Quick and Dirty Product Review: Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares

The scenario: Whole Foods was closing in six minutes, and I had to Supermarket Sweep the joint. Somehow, in the flurry of frantically emptying of the aisles of their vegan wares, a box of Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares landed in my shopping cart.

In case you aren’t tapped into the vegan hivemind of the internet, everyone has been abuzz about these little crispy, carby, salty wonders. And I get it (sort of): it’s like the good people at Earth Balance sit around and think about all of the junky comforts that they ate as kids (spoiler alert: processed cheese is usually involved), and now they have decided to veganize it.

Who knew you could box and sell crack at health food stores?

So these crackers! They aren’t bad, but they don’t blow me away. To begin with, I am at least 80% sure that they taste nothing like Cheez-Its, cheddar, or anything that originated in a cow’s udder (although, of note, my staunchly omnivorous boyfriend reports that they taste “like Cheez-Its, but…better?”). That isn’t necessarily the worst thing: I think most delicious vegan eats stand on their own, and are better not compared to their animal-based counterparts. But that brings me to my next point: they’re sort of bland. I am a big fan of snacking (particularly at my desk, as I frantically attempt to perform twelve tasks simultaneously), and I am concerned that these crackers wouldn’t have what it takes to sate me during those midday eating-my-feelings binges. But I’m also, y’know, no longer a kindergartner who takes her cheesy crackers with a slug of apple drink, so my palate is probably not the intended audience for this particular product.

Nevertheless, all criticisms aside, neither I nor my dude half can stop popping these as we stream episode upon episode of Breaking Bad–there is definitely an addictive quality about them that is difficult to pinpoint.

The verdict: these are worth trying, especially if you have a child, or a childlike palate, or a childlike sense of wonder about the ever-expanding universe of vegan goods.

Product Review: LimeCrime Eyeshadow Helper!

So, we’re all devastated over all the controversy over Urban Decay’s eyeshadow primer potion being revealed as not truly vegan (not to mention their shady animal testing/oh no we’re not really policies). At least I am. I wear mildly shimmery shadows pretty much every day, and in order to avoid the creeping creasies and keep that stuff where it should be I relied on that primer like an orphaned piglet on its adoptive mother in my recurring dreams. I rationed the last of my old tube until it started smelling weird and resigned myself to tossing it out with no replacement in sight. Sob. So what’s a vegan to do?

Enter: LimeCrime! I’d never heard of this brand, but I just happened to be searching “vegan eyeshadow primer” on Amazon and it came up. Bam!

Fabulous!

Fabulous!

I ordered it immediately because I have a Prime membership now and it is super dangerous to my credit score. Apparently the formula used to contain beeswax but is now vegan, not to mention cruelty-free! I started using this stuff with wild abandon and I absolutely love it. I’d say it’s even better than the UD primer. It’s thicker, a bit creamier, and doesn’t have quite as much shimmer to it (depending on the UD primer that you used, since they make several). It is a little bit lighter in shade and you have to be a bit more careful where you put it, since it’ll show if you happen to groggily smear it on your general eyeball area with your finger like an animal not that I do that. Of course, I’m pretty brown, so this might not matter as much to you fairer peoples. At any rate, it works fantastically. The first day I used it happened to be a day I worked in a booth at an all-day festival outdoors in the sun, where I sweated profusely and ran around like crazy for many hours. And when I got home and collapsed on the couch, I was amazed to see that my shadow and liner hadn’t budged or smeared one bit.

Here’s the part of the post where you could see the amazing picture of my eyeshadow at the end of this day if I were smart and had gotten the photos off my old phone before getting a new one and could find the cord to connect the old phone to my computer. But hypotheticals aside, trust me, I still looked fresh to death.

Side note: of course, with a more powerful primer potion, you need a bit more power in your makeup remover. I recommend BWC’s removers. Both the lotiony and the watery ones work well with a cotton pad or washcloth and don’t irritate my sensitive eyeballs. I use pretty much exclusively waterproof liner and shadow and those are tougher to remove, but I find BWC does the job best.

