The completion of CLEAN!

Well, tomorrow is the last day of Clean 2011! We Clean participants couldn’t be more excited – the food we’ve been dreaming to eat is within our grasp – Lauren: brownies, Craig and Robert: Pizza! We are finishing our highly stringent diet with a Zion Lutheran Church potluck at noon tomorrow. What better way to end a diet, than a Lutheran potluck?!?

Here is a recap of the four week diet extravaganza:

Clean Week 1:
Three solid meals a day from the include list (found on previous blog). With no regular breakfast food on the include list, Craig and I settled on fruit smoothies for breakfast and solid lunches and dinners.

Week 1 Sample Meals:
Breakfast: Smoothie – frozen pineapples/peaches/mangoes, almond milk, agave nectar and ice

Lunch: grilled chicken, peas or broccoli or green beans or salad

Snacks: almonds, cashews, pecans, fruit, veggies

Dinner: chicken or deer meat, beans, brown rice, veggies

And so it went for 5 days. The cravings – unbelievable! The headaches from no caffeine – terrible. The ache in our bellies when we went to bed at night – awful. We drank a lot of water to fill our empty bellies. Also we really couldn’t exercise due to the shear lack of calories to sustain a run around the block. Not the greatest week of our lives.

Weeks 2,3, and 4: Smoothies for breakfast, same lunches as week one, and liquid dinners – dinner was definitely the most challenging part. Who wants a cold smoothie in the dead of winter for dinner?

So Craig and I got creative – broccoli soup with onions and garlic, split pea soup with asparagus and chicken stock, butternut squash soup with black pepper. Meager, but surprisingly full of flavor and filling. Its amazing that when your diet excludes EVERYTHING you used to eat, how creative you can get. And full. And not to mention Craig began exercising (running up to 20 miles a week) weeks 2-4 and I ran as well weeks 3 and 4 (10 miles per week) and we had energy to spare, even though we hardly ate. Crazy!

Last day of the diet results:
Lauren: 6 pound loss
Craig:11 pound loss
Robert: 16 pound loss!!!

Detoxifying has definitely been an eye-opening experience. I can’t speak for Craig or Robert, but some of the lessons learned have been very beneficial for my overall health going forward – For one, you learn how to read your hunger (emotional hunger vs. true hunger) and learn how to get a grip on cravings. My biggest struggle was craving sugar, but its amazing how far a lime spritzer, a cup of flavored herbal tea, and a handful of fruit can combat a sugar craving. Sure sounds boring and nowhere as wonderful as real dessert, but when you can’t have real dessert, you realize you can live without it, and you wont die from lack of sugar. Its true. I’m proof.

Two, my intestines have never felt better! I’ve never struggled with pain in the gut like some of the faithful Shelblog readers, but even what little cramping, “stuffed” feeling or queasiness from some foods I used to get has completely vanished. Sure we ate bland food in moderate quantities, but maybe there is some truth to Dr. Jungers belief that most people have at least one low level allergy to either diary, gluten, sugar, etc. Who knows?!

Three, Craig and I both have WAY MORE energy at the end of the day since we began this diet – instead of being exhausted at 8:30pm we are still wide awake at 10pm. This is huge! This is one of the claims made by Dr. Junger, which I scoffed, but there honestly has been a ridiculous difference in how I feel throughout the day – especially with no caffeine or heavy foods in my gut. That’s right – we are more alert, productive, and can stay up later with a complete lack of caffeine in our diet as before when at least one caffeinated beverage was consumed daily. Very interesting…….

Also, we get full on much less food and fewer calories – Example: for dinner on Thursday night, I had 1 cup of broccoli, asparagus, split pea soup and two carrots with homemade hummus (2 tbs) and I felt stuffed!! Ridiculous! And anyone that has watched me eat, knows I can put away a lot more food than that in one seating. Not anymore I guess.

The absolute best part of the diet for me was the freedom from stressing about calories and the overeating guilt for a whole month! I haven’t felt this way since 5th grade!! But honestly, who would feel bad about eating broccoli, chicken, almonds, or rice milk? The lack of guilt alone is almost enough to stay on this diet forever. Almost, not quite.

Biggest downsides to Clean:

1. Expensive -who usually keeps their fridge stocked with almond milk, lamb, loads of fresh produce and veggies, expensive spices and supplements?
2. A lot of time commitment – have to cook everyday for the next days lunch, gotta go to the grocery store ALOT
3. Not easy if your schedule gets crazy – aka your horse patient decides he wants to try to die around dinnertime leaving you hungry and without rations till late in the evening while you are done saving lives (protein bars, donuts, pizza quick fixes – off limits!)
4. Lets face it, you feel hunger pains a lot. Especially late morning when your fruit smoothie is no longer doing its job of satiety. Thank goodness for nuts as snacks. LIFESAVER!
5. Its takes the joy out of food. Its much more of a eat to live diet, not a eat to enjoy yummy food diet.

****And for the Liske ladies – the whole hot, hungry, tired thing making us cranky? Much to my delight hunger doesn’t make me nearly as cranky as it used to. Probably because I’ve had to learn how to function without having a full belly all of the time – so much for using hunger as an excuse to yell at anyone who bugs me when my body is low on calories. Unfortunately, the same is not true for being hot or tired – still a crankfest!****


Things I missed:
Black tea or coffee with cream and sugar, SUGAR!, my usual Friday morning bagel, Starbucks caramel latte, cheese, yogurt!

