Saturday, January 24, 2015

Yeah, I've Become That Woman

Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience the random, mid-winter breakdown of both my hot water heater AND my furnace in less than 6 hours. Both are under 2 years old and each is serviced every fall. How it's happened that multiple versions of these appliances have managed to break multiple times, over multiple Januaries is beyond me. I don't play fast and loose with the things that keep you alive in negative temperatures. To make it all the more fun, a Chinese-made motor - that's worth about 80 bucks - cost me $1000. Not to mention another 500 bucks on service and the venting for the heater. Did I mention the part where I pay $200 every fall to have the fucking things maintained?

Needless to say, I wasn't having any fun, especially when they told us we'd have to wait for the part till Monday. It was at that point that I went so supernova, righteously indignant that they promptly found the part and installed it before 6pm - that's after they'd indicated an absurd intention to charge me extra to come in on Saturday?! I can be pretty scary if you fuck with my ability to live in my home, esp. when I've determined the likely issue and given you ample time to find a work around. On a Friday in January in CANADA, you don't tell a homeowner that you can't help till Monday.

But wait. This post is about rainbows and calmness and mental health (and my final descent into the deepest state of urban hipsterness, Lord, but 1 thing at a time)...

I've been observing, as I don't drink wine on weekdays, that by the time I've gone through a bottle over the weekend (as opposed to the @2.5 bottles I used to drink throughout the week, without issue), I wake up Monday morning feeling wretched. Actually, I wake up Sunday morning feeling pretty bad but I push through. How, exactly, do I feel bad? Well, my body hurts - like my muscles (and what I used to call my muscles which, now I understand, is fascia. It's amazing how distinct these are even as they intertwine.)

I sense the issue's been there for a while but I'm noticing it more now that I've been on a hydration kick the likes of which you've rarely seen (within the realm of safety, natch) and since I've begun MELTing and Tuning Up on a daily basis. You see, I don't have the crippling headaches I used to, at this point (mercifully), but the rest of me feels everything much more keenly. I suspect this is the impact of correcting (rather than masking) an underlying issue.

Anyway, somehow over the last few weeks I've been sucked into the vortex of cold-pressed juice. You know, that stuff that costs 10 bucks for 8 oz because it isn't heat processed (yes it's raw and subject to the inclusion of potentially harmful bacteria if improperly made or stored), it's organic and it's packaged in glass. Admittedly, every jar is made up of 6-salads worth of ingredients, but man, I go big or I go home and this is big. Have you ever spent more than 100 bucks on juice in a week?

Why have I gone on this money-eating trajectory? Well, while the jury's out about whether connective tissue pain is about tissue inflammation, in addition to dehydration, I've been dealing with an autoimmune condition for a few years now that causes an ugly (though painless) skin response. It is about inflammation and the skin rash, when it flares in any given spot, can take years to go away. I'm dealing with 2 spots that have been there for more than 2 years, and other spots that arrived more recently. At any rate, I don't like to dwell on this unsightly issue, but it's become markedly more pronounced since I turned 40. You know, since perimenopause decided to kick me in the gut.

Here's the thing. I can't bear to be without my beautiful wine glass full of ruby liquid, without the ritual that I prize. But I can replace that dehydrating and inflammation-causing liquid with a beet/carrot/fennel/goji berry combo and, really, it's awesomely delicious.

I'm not just saying this. I have not been brainwashed by urban hipsters or chronic pain. I will not eat or drink gross things. I will not buy a beet and cook it. But somehow, when it's pressed into an anti-inflammatory elixir, man - it's fine.

But of course, I didn't stop there. I feel so excellent after drinking my two glasses of beet-booze (as I lovingly refer to it), that I've gone looking for all the good stuff. Sure, I swore I'd never drink green things - and I really won't drink lettuce cuz that creeps me out - but kale and spirulina are rather delightful when mixed with blueberries.

And then there are the nut-milks. Oh, these are the milk-shakes of the cold-pressed world. My fave is an almond, cocoa, mesquite blend with dates and coconut oil. It's actually oily in the most awesome way.

I've been buying the goods all over the place cuz TO is a mecca for this shit. I mean, we're like the California of the North, other than Vancouver of course. But seriously, population-wise, we're drinking much more of the stuff than those clear-skinned yogis in Van. You can't throw a stone in the central 'hoods without hitting a juice place. There's even a stupid uptown version that charges a premium on the premium because it's catering to the wealthy ladies who leave their hybrids running as they hop inside for a quick hit.

I've got some tricks up my sleeve, namely Sunshine (which looks crappy but they make great juice at the best price you'll find - partly cuz you have to bring in your own glass container and they're not charging you for the brand). They've teamed up with a place in Yorkville that nicely branded the juice from Sunshine, but if you get it there (in pretty glass, of course) you'll pay twice as much for the same stuff.