I give LimeCrime’s Eyeshadow Helper two enthusiastic makeup-covered thumbs up! Buy this stuff and then buy some more for me, too.

Product Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box!

I had a really fantastic day last Wednesday. My new dress (for one of many weddings this spring) came in the mail. My new mascara came in the mail. Even the air fresheners I ordered came in the mail. Slightly less exciting, but still, who doesn’t love the thrill of opening a box with STUFF in it? Way more exciting than air fresheners, I also got a box full of goodies in the mall – the Vegan Cuts Snack Box!

It's like Christmas EVERY MONTH!

It’s like Christmas EVERY MONTH!

Vegan Cuts is a great site that we’ve reviewed products for before, and they were kind enough to send me a box full of sunshine to take for a test eating. I had been wanting to try this bad boy ever since I first heard about the service, and this one was perfectly timed. I’m still going through the hell of finals week, and having portable snacks ready for me to devour on the couch or on campus has been super handy. I haven’t made it through the whole box yet, but here’s what I’ve eaten so far:

  • First to get destroyed were the Oloves lemony olives. I am an olive fiend and having a little pouch of olives say, “Oh hi Jessica, I’m all ready for you to eat me, also I’m covered in delicious lemon juice and herbs, let’s be BFFS” is a recurring dream of mine. I’ve had these on flights before in those little snack packs you pay $9 for, and they are absolutely delightful. Portable olives! GENIUS.
  • I also went to town on the Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips. I agree with their Descendents-esque brand name – food SHOULD taste good, damnit. And these did! They were a little on the salty/oily side for me, but that didn’t mean I didn’t finish the bag. They were thick and crunchy and awesome with a little Pesto Vegenaise on top. (What? Like you wouldn’t do the same if you had some in your fridge.)
  • There was even a teeny little jar of artichoke bruschetta! After squealing for a while about how eety beety it was, I spread that thing on some crackers and it was the perfect snack for an intense study sesh. It was a bit oily, but the flavor was really delightful. I think this would make a great spread for a sandwich or two.
  • The Skinny Pop came in extremely handy on a day when I was in my car for way too many hours and then on campus for even more hours. I really love popcorn, to the point where I start to crave it sometimes, but mostly for the texture. I’m not big on loading it with salt and Earth Balance most of the time. This stuff was just right. Just a little bit of saltiness and oil. Also, it’s nice to have a 100-calorie pack of something that is more than a sliver of food that leaves you with a general idea of what eating it would be like. There were honest-to-glob handfuls of popcorn in there! I proceeded to get it all over myself in the car. I’ll definitely buy this stuff again since I’m lazy and never use my microwave popcorn popper. One criticism I do have, though, is I’m not a fan of brands using words like “skinny” and “guilt” on their packaging. We’re image-obsessed enough already, and equating our food with our feelings is unhealthy! It’s a rant for another day, for sure, but I just can’t help but say that I think it’s high time manufacturers stopped using terms that relate to one’s sense of self-worth to describe food.
  • TEESE! I haven’t gotten to eat this lovely little tube of nacho goodness yet, but I can’t wait. It’s been years since I’ve had it but I remember nothing but good things about it.
  • I am a huge Teecino fan. I can’t handle caffeine much. It’s kind of hilarious how hopped up and insane I get on a latte, and then crash so hard you’d think I was coming off a controlled substance or something. Teecino is great to have around for Sunday morning brunch when you can’t afford to be up all night but still want something hot and bitter and coffee-ish with your tofu scramble. I love that they’ve finally started making it in bags in the last few years! I can bring these to school and just get hot water and boom, instant late-night pick-me-up without the buzz!
  • I wasn’t a fan of the 22 Days chocolate protein drink mix. I’m spoiled by Vega (when I can afford it) – that vanilla chai is so delicious, it makes other protein drink mix powders cry. It’s also, like, $4 a pack, so it’s a treat when I can get it. I had this packet with me one marathon day in the lab, so I was really glad to have something to fit that mid-afternoon snack craving. I didn’t have my blender bottle cup on me so I just had to use a fork to stir this, and EW. It was GUMMY. I looked at the ingredients list and there was a ton of fruit pectin. That struck me as sort of weird. Why would that be in a drink mix? I mean, I can understand a little bit of some gums to provide a little viscosity, but seriously, this stuff was straight up gloppy. I added more water and stirred as best I could, then took a gulp – and tossed the stuff down the drain. I’ve had way worse protein drinks, but this one was a no go for me.
  • I didn’t eat the 22 Days protein bar myself, but Mr. Spice took it with him to work and when I asked him to describe it to me in detail he said it was “good.” A little gritty, but he said the flavor was overall very nice. I wish I had gotten to try a taste! It was a little heavy for me since I usually stick to lighter bars, but for a big strong manly man like him it was great.
  • The Meow Meow Tweet (cutest brand name ever) lip balm was rosemary eucalyptus-flavored. ROSEMARY in a lip balm! So crazy! It sounded delightful, and went on nice and smooth and made my lips feel super soft. The flavor was a little much, though. As in, when I put it on, I immediately exclaimed, “ITALIAN FOOD!” Mr. Spice agreed, and when I tried to go in for a smooch he recoiled saying, “Oh wow, Italian food.” I liked the balm itself but the rosemary flavor was just too strong and weird to be on my lips for long.
Always has to get her face in everything.

