Day 9 & 10- on day 12!!

I feel like a new person and according to Macrobiotics, I am. The standard line is 10 days to change the quality of our blood as the blood plasma is renewed; 4 months to fully clean the blood as the red blood cells are renewed and 7 years for all the cells in the body to be renewed. By eating well, sleeping well, thinking good thoughts, exercising and not over-working I started to clean it up!

The healing from caffeine, sugar and whatever else was going on was overwhelming and I felt foolish that I was being brought so low by a bit of rice and beans. I also hadn't thought I was feeling that out of whack but the difference in my energetic from then to now shows me that I was. 

For those of you that know me this will be quite poignant. I feel that I can concentrate better. I feel like I am able to listen to people without my own thoughts racing so loudly that I miss what they are saying. I still go on tangents but I can feel my attention span and focus has strengthened.

I ate at least half as much more food in volume than I normally do and lost 5 pounds.

There is no photo of Day 9 breakfast because it was miso soup and steamed greens and toasted pumpkin seeds. 

I had a girlfriend over for lunch and I was disappointed to feed her an Udon Salad with Tahini sauce. Only because as a fellow hippy this was familiar to her as a meal. But it was delicious and we enjoyed our meal. No photo of that either because it was Day 8's dinner with some sauce over noodles.

Dinner on the other hand provided me with one of my favourite things I have had on the cleanse. I ate a Nabe with a dipping sauce of lemon-soy (Ponzu) with grated daikon in it. And a small side of rice.

nabe-1.jpg

This recipe I will give as it is ubiquitous. Take a pot the right size for however many people will eat. Put about 3/4 cup water per person in a pot. Soak 2 stamp sized pieces of Kombu in the water while you prep your vegetables. Use whatever vegetables you like but think of it like this: 2 or 3 roots, 2 or 3 rounds, 1 or 2 leafy. So, not including your onion (use onion), find 2 root vegetables you want to eat. The recipe called for daikon and carrot. Find 2 round vegetables. Rounds are vegetables that are above ground but not leafy like cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage etc, or squashes, beans, corn. Then your leafy greens, maybe some mushrooms. You may use a protein in your Nabe too, tofu, fish, eggs or any meat.

Bring the water to a boil, then turn to medium-low, add the roots in groupings and beside each other and cook it for 5 minutes. Add the tofu, if you use that, cook for 3 more minutes. If you use a meat protein, depending on the size, cut it, add it in with the roots, or even before.

For my protein I used Aburage, or tofu puffs. These are deep-fried tofu skin squares. I slit the top, put in a small chunk of mochi, sealed the top with a toothpick and dropped it in to the Nabe. After 3 minutes, add the greens and give it another 3 minutes or until the greens are done. Mayumi did not have me season the Nabe but you could add shoyu, or miso about 5 minutes before you pull it off the stove. Done! Mix the juice of a lemon and a quarter cup of soy sauce together and use that as a dip for your veggies. 

I like this dish because it can be as rich as you want but has no oil. It is filling but light at the same time. 

The mochi in the tofu was so yummy. I had never had that before and again, for someone transitioning to eating less meat, the texture would be very satisfying. It was a deep-fried skin on a chewy center. So good!

I went to a movie with a friend and I ate what was not on my cleanse: popcorn. I decided to make it at home with organic popcorn, oil and just a little bit of salt. Just isn't a movie for me without popcorn! Emotional, associative eating at it's absolute best!

Day 10's breakfast was a light detox meal. Adzuki beans and rice cooked together and steamed greens with toasted sunflower seeds on top.


Lunch was a leftover rice stir fry with seitan in it. Simple and hearty. As well, there was a sweet vegetable drink, which I did not make. I am going to start that this week. It is excellent for remedying low blood sugar, as well as a million other things. I did not have a cabbage, so I didn't make it. 

Dinner was a gentle affair. Kamut pasta, a bean soup and a Kinpira on salad greens. My kinpira had burdock, carrot, green beans and a white sesame dressing. I was a little disappointed with myself because I forgot to buy basil and cherry tomatoes as a garnish as well as forgetting to soak the white beans. So I ended up making black bean soup. Not a sexy finish to the cleanse because it would have been nice to finish exactly en pointe but I did it!!

 In this electronic age I have sent Mayumi a couple tweets on Twitter thanking her for the book and the experience. I swear, this will be the first cookbook that I try every single recipe from cover to cover! 

