Tag Archive for ginger

Sugar Detox: The Wonderful, The Ecstatic, and the SUPER UGLY, plus bonus popsicles.

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I’ve quit doing a lot of things in my life. Smoking took a few times. Like 6. Each time I picked up, I chose a new brand, the last one being hand-rolled numbers that smelled sweet and earthy twirling into a column between my thumb and two fingers. I’m hoping this last effort from a few years back will do it for good. I quit smoking weed, I dunno when that happend, it just went away. I quit coffee a few times, have it only on the rare road trip because something about crappy road coffee with radioactive French Vanilla creamer still appeals to me. Also


Dunkin’ Donuts coffee whenever in Boston is a must, also French Vanilla. (I don’t want you to get the idea I don’t know anything about coffee, although it’s ok if your impression is that, like summer vacation, I have no class. But I do take my decaf cravings to irritatingly divine local micro roasteries.) I gave up crystal meth and dreamed about it for weeks, making nights long and not so restful. Also falling by the wayside came pretty much the rest of the DEA Schedule II drugs, watching America’s Next Top Model, apathy, dating assholes, and you guess it, refined sugars. And guess which one was the worst?

This stuff makes me INSANE


The gosh dang SUGAR.  More difficult than giving up the dashing butch rogues even. Why bother? It made me so crazy. I would watch myself polish off a whole pound of gummi bears, eating even after my tongue started to fritz out. I’d plow through chocolate forgetting entirely to enjoy it, and pastries would find their way to oblivion in my hands, only at the last few bites, me realizing I hadn’t any recollection of the beginning, sometimes leading me to try again with another. I’d miss conversations with people trying to discern if I was looking casual while angling to get enough pie, then worry that everyone noticed how weirdly I ate the entire shared dessert. Plus the kicker was I had no FREEDOM in the matter.

Everybody loves Tim Riggins.

Now, I am a lady who believes wholly in choice. I am a feminist who believes we women can have health at any size and when we have peace, our bodies will respond by asking for what they need and reside in healthy places if we give them that. But in the throws of sugar, I had no choice. I was simply a disembodied hand reaching for themed sheet cakes from Safeway. It started to really piss me off that not only did I feel unhappy in the feminist body I was dragging my great life around in, but also that I had to reckon with the fact that after I had dumped all these chemicals, I still had this one completely controlling me. I was kind of sugar’s little plaything. And so little by little, I tried to get out from under it. The short of it is, it took a few tries.

5 days worth of this.

It felt like shit. Sugar detox is no joke: scorching headaches, bouts of total rage, entire acres of real estate in the mind occupied by what feels like a prison of No Fun for the rest of time. Aches, creaks, lethargy came round calling, the likes of which I had not experienced since the crystal meth left my system, plus just good old fashioned self-pity.

And then there’s the after: about five days later, my brain began to clear. Then it actually kept clearing. My focus got sharper and sharper. My energy went nuts, like I was high but with no tweaker feelings at all. I just woke into the world, clear and energized, ready to do my thing. My insane cravings for sugar waned and oddly, so did my cravings for other things: chips and pizza and cheeseburgers. It isn’t that I never got them, it’s that they registered as clues rather than commands. Cheeseburger daydreams, which I’ve been having constantly during the first 5 days of this cleanse, translate to protein. When I get enough, the craving vanishes. I get to have choices about the protein I take. Chips usually mean I want crunchy things. This also, for me, indicates I’m stressed out, irritated, or annoyed. So it also indicates a trip to the gym or a run is in order. In the mean time I can crunch on carrots or bell peppers or the best crackers ever, Sami’s (gluten free) millet and flax chips. Pizza means I have good taste. WHO THE HELL DOESN’T WANT PIZZA!?!? And for the most part, I rarely eat the iconic things that come up if they are going to impact my well being. And if I do choose to have them, it’s not because I am caving in. I get really good stuff, eat it slowly, savor it, ENJOY MY LIFE, and the gifts that taste and texture have to offer. The 15 pounds I dropped when I quit sugar helped as well. It was nice for my wallet because I didn’t have to shop for new clothes. I felt more comfortable moving in the world, and I finally got some idea of the weight my body felt the best at. It had been years since I had any clue, if ever.