Always has to get her face in everything.

I still have the little packet of Parmela parmesan left, and of course the Teese tube. Overall I’d say this was an awesome box, and at $20 a month this is a really fun deal. I imagine the Snack Box subscription to be like the fun of opening my weekly CSA box, without all the disappointment of getting the same damned zucchinis four weeks in a row and lettuce that wilts in two days. It’s a fun surprise when you open the box, and who doesn’t love having portable snacks on hand? I am super pressed for time these days and rarely have time to cook, or even to pack myself snacks, so I really enjoyed having these ready to go. It also threw some much-needed variety into my boring snack habits. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lit review to write up and a tube of Teese to stare at longingly.

Quick & Dirty Product Review: Kombucha Dog

I didn’t used to like kombucha. My issue was less with the flavor, which in my estimation was comparable to pickle juice (full disclosure: I fucking love pickles), but rather the eerie reverence with which its virtues are extolled. Have you ever spoken with a kombucha enthusiast? They try to get you on that bottle like an infant formula ad, proselytizing its health benefits more persistently than those canvassers permanently posted outside of health food stores who try to get you to pledge monthly donations (these people, incidentally, are largely responsible for the dwindling balance in my checking account. DAMN YOU, OVERGROWN CONSCIENCE). If kombucha praise were to be taken at face value, I (and everyone else who happens to imbibe) would basically be immortal by now.

But I don’t buy into the hype that accompanies kombucha. I acknowledge that it has probiotic cultures (hey, Jamie Lee Curtis can’t have all the fun), is fairly low-calorie, and contains a bevy of antioxidants. Compared to other aqueous solutions that I regularly attempt to hydrate with (note: not usually water), it is probably better than a soy latte. And, in the case of Kombucha Dog, it is one of the best beverages on Earth (back off, Snapple lady, your empire is built upon lies).

Unlike a lot of other kombuchas, which taste like the above-mentioned pickle juice, raspberry Kombucha Dog is sweet on the tongue, then tart, with a light, pleasantly fermented flavor throughout. It’s glass-bottled and fizzy, so drinking one is almost as satisfying as popping open a Mexicoke–and because there is less sugar than there is in Mexicoke, you don’t experience a bloodsugar plummet that makes you feel like a corpse an hour later (downside: your pancreas might get a little bored. Better take a glucose tablet. Party!). I had raspberry Kombucha Dog with bacon-flavored kale chips, and it was a delicious, albeit almost shamefully hippie-esque, gustatory experience.

About the hippie-esque gustatory experience: I know that kombucha is not strictly a vegan product. But I can’t help but suspect that my kombucha habit is a byproduct of having been vegan for over a decade; you eat a plant-based diet long enough and eventually you develop a palate for weird hippie foods. (It’s science.)

But if there is one thing I like more than delicious fermented beverages, it’s pups.

