Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22nd, 2011 - Day 13 of 60

It has been so hot these last few days that I don't want to do anything.  In fact, I am only writing this post to delay doing yoga.  Today not withstanding, I've been feeling very good over the course of the Reboot.  And what I mean by that is I am not feeling the effect of junk food, over-eating, alcohol and all that goes with them.  I was up very early today so I could water the garden before it gets too hot.  I normally water in the evening, which is not preferred, but is alright.  With this heat I wanted to be sure the plants were given something to get them through the day.  I water with cans as I can't afford elaborate watering systems and my garden is a good 100 feet or so from the house.  I could use a hose but that is a pain and can cause issues.  My plan is to, one day, install a usable watering system once I have the garden somewhat permanently configured.  Right now I change things a bit each year and I've been expanding, so it is always in a state of flux.  As I was watering today and proudly looking at most things growing, I was taken by the fact that my garden and I are both on a liquid diet.  Now, in reality, we are, sort of, always on a liquid diet.  From the moment we pop something in our mouth, the human body works hard to render that foodstuff down to its most basic components in order to reap their nutritional benefits.  That donut hole or sausage starts on its journey by being torn, punctured, mashed, pressed and pulverized.  All that occurs while it is bathed in chemicals designed to wear it down more.  Once it gets into our stomach, the situation just gets worse.  Strong acids break down the food further and by the time it goes to the next leg of its journey, the small intestine, things are pretty much liquid.  Nutritionally, this is where most of the action occurs (or so I'm told) and where most of the nutrition for our body is absorbed.  After that is all that potty talk and I'm just not going to get into that.  So, as I am pouring water on my plants and thinking about poopies, er, digestion, I am also thinking about liquid vs. solid foods.  A benefit of using juice as the main component of one's diet is to reduce the effort needed to break down our food and allow the body to use its energy to deploy those nutrients effectively and to repair the damage we've inflicted over time. That point sounds good and in some way it is true, but I don't know the full scoop on it.  The main benefit of a liquid diet is the astronomical increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, which is woefully inadequate in the modern diet.  Now, honestly, I'd like to see some real scientific data regarding the advantages of juice fasting on energy levels, etc.  I take most of this information as anecdotal and leave it at that.  But, regardless of the effect on my energy levels via digestion, I know I am getting a superior level of micronutrients.  While I can't point to a study (and someone out there might know one) that states the energy saved from digestion of juice vs. solid food is used by the body to achieve repairs, etc., I can infer things from something called the "Thermic Effect" of food.  That is, the energy required to digest some foods is greater than others.  We all know this by experience.  Eat a salad and an apple for lunch and you don't feel weighed down or crippled by it.  Eat a large steak and you need to lay down.  In general, protein will need about 30% of the food's energy to digest it, while carbohydrates only need about 10% or 15%.  Fats, surprisingly, only need about 5%.  Another thing to consider in your Reboot is the fact that by liquefying the food ahead of time, we've made available many of the nutrients that are difficult to access.  The great benefit of eating raw fruits and vegetables is that none of their nutrients are destroyed by heat.  When you cook food, some nutrients (mainly vitamins) are lost.  Since most nutrition literature meant for mass consumption speaks in terms of protein, carbohydrates and fats (along with fiber and vitamins), they never discuss phytonutrients or some of the more esoteric aspects.  I will say that the whole idea of cooking food has a lot of disagreement with good arguments on both sides.  It is certainly a good idea to cook any meats you eat to avoid parasites or other issues.  E-coli can ruin a perfectly good meal.  Many nutrients are not affected by cooking.  What bothers me about mainstream discussion of nutrition (in addition to lack of discussion over phytonutrients/micronutrients) is they don't discuss the fact that these foods are already in a dire strait nutritionally.  The commercially grown produce we buy is from massive industrial farms.  There is no organic production, in general.  This produce comes from a massive farm that uses chemical fertilizers over and over and over and over on soil that is pretty much bankrupt of nutrients.  And, the fertilizers they use are generally the big three: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.  Sadly, they don't discuss the fact that healthy soil contains another 50 or so minerals needed for healthy growth.  When soil is created naturally via compost, green manure, etc., these nutrients are all available in abundance.  Not so with modern agriculture.  So, we are already starting from behind in that way.  Modern meat... don't get me started.  Hormones, antibiotics, genetic modification, and, worst of all, cruelty.  In my head I think it best to eat things as close to their original state as possible, but as I've discussed in this short rant, we sometimes need to "release" nutrients via cooking or we'd not get them.  So, depending on the food, one has a quandary.  Cooking may destroy some nutrients, but given their complex storage in fibers, cell walls, etc. we can't get to them properly without cooking or chewing really, really, really well. Juicing and smoothies help this as they remove that issue.  Think of them as teeth that work better than your own.  I don't think there is anything wrong, in general, with cooking some foods.  I think we eat far too little fresh produce and that would tend to make us go whole hog to the extreme.  I do think it interesting that only humans (you can let me know if I am wrong on this) cook their food, but then again, only humans would come up with "American Idol".

After my watering stint, I came inside and poured the last of my smoothie from a bottle kept in the refrigerator.  It was a particularly foul-looking thing whose tan color reminded me of paint meant for a military barracks.  It was a tad sweet (fresh pineapple) so I noted to cut back next time.  After I drank all 16 ounces I was on to the next thing.  I didn't feel loaded down or groggy.  I didn't feel like I wanted a nap.  In the short-term I think this has worked out very well. I am not a walking scientific experiment, but I do feel better and I do have more energy.  If I could always feel this good I'm sure I'd stick with it. But, my vegetable garden will soon be yielding some nice things and I'll have to switch to my manually-operated masticating juicer. ;)   Once I do go back to eating with some chewing involved, I'll probably end up eating about the same number of calories.  It is easy to throw a head of lettuce into a Vita-Mix, but hard to chew it.  I am sure I'll continue on with smoothies each day to ensure my servings of produce are high.  I will try to hang on with raw vegan eating until the 60 days are over, but will add nuts and seeds to the mix.  For now, I am forging ahead with liquid only.  The most important thing for all of us is to just eat FOOD.  You know, the stuff that grows out there in the world?  Fresh, quality food that is processed and refined as little as possible before we process it in out bodies.  The Reboot is the perfect way to come to terms with your diet and your environment. Not only does it help us back to better nutrition, is mentally shows us that we can deal with less snacking, junk food and processed food.  It shows us we can really do this.  Whether liquid or solid, your food is better.  That makes your health better.  That makes you better.

I am 20% through the 60 days.

Weight: 158.5lbs
I have no idea why I gained half a pound.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed

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