I am now at the end of day three. Today was much easier than I thought it would be. Day two seemed to be kind of a transition between solid foods and liquids. I think my body had some time there when it was right in between the two and a bit confused—that’s why I felt such malaise yesterday. But when I woke up this morning I felt fine, energized even. And that lasted for most of the day, until late afternoon when I started to wear down. After coming home and having my final two juices of the day, I’m still feeling pretty good. Definitely ready for bed though.
Overall, this has been a great experience. I’m really glad I kept going after hitting the wall yesterday. After three days I feel really good and I’m down, I think, about eight pounds. One thing is for sure though: I cannot wait to put solid food into my body again. i didn’t miss it at all today. But now, late at night, I’m starting to feel pangs of hunger in my stomach and I’m craving something solid. Another reason is because, despite how healthy I feel after this cleanse, it did some weird things to my insides. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that what goes in is what comes out. And I’ll be happy to take in some solids again. That’s one weird downside to the last three days. The only one, really. I feel healthier and happier after going through this.
If you’re considering a juice cleanse, I really encourage you to try it. There are bumps in the road along the way, but the payoff is well worth it. So, do some research—I’m including my recipes below—and prepare yourself mentally for a few days, and then go for it. You’ll be glad you did when it’s over.
1-inch slice Fresh Ginger Root
1 Fresh Lemon
6 Carrots with tops
1 Cucumber with skin
1/2 bunch Fresh Parsley
1 4-oz. tub Alfalfa Sprouts
4 Sprigs Fresh Mint
Blood Builder (Iron Rich)
2 bunches Grapes
8 Lemons peeled
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
125g Fresh Spinach
Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley
2-3 Sticks of Celery
Mean Green Juice (from the film, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead)
6 Kale Leaves
4 Celery Stalks
2 Green Apples
1 piece of ginger
2 Lemons peeled
8 Lemons peeled
6 Limes peeled
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Today wasn’t as easy as yesterday was. I felt pretty worn out early in the day and nearly fell asleep on the train this morning. Of course, this could be from foolishly thinking that running last night was a good idea. Or it could be because our noisy neighbors woke me up at 3AM with their loud, drunken nonsense (Though despite their noise, I had a very restful sleep, I think, because of the cleanse. We’ll see if tonight is just as good). But I think the cleanse had something to do with it too.
After having two of my morning juices, I felt slightly better. But by the afternoon, it seemed like I was in a weird haze where I couldn’t really think clearly. This resulted in not being able to properly communicate when I needed to. Luckily, I don’t talk to anyone for most of the day. And my energy was incredibly low—almost to the point where I fell over at Barnes & Noble on my lunch break. It was then that I considered turning this into a two-day cleanse.
My girlfriend got out of work early, which I consider to be some sort of sign from above, because she is doing the cleanse too, and being able to ride the train home with her really gave me the comradery that I needed to keep going.
At home, we had our final juice of the day, along with some vegetable broth. This put a little bit of spring back into my step, and any doubt I had about toughing it out through tomorrow is now gone. I spent the evening replenishing our juices for tomorrow (As tough as it is to do a juice cleanse, it’s even harder to actually prep all the fruits and vegetables and actually do the juicing. It almost makes paying three times the cost worthwhile the next time around.), and now I have to call it a night and we’ll see what tomorrow morning holds.
Current juice levels:
No, this isn’t the Mad Men liquid diet of only brown liquor. I recently decided to do a three-day juice cleanse. One reason is to lose weight for some upcoming events I have to attend where I’ll need to wear a suit and would prefer not to be bloated and gross. And the other reason is just to do some spring cleaning. It feels like a good time to detoxify and start fresh for the warm months. I’ve tried the Master Cleanse before, but quickly gave up on it. It wasn’t that it didn’t do what it was supposed to do, but I think I just need more ingredients in my juice to sustain for more than one day. I’d looked into a few professional cleanses around NYC—the Blue Print Cleanse, Organic Avenue, Terri (one of my favorite vegan go-to places for lunch)—and they were all out of my price range, coming it at between $65-$75 per day. So after doing a good deal of research, I found (or, compiled, really) a plan that seems to achieve a lot of what those other cleanses do. And at a fraction of the cost. To buy all the vegetables I needed I only spent about $60 (and this is for two people, as my girlfriend is also doing the cleanse with me. So I really only spent about $30). I’d love to be able to afford one of those other cleanses so I don’t have to do all the actual juicing myself—but I think most of the ingredients are very comparable and will provide everything I need.
My regimen consists of six juice concoctions throughout the day. One every three or four hours. They mostly consist of things like lemons, kale, celery, cucumbers, and limes. But full recipes will come later. Thank god my parents gave me a juicer for Christmas several years ago. I will post the full recipes after day three, when I have time to gather them up.