Pug Life.

Did you peep that label? I want to kiss that little guy’s face until he’s like, “Jeez, lady! I need space. You’re smothering me.” And the labels are more than just adorable: if you go to their website, you can adopt that smush-faced little man, or another equally photogenic sweetheart in need of a good home.

I got this wonder elixir at Rainbow Acres in Marina Del Rey, but it’s also available at Erewhon, Locali, and a number of other veggie-friendly establishments in L.A. Check it out!

www.kombuchadog.com

Quick and Dirty Product Review: Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Puffs

While wiling away an evening at Whole Foods in a post-workout Mariana Trench-sized carbohydrate ditch, I just about snapped my neck when I saw these babies on the snack aisle.

“Vegan” in tiny letters so as not to scare off the omnis, natch.

Obviously I had to try them. I added them to my already-overflowing handbasket and ripped into the bag the moment I got in the car.

The verdict? These things are basically puffy corn puffs covered in weird non-dairy cheddar-type flavor powder. The cheddar flavor is pretty mild, which is sort of nice, but definitely don’t go into it expecting Chester Cheetah-level cheesiness unless you want to be disappointed. At first I wasn’t into them and enjoyed my cheesy kale chips a lot more (hey, they were on sale), but over the weekend the Mr. and I obliterated the whole bag. I am writing this with cheezy flavor powder all over my shirt and fingers right now. They’re good, but not so great that we ate them all in one sitting (which is how we usually eat snacks). I don’t know that I’d buy them again because they are pretty messy and the texture isn’t my favorite. I’d say they’re worth trying.

Product Review – Yoga Earth goodies

Hey friends! VegSpice here and – What’s that? A POST? That’s right, I’ve been neglecting this blog far too long and am back from the depths of 9-5 working (and now deep in the depths of grad school). Today I’ll take you on a tasty tour reviewing some fancy raw offerings from Yoga Earth. I’ve done yoga a few times and always end up trying too hard to impress everyone else and tearing something. I figure all my Pop Physique classes make me the most flexible badass there, and then for the whole following week I’m cursing every staircase I have to walk up. Anyway, Yoga Earth sells a wide variety of organic, raw, and all-that-good-stuff goodies in eco-friendly packaging. Here you can see my fabulous assistant, Fatty, modeling them:

She’s got style.

 

I’m actually not usually a super big fan of raw foods or the raw lifestyle in general – I mean, I enjoy some of it, but for an all-day-every-day thing it’s hard to sustain. I love some things at Cafe Gratitude but the dreadlock zombie thing doesn’t really do it for me, you know? But I was excited to try these products, because they were entirely new to me. The first up: Raw Almonds.

ooh baby I like it RAWWWWW

 

I don’t usually go for raw almonds because they have that bitter cherry-ish benzaldehyde-y flavor. I prefer smoked or tamari flavored almonds, so I was expecting that I would get the same bitter flavor from these guys. I was totally surprised at how creamy and soft they were, like my best buddy cashews! They had only the slightest taste of that bitter flavor at the very end, so I found myself chewing handfuls of these. Fatty was very interested in them too.

but really, what won’t she eat?

whatenberries?

Up next: Goldenberries. Wait, WTF are goldenberries? Apparently they’re also called Aztec berries, so I have to be down with that. These guys reminded me of big plump cranberries, very chewy and tart at the end with a very interesting almost tropical sweetness at the front of the taste. The texture was my favorite part. As soon as I tasted them I thought, TRAIL MIX COOKIES so I think that’s what these babies will have to go into. Really cool and full of crazy phytonutrients too!

