- Category: Wellness
- 01 Jun
- Written by Brandy Mertes
This has become my absolute favorite salad in the world! Well at least for now until I find my next absolute favorite... :-) It was born out of pure necessity, as most of my best recipes are. I had NOTHING in the fridge except for a couple hearts of romaine, a couple tomatoes, and a cucumber. That seemed like the most boring salad recipe in the world to me! But I was hungry and too lazy to go to the store so I had to figure out a way to make it work.
Then I remembered seeing a post for Sweet-Sour Cucumbers from the ever talented Eva of Uncooking 101, for which I had some variation of the ingredients and I decided to go for it and make a big salad out of it. The taste reminded me of bread and butter pickles, hence the name!
Bread and Butter Cucumber Salad – Simple Style
This is the most simple version and I love its simplicity! P.S. I don't measure anything at all, I just dump it in and hope it turns out. So these are approximates at best!
1/2 English Cucumber
2 Roma Tomatoes
1 Small Head Romaine Lettuce
4 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBS Maple Syrup
1 TSP Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Dash Real Salt
Mix Vinegar, Syrup, Salt, and Pepper in a larger bowl. Thinly slice Cucumber and Tomato. Toss in bowl with dressing and mix. Chop Lettuce and top with Cucumber mix.
It seems like there is too much liquid at first, but it makes a great dressing for the lettuce.
Slightly sweet and tangy. A very lovely simple salad indeed!
Bread and Butter Cucumber Salad – Gourmet Style
I loved the basics of this salad, and when I had more ingredients in the fridge I decided to take it up a notch! I've made this salad 7 days in a row for lunch or dinner. Yes I said 7. I'm obsessed, I know...! But what's so great about it is every day it's been slightly different. Here's a list of ingredients I've used to Gourmet it up a bit.
Spring Greens or Baby Spinach or a combo of the both
Red Bell Pepper
Sunflower Seeds or Sesame Seeds
The beauty is in the ability to improvise with the basic ingredients. The Cucumber, Tomato, Dressing, and some version of greens has stayed constant, but I've added in some extras at time and always loved it!
Feel free to play around with this and make it your own. The foundation is awesome and can handle a bunch of different ingredients to change it up. I wasn't kidding when I said I've eaten this 7 days in a row and every day was a little different! The most recent picture to the right was spinach, spring greens, alfalfa sprouts, roma tomato, and red bell pepper. Add the cucumbers and dressing and you're in heaven!
- Category: Wellness
- 27 May
- Written by Brandy Mertes
As you may already know, I decided to stop this Juice Feast a day early. Reason being I just didn't feel good this time around. I can't pinpoint what was so different, but it wasn't good. I had no energy or motivation for the entire 6 days, so pushing through Day 7 seemed like a waste. It's just so strange that during Round 1 I went for an extra day and was actually sad to stop, where as this time I just couldn't wait for it to be over.
I hope this doesn't discourage anybody from trying out a Juice Feast. It really is a great thing for your body, it gives it time to reset and repair without all the work of having to digest food. And I plan on doing more in the future. I'm thinking I might do a week once every 3 or 4 months. This time though I had to listen to my body. It just wasn't happy and thriving. And we all want to be happy and thriving, right?!
**Warning** I am totally going in the direction of TMI here, so if you're still afraid of natural bodily functions, please skip the next two paragraphs!
Besides the lack of energy, one other major thing that was bothering me was the intestinal portion of my digestive track. Sorry, I'm going to go there...!!! I just couldn't poop! Days 1 and 2 I had healthy productive bowel movements, but then it stopped. Days 3-6 I felt like I had to go, but only ended up with a few tiny rabbit turds. I had a similar issue during Round 1 as well. This just didn't seem right to me.
Have you ever researched colonics? Conventional wisdom is that we have up to 10lbs of stored fecal matter in our intestines. If this is true shouldn't I still be pooping every day? Well the problem is that I wasn't taking in any fiber, so there was nothing to scrub my intestinal walls and push the shit out (haha! Sorry, I couldn't help myself!)!! And you want to know what? The big bowl of organic grapes I ate for breakfast... Yeah, well that was just enough fiber to get things moving again. Whew! Don't you feel so much better when you poop? I do!
Ok, I'll move on now. Sorry! Another weird thing I've been experiencing since my first round of Juice Feasting is slightly dry peeling skin on my chest, shoulders, and back. I got a little sunburn when I was at my mom's, which was strange because it was not the first time I'd been in the sun this year, and I was only out for about an hour total. Well the burning skin lasted for 4 days. And the redness didn't start to fade for 6 days. Then it started to peel. My sunburns never peel so this was super weird. Anyway, all the skin on my upper body seems to be peeling off, not in huge sheets or anything, but if I rub my skin, small balls of skin start to form and fall off. There are a couple of things this could possibility be contributed to. It's possible that as a form of detox my skin was shedding it's outer layer and generating a new healthy layer. Or it could be the lack of fat that I consumed over the 17 combined days of Juice Feasting. I'm not sure, but I'm interested to see if this changes when I start eating again.
