Friday, May 14, 2010

FIRST DAY OF CLEANSE

Cleanse salads. Spinach, arugula, avocado, carrot, arame seaweed, canned wild salmon, quinoa, in a lemon-flax oil dressing. It was really delicious.


I wish I had pictures of Aaron's food, actually no, I wish I was eating Aaron's food...I'm starving! And I'm being dramatic. Last night we had our second meeting with the group and it seems everyone is faring pretty well. Cleansers each shared what is working for them and what isn't, and we were all able to get a little reassurance from the fact that we are in this together. I know that Aaron (and the rest of us) are happy that today is Day 5 and Day 1 is just a distant memory, but lets see how that day went for him...

FIRST DAY OF CLEANSE.

Last night I took my first dose of psyllium husk, and I think I over did it a little. It’s gross and I’m feeling a little bloated. I love the unsweetened cranberry juice though, it’s wonderfully tart and astringent. Because I am mixing it with cold water, I can dilute it to different strengths depending on my mood. In the morning, I like it quite mild, just a touch with some cold water is refreshing, eye opening, and pleasant, it tastes elegant in its lightness. At night, with dinner, I think I'll make it quite strong. It has many of the same properties as red wine: it’s acidic, tannic/astringent, ruby in color and slightly weighty on the palate. I'm going to put it in a wine glass, light a candle, and wear something classy.

It’s mid morning right now and I am just finishing up my warm water with organic lemon juice, which like the cranberry juice, is much more pleasant and satisfying than I thought it was going to be. After a while you can really pick up a touch of natural sweetness and realize how balanced food is on it’s own without the need to add anything. I expected to ingest all of these things without issue, but I am surprised how much I am enjoying them so far. I think a huge part of that enjoyment is the fact that I am being mindful while doing it. Rather than just drinking or eating “anything” I truly have to think about what’s going in my mouth. I look forward to lunch. I hereby declare today “quinoa day”.


The afternoon and evening were graced by a few temptations, but nothing all that intense. The cranberry water continues to quench thirst and delight taste buds. I had two guests for dinner and they drank red wine while I poured some slightly diluted cranberry water, into a wine glass and joined them while they imbibed. Dinner tonight was a re-visitation of two ingredients that I have always held in high regard, but for some reason have neglected to include them regularly in my diet (no offense, ingredients): quinoa and broccoli raab. I dry-sautéed some fresh elephant garlic and onions in the pan first, and just the pungent smell alleviated most of my cravings for salty, meaty foods. I think the smell of garlic and onions in the pan, may very well have cured much more than food cravings, and I was quite at ease while they were sautéing. I added the quinoa, after semi-extensive research on the benefits and dangers of washing or not washing it (Wash it. The coating is its natural insect and pest repellant that, although won’t kill you, it is not nutritious and can add a bitter taste to the quinoa). I then steamed it about half way. I tossed in the broccoli raab and simmered, covered for a few minutes then let it cool to room temperature. I threw in some nutritional yeast, some ground flax and flax seed oil, three ingredients which I seem to be just blindly throwing on top of food, and I would like to really do some research to get a bit more intimate with these little gems. The spicy, firm raab tossed in with the nutty, kind of popping-crunchy quinoa and the earthy, pungent garlic and onions was savory, tasty and fulfilling. I feel full, but not heavy or sluggish, and having dinner company was helpful. Dinner table company and conversation can really transform any food or sometimes lack thereof, into something satisfying. No bacon needed. So now what? This is the time where vampire like urges start to arise, when I want to go pray on defenseless bottles of whiskey and terrorize the townsfolk with inane stories while smoking cigarettes down to the filters. I have a few choices. Choices are good. I could go play ping-pong, which is fun, athletic, and takes a good deal of focus but is dangerously close to a known APA “alcohol-purchasing area”. IE: a bar. Or I could stay at home and distract myself with silly things like books and movies.

On a side note: Quite a bit of quinoa, fruit, cranberry water, vegetables and psyllium husk have gone into this rather small stomach in the past few days and as of yet, none of it has exited. I am waiting for a serious problem, or a seriously epic bathroom session.