Her last tweet back, upon me letting her know that I had finished her cleanse and feeling like a million bucks was, " Congrats, you made it 10days!! Yay!! New you is started --Keep on it but enjoy back and forth till you find your way:))"

That was a great reminder and resonates with my yoga journey. Discipline, and habit-changing takes patience, enthusiasm, self-respect, trust and most of all perseverance. Enjoying the journey is the whole process. There is no goal but being present right where you are. Awakening to each change and calibrating accordingly. One foot in front of the other on The Path. 

It has been two days and I am eating the same. Last night we went out for dinner. It was Japanese but more Izakaya style not my idea of good food or how I want to eat. Loud, cranking tunes and extreme dishes. I ordered as simply as I could and enjoyed my meal. And my Saké! Which I made sure only had rice Koji and no added yeast.

Thank you for following my journey of seeking Balance.  

Day 8- All About the Food.

 Let's just talk about the food today! Since there is no more pain to go on about.

Today I made two new-to-me dishes. Mochi crépes and a tofu cheese salad. Most of the dishes, products and techniques in the 10 day cleanse are known to me so it was very cool to get some new experiences.

Mochi crépes are made by grating mochi and sprinkling it in a circle on a pre-heated oiled pan, cooking it on low with a lid on till it just melts and is still soft. This took about a minute, no more. If you cooked it longer it would be more like a Potato Rösti. Which is also cool. I pulled it out of the pan, rolled it up while it was still warm and soft and put stewed apricots on top. Next time I will roll the stewed fruit in the crépe. I was thinking that these would make amazing low-fat and gluten free tuiles, or even homemade ice cream cones or edible dessert cups. 

The accompaniment to the crépes were a few toasted almonds and a pressed salad of red cabbage (the recipe called for Napa but I didn't have it) and radish garnished with chopped parsley and grated lemon rind. The unsaturated fat in the nuts helps slow glucose absorption from the stewed apricots. Not sure why the pressed salad but it was a nice counterpoint to the sweet breakfast.

Lunch was a totally new experience as well. I had marinated a block of tofu in miso for two days. This made 'tofu cheese'. It made for pungent and salty tofu but it didn't taste fermented. Just pungent. I crumbled it and mixed it with the leftover seaweed lotus root salad from last night, served it on a bed of quinoa cooked with corn and tossed with diced avocado. The recipe called for zucchini which I didn't have and I needed to finish the avocado. I tossed a few salad greens on top and diced some baby tomatoes as garnish and then drizzled reduced balsamic around that. The flavours and textures were amazing. The sweet reduced balsamic was a perfect counterpoint to the salty tofu salad. The greens made the meal light and the chewy quinoa and unctuous avocado with sweet bursts of corn were texturely perfect and worked too well with everything else. Gourmet vegan food to be sure.

My complaints about the meals taking to long to prepare are totally unfounded once I managed to cook all three meals in one day. Almost every meal has a component towards the next meal as a time saver.

Dinner was simple. A tempeh stir-fry, rice with almonds in it and a wakame soup. Wakame is the seaweed used in miso soup. The soup also had snow peas, onions and corn in it. The tempeh stir-fry is going on top of tomorrows soba noodles to make a salad. 

As well today, in light of no longer following the cleanse absolutely because I need to add some sugar in at some point I had a tea with a teaspoon of brown rice syrup in the mid-morning and about five almonds and a quarter cup of leftover pressed salad after my yoga practice around 4:30. I made dinner and was eating by 6:30 pm. No headaches today. 

I am feeling well.

 

Day 7- Smooth Sailing!

No headache today! Well almost. Let's just say headache averted by me during the day, and then a mild headache came on in the evening after I ate, that I knew was coming after talking over my symptoms with Nadine. She asked me about the nature of the headaches and my energy levels. She recognized by the time of day that the symptoms were strongest to which organs the headache is corresponding to. Oriental medicine. So, I am drinking a very hippy sounding remedy of adzuki bean tea to ease this organ. Adzuki bean tea is a kidney and adrenal tonic to warm and strengthen weak kidneys and exhausted adrenals. My doctors have cautioned me for years to be gentle on my adrenal system. The hours I have worked for the last eight years have stressed my adrenals. As well, caffeine, nicotine and sugar compounded the stress even though they felt like they were helping. So, for the next two weeks I drink this tea. That being said, I drank the tea, the mild evening headache went away. Salud!

