Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 7 - FAQ

It’s been a week of juicing. So, how is it going? Depends on the day!

The most common questions I get asked are:

Aren’t you hungry? I’d be hungry, I couldn’t do it! Well, duuuuh! I’m not eating… I’m only drinking. So yes, I am hungry! Well, sometimes more than others. I’ve gotten used to that hungry feeling. It’s opened my eyes a little bit: It’s okay to be hungry; I don’t have to eat every 5 minutes. It’s not easy to go from someone who feeds her feelings to someone who doesn’t eat. At. All.

Is it unbearable? No. It’s teaching me that I am stronger than I think I am. Being at home for long periods of time (snow days) is harder.

Why are you doing this? Are you losing a lot of weight? Well, I have a few reasons. I’m trying to reboot and cleanse my body of any toxins and crap I’ve been ingesting the last month or two. I also figured I can reboot my brain from what it thinks it wants and the foods I’m addicted to.  I thought this would be a nice transition to going fully plant-based. And no, I’m not doing this to lose weight, while people do use a reboot like this to jumpstart a weight loss it’s not my goal. If you do it for 30 days or more you will likely lose enough weight that it may not come back when you start eating normal again. I am, however, realistic. I know that there is a good chance I will gain everything I lose when I eat normal again. To date, I’ve lost about 10 pounds in the last 7 days.

I mentioned in previous posts about the documentary Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead and I heard a lot in there that I liked. If you read the John Cross’ blog (the creator of the documentary) on why you should reboot, he says,

The goal is to help you break a cycle of an unhealthy lifestyle and simply enhance the quality of your diet by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.

He also says you’ll lose weight, flatten your belly, your skin glows, you think clearer, you start to naturally release disease, and you become all around happier. (check out this link for more bonuses with explainations from another source.)

My take on the above: Yes, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, about a pound a day. Other than the occasional zit (at my age??) I have good skin. I have ADHD, so I can’t imagine ever thinking clearly. I have no diseases. I’m always happy… but I will say that every morning I go to work with a juice I am more chipper than usual. I’m bubbly, bouncy; I just want to bounce off the walls! It’s great. Unless you’re around me and not a morning person… then you just think I’m too much!

How long are you doing this for, you crazy person?! 10 Days! Before I started, I thought to myself I will do 10, but I’d like to do 21 days if I can, but I’ve decided 10 days is just fine. After 10 days (Wednesday) I will add some vegetables into my diet, possibly in the form of a salad, for two or three days at dinner time. My reasoning to this is two fold: 1) Whenever you do a cleanse, you have to slowly reintroduce food back into your diet in order to not get sick, 2) I won’t have time during the week to plan meals and I need to make sure I have time to plan in order to be successful.

If you’re planning a cleanse/detox/reboot, you have to make sure you do your research and think realistically about what you can and will do. You can do a reboot and still eat some fruits and vegetables. I know myself, I don’t like to do things half way and when I put something in my mind, I do it.  That being said, while making my juices last night I cut a small, nickel sized piece of cucumber and slowly savored it. I didn’t feel guilty about it either.

I don’t mind when people have questions, my juices have started a lot of conversations at work, which is fun. My students’ most common question: “Are you drinking peanut butter?” No guys… its just carrots! Orange and green makes peanut buttery colors!

I had some obstacles this week. I went to a girls night at my friend Lisas’ and there was a great spread of food including dips, cheese, man n cheese, cheese, cannoli’s and cheese. Did I mention there was cheese? I brought with me my juice and seltzer so I wouldn’t go hungry! I smelled the foods, which does make me sort of want it but I love food, so smelling was enough - but I didn’t eat anything! It felt like a triumph!

I have one little trick that has helped me throughout this last week: drinking seltzer water. I’ve become obsessed with the Polar Ruby Red Grapefruit seltzer, it is so refreshing and delicious! I’m not sure if it’s all in my head or not, but I think the bubbles fill me in some way. I do drink a lot of tap water, but I supplement with seltzer when I’m feeling hungry sooner than I’m ready for a “meal.”

Are you considering juicing? Have you been a juicer for years? What advice do you have? Leave a comment below!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Juicing Day 1

Other than a few people I see daily, I haven’t really told people that: 1. I’m juicing and for how long I’m juicing and 2. I’m going to be following a plant-based diet afterwards.  First of all, it’s not really anyone’s business (not that I have issue with sharing any part of my life with anyone), but more importantly, I don’t feel like hearing why THEY think I’m wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting advice, but I’m a grown woman, I’ve done research, and while I appreciate peoples care for me, I don’t appreciate people trying to talk me out of things.

Just last night, I told my uncle (well, it kinda came out) that I’d be juicing. My mother had told him about the vegan thing, and he proceeded to tell me why I’m wrong. Thankfully, I was able to speak with him about it and he didn’t push. That conversation didn’t go as well with my father.

Its tough telling people close to you about big changes you’re going to make in your life, but if you do research before hand and are well informed, it likely won’t phase you. You’ll know how to respond to every point they think they’re making. Also, you won’t be thrown any curve balls you hadn’t thought about if you do the research first – before you go around telling people about whatever changes you are planning to make. I feel good about the changes I’m making and I’m not worried about anybody’s’ opinion! Okay, enough about that!

