Aztec Diet: Coffee, Tea or ?

Stats: -1 pound. Net Loss: 6 pounds

Breakfast: Papaya Yum; Lunch: Dr. Bob’s Kale Blueberry Smoothie with ginger and cacao; Snack: freeze dried veggie chips; Dinner: Spinach Portobella Smoothie with 1 clove garlic, made with hot water; Snack: nothing

Now that I’m refreshing my memory about PH, it occurred to me to look at my morning cup of coffee. When I first decided to tackle my weight problem last fall, I was drinking a morning cup of hot chocolate from the convenience store on my way to the dog park. The first dietary change I made was swapping this for a cup of coffee with almond milk. I knew eliminating the chemicals and sugars in the hot chocolate mix would be beneficial. It did not occur to me to ask myself how the PH factored in. I wondered if I would do better with green tea, instead.

Your typical cup of coffee has a PH between 5 – 6. Darker roasted blends are at the top of the scale. You can also reduce the acidity of coffee by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for more than 12 hours. Use this concentrate to make your coffee. Caffeinated teas also run between 5 – 6, with green tea at the high end of the spectrum. So tea and coffee are comparable, and are not a problem if limited to a morning cuppa.

In contrast, soda pop varies between a PH of 2 – 3, except root bear, which is 4. These drinks are loaded with chemicals and calories along with the acid. My personal choice is to never drink them.

For the rest of the day, I drink water. Even better is water with lemon. This is a widely accepted practice for alkalizing your body. I have a friend who is doing a great job of outliving her life expectancy while fighting stage 4 cancer. One of her habits is to start her day by squeezing a lemon into her morning glass of water. Today I pulled out my grandmother’s old pitcher. I added the juice from one lemon to a quart of water. I plan to add this to my daily routine from here on out.

Another healthful beverage option is 1TSP – 1 TBSP raw apple cider vinegar, with or without raw honey, in a glass of water. This tonic is reputed to have many health benefits. Bragg’s has been promoting it for decades. Now they have bottled the tonic and you can buy it at your natural food store for many times the cost of making it yourself at home.

It has occurred to me that eating popcorn is not the best option for a snack, even if it is on the approved list. I do love the smell of popping popcorn, and I really enjoy the crunch. If I need a snack tonight, I’m going to try celery instead.

Papaya Yum

    1 Cup papaya
    1/8 Cup cashews
    1/2 Cup Tropical Blend (pineapple, mango, strawberry)
    1 large handful baby spinach
    1 thumb ginger
    2 TBSP ground chia seed
    Water, to desired consistency

Carol’s Kale Blueberry Variation

    1 young coconut, meat and water
    1 Cup blueberries
    3 kale leaves, chopped or torn
    2 TBSP ground chia seed
    1 TBSP raw cacao

Aztec Diet Day 9: Phantastic PH

Stats: -1 pound; Net Loss: 5 pounds

Breakfast: Carol’s Blueberry Kale Variation; Lunch: Papaya Yum; Snack: 9 Triscuits; Dinner: miso broth with a red bell pepper and a glass of water with 1 TBSP Chia; Snack: air-popped popcorn

This morning it was raining steadily. I’d decided I was not going to go to the dog park. Then the phone rang. It was Tom, my dog-park buddy who has an Amazon Prime account. “Your scale is here. It must have come yesterday. It was between the screen door and the door when I went out this morning. Are you coming up?”

I got wet.

I’m so happy to have a new scale. The old one bobbled around and was unreliable. I would weigh myself a second time after my morning coffee and it would read a pound less. On this scale, it reads .8 pound more. It’s futuristic looking. A slab of tempered glass on top of 4 stubby legs and a huge digital read out. Doesn’t go with my grandmother’s furniture, but then, neither does my Kindle or my iMac.

Yesterday, I was talking about the cleansing properties of greens. This is largely due to the high PH of all green foods. PH is a number which represents how acid or alkaline something is. The scale goes from 1 – 14, with 7 being neutral. You’ll find controversy between experts regarding which foods are acid and which are alkaline because the net effect on the body is different than the PH of the food itself. Lemon is one example of a food that is acid but has a high alkalizing effect on the body. The lists vary a bit, but you’ll notice certain things remain constant.

Why is PH important?

