My wife told me she wanted a $400 blender. I asked her if it was 10x better than our current blender. She said, “Yes.” I said, “No.” But, like most issues, what I say doesn’t really matter. A Vitamix blender eventually showed up in our home. She raved about how this blender blends everything into a perfectly liquid consistency whereas our old blender left chunks… I was skeptical, but tried her smoothie… It was pretty good…
A few months earlier, I was browsing the documentary section on Amazon Prime and started watching one called, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” It was about an Australian man who was stressed and had all kinds of diseases. He went on a “juicing fast” where he didn’t eat anything, but just drank juices he made from vegetables and some fruits. The short story is that all his conditions went away, he lost weight, and he became healthy.
Now, I’m not really a believer that juicing is the miracle cure for all diseases, but it seemed logical that pounding down a whole bunch of vegetables is probably not a bad thing… So, I decided I’d go on a 10 day smoothie fast…. It was a combination of wanting to be healthy + wanting to get my money’s worth out of this new, expensive blender. For logistical reasons, I couldn’t actually make a smoothie every day because I wasn’t going to haul the blender to work… so I made a compromise and said that I could eat anything I would put in a smoothie… Some suggested that I could throw chicken and pork chops into a blender, but there’s really no reason for me to cheat myself… Luckily, Affirma provides a refrigerator full of fresh fruit, vegetables, avocadoes, and yogurt…
The first 3 or 4 days was extremely difficult. It wasn’t that I was hungry… but I was just angry… Probably what smokers feel like when they try to quit… Irritable and uneasy. It would be torture sitting through dinner watching my family eat chicken, bacon, and pizza, while I sipped on a peach/spinach smoothie… I wanted to eat meat! I wanted to eat pasta, rice, and bread! But, after the first 4 days, the cravings subsided and it really wasn’t so bad. The other thing that I noticed was that I was dropping weight like crazy. This wasn’t the original intent, but I was losing about a pound per day. It ends up that after my first 10 days, I lost 12 lbs. It seemed unhealthy…. but for me with a family history of diabetes, being overweight is not so healthy either…. so I guess you pick your poison… It ends up that the diet was really abstaining from meat and grains (e.g. noodles, bread, and rice). For reference, 98% of my normal diet is meat and grains. (Sometimes, I would eat fruit… )
I have long had a weight goal of being in the Normal range of the BMI index. To be more precise, I wanted to just be on the high side of normal. I have never in my life been “normal” in BMI. For someone that is 5’6”, 155 lbs is normal. So, I was determined to go round 2 with the goal of losing weight. I waited until after my birthday, since Tenille was going to make me some fried chicken. I was not going to sit at the dinner table on my birthday watching everyone else eat fried chicken… that would be like a special afterlife designed for me if I’ve been REALLY, REALLY bad. So, after I ate my fill of Fried Chicken on my birthday, I started round 2. I resolved not to eat meat until our vacation to Mexico… about 10 days.
The 2nd round wasn’t as dramatic, but I did end up dropping about another 7 lbs. I ate more non-smoothie foods. One concern that a friend brought up was that a fruit juice diet can sometimes set off diabetes in people because of the high sugar content. With this in mind, I cut down in terms of adding juice to my smoothies. I also ate more things like olives, avacados, and sun-dried tomatoes. I also started creating strange dishes like sauteed onions and apples (which for some reason was very delicious… ) I think I just wanted to eat something hot and cooked.
One concern was: Will the weight stay off? Or are their metabolic effects that will result in the weight coming back as soon as I start eating normal again. After the first round, there definitely was a bounce back, but it plateaued after 5 lbs. Keep in mind, this was also the time where I ate Fried Chicken to my hearts content. I’ll be curious as to how much I’ll bounce back after Round 2. We’re headed to an all-inclusive hotel, so it doesn’t bode well… I’ve heard it’s like a cruise in that it’s buffets after buffets, but without the boat…
I ended up at 158.8 lbs. (Just 3.8 lbs from my goal… ) This probably means that there will be a round 3 coming up. Before the New Year? maybe…
My wife writes down her weight on a yellow sticky note every day that’s posted by the scale. When I saw this, I started writing down my weight next to hers. That’s what enabled me to create the graph above.
An interesting question that comes up over and over is: Don, why don’t you just eat a little less? Why don’t you just eat in moderation instead of going on these extreme diets?
The answer is: For some reason, I can’t. It certainly hasn’t been for the lack of trying… In general, I’m almost always on an effort to eat in moderation… but for some reason, it doesn’t work… I seemed to always get seconds… or eat something that I probably shouldn’t.
Only when I put in place a draconian rule like “No meat and grains for 10 days”, am I able to slog through it. I’m not sure why this is. Apparently, there’s one type of discipline I’m more pre-disposed to than another.
Some folks have asked about my smoothie recipe. There’s nothing special about it, and you can probably find recipes on the Internet that are just as good if not better. But, here it is:
Peaches, spinach, greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, orange juice or apple juice
As available, I’d also add celery, romaine lettuce, apples…
I think in principle, it’s trying to add as much vegetables as possible and the least amount of fruit and juices for you to be able to tolerate drinking it.
This was my favorite recipe during my diet… I’ve had it for dinner about 3 times:
Sautee some thinly sliced apples and onions in some olive oil. Add sundried tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin. It tasted so good. I think it was just eating something that almost tastes like real food after only drinking smoothies for days.
To lose weight, I’m almost certain you don’t need to drink smoothies. Losing weight is about reducing calories. Abstaining from meat and grains, I’m sure results in a pretty significant calorie deficit for most people. And there’s probably a healthy rate of losing weight. If I could, I wish I could lose weight a little more steadily than in spurts. I also wish I could make small changes to my diet that I can keep as a lifestyle change rather than a diet that you quit after a period…. but, it’s difficult to implement.