Monday, April 21, 2014

Two weeks in...

Well we are two weeks into the juicing thing and still going strong. While I haven't had any more significant weight loss, I have maintained my initial loss without being overly careful. I can also honestly say this whole endeavor has made me feel so much better. 

My energy is still high, and I am also still (mostly) caffeine free not counting the occasional cup of tea. Another benefit I didn't plan on - I have greatly reduced my dependency on OTC pain relievers. My go-to drug of choice was ibuprofen, or sometimes Tylenol.  I would say that 5/7 days in any given week would have seen me taking two or more doses of the stuff, just for general aches and pains like headaches or leg cramps.  Now I'd say I'm down to 1/7 days where I take ANY OTC pain relievers, and when I do, I can take smaller doses and still feel completely better. 

Also--TMI ALERT IF YOU CARE--last week I started the first period I've had since January. As someone who has had a consistently inconsistent cycle my entire adult life, this is a big deal. It means my body is becoming healthier, and trying to self-regulate. I'll take it, and I can only hope the contined influx of veggies and low GI fruits will continue to work their magic on my system. 

If nothing else, this has been a great learning experience, and a generally good thing for the hubby and I to do together. It's nice to have a partner in crime, and someone to bounce ideas off of in terms of juice recipes and ways to make it all easier and more sustainable. 

Speaking of ease, last night I tried the trick of lining the pulp-catcher with a plastic bag before using the juicer. SMART! It saved me a lot of time in the cleanup process, and it also made the job of carrying the pulp out to the compost bin a bit easier to complete.

Friday, April 11, 2014


After lots of reading/research this week, I've learned that it's important to try to stick with a vegetable:fruit ratio of 80:20 when juicing for health purposes and weight loss. Usually we are successful at this, but sometimes it's hard to get enough variety with veggies. I try to think of it like a buffet where I need to choose four servings of veggies and one serving of fruit.  Generally speaking, if my juice comes out a nice, green color then I know I've done pretty well. The big exception to this would be carrots because their color tends to dominate. 

Overall juicing has been a good experience for us this week - I definitely think our vitamin increase alone is worth the time and effort we've put forth. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top Shelf

The top shelf of our fridge is slightly ridiculous after my most recent Sam's Club run.  You can't even see the light come on anymore because the produce is stacked so high:

I've honestly never bought so much produce in a week in my entire life. I guess if we are using it then it's a worthwhile expense. Certainly beats spending that extra money eating out, which is what we would have been doing last week. 

I stopped in to restock our supply of greens, and ended up picking up a few new things to try in the juicer too.  Among them, green beans and sugar snap peas. At this point we're still experimenting and trying to nail down exactly what an how much we need to buy in order to sustain juicing 3x a day for 2 people. Haven't found the formula yet, but have found a few really good "go to" juice recipes. At the moment my favorite green is spinach. It's very water-packed so it yields a lot of juice. It's also nutrient dense and very low in calories so that's a triple-win in my book. 

Onward and upward...

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Energy...and a few more resources's a beautiful thing! Now granted I'm on spring break this week so I've afforded myself quite a bit more downtime than usual.  I am aware that the way I feel this week may not paint the whole picture of my working-life reality.  Still though...for a very long time now, I have been able to almost guarantee a 2:00 p.m. energy crash to swoop in and put a big damper on my day. 

Not only have I been without coffee since Monday, but I actually have more energy than I've had in a while. This week, when I could have taken naps if I felt the need, 2:00 p.m. has come and gone with very little notice on my part. I didn't think that much of it until today. I got a little sleepy at around 4:30 and was surprised to see that it was already 4:30. And "a little sleepy" is a very different feeling from my afore mentioned 2:00 p.m. energy crashes. The jury is still out for me as to whether this is related to juicing or not, but I think this change is very notable and very important. Also, back to the coffee for a minute, I have also still NOT experienced a caffeine craving headache, which I would have fully expected by now. I have had some small amounts of caffeine here and there, a cup of tea last night and the little bit in the chocolate I ate after lunch yesterday, but considering what I would've had by this time last week, I would have thought my body would be in full withdrawal mode by now. 