No headache related to sugar levels, anyways. I was a smarty-pants and about two hours after a quintessential macro breakfast I made and drank a carrot-apple juice.  Breakfast was miso soup with much more than the usual amount of tofu in it, a fresh salad (for breakfast!) and leftover barley. Then I went to teach. As well, for the first time ever, I made my lunch and brought it with me to the yoga class I taught at noon. This way I ate my lunch at the same time more or less as every other day on this cleanse.  I had a gorgeous wrap. I forgot to take a picture so here is the photo from the book. Avocado, green beans and carrots fried in sesame oil, lentils, salad greens and sauerkraut with a tofu mayonnaise spread on the wrap. Delicious, so simple and quick to prepare. And a handful of blueberries.

Though not in season, I went for them anyways, even though they were all the way from Chile :( What a treat.

Then, as I made my dinner I had a tea with a teaspoon of brown rice syrup in it. These two drinks with their gentle boost of natural sugar were all I needed to be headache free all day. Smooth sailing.

Dinner was interesting. For the first time no grain component. In fact today's lunch as well, had a tortilla wrap but no substantial carbohydrate. As well, tofu twice in one day is unusual. I am imaging today was a high protein, low carb day for the benefit of cleansing.

Dinner was a scrambled tofu, coloured with turmeric, hijiki cooked with lotus root and carrot, steamed greens (kale) with a pumpkin seed dressing and onion soup with 'mochi cheese'. Mochi can be grated on top of a hot liquid, like soup or stew and it will form a bubbly melted skin, like cheese. Macro french onion soup.

A note on all the seaweed and beans I have been eating. Many years ago I was macro for almost a year. I was curious to get my iron and b-12 levels tested. I scored completely normal in all categories. The doctor could not tell that I was eating a very different diet. I was not vegan because I ate white fish a few times a month. 

This journey has been interesting. I knew I would suffer a bit but I was not expecting to feel so delicate, to have symptoms of serious underlying issues appear so strongly when the veneer of the strong, stimulating foods were stripped away. I am not missing butter, or really anything. Not even my precious black tea. Because this clean, even energy and the calm, steady feeling in my body is better than a caffeine buzz. I will save that buzz for very special occasions. But discontinue it as a survival mechanism to stay amped to meet the demands of the lifestyle I have been leading. We are all so stimulated in this culture, in the city. Our jobs can be so demanding. Traffic, tv, internet, our 5 million devices, magazines, just constant stimulation. I am so grateful to be feeling some stillness from the inside out. It is akin to the feeling I get from imposing stillness from the outside in by practicing meditation and yoga or being in nature but it is constant. More on this tomorrow.

Day 6- Lesson Learned

 I had a delicious breakfast of mochi and a green juice.  Mochi is pounded gelatinous rice that is formed into cakes that are then able to be baked or fried. It gets crispy on the outside and is chewy on the inside. It can be enjoyed as a sweet or savoury dish by adding either a few drops of soy or maple syrup once it is cooked. Usually, I cut it into small squares. This recipe called for putting it in a waffle iron which I did not have. I used a sandwich grill. Best is pan-frying in a little bit of oil. You start it in a medium hot oiled pan, crisp up one side, then flip the piece over and put a lid over the pan till the other side crisps and puffs up. Mochi squares triple in volume as they cook. Children love it.

My green juice was apple, kale, cucumber and celery.

II went for a walk with a friend in the sun, then did some shopping and came home to make lunch. By then it had been four hours or so since I had eaten and I could feel another headache brewing. I ate lunch at about the five hour mark which was rice balls rolled in toasted almonds or black sesame seeds and a coleslaw. No pictures as I left my camera in the car and was too hungry to go and get it. My headache was in full swing after lunch and after five days of this I felt demoralized and confused. I took two aspirin and then googled five day headache. The information that I found was the light bulb going off. It relaxed me and I fell into a deep sleep for an hour. I woke up head ache-less and continued on my day feeling calmer and empowered.

Basically, my five day headache was a perfect storm of four events. Any one of these could have kept my headache flowing from day to day but the last one is the biggie. One, I quit caffeine and sugar which caused my body to get stressed out and I suffered a withdrawal headache. Two, I generally get a headache for a couple hours at my 'time of the month'. Three, the barometer changed as we went from days of rain to days of sunshine. Lastly, and most importantly, I was not snacking.