I have a Jack La Lanne juicer, it works well and I love it!
Notice my Tang glass pitcher! 
Today was the first day I was full-time on my juice cleanse. I was a little hungry early in the day, but I was busy with students and tried to fill up on water so I was able to ignore it. Then I came home and I couldn’t look passed my hunger. I’ve spent a large portion of the afternoon/evening hungry, thinking about the apple I saw on the counter… maybe I can just smell that strawberry… I’ll just eat one grape… cucumbers are so full of water- I can eat that, right?  Everyone I talked with told me that the first three days are the worst, and now with Snowpocalypse 2015, I’ll be home and around food more. Although the nice thing is that I can hide out in my bedroom away from food. As difficult as this feels right now, I’m still planning on doing 10 days! A colleague told me he does a 30 days reboot every summer and mentioned Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, telling me I should watch it, but I told him I had! We talked about juicing recipes and juicing it was a good conversation.

Which brings me to a big point in juicing: Recipes. If you Google juicing, I bet half the sites, if not more, are websites with recipes. Does the recipe matter? No, well, not really. But people seem to make a big deal about it. The important thing is that you make a mix of veggies you like and you’re picking vegetables that will give you some benefit. Personally, I’m juicing for overall health, so for me, it doesn’t matter. If I had diabetes or high blood pressure, it might matter more. I’d want to make sure more of my juices had the elements that would help my ailment.  If you’re looking for overall health, just find what veggies you have in the fridge and go! I’ve been reading about which vegetables help what ailment, and a stand out piece of information: potatoes juiced with the skin are great for arthritis! Who would have thought?
Today's breakfast, snack and lunch,
juiced and ready for my belly!

Do you have a juice recipe you love? What do you normally put in your juicer? What about big changes in your life? Have you had pushback from friends or family? I’d love to hear how you dealt with it!

Until next time!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Before I begin...

Before I begin my, what some would say is a crazy new diet, I have to admit something... As the days roll on, I find myself more and more excited about the change I’m about to make. I have less desire for meat now. Sometimes the thought actually makes my stomach turn. It’s strange because I never would have even thought that I could feel that way about meat. I love meat. Always have. At least I did…

I talked with my neighbor/nutritionist (KL) because my mother was worried about what I’m about to do. I told her about my plan, what I want to do and what I’m looking to accomplish and she was very excited for me! She said I have a good plan but did talk about what foods I’ll have to look to adding to my diet to make sure I’m healthy. She gave me some pointers in which fruits and vegetables are good for which types of ailments, I’ll go more into that in my next blog post, and she lent me a book she had with recipes.

KL said that a juice detox is great for the body because it gives your body a chance to reboot, exactly what I was looking for.  When you’re just drinking your fruits and veggies, you’re not getting the fiber, which is more difficult for your body to digest. While fiber is normally a good thing because it keeps you full longer, when it comes to a detox or cleanse, you want to flush your system so you want juices are easy to digest, in other words – no fiber is best.

If you’re not juicing fulltime but just adding juice into your diet you can add some of the pulp (or “waste”) back into your juice so you’re getting fiber.  I’ve also seen a lot of recipes that use the pulp from juicing. This is not something I will be doing while on my detox, but I will likely continue juicing so I’ll try it at a later point (have you ever made something with the pulp?). KL talked about how the pulp is full of nutrients too and great to use in dishes.

She also mentioned if you want to start a cleanse or detox with fulltime juicing, you’ll want to ease into it just as you would ease out of it. I hadn’t thought of that before. You’ll want to have a little less protein daily until you start, and add juice more and more into your diet as well. Last night I made a pitcher of juice, which was not nearly enough. It was basically three servings. I shared so I only had one, but it made me see just how much I’ll have to be making daily. The juice was delicious: a lot of carrots, 2 apples, one clove of garlic, a piece of ginger (about 2 inches), a cucumber, a beet, a bunch of parsley, and a lot of celery… and I think that was it.

Do you have a juicer? Or do you go out and buy juice? What’s your favorite kind?

Until next time my friends!

Monday, January 19, 2015


Over the course of two days last week, I read Dan Harris' book, "10% Happier." It was a page turner and I recommend it.

Basically it is a memoir of his life starting when he got into TV, how he started doing drugs, and eventually stopped. He later found meditation (well, he covered meditation for ABC News) and talks about his journey to enlightenment. I loved the book for a few reasons: 1, I love Dan and enjoyed hearing about his journey. 2, I have wanted to get into meditation for years. I actually did for a while, but it didn't last. Dan is a skeptic and really talks about every detail you might want to know about when learning about something new. 

Reading this has renewed my desire to get into meditating because I know it will help my ADHD symptoms. I can’t express to you how difficult it is to be an adult with ADD/ADHD. I think I honestly and actually thought I would grow out of this, like it’s a phase or something. Anyway, I’ve done some research and want to do some more, but I will be starting small. I have a CD by Dr. Weil, which is a guided meditation. I will start with that, and when I feel ready, I’ll move on.