Remember the Andromeda Strain? The killer space virus could only function in a certain range of PH. The human body’s optimal PH is 7.365, slightly alkaline. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is highly acidic.

What happens when the blood is too acid?

1. It starts robbing the body of needed minerals to operate properly. This promotes a variety of degenerative diseases.

2. The body naturally becomes acidic when you die. At which time the body becomes host to a variety of organisms that function well in an acidic environment (corpse) and whose purpose is to promote the decomposition of the body. When your diet is too acidic, you wind up emulating a corpse and inviting all manner of nasties to take up residence.

In 1931, Otto Heinrich Warburg won the Nobel prize for discovering that cancer cells do not use oxygen. This work, unfortunately was largely ignored by mainstream medicine. It did spawn alternative treatments for cancer, such as treatment with hydrogen peroxide. In his later years, he connected PH to this theory, noting that cancer cells maintain a lower PH, as low as 6.0. They go dormant at a PH of about 7.5, and they die after maintaining a PH of 8.5 for a specified period.

Remember those toxins I wrote about yesterday? The toxins that your body hides in fat stores it creates specifically for that purpose? The fat your body won’t let go of until it is able to process the toxins? These are largely acids. Raise your PH and you will be better able to process those acids. Then weight loss becomes easier.

Phase I of the Aztec Diet focuses heavily on high PH greens, which makes it ideal for creating a diet that balances your PH. Focus on maintaining a high PH. Test the PH of your urine in the morning, using PH test strips designed for this purpose (PH strips for other purposes do not have the correct range). Empty your bladder when you get up. Wait about 20 minutes, then urinate again. Test this urine, it does not contain all the acids you dumped overnight.

Some highly nutritious foods are also acidic. Don’t dump them. Accommodate them by eating more alkaline foods. For a list of Acid/Alkaline foods, go here:

Look for today’s recipes tomorrow.

Aztec Diet Day 8: Glorious Greens

Stats: down 1 pound Net Loss: 4 pounds

Breakfast: 1 cup grapes; Lunch: Dr. Bob’s Kale Blueberry Smoothie; Snack: 1 ruby Red Grapefruit; Dinner: Kale Apple Carrot Smoothie w/ ginger instead of lemon; Snack: air-popped popcorn

Today I mostly cleaned house. Not an exciting topic for a blog, so instead we’ll talk about how your diet can help you clean house. Cleaning the toxins out of your bloodstream enables it to pull more toxins out of your stores of fat. This is critical. The body uses fat stores to protect the body from toxins it has ingested but is too overloaded to process. Clean your blood, and the body is able to start processing those toxins. Once the fat stores have let go of the toxins, they no longer serve their purpose of protecting the body and can be dissolved.

Most of the smoothie recipes in The Aztec Diet include some form of greens. This is a critically important part of the diet. Green means clean. Be sure you are including greens in your smoothies at least twice a day. The greener your green, the better. This is why kale is number 1 on Dr. Bob’s list. Further down the list is spinach, and below that is leaf lettuce. Romaine is comparable to leaf lettuce, but has more protein and beta-carotene and less fat than leaf lettuce. It may be that Dr. Bob prefers leaf lettuce because it blends more easily than romaine.

I like to add a tablespoon of green powder to my morning smoothie. Green powders come from any of a number of plants and algae that have a high concentration of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is very similar to hemoglobin in make up. The main difference is that it has magnesium instead of iron at its core. Chlorophyll is a wonderful blood builder and detoxifier.

Chlorophyll is alkaline and combats acidosis. It is also a deodorant, which is why restaurants used to garnish plates of food with parsley. You were supposed to chew on it to freshen your breath. Ironically, the sprig of parsley that has been so ignored is likely, gram for gram, the most nutritious thing on any given dinner plate. The greener something is, the more chlorophyll it has. Your green powder should turn whatever you put it in a deep dark green.

You can buy green powders in jars for about $20 and up for a one month supply. I make my own and pay much less. Many of the commercial green powders have lots of extras in them. However, you may not be getting therapeutic amounts of all the ingredients, especially the expensive ones.

I buy the following from the bulk herb section of my favorite health food store, Clifton Natural Foods here in Cincinnati: 4 oz. spirulina, 2 oz chlorella, 2 oz. wheat grass powder, 2 oz. barley grass powder. I toss them all in a big jar, screw the lid on tight and roll it around until it’s well mixed. Any one of these powders is a wonderful supplement in its own right. I like to use a blend. While each is a good detoxifier, they all have different properties.

