Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cruel and unusual punishment

A friend recommended I do a 3 day cleanse from the Dr. Oz website. He said it would make me feel great, would reset the salt and sugar receptors in my taste buds, reboot my metabolism and eliminate my food cravings. Sounded good to me - I could sacrifice 3 days to boost my metabolism. I had already done the 3 day all fruit cleanse a couple of times so I knew I had the discipline to get through it.

I printed out the one pager from the Dr. Oz website that I found for the 3 day detox cleanse and went shopping at the health food store and stocked up on everything I needed. Here's the link:

I was really looking forward to getting started so I prepared the breakfast smoothie for the first day before I went to bed the night before. I made the mistake of forgetting to grind my flax seeds and threw them in whole which I found out (the hard way) was not a good idea.

On the morning of the first day I woke up excited to get started and prepared the required cup of green tea with lemon slices and Stevia. Of all the sweeteners I have ever tasted Stevia has got to be the worst - it's HORRIBLE! I know its supposed to be the best sweetener out there but honestly, if that is the case it must be because the taste of this crap is enough to turn you off sweeteners all together. If Stevia was the only sweetener available I would go without - seriously it is nasty.

Anyways I forced myself to drink my disgusting green tea while I ground my flax seeds using my Magic Bullet (by the way the tea was only disgusting because of the Stevia - I should have just poured it down the sink and made another cup without the Stevia). I figured since the whole flax seeds I had put in the night before wouldn't be useful because I hadn't ground them that it wouldn't hurt to add another tablespoon of ground flax seed which at least my body could use. I also took my probiotic and multivitamin.

Onto my first smoothie! I added my ground flax seeds and took a gulp. I immediately realized that those whole flax seeds that I had accidentally tossed in the night before were going to cause me grief. You would think that after sitting overnight in the smoothie mixture that the outer seed casing would have started to soften. Nothing doing. However every flax seed had developed a gelatinous slime around it, so even when I tried to chew the seeds they kept evading my teeth and slip-sliding around in my mouth. The taste of the smoothie was great. But as I sat down at my computer after that first gulp I suddenly didn't feel well. My mouth was filling up with saliva faster than I could swallow it and I knew I was going to heave.

Off to the bathroom I ran and proceed to upchuck my green tea, my vitamin, my probiotic (which merrily floated to the top, still encased in it's capsule) and that first mouthful of smoothie. After emptying my stomach I felt great. I wondered if it was my liver trying to tell me something?

So I went back to my breakfast smoothie and although it took me 2 1/2 hours to get through, it didn't make me sick again. I was pretty sure it was that foul Stevia in my tea that my body so violently rejected and I vowed never to add Stevia to anything that passes my lips again.

The lunch smoothie also tasted good, but it had a texture that was very difficult for me to like. I tried watering it down, but that just made more of it that I had to choke down. Eating it with a spoon was somewhat better, but there was no way I was going to get through the quantity I had made. After working on it for over 3 hours I gave up and decided to keep the rest for my lunch the next day. There was no time to make a snack smoothie because it was almost supper time, plus I really wasn't hungry at all. So I just took the rest of my vitamin and the Omega as a snack.

During the day I had read a blog where someone mentioned that the cayenne pepper kind of ruined the taste of the supper smoothie and they recommended putting the whole 1/4 tsp into a couple ounces of the supper smoothie and shooting it down before drinking the rest of the smoothie - that way the rest of the smoothie wouldn't have the peppery kick. Sounded like a good idea to me. But I figured it would be easier to just take it down in one gulp, so I decided a mouthful would be enough. I took a tablespoon of the supper smoothie, topped it with the 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper and shoved it in my mouth. Bad idea. As my tongue came up to swallow it pushed the cayenne pepper onto the roof of my mouth where it stuck in a thick paste. The roof of my mouth began to burn, so I tried to rub the paste off the roof of my mouth using my tongue. Not a great idea either...because then my tongue was on fire too. So I started gulping down the supper smoothie (which tastes great by the way) and around half way through it the burning had finally subsided.

(Note to self - do not repeat that stupid move tomorrow.)

I ended the day, as recommended, with an Epsom salt and lavender bath. It was nice, but my bathtub is really not comfortable and it was a struggle for me to sit there for 30 whole minutes. Afterwards I went to bed with expectations of having a great sleep because that's what Dr. Oz said would happen, but I tossed and turned for hours (and this happened all three nights). I think I know what it was - the damned cayenne pepper. Pepper is a stimulant for me and I'm pretty sure that taking it at supper time was keeping me awake 'til the wee hours of the morning.

