My favorite tourist attraction was Top of the Rock. I hadn’t been up there before and we went on a beautiful day. The view was awesome and I loved taking photos of the city spread out below us.
I want to blog more about the fun I had exploring the city with Travis’ family, but my goal of blogging every day sort of fell apart (once again) while I’ve been getting caught up on work after their visit. The good news is that you can pretty much re-live our whole adventure via my Flickr set — be warned: it is over 300 photos!
Logical: I love my body. It is healthy and strong. I have muscle and my legs have carried me many miles, including through two full marathons. I know that I am extremely fortunate to be in good health and I am thankful every day for what my body allows me to accomplish.
According to Runner’s World (and my own favorite Coach Joel – thanks, Joel!) for every pound lost a runner can trim their mile pace by about 2 seconds. Doesn’t sound like much, but if I can lose 10 lbs by October, I could automatically drop almost 9 minutes from my marathon time. That, plus some speed training, may possibly get me the sub-5-hour marathon time of my dreams!
So, how do I plan to do it? First, Travis and I have cut out dessert, which is a big step that I had hoped would be enough… but if I want truly serious results, I need to take serious steps. SO… I took more of my encouraging Coach’s advice (despite immediately telling him that there was no way I’d count calories), and downloaded the free Lose It iPhone app. It is a user-friendly app that helps you track calories consumed (food) and calories burned (exercise). I am only on day two of using the app, but so far, so good.
The app says that for someone of my height (5’6″) and weight (somewhere within the normal range, but more than I’d like) can eat about 1500 calories/day and lose about a pound a week. Plus, you can add more calories to offset exercise. The plan seems very doable. Almost too doable, so we’ll see if it works. If nothing else, it doesn’t hurt for me to pay more attention to what I am eating before runs to determine what helps me feel the best overall.
Since Chelsea and Scott were going to be in town visiting, I jumped at the chance to buy member-only tickets to the brand new Taste of the LES Walking Tour on Saturday. The tour promised to feed us local food while also “exploring the immigrant experience and some of the ways immigrant foods have shaped American food.” The LES is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York and at times has been one of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse places in the world.
We showed up at the museum hungry and ready to expand our food horizons. Our tour guide was fun and friendly and gave us bottled water for our journey. Throughout the tour we got to taste nine different foods…
First, we tried a soft pretzel which represented the earliest history of the Tenement Museum, when the neighborhood was called “Little Germany” (Kleindeutschland) and there was a saloon in the building’s storefront. Our tour guide told us that the saloon owners sold salty pretzels in an attempt to get their thirsty patrons to buy more beer.
Next, we had delicious “new pickles” (my favorite) which represented the neighborhood’s Jewish heritage and past identity as the “pickle district.” The Pickle Guys is the last exclusive pickle vendor in the neighborhood now… and sadly it was closed on Saturday.
Our next stop was El Castillo de Jagua, a latin food restaurant where we got to try a fried plantain. I believe the restaurant is technically Dominican, but our stop represented all of the Latin influence on the LES, including the large number of Puerto Rican immigrants.
Next, we stopped by Economy Candy and tried their best selling item, chocolate covered pretzels. Yum! A family owned candy store that was originally opened in 1937 as “Economy Shoes” but soon found more customers in the candy business. They have a huge selection of hard-to-find and international candy.
Next, we explored the concept of “fusion” and tried delicious mini creampuffs with green tea filling made by a second generation Chinese American bakery owner. I loved them (and had two) but not everyone liked the unique filling.
My least favorite taste test was of the cured, sliced beef – sort of a cross between prosciutto and beef jerky. We tried it outside the University Settlement Neighborhood House where we discussed the role of reformers who came into the neighborhood to try to better the lives of the poor, but often added to the forced assimilation into “American culture.”
We continued on to Essex Street Market, the one-stop shop for LES residents. From the website: “Essex Street Market began in 1940 as part an effort by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia to find a new place for street merchants to do business. At the time, pushcarts and vendors crowded the city streets, making it difficult for police and fire vehicles to easily pass. To ease congestion, Mayor LaGuardia created the Essex Street Market and several other indoor retail markets throughout the city.” The market contains both artisinal vendors and local specialties. We tried both the Latin Queso Blanco (seen above) and a locally made sharp cheddar cheese.
Not pictured are the dumplings we sampled from Vanessa’s Dumpling House. The Lower East Side borders (and sometimes merges) with Chinatown to its South and you can find unending options for asian food of all kinds. Vanessa’s serves some of the best deals, with dumplings costing as little as six for a dollar!
Since it was Saturday, many of the Jewish stores were closed, including Kossar’s Bialys. I have never tried a Bialy – something like a Polish bagel – and would have loved to, but instead we got to sample donuts from the nearby Donut Plant. I suppose that the Donut Plant represents the current wave of gentrification in the LES and the young entrepreneurs who are creating new businesses centered around nostalgia for an older way of making things by hand.