I was also pleasantly surprised this morning when I discovered I've lost 4 pounds. I didn't even have a perfect day yesterday with food choices (think chocolate) so I wouldn't have expected such a dramatic loss but I guess a 100% increase in vegetable intake and water will do that for you.  I'm still not ready to make the switch to drinking only juice for ANY number of days, but I have been successful with drinking only juice for breakfast and eating less along with some juice for lunch and dinner. For now that will be my plan and I will reevaluate at the end of this week. My main goals with this plan are sustainability and better health. Sub-goals include weight loss, better energy, and skin improvement. 

To that end, I have found a couple useful apps that I want to share: 

1. My Fitness Pal - calorie counter, food diary, etc. it's great! 

2. Juicing - it's free and offers recipes by category, as well as an option to sign up fro recipes & tips via email

3. My Diet Coach - Also free and looks cute, although I did just download it today. 

4. Day 1 - An app for private journaling on your phone. Helps me keep track of the juices I've tried and feelings about them. 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


We finally bit the bullet and bought ourselves a Breville juicer yesterday.  I've been wanting to try juicing for better health ever since I started seeing green juice recipes on Pinterest a couple of years ago.  Watching the documentary by Joe Cross: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is what cemented the idea for me.  I've seen the movie twice now, the first time alone, and the second time when I shared it with my husband.  The stories shared are eye-opening and compelling - they have inspired me to want to do better, and to want to be healthier.    
We had some green juices along with a light dinner last night, kind of just sampling a few different recipes we've seen.  This morning my husband made me the "Mean Green" juice that is recommended by reboot with Joe for breakfast.  He tried a green smoothie by adding a banana and a cup of milk. So far it seems to be going well.  My juice was pretty good but I think our ratio of cucumber was a little bit off – I needed it to be a little bit sweeter.  I do have to say I feel satisfied enough. it is 9:28 and I am hoping that will hold me off until an appropriate lunchtime…

My short-term goal right now is to replace one meal a day with some form of a green smoothie, and see how that goes. If it is sustainable and I'm able to lose a little bit of weight then I will consider maybe replacing two meals a day and so on. I'm not quite ready to do the full on "body reboot" as advertised by Joe Cross just yet.   I want to sort of take it down by notches and see how that sure this is something that I can sustain while also working full time and raising a family.  One thing is certain and that is that there are tons and tons of resources available out there, many of them free, that will help me along this journey.  One I've already used more than once is this great PDF that gives you the correct ratio for different green juice or smoothie concoctions.  I plan to laminate this and tape it to the wall right next to our juicer for easy reference.  

I am also really liking the relatively low investment cost of this idea, and the fact that it is all based on natural foods that are much healthier than what I have been eating. Even when we did the LA weight loss plan – having to buy their bars and pay for their program and all of that it seemed a little...I don't know...gimmicky somehow?  We are still working our way through and trying to figure out the formula for what we actually need in order to sustain a week's worth of juicing.  Still though, going to Sam's Club and literally filling our cart with fresh vegetables and fruit felt really good - really life affirming.  Even if I don't manage to lose the weight I want to lose, I know I am going to be healthier, and be doing my body a favor by consuming so many vegetables.  I'm kind of thinking of it like an army inside my body - and all of this produce is my fortification of that army. 

Overall I do already feel better. I have not had any coffee since Sunday, and I don't have any headache so far. Hope I didn't just speak too soon.  I also have the same (or slightly more) energy that I would feel on a normal work morning, but this is without coffee. I plan to blog about my journey a little bit, mostly just to chronicle the process, and to keep track of my learning process and any great resources I find.  Only time will tell, but the idea that I can fight back against my life-long struggle with obesity, and against all the processed, refined CRAP out there by using my body's natural healing powers, and following a plan that is both simple and sustainable in terms of cost and upkeep - well that is empowering, and I'm definitely ready to give it my best shot!! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Six Songs of Me

I heard this really cool story on NPR about the music we listen to defining who we are.  I decided to create my own personal sound track, based on the six questions the study group asks: 

