Friday, March 22, 2013

One Giant Step for Man, One Giant Smack to the Ovaries for Woman

Breaking News: North Dakota just passed a law 57 to 35 to grant unborn fetuses personhood rights.

Take a minute. Chew that up. Ponder that. Because I've pondered it and I'm unbelievably pissed.

Be on whatever side of the "life starts at conception" debate that you want. This measure is insane. Not only does it make abortions illegal in all circumstances including rape, incest, and endangerment of the mother's life, but it also makes illegal certain forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. Even Mississippi voted this down. Mississippi, one of the most socially conservative states in the nation, once behind only Alabama, now behind Alabama and North Dakota. North Dakota, as its name suggests, is in the North. The North.

Chew on that one.

So, apparently the unborn fetus has more rights than the mother. I'm floored by just about everything about this, but what kills me on this is that even North Dakota's State Representative Kathy Hawken (R) realizes this bill is ridiculous. While she is pro-life, she's had friends and family raising children conceived from in vitro fertilization and, in her own words, "I believe if men had babies we would not be having this discussion."

Amen! All of a sudden all those bad feelings from the Republican presidential debates are resurfacing and I'm feeling squeamish in my skin while Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum discuss what is and is not okay for me to do when I go visit my doctor. Funny, I don't recall having a relationship with either of them, yet they seem to have a deep and misguided concern for my vagina and its inner tubing. Also, I really like a good date before I get fucked and then am told I have to have the baby.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Adventures in Bullshit

I just got back from a very disturbing visit with my doctor. As most of you know, I consider myself body positive and do not regard weight as a measurement of health. Regardless, it is a daily battle to remind myself of this and having a medical professional shove your weight in your face is disheartening to say the least.

The Exposition: As many of you also know, I used to weight 252 pounds. At that point in my life I was eating shitty foods and was, for all intents and purposes, sedentary. I was not healthy. At my lowest weight, I was 191 pounds at 19 years old. I was moving all the time - dancing 3+ hours a day at school, going to the gym 3-4 times per week, and then waiting tables - and eating primarily low fat foods. I think my body was just so shocked to be moving that the unhealthy pounds ran away. After I left Greenfield Community College, I wasn't dancing or waiting tables, so away went some built in movement. I gained a few pounds back. After I left Smith College, I didn't have a gym membership for a while. I would go out walking and tried my hand (or my legs) at running, but didn't particularly enjoy it, and I did some pilates. And then I got a desk job. I gained some more weight back.

At my last yearly physical, the doctor's scale read 206 pounds. I was completely devastated because I swore to myself that I wasn't going to break 200 again, pending some medical phenomenon or pregnancy.

The Heart of the Story: When I hopped on the doctor's scale today, it said I weight 211 pounds, which is contrary to my scale, which is contrary to my other scale -- so, really, Mr. Clinton, it depends on what your definition of is is -- but regardless, I had gained five pounds since my last visit. Admittedly, I vegged out this winter. I had a lot of job-related stress and access/proximity to sugary, fatty foods. This, however, is the most amount of weight I have gained in a while. Of course, when I stepped on the scale, I actually thought I had clocked in at 212 last physical, so I was sort of having a little inner joke about if I lose a pound a year how many years it will take me to get down to my BMI "ideal" weight. 86 years, if you're wondering.

Anyway, my doctor and I exchanged our pleasantries, had a healthy chortle over the physical examination charts China sent my way in regards to obtaining a visa, and then I mentioned that I don't sleep. So, we discussed possible causes, medications I'd tried, what happens when I don't sleep, all those things. And then I mentioned that I had hoped my detox/whole foods diet would help, which it didn't. So we talked about that a little, and then he asked me about what I do for exercise and what I do for work, to basically determine that I don't spend all day parked on my rear end.

The next bit is kind of blurry, but it went a little like, "I'd be more concerned about my weight if I didn't get regular exercise and eat natural foods," and it resulted in my doctor saying - not asking, saying - "I'm assuming you don't think 211 is a healthy weight for you," and then continuing on to say that exercise doesn't matter unless you're eating well and that it doesn't matter that I'm eating natural foods unless I cut out carbs.