We sampled a wide variety of food, just like the wide variety of neighborhoods in Manhattan!
The food was all good and the four of us had a fine time on the tour (despite the heat). Our tour guide was great and it was fun to explore the Lower East Side on foot, but I came away slightly disappointed by the tour. I guess I was hoping that we would get to go into more of the shops and meet more owners. I was also expecting to get to taste larger portions of the food… but maybe then we would’ve all been way too stuffed! (As it was, Chelsea, Scott, Travis and I were still a little hungry afterward and continued on our own personal food tour to Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop and then to a brand new macaron store.)
Overall, the tour was truly a great experience, but I think next time I have family in town I may just plan my own LES food tour. There are so many more places I would have loved to have stopped at, like Russ & Daughters deli, or the 100-year-old Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, or even the vegan Babycakes cupcake bakery. There is a lot of amazing food in such a diverse place!
Chelsea and Scott (Travis’ sister and brother-in-law) are in town for the holiday weekend. We’ve already fit in a lot of fun! On Thursday we started at Penn Station, traveled to Brooklyn, ate at Bonnie’s, went to the DUMBO area of Brooklyn and checked out the water and Dewey’s Candy, then ate dinner at Two Boots.
Yesterday, we visited Peter Pan Donuts, a famous breakfast place in Greenpoint, then headed to Rockefeller Center in Manhattan and did some shopping, headed uptown to eat at Shake Shack in the UWS, then met the Manns (just off a cruise from London) in Central Park. After a brief stop at the steps of the Met, we walked (and walked and walked) south to Serendipity III where we had the most insane desserts on the planet. (And we only waited an hour to get in. Not bad.) After the chocolate recharged us, we headed over to Bloomingdale’s to do a little shopping. (I got new lipstick.)
We’ve taken cars, taxis, and the subway, plus lots and lots of travel on foot. So, basically we’ve had the true NYC tourist experience. ANd we have two more fun days ahead of us!!
I continued the cleanse all day yesterday, but then had a dinner of chicken and potatoes and greens (plus some tiramisu) at about 7 pm.
I was really excited to eat solid food again, but it didn’t satisfy me as much as I was anticipating. I also was really craving salt. The cleanse must not have had any sodium…
I feel really good this morning, surprisingly. My stomach was upset when I woke up , but I drank coffee and soy milk and then felt fine while running 7 miles – a miracle. I was really amazed that I felt so good on the run.
Overall, I was hungry on the cleanse, but more than that, my stomach just would not accept more straight vegetable juice. The instructions say you don’t have to finish all of the juices, and I didn’t, but I was really surprised by the fact that I didn’t want to. I didn’t anticipate that.
I think I may have lost a tiny bit of weight – some tight pants feel a little looser – but nothing dramatic.
I did not officially “cleanse my colon” – I stayed nice and regular. However, if I had stayed on the cleanse for more days I think there may have been some bathroom drama… sorry for TMI.
I don’t know what I was expecting from the cleanse, but I don’t think it did anything extreme to me. Maybe my skin is a little better? Maybe I have some extra nutrients floating around inside? Maybe I got in better touch with my body’s expression of hunger? Sure. I guess. I cannot say that I found enlightenment or inner fulfillment.
Basically, I don’t think the cleanse was worth the money (especially at full price), but I guess I am glad I satisfied my curiosity and tried it. I do feel really excellent today and happy with my run, so there’s that.
Despite what I just said above, I could see myself doing a 1-day liquid diet in the future. Not for any miracle results, but maybe just to recover from an especially decadent weekend. We’ll see…
What do you think? Are my results typical? Should I have stayed on the cleanse longer?
As you can tell by the video, I am not quite as happy about this liquid diet today. I am hungry and my stomach has been feeling upset, but that isn’t even the bad part. The really bad part is the constant green juice!! Every morning I get to drink a fruit juice (today a tasty ginger lemonade) but then the rest of the day is vegetable juice. I thought I had a very high appreciation and tolerance level for veggies, but I think my body is refusing more green juice. I actually would rather not eat at all (despite the hunger) than drink the juice!! I have most of a Cucumber juice and a Beet blend juice left in the fridge from yesterday that I didn’t finish… and plenty more that I am supposed to drink today! Ugh.
I mostly stuck to the plan yesterday. I tried to eat that raw, vegan “burrito” before my boot camp class, but couldn’t finish it. It consisted of mashed up sunflower seeds and pine nuts wrapped in a kale leaf. Crusher wouldn’t even eat it!! That is a bad sign.
