of a juice fast. So avoiding vegetables as a means of this juice fast is not an option, darn it.

What, you may ask, is the idea behind a juice fast? Um, hell if I know. I’ll get back to you on that one. Okay, I lied. Basically the plan for your average Joe is to detox, get rid of all that crap and sludge that builds up in your system. Cleanse the liver and whatnot (note to self: no need to make matters worse with that liver by overconsuming delicious red wine on the eve of said juice fast. Of course my liver’s still trying to process that bad Advil I popped at 4 a.m…).

In addition, it can give your stomach a rest if you’re having trouble digesting solids. And by juicing you are piling on the nutritional value of plates full of vegetables, with every glass you drink, while enjoying the benefits of micronutrients or some such gobbledy gook I’ve been told. You’d be hard-pressed to ingest the normal way the amount of vegetables that you’ll consume in a juice fast. Check out the obscene volume of produce we had to purchase for four of us to fast — and this is just for the next several days.

our organic veggie juicing stockpile

our organic veggie juicing stockpile

I have a friend who undertook a juice fast last year and became downright evangelical about the benefits of juicing. She’s already one of those age-defying, gravity-defying women who you want to just assume has amazing genes, because most people her age look her age, yet she looks a good five years younger than me and she’s got a decade on me. She’s been a great source of encouragement and a wonderful resource for information. Shame she can’t also just drink my juices for me, since she loves them and I, well, I just don’t.

Which brings me to my first encounter with juicing today. Until now I have used one of those old-fashioned juice presses to squeeze delicious blood-orange juice, which I incorporate into my morning smoothie. That smoothie I thought was so healthy for me, what with mounds of berries and greek yogurt (all that protein!) and protein powder to boot. With fresh-squeezed blood orange juice. But evidently that’s nothing on plunking an orange, skin and all, into the juicer and consuming what comes out. Unfortunately mixed with all sorts of less-desirable greenery.

Juice!

Juice!


So breakfast today consisted of a bunch of kale (that’s about 14 leaves), a half head of romaine lettuce, a host of carrots (probably about 8), a cucumber, a lemon, and about 1/2-inch piece of ginger root. I will tell you never once in my life has kale (or any other healthy green, for that matter) passed my lips. I’ve probably eaten about 10 carrots in my whole life, and hated each bite. Cukes? I can deal with them in small quantities in salads. I mean they’re practically tasteless. I do love them in tzatsiki dip, if that counts (which is primarily simply a vehicle for the pita bread, which is what I really want). It was fun watching all those veggies transform into a bright green juice. It was not fun putting that juice to my mouth and knowing it had to go in. And down. While ensuring no return visit.

(Click here to see how that first glass went down)

I tried the first sip cold turkey. It was not delightful. I even put it in a martini glass to make it more festive. The thing is I couldn’t fool myself. It was green juice. I felt like I was on a goat diet. And I don’t mean a diet of eating goats but rather a diet of eating what goats eat. Actually goats probably have it better because they’ll eat the occasional shoe. Plugging my nose helped somewhat but there is always still that moment when you can’t run from the flavor a minute longer. And that’s the moment when you have to gulp and gulp fast, just get it down there, away from the taste buds, and have it start doing it’s thing.

As far as it’s thing? I’m not convinced of that yet.

“Your skin will look great!” Said the doctor (and others have corroborated this allegation).

“You’ll feel so energetic!” Says my friend. She is awfully energetic. I still chalk it up to genetics for her.

“You’ll lose weight!” Claims Joe What’s-His-Name, creator of the inspirational documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (more about that in a minute).

Right now I have a headache drilling through the center of my skull. My stomach is growling like an angry wildcat. I feel weak and woozy and just screamed at the dog for barking. I’m that surly that I can’t even let the poor dog do what a poor dog does. Ten days from now looks like eternity as I face the prospect of what the hell I can juice without dry heaving?

For me, food is such an integral part of daily life: the shopping, the preparation, the meal, the conversation, the communality that comes with it, the whole thing. So to have fueling one’s body being boiled down to its essence: i.e. stuffing a slew (and I do mean a slew) of veggies down the throat of a juicer and throwing back the end result as quickly as possibly just to get it over with, well, it sort of takes a bit of fun out of the day.

To make matters worse, already I find myself hand-washing dishes out the wazoo: bowls and cups and strainers and knives and cutting boards and all the receptacles that go into the production of a measly bucket of juice have to be re-used frequently all day long, especially when there are four of us juicing. My daughter who is away at college is grateful she’s off-the-hook for this one, happily ingesting dorm food (oxymoron, I know). “Well, looks like I’m not coming home till you’re done with this!” She said. You go right ahead and enjoy that dorm food. Which is going to start sound downright tasty before I know it. Grrrr.

My teeth are lonely and bored. They’re waiting for their chance to get to work. And they’re not gonna get it for a good long while. I wonder if bubble gum counts in a juice fast?

