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  Read through my blog below by simply scrolling down the entries, or check out the essays below. I've chosen ones that I particularly enjoy--maybe you will too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's Okay Not to Feel Grateful

Yesterday we had our annual Thanksgiving Day practice at our yoga studio. It's one of our favorite events of the year. Everyone comes in cheerful and leaves sweaty, and the holiday is a wonderful opportunity to talk about gratitude--how healthy it is, and how it's a practice, and how we have the chance in every moment to recognize the beauty right in front of us.

After class, one student came out crying. "I'm a wreck!" she said. "I'm down six people this Thanksgiving." Between the tragic death of a dear friend, the subsequent fallout from that tragedy, and her kids' work obligations, this poor woman's usual holiday celebration was much smaller than last year.

I gave her a hug. She said, "I know I'm supposed to be grateful. But I'm having a hard time mustering it up this year."

So I said, "Forget about gratitude this year. It's okay not to feel grateful. Maybe next year."

All my life I've been interested in human emotion, the human spirit, our souls, our psyches--whatever you want to call that part of ourselves that is rooted in our bodies but seems to reach beyond our bodies. I feel it's part of my job as a yoga teacher to speak that language. I love talking about wonder, compassion, joy, surrender, forgiveness, and gratitude because I see that these are concepts that resonate with my students. When I talk about these human virtues and experiences, we all seem to take more pleasure in the yoga.

But I also know that forcing a feeling doesn't work. "To everything there is a season," and sometimes the seasons of our emotions don't line up with the calendar.

Do you feel shitty this Thanksgiving? Do you feel profoundly sad, or angry, or hurt, or resentful? Obviously you don't need anybody's permission to feel that way. But just in case it makes you feel better, here ya go: it's okay not to feel grateful on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DETOX HELP IS ON THE WAY

Dear Reader,

How's it going? Whatcha doin'? Long time no talk sugar detox. Or at least, a few weeks. A few people have asked me about how I'm doing with my diet, post-detox. I'm generally doing well. I have some updates for you, but today I am just dropping a quick line to give you some epic news: THE 21-DAY SUGAR DETOX PRINT BOOK IS COMING OUT OCT 29! AND I GOT MY HANDS ON AN ADVANCE COPY! Okay, it really wasn't necessary to shout that last part, but I'm really excited about this.

See, I didn't make up the rules of my detox. This may shock my family, who have always teased me about my numerous, ever-changing "Food Rules", usually delivered as an exclamation. Examples: "Cheerios are the devil!" "Fried food is dead food!" "Bagels give you cancer!" (Actually, these all sound pretty smart to me now. I'll have to ask my family for the crazier ones. I will say that part of what makes my family roll their eyes is the context in which I was delivering these edicts. The bagel one in particular was delivered to an entire room of people at a gathering of my soon-to-be in-laws to celebrate someone's bar mitzvah. That's me--making friends wherever I go!)

No, I didn't make up the rules of my detox. Rather, I turned to one of my favorite food resources, Diane Sanfilippo, author of the NYT best-selling Practical Paleo, star of the Balanced Bites podcast, and, as it happens, the daughter of one of my yoga students. Diane's mom came to my classes for years, and one day she mentioned to me that her daughter had written a cookbook. A "Paleo" cookbook. I wasn't sure what that was, but I thought I remembered that Paleo was a fad diet--so it didn't make much of an impression on me.

You know the word "synchronicity"? Karl Jung came up with this idea. It basically is another way of saying, "a meaningful coincidence". So around the time that Diane's mom mentioned her book to me, I started noticing something about my eating habits. What I noticed was this: If I sat down to a healthy dinner of brown rice, steamed broccoli, and grilled chicken, I felt good with each bite of the chicken and broccoli, and neutral to bad from the brown rice. I thought this was really strange--brown rice is so good for you! But it was becoming clearer and clearer that it wasn't good for ME. I did a little research on the Paleo Diet. It sounded interesting and I asked Diane's mom to bring me a copy of the book. She brought me an autographed copy--Diane had signed it "Love and Bacon". This was looking good!

I had a wonderful few weeks playing with the recipes and learning the science in the book. I did a bunch of reading of Diane's website, BalancedBites.com, and other resources online. Turns out, the Paleo Diet isn't really a fad diet--it's pretty much what my family doctor tells me to eat ("eat fruits and veggies and protein").