Spirulina has many benefits. It has a highly concentrated complete protein. It works to balance blood sugar and increases brain function

Chlorella Japanese research found that chlorella could be beneficial in fighting obesity, diabetes and heart disease by reducing body fat percentages and blood glucose levels. Researchers also claim that chlorella is effective in boosting energy, improving digestion and fighting depression (The FDA does not support these findings). Read more:

Wheatgrass increases energy and stimulates the thyroid gland.

Barley grass promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. It also is full of iron.

Spirulina and chlorella are algae. They naturally clump on top of water. Whenever you add these to a smoothie, wait until you have a nice whirlpool in the center of your blender, then open the lid and pour your green powder into the center of the whirlpool. This prevents your green powder from sticking to the side of your blender.

Other good blood cleansers are lemon and cayenne. Including these in your diet will accelerate your losses. I put cayenne into empty capsules and take them with meals. Go slow with the cayenne, it can cause stomach upset. Lemon can be added to smoothies or drinking water.

Aztec Diet Day 7 Fasting

Stats: weighed in up another 3 pounds, net loss: 3 pounds

Breakfast: Nothing; Lunch: Nothing: Snack: Nothing; Dinner: Nothing; Snack:

I don’t understand the weight gain. I’m hoping it will settle out in a few days. It’s making no sense to me.

I had no appetite after chugging a quart of salt water at 6:30 a.m. I decided to go with this and fast until I got hungry. It’s now 6 p.m. I’ve had a few glasses of water, but nothing else. I have no idea why this is happening. If you knew me, you’d be worried. I’m big on regular meals.

Numerous fasting proponents insist that it is healthful to give your digestive system a rest from time to time. The entire Paul Bragg family (of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and Liquid Aminos) make a practice of fasting one day a week.

I’ve always meant to give fasting a shot. We’ll see how this plays out.

Aztec Diet Day 6: Delicately Put

Stats: up 1 pound. Net loss: 6 pounds Waist: lost 1″ Total loss: 2.5″

Breakfast: Dr. Bob’s Kale Blueberry Smoothie* Lunch: Chocolate Covered Cherry with avocado Snack: 1 cup cottage cheese Dinner: Carmen Miranda Snack: air-popped popcorn

Up a pound? But down an inch? How does this happen?

I didn’t cheat! I swear! But I have not been drinking enough water between smoothies. And that creates a problem. I’m . . . er . . . well, jammed up. Not a polite subject for public conversation, but for those of you who are doing this diet, it must be discussed.

All that chia needs lots of water to absorb and move it along. So yesterday’s wastes are now lurking like a beached barge in my belly. Along with those from the day before. This could be resolved by a quick trip to the drug store. Or, I could use Stanley Burrough’s solution from The Master Cleanser.

I don’t like to post other people’s stuff, since they worked hard to develop it and you should buy their books. Which is why I’m only posting my own recipes, and not Dr. Bob’s go-to Kale Blueberry Smoothie* that everyone keeps Googling. However, in the interest of public health, I’ll make this exception.

For constipation during a cleanse, Burroughs recommends an internal salt water bath that washes your entire digestive tract. This is very non-invasive, unlike enemas and colonics. When you first get up (I recommend setting your alarm clock one hour before your usual wake up time for this) add two level teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt to 1 quart lukewarm water and drink it all down at once. Do this on an empty stomach. Hang around; it will wash right through you. In an hour or so, you should see relief. If you don’t, you may need to adjust the salt:water ratio slightly. If you have any herbal laxative tea, drinking some the night before will help.

And if nothing happens today, I’m going to do this. First thing. Tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I went back to The Aztec Diet and re-read the first 6 chapters. It doesn’t mention hydration at all during Phase I. I checked the index. only one listing for water. It refers to drinking a glass of water before and after meals during Phase II. I’m thinking this would be a good habit to adopt during Phase I.

My social life has been suffering since I started this. Whenever I get together with my friends, it’s always around food. This week I turned down a Wednesday dinner invite with Anna and Pat. Angie didn’t bother to call about our usual Thursday lunch get-together because she knew about my diet. This evening, I am trying something different. Anna reserved Looper at Redbox and I will be bringing my own smoothie ingredients, along with some air-popped popcorn. Thank God she is not making Chinese ribs tonight. I am only strong, not impervious.

