An Experiment on doing a 3-day fruit/veg detox

July 28th, 2010

I’ve been curious about doing this for a while. I recently saw an advertisement for a fruit/veg detox cleanse (a beautiful actress owns this company). They charge almost $200 for 3 days worth of juice! Wowwiee! I read the ingredients thoroughly on her webpage, and decided to give it a try. I went to the store and bought pretty much everything that were in her juices. How much did I spend? $41!

The first day was EXTREMELY difficult. Ok, that is an understatement. Hard, hard, hard. I found that I had a splitting headache at the end of the day. I had nothing but fruit smoothies (berries, banana, kiwi, peaches), and fresh squeezed veggie juice (spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber, beet root, carrot, celery).

Let me just say that I eat healthy 95% of the time. Honestly, I do. I don’t drink caffeine or soda. I don’t eat white flour. I don’t add sugar or salt to my foods. I eat lots of whole grains & brown rice. I drink between 8-12 glasses of water a day. I could eat more fruits & veggies, but I do have a homemade fruit smoothie for breakfast most mornings. I don’t eat chips and rarely eat cookies (I can go off the wagon now and then and have a cookie binge, but it rare). I usually eat fish/chicken/turkey and rarely eat red meat. I love eggs but eat them in moderation. I love to run, and I do that 3-5 days a week. I try to sleep, but have a hard time getting in 8 hours when my husband is out of town. I do eat chocolate. That is my downfall. I don’t go crazy with it though. I buy Hershey’s Sugar Free syrup and add that to unsweetened almond or fat free cow milk. I buy chocolate chips and measure out a small amount when I have a chocolate emergency. I thought eating nothing but fruits/veggies wouldn’t be that hard. I was wrong.

On the second day, I woke up with a headache. A MASSIVE headache. What is wrong with me? I had lots of water the day before. Maybe I just needed to eat. I continued with a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and veggie juice for snack. By noon, my stomach was rumbling like a 8.2 on the Richter Scale. I needed *CRUNCH*! I pulled out the salsa and dipped celery stocks into it. Nope. Not enough. I steamed mushrooms and garlic and ate those. I had a banana. I had more veggie juice for afternoon snack. I grilled: zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, and sweet peppers along with a few chicken breasts(for my family) for dinner. I was planning on eating just veggies, but the chicken was calling to me. I gave in, and had a breast. I swear that after 20min, I felt GREAT after eating the chicken. GREAT!

I woke up on the third day with a “this is the last day, make the most of it” attitude. I had a fruit smoothie for breakfast. I started to guzzle water. I had dandelion tea (tastes like bitter coffee) with unsweetened almond milk & agave nectar in it. I had a glass of veggie juice for snack, and left over grilled veggies for lunch. Afternoon snack were 1/2 a banana (my dogs love the other half) and 1.5 cups of blueberries. For dinner? 1.5 cups of black beans swimming in salsa, and fresh fruit salad. I threw in the towel and had some vanilla ice cream for dessert. I didn’t go crazy with it. I just had a small cup. It was like finding water after wondering the dessert for 40yrs.

So, what is the verdict? I can tell you that I have been cranky for the last several days, and have made countless trips to the bathroom. I know that celebrities swear by juicing, but it isn’t easy. Our bodies NEED carbohydrates. I try to be creative with artistic projects, and I am constantly thinking hard about my next move. My brain isn’t meant to function without energy. I found that when I had carbohydrates (i.e. black beans), I felt better.

Summary: Fad diets and depriving yourself IS NOT THE WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT. Let me say that again: Deprivation will lead to binging (or falling off the wagon with a cup of ice cream). I think that eating in moderation and exercise is the way to go. Putting yourself on no carbohydrates, no protein, etc. is NOT healthy for your body. I definitely proved to myself that well balanced eating works better for my body.

Will I do this again? Nope. Smoothies and fresh veggie juice is great, but give me lean proteins and whole grains/legumes too. I never stepped on the scale before/after this experiment. I just wanted to see if I could make it through the 3 days. Tomorrow is a new day. I’m back to healthy, well balanced eating, AND fruit smoothies & fresh veggie juices. Everything in moderation, Shan. Everything in moderation.

Happy, healthy eating to you!

Don’t believe in PRAYER? Say “Thanks” just the same

July 15th, 2010

I was on Facebook the other day, when a childhood friend made this comment:

“You’ll pray for me? OK, then, I’ll think for you.”

I know her to be a liberal, and highly educated woman. I also know that whenever someone says anything regarding Christianity (or a world view she doesn’t like), she gets upset. I thought about her comment, and against better judgement, I threw out my response:

“Can I just throw in something that will probably get me booted? Please don’t be offended when someone says they will pray for you. Hear me out here. We all have different ways of coping with hardships that our friends/loved ones are experiencing. Some of us think good thoughts. Some of us will say a prayer. Some of us will hold your hand and be there at 3am when you need to vent. We all handle things differently. THAT is what makes us all unique. That is what makes this world an amazing place.