Things Craig missed: MILK!, cheese, bread, pizza, beef

Things Robert missed: Pizza.

Would I do the diet again? Definitely! I’ve never lost 6 pounds in a month ever – except for maybe when I had the chicken pox as 15. And this diet didn’t even require exercise! Its a great way to get your cravings under control, get your body clean feeling, and lose a little weight before a big event the healthy way.

Well, here’s to eating something delicious. Stay tuned for the Clean participants adjustment back to real life and real eating again.

Lets hope it doesn’t come with with a 6 pound weight gain.

January – Respite

I have come to love January. After all the activity of Christmas, January comes quietly. It begins with the New Year, a clean slate. It makes no demands on your time or attention. It is a time to relax, to reassess, to reorganize. Ahhh…..

January has been very snowy. This week we had twelve inches of wet snow. It outlined every branch of every tree and bush. The branches of the pine and holly trees bent to the ground under the weight of the snow. The snow is white. The sky is white. It is hard to tell where the sky ends and the snow begins. It is so beautiful!

When you go for walks, you can’t hurry through snow. Every step takes work causing you slow down and really appreciate the world around you. So in the spirit of January:



CLEAN

I read prior to getting married, that most women gain around 10 pounds in their first year of marriage alone. Having maintained a steady weight for 5+ years, I scoffed and was pretty certain that wouldn’t be me.

Fast Forward 6 months: I’ve gained 12 pounds since May 22, 2010. Oops.

At work, my coworker Robert and I spent the majority of November and December devouring as much candy as we could stuff in our greedy little mouths, laughing at our lack of will power and inability to make it to the gym – too cold, too early, too much work! Prior to Christmas I was fitting into only one of my eight pairs of jeans, and now my previously comfortable fitting work khakis had become more than just a tad bit snug. Enough is enough!

One day in late December, Robert mentioned to me that he found an interesting article on a revolutionary “diet” in his Outside magazine. After pouring over the details in the magazine and online, we put down our FunDips and Peeps and decided enough was enough, time to get serious! Neither of us could afford to buy bigger clothing, so the only logical thing to do is stop stuffing ourselves daily, and lose weight! Of course no body wants to start a diet over the holidays, so we vowed to begin this new diet in the new year, January 4th. This is the story of our travels down detox lane…………………

CLEAN: Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate
by Alejandro Junger, MD Cardiologist

CLEAN

Clean in actually credited as a detoxification diet that is to last for 26 days – by eliminating certain food groups, the body will return to its most natural form and detoxify. The first 5 days are eating three solid meals a day from the “include” list and making sure to not eat anything from the “exclude” list. And now the list:

EXLUDE:
Dairy, eggs, milk, cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, ice cream, wheat, corn, barley, oats, pork, beef, cold cuts, hot dogs, soybean products, peanuts, peanut butter, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, mayonnaise, salad dressing, refined sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, ketchup, etc.

And that was an abbreviated version.

INCLUDE:
Whole fruits, almond or rice milk, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, cold water fish, wild game, chicken, turkey, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, any fresh vegetables, cold-pressed olive oil, coconut, flax, sunflowers, filtered water, green tea, coconut water, stevia, agave nectar, vinegar, all spices, sea salt, etc.

Sounds delicious!!

Days 6th-26th: Liquid meals for breakfast and dinner, and a solid meal at lunch. Healthy snacks allowed, 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast, and colonics if so desired to speed up the cleanse – we did not so desire this last one :)

So beginning January 4th Robert, Craig (the ever supportive husband), and I embarked on a 28 day journey to healthier bodies and minds.

Good Bye Scottsdale, Hello New Year

Our last night in Scottsdale arrived before we knew it. For our final evening together we had a very special dinner at BLT restaurant. The food was delicious and we discussed our hopes and dreams for 2011. (You’ll have to watch right here to see what those might have been!) The days had flown by and the next day we were all on our way back home – to four different states – grateful for our time together. We return to our everyday lives looking forward to a new year and all that it will bring.

Conquering Camelback Mountain

New Years Day 1/1/11: We took on the challenge to climb the most imposing mountain in Phoenix Arizona – CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN! At 10:30am, Kerrin, Craig, and Lauren began an epic 2011 journey up the west side of Camelback – a 1.3 mile climb over boulders, steep inclines, and sheer drop offs. As evident by pictures below, the climb was challenging, but rewarding :) After an hours long climb, we stood on the precipice and took in the glorious view – snow capped mountains to the North and East, farm land to the West, and the sprawling city of Phoenix all around us. The climb down off the mountainside was a bit more nerve racking, with Lauren and Craig using numerous points of contact (hands, feet, butt cheeks, elbows) as they descended the mountain, and Kerrin catching their anxiety on film. The descent took just over an hour, and we found ourselves back at the base of the mountain, tired and hungry, but proud of our accomplishment. What a way to begin the New Year!!

New Years Eve Part II

We returned from the hike to relax before dinner. Some hopped in our heated pool. Several chess matches were played and some TV was watched until we headed to Brian King’s house for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and many laughs. Then we were back to the resort for dinner at Rita’s buffet. They had a fabulous selection with the lamb chops and chocolate fountain being a couple of the table’s favorites. We went back to the room by 11 but only Kyle and Kerrin had the stamina to make it to the new year.

We all send our greetings for a Happy New Year!