my last friday in philly.


around lunchtime, i got hungry and took a walk.  here's how it went.

i found the possibly most awesomely decrepit door in my neighborhood:

then i found jesse and his co-legal-eagle-interns and photographed them:

moments later, i saw some doggies in the window at The Dog School. i swear they are real live dogs!

before going home, i stopped to get what turned out to be a disappointingly mediocre vegan gluten-free* cupcake from Sweet Freedom Bakery:

*i mean, how good could it be under those conditions? the orange frosting was ace, but the rest of the cupcake tasted like chocolate-flavored sand. hmph. now i know.

and then i collapsed into a pile of sweaty, hot, pink-cheeked girl:

not pictured here is my sweat-drenched-tank-top mid-section. ewwwwwww.

and that is how my walk went.  there may be another in the very near future that will involve dinner, some fro-yo, and drinks at a clandestine and historical location.   not too shabby.


diary of a cleanser.


i've always wanted to do a cleanse/detox program as it seems like a good idea to promote healthy living and to give your digestive system a break. a bunch of my peeps down in FL have been all into the Isagenix thing - their enthusiasm for the product was infectious, so i gave the 30 day cleanse pack a try. i didn't do this in order to lose weight, i am after the cleansing, nutritional, health, and energy aspects of the program.

so the deal is, for 6 days you drink a nutritional shake for breakfast, then eat a 600 calorie lunch, and then another shake for dinner (with some other supplement pills and vitamin drinks thrown in). on the 7th day, you do a deep cleanse where you only drink a cleanse drink 4 times a day. and you do this for 30 days. here's my story. some days i wrote at the time, others i wrote at the end of the period - forgive the mixed tenses. mmk.

days 1 - 3:
pretty much miserable. all i could think about was food, food, FOOOOOOOD. even though i was eating some food for lunch, i was craving anything and everything . . pizza, fries, sandwiches, cookies, veggie burgers (oh my!). even jesse's ribs looked appealing to me. i felt a little crazed. and depressed. and i wanted to quit.

day 4:
suddenly, i felt great. i had so much energy all day and wasn't nearly as hungry. i was all happy and rarin' to go. since i am still doing my insanity workouts, burning anywhere from 600-800 calories a day, i figured i could maybe add another 100 or so calories in to not feel like death. that seemed to help a bit.

day 5:
was doing ok until i watched a harry potter movie on the train back to VA . . it was christmas time and they were eating lots of tasty-looking pastries. despair set in. somehow, i managed to stay the course.

day 6:
hardcore wanted to quit, not understanding why i am even doing this and thought of a million reasons to justify quitting. had major trepidation and anxiety about the following day - the first deep cleanse day - and was scared that i won't be able to do it. i sent out an SOS and received an encouraging response from a fellow cleanser. determination set in.

day 7:
1st deep cleanse day, and i was petrified. no food? for a whole DAY?!?!?! kelly had been emphatic about the cleanse drink tasting barftastic and i was ready to use all my willpower just to try to keep it down . . but i thought it was actually not so terrible and was, in fact, better than the daily vitamin drink. and yes, i was hungry for most of the day, but i wasn't dying. i made it. but it was a stressful day and i got really crabby. i just wanted to go to sleep because i knew when i woke up, i could have a shake again. and i felt bored. i had nothing to look forward to after work, and i felt i shouldn't do my crazy workout because i might fall out, so i contemplated going to the movies to take my mind off of eating. but nothing was playing that i wanted to see. so i stayed home and watched 3 episodes from an old season of Friday Night Lights. ♥tim riggins♥

days 8-10:
i woke up on day 8 expecting that i would be starving like CRAZY and would make a bee line for the kitchen . . but i wasn't. i felt . . fine. and i was like "cool". the next couple of days i coasted by.

days 11-12:
felt pretty angry and fed up again. the weekends seem to be my kryptonite - i'm around people having fun and eating food and people wanting to go out to dinner, etc. jesse's grilling out on saturday night and i have to watch him eat delicious food while i whimper and drink my inadequate shake. during the week, it's no problem. i'm by myself in a different city, working, not hanging out with people, so it's fine. it's almost easy because i don't have to cook or decide anything about dinner. but weekends. GAHHHHHH. sunday i planned to do another deep cleanse day to get it out of the way, but we were invited to brunch and i woke up HANGRY and brunch seemed like a much better idea.

day 13:
decided to do another deep cleanse day, a day early. i just want to get them out of the way. hating it. don't know how i will get to the end of this and i am for the 9 zillionth time questioning WHY i am doing this.

days 14-19:
the crazy dissipated after the deep cleanse day and i felt right as rain. once again, it feels like no big deal. i even maintained over the weekend and a trip to NYC, where amazing food abounds. i stayed within the limits (mostly) of my calorie restrictions and managed to do the right things. sunday brunch was a bit of a mess . . i had 2 biscuits (with honey butter mmmmmmm!!!) and ricotta pancakes (probably the best pancakes i've ever had). i totally crashed out from all the sugar and carbs and felt like hell for an hour or two afterward. massive headache and some nausea that caused me to lay in bed until it dissipated. note to self: don't go crazy with the sugar. that might be the best thing that comes out of this for me.