crunchy munchies

Up last was the Meridan Trail Mix. I love trail mix, for real. It has to have: a) cashews, b) chocolate, and c) some sort of dried berry. This one hit all of those requirements and then some. The raw cashews in this were suuuper creamy and delicious. The cacao is a little dusty, but I’m not the biggest fan of cacao – I do like really dark bitter chocolate, but I wasn’t feelin’ this. Goji berries in a trail mix are always cool and make me feel all exotic and cool like I should have my own personal assistant or something. Go get me that latte and do my homework, ok? The mulberries are the really interesting part here. The first time I saw a bag of them at Cafe Gratitude I thought first, what the hell are those? Then, wait, didn’t those always fall off our tree and clog the pool filter every summer? Then, wait, you can EAT those? Turns out you can! They’re chewy and tart. I don’t know that this trail mix is my thing because I’m all about the trail mixes that are practically dessert, and my husband (oh yeah, I got married) wasn’t that big of a fan either. It felt like very good quality stuff, though. The food scientist in me does want to point out that the cacao is described as “[dipped in] coconut nectar” but coconut isn’t listed anywhere on the ingredients list. Food regulations are fun and they can be your friend too! Just kidding, they’re super boring.

Anyway, even this cranky skeptic was won over by Yoga Earth’s goodies, and if raw food is your thing give these a go! Starting Thursday, they’ll be available on awesome site Vegan Cuts, where they’ll be offering a sweet deal- 10% off  EVERYTHING on the site with the discount code BLOGFRIEND –  and you should totally hop on that, as well of all of the other awesome veg deals they have going on. (Umm, I need that caramel sampler inside of me.)

Some Like it Raw, Day 3: A Near-Death Experience

I drank kombucha today. This sounds like a prosaic report to make, since hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of Americans drink kombucha every day. Having now tasted it, this abundance of kombucha drinkers sounds like a worrying social problem —situated somewhere between poverty and girls who insist on wearing Uggs.

I never drank kombucha prior to today because it is entrenched in my psyche as a byproduct of new age spirituality, and I avoid new age spirituality the same way I avoid weeping sores. Stores that sell crystals, men who speak at length about their mastery of tantra, middle-aged women with dyed black hair and tattooed eyeliner named Raven: in my mind, they all perfectly represent new age, and they make me uncomfortable. I bet they drink kombucha.

It wasn’t hate at first sip: initially, I thought, “Oh my! A beverage concocted to taste like pickle juice. Delightful!” I didn’t even mind when stray chunks of ginger slipped into my mouth, or that the pungent flavor caused me to spasmodically shudder with every swallow.

So I guess my sudden turn on kombucha is my fault, because it resulted from incompetence: I inhaled it. You would think, at age 26, I would be capable of controlling my ingestion mechanisms. But no. I inhaled it. And let me tell you: inhaling that vinegar drink made my nose burn, and my eyes water, and my lungs quiver, and my life flash before me–which ended with the epitaph: “Here lies Crystal. She accidentally drowned in kombucha, less than twenty-four hours before being reunited with her lifelong love, the mashed potato.” Cruel fate!

There is little else to add about my diet today; it’s hard to feel inspired to comment when all I ate were salads. How much can one say about lettuce, anyway? “It’s crunchy” “It’s fibrous” “It’s stupid and no one likes it” (take that, lettuce!).

So the detox is over, and if my tummy weren’t full of raw collard green (used in place of tortilla in a wrap; this technique is only recommended if you share the same digestive system as cattle), I would run to my fridge and undo any potential benefits I may have reaped from this cleanse. I probably wouldn’t do a detox like this again, mostly because I feel more –toxed than de-. Abrupt diet changes are generally inadvisable, and I’ve realized that if I want to amend my habits (which I grudgingly admit may not be the worst idea; the secretaries at my work incessantly remind me that my vending machine habit will someday catch up with my ass), it would probably be better in smaller doses.

Like carrots in carrot cake.

<3

Some Like it Raw, Day Two: Lettuce Rock

I began my morning with another chocolate shake.  I am not even upset that it restored my previously eradicated food baby; after all, food babies are the reason that the good lord (or some merciful fashion designer) invented fluffy skirts.

But now it’s 11:15 a.m. and I’m feeling a bit peckish.  I think I’ll eat…

???

A giant bowl of mustard.

Oddly enough, this baby-food-esque puree not only looks like mustard; it has a fermented, vinegary flavor that is reminiscent of mustard.  But it isn’t mustard.  It purportedly does not even contain mustard (I remain skeptical).  It’s corn chowder, “slightly spicy with cilantro and cayenne”, but I do not taste spicy.  Well, unless you count the overwhelming flavor of fermentation that causes a numbing sensation with every bite. Hm.  Every day brings new knowledge: paresthesia inducement is a property I had never previously attributed to corn.

