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Monday, June 22, 2015

A Month of Juice

It's been a month since we bought a juicer (May 22nd).  I would have been the first to guess that it would quickly find a home in a cabinet, to be pulled out from time to time to impress other people or make the kids happy.

Instead, a funny thing has happened:  I've lost 9 kilograms.  That's 20 pounds!  From 117 point mumble-mumble down to 108.1!  I am still a big, heavy guy, but not as heavy as I was.

Nor as light as I will be.

I am just going to answer some questions that I've been asked a lot.  Once again, I'm not sure how to go about making a narrative of this, because I'm not sure what the end of the story is, exactly.

Q:  What do you put in the juice?
A:  Buchu, kale, spinach, cabbage, carrot, and ginger are my reliable standbys.  Add to the mix apple, asian pear, orange, beets, various greens as found at the market, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, and whatever else I can find cheap.  That's the juice itself, then I add some fresh tofu and blend it until it changes from a sharp green to more of an avocado green.

Q:  What is buchu?
A:  Allium Tuberosum.  The Wikipedia article is pretty straightforward about it, but if you Google it you will find that many consider it to be a very healthy food.  Koreans make a kind of fresh (not aged) kimchi with it that is served with one of my favorite foods, pork soup (

Q:  Isn't the whole juice cleanse thing kind of...
A:  There's no need to be polite.  You can call it bullshit in front of me.  Strictly speaking, yes.  There are so many conditions piled on the juice fast concept that many of them alone would make a big difference.  For example, most of my snacking now is juice, fruit or vegetables, and I have had soda once since starting this.  I miss potato chips almost as much as I miss my parents.

Q:  What's the most difficult part of this diet?
A:  Making the juice.  It takes a solid 90 minutes from the time I start washing vegetables until the components of the juice machine are drying on the rack and the juice is in containers in the fridge.  If I am also cooking for the kids, and doing dishes from other people in the house, it adds to the time I spend standing in front of the sink.

Q:  Is this sustainable?
A:  Not long term.  My friend Chad did 30 days of nothing but juice,  I haven't gone more than two or three days without other food.  My intent is to integrate vegetables and fruits into my diet.  When I look at the typical pile of vegetables that are going to be my calorie intake for the day,
 A friend told me that his daughter said I would probably lose weight and be healthy if I just ate all of those vegetables.  True, but less likely to happen than me drinking the bottles of juice that came from them.

Q:  Aren't you hungry a lot?
A:  Yes, but when I am hungry I drink some juice or water.  That's the plan, anyway.  When I am on the ball, and carrying a a bottle with me, I sip it through the day.  The point of this is to convince my body that I am not, in fact, starving.  In the past I've done this with chocolates, junk food, and sugary drinks.  The juice is a dose of vitamins and stuff that gets the message across and actually addresses legitimate needs that my body has.  Plus it is just not that appetizing as a snack, so it tends to shut down the hunger pretty quickly.

Q:  Do you feel lighter?
A:  Believe it or not, after losing 9 kilograms I still don't feel lighter.  The change has been gradual enough that I don't feel like I'm walking on air.  That said, my feet don't hurt as much.  I used to wake up in the morning with sore feet.  After all, they carried me around all day.  Now that I've set so much weight aside, I have fewer leg cramps and my feet are happier.

Q:  So what other differences have you noticed?
A:  My clothes fit more loosely.  A few very large shirts and pants have passed into ridiculously baggy territory, and the pants that were too tight last month are very wearable now.  I've gone from a 44 inch waist to 42, and can probably wear the 40 inch pants that are hidden in the closet.  

Q:  And...?
A:  I've been on Sevikar for hypertension (high blood pressure) for about five years now.  With it I had been maintaining a blood pressure of about 120/90, which is on the high end of normal.  My most recent measurement was 107/67.  Not low enough to be a problem, but creeping down.  This medicine only costs about $15 per month, but the idea of ditching it is very appealing.