My fave place, though, for the full experience is my old vegetarian staple, Fresh. They just soft-launched a line of 12 pressed juices. They're not up on the website yet, but here's a menu I half-assedly photographed:


And here's my haul for the weekend:


I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful these juices are. My faves are 04 (an antioxidant blend of beet, parsley, lemon, kale and green apple), 05 (a nutrient-dense blend of beet, fennel, carrot, lemon, goji berries and salt) 09 (a salty/malty blend raw cacao, maca, mesquite, date, goji berries, almonds, hemp hearts) 10 (an anti-inflammatory blend of blueberry, spirulina, green apple, protein, date, raw almond), 12 (a neutral, calming blend of almond, vanilla, himalayan salt, alkaline water and 1 date - works well for breakfast).

And I can repurpose the bottles when making my potions (or getting refills of the less pricey stuff from Sunshine - that tastes just as good, even if the blends aren't as culinary as those sold by Fresh).

I never thought I'd begin to understand people who go on juice fasts, but having indulged in these delicious, filling and energizing juices and milks, I'm half-inclined to give it a try. For a day, I mean, I'm not crazy.

The question is about how I will continue to indulge this habit, even as I've cut down on the booze bill substantively. It can easily cost 150 bucks a week to drink 2, 8 oz juices per day. Right now I'm going with: It's healthy and I need to restore my health so fuck the cost. Who knows how long that'll last. Quite a while, I suspect, knowing me.

Today's questions: Do you know these places and do you buy their juices? Can you get with spending the amount of a pricey glass of wine on vegetables? Are cold-pressed, organic, raw juices your dirty little habit? Do you think I'm insane? Let's talk!

20 comments:

  1. This I can totally relate to! My budget doesn't stretch to this kind of juice, and I try not to drink normal juice that's just full of sugar... but I basically cut booze out of my life for years and finding something truly enjoyable to drink really makes it easier! Soda water plus goodness is my crutch of choice. And I also found that after I cut back, booze had a much stronger and less enjoyable impact on me! I've slowly been subbing the gin back into my life, but that's about it. 1 or two G&Ts a week do make life better! :)
    So is the next step for you to make your own juice, or is buying better?

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  2. THat's a really good question! In some ways, buying a machine would be cheaper - even though they cost upwards of 600 bucks and you have to buy POUNDS of expensive organic produce. But it's also really messy and not so cheap, even when you do it for yourself. I think Sunshine, even if it's not as varied as Fresh, is likely my cheapest way to do this thing.

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    1. And I completely hear you on regular juice - I will not drink that shit! I have never liked juice (or pop). Sweet drinks tend to gross me out. But cold pressed juices aren't sweet in the same way. They're beautifully balanced.

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  3. Has the achyness (sorry is that a word?) gone away drinking the juice? I have borrowed my son's expensive juicer and did not care for the product, but love my Vitamix to blend up whole fruit and veggies with ice and almond milk. There are tons of variations.
    I can relate to the furnace debacle-we live in northern BC and please don't mess with my heat...
    Barb

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    1. It's hard to say. I feel better after drinking it - like I get brighter and shinier and my eyes sparkle and I'm truly alive. As I get older, I'm ever more aware of how food impacts me while and after I eat it. But I don't think the relationship between drinking juice and then feeling a decline in tightness or myofascial pain is entirely direct. It doesn't affect me that way (but then, neither does water and some people claim that it does for them). I do feel more hydrated in general from all that I'm drinking but I haven't been drinking juice for so long that I can quantify the experience completely. I'll keep you posted.

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  4. You're not crazy. It makes perfect sense to spend as much on healthy juices as you did on wine. I've lost my tolerance for wine as I've gotten older. I've never been a big drinker, but I did enjoy a glass of wine while cooking dinner. As you said, it's as much about the ritual, the glass, the beauty, as it is about the wine itself. It's great that you have found a substitute.

    For me, the problem with wine is the sugar. For a while I was drinking beer once in a while. Now I have only a quarter glass of wine or beer occasionally, on holidays or special occasions. It's very clear to me that I feel much better without it.

    I've started making smoothies every day for my 16-year-old son, who is a vegetarian, and almost a vegan. I include new (to me) foods like hemp hearts, for protein. Using the immersion blender was getting old, so I bought a BlendTec (not for $600, it was about $400), and it works much better. I've used it a couple of times to make green juice. I mix greens (Trader Joe's sells a bagged organic blend of baby kale and baby chard and a couple of other things, called Power to the Greens) with half an apple and some fresh ginger. I've also made smoothies using recipes from mynewroots.org (wonderful recipes and a lot of nutritional information), including a blueberry-basil smoothie. There are also some good recipes for smoothies and green juices on ohsheglows.com.

    I sometimes drink this, which is delicious: http://www.marthastewart.com/1047907/golden-elixir

    The Fresh juices sound absolutely wonderful. There are green juice bars around here, and bottled juices at Whole Foods, but I haven't paid much attention. The bottled juices are expensive, and the nearest juice bar is obscenely expensive. But, compared to a glass of wine, not really all that expensive.

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    1. I like that drink (I've seen it before but not by Martha Stewart). I've also had the juice at Whole Foods - just this week. I think the price is good and the ingredients are organic / there's no HPP. Mind you, they're in plastic and that kind of offends me. But they're tasty.

