give it to me raw

For the past few months I’ve been gravitating away from meat. (And sugar. And dairy, too, for that matter.) Perhaps it’s a result of my various experiments in food: juice cleanses, gluten-free, chia seeds – even a brief dabbling in colonic therapy. But that’s beside the point.  What matters is that I’m feeling more energetic – and stronger – than I have in a long time; so naturally, save a few extracurricular burgers, I’ve embraced it. A resource that’s recently become a bit of a touchstone for me is Mimi Kirk’s Live Raw, a review copy of which landed unexpectedly – and most fortuitously – on my desk last month. At 70, Kirk was voted PETA’s sexiest vegetarian over 50, which makes her living proof that eating well is good for you both inside and out. Her book is sprinkled with must-have advice on detoxifying (so gravity won’t get you down), as well as what you need to eat to properly feed your body every day – and why. Emphasizing the roles that attitude and mindset play in the way we all look and feel, Kirk stresses that even though the end result might be the same, the difference between “dieting” and “getting healthier” is tremendous. Live Raw includes tips for your looks, your attitude, and your health, but just as important, it includes delicious raw food recipes – a phrase I never thought I’d utter with a straight face – that anyone can integrate into a busy life; and even the most refined of palates can appreciate: stuffed portobello mushrooms with basil pesto, pomodoro lasagna, lemony cheesecake, and – my favorite – banana pudding. An engaging, one-of-a-kind guide, I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who’s flirting with raw food or simply interested in exploring veganism. Beyond its practical applications, Live Raw also makes for fascinating reading.

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live blog: more juice, please

There’s a threshold you cross on day three, as the cleanse part of the experience lives up to the promise inherent in its name. Yesterday I couldn’t imagine doing this for more than three days, yet today – despite the intestinal discomfort that comes from three days of spinach, celery, lemon, parsley, beet, carrot, chard, kale, green apple, ginger, and cucumber juices – I almost wish I had signed up for five or even seven days worth of juice because I feel pretty awesome, inhabiting a space somewhere between delirium and euphoria. What’s even stranger is that my food cravings have mostly fallen by the theoretical wayside. I’m like a bromeliad, content to subsist on what the breeze brings. I received an email this morning from Organic Avenue as I have every morning. It begins with an affirmation. For two days I’ve mocked it as hackneyed pap as I downed my shot of chlorophyll, but today I read it with clear eyes: I am Happy, I am Joyous, I am Free. If somebody crossed my field of vision with a basket of warm bread I’d probably tackle them for it, but other than that, yes, I am happy and just a little bit free of the obsessive behavior I continually find myself battling when it comes to food. That alone is cause for celebration.

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live blog: still nothing but juice

There’s a certain puritanical joy that comes from feeling hunger. We are so often full, or worse, overstuffed, that it takes more than a minute to wrap your mind around the conceit that perhaps the obverse of that state can be equally pleasurable. It also takes some serious convincing for the body to get on board with the reality of that bit of philosophical musing. Your calorie consumption is substantially reduced on a cleanse. So, too, is your fat and protein intake. For any reasonably active person that translates into an almost constant state of hunger. For example: last night I went to bed hungry; this morning I woke up hungry. It’s only work or being engaged in a hive of activity that distracts your mind from the constant “eat something” signal your body relays to your brain. (Writing this has suddenly turned into torture: I’m basically taking a time-out from my hunger distraction to remind myself that I’m really quite hungry.) Earlier today, when I was conveniently distracted and Zen-like about all this, I can truthfully say that I felt a distinct lightness of mind, as though my brain was hovering detached from my body, relishing the control. Coupled with a buoyant spring in my step, it felt like my whole being was enjoying this purge on some cellular level. Now that I’ve been reminded of my hunger, it’s all I can think about. I know that’s part of the process of this cleanse: listening to your body, recognizing your hunger, living with – not ignoring – it. But I don’t think I’ve evolved quite that far. Yet.

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live blog: nuthin’ but juice

Like the beginning of a new diet or exercise regimen – or good adventure story – the first day of my Organic Avenue LOVE Deep cleanse is imbued with hope. LOVE is an acronym for Live Organic Vegan Experience and you can just feel the healthy goodness to come, right? Over the next three days I’ll be consuming 113 ounces of fresh-pressed vegetable juice daily and nothing else, save water. If that sounds difficult, well, it is. I did a three-day Cooler Cleanse a few months back and it proved to be a challenging test of mind over matter. I never posted about it because frankly I wasn’t sure I’d actually see it through to completion and the shame of public failure was too much for a virgin cleanser to shoulder. However, this time I’ve opted to go public and live blog my way through the experience – even though LOVE Deep looks to be substantially more hardcore than my previous cleanse.  Oh well, here we go.  First up: a breakfast shot of alfalfa grass chlorophyll.

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