Do you meditate? What have you found that it does for you? Do you have any pointers? Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A New Journey

Just like lot of other people out there I have struggled with my weight for years; losing and gaining every year, even restricting so much that I was nearly skeletal version of myself.  It’s a struggle, but more so, for me, is that I’m not always sure what is the healthiest option or what my diet should be. (note: I use the word “diet” as a noun, I don’t like to use “diet” as a verb.) Over the last couple months I’ve been thinking I needed a change, I wasn’t sure what, but something. Besides the fact that the holidays were a mess for me this year and I ate awful, I felt like something was missing.

A couple years ago I watch a documentary called, “Forks over Knives.” It moved me. I was amazed by it, but I was young and healthy so I didn’t think I needed to worry about all “that stuff.” Cut to January 2015: My brother was over and wanted to watch it, so we did and I remembered how I felt when I first watched it, but this time I was moved and knew it was time to make a change. Within a week I watched “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead” one and two.

While I don’t have any health problems (other than being overweight) I do have some problems in my family history, the biggest of which is cholesterol. Everyone in my family has cholesterol and the last time I had my blood checked it was borderline.  My doctor told me to watch what I was eating and make sure I exercise so I was a good girl and ate right and exercised but I wasn’t feeling well and fell off the bandwagon.

I will be blogging about my journey to what my friends (and even I) would call the dark side: A meatless, dairy-free existence.

I’m not starting today, I’m still researching some things but will start in a week.  

My plan:
 I will be on a juice diet for at least a week, possibly longer. Research shows that at least a week does a good jump-start of your body. It takes a few days to get over the withdrawals (which I’m bound to have) and actually feel good again. I like the idea of the juice diet first because I think it will help me get in the mindset for the next phase.  I think the length will be determined by how I feel. Teaching is a physical job; yes, "all I do" is walk around the room or stand in front, but I have to be “on” all the time and it can be exhausting.

Once I start eating again, I will be eating a plant-based whole food diet. All micronutrients and all vegan. No processed foods, no alcohol. 

Important fact: I am human and I may make mistakes and that’s okay, but this is my goal diet. (This should be my daily mantra)

I am not making this change for the weight loss, which will be a side effect, but I’m doing this for the health benefits in the long run.  I dislike the idea of being on medications, and see what my father takes every day, and that life is not for me.

When I get a hold of my doctor, I would like to get my blood work done and I will post it on here as a form of staying accountable and hopefully in 4 to 6 months I will check it again and see where I am, continuing this process until my doctor and I are happy with all my numbers.

This will not be easy, I’ve given up meat before for Lent, but I always knew I’d go back to it, so maybe that’s what made it so difficult. Moreover, my family is full of happy carnivores and a lot of my favorite Armenian staples are meat stuffed! I need to think more about eating to live, and not living to eat. A plant-based diet can be delicious and luckily I love veggies!

My goal with this blog is to document what is working and not working for me. I hope to post at least once a week about the juices and foods that I’m eating, changes I’m seeing and feeling and even the challenges I’m facing. I’m the type of person who loves [constructive] feedback so please comment at any time.

Like I said, I haven’t started yet, I have to finish the “crap” [read: meat] I have in the house before I can start this journey. I also want to start on a weekend so I can be sure I’m near and can get to a restroom as juicing makes you have to GO GO GO!!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Yummy Turkey Enchilada Casserole

I recently found a delicious recipe for a Turkey Enchilada Casserole, so as a lover all food Mexican, of course I decided to test it out.

The first time I made it, although I didn't know the maker of the recipe, I doubled the recipe and followed it exactly as it was made, adding only some chopped bell pepper and sliced olives into the recipe.  I loved it so much, I've decided to make it once again! Only this time with some changes.

I've edited the recipe to include my latest edits, otherwise you can see the original recipe with the link above. While I loved the flavor, I didnt feel the need for the tortilla but wanted more veggies.

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

Cook time: ~35 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
Serving size: 1/12 of recipe


1 lb lean ground turkey breast (I bought a package which was 20oz)
1 onions, chopped (medium - use more or less to your taste)
couple cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so I used ~3 or 4)
2 bell peppers chopped (I used one yellow, one red)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 10 oz can Rotel® Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained (any brand works)
2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup yellow corn, if canned, drain & rinse (I used an 11 oz can of “Mexican style corn”)
6.5 oz can of slice black olives
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
½ tsp garlic powder
2 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray after lining it with aluminum foil (makes clean up easier).

In a large nonstick pan, cook the ground turkey, onions, garlic, chili powder and cumin over medium-high heat until onions are tender and turkey is no longer pink. Add peppers and cook a few minutes longer.

Stir in black beans and tomatoes and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside. I had to empty contents into a bowl to properly mix the ingredients. 

In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, corn, olives, cottage cheese and garlic powder.

Pour half the turkey mixture into the pan, follow with half the sour cream mixture and half the enchilada sauce then sprinkle with a little cheese. Repeat layers minus the cheese.

Bake covered for 30-35 minutes until heated through. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes to set.