Carmen Miranda
1/4 Cup cashews (raw, if you can find them)
1 banana
1/2 Cup frozen tropical smoothie blend (pineapple, mango, strawberry)
1 large handful of spinach
2 TBSP ground chia seed

*Here is an url to Dr. Bob demonstrating his go-to Blueberry/Kale Smoothie:

Aztec Diet Day 5 Holy Guacamole, Batman!

Stats: I might have lost a pound, or maybe just 1/2 pound. Hard to tell on this scale. So total loss is 6 pounds for sure. Maybe 6.5, or even 7. If I’ve lost 7 pounds, my BMI is down 1.0.

Breakfast: 1-1/2 cups of smoothie left from last night’s Papaya Yum variation; Lunch: Chocolate Covered Cherry; Snack: 1 grapefruit and 4 Triscuits; Dinner: Holy Guacamole; Snack: nothing.

I ordered a new scale today, Amazon’s #1 digital scale. It’s on sale for 40% off. It’s time. My old scale only measures in even pounds. It changes its mind, depending on where I stand. Totally unreliable. I didn’t worry about it as long as the trend was down. But now I’m telling the world about my diet and need to be more accurate. And it’s demoralizing when the numbers bobble around. The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale w/ Extra Large Backlit 3.5″ Display and “Step-On” Technology weighs at the nearest .2 of a pound. It doesn’t have any other sexy features, like BMI calculations. It does have 6,483 5-star reviews. I like simple, durable, reliable machines. It comes Tuesday.

My scale isn’t the only appliance I have that’s possessed. My Black and Decker Cyclone blender likes to roam around the counter like it’s playing bumper cars with my other appliances. The gasket came with ridges in it, so it leaks. Sometimes the lid lifts and spins around like Linda Blair’s head in The Exorcist. And I accidentally dropped the clear plastic insert in the lid into the blender while it was running several months ago (which it promptly ate). Now I have to be very careful how I turn it off or it will spray gunk all over my cabinets. For grins, I just checked reviews for this blender on Amazon. Apparently I’m not the only one who has suffered at the blades of this monster. I’ve kept it for the 475 watt motor, which is strong enough to chew up greens.

Now I’m window-surfing Amazon and discover Hamilton Beach has a lovely model with a 700 watt (peak power) motor for under $25 (3# under countertop blenders). The Oster BVCB07-Z Counterforms 6-Cup Glass Jar 7-Speed Blender has a 600 watt motor and sexy options for under $60 (#4 under countertop blenders). You only need 1/2 HP motor (375 watts) to grind up greens. Guess which one I want. Do not feel compelled to spend $400-600 on a blender just because Dr. Bob says so.

Today I made a guacamole smoothie for lunch. If you’re new to avocados, read yesterday’s blog and you’ll handle them like a pro.

Holy Guacamole
1 4-5″ pickling cucumber, skin on
1 avocado
1 red bell pepper
1 handful of spinach
1 clove garlic
Juice of one lemon
2 TBSP ground chia
Pinch of Real Salt or Celtic sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 TSP cumin
1/2 TSP dried cilantro or 1TBSP fresh
Cayenne to taste (optional)
Water to desired consistency

Note: Make this smoothie on the bland side. The flavor will intensify as it sits.

I like using pickling cucumbers instead of some of the water in smoothies. Cucumbers are almost entirely water, so If you use cucumbers, reduce your amount of water accordingly. I use pickling cucumbers because they are thin skinned and aren’t waxed. This is great because you don’t have to peel them. This means you get to keep the nutrition, which is almost entirely in the skin. It also saves time and energy (I’m big on conserving energy). According to Diane Onstad’s lovingly researched reference on plant foods, The Whole Food Companion, cucumber is alkaline, diuretic, disolves kidney stones and can destroy intestinal worms. Bonus!

I get my pickling cucumbers at a nearby Asian market. They’re hard to find. If you can’t find them, substitute part of one of those long, skinny English cucumbers that comes individually shrink wrapped.