When someone says they will pray for you, it means they care about you and want good to happen to you. They aren’t trying to shove God in your face. They are trying to say that they care for you. Personally, I don’t get offended when someone says they will think good thoughts for me. I wouldn’t be hurt if someone offered to light a candle, smoulder some incense, or even do a jig for me. They might not believe in God and prayer, as I do. That’s okay. I’m just honored that they even think of me in a good light at all. So, when someone says they will pray for you, all you have to say is “thanks”. You don’t have to believe like they do. Just be thankful that they care enough for you to want to see good things come your way.”

THE RESPONSE:

“When people are out there praying for the death of Obama and Mel Gibson is beating the crap out of his ex while considering a sequel to the Passion of the Christ, it tends to give a bad name to those who “pray for us”.

Clearly my previous comment didn’t hit the mark. So, I got this off my chest:

“I agree with you. However, there are bad/good people in EVERY FAITH (or no faith at all). Don’t you think? I strongly believe in “what goes around, comes around”. There are people that are condescending, self-righteous, and do not practice what they preach all over the world. We see them on the news. We have them in places of authority. We listen to them on talk radio. We see them in magazines. They author best selling books. We may even see them on a pulpit.

My faith says that when my life is done, I will answer for how I lived and treated the world. I try not to judge others by what they believe, who they voted for, who they are with in the privacy of their bedroom, and what they put into their body. I may completely disagree with what they have said/done, but I am not their judge/jury. I go about my life doing the best I can for my world & the people around me. That is who you are. This is who I am. We share this world. We are different in so many ways, but we need to get along. When my life is done, I would like others to say that I backed up my promises, loved/cared for everyone – no matter their color, age, sex, religion, political views, financial status, etc.

So to finish, I do agree with you. I think people lie to us ALL THE TIME. I do believe that we reap what we sow. No matter which side of the fence we are on. When we become dust, what will others say about how we lived? As the saying goes, make every day count. I plan on doing that. For me, that includes being a caring person that makes a positive impact. Yes, I do pray for others. I do it because I care for them. I don’t feel that I am better than anyone else. I am just going through each day making the best of what I have. Prayer helps me get through my life. It gives me comfort through the bad times and helps me to be thankful during great times. My faith helps make me who I am. It isn’t for everyone. That’s ok. That’s what makes each one of us special.”

CONCLUSION: It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with your neighbor. Just respect that we are all given the right to believe what is in our hearts. We don’t have to agree with every idea. We just need to respect those that have them.

Advice for Long Distance Runners (the ones in the back…like me)

July 14th, 2010

I’ve had people ask me over the last few years for running tips. Sure, I’m an overweight, slow runner. However, I have learned some valuable information that I would like to share. The extremely dedicated runner (you know who you are…at the front of the race…in the seeded position….) probably won’t need to read this. That’s okay. This goes out to the rest of us. The runners that are at the back of the pack with the strollers, and are running just for the hell of it (and to keep the Love Handles away).

SHOES:
1) You need to find out your foot shape. This determines the TYPE of sole you will need in a running shoe. There are several ways to do this. The easiest is to go online. Try:
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-319-326-7152-0,00.html

You can also go to a local running store. We have Runtex here in Texas. I’m not sure if you have something like that where you are. They will test your foot in their store, but they will also expect you to spend $200+ on shoes. Beware of that. You probably don’t need $200 shoes.

Once you have determined your foot type, you will need to get shoes that compliment your foot. For example,
I roll my foot to the outside. I am more prone to shin/knee/hip injuries because of it. My shoes have a thick
outside sole to compensate for how my foot lands. I also have to replace my shoes more often. When I was training
for the WDW Goofy races, I went through THREE pair of shoes in 6 months. Yup, THREE pair @ $70/pair. Cha-ching!

For long distance running, I suggest getting 1-1.5 sizes LARGER than you normally wear. Your feet will swell up when you are running long distance. Larger shoes give your foot more room (i.e. less blisters, injury, etc.) I buy New Balance shoes.
I also buy men’s (if you wear a 9 in women’s, you would wear a 7 in men’s). That is just my preference. I like lots of toe room in my running shoes. I wear a 9, so I buy a woman’s 10.5 or a men’s 8.5.

