Wednesday, January 9, 2013

$250ish and counting

Casey and I do something called "PBR Month". A couple years ago during the summer I suggested that we do a crazy frugal month where we buy only items that are on sale and any alcohol that we buy has to be the cheapest of the cheap (PBR, Rainier, Bud etc.). I am overly fond of really good beer and luckily, in the Northwest, we are awfully spoiled by the number of local micro breweries in the area. It's incredibly enjoyable to take advantage of but also very expensive. So I suggested we call this frugal month of no eating out or shopping from PCC or Metropolitan Market (because they easily cost twice as much) PBR month. (Pabst Blue Ribbon anyone?)

January was originally supposed to be PBR month but I kept on accidentally calling it a detox month and Case suggested that maybe I should detox to since I kept on saying I would. And that is how the "beauty detox" was conceived.

I had every intention of being cheap this month but it's very stressful for me to worry about two (big) things. So if I am going to eat absurdly healthy I might as well relax about spending money. That being said I still am not eating out during the week for breakfast or lunch - and I'm pretty sure my morning smoothies are insanely cheap so I might actually be saving money in the long run. I definitely do not feel like I am spending more anyway.

The picture above is my first small shopping trip about a week before the detox, costing roughly $25. I was reading about the awesomeness of veggies and protein and antioxidants and stopped by Bartells to stock up on some decaf green tea, a protein shake that tasted pretty awful, yogurt, coconut water, hand lotion, and a face scrub. If you have ever made drinking the recommended amount of water a goal in your life you will make friends with your bathroom, the sink and some soap. Invest in a good hand lotion. 

Above is my first day FAIL. I start my day with a full tank of water, hot green tea, and a smoothie chock full of vitamins, minerals and a ton of other shit. I crammed so much into this smoothie, including a packed cup of mixed greens, kefir, frozen fruit, almond milk, protein powder and ginger juice. I've put greens in my shakes before and it's totally fine. But this was so pulpy and I put too much ginger in there so I only drank half and called it good. Regardless, everyday starts with an absurd amount of liquids. Trust me - they keep you full. 

Above is my nextshopping trip, at PCC. I managed to spend (as you can see) a whooping 84 bucks on not very much food. Mostly I bought beverages to keep me satisfied a home. It's easy for me to drink a glass of wine (or three) and so to avoid doing that I get to drink other flavorful (and expensive) drinks. The coconut water in the picture is so amazing. It is the best. It's raw so it actually tastes like coconut water instead of the coconut waters you see in the Bartells picture (the first one).

The second shopping trip was at TJs - around the same amount. Three bags worth of food.

 As part of my detox I am doing two shots of aloe a day. I've had crazy bitter aloe but this stuff tastes like water. The company has a "special" process that removes that flavor. I didn't quite think it would taste like water and neither did Casey. In fact, he thought it would be funny to trick me on New Years Eve to give me a shot of aloe (which we had not yet tasted at the time) and I joked that it was probably water in the shot glass (when I actually thought it was Vodka). I guess the joke was on both of us when we did the shot. Ha ha ha. I know, that was really funny. Anyway, aloe has a host of benefits including stabilizing blood sugar, encouraging weight loss, and easing digestion.

These are my drugs. This is my second bottle of these multis that I am taking. Very pleased with this brand. Omega 3's are incredibly important to have in your diet. The western diet is horribly lopsided in terms of Omega 6's v. 3's. We should be having a 1:1 ratio but it's typically more like 10:1 and that encourages inflammation, sebum production, and therefore acne. It's also very nasty if you have arthritis. There are many studies out there that support this - I highly encourage you to look them up.

My dinner tonight was a BLT! Hell yeah! True. And I'm dieting you ask? (I'm not trying to lose weight remember)? I actually bought turkey bacon which I previously turned my nose up at. What? Gross! I want REAL bacon! But it was really, really tasty - no joke! (Look at all those exclamation points!!!)

It has the consistency of a lunch meat, like bologna, but the flavor of bacon, it is applewood smoked after all. It's, like, a super hippy turkey bacon, too. Trader Joe's brand (of course) 94% fat free, non-antibiotic, no artificial ingredients, blah blah blah. Anyway, right - the turkey is still dead so...yeah. (But I saved a pig and their, like 2 times as big, right?)The only down side is that one slice has 180 g. of sodium (8% Daily Value)! Holy cow. I had four slices.

I put an assload of spinach in there and I totally used mayo. To do otherwise would be a sin. Mmmm...mayo. It's also on sprouted whole grain bread.