Chocolate Covered Cherry

1 Banana
1/2 Cup frozen sweet cherries*
3-4 leaves of romaine
1 TBSP ground cacao nibs or raw cacao powder**
2-4 TBSP ground chia
pinch ginger (optional)
1 TBSP green powder (Optional)
1-3/4 Cups almond milk

Remember, add the green powder after the blender is running well and has a whirlpool.

*Do you really want to pit fresh ones?
**You can use unsweetened cocoa, but you’ll lose some lovely health benefits.

Aztec Diet Day 4: Avocados!

Stats: 1 pound lost since yesterday. Total: 6 pounds since Monday morning. Total inches off my waist 1-1/2.

Breakfast: avocado/banana/blueberry/romaine Lunch: 1 cup cottage cheese Snack: Popcorn Dinner: Papaya Yum with young coconut meat and water instead of nuts Snack: none

My normal meal schedule is breakfast at 10, lunch at 2, and dinner somewhere between 6 and 8. This schedule doesn’t seem to be working on the Aztec Diet. Today I found myself ravenous at 2 and needing to get to work. I had a cup of cottage cheese instead of a smoothie for lunch. I topped this off with a cup of decaf with two tablespoons of almond milk. I obviously don’t have the hang of sipping extra water to keep full. Tomorrow I’m going to try having 1/2 my breakfast smoothie before the dog park. That worked well on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I did have a good day writing. The newly bereaved did not act as I had planned. Good thing Peter took Brent along with him. I noticed my concentration improving. I met my writing goal more easily than usual. So maybe this omega 3 brain connection has merit.

Dr. Bob doesn’t say much about avocados. A 200 calorie avocado has a measly 3 grams net carbs with 9 grams of fiber. The fat is heart healthy. It has an almost perfectly balanced PH and an ANDI score 0f 37. Not a blockbuster, but 5 points higher than yogurt. Diane Onstad calls avocado “one of the world’s most perfect foods.” Diane’s The Whole Foods Companion is one of my favorite books. I consider it essential for anyone interested in healthy eating.

One avocado blended with one banana makes a lovely, creamy base for a smoothie. I’ve used this for years, with endless variations.

The single, biggest drawback of the avocado is that so many people lack confidence in choosing a good avocado and peeling it.

Avocados never ripen until they are off the tree. The very best way to get a perfectly ripe avocado is to buy them when they are a brilliant green, then ripen them yourself. Leave them out on the kitchen counter. It will take a few days. Check them a couple times a day. You’re looking for a brownish, blackish skin with green undertones. Feel them. If they give under gentle pressure, they’re probably good. If it still has its stem, press down on it. If it gives easily, it’s ripe. The last check is to pop the stem off. If the spot under the stem is a lovely green, you’re there. You can only pop off the stem once, though. After it’s off, the spot quickly turns brown and that test is useless.

Once they are ripe, put them in the fridge. They’ll keep for a week. So having a steady supply of avocados involves a certain commitment to timing. You’ve got a window of a day or maybe two to get them into the fridge once they’re ready.

To peel an avocado, hold it in one hand. Lay the blade of the knife along the vertical axis and cut in until you hit the pit. Rotate the avocado against the blade until you have cut all the way around it. Twist the halves to separate them. Now hold the half with the pit, take your knife and press the blade into the pit. Turn the knife gently and the pit will pop loose. Avoid cutting yourself. If you use a ceramic knife like I do, do not stick the tip of the knife into the pit and torque it or you will snap the tip off. Ask me how I know.

At this point, many people just take a large spoon and scoop the flesh out. I cut the avocado halves into slices while still in the skin, then peel the skin off with my fingers. If it is at correct ripeness, the skin will be flexible and leathery and will come right off.

I always eat a whole avocado. I’ve never found a good way to keep an avocado half without it browning and turning yucky. If you know of something that really works, please post it in the comments!

Aztec Diet, Day 3: I’m Borscht

Stats: This morning I weighed in with a 1 pound loss. Total loss: 5 pounds. Another 1/2″ off my waist. My BMI is down .7 since Sunday!
Breakfast: Avocado/Banana/blueberry/Spinach Lunch: Borscht Snack: 9 Triscuits Dinner: Papaya-Raspberry Yum Snack: 3 cups air-popped popcorn

I am a sometimes lab rat for North Cliff Consultants. I had an appointment with them after the dog park, so I had half my breakfast smoothie before the dog park and saved the rest for when I got back. This seems a much better plan than waiting until 11 am to eat.