One Day Before Cleanse

Currently the cleansers (including myself) are on Day 4. Yesterday I started feeling frustrated by the limitations cleansing puts on your palate, and then last night enjoyed a simple flavorful meal and realized I should cook this simply more often. Wasn't that a recent blog post, simple meals? I should really listen to myself. But enough about me, I would like Aaron to continue sharing his experience...so here he is to tell his story.

ONE DAY BEFORE CLEANSE. To be honest I’m fucking terrified. I want to do this, I NEED to do this, but CAN I do this? I can’t remember the last time I went a day without drinking, unless I was bed ridden or hospitalized. I look forward to that drink all day and sometimes, perhaps mistakenly, prefer myself after the first drink or two of the night. As a result, I’m worried how I will be without alcohol. Will people like me? I'm a fan of the sauce. So will I have the willpower to avoid alcohol? And bacon? I hope so.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A HEDEN'S GUIDE TO CLEANSING AND DETOXIFICATION

Currently I am running another fun and fantastic cleanse group on Block Island. This time there are 12 members of the group, all with their own unique experiences and stories which have drawn them to this process. One of the members of the group is my good friend Aaron. He has made appearances in this blog before (here and here). Aaron is a chef and someone I always enjoy bouncing recipes and food ideas off of. He shares not only a love for food, but also a mutual respect for food and it's functions in our bodies, our cultures, and our environment.

Aaron has decided to journal his experience. This is something that I always suggest to those with the time while cleansing, it gives us something to do with our hands besides eat, or in some cases smoke, and it aides us in following through. Aaron has also decided to share his journals with me and I've asked if I could share them with you. I am really excited about this, it is a great gift, he is a pleasure to read.


So with no further ado, I will allow Aaron to introduce himself...

I am a chef. Not strictly by profession but by lifestyle as well, and if you are in the industry you probably know exactly what I mean when I say that. The professional culinary world is an environment filled with extreme discipline juxtaposed with unbridled gluttony and disregard. As chefs we cultivate a relationship with food that we strive to make healthy. We respect the environment by purchasing local, organic and sustainable product. We respect our patrons by offering flavorful foods without chemicals, hormones or preservatives, and we respect our co workers and staff through a family-like environment; but, many of us choose to simultaneously destroy ourselves with alcohol, drugs, tobacco, caffeine, grueling work hours and lack of sleep. It’s a massive contradiction and although its incorrect to assume that this is the case with all chefs, it’s more common than it should be. Why do we do this? What effect is it really having on us? And how can we change without sacrificing our careers? Over the next ten days, in collaboration with a health counselor and personal friend, Persephone Brown, that's exactly what I hope to find out.

It started early on for me. I'd always loved food and cooking but it wasn't exactly my passion for those things that drove me into restaurants. I wanted to earn a little money so I could buy the usual dangerous inappropriate stuff that a thirteen year old boy would want to buy (a moped,trampoline, or handgun) and I felt comfortable in the kitchen. I had cooked at home a great deal and even before I could reach the counter, I'd stand on a chair and knead dough or peel garlic with my mother or father. So it seemed like a natural decision, when at age 13, I got a job at a local restaurant.

The restaurant was like nothing I'd ever seen or experienced before. It was loud, hot, and what seemed like hundreds of people doing millions of things. People were crass and swore a lot. There was metal music on a small boom box, held together with tape and aluminum foil, that just refused to give up on life. The smell of food was intoxicating and the people making it were doing it so quickly. There were girls. A lot of them. Much different than girls at school or my moms friends, or even babysitters I'd had in the past. They were girls that you probably wouldn't want to hire as a babysitter at all in fact and they wore short skirts, athletic looking shoes, and tight functional ponytails. The chef was not a large man, but he had a huge a presence. Without knowing, you could point him out immediately. He was collected and calm but with a sense of immediacy; Potential energy like a large object ready to fall to the ground, or a lion crouching near a herd of antelope. He made a lot of sarcastic jokes and people laughed. He harassed the waitstaff and they giggled and rolled their eyes. To me, he was one cool mother fucker.