11:36 a.m.: Why am I still eating this?  It’s like baby food for a less discerning palate.  I guess it’s mostly because I miss the gooey foods that I consumed with reckless abandon just 48 short hours ago.  Like burrito fillings.  And cake batter.

The first time I ever went to a raw restaurant, it was with an omnivore.  He ordered lasagna, and winced when a cold plate of raw squash was brought to him.  “But there aren’t any noodles!” he pouted.  “And it’s like…cold.”  “Yeah dude,” I responded, filled with smug faux wisdom.  “It’s raw, what did you expect?  All raw food is like salads.  Like, creatively constructed salads, you know?”

But in retrospect, I was wrong.  Sometimes, a fermented bowl of puree is placed before you, and it is perfectly reasonable to pout about it.

12:45: kale salad time!  This is the most normal-looking dish in the detox plan thus far: kale, tomatoes, sprouted wild rice, pickled cabbage, mung beans, and pureed avocado moonlighting as creamy dressing (it’s as brilliant as it sounds).  Despite a tinge of fermentation, the flavors are well married.  The kale is hearty without being indigestible, and I chomp it with gusto.  It’s like my teeth were never semi-retired (they’re the Michael Jordan of the digestive process!).  I do have an inclination to pour an ocean’s worth of salt on top of this salad, but I refrain: besides (presumably) being against detox rules, over-salting falls under the purview of “bad habits from which I am taking a break”.  But seriously.  It needs salt.

All of these fermented foods has left me wondering if Leaf Cuisine is trying to get me drunk (if so: that’s nice of them).  After considering Leaf’s potentially nefarious plot to intoxicate strangers versus the raw food agenda, I realize that this is probably a way to circumvent cooking.  Now I’m even more confused.  Did a group of raw vegans convene and conclude, “Hey, we’ll just use this here bacteria to break down these here molecules, and then we won’t need concentrated heat application!”  Because molecular breakdown is molecular breakdown, you know?  And isn’t avoidance of molecular breakdown like, the thesis of raw foodism?

Eh.  I’m sure they have their reasons.  I just wish it were kept away from my precious, precious kale.

Since food is permissible today, I’m not quite as overwhelmed with the urge to throw it all away and become a fast food bandit.  But this junk food deprivation is beginning to cause hallucinations: the letters “t-a-c-o” hover before me when I close my eyes; the aroma of apple pie haunts my senses; I begin to experience phantom cookie dough syndrome, which is sort of like phantom limb pain, but more delicious.

Anyway.  It’s 5:30 p.m., and my condition quickly deteriorates to a debilitating nausea: I feel like I’m going to vomit mulch.  In the back of my mind, a voice gently reminds me: Taco Bell would never forsake me this way.

I get home, feign wellness long enough cuddle my dog, and proceed to lay in the fetal position for twenty minutes. I pop a Tums.  Tums aren’t part of the detox deal, but feeling awful because my body doesn’t know how to process salads isn’t, either.  My digestive rebellion subsides.

Time for another salad.

The Caesar salad (romaine, “crawtons”, tomatoes and Caesar dressing) settles my stomach a little more, presumably because it contains fat.  It also contains the aforementioned crawtons, a substance of truly incomprehensible composition.  It tastes like TVP chunks that have been partially rehydrated: salty, spongy—meaty? I have no idea how to describe them, but my dog enjoyed them.  Of course, she also eats fertilizer.

Who, me?

Day Two is over and I am 66.666666666666…% of the way through this all-too-fibrous experiment. I’m ready to designate waffles as a raw food group (I mean, pizza can be categorized a vegetable! With sufficient lobbyist muscle, anything is possible) and cry chlorophyll tears.  But I’ll persist!

Waffles 2012!

Tomorrow:  Installment 3 of 3 (Otherwise known as salvation.)