What kind of appointment, you ask? Sorry, confidentiality rules. If I told you, well, you know the drill.

While I was waiting, I opened today’s paper to the food section. No, I didn’t want to torment myself. I was looking for the crossword puzzle. Really. It’s not my fault they tuck it in with the recipes on Wednesdays. On the front page in living color was a life-sized photo of a stack of 13 pancakes, dripping with syrup, topped with whipped butter. The lead article featured “wholesome” pancakes. There I sat, ambushed by an image of softly textured cakes, soaked with melted butter, oozing with sweetness, flavor bursting in my mouth . . . you get the picture. I turned the page.

The Aztec Diet is essentially a low-carb diet with some lovely bells and whistles thrown in. Dr. Bob talks extensively about “carb-bombs.” If you are interested in the Aztec Diet, you’ll find knowledge about cutting carbs helpful. Phase I includes a high percentage of raw foods, one of the things that attracted me to the diet. My biggest quibble is that Dr. Bob errs on the side of many people who are new to raw food by overdoing fruit.

All of the smoothie recipes except one feature fruit and a sweet taste. His only savory smoothie is the Gazpacho Gratitude. Even that has cantaloupe in it. For true satiation, you need savory and sour tastes as well as sweet. Thus my search for vegetable smoothies. Does that sound yucky? Call them “cold-soups-you-make-in-a-blender-and-drink-from-a-cup” if you like.

I love gazpacho, but tomatoes don’t like me. They cause excruciating joint pain when I eat them, so I don’t. Otherwise I would live on gazpacho and we would be very happy together. It’s a little known fact that nightshade vegetables (these include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, chiles and eggplant) exacerbate symptoms of arthritis in some people. If you have joint pain, try cutting these out and see if you feel better.

I’ve got some beets my landlord dug up from the garden, so today I decided to make borscht. Raw borscht. Never having made borscht or even tasted borscht, I was not sure how to go about it. I asked Rudy (my landlord). Being Hungarian, he is an expert. He said beets and sour cream are essential. Everything else is up for grabs. I checked a couple recipes online. The ones I saw emphasized cabbage, carrots and vinegar.

I don’t have any cabbage on hand. I do have kale, a relative which is high on Dr. Bob’s list. Then I remembered some dusty jars in the top of my cabinet (Okay, they aren’t really dusty. That’s poetic license). A few years ago (3? 4?), I put up a batch of raw sauerkraut and forgot about it. Last fall I started eating it. A good raw sauerkraut ages like fine wine. It is sweet and sour and tender and delicious. It bears no resemblance to the slimy stuff they put on hot dogs. My version of raw sauerkraut has cabbage, carrots, celery, garlic and ginger in it, along with other things I’ve forgotten but hope I’ve recorded somewhere in this computer. And it comes with it’s own vinegar. So this is what I made for lunch:

I’m Borscht

    1/2 cup plain yogurt (or more, to taste)
    1 4-5″ pickling cucumber, peel on*, diced
    3 kale leaves, stemmed and torn up
    1 cup diced peeled beet.
    1/4 cup raw sauerkraut with an extra 2 TBSP brine
    2 TBSP ground chia seeds
    1 pinch Real Salt or Celtic sea salt.
    1-1/2 cups water.

Toss in the blender. Adjust to your personal taste. The result is chewy. This is fine, as long as you moderate your expectations. This is lunch, not desert.

*These are thin skinned and not waxed. I get them around the corner at Francis International Market. You can find the at many Asian markets.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back to my Work-In-Progress. On Friday I left poor Detective Dourson contemplating the joys of asking the next-of-kin for dental records. I mean, How do you tell someone that not only do you believe their missing loved one is dead, but that the remains are unrecognizable? Not an enviable task, and he’s been stewing on it for five days while I’ve been so obsessed with the Aztec Diet. I know the poor man just wants to get it over with. Then there’s that rash of Drano bombs at the local high school. The man needs me.

Papaya-Rasperry Yum

1/4 of a football sized papaya, seeded and peeled
1/2 6 ounce container of raspberries
1 handful cashews (raw, if you can get them)
1 handful walnuts
1 handful spinach
12 ounces water
2 TBSP ground chia seeds

dump it all in the blender and hit that button!