day 20:
3rd deep cleanse day. by far the easiest yet. other peoples' food isn't even really tempting me, other than a slight "aww". went to the doctor today . . i've lost a literal 10 pounds since starting the cleanse 3 weeks ago. this astounded me. my clothes have been fitting me looser, but i didn't think i was actually dropping weight. i've enjoyed not feeling bloated after meals, that is a huge plus, but i wasn't trying to lose weight. interesting. i'm thinking it will most likely just come right back. we'll see. i also got a pedicure after work and this was a huge thumbs up for a cleanse day. on these days, i've been too hungry to actually exercise and have little to look forward to in the evening, so this was a good idea.

days 21-27:
the days are blurring together. on day 25 i ate two meals in one day - i pretty much knew this would happen. had a friend visiting for 4th of july weekend and we wanted to go to dinner together. no big whoop. i also had a delicious cupcake on the 4th - devil's food, filled with nutella and cool whip on top. seriously. so worth whatever calories i blew that day. mmmmm. day 27 was tough because i was working from home and was bored and just felt hungry and unsatisfied. i also have a growing trepidation about the cleanse ending, if you can fathom, and going back to my "normal" eating habits. i went ahead and ordered a couple more canisters of the shakes to have for breakfast for the next month or so to ease myself back into things. i'm liking having fewer carbs in my day, so i think this will be good.

day 28:
this is my final deep cleanse day and i'm having a rough time. i hardly slept last night and have been plagued with a headache overnight and this morning, so i just feel funky and out of it. can't wait for this to be over. i have a massage scheduled for tonight and am looking forward to it, and just getting this day out of the way.

days 29-30:
easy as pie.  i know what i'm looking forward to.  the last day i felt celebratory and couldn't wait for my weekend eating plans :)  i celebrated with an awesome italian dinner friday night.  WOO!!!!

findings of note:
during the entire 30 days, i only had 2 headaches.  now i am an at-least-one-really-bad-headache-a-week person, so this alone is pretty awesome.  i also had lots of energy, didn't feel sleepy at work in the afternoon, and generally felt pretty focused.

a graphic representation:
to put things into perspective, here is a graph:

2 = eh
3 = hey, ok
4 = awesome

this graph only pertains to my feelings about doing the cleanse as my mood about other general life things was pretty positive and steady.  as you can see, this graph is all over the dang place.

some friends have asked me if i recommend this cleanse and/or if i'm glad i did it. there are some things i definitely have enjoyed, like not feeling bloated and overly full after meals, feeling lighter in general and knowing that i'm doing my body a favor. but what i've experienced hasn't really been that dramatic that i want to run out and make all my friends try it. i'm like "eh, ok, i did it." i will say that it has helped me crave sugar less and when i do get hungry, i don't get all HANGRY and crazy and feel that insane blood sugar fluctuation that i'm used to. that is an unexpected bonus that i hope to continue to enjoy.

all in all, hey, i did this, and i am proud and surprised that i made it through the whole thing and will try to maintain the positive results i've observed and will probably be more conscientious of what i eat in general. survey says: thumbs-sideways-to-up.


saturday lunch: a tale of "we got up and left".


i have been coming around as far as my opinion of philly goes.  the displacement has dissipated and i've sunk my teeth into my surroundings (at least, when i am there on the weekends).  much of my pleasure has come from the food in philly.  i mean, holy crap, every place we have gone to eat has been more than just good - more like OMAZING!  for real, i have thoroughly enjoyed every restaurant we've been to.

that's why saturday was such an anomaly.  i had this whole plan for the day . . it turned from "yay!" to "hmm, disappointing" to "what? weird" to "SERIOUSLY?" to "OMG NOOOOO" and finally to . . well . . "FINALLY!"  here is a map of our saturday footpath:

we left home at 12:30 to walk to Reading Terminal Market, a completely awesome place with all sorts of foodstuffs all over the place, but really only one vegetarian place.  we arrived at point B, totally my mistake because i thought the market was at 10th and Arch, so we overshot it by 2 blocks. we walked back to C, only to find that the vegetarian spot was CLOSED. just on saturdays. which makes a lot of sense. we tried one more place inside, a diner, that had no vegetarian options aside from the grilled cheese or a vegetable quesadilla. more like a vegetable questionable-adilla (ha?). we got up and left.

jesse had heard that D, a place down the street called Smokin' Betty's, had a good veggie burger, so we headed there and sat down. the vibe was weird and they were only offering the brunch menu - we looked at each other and said "what? weird." we got up and left.

we decided to head to E (right back where we kind of started at point B), as many people had recommended Banana Leaf to us. sat down and ordered a Malaysian iced tea and looked at the menu which was huge, but everything that was supposed to be vegetarian had shrimp or was in a chicken broth or was fried and i was like "SERIOUSLY?" i left $3 on the table and . . we got up and left.

it was kind of getting funny. but we were also VERY hungry, as it was about 2 or 2:30 and the string of failures was stacking up. jesse navigated us to F, Tampopo, a japanese place he'd been to that had awesome bento boxes and was open on the weekends. we get there . . and . . they are closed for renovations. OMG NOOOO.

i was having trouble keeping it together, but i dragged my feet around the block to G, Aqua. it was open. it was pretty. they had tofu. and finally, at 3 pm, we got lunch. i almost wept with relief.

we rounded out our trek with a trip to get a really crappy pedicure (H), some really good fro-yo (I), and a cute new dress (J). then went home.

total distance covered: 4.2 miles. take THAT, sidewalks of philadelphia.