  1. First song you ever bought:  "Fame" by Irene Cara.  This may not even be true, I can't remember for sure, but it is among the first I bought.  Belinda Carlisle, Debbie Gibson, Madonna, The Bangles, Carly Simon, Tiffany...somewhere in there lies the first song I ever bought but I couldn't actuality pinpoint it.    
  2. Gets you dancing:  The Locomotion by Kylie Minogue.  Enough said!  Although, I could've chosen a few others too, like Another One Bites the Dust by Queen or Pump Up the that was a good song!  
  3. Takes you back to childhood:  Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkle.  I can remember belting this out upstairs in my attic bedroom as the record (yes, I said record) played on my turntable.  Sometimes I miss the simplicity of those days!  
  4. Perfect love song:  All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera.  It's our love song...what else can I say??
  5. A song for your funeral:  Summer of My Dreams by Kathy Mattea.  I don't even know why, really.  Just something about the song speaks of peaceful endings and closure.  I really want my funeral to be very musical though.  There are so many songs I absolutely love and I truly do believe in the healing power of music...
  6. The encore, one more song that makes you, you:  Yellow by Coldplay.  I had to think about this one for a long time.  There are so very many songs that I think define me.  Honestly it's almost impossible to pick only one...or six.  But still, this song has always warmed me up and made me so happy.  It makes me feel warm and cozy, the way your best friend's kitchen does when you're feeling really lonely.   

Sunday, August 07, 2011

My New Jobs

The past few months have been quite busy with lots of changes for me on the job front.  In May I applied for and was offered a job at Sylvan Learning Center.  It's been a great part time job for the summer; however, the overall experience has not been what I expected and I don't plan on continuing my work there in the fall.  I also applied for and was offered a job as a W-A-Y mentor through the main branch of our local school district.  Though much of my previous work in the field of education has been with very young children, I'm looking forward to trying my hand at helping at-risk teenagers as a welcome change of pace.  I start training for that tomorrow, and I'm excited to see where the job leads.

This past week was particularly busy as I interviewed for a position at East Washtenaw Multicultural Academy in Ann Arbor.  The interview went well and I found out on Friday that I'll be working as a preschool teacher for them this coming school year.  While I don't see myself teaching preschool for the long haul, I do want to work with young children and this is a way for me to get my foot in the door and get some valuable experience under my belt.  The program for which I'll be working is a state funded GSRP program, which means I'll be servicing low income families who might not otherwise have the chance to send their children to preschool.  I'm looking forward to the coming week, when I'll be able to meet the families with whom I'll be working for the 2011/2012 school year.  In considering this job and my future, I've decided that if money and this horrifying economy were not an issue, my true ideal job would be to teach second or third grade in a public school setting.  Unfortunately, this job market is not one which lends itself to any sort of cherry picking--a job is a job after all.  Still, I think it's good for me to have some kind of idea of what I want for my future.  I'm pretty broadly qualified, educationally speaking, which was an intentional choice on my part.  It's not that I wouldn't be happy teaching other grades/ages, or, for that matter, using my reading endorsement and teaching language arts to middle school students, but at least if I have an area upon which to set my sights, I'm more likely to make intentional choices toward that goal.

Time will tell.  There are several other jobs for which I've applied, and I haven't heard anything about any of them.  I'm not exactly sure what that means...I suppose it could be good or bad.  It's August now though, so I would imagine most schools will be conducting interviews and making their decisions very soon.  Unless something unexpected happens in the very near future, I'll be teaching preschool for the foreseeable future.  A job is a job, after all! 




Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heat Wave

Back in the spring, someone I was talking to predicted this would be a hot simmer.  Turns out they were right.  We're currently in the midst of a heat wave the likes of which I've never seen.  All the news stations are reporting, "excessive heat warnings" & relentlessly advising us how to stay cool.  Something happens to your brain when you see things like, "feels like 115" at the left.  Suddenly you become extremely curious.  "What exactly does 115 degrees feel like?" you wonder.  So you go outside and find out.  It's not so bad at first, then you decide to move.  Wow, that's hot.  I walked to my neighbor's house two doors down this afternoon, with our two-year-old on my shoulders and by the time I got there, I was wilting.

I feel very fortunate that I have access to central air and AC in my car, and that going outside is a choice for me.  I really can't figure out how people who work outside for a living are functioning through this extreme heat.  I got out early to water the garden this morning, and even by 9:00 it was HOT.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Search is Over...

Quite a long time ago, I wrote A POST about church and my {rather conflicted} feelings on the matter.  I did attend the church I referenced in that post for about six months, nearly every week.  I even went to Sunday school, and I met some people there that I still remember fondly now.  For reasons I won't bore you with here, I fell off the bandwagon.  Life got very complicated for a time, and then our son was born.