Aztec Diet Day 2 Taming the Wild Coconut

OMG! Down three pounds! Woo HOO! Down 1/2″ on my waist! I am doing the happy dance!

This morning, I forgot about taking a couple cuties to the park with me. Fortunately, I had about 4 ounces of water in the car. I was shocked that this was enough to curb my morning hunger pangs. Note to self: Keep water in the car. I would keep cuties in the car, but they’d probably freeze.

Breakfast today was my own concoction, “Tropical Bliss.” The recipe is at the bottom of the post, along with tips on handling young coconut.

Anna showed up early for our monthly shopping foray out to Costco for dog food. Oops. Didn’t have time to make my lunch smoothie. Grabbed a half-carton of cottage cheese, an apple and a bottle of water. Told Anna as soon as I got in the car that I was on a liquid diet, so no chili-dogs! Ate the cottage cheese s-l-o-w-l-y while we ran Anna’s errands. Drank the water. Picked up some young coconut and seasoned nori at the chinese grocery. Nori isn’t on the approved list, but It’s low-carb and only has forty calories. I figure it’s okay. I said no when Anna asked if I wanted to share a pint of green tea ice cream. She put it back.

Then we got to Costco, and the nice lady was offering samples of artichoke stuffed chicken breast. Just these little bites, hardly a mouthful. I wasn’t hungry, but damn, I do love artichokes. Surely that won’t hurt? It’s low-carb, after all. So I had four samples of different items. Only low-carb stuff. I skipped the ravioli, the fried fish and the kettle corn. Apparently artichokes are a gateway food for me.

Ate an apple, slowly, while Anna made a quick dash into Target. That was my afternoon snack. We won’t talk about those samples.

On the way home, Anna asked if I wanted to come over later this week for Chinese spare ribs. I said no.

Had a Spinach/Portabella smoothie for dinner.

Made it through day 2, only slightly bruised. Thankfully, no more trips to Costco until I’ve completed the Chia Challenge. Will my gustatory indiscretion cost me? Stay tuned . . .

Tropical Bliss

    Water and meat of one young coconut
    huge handful of baby spinach
    One “thumb” of fresh ginger, sliced against the grain.
    1-1/2 cups of frozen tropical fruit mix (mango, pineapple, strawberry)
    2 TBSP ground chia
    1 TBSP ground cacao nibs
    1 TBSP green powder

Toss everything in the blender except the green powder, blend until you see a well formed whirlpool, then open your blender and dump the green powder in the center. This prevents your green powder (which typically contains spirulina) from clumping and sticking to the sides of your blender.

Wow! Sounds good, you say, but about that young coconut???

Young coconut forms a great base for a smoothie. The electrolyte balance of coconut water is so close to human blood, it was used to give emergency transfusions during WWII. Yes, you can buy coconut water in the grocery store. For less money, you can get the yummy flesh, too. And it hasn’t passed through human hands or factory processing.

I have seen so many ridiculous methods for getting into young coconut posted on the internet by Westerners. The peoples of the Pacific surely post these well-meaning instructions on their Facebook pages just to laugh at us. I tried most of these methods until I learned a secret. The people who grow young coconut process them in a way that is counter-intuitive to the naive end-user.

Young coconut shows up at the market as a a squat, fibrous cylinder with a conical top. This is the cut-down husk. The coconut is inside. It looks cute, like a tropical hut. Makes sense that you are meant to cut off the pointy end, right? Wrong! That side is hard as a rock underneath. Every instruction I’ve ever read about getting into a young coconut says to cut off the top. That doesn’t work. I have the mangled knives to prove it.

Turn your young coconut on its side and take a large kitchen knife (a serrated bread knife also works well for this step) and saw off 1/2 – 1″ of the bottom. Yes, the flat end. If you have removed enough, at least one white “eye” will appear (there are three) If only one “eye” appears, you’re good to go. Poke your knife in the “eye” and a hole will easily open up. You may need to poke around a bit to find the soft spot, but I promise you, it’s there. If you have exposed two or three “eyes” choose the largest one. It’s always the largest one. The hole will vary in size. If it’s large, the water will pour out easily. If it’s tight, take a drinking straw, cut it in half, and stuff the ends of both straws into the hole, upend your coconut over your blender, and Bob’s your uncle. Air will rush into one straw, coconut water will rush out the other, nice and neat.