Q:  What do you want to eat when you finish your diet?
A:  Here's the thing, I've been eating things I want to eat from time to time.  This isn't like coming back from Nepal.  For one thing, when I returned from Nepal my body was a rice burning machine; I could put away a heaping plateful of rice and dal curry, and ask for seconds.  I came to Korea and always, ALWAYS ordered a second bowl of rice to go with my food.  In some ways, I never got over that.  But now my stomach has gotten used to taking in less food.  When I have eaten real food, I get full much faster.  I recently cooked hamburgers, french fries and broccoli for the kids.  I served myself fries and broccoli, but no burger.  I had a few bites from each of the kids' burger, maybe a third of one burger total, and that was enough.  My stomach was done, and it told me so.

The problem is that my brain just loves a good burger.  If I had cooked one for myself, I would have eaten it plus what Maxine and Quinten left.  I am truly in a battle against my own brain, and always have been.  Now at least my stomach is more on my side.

Q:  You didn't answer the question.  Stop lecturing me and tell me what you want to eat.
A:  Jeez, no need to be a jerk about it.  I want to go to Pizza Mall.  It's a pizza buffet with some of the best tasting pizza I've had in Korea.  $10 for lunch, $13 for dinner and on weekends.  It's a dangerous reward, but I'm also considering it a test:  will I be able to eat a reasonable amount at a buffet, or will I pig out?  I am trying to set myself up for success on this one.  I will pick up one slice at a time.  I will savor each slice.  I will rest before returning to the buffet.  I will drink water, and maybe have some juice before I go.  I will get my money's worth in satisfaction rather than volume.  I can do this.

Q:  Have there been any downsides to this?
A:  My body is coming around, but for the first two or three weeks it was convinced that I was starving.  I was short tempered and easily tired.  The food was gone, and so was the fun.  The first three days without caffeine was particularly painful, though revealing of my dependence.  Resuming coffee consumption has made me a much more cheerful dieter.  And I have had some slight back pain.  I assume that this is a combination of changing bikes (my mountain bike was in the shop for two weeks, putting me on the road bike, then back to the mountain bike), carrying my body weight differently (maybe my posture needs to adjust?), and all the time I spend hunkered over the juice machine and kitchen sink.  Honestly, I am still somewhat irritable after meal times.

Q:  Aren't you missing out on all that vegetable fiber? 
A:  Nope.  If you don't want to read about poops and farts, skip this next bit.  I am missing out on some of it, for sure.  My clockwork throne time (every morning, 15 minutes after waking up if not sooner, a few sips of coffee can always hurry it along) has become intermittent: every couple of days or so, and sometimes not of satisfying consistency.  And (ick) green.  Red when I supplement with beets.  But some fiber is soluble, and I am getting that.  And the juicer is not perfect.  Since I don't strain my juice, it has a consistency thicker than V8, like pulpy orange juice.  The tofu also adds to the mix.  And here's a shocker:  I don't fart as much as before.  It hasn't quite become special enough to write home about (Dear Mom:  You won't believe what just happened!), but it's definitely less frequent and less hazardous!

Q:  Ick.
A:  I told you not to read that last part if you can't deal with bodily functions.  Speaking of which, when I'm on the full juice and water, I have to pee every hour or two.  Giving the kidneys a workout, I guess.  Hopefully avoiding kidney stones.

Q:  I want to ask you more questions about this, but I'm not actually another person.  I'm just you pretending to be another person.
A:  Wow, this is awkward.  I've really enjoyed this conversation, but finding out that all along it wasn't real... I feel used.  By myself.  Ew.

That's enough Q and A.  Maybe more than enough.  Anyway, I would be happy to answer more questions.  From real people.  Who aren't me.  Just write them in the comments here, or on my Facebook link to this post, or just post on my wall.  

1 comment:

David Biemer said...

When you decide to go to the Pizza Mall, I would like to join you!
I love the comment, "you still didn't answer my question. stop lecturing me and tell me what you really want to eat" paraphrasing.
Great stuff. 90 minutes is a long time to prepare.

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