Now, onto the cleanse:
This one was a breeze, I’m guessing, because my body was still living off the nutrients from the solid food I’d eaten in previous days. This was yesterday and I had no problems at all. I was energetic and clear all day long. I even went for a half-hour run in the evening. It wasn’t until later at night that I started to get a bit hungry. But then I went to bed and it didn’t really bother me anyway. I also lost 2-3 pound of what I assume is pure water weight.
One of the items on my bucket list (yes, I actually have one) is to run a marathon. I think a lot of people aspire to do this. My girlfriend asked me why I think running a marathon is such a benchmark for people, and my guess is that it’s because the marathon is a running pinnacle. There are triathlons, decathlons and all that, but when it comes to just running, it seems like the marathon is a recognizable benchmark and a reasonable goal. When you’re not a runner, this is what you strive for.
To me, though, it’s a little more. I haven’t been a runner up until now not because I didn’t want to be–it’s because I couldn’t be. My whole life I’ve had terrible asthma. I’ve been hospitalized because of it; I’ve refrained from participating in sports because of it; I’ve even avoided leaving the house in winter because of it. As a teenager I tried to fight this. With the proper medication–shots, pills, inhalers–I was able to stay active, and did a lot of things like skateboard and play basketball. Then, as I got older and started moving around to different cities, I got lazier and the strength I had built up in my lungs slowly went away. I didn’t pay much attention until I started to gain weight and just feel awful about myself. It was basically my metabolism slowing down and my age catching up to me.
When I realized what was happening to me, I started to get very concerned about my health. I began a regimen of yoga and adopted a plant-based diet and felt a little bit better. But what I was hoping to get from yoga didn’t really come. As much as I was trying to do it for my physical health, I was also hoping to find a bit of spiritual health. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t stick with it long enough or if it’s because I did it on my own without a teacher or a class, but it just wasn’t doing the trick. The diet, however, is amazing and it is how I’ll live for the rest of my life. But I needed to find a replacement for the yoga.
Really heavy physical activity was out of the question. I didn’t have health insurance, so I wasn’t able to get the preventative and rescue inhalers I needed to make intensive exercising an actual possibility. Recently, that changed though. I now have health insurance and am able to get the meds I need in order to live a relatively normal life again. And, thank goodness, exercise.
Back when I was younger and more active, I ran fairly regularly. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot for the past year or so. And lately I feel like I’ve seen some signs that are telling me it’s time to do it.
Several people I know are runners, and while I don’t talk to them about it, it’s in my peripheral and I’ve been paying attention. I also got a copy of Haruki Murikami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (which includes a beautiful cover by the great John Gall), which is next on my list to read. I figure if anyone can write a book about running that I would really enjoy, it’d be him. I also found two videos last night at the Runners World website, where two people who I really admire as creatives–musicians in both cases–discuss their lives as runners: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers. Flea, in particular, said something that really struck me; he said that he believes our bodies are built to run, and it’s crazy to not use your bodies as they were meant to be used. I found that to be incredibly thought-provoking. Ben Gibbard discussed how his body was so resistant to his starting to run. That, too, was very interesting to me, but mostly because it frightens me as someone who is about to go through the same things. Hearing these guys discuss running also gives me some kind of false hope that it’ll help me creatively, too. The videos are below:
So with all of these things pointing toward going for it, I’ve decided to become a runner. But it’s not as easy as just hitting the pavement. I need to learn some lung-strengthening exercises, and I’ve discovered a fantastic two-month program that eases you into it. By the end of the month, I should be able to run two miles with ease. I love the idea of that. I plan to start in two weeks, and I’m hoping the weather will be a little warmer by then. Cold air is the enemy of the asthmatic.
I’m very excited about this. I feel like even just starting is a huge step forward for me. I doubt I’ll be ready for a marathon any time soon, but if I can run for a half hour without stopping to worry about dropping dead from an inability to breathe, I’ll be just as happy as if I were running the New York Marathon.
Are any readers out there runners? I’d love to hear about how it affects your life and what you get out of it.
Since I started commuting to work five months ago, I’ve had a lot of time on the train to read and to listen to things on my iPod. But what began as fumbling around the iTunes store’s podcast section has now turned into a strict diet of comedy that I don’t know if I could do without. The line-up consists primarily of interview-type things, with some movie trivia and improv thrown in. It’s a nice way to spend two hours when you’re crammed next to people in big coats. If you’re interested, and you should be because if you like to laugh, this stuff is for you, here are the shows that occupy my train rides:
WTF with Marc Maron: I’m late to the party with this one, even though Maron used to live a few blocks from me. He’s a terrific interviewer and gets some really great comedy people (David Cross, Michael Ian Black, Steve Almond (Not a comedian, I know, but also a really fantastic conversation), Gary Shandling, Amy Poehler, and the list goes on and on) to come to his garage and chat for an hour. This show posts twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays.