Okay, easy-peasy for the water. We still want that lovely, soft textured meat. What about getting into that shell?

Take your 8″ kitchen knife (I bought a cheap one, just for this purpose), a hammer and your now-exsanguated coconut. You can do this on a butcher block or on the floor, but it’s likely to make loud booming noises. I step outside the kitchen onto my concrete terrace. Lay the coconut on it’s side on old newspaper. position the knife edge across the “waist” of the coconut. Tap the back of the blade with the knife to set it firmly in the shell. Now hold the knife handle with one hand and move the hammer down the back of the blade to the end just above tip, which should be protruding beyond the coconut. Tap here firmly, and keep going until it slices neatly through the nut.

Take your halved booty back to the kitchen and scoop out the flesh with a soup spoon. You might get a little “skin” from the inside of the coconut. Some people are fanatics about picking this off. It blends in easily and just gives you more fiber. But pick off any bits of shell.

Aztec Diet, Day 1-1/2

When I got back from the grocery store yesterday afternoon, I posted the following poll in my writer’s group:

I just spent $70 on fruits and veggies in anticipation of starting the Aztec Diet 2 week chia smoothie challenge. It’s almost dinner time. Do I:

    Order a fully loaded pizza; tomorrow we diet!
    Nuke the bacon double cheeseburger in the fridge; it’s a sin to waste food
    Give the burger to the dogs and make a savory spinach portabella smoothie

The pizza got 13 votes. I got a write in for “Put it all off until tomorrow. If it’s that important it can wait.” The smoothie got a measly 2 votes (not counting mine).

I guess for most people, the words “spinach” and “smoothie” just don’t belong together. Or maybe the whole concept of nothing but smoothies is off-putting. I must be weird. I couldn’t wait to get started.

I woke one pound lighter this morning. I was one pound lighter if I stood on my special spot on my scale. But I always stand on my special spot, so it counts! So much for pizza binges!

One of the things that attracted me to the Aztec Diet Dr.Bob’s claim that all the Omega 3s will improve brain functioning. I suffer from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which means I cope daily with debilitating physical and cognitive fatigue. Last night, while sipping my dinner smoothie with the GROUND chia seeds, I whipped through my blog entry. I was able to maintain focus twice as long as usual. It’s too soon to tell if this happened because I was virtuous and had a smoothie instead of a pizza, or if I was just so jazzed about starting the diet. I am maintaining cautious optimism.

One snag in this diet. I take my dogs to the dog park first thing in the morning, and I usually have a couple handfuls of nuts on the way. Today I substituted with a couple Cuties (Mandarin oranges). I figure that’s in keeping with the spirit of the thing.

After the dog park, I had my usual cacao/blueberry/bananna/avocado smoothie with my special blend green powder. Plus chia. Dr. Bob talks about having a smoothie “base.” His go-to base is greek yogurt. He also suggests almond, hemp or soy milk. My preference is water with a banana and an avocado. Then I add whatever fruit sounds good. The banana and avodaco make a lovely creamy smoothie that is naturally sweet. It may have more carbs than Dr. Bob likes. I’ll have to research this. Meanwhile, as I am learning new recipes, it’s nice to have something familiar for at least one meal of the day.

I’m having Dr. Bob’s kale/apple/carrot smoothie for lunch. I substituted ginger for lemon and cashews for sunflower seeds. It’s tasty. The kale is a bit chewy, but I don’t mind. For this smoothie, you juice the carrots first.

If you aren’t an experienced juicer, here’s a tip: Immediately after you finish juicing, pull the centrifugal screen out of your juicer and scrub it out. If pulp dries in the screen, it’s murder to get off. I clean my juicer before I do anything else, because it makes my life much easier to do this. Otherwise, I would not engage in behavior that is so aberrant for me.

Tip #2: At some time in your life, you will get a carrot jammed in the food chute of your juicer. Don’t panic. Get a steak knife and patiently hack away at it until it’s skinny enough to slip through. And next time, check your carrots by seeing if the fat end fits in the chute before you jam them in there.

My landlord gave me some beets from his garden recently. I’m thinking of making a raw borscht for dinner. If I do, I’ll add the recipe here. Do I like borscht? Hell if I know. I’ve never had it before.

Later: I wasn’t hungry, so I skipped dinner. Had a grapefruit. Made it through my first full day. Woo Hoo!