The Problem Here: Too many to count. And I guess I can rationalize all the diet-fad no-carbohydrate be skinny or die jargon because we've been so trained to read everything as such but it's the feeling of total personal invalidation that I have such a hard time with. When I told my doctor I gave up eating foods with chemicals in it, I was expecting more of a reaction than, "It doesn't matter if you're still eating carbs." I wasn't expecting balloons or anything, but a little validation would have felt good. Because I spent the whole walk home - and currently am - wallowing in that feeling of invalidation, which logically and rationally I can get past, but lays emotionally in the clenched fists of my inner fat child who was bullied in the cafeteria and at the bus stop and on the bus and told that she wasn't pretty enough because of the rolls on her stomach and the junk in her trunk and the flab on her arms. And that feeling has moved itself into a woman who stares in the mirror and criticizes each roll of fat, every inch of loose skin, while simultaneously trying to debunk the myth that weight corresponds with health and that only thin can be pretty.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Adventures in Nature - Drowning in Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is hands down the best condiment in the world. In. The. World. Mayonnaise was, in fact, a bonding point for my fiancé and I, dipping our French Fries lovingly into the creamy, white condiment while gazing adoringly at each other. It should come as no surprise, then, that the long list of chemical ingredients lurking in my mayonnaise brought a tear to my eye. How dare there be modified cornstarch in my mayonnaise! My mayonnaise! Is there no justice in the world?

Wiping away a tear, I channeled my inner Scarlett O'Hara. With god as my witness, I shall never be without mayonnaise again! Crack! An egg into the bowl, splashed with just a hint of juice from a freshly squeezed lemon. A capful of rice vinegar cascaded into the bowl. A pinch of salt. A pinch of ground mustard. Olive oil sticks to the side of the tupperware. Bent over the sink, I whisk and whisk and whisk until I have nothing left to whisk for. Mayonnaise, mayonnaise, mayonnaise.

White, creamy oil
Fattening spread good with most
Anything; mayo.

Pleased as Punch, So To Speak or How to Put Kale in Foods and Not Have It Taste Like Kale

It's been a week and one day since I started my natural foods lifestyle change, and I'm really pleased with how things are going. I feel really good (often really superior, so say what you will about that) about the food-related choices I'm making, and I'm really happy about some subtle progress.

Bananas: Making me laugh for
inappropriate reasons since 1991. 
Cravings. I used to come home from school and crave a sugary, sweet snack - normally graham crackers with fluff and Nutella or cereal - but today I didn't. And today was a today that I should have. I had lunch at 10:00 a.m., left school at 2:30. Got to my doctor's office to pick up some paperwork about 3:00. That process took almost an hour. Went to Baystate to do a chest X-Ray and have, honest to goddess, six viles of blood drawn, and didn't get home until almost five. Know what I wanted more than anything? A banana and peanut butter. I love that that's what I'm craving.

Cooking. I'm doing it more. And not just popping some chicken patties in the oven and calling it dinner cooking - cooking over a stove. To be fair, I'm still a bit of a lazy chef, and, of course, have invented a new fallback: egg sandwiches. I don't know what the fuck my beef with eggs was prior to this, but I have been sorely mistaken for the majority of my life. I mean, I liked scrambled eggs as well as the next person, but other than that, I was ran the spectrum from eh to blech regarding eggs. Now, I love them. I cook them with kale - and you can't even taste the kale! - put some Cabot Horseradish Cheddar on them (or not, they're fine without, too), put some lettuce and some homemade mayonnaise on some delicious, wholesome bread, and voila! I would eat them in a box. I would eat them with a fox.