Doug Loves Movies: This podcast is usually recorded live and includes a ton of guests like Sarah Silverman, Jon Hamm, Edgar Wright, and so many more. It’s hosted by comedian Doug Benson and the way it works is the guests participate in a game of movie trivia–the Leonard Maltin game. People determine how many names from the cast list (starting with the lowest billed) they can guess the title in. If you’re a movie buff like I am, you’ll love this show. It posts every Friday with a few mini episodes (which often involve another great movie game called Build-A-Title) in between.
Nerdist: I feel like this is the father of all comedy podcasts. I got into it just recently, but have heard about it for what seems like forever. Another interview show, Nerdist is hosted by Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira, and is, like it’s title suggests, pretty nerdy. If you like comedy but aren’t as into things like comics and Apple products, you might want to check this one out last. I don’t think this show has a specific schedule, but a new episode drops every few days.
How Did This Get Made?: This is another movie podcast with comedians. I love it because I feel like it’s basically what I do with my friends: rip apart terrible movies, but in a relatively kind way. The show is hosted by Paul Sheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas, and each week they watch a bad film and bring in a guest to discuss its shortcomings. Things like Catwoman, Superman III, and Drive Angry. All movies just asking to be made fun of, right? Guests include people like Damon Lindelof, Doug Benson, and Adam Scott. This is another podcast with no strict schedule, but new episodes are available almost every week.
Comedy Bang Bang: Probably my favorite podcast of all the ones I listen to. Comedy Bang Bang (formerly Comedy Death Ray) is a talk-show format (with host Scott Auckerman), but it’s very improvisational, and guests usually play characters–people like the Cake Boss, Ice-T, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Werner Herzog. There are a lot of returning guests on this show,especially the fantastic Paul F. Tompkins and Nick Krall. The reason I even decided to write this post is because I just read that the show was picked up for television by IFC (again–Comedy Death Ray used to air on there). So, if you don’t want to listen to the podcast, you can just watch it there. I recommend doing both. New episodes of Comedy Bang Bang are released on Fridays.
The Pod F. Tompkast: There aren’t many episodes of this podcast, but the ones that are available are great. Paul F. Tompkins is one of my favorite comedians, and his highbrow humor is definitely apparent on this show. It might be tough for some people to sit through, but I think it’s great. Most of the content is Tompkins doing live comedy, but there’s also some studio material, including characters like John C. Reilly and John Lithgow. There isn’t a schedule for this show, so just subscribe and have them delivered whenever they’re available. It’ll be a nice surprise when it shows up!
I know there are a million more comedy podcasts out there, many that I’d love to have the time to listen to. But these are what fills my ears on the train right now. If I get the chance to listen to more, I’ll add them here. And if you, three readers, have any suggestions for me, put them in the comments and I will seek them out.Tags: Amy Poehler, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Apple, Cake Boss, Catwoman, Chris Hardwick, Comedy, Comedy Bang Bang, Comedy Death Ray, Damon Lindelof, David Cross, Doug Benson, Doug Loves Movies, Drive Angry, Edgar Wright, Gary Shandling, How Did This Get Made?, Ice-T, IFC, iTunes, Jason Mantzoukas, John C. Reilly, John Lithgow, Jon Hamm, Jonah Ray, June Diane Raphael, Leonard Maltin, Marc Maron, Matt Mira, Michael Ian Black, Nerdist, Paul F. Tompkins, Paul Scheer, Pod F. Tompkast, Podcast, Sarah Silverman, Scott Auckerman, Steve Almond, Superman III, Werner Herzog, WTF with Marc Maron
I don’t think I’ve ever written something to sum up a year in my life before, and I feel like I kind of abandoned this blog a few months back. But now that it’s officially 2012, maybe I’ll start out by doing something new, and reviving something old, even though my eyes are the only ones that will most likely witness these events. Whatever, I like to write.
2011 was a pretty eventful year for me. The biggest thing that happened–which is also one of the main reasons I often didn’t have the time or energy to write on this blog–is that I started a new job. In August I took a full-time position designing books at St. Martin’s Press. I’m working exclusively on interiors, but I feel those are the unsung heroes of book design elements. Everyone notices a cover, but unless there’s something really catchy inside, most of that work goes unnoticed. Which is a shame, because there’s some really good, fun stuff going on in there sometimes.
