I consider myself a relatively healthy person. I don't exercise as much as I should and I almost always cave at the sight of French fries. I do the best I can, which I usually feel isn't often enough. (Like most women, right?)
After gaining back all of the weight I'd lost for my wedding one year ago--I'm talking more than 10 measly pounds, people--I decided desperate times called for desperate measures. I embarked on a personal one-week challenge to do a raw, vegan, juice-based cleanse. While there are plenty of less drastic methods to shed pounds and get healthy, I felt stuck in a yo-yo dieting rut and believed this was the key to get me back on track.
I was motivated by multiple factors including a particularly gruesome episode of Oprah, a recipe for a green smoothie a friend gave me, and the fact that my skinny jeans hadn't been removed from their hanger in over six months. I armed myself with bags full of kale, Swiss chard, and lemons and made sure my magic bullet blender was in tip-top shape.
The first three to four days were a breeze. I had a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and lentils for dinner. I quickly realized that the raw + vegan thing was too much, too fast. I snacked on the occasional piece of fruit, nuts, kale chips, or roasted butternut squash. Truth be told, I felt great. I had more energy and everyone was commenting on how beautiful my skin looked. I was losing a pound every day or two, which was no shocker considering I was eating less than 1,000 calories a day.
Then, the weekend hit.
As usual, all my weekend plans revolved around eating and drinking. While I could have just stayed home or drank water with lemon as my friends gorged, I decided not to. The last time I was on the "healthy train" my social life came to a screeching halt; I wasn't prepared to let that happen again. So, I went out and I did my best. I'm not gonna lie; I had some bread and butter and a bite of my husbands burger, but nobody's perfect right?
All in all, I ended up losing five pounds, all of which have since returned. Did I learn anything from giving up cheese and chicken for a week? Sure. I learned two time-honored lessons: extreme diets are never sustainable and moderation is key to success. I also learned a great recipe for kale chips, so all in all, I'd say becoming a green milkshake queen for seven days was a darn good thing.
My Kale Chip Recipe
One bunch kale
1-teaspoon kosher salt
1-tablespoon olive oil
(Optional: Dash of red chili powder and cumin powder.)
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Rinse and thoroughly dry kale. Pull leaves from stem and tear into bite-sized pieces. Toss kale, salt, olive oil, and optional spices in a bowl. Place on cookie tray (be sure they are evenly spaced and not overlapping). Cook for 20 minutes until crisp. You'll know when they're ready when they turn a dark green and the sides turn up.