Which brings me to my next new love: soysage. That's soy sausage, for those of you not savvy enough to connect those dots. I'm overly enthusiastic about this meat substitute from Smart Deli, whose only wonky ingredient is cellulose gum. (The FDA says that cellulose gum in small quantities has no effect on humans, but I'm dubious about the FDA claims, and am more inclined to believe the numerous internet articles that say it "acts as a laxative.") My wonderful fiancé tried a bite and said, "Huh. That's interesting." But I think it's great! GREAT, I tell you! The only bummer is that, in a regular grocery store, it costs an arm and a leg. Or a meatless arm and a leg. I bought it for $1.00 at The Barn. Who's got two thumbs and doesn't mind checking the expiration dates on food and spends literally one third of the amount she would spend in a normal grocery store? This kid.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Adventures in Nature - Incidental Budget Boosters

This is the most common protest I hear about eating natural/whole food ingredients only: it costs too much. It can, if you've gone to Whole Foods and stuffed your canvas bags hopefully full of things from the bulk foods section otherwise you've spent your Whole Paycheck all for the recompense of liberal self-congratulation. But it doesn't have to. Here are some things and places I've found to help adjust the way you shop in the same place you were shopping before.

Farmers Markets - It's not the season, I know, but I have to put it out there. Most towns, in particularly the liberal enclave that is Western Massachusetts, have farmers markets from May through October at least a couple of days per week. Not everything is always cheaper and sometimes the venders only accept cash, but oftentimes I've found that things are cheaper or very slightly more expensive and taste better because they haven't been packed with preservatives and made a journey worthy of Greek mythology to make it to your plate. Also, they've generally been made with care. You can also find local meats, dairy, and herbs at farmers markets.

Prego 100% Natural - Wednesday night I wanted spaghetti. I dragged out my whole wheat pasta, my soysage (soy sausage), and then thought, "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I won't want the spaghetti sauce we have in the cabinet." I was joyously mistaken. Apparently my last shopping trip I had unintentionally picked up two jars of Prego 100% Natural spaghetti sauce, which means they must have been on sale (2/$5 or 2/$4...I won't pay more than that for spaghetti sauce). I bought flavors, Mushroom and Basil and Garlic, so they have about 10 ingredients, but nothing that makes my eyebrows raise and my stomach churn.
Bought at Stop and Shop - $2.50

Motts Healthy Harvest - I have a puerile fascination with apple sauce. I love it. And when I don't feel like making it myself, which is often, Motts Healthy Harvest is a good thing to have on hand. It's tart, fresh, and holds a comfort food fascination for me. It comes in myriad flavors and is flavored with vegetable juice instead of color dyes. I particularly like the Granny Smith apple flavor. It's magically delicious.
Bought at Stop and Shop - $2.00

Shur Fine Greek Yogurt - I do the majority of my shopping at an occasionally skeevy discount grocery place in Greenfield called The Barn. They sell cases of 12 yogurts, which I have for lunch during the week, for $5.00 and they're almost guaranteed to have unusual brands and flavors, like a personal favorite find: Mediterée. It's like dessert yogurt. They also have So Delicious and other non-dairy brands. But anyway, I had bought this case of Shur Fine pineapple-flavored Greek yogurt, and it was another case of, "Probably not going to want it after I look at the ingredients" but, low and behold, all natural! Hooray!
                                                                                    Bought at The Barn - $5.00/12

Izze Natural Soda - Jake actually found these when he went to The Barn and was expecting, I guess, something different when he tried them. Fair warning: this is a spritzer not a soda as we know soda to taste. He spent $1.99 for a case of four, which isn't the best deal in the world, until you consider that you probably would pay that much for one bottle in most any store. Right now we've got Pomegranate and Grapefruit flavors in our fridge-porch. My favorite fact about Izze Natural Soda is that the coloring comes from beets.
Bought at The Barn - $1.99/4

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Stats

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Weight: 200 lbs.
Consecutive Hours of Sleep: 5
Mood: Happy
Energy Level: 7 (pretty darn good)

I think the food helps.

Also sleeping is good.

Advenutres in Nature - 49 Hours In, and Then Some

The Stats

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Weight: 200 lbs.
Consecutive Hours of Sleep: 2
Mood: Irritated, lethargic
Energy Level: 2 (very low)

First a correction: I did not throw away ...And the Kitchen Sink. I actually threw away So Bright You Have to Wear Shades. Evidently I did not have the appropriate shades.