Finally, having learned about Diane's 21-Day Sugar Detox, I downloaded the ebook and took the plunge. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know it was a life-changing experience for me, a foodie who has struggled with chronic digestive problems for a very long time. Diane has updated the Detox, adding more recipes and explanations of how sugar acts in your body. I really appreciate that she adds the science behind what's included in the Detox program. You can read that or not if you choose. I love it so I read it. Also, to be clear for my students who were interested in the Detox but are pescetarian, pregnant/nursing, or athletes:

THE DETOX HAS MODIFICATIONS FOR THOSE WHO ARE PESCETARIAN, PREGNANT/NURSING, OR ATHLETES.

Given that fact, you have nothing to lose. Seriously! Nothing!

You know I am a huge foodie--huge--I will not be happy if I'm not enjoying my meals! And I LOVE. Love! The recipes in this book! I promise you it's not impossible. Your family will like these foods. You will like these foods. Your palate will change dramatically, with a minimum of suffering. You can do this! Really, you can! But you'll need some help, and this book is it. This book gets my strongest recommendation, and no, I'm not getting paid to say so. Run right over to Amazon and pre-order it! OR--COME TO THE STUDIO AND CHECK IT OUT FIRST! Diane has very kindly donated an advance copy of the book to the South Mountain Yoga community! (It's inscribed "Rock your Detox", which is appropriate because it's not just for bacon-eaters.) Thanks for everything, Diane!

Rock your detox!
Emma

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Making the Scale Your Friend: A Dieter's Guide

Last night hubby and I are lying in bed. He's telling me that he wants to weigh himself tomorrow morning before he has breakfast. He and I have recently changed our diets, you see. We did a 21-Day Sugar Detox. We feel great, we look great, so we're trying our best to keep going with it. I am pretty happy with my weight at present, but hubby still has a ways to go. He is a veteran dieter from a family of veteran dieters. His brother, Michael Magenta, actually wrote a one-man show about dieting.

Hubs and I disagree about using a scale.

"Don't weigh yourself," I said. "You know it's bullshit. When you finally made me weigh myself after the Detox I'd lost maybe 3 pounds. But I LOOK different, and my clothes fit differently. Plus every weight loss program in the world says you should only weigh yourself once a week, and you've been doing it every day."

"Every day? Please!" he said. "I do it way more than once a day! In the morning before I eat. After using the bathroom, either Number One or Two. After meals. It's a motivator."

"No, no, no. It's a red herring. You may well be getting healthier, converting fat to lean, but it won't show up on the scale. It's a lousy gauge for how you're doing. The Scale is a Bitter Mistress!"

"You just don't understand how to use the scale," he said.

"I don't? As far as I know, there are two steps. Get on it. And read the dial."

"Pfft, that's for amateurs."

"Okay, so what are your tips?"

"Drumroll, please," he said.

Tip #1: "Be morbidly obese."

"What?"

"Be morbidly obese!"

"Isn't that the problem?" I said.

"Well, yeah, but if you have a lot of weight to lose, and you change your diet just a little bit, you start seeing results, like, immediately! You eat a slightly smaller lunch and you lose a pound! You don't know about this because you've never been truly overweight."

"Wow, I'm already learning so much from this guide!"

"And we're only on the first tip!" he said. "Here's the next one."

Tip #2: "Force Yourself to Urinate and Defecate"

"You know, as your wife I feel obliged to tell you that you probably shouldn't be forcing yourself to do anything in the toilet arena. But if you are, I really don't wanna know about it."

"Don't worry, my methods are safe!"

"Again, don't wanna know."

"Okay, but lemme just tell you one tip."

"ONE tip. And nothing gross," I insisted.

"It's not gross! If you take a warm shower you usually have to urinate."

"That's your tip?"

"Yeah!"

"Did you learn that at sleepaway camp? Isn't this just a variation on 'hand in warm water makes you wet the bed'?"

"No, that's just your HAND," he said sagely. "The shower is your WHOLE BODY."

"Oh, I see. Way more scientific."

Tip #3: The "Baby Chemical"

"Weighing yourself after urinating and defecating is okay," said my husband. "But the best thing is to do your business in the morning, skip breakfast, and then weigh yourself a little later in the morning."

"Oh, like fasting?"

"No, it's more akin to how that chemical that babies secrete that makes them lose weight immediately after they're born. Waking up is like birth. The three-hour-later trip to the scale is the trip to the pediatrician. You'll find you've lost weight."

"Um, isn't that just because you're fasting?"

"No. You really aren't getting it. Google the baby chemical."