      I don't really know what's going on with me and alcohol right now. I can say that it affects me differently than it did and, if I'm putting together the pieces correctly, it ends up limiting my mobility. Don't get me wrong, I'm not immobile in any way, but I'm not as flexible the next day and everything hurts a little bit, is a smidge sensitive.

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  5. Oh, and I've been focusing on quick and easy recipes that include green vegetables. Cooking vegan food for a 6-foot-tall 16-year-old boy is time-consuming. Lately, I've been steaming broccoli and mixing it with brown rice and bottled Thai peanut sauce or curry sauce. And I've sauteed extra firm tofu in sesame oil, adding frozen sugar snap peas, baby spinach, and sweet pea shoots, and serving it over brown rice Thai noodles mixed with peanut sauce. And this recipe is wonderful: http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/07/flavour-bomb-greens-n-noodles/. It's basically a mountain of raw shredded greens with a great dressing and rice noodles - I leave out most or all of the toppings, sometimes including cilantro or mint if I have it around.

    I hope this isn't too far off-topic - please delete it if it is!

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    1. Seriously, you deserve an award for doing this for your son. Half the time my kid has a snack at McDonald's after school and it torments me. But I am not vegan cooking for anyone!

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  6. I love your blog! I am a fifty year old with all sorts of fascia pain and autoimmune skin problems. I recently quit my high stress job and have started sewing again. I have a lot of allergies so I am very cautious on the raw juices. Can't drink wine. Tea I enjoy. You have inspired my to try yoga again and purchase new bras! I have know blog. Kelly

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    1. Thanks Kelly! So glad if these posts are resonant - and it seems we have a lot in common :-)

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    2. Kelly, there are a lot of autoimmune diseases in my family, at least 15 diagnoses (multiple Hashimoto's, immune-mediated type 1 diabetes, etc.) in my immediate family of origin. I have a cousin who had terrible eczema all her life. I remember that when she was a child she had it all over, even on her eyelids. This continued through adulthood. She saw many doctors, tried everything, nothing helped. She had to wear gloves at night to prevent scratching and she always looked terrible. When she was in her 50's, she tried going gluten-free. Within a few weeks her skin was completely healed, and it has remained that way for several years now. If she accidentally ingests gluten, she has some itching. I don't know whether you've thought of doing this, but I wanted to mention it in case it helped.

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  7. Health is ALWAYS a good investment.

    I can get down with your thinking on all of this. While I was pregnant, I really enjoyed lovely juices and non-alc cocktails from fancy/pricey ingredients and didn't really miss wine. Really it's more about the ritual and enjoyment.

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    1. That's what I say. No one regrets their continuing health. It is really about the ritual. Strangely, it's a lot about tartness and redness!

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  8. Thanks for the gluten free suggestion, Marie. I have been gluten free since September and it has helped a lot! Kelly

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  9. Is Sunshine that little spot next to the Bloor cinema? I love their juices, much better than Fresh, especially anything with ginger and lemon. Also, and this does not fall within the realm of healthy, Fresh has this one juice/shake that has chocolate and peanut butter and it is the BOMB. Mind you, they call it a "protein" something somthing so it can't be all bad. Get the juice machine. You'll save yourself a lot of cash in the long run.

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    1. No - this is the place on College at Dovercourt (kitty cornered to the Y). Fresh just started with the bottled, cold pressed juices - it's a diff menu than what they offer in store, though there are similarities between the juices and you can get them to make any juice you want if you're willing to pay for all of the ingredients individually. The drink you're thinking of is Swoosh - a personal fave (and I get them to leave out the maple syrup cuz I don't like it any sweeter than a bananas-worth).

      I am likely going to have to get the machine if I keep on this way, but I need to ensure it's not just a short-term adventure first. Also, on the endless quest to fix the back of the house and the kitchen (we're still quoting on that), I'm loathe to buy a large appliance before I've got a new space to store it. I'm outta space till the kitchen is redone.

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  10. Have you ever tried the Goodbelly probiotic drinks? I'm wondering how they compare (particularly the Tropical Green flavor), although I'm guessing any commercially available drink won't really stand up to a freshly squeezed, cold-pressed juice.

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  11. I meant to comment on this yesterday, I know that there is a lot of debate on raw juices versus smoothies, but I went the smoothie route as the blender was $80.00 and you don't need as many vegetables/fruit to make the smoothie. I made a lot of kale based ones, which are great as you don't need as much sweet to counterbalance the kale. Watercress on the other hand was difficult. I need to start smoothies again, as I've been having loads of issues with inflammation, dehydration and overal feely crappy. (Part of it likely is being in a no sunlight country for the first time in several years, part of it is likely eating way too much sugar, and part is likely not getting enough vegetables.)

    Good luck! At this day in age, I would totally prefer a raw juice/smoothie over an alcoholic beverage. And if I do drink alcohol, I make sure that I super hydrate afterwards.

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    1. Nicole,
      Are you taking Vitamin D supplements? I moved from the Southwest to the Northwest and the lack of sunshine had quite a effect on my mood and overall state of being. Turns out that Vitamin deficiency is normal here. I take 20,000 IU of D3 once a day.

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