Second a confession: I stopped my detox 48 (technically 49) hours into the 72 hour process. Yesterday I spent all day with a headache that just wouldn't quit. I chalked it up to a caffeine withdrawal or lack of sleep, but the truth is, after I had dinner last night I felt a lot better. Maybe the detox was working and those toxins were emitting themselves from my system in the form of headache and lethargy. I guess we'll never know.

So, I stopped my detox and I didn't feel too badly about it because I'm beginning to think that I overdid it on the amount of fruits and veggies. I was actually beginning to be a little sickened by what I was eating. Gnawing on the carrots was growing tiresome and was making me a bit queasy. Doing the dishes last night and scrubbing the tupperware that had held the juices I got a big gaggy. It turns out people are right about balance: it's a good thing.

Last night my wonderful fiance made me scrabbled eggs with cheddar cheese and whole wheat toast with Land O' Lakes butter. I searched up and down the aisles for whole wheat toast that wasn't overloaded with chemicals, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup, and you know what I found out? I could go to the Co-Op and pay an arm and a leg for a loaf of bread and feel really good about where my arm and leg was going OR I could by the Stop and Shop bakery bread. They make it fresh daily in house, so there are very few preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup. They also do this with their bagels, muffins, pastries, etc.

After I digested a bit - it was a surprisingly difficult shift after only two days of eating raw foods to have "prepared" foods (that weren't even really that prepared) - I made homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. I'm not fooling anyone by saying I'm giving up sugar. However, I am doing my upmost best to give up refined sugar and processed sweets. But, if I make it myself, at least I know what goes into it. The cookies were really simple.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat or unbleached white flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 bar natural dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.
Take a rolling pin. Slam it on your chocolate bar. Repeatedly. Pretend it's someone you don't like. Feel better about life.
Mix together softened butter, sugar, and egg. Slowly stir in dry ingredients. Add chunked chocolate.
Drop cookies on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork so bottoms don't burn. (No one likes a burned bottom!)
Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

True story: these cookies are dense. I mean, chewing slowly through molasses in a field of egg custard dense. Have a beverage with them.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adventures in Nature - 29 Hours In

The Stats

Date: Monday, March 11, 2013
Weight: 201 lbs.
Consecutive Hours of Sleep: 3.25
Mood: Calm, bored
Energy Level: 3 (low, but to be fair, haven't done much today)

Three days of detox is harder than I thought. Chewing a carrot pretending it's something other than a carrot takes a bit of inspiration. What's weird, though, is that I'm not craving what I thought I'd be craving. I could give a crap about chips, cookies, cakes, pies, and the toaster strudels in my freezer: I want nuts, peanut butter, eggs, toast with butter, and seafood.

I was watching Bizarre Foods this afternoon and got so food-horny watching Andrew Zimmern eat pan-fried cod fresh from the arctic ocean that I "cheated" and ate a handful of cashews. It's still a one-ingredient food, right? I have no self-control.

The thing is this: I'm not hungry, per se. I want food that's different than what I'm having, but I'm craving whole foods that are providing things I'm not currently getting, namely fat and grains. I'm holding out for Wednesday afternoon when I will make scrambled eggs with salt and pepper and whole grain toast with Land O' Lakes butter. I also bought some whole food granola today (no chemicals, yay!) and I'm looking forward to a breakfast/second breakfast (a.k.a. 10:00 a.m. lunch) of that with some Greek yogurt on Thursday. Damn, I'm making myself pseudo-hungry.

Tonight for dinner I forced down the beet-based juice. It was a challenge, a rooty, purple challenge. Turns out I only like pickled beets, and the two beets slices that escaped the juicing process sitting in wait at the bottom of my glass suffered a garbage can fate.

After the beet juice, I treated myself to a banana.

Also today, I've had the Banana-Kale-Apple, which was delicious and smooth, and the a cup of the Orange Yum-Yum. I had to toss the "Gobb Salad" (pun intended) and I also drained the ...And the Kitchen Sink because, on second taste, it was like biting into a plain lemon and not letting go.