(Later it was revealed that he was talking about "surfactant". Which has nothing to do with weight loss.)

Tip #4: Self-Talk

"Next tip," he said. "If you weigh yourself, and you don't like the result, you can always blame it on wearing underwear that day that you didn't wear before, or on wearing flip flops that add a couple of pounds, or on the fact that you had a big glass of water before weighing."

"It seems like more and more it doesn't actually matter whether you've lost weight, you're just interested in the number on the scale," I said.

"Well, DUH."

"Okay, next time I actually care about what a scale says I'll make sure I'm not wearing exceptionally weighty undergarments. Please keep going."

Tip #5: "You Need to Find a Forgiving Scale"

"One that weighs light, you mean?" I asked.

"Mmm, no. See, that's where you show a certain...amateurish quality. Sorry--didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

"Oh, don't worry. I'll get over it."

"You want a scale with a wide spread," he continued.

"Like an imprecise scale?"

"More like you want one that can be interpreted in a number of different ways. That way you can choose from a number of different readings or interpretations."

"I guess that's where the self-talk becomes important."

"Exactly! You're finally getting it. Okay, here's my last tip."

Tip #6: "Hang a leg off the scale."

"What?"

"Hang a leg off the scale!"

"Come on, that is LAME!"

"Okay, I'll admit it's not as high quality as my other ideas. But it does work. You can't argue with its effectiveness."

And you know what? If what you're after is a lower number on the scale, he's right. You can do all kinds of crazy stuff to make that dial move. The thing is, I don't care one bit about the scale. What I care about is feeling better. And when I ask my hubby if he feels better, he looks at me like I'm crazy and says, "Of course I do! I'm not eating total crap anymore! I feel great!"

Can't argue with that.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 21, Sunday: In Which Our Heroine Crosses the Finish Line, and Keeps Running

THE FINISH LINE.

Breakfast: Two hardboiled eggs
Lunch: four slices turkey, pesto slathered on them, peppers
Snack 1: Apple with Bernadette's Paleo Fondue
Dinner: At Egan's. Steak with carrots, green beans, and salad
Snack 2: Cheese stick

Breakfast was dull but efficient. I can't recommend the turkey and pesto combo I had for lunch. I was not happy with it. The pesto is better on eggs, and the turkey is better with avocado. Peppers as usual were awesome. Green apple fondue was awesome. I clink an imaginary smoothie glass to Bernadette every time I eat it. Dinner at Egan's was easy and Detox-friendly. Everyone ordered dessert and Chris and I managed to resist. When I got home, I was still hungry, so I had a cheese stick.

On my last day on the Detox, one of my students who I hadn't seen all summer did a double-take and said, "Wow, you look great! Your skin!" I was very surprised and flattered. That's not why I did the Detox, but it's a nice perk! (Generally, the list of stuff I do to look better goes like this: bathe. Apply two-year-old drugstore mascara.) One of the things I notice when I'm eating whatever the hell I want is that I not only gain weight, I get kind of...puffy. I would not be surprised if there is some kind of systemic inflammation from eating sugar.

I finished the day before Labor Day, and I did a lot of thinking about how I felt about the work of this particular Detox, as compared to the one I did in April. In my yoga classes this week, I explored how work can be a degrading chore or uplifting LABOR that enriches our lives and is an expression and enhancement of our innate human dignity. For me, the first Detox was the former and this second one is the latter. The first one felt like a punishment, like something I HAD to do, like I had a serious flaw (inability to function well on the Standard American Diet, or SAD) and I had to compensate for it with strict discipline. This second one feels triumphant and joyful. I've had a blast planning my meals, doing the shopping, cooking, EATING, and writing about the experience for you and for myself. This isn't something that's a chore or a punishment. It's a reward. How lucky am I? In a world of heavily-conflicting dietary advice, I found a way of eating that makes me feel good! In a world of poison (sugar, simple carbohydrates, and advertising for sugar and carbohydrates), I have the discipline and resources to truly nourish myself and my hubby.

Okay, now that I'm done, what am I going to add back in?

Not fruit. It has become clear to me that I really do not do well on fruit. According to Gary Taubes, most modern fruit has been genetically engineered to be much sweeter than the fruit eaten by our early ancestors. I can barely handle the small green apple I eat daily--it tastes really sweet to me and I feel myself teetering on the edge of a crash after I eat it.

Not grains. I don't do well on wheat, corn (witness the corn chip disaster of Day 19), oats, rice, barley, etc. That includes quinoa! Geez, shouldn't quinoa be Detox-friendly? It has a really obscure name, so it must be healthy, right? Not for me.