If you find a brand you like, GREAT! It is a trial and error sort of thing. As I said, I like New Balance. I buy mine online with www.joesnewbalanceoutlet.com You can find shoes online, at your local sporting store, Ebay, etc. If you find a style that you adore, go online and buy another pair or go back to where you originally bought them. Unless on sale, you will usually find a better price for your shoes online. NOTE: You will need to replace your shoes at 300-400 miles OR when you are starting to notice shin/knee/hip pain. DO NOT (seriously, DON’T!) skimp here. Buy the shoes when you need them. Don’t buy the $20 shoes on sale either. Get the ones that are $50+. Your body will thank you.
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SOCKS:
I buy Thurlos. They are my absolute favorite because they “breathe” and they have lots of cushioning. Same thing applies
with running shoes & socks. Find what you like. Buy several pair. You will be surprised at how much good socks cost. I think my
Thurlos were something like $9-$11 a pair. Yikes!
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CHAFFING:
If you experience body chaffing, invest in a sport stick (Body Glide, etc.). Many folks use Vaseline too. I find that it stains
my running clothes. I had to resort to using sport tape with my last marathon season because I was rubbing myself to bleeding.
If you start to notice chaffing (i.e. waistband, armpits, breast area, etc.) buy a
sport stick.
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CLOTHING:
WEAR SOMETHING COMFORTABLE THAT BREATHES! Did I say that loud enough for you? I prefer wearing running tights, lycra long/tight shorts, etc. The Lord blessed (cursed?) me with less-than-model-perfect thighs. I prefer clothing that won’t rub me raw. Believe me, nothing hurts more than being on a long run and having your legs chafe. It sucks. Believe me, I’ve been there.
For my tops, I prefer breathable/wicking shirts. Yeah, you can wear a regular old t-shirt, but when the temperatures get up there, you will be more comfortable in a shirt that doesn’t hold moisture in.

MEN: Seriously consider wearing compression shorts for long runs. I know that many men like wearing simple running shorts. They may have an inner lining, but will that support you for 10, 15, or 20 miles?

WOMEN: Get a GOOD sports bra. I’m really top heavy for a woman runner (36DD). I wear Moving Comfort Maia or Helena running bras. I’ve tried Nike, Saucony, and several “just squish ’em down” bras. It doesn’t matter if you are large or small chested, find a COMFORTABLE & SUPPORTIVE bra to fit you. The two of you will be putting down lots of miles together. Make sure that the bra you wear isn’t too tight or too loose. Either one can rub you to bleeding. THAT is something every woman runner wants to avoid.

When it is really hot (like yesterday @5pm being 104 heat index here in Austin, TX), I wear a kerchief and wicking/dryfit hat. I get both WET before I go run. If the weather is going to be extremely hot, I may even get my shirt wet first too.

In cold weather, I wear gloves and a light, running jacket. After a mile, I usually put my gloves into my fanny pack and tie my jacket
around me. Winter temps don’t usually go below 27 degrees here. I tend to get warm after the first mile of running. You may be different.
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HAT:
Wear one. Period. It doesn’t matter if it is overcast. Wear one. Your eyes/skin will thank you.
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IDENTIFICATION (i.e. Just in Case something goes wrong):

Wear identification! It doesn’t matter if you are going around the block, or for a 20 miler, wear identification. One of my favorite recommendations is Road I.D. http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx

You don’t have to go with this company, though. In fact, you can make your own tag and carry it with you. Make sure it says: (1) Your name (2) Your date of birth (3) Your blood type (4) Two emergency contact numbers (5) Medications you may be allergic to

I have been running for about 25 years now. I have fallen several times, and gotten a REALLY BAD case of shin splints on my runs. You NEED identification just in case. I read a story where a runner was side-swiped, injured, and couldn’t speak to the Paramedics. Her identification helped save her life. Don’t be without it!

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SUNSCREEN:
*See Hat (well, not your eyes, but you get the point ;D LOL!)
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FOOD:
When I go on a really long run (I consider over 6 miles long), I eat a light carbohydrate. Usually this is a banana, Clif bar, or 1 cup of orange juice. I also take an Ibuprofen or two. I find that taking these little pills helps me not be as sore afterwards.

When I come home from my run, I shower and then eat a HEALTHY meal. Healthy I mean: oatmeal, whole wheat toast w/sugar free jam, fruit, egg-whites, 100% juice, fat free yogurt, etc. Research is showing that if you eat a protein within 30min of a strenuous workout, you cut your recovery time in HALF. Eat protein!

While training, you want to eat healthy. Many folks will push food on you with the “You are running so much, you can eat anything” approach. This is NOT true. There are many runners out there that think they can just eat and eat. That’s a great way to pack on the extra pounds. You still need to watch your calorie intake. When I am in training, I usually consume between 1700-1900 calories a day. That is when I am running AT LEAST 25 miles a week with strength training. Running less than that? Keep your calories around 1400-1500. Men need to eat around 2000 calories a day when they are not training. They will need to consume 200-500 more if they are.