The other downer of detoxing - besides craving the fatty whole foods - is that I have to pee, like, every 30 minutes. Now, those of you who know me are probably giggling and saying ridiculous things like, "Sounds about right" and "Seems normal for you." It isn't. This is ridiculous, even by my standards, and I literally pee on average fourteen times per day. I am holding my pee in to the point where I almost don't make it to the bathroom because I'm so damn tired of visiting the bathroom. TMI, sorry.

There are some upsides, though. In addition to peeing fourteen times a day, I also normally apply chapstick about the same amount. Burt's Bees, but still, I'll admit to being addicted to chapstick. Know how many times I've used chapstick today? Twice. And I haven't been thinking about it or feeling like I need to use it. I tried to go cold turkey from chapstick once back in the summer of 2010. I had withdrawals; my mouth felt dry, my lips a parched and hardened wasteland that my tongue, however wet, could not drench. Not so currently. My lips feel...normal. They don't feel juicy and satiated or anything, but they feel normal. Like I've put chapstick on just a few minutes ago, except I haven't. Also, I've had this patch of eczema on my right pointer finger for several weeks now that I've been drowning in lotions and ointments. It cleared up today. Coincidence? Not coincidence? Additionally, my breath smells pretty good all the time. Lots of banana overtones. Also, I think my skin feels softer, but maybe I'm making it up and having a sensory moment of petting myself.

Adventures in Nature - 19 Hours In

I don't have school today (tee hee!) so I took this opportunity to make more juice. My fridge is filled with tupperware overflowing with funnily colored liquids. I feel mostly good. I've been craving solid food, so I've been eating carrots kind of like a horse, apples, and bananas to satiate the need for chewing.

I have an undeniable craving for macaroni and cheese, which I think is my body's way of saying, "Where's the fat? Where's the bread? Where's the cream filling?" The veggies and fruits I'm using are not fatty by nature - although an avocado sounds damn good. My plan is to curb this craving on day three with eggs and nuts and maybe cheese. Cheese is okay as long as it's not loaded with chemicals.

More Juicer Recipes

Orange Yum-Yum

5 carrots
1 yellow pepper

A zesty, smooth juice that is 100% vegetable (if you are unaware that peppers are, botanically speaking, fruit).

Comfort Food

1 cucumber
1 handful mint
1/2 cantaloupe

Light, easy.

The Green Monster

1 cup spinach
6 stalks kale
1 cucumber
2 apples
1/2 lime

Surprisingly sweet.

...And the Kitchen Sink

5 stalks celery
6-7 stalks kale
2 cups spinach
1 handful parsley
1 handful mint
1/2 cantaloupe
1 banana
1 cucumber
1/2 lime
1 lemon

The recipe for when you want to juice the crap out of everything just so the kale leaves don't taunt you every time you open the fridge. Don't let the color deter you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Juicer Recipes

Put any of these in a juicer and enjoy!

Green Lemonade

4-5 stalks celery
1/2 head of romaine
1 cup spinach
5 stalks kale
2 apples
1 lemon

This is a great "beginner" juice. You absolutely taste the leafy greens, but it's light and refreshing. The leftover pulp from this makes "Gobb Salad," a bittersweet, dry snack.

Beeten Carrots

4 stalks celery
3 beets
6 large carrots

Not for beginners. Pretty heavy duty juice.

So Bright You Have to Wear Shades

3 oranges
1 apple
1 lime
5 stalks kale
1 handful parsley

There is no other way to describe this flavor except bright. It is a zesty, bright juice.


1 can pineapple
1 banana
5 stalks kale
1 cup spinach
1 handful parsley

Delightfully rich and sweet. You barely notice you're drinking kale.

Adventures in Nature - Day 1

The Stats

Date: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Weight: 201 lbs.
Consecutive Hours of Sleep: 5
Overall Mood: Anxious, Excited
Energy Level: 5 (middle)

The Foods

It's detox day 1. I am only eating raw foods. I have juiced a great deal of them and am also eating the juiced pulp. My diet today included kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, bananas, pineapples, carrots, beets, Granny Smith apples, and parsley.

I made a bunch of different juices, and have had the Green Lemonade.