The next day went well. The morning green tea was much better without the damned Stevia and stayed down no problem. The morning smoothie is really good and I really enjoyed it. For lunch I choked down what I could of the green smoothie but I just couldn't bring myself to finish it and ended up throwing some of it down the sink. Once again I really wasn't hungry enough on day two to bother with the snack smoothie so I skipped it. For supper I mixed the cayenne pepper into about two inches of smoothie in a small glass and drank it down in one shot. It was a lot less hot that way and I could still feel it but at least my mouth wasn't on fire. Then I proceeded to really enjoy the supper smoothie.

On the morning of day three I was pretty proud of myself for sticking with it and was looking forward to my breakfast and supper smoothies - the lunch smoothie...not so much. I really didn't know how I was going to bring myself to stomach it again. I know what you're thinking - come on - just one more time. Surely you can do it! But no matter how I tried to convince myself, I couldn't bring myself to throw all of those ingredients into the blender.

I compromised by making myself a salad with the lunch smoothie ingredients instead. I chopped up the kale, celery, cucumber and green apple and whizzed up a dressing in the blender using the coconut oil, the pineapple and a bit of the almond milk. I squeezed the lime over the salad, drank the remaining almond milk and tossed the salad with the pineapple dressing. Finally I proceeded to eat the salad. It was pretty good - actually it was very edible when compared to the smoothie! But after eating all that salad I wasn't hungry enough for a snack smoothie. I wasn't really hungry for the supper smoothie either but I had it anyway.

Over the three days I was never hungry, I did not feel weak nor wiped out like some people claimed they were and I didn't crave or miss anything really.

On the morning after I was done with the Dr Oz 3 day detox cleanse I'll admit that I was really glad it was over. Nothing miraculous happened - I didn't poop out anything spectacular and I didn't really notice any difference as far as detecting saltiness nor sweetness was concerned. I was down 5.8 pounds and overall I felt good. I can't say I felt noticeably better than usual because I pretty much always eat fruits and vegetables so it wasn't that much of a departure for me. I suppose I would have felt a bigger difference if I was in the habit of eating a lot of junk food.

Would I do this again? Yeah, I might. But if I do I will make a few changes.
1) I won't waste any money buying Stevia because it is absolutely vile.
2) I will put the ingredients for the lunch smoothie through a juicer instead of blending them. I am pretty sure it will be a lot easier to drink a smooth juice made from these ingredients than it is to try to scarf down that awful smoothie. I really found this to be the hardest part and I am really not the type of person who puts a lot of emphasis on texture - ever.
3) I will try to find a way to incorporate the cayenne pepper into either the breakfast or the lunch drink. For me having it at supper more than likely counteracted any beneficial effect the Epsom salt/lavender bath might have had on helping me to get a good night's sleep.

I know - those of you who read my blog regularly are no doubt wondering where the "big end of the stick" is in this story.

Well the next time I saw my buddy who had suggested that I try this cleanse I mentioned to him that the green lunch smoothie with the coconut oil was the hardest part for me and asked him if he felt the same. He looked at me weird and said no - there was no coconut oil in the cleanse he did and the one he had trouble with was the one with the swiss chard and the clementines. I was confused - there was no swiss chard nor clementines in the cleanse I had done. After talking a little while we realized that I hadn't done the cleanse he had recommended. He had done the Joe Cross 3 day weekend juice cleanse - not the Dr. Oz 3 day detox cleanse!

So what it comes down to, is that because I am a sucker for punishment and I will do just about anything I can to boost my metabolism, I will eventually go out and buy myself a juicer and try the Joe Cross 3 day weekend juice cleanse.

Every time someone drops a stick I just can't resist picking it up and beating myself with it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's only Rock and Roll but I like it!

Ah - I finally got to see the Rolling Stones in concert during their "50 and Counting" tour. Ticket prices were absolutely ludicrous, but being a huge Rolling Stones fan I managed to get $85.00 tickets back on April 20th through I had told a few of my Stones-fan friends about the $85.00 tickets but most weren't interested - saying that they would most likely be nose-bleed seats and wouldn't be worth the $85.00.

Wouldn't be worth the $85.00? We're talking about the Rolling Stones here guys!

I think it's a shame that they went overboard and that the best seats in the house were selling for $635.00 - that's crazy steep! Unjustifiably steep. It's comparable to back in the 70's when Madonna charged $32.00 a head for her show which was completely out of range for what we normally paid back then. I can remember my best buddy Steve who, upon hearing the $32.00 ticket price snorted "for that price she'd better be naked".

With Mick Jagger about to turn 70 on July 26th and Keith Richards turning 70 on December 18, 2013 I certainly didn't feel the same way that Steve did about Madonna. Actually I didn't know what to expect. Mick and Keith are 69 years old - Ron is 66 and Charlie is 72 years old!!! I can't believe they are still on the road. I can't believe they still have the energy. It's hard to believe they are still talking to each other after all these years.