Boot camp went ok. I completed it and only felt a little light headed. What makes me most worried is that I didn’t eat anything afterward and so I am afraid my muscles didn’t start repairing at their highest capacity…
Negatives: As you can tell, pretty much everything. No, that is not true. I actually feel ok other than my total revulsion when it comes to green vegetable juice. If this cleanse had more fruit juices, I think I would be much happier! Also, I am drinking coffee with soy milk again today.
Positives: I haven’t had any bathroom issues. yay! I think I have had some very slight weight loss results, but I don’t weigh myself so I can’t give you numbers. I was able to complete boot camp last night. Biggest positive: I am almost done!
Now a confession: I think I am going to stop the cleanse a little early and eat dinner tonight. I don’t want to go through my Friday night miserable. Plus we are training with our running group tomorrow morning and I want to have the energy I need. I know that I am going to have vegetable juices left over and I hope to work them in over the weekend. Maybe I’ll force Travis to drink some…
Hello! Welcome to Day 2 of my raw, vegan, Organic Avenue juice cleanse!
I am actually feeling remarkably well! But I think that has a lot to do with the coffee (with soy milk) I had this morning. I was having bad headaches from caffeine withdrawal yesterday and I just didn’t think it was worth it to go through that again today. Like Travis said, maybe it wasn’t smart to give up food and coffee at the same time. BUT, I have stayed on all vegan liquids for at least the last 36 hours! That is something, right?
This morning I had some really delicious grapefruit juice and now I get more Young Love juice, plus alkaline water (of course). I am going to cheat this afternoon and eat a “burrito.” I bought the Burrito Crudo w/ Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce at the Organic Avenue store this morning when I picked up my juices. I have an intense boot camp class tonight (that I already paid for) and I feel like I won’t make it through it without some sort of solid fuel. I feel ok about this “cheat.” I am staying vegan and within the overall Organic Avenue program.
My thoughts today:
Negatives: I drank the coffee – bad girl. Last night I was very hungry and sort of listless, but more than that I was sick of the green juice. I didn’t even finish my last juice yesterday! Today I am hungry, but not terribly so. I am worried about how I will do at my exercise class tonight. Also, my skin is breaking out. ick.
Positives: I really feel great right now. I have energy and my mind is clear. I have NOT had any bathroom issues – which is better than what I was expecting. I am feeling encouraged right now to stick with this cleanse until Saturday morning! (With the addition of the vegan burrito, of course.)
A while ago I bought a coupon from Refinery 29 Reserve (a deal site like Groupon) for a half-price, three-day, Organic Avenue “LOVEdeep” juice cleanse. It is three days of pre-prepared, organic, vegan, raw, fresh-pressed juices. The cleanse promises that you will “get drenched with vital nutrients and watch your energy level soar as you lose weight and feel great.” Also, it was recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow, and you totally know that I am a sucker for anything GOOP-approved.
I usually NEVER endorse strange or severe diets. I think there is a lot of bad nutritional info out there and that no one should take things to extremes. That being said, I have always been interested in liquid cleanses (just ask my doctor/brother, Adam) and Organic Avenue seemed like a healthy version to try. I have always wanted to see what a cleanse would really do to me. Plus, I was drawn to the idea of losing a few pounds (of course) and not having to shop for or prepare food for a few days.
Let’s just consider my liquid adventure an experiment! I will document it all for you here…
This morning I ran four miles to the lower east side to pick up my juices (and took the train back). I was feeling enthusiastic and wanted to get in a work out before I officially started the cleanse, just in case I get too weak later in the week.
The cleanse instructions said that I should have eaten a raw salad last night in preparation… I had a veggie burger (and some fries), so that was my first misstep. Also, if I am being completely honest, I had a VERY small cup of coffee this morning with some soy milk. Not on the plan, but I had to have something before my run. At least it was vegan, right?
Ok, with all of my confessing out of the way, on to the first step of the cleanse…
Watch me drink my shot of Chlorophyll Elixir. Warning: green teeth! It really wasn’t bad… It is supposed to help “regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level.” Ok. So far this morning (it is noon now) I have also had half of my orange juice and some alkaline water.
Organic Avenue was founded by Denise Mari, who was a phlebotomist I think, but is now getting her masters in nutrition, so there’s that. As part of the first step of the cleanse, one is supposed to repeat these positive mantras:
“I strive to see light.”
“Faith begins as an experiment and ends as an experience” W.R. Inge
“The only thing you have to remember is how fortunate you are.” Sri Ravi Shankar
Some of the literature from Organic Avenue is a bit out there, even more out there than mantras. For example, the welcome packet stated that: “we hold emotions in the body, and in every cell we hold memory. The liver holds anger, the kidneys hold fear, the gallbladder holds frustration. When we cleanse, these emotions have the opportunity of being released.” They also highly recommend colonic treatments, which I will NOT be doing as part of my cleanse.