So that's how it went for years, through high school and onto college. Different locations but more or less the same scenario. Did I like cooking in the restaurant? I loved it. The pace, the intensity, the aroma, but what I really looked forward to was after work, after the madness of service, and chain gang-like cleanup, when the hood fans turned off. When I heard that sound (or rather lack of) it meant no more tickets, no more yelling, no more mopping, no more weeds. It was time to let loose.

Our lives were less than glamorous. We toiled for 12, 14 hours a day for minimal pay, and for one reason or another we all kind of knew it wasn't going to get much better. Most of us didn't want to become chefs or even loved cooking but for our own reasons, (criminal records, temporary insanity, etc) were either forced to, or uncontrollably drawn to it. And for that time, that's all we were: Cooks. But between the time when that hood fan shut off and sunrise we felt like something else. Anything else. We fed every visceral need we could think of with drugs, alcohol, sex, and more or less whatever came to mind.

Along the way I fell more and more in love with the actual food and cooking. I was enamored with the way kitchens worked and started to research famous chefs and techniques. I realized there was an entire world of food out there with endless potential for creativity and exploration and I decided to go for it.

After years of culinary school, fine dining restaurants and traveling, things are much different. I run a restaurant of my own which is very well regarded. I have a clear culinary identity and specific goals that I believe will make not only my food exceptional, but will foster environmental and socially responsible practices. But, the hours are still long, the stress is even higher and the pay hasn't got all that much better. I still resort to using many of the same tools to alleviate these aspects of my job, when the hood fans turn off.

The ten day cleanse is meant to focus on the poor overworked liver and the under-functioning digestive tract and all the problems associated with these two extremely common ailments. Through a carefully planned diet, I hope to rid my body of toxins and restore my liver to a healthy state, as well as clean and restore my digestive system so that it may effectively absorb the nutrients for healthy body and mind function. The following are my journal entries for those ten days. Follow me in: A HEDEN'S GUIDE TO CLEANSING AND DETOXIFICATION



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Belated Mother's Day

Looks like my eyes are drawing on Wes'- they're so open they are drawing his closed!

I had a BEAUTIFUL first mother's day. Thank you Chopper and Wesley. You don't know till ya know..ya know? I think I always made my mom cards, and I guess you could never expect a child to understand the velocity of what their mother does and gives, but now I would like to give my mother more. It makes me happy to have a day of honoring the work of mothers, and it makes me happy to be honored :)

Beautiful roses from a man who "doesn't buy flowers". He has told me this from day 1, seems it is something he is morally opposed to, though he does lots of other very sweet romantic things. So I knew when he gave me 2 dozen (I was told to count them), 2 DOZEN roses, he was appreciative for the care I give our boy and our family. The other beautiful bouquet in the background was from my mom.

A pancake breakfast made by Mr. Butterfield

Not just any pancake breakfast. Mango, pineapple pancakes topped with Narragansett Creamery Ricotta and peach preserves. Oh my delicious! At Wholefoods on Saturday there was a man making pancakes topped with this cheese and preserves, and luckily Chopper pays attention. Want something special? Try this.

He and Wes had lots of play time this Mother's Day.

Wes with my mom, his Nannie, playing "this little piggy"

Wes with Chop's mom, his Grammy, and his new little cousin Alex.

2 new moms (one a bit newer than the other, Alex is only 2 weeks old!), tending, caring, loving.

Dad got a gift this Mother's Day too. Someone, ahem (I had the day off!), forgot the diaper bag and so we didn't have any of Wes' teething tablets which are much needed for restful naps these days. Therefore Wes needed and wanted to sleep on us, something he hasn't done for a few months now and something Chopper misses immensely.

I hope all the moms out there got some serious props last weekend, or at least some loving time spent with their families. And of course lets not forget our Mother Earth- what can we do to show her some appreciation?