The first time I went macrobiotic I was cooking with Nadine and I remember she told me I was hypoglycemic. Not so, I argued as no medical tests had ever pointed that out, then or since. But she insisted that I was and between our meals she made me have a carrot/apple juice at about 10 am and at 4 pm she had me eat a chopped, poached apple or pear in kuzu with toasted nuts on top. I remember that I would be almost shaking when I got my little apple pudding, so desperate was I for the sweet snack. She told me that shortly, following a macro diet I would get command of my blood sugar and then be able to go long hours without food. But this was nine, ten years ago and my system and will are much stronger. This cleanse did not include mini sweet snacks between meals so I have not had one.  I did not feel shaky, nor did I feel hungry between meals. My only, ignored by me, indication that my blood sugar was dipping too low was a headache. Headaches and blood sugar levels are new to me but it may explain a long association I have had with headaches. It feels intuitively like the right answer. I have two grandfathers who were diabetic, a father who could be pre-diabetic if he doesn't keep an eye on things and many cousins and an aunt and uncle who struggle with obesity. I will keep my awareness on it and always make sure I have a few almonds or some snack with me. This only seems to be an issue as I transition into a cleaner diet because before I might not eat a meal for five or six or more hours but I might chew gum, have coffee with sugar or eat a few squares of dark chocolate. Mystery solved. 

Dinner was very simple and as usual, delicious. Barley and lentils, a simple stir-fry and puréed squash soup. Mayumi's recipes are spot on flavour-wise. Her amounts and instructions are perfect and it is a pleasure to cook from this book. What I am loving about this cleanse is my return to tasting and enjoying more simple flavours. 

I have not heard back from Mayumi about sharing recipes so just go buy the book!

 

Day 5- Oy Vey

Oy Vey,

Yesterday, the headache I had had on the right side of my head faded over the day and I felt pretty good. Until evening, when a headache started up on the left side of my head after dinner. I went to bed at 10 pm which seems to be past my new macrobiotic bedtime and I was over-tired. By the time I got into bed I had a migraine. Not a headache. I spent the night not sleeping all that much, tossing and turning, breaking a sweat from the pain and rubbing tiger balm on myself. I had macrobiotic nightmares, wondering if I was killing myself with brown rice and cabbage and maybe I just needed to eat a muffin or something. I woke up with quasi-laryngitis and it took two hours before I sounded normal. As I said, Oy VEY.

I phoned my macro mentor in the morning just to make sure I am on the right track. She was too sick to talk having just gotten back from weeks in France being force-fed French bread and fabulous wine. Now she is 'cleaning-out' like me! She mumbled something like 'your fine' and that was it. 

There are many reasons I am doing this cleanse. One is a desire to stay more on this green side of the food chain as I head down the road to fifty. This time of life is when 'The Change' is approaching and I want to make sure I surf it with as much grace and ease as possible. All the studies show that a meatless whole grain and veggie diet with some soy in it is good for this.

I am writing this at 10 pm, my macro bed time seems to be a bit later today, but my head is still aching, not too badly though. I can look at a computer screen. Let's hope tomorrow brings some peace. Five days of headache is a bit much.  

Today was my big sugar day. Today breakfast does not have a photo. It was oatmeal with raisins and unsweetened soy milk and maple syrup (optional). Which you have all seen before. I took the option but went pretty light as I know my taste buds aren't up to my usual lashings of maple.

Lunch was sweetened by an impromptu visit from a friend. So I got to cook for someone which was a total treat. We had rice noodles with a pressed salad in a sweet mustard sauce topped with fried Seitan and a side of greens topped with nori . This cleanse has had a seaweed component in almost every dish whether eaten or not. I put a stamp sized piece of kombu in rice, beans and even water I am boiling veggies in. Seaweed is always in miso soup and soon I am making a seaweed salad.

The lunch took no time. I had to let the pressed salad sit for 30 minutes but that was more than enough time to get everything else cooked and ready. The dressing was delicious: 1 tsp shoyu, 2 tsp Dijon mustard and 1 1/2 Tbs maple syrup. Try it! 