Not much dairy. I'd like to experiment with raw dairy. I do okay with the occasional dollop of goat yogurt. I seem to be able to handle a small amount of cheese.

The thing I've missed most? Baked potato. My plan is to try a baked potato and see what happens.

But my main plan is to keep eating like this indefinitely. Will I be able to do that? I don't know. However, there are a few factors that make me think that I CAN, in fact, keep eating this way.

1. When I think about eating sugar or grains again, all I can think about is how once I eat them, I'm back on the roller coaster of cravings again. The limits of the Detox have really revealed to me how sick I feel when I eat sugar or grains. Or too much cheese. Or too many cured meats.

2. My husband is really supportive and participates with me. That means that he'll prepare Paleo-type stuff for dinner. And he'll eat Paleo-type stuff when I cook it. This is really important to me because we love to cook, we love to cook TOGETHER, and we try to eat dinner together every night.

3. Over the course of this Detox I've figured out many "hacks" to help me when I'm feeling cravings. Bernadette's fondue is great for sweet cravings. I never even ended up making Paleo Pancakes or Paleo banana bread, but I hear those are fantastic too.

4. I give myself permission to fall off the wagon for any reason I choose, from there not being anything else I can eat at a social engagement, to feeling like I really want a Brown Bonnet from Carvel. The looser I am, the easier it is for me to be disciplined.

Over the course of the Detox, dear Reader, I have tried to share what I was doing without being scoldy or preachy about what anybody else is eating. I do not respond well to scoldy preachiness myself. I can't stand those FaceBook memes with sanctimonious advice for living superimposed over a picture of a 20-year-old dancer in a bikini putting her leg behind her head. Particularly about diet, there is SO. MUCH. scoldy preachiness out there. This scoldiness doesn't help anybody!

Besides, as Hemingway says, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no-one ever becomes a master." He's referring to the Master Craft: Living. And what he's saying is that nobody knows shit. It doesn't matter if you meditate every day, or graduate from Harvard, or look really wise, or live in a big house, or live on the streets. Insert your own "it doesn't matter if...". It is terrifying and marvelous--nobody knows anything!

So look: I don't know anything. But I am pretty sure about the following:

1. The ONLY way to know whether or how much you would benefit from cutting sugar is to do it.

2. If you really want to do it, you can.

Thank you Diane Sanfilippo for creating the Detox and the excellent materials that make it easy to follow. And thank you, Gentle Reader, for reading and supporting me on my Detox. Mwah!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 20, Saturday: In Which I Don't Give a Rat's Ass What Gandhi Thinks

Breakfast: Half a TB and chard
Lunch 1: Two slices ham and some pickles
Lunch 2: Five slices of bacon
Dinner: Cured meats. Olives. A couple of bite-sized morsels of brie. Beef tenderloin from the grill, grilled eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, and salad. It was so, so good!

I woke up from the previous night's excesses with some EXTREMELY unfortunate digestive sequelae, such as I have not had in many a year. Ever been knifed in the gut? Felt like that, and you know what that is--GAS. I seriously think it was the corn chips, but everyone I've talked to says it was the tequila. So I spent a lot of the day managing feeling horrible and trying to eat stuff that wouldn't intensify the damage. Let's go over how well I did. As you can see, I kept my meals pretty small because I was so WRECKED from the previous evening.

The TB and chard: excellent choice, as usual. It went down well, it got some things moving. But it couldn't undo the damage. My morning routine was totally off. ("Morning routine" is a euphemism. Can you guess for what?) I felt so sorry for my yoga students because I arrived late and looked green.

My lunch choices created, for me, an important realization. It was helped by a comment from my friend Melanie about how there are different ways to do a low carb diet, and that "it's probably not a good idea to just eat bacon." (Note: technically, Paleo is different from low-carb.) Now, Gary Taubes says that research shows that lots of people CAN lose weight on just bacon and not really suffer any ill effects. So I argued with Melanie a little about it. However, I can definitely say after this day that TOO MUCH CURED MEAT is a problem for me. You were right Melanie!