Another unique thing about Organic Avenue is that they highly stress the importance of alkaline water, because as Mari says, “acidic leads to disease, alkaline leads to health.” Supposedly alkaline water is “a potent natural antioxidant” and “is over five times more hydrating than conventional and filtered water.” I don’t know if that is enough to convince me to spend $4 on 32oz of water… oh wait, it did! Also, I just drank orange juice… isn’t that acidic? I’m confused.
Positive thoughts so far: The orange juice was tasty and I am not hungry yet. I actually felt awesome on my run, but that was mainly due to the weather, not the cleanse. Right now I am feeling extremely pumped up and energized by the idea of the cleanse. I enjoy a challenge. Also, I love that all of my food for today is already prepped and in the fridge.
Negative thoughts so far: I have to go back tomorrow to pick up my next two days of juice because my order got messed up. boo. I am confident that the Organic Avenue juices are fresh and healthy, but the fact that they are unpasteurized makes me a little nervous. I don’t want to contract harmful bacteria! Also, I am a little concerned about some of the pseudo-science medical claims in the literature. For example it states things like: “Cayenne pepper can immediately stop a heart attack within 30 seconds” and they link to this site as their source. Not entirely legit…
Anyway, I will continue to report back on my juice cleanse experience!
Have you ever done a cleanse? Was it a positive experience?
reading…Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body – A book I bought at the Mutter Museum in November. Since I have two doctors in the family now, I am trying to learn a little more about medicine. The technical parts of this book about genetics are a bit over my head, but it is definitely fascinating to learn about how amazing and complicated our biology is.
supporting…Link with Love – a campaign to promote the fair use of creative intellectual property. The basics? If you share art, crafts, photos, writing, or any content that was created by someone else, give them attribution and link to their site when possible. Do not steal art!
getting scared about… This Organic Avenue Love Deep juice cleanse. I am starting it on Wednesday and doing it for three days. No more potato chips – only raw liquids. It is an experiment. A vegan, liquid nutrition experiment. I don’t really endorse these types of “diets” but I wanted to challenge myself with this cleanse. (Plus, I got the program at half price with a coupon.) I am hoping it will break my addiction to coffee. I’ll report back…
I wish I could say I took my Diary Challenge daily writing offline over the weekend, but the truth is that I missed two days. bummer. But you gotta fall off the horse in order to get back on!
In addition to the film viewing, I got to do some NYC taste-testing. First, Jessica and I stopped at one of her favorite pizza places, Joe’s Pizza, in the Village. It is one of the top pizza places in the city (recently mentioned by Jon Stewart) and it was indeed delish, with a perfect crispy crust.
After the movie, we headed to a new, European gelato place called Amorino. They serve the gelato in these amazing flower shapes. The gelato was excellent — with that thick, almost pudding-like texture — but we all agreed that the decor of the shop was a bit cheesy. (There were faux marble statues of cherubs.)
Sad day. I was still trying to rid my body of illness this weekend. The excitement of Friday seemed to cause me to regress and I spent half the day sleeping. Not good.
Thanks to the insistence of our friend, Brian, Travis and I got ourselves out of the house and on the Ikea ferry to lower Manhattan to try out Soul Daddy. The restaurant was the winner of the tv show, America’s Next Great Restaurant. It is a casual, but quality, fast food restaurant similar to Chipotle. Between the four of us, we ordered just about everything on the menu: PULLED PORK SANDWICH, BLACK-EYED PEA SALAD, SWEET POTATO SALAD, GREEN BEAN SALAD, CABBAGE SLAW, BRAISED KALE, CHEESE GRITS, WHOLE WHEAT BISCUITS, and a CORN BREAD WAFFLE. It was all very fresh and healthy and tasty… but I don’t know if it was anything special. Even though I really appreciate the healthy menu items, I was disappointed that they didn’t serve fried chicken at a soul food place. Hmmm.
Next we headed back across the East River to hit up Bierkraft for some of their famous ice cream sandwiches. It is odd to go to a beer store for dessert, but their gelato and brownie sandwiches are noted as some of the best in the city! Bierkraft is so near to our house that I’m afraid I am going to go back for one every day!
Unbelievably, Travis and I got hungry again in the evening and decided to try the new Dumplings & Things that opened in Park Slope. I love noodles, and pork buns, and dumplings, so I was excited about this place. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed. Their meat is really low quality. That wouldn’t be a huge problem because Travis and I order mostly vegetarian items anyway, but I was also disappointed by the veggie dumplings. They have a really dense, thick wrapping. I felt like I was eating mostly dough. Ick. The noodle soup was also disappointing – just inedible beef, broth, and slimy, doughy noodles. I tried to save the soup for leftover lunch today, but I just couldn’t finish it. I hate to be so harsh on a new place, but I don’t think I will go back. I gotta be honest…