I swear to God my burps taste like meadows. My friend said, “Let’s hope you don’t leave behind meadow muffins!” I second that. I can’t fathom ingesting enough calories this way for that to be a worry.

My juicing daughter says she now has more empathy for her rabbit–though at least he gets to eat things whole!

So far I’ve done two rounds of juice — which translates into about a whopping 16 ounces and it’s nearing 2 o’clock. I tried to make the second juice more user-friendly (i.e. upped the ante, fruit-wise). You can’t get too aggressive with fruit, or you’ll end up with a sugar high and a sugar crash, and insulin levels off the charts. There’s clearly a fine line in introducing sugars (via fruits) to cut the edge off the green. I’ll be working on that. My second juice consisted of: a stick of pineapple, a blood orange, a handful of kale, a half head of romaine lettuce, 6 carrots, a cucumber, an inch of ginger (too much!), some watercress, some mint, and the kitchen sink (well, practically). The ratio is supposed to be 25% fruit to 75% veg. My daughter and I object and wish to reverse that, though clearly we don’t get a vote in the matter. That said, fruit in the juicer isn’t like fruit juice: once you throw it in there with the rind and all, well, it just doesn’t taste spectacular. Or maybe it’s the added kale juice that’s the killjoy.

The irony is my husband and my son, neither of whom needs a juice fast, are totally loving it. My daughter and I, the food lovers in the group, are muscling through, like it or not. For her, it’s not an option: she has to in order to maintain enough nutrition to not need medical intervention. For me, I have to, primarily to have her back while she’s suffering through this process. Though I admit I could definitely use the weight-loss that sure as hell better happen in great volumes from this thing. I’ve admittedly been in food hangover mode from a 3-month long food bender thanks to extensive traveling and celebrating a landmark birthday, with holidays to top it off.

For my third juice of the day (and I’m at half as much consumed as I’m supposed to be — I’ve only had 24 ounces and should be double that), I came a bit too close to puking it all back up. My daughter cackled at me.

She shouted up to my son, “Did you hear that?”

“The retching?” he asked.

Clearly sound travels. Glad we’re all getting a laugh at my expense.

“Think of barium, Mom,” my daughter said, cheering me on with glass #3.

This in reference to the hideous chalky liquid one has to ingest by the gallon when having an Upper GI done. Swallowing barium is an unpleasant experience, to say the least. And it ranks a close second to this juice fast so far.

Even the dogs are averse to this thing. When my daughter dipped her finger in and gave it to the dog to lick, she backed away with a shudder. So clearly even dog food is preferable to this stuff to some of us…

My evangelizing juicing friend had told about the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. About a very wealthy (and personable) Australian man who’d lived it up a bit much and was paying the price for it with a huge gut and autoimmune problems for which he was on permanent steroids. He decided to fly to the States and cross the country while on a 60-day juice fast, recording his experience while enlisting people along the way. When my daughters doctor also referred to it, I was more curious to watch it.

I’d contemplated joining her on her mandatory fast, though there was that niggling problem of hating veggies. It was kind of like I really want to run a marathon, but my bum knee won’t ever allow it. So I can’t control the marathon dilemma, but dammit, I could control the vegetable aversion. I think. I thought. I don’t know.

But once in on this thing (and with a vast stockpile of vegetables we have to plow through), I’m in on it for the long-haul. I just wish the long-haul could be a bit more pleasant….

In the big picture, I have to stay in it to provide moral support for my girl. That is what will force my hand, when the taste of this stuff gets me down.

A doctor on the documentary said “It’s about retraining your tastebuds.” But I’m wondering if they’ll simply become deadened to their misery. Hard to say. I’m seeking out recipes on their Reboot website, hoping I’ll hit upon something that is my jackpot juice. In the meantime, my face is really itchy. Could I be — horror of horrors — allergic to vegetables? Maybe it’s been my body’s way of avoiding them all these years, by making me hate them.

I’ll keep you posted.

 
Sleeping with Ward Cleaver

Slim to None

Anywhere But Here

Where the Heart Is

Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me

Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)

Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)

I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship (I’m a contributor)

And these shorts:
Idol Worship: A Lost Week with the Weirdos and Wannabes at American Idol Auditions

The Gall of It All: And None of the Three F’s Rhymes with Duck

Naked Man On Main Street

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The Many Creative Uses for…Oh, Read on and Find Out!

Friday, September 25th, 2009

We’re really into recycling in our household. We feel it’s an important service to the world to try to re-use products as much as possible before permanently discarding. And so I recently found myself in a dumping dilemma of sorts, something that needed some creative thinking to solve. Thank heavens for resourceful minds, because now I have 101 (give or take a handful) uses for discarded diaphragms, a service that will help keep landfills a little lighter, while serving the better good of America.

I’ve come up with over a hundred uses for discarded diaphragms, clever little things one could do after cleaning up the item first, of course. Warning: it is highly recommended that the product be thoroughly cleaned in a dishwasher before further use; plunging the diaphragm in boiling water may also be in order.