One thing I'm definitely going to do is break my Feast in a more more healthy fashion that I started it! I really should have eaten nothing but raw fruits and veggies for a couple days leading up to the Juice Feast. You are supposed to do the same to break the Feast, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. As I said earlier, I started this morning with a pound of grapes. A couple hours later when I was hungry again I ate another pound of grapes. And now I'm eating a banana. Can I just tell you how awesome it feels to be eating again???
Here's a little bit of advice though, DO NOT drink 32oz of straight apple juice in the evening...! What in the world was I thinking? That was an absolutely awful idea! I was up all night. I finally got in bed at 1am, read for an hour, then just laid there with my mind racing until 3am. I finally fell asleep only to be woken up at 6am by a horrible thunder storm and Marilyn trying to crawl under my skin! Poor baby! I've been up ever since, but I'm actually feeling pretty good. Truthfully, I've already gotten more done today than I have in the last 6 days.
So what did I eat today? I ended up eating a ton of food. I started the 80/10/10 Diet and had to make sure I consumed enough calories. I had tons of grapes, bananas, a huge green smoothie, a super huge salad, and a raw hot fudge sundae. All of this was only 1600 calories. I was actually supposed to eat closer to 2000. I'm sure I'll be able to get there tomorrow, but I do realize that I need to focus on eating more for breakfast. Yep, that's right, I need to focus on eating MORE FOOD! Loving this diet already!
Tomorrow I will talk more about the 80/10/10 Diet, what it is, why I'm trying it, and how it's going so far. I will have two days to report on so at least I'll have a bit of an idea how my body is reacting to it. Please let me know if you have any questions about the diet and I will gladly try to answer them, or at least research them the best I can!
One other thing I want to cover is total costs of the Juice Feast. On Day 5 I ran out of apples and went to buy more. I bought 2 – 3lb bags because I was going through about a bag a day, for a total of $7.10. This puts my total spent to $147.52. Now I do have quite a bit of produce left over, and I ended the Feast a day early, so I have even more than I would have. Here's what's left over:
4 bunches of parsley $7.39
2 bunches of kale $5.00
1.5 bunches of cilantro $1.80
2 bags of romaine hearts $3.00
3.5 bags of celery $3.46
1 – 1lb clam shell of spring greens $4.99
½ – 1lb clam shell of spinach $2.50
1 bag of apples $3.55
1 bag of lemons $3.99
4 bags of limes $10.76
There is a total of $46.44 in left over produce in my fridge. That means the produce I actually used cost $101.08. Now if I lived closer to any of the stores with organic produce I would have bought less, but it's 20-30 minutes to all of these stores so I stock up when I'm there. I also should have been smarter about what I bought. I should have compared prices before hand and knew that a 1lb bag of limes at TJ's is $1.99 instead of buying 4 1lb bags at Woodman's for $3.39 each. Little things like that start to add up. All in all I spent about $100 for a 6 Day Juice Feast. The rest of the produce will be used up for more juice, green smoothies, and well just food!
The last thing I'll address is the issue of the juicer... Anyone who follows my FB page knows I'm am absolutely entirely fed up with my Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain. I'm sorry, but this thing just sucks! The only other juicer I've had was a Jack LaLanne, and my advice is that if you're planning on getting into the juicer world for less than $200, go with the LaLanne, with coupons you can get one as low as $60. Then you have an extra $140 to spend on organic produce to juice!
My number one issue with the Breville is that it peels most of my produce instead of shredding and juicing it like it's supposed to. Apples, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash are the main issues. But that's a big issue considering I juice apples and cucumbers every single day. This picture is of pulp from the Apple Cider I made on Day 6. It contains just apples. And as you can see a majority of the pulp is just apple peel. Now haven't we been told for years that a majority of the nutrients are in the skin? So would I want my juicer to extract the nutrients from the skin? Yeah, well that's exactly what I want, but not at all what I'm getting. Hence the frustration! I'm now on the lookout for a good deal on a used Norwalk.
Juicing is important to me, and the Norwalk is a beastly machine that should hopefully last forever. And I'd rather spend some money up front on something that's going to last me forever, rather than spend a couple hundred dollars every couple of years for something of only mediocre quality. I'm not here to slam people or companies, but I do like to be honest about my experience with products, and I can't say that this is one I'd recommend to buy.
Well I hope all of you in the US have an absolutely wonderful, long, and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!!! I intend to eat myself sick on watermelon over the next two days! And a big thank you goes out to all our men and women of service, past and present. Thank you.
- Category: Wellness
- 26 May
- Written by Brandy Mertes
Day 6!!! Thank god. Seriously this round is about to kill me! Still very low energy today, but at least my mood is way better. Ugh, I was getting to the point where I couldn't even stand myself. Have you ever felt like that? Such an annoying feeling! Kind of just makes the crabbiness worse right?!
