April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Holiday weekend, or: The Girl Who Mistook Ju-Ju Bees For a Meal

Happy Tuesday to all. I got some very encouraging feedback from the CR society list this weekend, so I'm starting out my day feeling great! Now I have to confess that though all around, I had a fantastic eating weekend, I did transgress a bit with that well known 70's candy, the ju-ju bee.

But first, let's talk about the good stuff. On Saturday I went to the Farmers' Market with the intention of pulling a Dean and buying one of everything. The variety was amazing, the fruits and vegetables beautiful. I caught up with some of my friends there, and they refrained from making fun of me as I carried around a bag of vegetables so large I could barely hold onto it. I considered the possibility of buying a pack animal such as a camel to carry my veggies, but discarded it after remembering that the new apartments I'm looking at don't even allow dogs, much less camels. I went home to begin to chop, chop, chop. I made a heavenly fruit salad of apricots, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, and pineapple with a little lime juice squeezed on top to preserve freshness. Then I made a leek and kale soup, with leeks and minced garlic sauteed in olive oil and steamed kale stirred together in some vegan vegetable broth. That was delicious. On Sunday I make a soup out of red swiss chard with the remaining leeks, again with veggie broth and garlic. To this I added some steamed broccoli. It has a really interesting deep red color, and it tastes more field-like (does that make any sense? It tastes like it just came out of a field, which I suppose it did) than the same mixture made with kale. I sauteed the red stems in olive oil with the leeks to soften them up, while steaming the kale separately.

A word about this olive oil business. For years, I was a hardcore Ornish/McDougall lowfat vegetarian, then vegan for five years. I was so fat phobic that I didn't really learn to cook with oil at all. I was convinced that if I tried to cook with oil, it would sizzle up and jump out of the pan to burn me. So everytime I eat olive oil, I feel a little weird. I just take a deep breath and repeat my favorite CR rhyme, "We are Dr. Walford's mice. We find a longer life quite nice." (Don't try this around other people, they'll think you're weird.) Actually, it tastes great. There's this wonderful but expensive olive oil from France at the wine store where I usually shop that I may treat myself to sometime this week, if I am a very good girl.

Another thing about switching diets. When I was a lowfat vegan, I ate a lot. Tons of rice, beans, veggies, no-fat veggie stock, fruit, more rice. When I initially went vegan I lost about 20 pounds off a little body that didn't have that much extra fat in the first place. I looked great, felt great, but to be honest, I was tired of all the work it took to eat that much food. It's so hard to get good vegan food in restaurants (at least it is on the east coast, and especially in some of the places where I've had to travel for my work), and I got tired of lugging around a mountain of tupperware each day with my food (again, the need for a pack animal!) Now that I'm doing CR, I take a cute little bag to work with my lunch, take up no more than my share of the space in the communal fridge, and if I go out and there's not much I want to eat, I just eat a tossed salad with just vinegar (Sorry, but I'm not yet there with the ordering oil and vinegar in a restaurant. I need a little more time to grow into that.) Since I dropped my calories fairly slowly, I don't feel particularly hungry. I have a lot of work to do to fine tune my diet, and the nutritional software will surely help. But I'm enjoying how I feel and my lifestyle more than I did before. And I can see the difference in my skin and hair.

So on to the nutritional anti-highlight of the weekend. On Sunday afternoon I went to see the new Michael Moore movie, Farenheit 911. It was fabulous! As a long term activist, I felt happy/shocked to see so many ordinary people packing into the theatre to see this wonderful piece of anti-Bush counter-propaganda. (I have a funny Michael Moore story... if you want to hear it, write a comment or email me and I'll tell you, but it has nothing to do with CR so I won't put it here.) Anyway, in my enthusiasm, I consumed several handfulls of the ju-ju bees that the person I was sitting next to brought into the theatre. Sure enough, after the movie, I discovered that they're 120 calories for 56 pieces! Yikes! Not the best use of calories on an 800 calorie/day diet. Oh well. So I made ju-ju bees a meal. Needless to say, I will make it up to myself.

In terms of exercise, I enjoyed the beautiful weather by walking twelve miles over the weekend.

Total calorie counts:
Saturday: just under 800. Fruit salad, 1 cottage cheese, kale and leek soup, 7 oz of red wine.
Sunday: also under 800, with fruit salad, broccolli steamed in the kale and leek broth, ju-ju bees, 1 glass of wine and 1 hard boiled cage free vegetarian fed egg
Monday: probably over 800 -- went out to lunch with a friend and ate about half of my lunch, including a clam soup (not cream based), a vegetable sandwich and I hate to admit it, but french fries. I ate less than half of the entire thing, but it still added up. Yikes. That was the only meal I ate and I felt rather icky (is that a technical term?) afterwards. Lesson learned.

One thing the weekend away from my computer made clear to me is that I need that nutritional software, and I need to take my laptop with me when I am away from my internet connection. When I was shooting for higher calorie levels like 1200 and 1100, it was easier to guestimate and stay under without worrying too much about precision. But at the 800 calorie level, there's not much room for mistakes. I can't just keep guessing high on calorie levels when I don't know, hoping it'll all come out okay, and expect to get the right mix of nutrients. So I'm ordering the nutritional software and then I can annoy friends and co-workers by telling them what nutrients they're missing. That'll make me even more fun than I already am, won't it?


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