My holy grail in my food investigation is this: how do I feel? I don't care if Gandhi says that a certain diet is good, if it doesn't make me feel good I don't care. Gandhi did many wonderful things, but as a vegetarian he would probably disapprove of my diet, and I don't give a rat's ass. (Another note: India tends toward being slim, but they have terrible problems with diabetes and heart disease from all the rice.) There's a great, probably apocryphal story about Gandhi and sugar. A mother comes to see him and says, "my son eats too much sugar. It's ruining his health. Please tell him to stop". Gandhi says, "Come back in three days." Mom comes back in three days with the son and Gandhi says, "Hey. Stop eating sugar." Mom says, "Why did we have to wait three days to hear that?" and Gandhi says, "Because I hadn't yet given it up myself." Which, I guess, gives me carte blanche to tell you: HEY. STOP EATING SUGAR! And also give me carte blanche to say: HEY. I AVOIDED SUGAR SEVEN TIMES LONGER THAN GANDHI! T-shirt, perhaps?

So lunch was ham and pickles at like 1:00, then some bacon at like 3:00. It was salty and fatty, and I thought it might get things moving, but what ended up happening was that it dried me out. And I think that's the main problem for me with cured meats, and even with pickled things--I get very dehydrated from them. The cured meat situation continued through the dinner we had on this day.

We were very kindly invited over for dinner with our friends Ellen and Jonathan and their family. Ellen puts out a crazy spread of hors d'oeuvres when we come over for two reasons: 1. she is a good Italian girl from Staten Island and 2. we have been friends for years and she knows we like to (over) eat. The term "dessert sausage" was coined at their house a few years ago when Chris concluded a five course meal by polishing off the rest of a log of sopressata. As usual, the chow was fantastic. The olives were the best I ever had. They were kelly green and not too heavily brined, which is unusual for olives. Two types of cheese--brie and a hard cheese. I only had one. Three types of cured meat--prosciutto, salami, and sopressata. Two types of crackers which I avoided.

While enjoying this epic feast, I noticed that all the cured meat I'd had on this day was making me feel slightly ill. Fortunately, we rapidly moved on to the entree, which was grilled rather than cured. We had a beef tenderloin and a host of grilled veggies, including the tastiest eggplant I have EVER had. Ellen is a good cook and when I asked her, "OMG how did you prepare this eggplant?" She just said, "I just put it in the metal tray and cooked it on the grill!" It was sublime, and tasted very STARCHY without BEING starchy. I am always looking for foods like that. Squash, for example. If you're a carb addict trying to go Paleo or do Sugar Detox, it really helps to have a few luxurious substitutions in play.

Last day tomorrow!!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 19, Friday: In Which Tequila is Consumed, Possibly by Our Heroine

"God--aren't you done with this thing yet?"

Breakfast: turkey burger and chard
Lunch: left over salsa chicken and avocado
Dinner: Chips and guacamole, chicken with onions, savory apple chutney, salad, TEQUILA

Okay, so as you can see, this day started out strong. Good ol' TB and rainbow chard holding down the beginning of the day. Leftovers from last night holding down the middle. I used to hate leftovers. Now I love them. I never really like the way meat tastes the day after you cook it. It's a little gamey. But my vague dislike of the gaminess is overpowered by my laziness. I am so freaking glad now when we have leftovers because it means I won't have to think about what I'm going to have for lunch the next day. Recently this strategy was foiled when I made 42 chorizo meatballs thinking I'd have leftovers and we ATE THEM ALL. Chubby overeaters: 1. Planning ahead: 0.

So coming to the dinner portion of my day. There are three elements of the meal that are out of bounds on the sugar detox. Can you pick what they are? We were very kindly invited over by our friends Lisa and Eric. Eric used to be a chef, so you know he's a great cook. Lisa, who easily could have sat on her butt eating Eric's cooking her whole life, is also a great cook. So we knew we were in for something tasty.

First item off the Detox: tequila. When I got there, Lisa was drinking something margarita-ish involving tequila, lime, and something else. She was out of the something else, so I said, inspired by my gimlet experience the early part of the Detox, "just give me a tequila with lime." She said, "Are you sure? Want me to put some soda water in it?" and I said, "Sure!" So I had it. It was not as good as a gimlet. But it slowly grew on me. I probably had less than a shot, but I did get tipsy and did some "dancing" (really more like "flailing around") that really made Lisa laugh. Good times!

Second item off the Detox: corn chips. Eric was doing the cooking on this night, and he made a huge tub of guacamole. Really, it's a sin to BUY guacamole. It's so gross from the store. The texture is all weird because it's been smooshed with a machine. There's a bunch of stuff you don't need in it. (Onions. Guacamole does not need onions.) And the flavors are tired. My strategy with guacamole is to simply use a fork, to make it and to eat it. This does not generally endear me to fellow diners at Mexican restaurants--everyone is daintily lifting a teaspoon of guac into their mouths with each chip and I'm holding the bowl up to my mouth and shoveling it down with a fork. However, this homemade guac CRIED OUT to be eaten with corn chips. So I did. There were other yummy hors d'oeuvres (my husband polished off a wheel of chevre by himself), but I was knee deep in guacamole and simple carbohydrates and did not notice them.