Moral of the story? You can spend as much or as little as you want if you're going on a diet/detox. I say, if you can afford it - why not spend a little extra to reward yourself and buy fun things to eat and drink. For me, they keep me on track and motivated and excited to try new things. Every time I come home and open a Kombucha I know I am drinking something delicious and good for me. I have detoxed and been miserable and crabby because I did not invest ahead of time in tasty food and drinks. Plan way ahead, buy a mixture of things you know you like and new things to try, and stock your house full of healthy food. You not about to let it go bad are you?!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to Kill an Orangoutang and the Ethics of Purchasing Food Without Dooming all of Humanity

I prepped for the detox the way I typically prep for all of my detoxes - I purchased a vegetarian magazine. And this time I took it a step further and purchased a vegan magazine. Whoa. I know.

A side note which you can totally ignore: I am scared of the the internet. Seriously. I am a little freaked out at people ripping my writing to shreds. People are mean out there! I saw a Jenna Marbles video about the ethical repercussions of being a slut and people ripped that video in half! I watched that video, and thought "Wow, Jenna, those were some good points" and went on my merry day. But people literally responded by making their own videos and called her a dumb blonde bitch who was sad and lonely because she broke up with her boyfriend. Whoa! Wow! I think that both frightened me more and emboldened me. My writing will be torn up and taken out of context no matter what. Plus there's only, like, 10 people that read my blog.

So, right. Orangoutang killing. In VegNews I happened upon an article about how palm oil is destroying the environment. (No link - they haven't posted on their website - google it). I was surprisingly impressed with it. I thought it would be this fluffy piece about saving our rain forests but I was really moved by the destruction that this oil has wrought through ignorance and greed. It is violently destructive to the environment and to the animals where these plantations are created. Animals are cruelly beaten and set on fire, and land that is critical to combating green house gases is being destroyed because palm oil is the hot new thing. I am always taken aback by the casual disregard for the habitats that sustain our planet.

My point here is twofold. When deciding where to put your money there are a gazillion logistics to take into account. Do you save the planet, the animals or your body? Vegetarian diets are typically higher in soy consumption which is mostly GM'd, requires an assload of toxic chemicals to grow and increases your estrogen levels. You save an animal, but you aren't helping the environment and is questionable for your body. My 3% Glycolic Acid face wash which is amazing for my skin - has palm oil in it. Good for my body - not so good for everyone else, including my wallet. I would imagine there are very few products out there that are good for all three - including cleaning supplies, clothing, and beauty products.

For a long time I encountered a vegetarian brick wall, so to speak. I would be really turned off by the way some vegetarians treated their lifestyle like a religion or cult for which they had to recruit people for. I felt like people would try to convert me - and I wanted nothing to do with it. There is still a lot of that going on - and I still feel that I encounter a lot of preachy judgmental people who vehemently and vocally disagree with my carnivorism.

In doing this research, I realized that I wasn't necessarily any better. I would look for reasons to find fault with certain logic. I would scan labels of cruelty free 100% vegetarian products looking for palm oil so I could say "ah-ha! you are still killing animals and destroying the environment!" How awful is that? The truth is that I found this article in a vegetarian magazine - and while vegheads may not be cutting out palm oil from their life at least they are bringing attention to this.

We live in a world where I think it is possible to live a life in which everything (or most of) you purchase has been sustainably created and does not harm body, planet or animal. It takes a lot work and some amount of sacrifice - but there are people that do it. I think it is important to try to be aware of what you are buying and what you are putting into and onto your body. I think it is important to think about someone besides yourself. You won't be seeing me handing out pamphlets anytime soon, but I am learning to be more open minded about information that I read instead of paranoidly wondering if someone is trying to brain wash me.

All this being said here are other names for which palm oil might be listed on any number of products in your household:

Elaesis guineensis
FP(K)O Fractionated Palm Oil
Glyceryl stearate
Hydrated Palm Glycerides
OPKO (Organic Palm Kernel Oil)
Sodium dodecyl sulphate
Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye
Sodium laureth sulphate
Sodium lauryl sulphate
stearic acid

I would definitely avoid these products until the palm oil industry is able to find a way to become less destructive.

Thanks for reading!

Save the animals!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let the diet begin...

...and by diet I am changing what I am eating, not trying to lose weight. I've done a couple detoxes before, some more successful than others. Part of the problem is that it is really easy to get bogged down in the insane and unverified amount of information that is out there. Detoxing can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people and so the information is at times conflicting depending on what the ultimate goal is. 