A good friend told me she came across her old diaphragm while cleaning out drawers recently. She compared it to finding your old retainer. Ha! After all, it is a retainer, of sorts!

Without further adieu, good luck, and let your imaginations take you away!

*send to 3rd world countries for re-use, like used eyeglasses

*trick nose for Halloween costume

*votive holder (paint with poster paints for decorative flair)

*mini-frisbees

*breastplate decorations

*poke holes in it, then use to drizzle salad dressing, olive oil and such

*planting tomato seedlings

*funeral shroud for thwarted sperm

*collect enough and you can glue side to side, row by row, on wall for decorative textured rubber walling (create your own rubber room)

*bouncy toy

*teething ring for baby

Here, chew on this, kid

Here, chew on this, kid

*eye patch

*strong bandaid if used with tape

*knee protectors for gardening

*individual condiment servers

*salt cellars

*turn over, spear with skewer, makes great mushroom decoration for Yule Log

*door knob grippers

*cut out rubber insides and use for ring toss game

*paint ten black and ten red and use for checkers

*fill with sand, glue to a 2nd one, and you get a fun hackysack toy

*turn upside, spear w/ skewer and voila, you have a Barbie Beach umbrella

*mod window treatment for portal window of you child’s doll house

*cover w/ foil and you have a delightful candle snuffer

*spear w/ toothpick, glue edge with fringe, and you have a fancy decoration for your Mai Tai

*stress-reducing worry toy (delightful spring action works for squeezing)

*hand-strengthener (again, squeeze, pulse, repeatedly)

*inexpensive sprinkler head for garden hose

*strainer for capers and canned wild blueberries

*candy dish (M&Ms)

*nose ring for Goth teens

*paint “X” on several, and use for clever tic tac toe game

*lid for cocktail shaker

*attach to chair legs to prevent sliding on or scratching of hardwood floors

*gynecologist’s sizing sample

*fill with sand, glue to another, and you get replacement Toss-Across beanbags

So the beanbags would be round, not square

So the beanbags would be round, not square

*line with cotton and you get a pygmy hamster bed

*nightlight cover

*earmuffs

*drain cover for sink

*earrings (large hoops)

*pendant (spray paint silver for the faux silver look)

*snowball mold (pack two together)

*fun floaty toy for the bathtub

*hollow out rubber middle and makes great choker necklace

*attach two together face to face to get clamshell

*nouveau demitasse for espresso shots

*dessert dish

*sorbet dish

*ponytail holder

*fill two together w/ warm water and use for cramps

*fill two together w/ ice for clever boo boo bear

*fill with water and freeze for attractive ice ring in punch bowl

*nipple shield (a permanent end to those nuisance high beams)

*slice out rubber insides and stack several for attractive arm bracelets

*remove rubber, cut through circle to create possible navel ring—simply insert through bellybutton piercing

*fingerpaint pot for the children’s painting enjoyment

*extra padding for bra

*juggling toys

*scooper for laundry detergent

*glue two together and make mini beach ball

*athletic cup for very small boy

*add tablespoon of sand, use as handy pumice device for callused elbows, heels

*mini bongo drums

*fill w/ whipped cream or shaving cream and sock your favorite politician in the face with it

*yarmulke

Gotta love the yarmulke-donning cat!

Gotta love the yarmulke-donning cat!

*build your own abacus (collect enough)

*great to store spare buttons

*pincushion

*makes great scooper for playing in sand

*coin storage in car (added bonus: rubber grips the coins, keeps them from flying out during sharp turns)

*place a dozen or so in swimming pool with candles for romantic evening poolside ambiance

*suspend from metal rod and lightbulb for stylish pendant lighting

*coaster(skid-free)

*dangle from rear-view mirror (paint first)

*one of a kind hood ornament

*glue feathers and hang from ceiling for spiffy Indian Dream-Catcher

*paint red and use as taillight covers

*dog toy

*measuring cup

*shot glass (shooters—sex on the beach, etc)

*ice cube tray

*paper clip holder

*shoulder pads

*fill w/ potpourri and cover, scent your underwear drawer

*gripper to open hard to open jars

*chin guard

*butter dish for lobster

*free prize in Cracker Jack

*McDonald’s happy meal toy

*toy inside box of Capn Crunch

*paint neon orange and attach to bicycle as reflectors

*paint glowing white and line the side of the highway with diaphragm reflectors to keep cars from running off the road

*Modern art collage

*heel cushions

*mouth guard for braces

*add propeller and use as beanie cap

*door knocker

*use for the number zero in house address signs

*fill with juice, add a stick and freeze, for a most unique popsicle

*science experiments

*Christmas tree ornament

*smear with peanut butter or suet, roll in birdseed, makes perfect birdfeeder in wintertime

*fill with coffee beans, glue another diaphragm to this, sealing edges, and voila, a castinette

*Finally, if you’re of dubious character…trap boyfriend into marriage by accidentally becoming pregnant while truthfully insisting you wore your diaphragm, yet omitting the details about it being old and full of pinholes