The other thing that happened is I got more creative with food. I began cooking more, reading labels and understanding the way my body felt in reaction to things. Agave came around as the world’s next answer to living without the all powerful sweetness of life, but that also made me feel cracked out. Turns out it’s processed much like corn syrup so that makes sense. But brown rice syrup tasted great and I felt fine eating it. Small treats of maple syrup and honey also work for me. Whole fruit is my favorite. And like I said earlier, lately I’ve been obsessed with popsicles. All the ones I make are sugar-free and pretty delightful. These ones have quite a kick:

Put about 3/4 c of pineapple hunks, an 8oz. container of raw coconut water, a knuckle of ginger and 1/2 a cucumber in the blender. Whirl it around and then freeze your pops. Makes 5. And each has 25 calories. If you care about that kind of thing.

Cleanse Preview: Hearty Greens with Ginger and Sugar Snap Peas Over Soba

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I heard people using the word “juice”, as a VERB, for the first time many years ago:

Do you have any books on juicing?
Do you carry produce wash, because I am SERIOUSLY juicing this month. 
Juicing has really changed EVERYTHING for me. I love it!
Ever since I started juicing, my skin has cleared up and I have so much energy! 

Juicing, as an activity, is serious business in a food co-op. As I acclimated to this culture and language, other sorts of new things seeped in between my languid cigarette breaks on the loading dock where the pallets of hippie heaven arrived. Aside from juicing, a girl might find shoppers dangling crystal pendulums over the beets, using the citrine or amethyst to guide them to the deep red root of the perfect energy. I also found people pouring over alcohol extracted flower essences seeking a mellow support for everything from stress reduction to studied focus. And dodging and weaving between support animals and a new baby boom on my way back to my aisle to stock recycled toilet paper, sugar cane toilet paper, and unbleached toilet paper, I’d wind through the supplements section where workers and shoppers exchanged all manner of incredible knowledge about vitamins and herbs. The food co-op is part grocery, part hospital, part coven. And as time moved on, each one seemed a little more inviting to me. Mostly, the food as medicine part.

Just as juicing became a normal, if not still a little bit irritating, verb, so too, did the constant discussion of different cleanses: The Master Cleanse, The Quantum Wellness Cleanse, and The Colorado Cleanse. You could go Miami with The South Beach Cleanse, Vegan with The Crazy Sexy Cleanse, or follow various celebrity cleanses. There were Clean Starts and Reboots, and Fresh Seasons. I smoked through most of the talk for a long time.

40 years.
Seemed as good a time as any to finally sweep up the temple.

So I’ve done my cleansing, my research, and enjoyed several fresh starts of my own. I’ve made a good crop of mistakes to draw from, gathered an enormous amount of rejuvenation and health from the experiences and I’ve incorporated some things that feel important to me into the Spring Fling Cleanse. And while most cleanses are entirely about food, this one takes a big hunk from creativity, another from clarity, and still more from the quiet impulse. It’s Spring. There’s so much great stuff to be quiet about and honor. It’s better than the cigarettes were. And I loved cigarettes. The thing is, I was SO GOOD at smoking. I hate giving up something I’m good at. But, there it is. Gone.

Still, the kitchen is the core of the cleanse and the transformation. So I thought I’d share a recipe you can look forward to on our three week Spring Fling. I’ve mapped out a mellow cleanse with a calm pacing and amazing food.

Here, Look:


This recipe came from being out of everything and using only what I had on hand. This is where a stocked pantry and a garden in the yard really tend to work out. Plus I was really hungry so I wanted something filling and picked soba to lead my thought process. It’s made of buckwheat, gluten-free, and a satiating, warming base for a meal.

1/4 lb buckwheat soba
1 in knuckle grated ginger
1T brown mustard seed
1T cumin seed.
1T coconut oil
3 stalks dino kale
3 stalks red russian kale
3 stalks rainbow chard
Big handful of spicy mustard greens

Prepare your soba in water or vegetable broth. Careful not to over cook it. When it’s ready, drizzle it with a little sesame oil for great flavor and to keep it from getting sticky.

Toss the grated ginger, mustard seed and cumin seeds into a skillet with the coconut oil and sautee until the mustard seeds begin popping.

Grab all your greens and shred them cro-magnon style or cut them into thick ribbons with a knife. They go into the sautee and cook until they are brightly colored and slightly wilted.

Dice up some sugar snap peas and add them on top.

Variations: Add sesame seeds to the sprinkle on top. Add in some shiitake mushrooms. Add garlic into the sautee. You can season your soba with a 1/2 t rice vinegar. Sea vegetables would also be a great addition. Let your imagination in on this recipe. It’s so simple and satisfying and has lots of room for your signature and what your body might be asking for at lunch.