You have to assume that any detox you undertake will affect your mood to some extent. Any wiggle room of doubt as to why you are giving up certain foods and you are sure to find yourself giving up on the detox entirely. Remember the end objective, have a clear plan and remember why you are sticking to it. Is there enough data to support giving up a food group? If there isn't, maybe you shouldn't be giving it up. That way every time you are craving something you can remind yourself very specifically why you cannot eat it. "I really want a [delicious food] right now but I can't eat it because [really good reason]". This helps me stay focused. 

The diet/detox I have decided to take on this January is one of the largest organ: the skin. This is just a really nice way of saying I am going on a "Beauty Detox". Woohoo! My inspiration for this diet came about because Casey and I, one day, will get married - and it would be nice to have really healthy skin blah blah blah. I have been encouraged by what I have read - and during my "prep days" I have learned so much. 

In a nutshell - the focus on this detox will be about eating more not less. Awesome, right!? There are a few things I have to cut out of course - some of my own volition, most for skin purposes. I am cutting out coffee, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates. I am keeping alcohol and meat to a minimum. The purpose of cutting out refined carbs is that it spikes your blood sugar, and therefore your insulin levels, which in turn creates androgens (are you seeing this cascading effect- it goes on...) which in turn promotes sebum (oil) production, and your skin gets clogged and you break out. Truth! Follow the link to an article from The Journal of American College of Nutrition. If you google Acne + Insulin + Androgens you will also turn up with a ton of stuff. Additionally, this diet will focus on foods with a low glycemic index. Eating foods that don't spike my blood sugar will give me stable energy throughout the day, which is a bonus. Woo. 

I started off with a load of books (Don't laugh at the Sephora book, there is actually a chapter written by Dr. Perricone who is a renowned derm [is that how the cool kids spell it?])

My goal is to begin everyday with a workout and smoothie (pictured below). I would like to consume (and will be keeping track of) 94 g. of protein, 22-26 g. of fiber, and less than 25-50g. of sugar (not counting natural sugar from fruits). Additionally, I want to drink the recommended 64 oz. of water which includes green tea (decaf or caf) because that is probably the absolute best thing I could do for my skin and my body.  The nutritional ranges are due to the fact that, unfortunately, there is still some fluctuating information out there. The focus is on eating foods with loads of antioxidants, omega 3's, and have anti-inflammatory properties. I am giving up all meats with the exception of chicken and fish. I am also giving up dairy with the exception of yogurt. 

This is my daily smoothie:

1/4 c. frozen cherries
1 c. original greek yogurt (might be kefir in the future)
1/2 c. spinach
1 t. Chocolate Syrup
1/4 c. almond milk
1 scoop Vanilla CryoSport Protein Powder

I haven't actually begun the detox yet - hence the chocolate syrup. But I don't know if I can give it up. I know - lame! But I can pack way more spinach into this sucker because the chocolate masks the flavor of everything. And it's only like a teaspoon, come on!

The awesome salad that I am totally in love with. There is actually spinach on the bottom of this thing - it is just covered up by other goodness :). The egg is way better if you boil it at home instead of purchasing store bought eggs - it is awesome still warm on this salad. No joke. I did cover this salad with sesame seeds but the picture was no good. Albino turds. :(

The salad:

1 Boiled egg
Cherry Tomatoes
Beecher's Cheese (because I really need to use it up)
Some kind of vinaigrette (I can't spell that word for the life of me). I just bought a champagne vinaigrette from TJ's and it only has a gram of sugar!

I have, so far, found it especially hard to maintain my protein and fiber levels at what I would like them to be. I am no holds barred giving myself clearance to eat whatever I want to maintain these levels - still takes work! The first two days of prepping I got 50 and 61 g. of protein - compared to the 94 that I want. I also consumed 9 and 2 g. of fiber compared to the 22-26 that I want. I think I will probably just get some kind of fiber powder and add it to my smoothie.

As for my lifestyle I am full-time college student & full-time employee. I am exhausted by the time I come home! It is really difficult for me to find the energy after a long ass day to make any sort of complex meal - hence why my blog dropped off the face of the earth - fucking busy. (and probably lazy too). I need to find and make meals that are super quick and do not require a lot of clean-up. So detox or no - easy meals are fun to read about, yes ?

Detox/diet (not sure what to call it) is set to potentially take place January 7-18. Super.