Some Like it Raw, Day One: No Chewing Allowed

Every morning, I stand before my mirror, facing profile, and assess how many months pregnant I look (no paternity tests needed: Food, you are the father).  This morning, my guess is about eight weeks (which is to say, my food-baby bump would only be visible to those thoroughly acquainted with my torso).  Since I’m going on a liquid fast for the day, I anticipate it will shrink over the next 24 hours.  At least, it had better, or I will contact Groupon and self-righteously demand a refund.

So.  First on the prescribed detox menu is the Got Greens drink, which is a blend of celery, spinach, kale and cucumber juices.  Those are some of my favorite green foods!  It doesn’t sound disgusting, despite resemblng Slimer’s ectoplasmic residue in Ghostbusters. And I am delighted to report that, indeed, it is not disgusting!  It tastes like water flavored with essences of celery and grass, which is actually better than it sounds when you know you have no other options.

Meals for the day. In the world of food porn, this is a fetish.

20% through this green concoction, and my stomach is beginning to feel like I swallowed a bottle of multivitamins without food.  I don’t think it comprehends today’s objective.

Two hours later.  I have only drunk about 80% of my juice.  HOW MANY OUNCES WERE HIDING IN THAT CUP?

Two hours and ten minutes later (around 11:00 a.m.): I’m finished!  But now that I have no edibles to put in my mouth, I sort of miss it.  Oh well; I did just drink my weight in kale juice. That’s more than most accomplish in an average morning.

An hour has passed.  It is noon, and I am ravenous.  I have an urge to go on a rampage, wherein I crawl through every Del Taco drive-thru window in a six-mile radius and demand they surrender all of their French fries to me.  But instead, I walk to my office kitchen and retrieve my Veggie Combo juice (carrot, celery, beet, and kale) from the refrigerator.  My boss saunters in and inquires what the hell I am drinking (he’s British, so when he swears at me it’s charming).  I tell him about my dietary plan, which elicits an eyeroll.  He decides that I am actually drinking blood.  Evidently, blood tastes very strongly of beets.

The drink isn’t bad (I like beets just as well as the next kid who grew up watching Doug), but it could definitely benefit from some vegan Worcestershire sauce.  And a celery stalk.  And vodka.

Anyway, I down it…in about an hour and a half, which is significantly rapider than the previous beverage.  Despite my increasing ability to power-chug juices, I feel about as sluggish as I would on any other day that I skip my morning espresso-chased-with-Diet Dr. Pepper-followed-by-green-tea.

It’s now 3:00 p.m., and I am growing certain that I am slowly wasting away from starvation, so I turn to the beverage I have been dreading most: Druids [sic?] Detox, which contains burdock root, lemon, apple, ginger, agave and cayenne.  Most of the ingredients sound palatable; cayenne is a bit questionable, and burdock root—I don’t have any preconceived notions about that, actually.  Apparently, burdock is a biennial thistle that moth larvae like to eat, and it has numerous medicinal applications. Hm.  I wonder if that’s the ingredient that lends a woodsy odor to my drink.

I take a tentative swallow.  It is not delicious.  My stomach growls.  I hold my breath and take another sip: consumed in this way, it tastes like lemonade with a curious afterburn.  Not bad!

I finish it, and in record time (twenty minutes!), but I can’t help but suspect that druids had strange tastebuds, or lacked olfactory bulbs (perhaps that anatomical feature evolved later, or was bestowed upon the human race by Stonehenge aliens).  Or maybe druids were just starving and ate everything.  (I can relate.)

As my work day comes to a close, I don’t think I can definitively declare that I’m more alert and energetic, or that my mood has been elevated, as a result of raw food alchemy.  But I will say this: it is a miracle that I have gone this long without eating and have not yet experienced the urge to strangle someone.

I get home and manage to clean my kitchen for ten whole minutes (this is practically a record) before tearing into my final drink of the day: Chocolate High Fiber Smoothie (cacao, banana, nut mylk—P.S.: they made me spell it that way—chia seeds, and dates).  Every time I considered throwing a Hail Mary today, I remembered that I got to have a chocolate milkshake for dinner, and I was sated.  It was worth the wait: wondrous, chocolate-banana sludge. I devoured it thusly:

Step 1: Vanna White that shiz.

