You are what you eat

To start the new year off with a bang (and to undo some of the damage we inflicted upon ourselves over the holidays) Heath and I vowed to go on a two week binge of micronutrients. No savory poultry, no delectable cheese, no fluffy breads or creamy desserts or salty snacks. Just a lot of this…

this…

this…

and this.

Think blueberries for breakfast, salads for lunch and veggie stews for dinner. Snacks of Hershey’s kisses have been traded for fistfuls of Craisins, and desserts of red wine are being subbed out for freshly squeezed OJ. The dining  table is topped with celery and salsa instead of chips and dip, and a shiny, substantial juicer is taking up valuable real estate on the kitchen counter. Overhaul indeed.

The fruit/veggie cleanse/fast was inspired by some friends who endured a juice fast (and swear by its powers) and further spurred on by agenda-pushing documentaries like Food Inc., Supersize Me and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. We realized over the last few months we ate far too many processed Cheez-Its and far too few fresh spinach salads. We wanted to do something that would make us more conscious of what we put into our bodies and perhaps influence our future eating habits. Boy has it.

It’s day 10 of vegging out and here’s what we’ve discovered:

It’s nearly impossible to dine out. I’ve heard vegans make this complaint before, but didn’t understand just how saturated modern menus are with the things we have declared temporarily forbidden. You can be hard pressed to find a salad without cheese and croutons or a soup made without chicken broth. The diet has certainly pushed kitchen creativity to the limit.
Fresh foods–turns out they really do keep you fuller longer.  On lazy days, or days where I thought I earned a treat, I’d be known to grab a breakfast taco or two to start the morning. About 4,000 calories and 2 hours later I’d be hungry again…and usually for something equally greasy and icky. But on the fruit/veggie diet I can stay full for hours on a freshly blended smoothie or guac salad. It really gets you thinking about how your body digests food.
I really miss cheese. I miss bread and eggs and fish too, but cheese…that’s the kicker. I know cheese rounds out the the top of the list of foods that are pretty horribly unhealthy, but I can’t help but fantasize about chomping down on a slice of cheesy goodness. I have even dreamed of swimming through pools of queso. It’s been the hardest habit to kick, hands down.

With 4 days of apple juice drinking, pistachio snacking and salad munching left, I feel pretty good about the whole experience (and by “pretty good” I mean, confident I can survive the remaining days without cheese). I know we are no heroes; we didn’t endure a month of vegan-ing, or a 60-day juice fast or 2 week Master Cleanse, but we did find a way to incorporate more of the good stuff into our routine and think differently about how the food we eat affects our mood, mind and waist line. I think it’s the beginning of a major diet overhaul and hopefully a longer life.