When I train, I try to eat: brown rice, whole grain pastas/cereals/breads, fat free yogurt, milk, and cheese. FRESH fruits & vegetables (I also love steamed, broiled, or grilled veggies). natural Peanut Butter, almonds & walnuts. Egg whites, fish, chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef (I don’t eat much beef because it is heavier on the system). Stay away from processed/diet meals as they are full of sodium. Try to
make your meals as much as possible. Limit alcohol and caffeine too.

Foods to avoid before a long run: sugar free gum (seriously…this will hit your system and you will need to rush to the porta potty at the worst possible time), heavy spices or salsa, lots of leafy greens (same thing as gum).
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WATER:
Buy a sports bottle, and wear it for anything over 3 miles. When I am doing light training, I have a fanny pack that fits a 16oz bottle beautifully. When I go over 6 mile runs, I wear my Camelbak Hydrobak. This is just my personal preference. You don’t have to run with water strapped to your side. I get very thirsty on long runs, and love my Camelbak.

Just a note: If you decide to put something into your water, consider Powerade or Gatorade G, or a GOOD electrolyte drink. Long distance runners need something more than water. They need to replace salts that they are sweating away. Also, these drinks have sugar which also help with energy levels.

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ENERGY WHILE RUNNING:
There are TONS of sports foods out there. I prefer gel when I run over 8 miles. I really like the Hammer Gel Chocolate. I also like Clif Blox or Jelly Belly electrolyte beans. They work great too. This is sort of a personal preference thing. You have to remember that you will probably need something, but want to make sure that it is something that is easy for you to consume.
You will have a dry mouth (mostly) while running. You don’t want to be eating a granola bar or crackers. Many during running foods contain sugar and sodium. Sugar for energy and sodium to replace what your body is sweating. Make sure that your during run food (I use 1 item on a 13 miler and 2-3 on a marathon) fits into that category.

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DOING SOME SERIOUS TRAINING FOR AN EVENT:

I know that there are TONS of half/full marathon training programs out there. It is all a personal preference in what you choose. My two favorites are Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway. Both of these men are legends in long distance running. Jeff’s program encourages you to take short walk breaks throughout your long distance run. Hal’s program is also wonderful. Both men have run a bazillion (no, really, it’s true) marathons. Hal even did 7 marathons in 7 months for his 70th birthday for charity.

If you are training for your first half or full marathon (and have no idea how to go about it), I HIGHLY recommend the book: The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett, Forrest Dolgener and Tanjala Kole. This book got me through my first half marathon, and I’ve never stopped wanting to run since then.

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CARE OF YOUR BODY AFTER A RUN:
Take a nice, warm shower or bath. Many runners take an ice bath after a marathon (or a very long run). I know…it sounds insane. However, I did this for my last 3 halves & 2 marathons. It does wonders. Sure, it feels HORRIBLE when you are in the tub, but you won’t be as sore the next day.

The day after your longest run, make sure to take a rest day. Your muscle tissues need to repair themselves. A great thing to do on this day is yoga or light stretching. Don’t run more than 5 days a week. I have also found that doing strength training (especially CORE MUSCLE building) works wonders for my running time. As you get tired, you will tend to lean forward. Strengthening your tummy & back will help you run upright longer. Using a stability ball, hand weights, or bands are great aids for these exercises. I recently bought a weight vest too. I put it on when I am doing chores around the house. When I bend down to pick up socks, for example, I am using my tummy/back muscles. My vest is 10lbs. It doesn’t take much weight to get your muscles working hard. I found mine on Ebay for something like $20 + shipping.

The thing with most of these items is trial and error. You want to make sure that you are wearing comfortable shoes & clothing. As your race draws nearer, there will be other preparations to make.

Find a running schedule that is designed for first/intermediate time runners (Hal Higdon or Jeff Galloway are my favorites). If you miss a run day, don’t freak. Try to do something for exercise that day. You could speed walk, put in an exercise DVD, jump rope, do squats/lunges & crunches, etc. Just can’t fit in any exercise one day? It happens to us all. Continue with your schedule the next day.

One more thing, running isn’t always about how fast you get to the end. When I am training, I run 10 min. miles. During a race, I run 9 min. miles (sometimes less, but that is usually my pace). That’s slow for most dedicated runners. You know what? WHO CARES?! Getting to the finish line is what matters. You can walk, jog, skip, sprint, or crawl to the end. The journey is half the fun. YOU WILL DO GREAT!!!

About Shan – She is the slow, chubby mom in the back of every race, and she is still smiling. She’s completed 3 marathons, 5 half marathons down (including the Walt Disney World 2009 Goofy Races), and countless 5k & 10K races. Her goal is to do 5 marathons and 20 half marathons total by age 50 (8 years away). If she can run, so can YOU!