Step 2: Chug with the enthusiasm of a hazed sorority rush.

Step 3: I'm a lady.

Day One of this detox is over (therefore, I am 33.333333333333333333…% on my way to Thanksgiving feasting!).  My boss thinks I’m a vampire, I’ve considered robbing multiple Del Tacos of their French fries, and I had a milkshake for dinner.

Not bad, all things considered.  But I wonder if I’m going to sleepwalk to my refrigerator in the middle of the night to ravage a burrito.  Only time will tell!

Tomorrow: Installment 2 of 3 (now with solid foods!).

Some Like it Raw: The Preamble

I’m not exactly what one would consider health-conscious: I could spend my days floating on a lazy river filled with melted Earth Balance, devouring cookies faster than the Cookie Monster and slathering aioli on everything, including exposed areas on my body, and be quite satisfied (and my skin would be so supple!).

This is not to say that I am not health aware; I have a basic understanding of health principles, and when forced, I’m capable of eating salads and otherwise competently monitoring my nutrition.  But most of the time, I’m a “takes her multivitamins with a swig of beer”-type girl.

My awareness of basic nutritional tenets makes me wary of cleansing diets. It’s just a fancy title for a crash diet; you only lose water weight (and that is what Diurex is for—well, that and peeing the color of Windex, which is an excellent conversation starter in the ladies’ room); and cleanse-diet shillers often utilize marketing terms that make my skin crawl, like “detox” and “probiotic”.

It’s all so GOOP, you know?  This is the sort of approach people take in an attempt to emulate Gwenyth Paltrow.  I don’t hate Ms. Paltrow (she’s a convincing actress in the right part, and has surprisingly extensive knowledge of good hip-hop), but I don’t aspire to her waify build.  She looks great, but I could stop eating entirely and never attain her BMI.  Plus, who would want to give up eating?  There is a lot of [vegan]pizza in this world, and I’ve devoted my life to ensuring that it all finds a proper home.  In my tummy.

So many pizzas, so little time.

Also, if Sir Mix-a-Lot is to be believed, a little jiggle can be a good thing.  And when it comes to muffin top, everyone knows that the top is the best part of the muffin, anyway.  Right?  Right.  I’m comfortable with the amount of fat on my body (usually), and even when I’m not, no one wants to hear the petite girl whine about her genetically regrettable birthing hips. So I generally shy away from weight loss regimens of any kind, but especially ones that prohibit me from eating cookies.

Somehow, I’ve still duped myself into purchasing a “detox” cleanse from Leaf Organics (I’m blaming Groupon).  It’s a three-day dietary program consisting of raw juices and raw salads, and touts the ability to “cleanse, detox, lose weight, increase alertness and mood”.  Its promises have the familiar ring of overpriced skin serums at Sephora (tighten pores!  eliminate wrinkles! attract Ryan Gosling!), and I do not expect it to fulfill all of them.  But having been to Leaf in the past, I know that it is possible eat worse things than their salads for three days (I have, for example, been on the Taco Bell diet before, and the results weren’t pretty).

Still, willfully adopting this regimen is out of character for a number of reasons, some of which are outlined above, and not least of which is that chewing is one of my favorite activities–and Day One of the cleanse is all-liquid.  I’ve considered liquid diets before, but I’m usually idly wondering about the feasibility of subsisting entirely on pumpkin spice lattes and multivitamins, or deriving all of my nutrients from beer.  Speaking of: no beer (or wine, or scotch, or other adult beverage) is permissible for the duration of the diet.  My liver is going to be so bored for the next three days.

But I have resolved to go through with this: I want take a break from my questionable dietary habits.  I’m curious how I would feel if I did not consume fried foods on a regular basis.  And if nothing else, I will devour fat-soaked carbohydrates on Thanksgiving with cataclysmic delight.

Goodbye, miracle emulsion.

Hello, fridge full of nonalcoholic liquids.

So! Coming tomorrow: Installment 1 of 3.