For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, it’s Detox Week around here. As explained in ridiculous depth in this post, I’m eschewing bread, pasta, alcohol, soda, animal products and just about anything that isn’t a fruit, vegetable, legume, nut or mineral from now until Christmas Eve. It’s 11:19 p.m. on Monday night, which means I’ve officially survived Day One without getting tired, cranky or killing anyone. YAY ME!
OK, to be fair, as I’ve been a vegetarian for many years now, it’s not a total stretch for me to switch to a hardcore vegan diet. Beyond vegan, actually, because with the exception of a bowl of soup tonight, I did nothing but raw, organic food all day. But my typical daily consumption consists of multiple servings of breads, meat substitutes, processed soy products such as tofu, stuff made with eggs, and when I’m being bad — which has been too much lately — more cheese than either my doctor or my ass wants me to have. So yes, Detox Week is a challenge. But instead of feeling deprived, I feel like a whole world I forgot about has been reintroduced to me.
See, when I was a kid, I loved experimenting in the kitchen. From a really young age, I would make my own salad dressings and sauces, mixing up whatever ingredients I could find in our kitchen. And I LOVED vegetables. Why do you think I was making salad dressings? To put on salads! But I also just enjoyed crisp carrots, celery (maybe with peanut butter), cauliflower, bell peppers, even raw potatoes with a hint of salt. I attribute my strong and healthy teeth and general good health (as well as my relative thinness until recently) to my early dedication to veggies. Sure, I enjoyed tacos and pizzas and Kit-Kat bars just like every other kid in America. But I probably just balanced it better without parental enforcement.
But the strange thing is that over the years, even as I stopped eating meat products one by one (first beef and pork, then poultry and fish), I didn’t really increase my intake of veggies. I was — as are many vegetarian friends I know — bad vegetarian. I relied heavily on starch and fat, and I hadn’t yet discovered the awesomeness of vegetarian-friendly food cultures such as Mediterranean, Thai and Indian. Eventually, I fixed that, thanks to the influence of others. And after some bouts back and forth, I came out on the other side as a good vegetarian. I learned to make balanced dishes with fresh ingredients at home, developing a shopping regimen that pretty much continues to this day. Pretty much I say, because as mentioned yesterday, my intense work schedule and packed calendar requires me to rely more heavily on prepared meals, frozen foods and eating out more often than either my wallet or stomach care for. You know how it is — it’s so easy to presume that preparing fresh food takes too much time, or is too much of a hassle.
Well, yeah, it takes time. But it’s not a hassle. Around Casa Awesome, I do 95 percent of the cooking anyway. And it’s not just because Sara doesn’t cook (well …). It’s because I enjoy doing it. I like having an excuse to do something more than just put together a sandwich or throw some veggie nuggets into the oven. Even making a simple pasta dish this weekend, I remarked aloud how much I enjoy just being in the kitchen. And tonight I did two new things in the kitchen: I made both a vegetable stew and a vegetable stock — not difficult or groundbreaking items by any means, but for me, it was awesome to create something more than just the sum of its parts. I was absolutely giddy at the smell filling the house as the stew simmered. And I nearly took a photo of the vegetable stock after I poured it through the strainer into its glass container, I was so proud that I made it.
So Day One went well is what I’m trying to say, I guess. I’m quite looking forward to actually eating the stew tomorrow, and experimenting with the stock tomorrow night in some new dish. Because I know some of you asked or were curious, here’s the rundown (approximately) of my consumption today:
- Breakfast: Approx. 1 Fuji apple, 1 banana (both sliced)
- Morning snack: 1 Coconut Creme Larabar (raw/vegan/organic)
- Lunch: Approx. 2 carrots, 1 bell pepper, 2 stalks celery (all sliced) with maybe a teaspoon of Bragg’s Amino Acids
- Afternoon snack: 1 navel orange, sliced
- Throughout day: Approx. 2 handfuls of raw sunflower nut meats
- Dinner: 1 can Amy’s Organic Lentil Vegetable soup (sooooo good!!)
- Beverages: Just water all day, except for about a quarter serving of Kombucha tea and about a half serving of Trader Joe’s Green Protein drink
Thanks again to everyone for your comments and support, and I’ll check back tomorrow with a hopefully less wordy post. Excelsior!