Saturday, August 20, 2011

The "Getting Thinner" Lady is Singing

I finished!  The juicing diet is done and I’m a better American because of it.  Well, not really.  I mean, I do pay my taxes and I’m not a felon but there is no magic to the diet.  I found that I did sleep better.  Even if I got 5 hours of sleep I awoke feeling refreshed.  Several people commented that my complexion looked great and I found myself being more focused during the day. 

I thoroughly enjoyed going through this experience because it made me realize how wonderful fruits and vegetables are and how filling they can be.  It also made cooking more of an adventure and easier to clean up.  When you don’t have to worry about your food being cooked to a certain temperature, raw meat contaminating other ingredients, or using different knives and cooking utensils during the cooking process you find that you have more time to do clean up and food prep.

Last night I had a girls night at my friend Cathy’s house.  My other friend, Bonnie, and I volunteered to bring food for everyone.  Cathy is vegan and I was still on my juicing diet.  The food offered appeased to those of us on the juicing diet (me), vegans (Cathy), and everyone else. 

Bonnie brought some hummus and fresh red bell pepper as an appetizer.  She also made a vegan chocolate fondue that everyone could dip angel food cake, brownies, strawberries, cherries and bananas in.  The chocolate was not part of my juicing diet but you know what?  WHO CARES!  I tried one strawberry and one banana in the vegan chocolate because it was just that good.  I don’t regret it. 
I brought lettuce wraps.  I had two options: Mexican wraps and Asian wraps.  I laid the various fillings out in small bowls so each person could build their own wrap.  We used romaine lettuce leaves as the wrap and I had the following items for the filling:
  • Fresh grilled corn
  • Green onions
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes fries (I baked them in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and garlic salt)
  • Zucchini
  • Avocado
  • Poblano peppers
  • Pico de gallo (I made it the night before)
  • Chicken
  • Fish (tilapia)
Each filling ingredient was labeled.
Everyone loved the wraps.  Having the ingredients separate allowed each person to customize their own dinner and the meat options gave those non-juicers and non-vegans a lean protein.  The wraps are quite filling but low calorie.  Bonus points!

I also made a blueberry tartlet.  I found this recipe in one of my SELF magazines and it is vegan appropriate.  The crust is made by mixing dates and almonds in a food processor until a chunky paste forms.  I ran out of dates so I added a few prunes.  Worked great.
Next, mix the blueberries with fresh squeezed orange juice and the zest of one lemon.  I like to let it marinate for 24 hours.  The blueberries absorb the flavor of the oranges and the lemon zest is a hidden flavor pop.  Both citrus flavors bring out the flavor of the blueberries. 
The tarts can be made for individual servings.  You can form individual “bowls” out of the crust and freeze it.  Take out of the freezer an hour before serving and place the blueberries in them.  I elected to line one of my pie plates with the crust and poured the blueberries into it.  The blueberries mixed with the crust makes your brain think you are having an unhealthy dessert. 
As I said before, I love using fresh ingredients.  It does make a difference.  The dishes I made don’t require a lot of cooking experience.  Everyone can make them. 

On a noticeable and physical scale of how the juicing diet went … I lost 6 pounds and 4.75 inches from my body’s measurements.  Was it my goal to lose weight and inches?  No.  However, I’m really stoked that it happened while I was eating fruits and vegetables NON-STOP.  No one ever gained weight eating fruits and vegetables.  I also was not able to go to the gym this past week because I had a pulled calf muscle.

So, my last evening of the juicing diet I forced some dear friends to my vegetable and fruit life.  I think everyone liked them.  Cathy was excited that Bonnie and I brought vegan dishes.  I was interested to see how other people would react to a super healthy dinner.  Reactions were great and several comments included “Oh, wow, this is good!” and “If the diet includes this kind of food then I could do it.”

I am excited about my life after the juicing diet.  There are so many more opportunities to include fruits and vegetables into my every day diet.  The best thing the juicing plan has done for me is rekindle a love with all things fresh produce and surprise myself in being able to make REALLY delicious meals without recipes.  Yeah, I recommend the diet plan for anyone who is interested.  And, yes, I do expect you to invite me to dinner.

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