My friend loved the meal. She couldn't believe the greens had no dressing and that there where only three ingredients to dress the pasta. After we ate we had a serious chat about her desire to learn how to cook more like this meal. Her doctor has told her she must eliminate red meat and she is suffering from some health issues that she has been told a greener diet might alleviate. It seems sad because her and her husband are gourmets but actually it is a blessing in disguise. He is a great cook, and he is supportive of the changes she needs to make so I am sure he will become an amazing vegetarian chef. I am going to go over and show them a couple hearty and yummy things to help transition into more meatless meals that don't include dairy and eggs. We hadn't seen each other in months so what a fortuitous time to come visit.

Dinner was very macrobiotic and it was my kind of meal.  Brown rice with celery and walnuts (the dish called for almonds but I didn't have any), a boiled salad with green goddess dressing, a side of sauerkraut and an adzuki bean soup.

The green goddess dressing was very green and all I could taste was chlorrophyl.

A word on the two salads. I prefer boiled salads to pressed salads, with a nutbutter and umeboshi dressing it is one of my favourite things to eat. Try 1 tsp tahini, 1/2 tsp umeboshi paste and one or two Tbs of water as a thick sauce over the veggies. Yum! 

Day 4- Ready for More - Cleanse, that is.

My complaint of feeling too rushed to get all the meals prepared in a day was really my own fault and not the menus I am using. If I had made the days lunch the night before for dinner, like I was supposed too, the lunch meal would have taken 10 minutes to prepare.

Today's food was all a snap to prepare. This is also a revelation as I have long complained that eating macro means an hours preparation per meal per day. At least. When I worked with Nadine we were making specialized, beautiful food for V.I.P.'s so that is what I am accustomed to in regards to macrobiotics. But these menus I am following now are simple, straightforward and with leftovers only two out of twelve meals have been time consuming. 

This is reminding of when I first started meditating. I had done a ten-day Vipassana retreat and we were exhorted, upon our return home, to meditate for two hours a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. At twenty-three years old I miraculously upheld this for three months, then when my attention span, or life, could not withhold such lengths of time I gave the whole thing up in disgust with myself. I completed four more Vipassana retreats with similar results. Unless I could do those two hours a day I just felt I was not really meditating. Many years later when a crisis precipitated me meditating no matter what I gave myself permission to just sit however long I could. I aimed for 30 minutes once a day but if I only managed ten, then so be it. That time, I sat every day for a year and a half. Since then, nothing has really gotten in my way except sometimes me. And similarly, I had to go through the same realization with yoga. At one point, not that long ago, I actually gave up my practice for several months because I was so fed up with the fact that it couldn't look how I wanted it to. Finally, I had to concede that yoga was true love and nothing could keep me away. Even if my practice didn't live up to my expectations, I had to practice. And since then, nothing has gotten in my way. 

I do believe that this cleanse might be that watershed moment for me. That macrobiotics can be attuned to my needs for it to be speedier, at times, and that I will not quit in dismay with myself if I cannot cook three gourmet, perfectly balanced amazing meals a day.

Euro spa breakfast today. Some steamed veggies, a quarter cup of toasted sunflower seeds. The menu called for corn on the cob but as that is out of season I did frozen corn and ate it with a little umeboshi paste. I still have a headache but just faintly. 

Lunch is simple, leftover lentil soup and cucumber tea sandwiches: thinly sliced, salted cucumbers on whole grain sourdough bread slathered with a homemade tofu mayonnaise and earth balance margarine.

 Butter is better. But in fairness, it was rich, unctuous and and fresh at the same time. It tasted good.

Dinner was lovely, leftover rice, miso soup and steamed whitefish. I loved the fish. I put a tablespoon of Umeboshi vinegar which is salty, 1/4 c. of water and thinly sliced leeks in the pan on high heat till it boiled, then put the whitefish in, turned the heat down and put a lid on it. The leeks were a tart and salty condiment on the fish. So simple and so yummy. I will be doing that again. 

At three I started to feel tired and thought maybe it was an energy slump but when I got quiet and looked I realized that my sinuses were feeling a lot of pressure and that was making my eyes feel like closing. Tonight, my headache came back but now it's on the other side of my head. Grr. I am going to do Mr. Iyengars sequence in Light on Yoga for headaches. 