Adventures in Nature - The Overview

The Facts (As I Understand Them)

I am 25 years old. I weigh 201 pounds. Today I am embarking on an holistic journey to redefine my relationship with food. Last night I watched a documentary called Hungry for Change, and it really got me thinking about, well, food. I like to tout myself as a well-balanced eater, but one look in the pantry is enough to prove that I'm not. Sure, I eat my fruits, some whole foods, nuts, and some vegetables, but the primary foods that I ingest are processed foods, filled with refined sugars and flours and loaded in with preservatives and color dyes and other things that can't be good for anyone.

The fact is that, up until a couple of hundred years ago humans were primarily a hunter/gatherer race, subsiding off food from the land. Any chance we had to enhance our diets with sugars or fats we embraced because we were programmed to view those foods as feast for a time of famine. We ate fats and sugars to store up for the winter. Only now the winter never comes. We ingest more calories than we ever have before, but the nutrition from most of those calories is empty.

We've got a weird phenomenon in western culture that wants to sell us beauty and youth and health from the outside in. We're bombarded with fad diet after fad diet, diet sodas, "nutrition" bars, and consequently, we've gotten very out of touch with food and what's in it. We tend to think that all calories are created equal: that 100 calories from a candy bar is the same as 100 calories from a salad. It isn't. The body needs calories to create energy, but there's only so much it can't do with the sugar spike it gets from the candy bar, whereas it can ration out the calories from the salad and use it productively.

The Diet Thing

Before you think I'm all about the weight loss, let me correct you. I am most certainly not all about the weight loss. I think I am about to be living proof that that size isn't an indicator of health. I consider myself body positive and this journey I am taking with food is in an effort to give my body what it needs and wants. I want to treat my body well so it will, in turn, treat me well.

I hate diets. I have been on a lot of them. High carb, low fat. Low carb, high fat. No carb, no sugar -- no make it past 6:00 p.m. because, sorry Dr. Atkins, your body requires carbohydrates to live. (It does not require bacon.) I hate diets because diets are meant to fail and they're meant, I think, to perpetuate our desire for bullshit, fake foods. Diets, by nature, are temporary and, because of this, most people gain back the weight they lost on the diet and then some. It's a vicious cycle wherein people force the weight off, return to their regular eating habits, put the weight back on, and then get really down on themselves. What I'm doing isn't a diet. It's a readjustment to eating and to how I think about myself. But if my pants fit a little better, I'm not going to cry about it.

The Scary Thing

"Foods" might be too nice of a word to call many of the things we eat. They are food-like products crafted in a laboratory to resemble food and to trigger me (and you!) to want more of them. They're filled with additives and chemicals and food companies have taken trace amounts of certain things from a given food and gone ahead and labeled it suitable for human consumption.

Care to know a bit about what's in your "food?" Warning: this is not for the faint of heart.

Food Lurker: Allura Red AC
Better Known As: Red 40
Where You'll Find It In Food: Soda, candy, cereal, crackers, etc.
The Detriments: Linked to ADHD and cancer

Food Lurker: Aspartame
Better Known As: Equal, Nutra Sweet
Where You'll Find It In Food: Any "diet" sugar foods or drinks
The Detriments: Linked to migraines, tumors, cancer, weight gain, epileptic seizures, dizziness, memory loss, highly addictive, induces carbohydrate cravings

Food Lurker: Azodicarbonamide
Better Known As: A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner
Where You'll Find It In Food: Dunkin Donuts bagels, fast food burger buns
Where You'll Find It Otherwise: Industrial foam plastic

Food Lurker: Butylated Hydroxianisole
Better Known As: BHA
Where You'll Find It In Food: Gum, meat, beer, butter, snack foods. This preservative keeps meats from going rancid.
Where You'll Find It Otherwise: cosmetics and pharmaceutical drugs

Food Lurker: Caramel Coloring
Better Known As: Caramel Coloring
Where You'll Find It In Food: Stove Top stuffing, colas, pastries, sweets
The Detriments: Food companies aren't required to disclose whether or not they're creating caramel coloring using straight sugar or creating it using ammonia. AMONIA.

