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Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Juice is Loose

I am not big into dieting. Four years ago I tried Herbalife.  I dropped two or three kilograms, but didn't find it sustainable. Those shakes don't taste bad, but the idea of getting my nutrition from a canister was further along the road to dystopia than I wanted to travel.  Now if it had come with some sort of post-nuclear holocaust collapse of civilization, I could see it working, but I found I wanted something more natural.

My friend Chad got a juicer in May, and started going nuts on it.  He did a 30 day juice fast, eating no other food, but drinking juices from a variety of vegetables and fruits.  I took a sip of one of the juices and decided that it was doable, especially for the results he was having.

The idea of the Juice Fast is simple, if not easy: juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Vegetable juice.  Kale.  Spinach.  Leeks, a.k.a. 부추 (boo-chew), a.k.a. garlic chives, a.k.a. allium tuberosum, a.k.a. breathanator grass.  Serious health benefits, all the charm of garlic.  Beets.  Lemon.  Fresh ginger.  And I've taken to blending in some tofu, to give it more body and protein.  It's like drinking a chunkier version of V8, with more kick and usually less tomato, though I always throw in a little tomato, or apple, or pear.  The sweet fruits counter the bitter greens, and make the whole thing more palatable.

The main thing that he talked about and demonstrated was an increase in energy; he was needing less sleep, feeling more cheerful, and he shared some details of his love life with his wife that were best left to someone else's blog.  The point of a juice fast is that the juicer does the heavy lifting for your digestive system, while preserving the nutrients that your body requires to be healthy.  At the same time, meats and processed sugars are completely eliminated, and the only carbohydrates you take in are the traces that you get from the vegetables.  In effect, you are putting your colon on light duty, giving it a chance to rest and recuperate.  This lets you redirect the energy used in digestion for other activities.

Like making juice.

Sometime around May 20th I stepped on the scale with a sense of dread, hoping that willing myself to weigh less had worked.  It hadn't.  I weighed 117 point something kilograms.  I suspect that it was a round-up decimal, as I immediately wiped it from my mind.  260 pounds.  I couldn't believe it.  I have been big (as in overweight) since second or third grade in elementary school.  Other than a downward trend during my time in the Peace Corps (I left weighing 80 kg, 175 lbs) and the brief stint on Hebalife (dropping from 113 kg to 110 kg) I have been constantly on the rise.  I saw Chad getting results, and suggested buying a juicer to Horyon.  She agreed, and I  added another kilogram to my weight over the next few days in anticipation of not being able to eat a bunch of stuff.

We got our juice machine on May 22nd, and made my first batch the next day.  I subbed it in for a meal, but ate two regular meals that day and the next day, Sunday.  On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I had two meals of juice, and Thursday and Friday it was all juice.  Saturday was the first cook out of the year at my friend Lewis' home.  I could not pass up a grilled burger.  I ate one, plus about a quarter of Quinten's hot dog (he was too excited to eat it all).  I ate some of Arlen's awesome baked beans (with bacon? Yes, please!) and Lewis' potato salad (the perfect blend of mayo and mustard), and some chips.  One plate of food, whereas my usual modus operandi is to follow that up with a second identical plate.  My brain was telling me to go for it, but my stomach protested.  I was full earlier than I expected to be.

Dessert was a problem.  Two cookies and two rice crispy treats may have been overdoing it.  But again, last summer I would have considered that a good start.

The one thing that I would drop next time is the Pepsi.  I had one cup of Pepsi over ice, and found that it just didn't taste good to me.  I also had some wine, and that worked just fine.

I was up .8 kg the next day, but my friends, both on FB and in my physical proximity, encouraged me to ignore that, and two days later it was gone.  The biggest problem was that my stomach was a sleeping giant, and poking it with all that food sort of woke it up.  Makes it harder to get back on to the juice only part.

Let me reassure you that I am not planning to go hardcore on this juice thing.  I am aiming to do a few days of nothing but juice, then go back to one meal per day with juice the rest of the time through this summer.  Next fall, I plan to drop it to one juice meal per day.  Dinner would be best, as it is my most destructive meal; I eat too much, don't get much exercise afterwards, and spend the night converting it to fat rather than burning it off.

For now I feel good.  Hungry, but not terribly so.  One tenet of the juice fast is that when you feel hungry you should drink your juice, to reassure your body that starvation is not immanent.  After all, if the starvation mode kicks in, your metabolism drops.  Keep it low for long enough and it stays low.  This is why I continue to ride my bicycle to work and for exercise.

Before breakfast this morning I weighed in at 109.8 kg (242 lbs).    I would like to make clear that this is not just the juice.  I have seriously cut back on snacks (though I indulge in raw fruit and vegetables indiscriminately), sweets (chocolate still calls, and I still answer, just not as much), and restaurants (no McD's breakfast for 3 weeks!  I'm dyin' here!).  No Pepsi, which previously rivaled my children for a place in my heart, and very little meat.  I am waking up more easily, and tightening my belt.  I ate breakfast yesterday, and plan to eat lunch today, hoping to keep some sort of balance that will be sustainable once I reach my weight goal, which is to still be large enough to barrel through a crowd of Korean ajumas yet light enough to leap from limb to limb as I make my way through the jungles of Kenya...

Seriously, I am not sure where I want to stop and maintain.  Under 100 kg will make a big difference for my health insurance,  My blood pressure is already down a lot, it would be great if I could stop taking daily medicine for it.

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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.