"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open." BKS Iyengar

Days 2 & 3: Deep Space- out

Day two's breakfast is decidedly supermodel spa-ish. Half an apple, a tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds and some steamed greens. The drink is an Ume-Sho Kuzu. But I know that lunch looks really hearty so it's no big deal. I am not a big breakfast eater anyways. It's usually toast with my beloved butter.

I feel great and head out for a walk on my way to an appointment. As I am walking I feel my neck and shoulders alternately tensing and relaxing. It feels really weird but kind of good as well. I remember Nadine telling me that neck and shoulder tension is related to a sluggish digestive system and today I am, wait for it, constipated. By the time I get home from my appointment I have a headache. My caffeine and sugar withdrawal are kicking in. The headache isn't strong and I make lunch. Unfortunately, my camera battery dies and I can't find the charger as I have just moved.  Here is a photo of Hato Mugi, which is also called Job's Tears and is considered a type of Asian barley though they are not related. I make a Hato Mugi stew, with a piece of fried Seitan on top, which for you gluten foes is a piece of gluten, and some steamed bread with almond butter on it. Gluten is high in protein which is why vegetarians eat it, concentrated and isolated from the rest of the grain it came from. Hearty. Macrobiotics don't generally toast bread, they steam it. It supposedly 'relaxes' the grain making it easier for us to digest. 

This stew was supposed to be last nights dinner but conveniently is also lunch so I don't need to skip any recipes. Speaking of recipes. I am not posting them as I think that might be copyright infringement. But, I sent Mayumi an e-mail and have asked her permission to post a few recipes.

By the time dinner rolls around my headache is pounding, I have no appetite but I eat a little left-over stew and go to bed shortly thereafter. Bummed that I am missing making dinner two days in a row.

Day three and I wake up with a headache but it feels milder, like I will be able to function, my throat is sore and I am spitting up grossness. I haven't been remotely ill in 7 months. Cleansing. Breakfast is lovely . Miso soup, amaranth cereal and steamed cabbage and carrots. Amaranth is one of my favourite grains. This link I posted has really interesting information on the grain.

I run out of the house teach a yoga class and get home at noon but don't finish cooking and sit to eat till 2pm. Again, lunch is last nights dinner so I don't miss a recipe. This meal is not my favourite. I made pan-fried chick-pea millet cakes with some left-over breakfast veggies and a tofu-tartar sauce. The tartar sauce has a tablespoon of brown rice syrup in it and my inner sugar demon is sooo excited about it! My first sweetener of any kind in two days! My headache is still there and I feel really spaced out. Those of you who know me will be feeling sorry for me right about now as I am already a wee bit spaced out so this could be catastrophic! I burn the chickpeas. I use canned kidney beans instead. The cakes are bland and the sauce is weird. I think that if I hadn't been so hungry, if I had used different pickles in the sauce and had taken more time to adjust the seasonings that it would have been delicious but I was ravenous and just ate. A bit late and then I have to cook dinner right away as I am heading out to two events in the evening. It makes me feel like weeping that just trying to cook simple meals for myself is such a big deal. I get dinner cooked, head out to my first event, leave early so I have time to come home and eat. Have you ever seen rice and lentils and steamed veggies look so sexy? I am using the beautiful photo's in Mayumis book to guide my plating. Yet I have to finish my dinner out of a tupperware in my friends car just to make it happen. I just cannot scarf rice and lentils. That is not the macro way. Better to finish eating in the car then try to eat quickly.

Event number two is a launch for a business called Revive Wellness Mentoring, a yogi I know and her holistic nutritionist friend started. They are going to lead people through a 21 day cleanse. So cool. I have already sent their info to a few friends I know who are looking for support to do a cleanse. This idea is timely and exciting as people want to cleanse but don't always know where to start. The Revive crew have recipes for the entire 21 day cleanse, guide you on shopping trips and support the clients the whole way. Again, so cool.

So, three days in no mid-afternoon fog or slump. I am really surprised. It has been so long that I have experienced this slump, that I remedy with black tea and/or dark chocolate, I forget if the last time I was eating well and off all caffeine I unslumped? Oddly, I crash in the afternoons and then get re-energized and stay up too late where as these last couple days my energy is even all day but I can't keep my eyes open past 9:30 at night and I am sleeping 10 hours or so!

Day 1- Grains n' Greens n' Beans.

Why a macrobiotic cleanse?

First, I am familiar with the diet having eaten macro in childhood and having apprenticed with a macro chef. 