It just blows my mind. I couldn't wait. Every few days I would check to see what the set list for each city was. Every day I counted down how many days 'til I would get to see my beloved Rolling Stones. I didn't care where my seats would be, I would be in the same room with the legendary Rolling Stones, listening to them play. It would be awesome.

On the Friday before the show we got to vote for the 'by request' song of our choice. I had to chose Dead Flowers, which is one of my all-time favourite songs from the Sticky Fingers album (actually that whole album is great). I so wanted to hear them do Dead Flowers - words can't even explain...

Waiting for Sunday to roll around seemed endless. I can't remember the last time a weekend seemed to drag on so slowly. Finally it was time - we drove downtown and went to Firegrill for a steak supper which was great and helped pass the last interminable hours before we could go and line up to get our tickets.

Things were a disorganized mess outside of the Bell Center - as it always is prior to any show. We got into the line up for the box office and were then told that the $85.00 tickets were being assigned at different entrance so we moved over there. The line moved fast and when our turn came we were told that we were being given seats in the reds! Better than I had hoped for. We were given our tickets and security wrapped a bracelet around our wrists and we were off to find our seats.

I really couldn't complain - across from the stage, 12 rows up from the floor, we had a perfect view of everything. I was very pleased. Denis went to get a couple beers while I chatted with a couple who were sitting behind us. We drank our beer and 8pm came and went - not that I really expected them to start playing on schedule or anything, but it would have been nice. Each minute after that crept by slow as molasses. It was really hot in there.

Nothing to do but wait.

...and wait...and wait.

Come on guys!

Finally - maybe around 9pm...not sure exactly...the lights went down and we were treated to Get Off My Cloud as the show's opener. It was great - everyone was up and singing and moving and I had goose bumps all over. I felt like I was going to cry. This was it. I was getting to see the Rolling Stones! The next couple of hours would be monumental in my life and will stay with me forever.

The set list was superb - a great selection of their hits. It's Only Rock and Roll, Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter, Wild Horses. It was amazing - I was just loving it. And then the moment I had waited for and hoped for - the song that Montrealers had chosen by request was...DEAD FLOWERS !!! I stomped my feet and clapped my hands. Tears spilled from my eyes - I sang out every word at the top of my lungs, chills ran up and down my spine for the entire song. I was in heaven - this was worth way more than $85.00!

The show continued with The Last Time with special guest Win Butler of Arcade Fire. I kind of expected more. It was good - but not as great as it could have been. This was followed by Emotional Rescue which had the crowd on their feet again. Then they did Doom and Gloom and One More Shot which were good, but I couldn't sing along because I never really got into the new stuff on the GRRR album I guess.

Honkey Tonk Women was next and I loved it. After that Keith did a great rendition of You Got The Silver with Ron followed by Happy and the crowd showed their appreciation. Mick Taylor joined them for Midnight Rambler which was insanely good. Then they did Miss You, Start Me Up and another of my favourites Tumbling Dice. I wish I had been to their Dec 12, 2012 show in Newark when Bruce Springsteen joined them on stage for Tumbling Dice. At least I get to see it on YouTube - it's fantastic...I just love Bruce! That would have been the ultimate for me to get to see the Rolling Stones AND Bruce Springsteen all in one night. But you can't have everything I guess.

Based on the set lists for the other shows I knew when they started Brown Sugar that we were nearing the end of the show, followed by Sympathy For the Devil which was the last song of the show. It had been awesome but we all knew they were coming back for a three song encore so it wasn't over yet.

A local choir joined them for You Can't Always Get What You Want, then they belted out Jumpin' Jack Flash and Satisfaction with Mick Taylor for our listening pleasure. It was all great. I enjoyed this show beyond my wildest expectations.

The reviews in the newspaper were accurate I suppose. Yes I agree that Ron Wood carried most of the guitar work (and he was fabulous by the way) while Keith just played along from time to time - but I enjoyed seeing how happy he looked on stage and I had to smile when he said that he 'loves this shit'. Mick and Charlie have still got it - I don't care what anybody says. I would love to have Mick's energy when I get to his age (although I don't have it now so that will never happen). Seeing Mick Taylor on stage was a treat that I will always cherish.

Agreeably I never got to see the Rolling Stones in their prime - had I been in a position to compare perhaps I would have been disappointed. But I had nothing to compare to and I thought it was a great show and I am so glad that I didn't miss it.

You know, life is short. Shit happens. People pass away when they get to a certain age. Will they be back? Who knows. I think we were all blessed to be able to see them this time around. Sometimes you just need to be grateful for what you've got and keep your expectations reasonable. Everyone seems to be taking up a lot of writing space speculating whether they'll be back again. Why bother? Why can't everyone just enjoy the fact that they came, they were awesome, they've still got it and we all got to enjoy it?

$635.00 for the best seats with a sold out show? Yup, I think this proves that these guys have got the big end of the stick. They know it's only Rock and Roll...and we like it, like it, yes we do!