Third item off the Detox: apple chutney. This was a mild cheat because while there wasn't no sugar in it* it probably wasn't a green apple. Eric served it with chicken with onions and scallions. I really can't convey to you how tasty this simple-sounding dish was. The apple chutney was amAHzing. So, so good. We also had salad with a dressing that was noticeably professional. It really is amazing how professionals, in any field, simply have an edge on those of us trying our best at home.

The kids had dessert, we skipped it. Yay us. This reminds me of a funny exchange I had with Lisa when I started the Detox. She said, "Really? You're doing THAT? Are you even that into sugar?" I said, "Lisa. Do you not remember that every time I come to your house I demand that your children reveal to me the location of their old Halloween candy? And then I eat it, even though it's old, and it might be something gross that nobody else wants like Smarties?" And she said, "Ohhhhh, yeah, that's right. You ARE addicted to sugar!"

So, tequila: 1. Halloween candy: 0.

* I inadvertently wrote "wasn't no sugar in it" and I have decided to let it stand. It makes me feel like a character in a Mark Twain story.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 18, Thursday: In Which I Offer an Assortment of Recipes

It's Recipe Day! Let's get the business out of the way.

Brunch: Drumroll please...hardboiled eggs with pesto!!! The best.
Snack 4:15: Bernadette's Nutella and an apple
Dinner 8:45: Fajita-less fajitas

(Picture at left is from my pre-Sugar Detox days. So ignore the melon and prosciuto.)

Here's a few little secrets nobody tells you about pesto.
1. It is insanely easy to make.
2. YOU MUST toast the pine nuts.
3. YOU DON'T NEED THE CHEESE. Most pesto recipes call for a lot of grated parmesan cheese. What's cheese for, anyway? It adds fat, salt, and a yummy "umami" flavor. (What's umami? It's one of the five flavors of your tastebuds. It's a Japanese word, and it basically means "salty fatty protein-y goodness". I find it completely unnecessary in pesto. There's a ton of fat and flavor in the other ingredients and you can add as much salt as you like.

Here's what you do to make it:
1. Put a fourthish cup of pine nuts into a frying pan on medium heat. DO NOT LEAVE THE KITCHEN. They will be done in probably 1.5 to 3 minutes, and if you are FIVE SECONDS late to take them out of the frying pan, they are black and that's 3 dollars down the drain.
2. Get out the food processor. Wash an entire package of Trader Joe's basil. Separate the leaves from the stems and put the leaves in the food processor.
3. Add your pine nuts. Turn on the food processor and stream in about a quarter cup of olive oil. You can add more if you like it oilier. Add salt to taste. You're done!

Cook up two or three hardboiled eggs, peel 'em, cut 'em half, arrange them nicely on a plate. Then put great hunks of pesto on them. Such yumminess! It's incredibly rich and decadent.

Bernadette's Nutella is a name I've given to an incredible concoction devised by my pal Bernadette. I sometimes also think of it as "Paleo Fondue". It involves nut butter, coconut oil, and cocoa powder. It is INSANELY rich. I'd be curious to hear what non-Sugar Detoxers think of the recipe. To me, it is way sweet with the apple, but maybe that's because of my sugar-free taste buds. Here's the link: http://bernadettebirney.com/2013/08/choco-almond-butter-apples.html. If you think you can't do a Sugar Detox, get your hands on a green apple, make this stuff, and try it out. This will carry you through many a craving!

Finally today, on our recipe hit parade: the cashew cheese.

Get a bunch of cashews. Put them in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them sit all day or overnight. Drain them, put them in a food processor. Add just enough water to make the texture "ricotta-y". This makes a very bland ricotta-like substance that you can doctor in whatever way you want. If you were to add tahini, you'd have Paleo hummus. If you add garlic, you have something that goes well rolled in cooked eggplant with prosciutto, covered with tomato sauce, and baked: Paleo eggplant rollatini, like I made. (Remember: I later found out that cashews are not on the Sugar Detox. But they are paleo-friendly!)

Getting near the finish line now. I have one more dietary indiscretion up my sleeve before I end!

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