Food Lurker: Castoreum
Better Known As: "Natural Flavoring"
Where You'll Find It In Food: It's labeled as "natural flavoring" in vanilla and raspberry-flavored foods
Where You'll Find It Otherwise: Beaver anal secretion. That's what it is, folks.

Food Lurker: 
Better Known As: Olestra
Where You'll Find It In Food: Any "light" chips
The Detriments: The human body can't break this chemical down. It can cause loose stools and allegedly robs the body of beta-carotine and lycopene.

Food Lurker: Paraben
Better Known As: Paraben
Where You'll Find It In Food: Cereal, cakes, ice cream, pie crusts, deli meat, dried meat
Where You'll Find It Otherwise: Toothpaste, cosmetics, personal lubricant

Food Lurker: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Better Known As: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Where You'll Find It In Food: Peanut Butter (non natural), McDonald's chicken
The Detriments: Eating partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is essentially like eating a spoonful of trans fats. Yum.

Food Lurker: 
Better Known As: Sweet 'n' Low
Where You'll Find It In Food: Anything made with Sweet 'n' Low
The Detriments: Weight gain, bladder tumors

Food Lurker: Silicon Dioxide
Better Known As: Sand
Where You'll Find It In Food: Any fast food. It keeps the food from clumping, so it looks prettier.
Where You'll Find It Otherwise: The desert.

Food Lurker: TBHQ
Better Known As: Butane
Where You'll Find It In Food: Pre-packaged frozen dinners with long shelf lives (Hungry Man, Lean Cuisine, PF Chang's), cereal, cereal bars, crackers, chips, fast food
Where You'll Find It Otherwise: A lighter.

If all of this makes you a bit nauseous and mad, I'm right there with you. Facts like this are why I'm embarking on a whole foods journey.

The Detox and Thereafter

For the next three days I am only going to eat raw foods. I went out and bought a juicer today from Sears and some two canvas bags filled with fruits and veggies from Maple Farm, Amherst, MA. I've fasted and "detoxed" before -- grapes and tea, watermelon and carrots, only eating peas -- with the intent to flush my body of chemicals. Here, now, the intent is to flush my body of chemicals AND pump it full of nourishing foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and calories essential to my body.

After the three days of detox, I will slowly add back whole foods that aren't raw, including things with gluten, so long as they are whole wheat and don't contain any of the products above. Things like chicken, turkey, fish, olive oil, nuts and berries, dark chocolate (all natural), natural peanut and almond butter will all be in my diet, including numerous other foods that I find.

The Rethinking

I have posted on my kitchen cabinets three signs:

"What is my food made of?" Ingredients yes, but is my food made and grown from compassion, or was it birthed and regurgitated on a laboratory floor?

"What will I get out of eating this food?" A temporary high from sugars and fats that taste wonderful but leave my body with nothing, or sustainable body and brain food?

"I CAN have it, but I don't WANT it." As I said before, this is not a diet. If I want a bowl of Frosted Flakes, I can have a bowl of Frosted Flakes and nobody is going to say boo. But do I really want it?

On my bathroom and bedroom mirrors I have posted one sign:

"I love myself unconditionally as I am right now. #LoveIsPower" What good is a body transformation if your mind isn't transforming with it? Another reason why I hate diets is because diets tell us to hate our bodies unless they look one certain way. And most of us aren't ever going to look that certain way and, thusly, hate our bodies. To hell with that! I say.

I am very lucky to be marrying someone who seems to be of the persuasion that he can love me until I love myself. I think that is something so tremendously beautiful about him, but I don't think self-love occurs through proximity or osmosis. So, twice a day everyday, I look in the mirror and repeat the words on the sign aloud to myself and reflect on that for 30-60 seconds; longer, if need be. The negative thoughts come rushing in and that's okay because, the theory goes, that, by day 28 there will be a brain shift. I'm eager to feel it.

The Accountability

I'm responsible for this detox and this reformation of body and self. I'm writing this blog to hold myself accountable. I will do my upmost best to blog daily what I'm eating and give an update on quality of sleep, energy during the day, and overall mood. At the very least, this isn't going to be a bad experience.