So I've hit a plateau with the weight loss. I only lost two tenths of a pound in the last day, and only a half a pound the day before. It's possible I'm retaining water because of hormonal issues. I'm not sure though. I did drop 1% in body fat though. So far I'm down 6.6lbs and 2.2% in body fat in the last 6 days. And I'm dropping some inches!
Arms - .25”
Breast - .5” (definitely did not need to lose anything from there! Damn it!)
Waist - 1.5”
Belly - 1”
Hips - .5”
Butt - 1”
Thighs - .25” (this is the spot I really could stand to lose a few inches on, and of course I'm not!)
Knee - .5” (I have chub on the inner part of my leg around my knee, I can't stand it, so I wanted to see if it ever decreased!)
I don't want to make this all about weight and inches, because that's not the point (well not entirely...!), but I do understand that it's a great motivating factor for most people. Even for myself. My goal was to get down to 125 from this round. It doesn't look like it's going to happen at this rate. But it's honestly the only thing that's making me stick out these last two days at this point. Probably sad, but true. And I do completely understand that I will put some weight back on once I start eating again. Last time I gained 4 pounds in 10 days. I expect to put up to 5 pounds back on if I do nothing but stick to a healthy diet.
The loss of weight and inches has entirely come from subsisting off of juice and not consuming any food. There has not been one bite of food that has crossed my lips since last Saturday. I fully understand that I could have achieved much better results in terms of inches if I had been working out just a little bit. I'm sure even doing yoga every day would have helped. But my energy level and lack of motivation just wouldn't allow it. As soon as this is over I fully intend to get back to my daily yoga routine and add interval jogging and interval strength training.
So what about the juice, right?!! Today I made a simple juice of only 3 ingredients. It looked really pretty. And it didn't taste bad. But it's not necessarily something I'd make again. Actually I might make this again with a different green. It probably would have been better with kale. I can say that I love the creaminess that golden beets add to any juice. They really create a great texture with very little to no grittiness, unlike their red counterparts of which I am not a fan. Don't the red ones taste like dirt and give a sandy texture to your juice (yes I was all the dirt off them), or is it just me? Throwing in a few apples wouldn't have hurt either, but I was all out of apples and was trying to make do with what I had. This makes 48oz.
3 Golden Beets
1 Bunch Cilantro
My intention after this Juice Feast is to start eating close to the 80/10/10 Raw Vegan lifestyle, a way of life written about by Dr. Douglas Graham. This is a high carb, low fat raw vegan diet. Meaning you eat tons of sweet fruits, leafy greens, and very little overt fats. It literally means 80% carbs, 10% protein, and 10% fat (% of daily calories). I know from trial and error that eating a low fat diet is what I feel best on. I also know that eating tons of fruit makes me feel good. I've been eating nothing but fruit for breakfast since 2005 and I love it! I do occasionally eat a breakfast like steel cut oats or something like that, but it's very rare. Anyway, now I'll be eating tons of raw sweet fruit every day.
The 811rv lifestyle is more than just about eating, it's also about getting adequate exercise, daily sunshine and fresh air, working through emotional issues with things like journaling and meditation, proper food combining, drinking lots of water, and tons of sleep. All of this sounds like a pretty good plan to me! Plus I would love to have the energy level of the different people I see living this lifestyle. We shall see how it goes! I will make sure to document the experience. And I would love to hear from any of you currently doing 80/10/10, or anyone who has ever tried it.
I doubt I'll at 80/10/10 exactly, I'm thinking closer to 60/20/20 to start and see how I feel from there. I will also being doing some things that aren't exactly on Dr. Graham's plan, like juicing, eating some super foods, using some spices/seasoning on my food, eating some dehydrated food, etc. I believe in creating the plan that works best for you. You're body knows what it needs better than any plan someone else has come up with that has worked for them...
And getting back to the juice once again...! For dinner I made a familiar comfort food. Well it's not really a food, but a drink I guess. Raw Apple Cider. It was chilly and rainy in the burbs of Chicago tonight so I needed something that gave me a warm and comfy feeling. I decided Apple Cider was just the thing! It tasted great. The sweetness was a little startling after tons of green juice with a hint of bitterness. But I needed it to get me through the end of this juice feast. This makes 32oz.
14 Red Apples
1.5 Inch of Ginger Root
Speaking of the end, I think I've decided to stop the juice feast as of tomorrow. This is not a definite yet, and will depend on how I feel tomorrow. But as of right now as this night comes to an end I'm just not feeling any better and I don't really see a point of continuing. I've seriously gotten absolutely nothing done during these last 6 days. And I have a ton I need to do over this weekend. So with no energy it's going to be really hard. Or more than likely, it's just not going to get done if I continue with the Juice Feast.
Yoga: 0 minutes
Mediation: 0 minutes
Planking: 2:15 minutes
Total Juice: 80oz
Stiffness: Low to Medium
Skin Clarity: High
Sinuses: Slightly Stuffy
Sorry for the super long post. Guess I just had a lot to talk about today! And I have a feeling I'm going to be chowing down an ton of fruit tomorrow...!