Life got even more complicated.  Everything changed.

One thing that didn't change though, was that my spiritual existence felt very unformed.  Any time I thought of God or church or religion at all, I pictured a mental image of a blank screen with a little cursor flashing in the corner.  Like those old Compuware 486 computers used to do when you first turned them on.  Like, "Come on already will you please DO something?"  When our son turned two not that long ago, I started talking to my older sister about how I was feeling.  I told  her that I really wanted to start taking the little one to church because I wanted him to have a moral foundation upon which to grow and learn.  We talked about how we can teach our children morals but we really want/need a moral community within which to raise our children so that those lessons we teach can be reinforced by the broader "community" if you will.  We also talked about how many of our closest relationships over the years blossomed as a result of our shared experiences at church.  Call it divinity or whatever you will, but my sister had a lot of the same feelings I did regarding church.  Though we hadn't previously discussed it a lot, we had both been wrestling with it privately and wishing for a solution.

That was it then, we had to start going to church.  We enlisted the support of our younger sister, who has also been wanting to find a church she can attend.  Three sisters strong, we started church-hopping to see what was available.  The first church we attended, chosen by me, had an excellent children's ministry but left us all feeling a little uncertain in other ways.  We decided we would each choose a church per week until we (hopefully) found one about which we could all feel good.  The next week, my younger sister chose for us to try Unity Church of Ann Arbor.

As it turned out, neither of my sister's made it to church that week, which left me attending services alone with my little one.  Despite the slight, inevitable awkwardness of attending church alone, and despite the fact that I didn't know children's services were only available at the 11:00 service, meaning I had to entertain my two-year-old the whole time, I loved the church.  I found myself thinking that I really hoped my sister's would like this church too because I was pretty sure I wouldn't be looking any further.  I left there that Sunday feeling spiritually full, like I was ready to face the world and all it's complications.  My mind wandered back to points from the sermon several times that following week.  I felt not only like I wanted to be a better person, but also like I could be a better person.  I felt the way I always imagined my church would make me feel.  Since that time, my sister's have also attended--and become very fond of--the church.  We all sort of feel like we belong there, even though it hasn't been that long since we started attending.  The things I like best about this church are:

  • There are many different skin tones, both among the congregation and among the clergy members.  
  • They teach based on the foundation of the bible and Jesus but they relate it to today, to real life.
  • They practice meditation and mind calming techniques.  
  • They teach based on a set of principles that leave room for different interpretations.  
  • They don't have a "my way or else" philosophy.  
  • The church is not tiny but not huge.  I'm already beginning to know people and I don't feel lost in the crowd.  
  • They are open to questions and individual interpretation of their teachings.  
  • They love my little boy and have welcomed us with open arms.  

There are other reasons I like this church too but they can all be summed up by saying that I feel that I can truly be myself here.  I can come in with my questions, my doubts and openly seeking a stronger connection with God and that will be supported.  I can teach my son the things I believe and know that his spiritual journey as he grows will also be supported and nourished.  That is profound, and so far, so is the Unity Church of Ann Arbor.



Saturday, April 09, 2011

This Time Next Week

Right around this time next week, I will be sitting in the convocation center at Eastern Michigan University, wearing my cap and gown and listening to...who knows what kind of commencement speech.  Shorty thereafter, I will be the proud holder of my bachelor's of science in elementary education.  I am SO excited, there really aren't enough words to encompass how I feel. 

Last night I went to a little cap decorating party with some of the awesome women who have been with me along the way.  Our caps look smashing and I had a great time hanging out with them.  We are all so ready for next week but there is nervous anticipation too.  Now it's actually starting to feel real! The journey from this post, (way back when I was first making decisions) to now, seems like a thousand miles.  And yet, the time actually seems to have gone by rather quickly too.  It's an odd conundrum really but I guess that's what happens when you're so busy. 

In any case...I am absolutely thrilled to have come so far and I feel really proud of all I've accomplished.  According to my transcript, I'll be graduating magna cum laude next week, which means I've been able to maintain an overall GPA of 3.75.  Considering all the other major things I've had on my plate over the past three-and-a-half years, and considering we've also had some significant life changes thrown into the mix, that's pretty darn awesome.  Come on, April 16!