Second, I already own any exotic ingredients so it will be cheap.

Third, I have a head start. This macro cleanse uses no eggs, dairy or meat (fish on one day but can be veggie protein, too). All of which I don't eat much of with the exception of butter and which I am happy to eliminate all together. 

Most of all, I love the philosophy. More on this later.

Mayumi's cookbook is brilliant. Totally accesible for beginners, non-vegetarians and the meals take between 15-55 minutes from start to finish. I am going to walk us through some of the more exotic ingredients. 

I woke up full of enthusiasm and began my cleanse. Daily step one is dry skin brushing my whole body before I shower. The skin is the largest organ of elimination. Brushing also supposedly aids lymphatic drainage. As well, skin brushing stimulates circulation and generally, when I am cleansing my circulation is worse. Whenever I detox from sugar I get the chills for a couple days. I googled it and this is a common side effect. Macrobiotically speaking, sugar is yin, yin is cold and so I guess the effect of it leaving the body could be chills. 

 Todays breakfast was miso soup with radish and onion and a green onion garnish; soft brown rice with an umeboshi plum on top and steamed radish greens with lemon and sesame seeds. Yes! don't throw out the greens on your red radishes. Wash very well and steam. 

It was delicious. The lemon and sesame seeds on the greens and the umeboshi plum in the rice made what could have been a slightly bland meal a strong flavour experience. Which on day one is a good thing. With the exception of the rice, the meal took 10 minutes to prepare.

I decided to not read or otherwise distract myself because I wanted to chew really, really well. This is basically the underlying tenet of macrobiotics.  Chew well, eat at the same times more or less every day and good health is yours. No matter what you eat if you do these two things you are basically half-way there. If you eat the best quality amazing food but don't chew enough and eat at random times. Well, you are not doing it right. When I was a kid I have a memory of adults sitting around me counting my bites. I was allowed to swallow at 50 bites. Now that is love. Unfortunately, cheffing in tree planting camps and film often means food is scarfed on the fly, standing up, bites here, bites there, haphazard hours. Even if you do sit, you are generally eating quickly because there is more work to be done.

So, I am retraining myself.

Lunch was so cool. I made a pasta dish with TVP in it. TVP, stands for textured vegetable protein and is a fancy product made from soy or even wheat flour. Anyone who was a vegetarian hippy kid has eaten this. Not a huge hit in my memory. I had not seen or eaten it since 1991 in Brazil. For some reason it was huge there. For those of you who have not seen it; it looks like dry dog food. You reconstitute in water for half an hour, or throw it in a soup or stew and it is ready to use. Wasn't too excited.

Mayumi had me reconstitute the TVP, then squeeze out the liquid, then soak it in a mix of soy and mirin, squeeze that out but reserve that liquid. Then I tossed the TVP in kudzu powder (a starch like cornstarch).  I browned the seasoned, starched TVP in olive oil and then added the reserved liquid. The kuzu, just like cornstarch, cooked onto the TVP giving it a crispy exterior and then when I added the liquid it made a lovely, shiny thick sauce. 

The dish was a revelation. The texture of the TVP and sauce was like a nice sweet and sour pork. This would be a good dish for anyone transitioning to eating less meat or if you are cooking for meat eaters. The mirin was a little sweet, mellowing out the soy. The TVP, tossed with olive oil coated rice pasta, sautéed veggies and served on a bed of Mache was rich, delicious and filling. Mayumi's was served on Arugula but I needed to eat the greens I had. I felt lots of energy and ready for the day.

The biggest revelation of the day though was not having a mid-afternoon slump. I did not drink my morning black tea. I did not eat any sweetener or have sugar other than what is naturally occuring in my food. My only caffeine came from kukicha twig tea which has the lowest caffeine content of any tea. You can have a cup before bed. And I had even, good energy all day. No caffeine headache. Maybe tomorrow.

Dinner did not happen. I made a judgement call. I prepped some ingredients then I went to a 5:45 yoga class thinking I would be home by 7:30 and eating by 8:00 pm. Which is later than I would like but I really wanted to take Suzanne's class. After class I was getting some stuff into my trunk when my key snapped off in the lock. So, I went out and had a salad roll which felt clean and healthy (but I know the sauce had sugar) then went on the two hour adventure of getting my car back to my house.