The books I design are of a wide variety. They’re everything from saucy mass-market romance books, to the autobiography of Barack Obama’s half-sister, to (my favorite) trade fiction titles from Picador. I love all the different subjects; It helps me push myself to be versatile as a designer. And after working exclusively from home for nearly five years, it’s pretty nice to get out of the house and be around the living again, especially when it all takes place in the historic Flatiron Building. The commute though? Eh, I could do without that. But the health insurance alone would be worth it.
Last year my freelance business picked up a bit as well. I got a lot of work through small presses that I hadn’t worked with before, which is great. I love working with new clients and new projects. Most of the jobs I got were books, but also a lot of web work for some reason. I guess that’s more in demand than book design. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. If I can keep Steven Seighman Design moving forward in 2012 and keep building a bigger client base, I’ll be very happy.
I also took a lot of photos last year and started an Instagram account (my username is stevenseighman–follow me!) to share them through. That’s been a lot of fun and I’ve seen many, many great photographs from other people as well. This year I hope to have a better cameraphone to do all my shooting with, because mine is an iPhone 3G, and it’s just not cutting it anymore. Fingers crossed to more freelance work!
One of the things I talk about on this blog quite a bit is films. I even had a running total for everything I watched in 2011. That died off when I started the new full-time job, but up to that point I had amassed a pretty great collection of movies that I’d watched. And it did keep going after I stopped cataloging them, I just didn’t have the time to maintain the list anymore. I’m beginning again for 2012 though, and while the list might not be as long this year, it’s still going to be awesome. So far, only one movie: The Future. But that’s a great way to start off the year. I’m hoping for quality over quantity this time around.
Also in 2011 I celebrated my one-year anniversary as a vegan. This is something that I am very, very excited about, as you might know if you’ve read past entries in this blog. It’s a lifestyle that I am incredibly proud of, and hope to celebrate many, many more anniversaries of as the years go on.
There were some great highlights for Monkeybicycle last year, too. Aside from putting out one really terrific print issue (what should’ve been the second is coming out this month), we held what was probably one of my favorite readings that we’ve ever done over the nine years that the journal has been in existence. The Night of 20 Women, happened in NYC in July and featured some really amazing readers–all women–including Dawn Raffel, Deb Olin Unferth, and Shelley Jackson, just to name a few. I think it was one of our most attended events ever. I hope 2012 brings even more great things like that for Monkeybicycle. It’s our ten-year anniversary, so we need to make it BIG.
An only slightly less self-indulgent thing that happened last year, too, is that my girlfriend, Laura Carney, left her job in the trenches at OK! Magazine for the greener pastures of Hearst Tower and Good Housekeeping magazine. This made her very happy and, in turn, also made me very happy.
So there you go. My 2011. I’m guessing no one even made it to this page. But if they did, they surely didn’t make it to the end of this post, which is fine. In 2012 I pledge to write more interesting things that concern only me. Maybe then I’ll have more readers.
Happy 2012 everyone.Tags: Auma Obama, Barack Obama, Book Design, books, Dawn Raffel, Deb Olin Unferth, Design, Flatiron Building, freelance, Good Housekeeping, Hearst Tower, instagram, iPhone, Laura Carney, Monkeybicycle, OK! Magazine, Photography, Picador, Shelley Jackson, St. Martin's Press, The Future, vegan, Veganism
I might have an addictive personality, and this isn’t necessarily bad. The things I find myself wrapped up in are generally good, or at least not harmful to me or anyone else. For example: several months back I was reminded of the horror director/circus barker/fabulist William Castle. I knew of his movies (The Tingler, 13 Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill, etc.), but didn’t know much about the man. So I read a little bit and my interest was piqued.
This is where the addictive personality comes in. I watched a documentary about Castle and all of his movies from the 60s and 70s–about ten–in one week. I needed to know as much as I could about this man. (Turns out his ideas about marketing his movies, as absurd as they are, were wonderful. Hitchcock even swiped a few of his concepts for Psycho.)
I run into topics that consume me all the time. And they’re not always light things like moviemakers. Sometimes they’re far more serious, like the plight of Haiti (both before and after the earthquake of last year) or factory farming in America.
This last one is huge to me, and I think it’s because it’s something that is physically affecting me (and you, most likely). About 11 months ago I picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Polan. It was an enlightning read and really educated me about just how food gets to our tables in America. Then, the addictive personality kicked in and I had to learn more. I watched a few movies, read another book or two, and then got to what I’d call a turning point in my life. I picked up Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
When I read this book it changed my life for good. I’d had something deep inside of me trying to get out, and Eating Animals helped it to find its way into my consciousness. I knew that I needed to do something, but it wasn’t until I read Foer’s book that I could understand what I was feeling inside.
So, one year ago this month, I went vegan.
Unlike all the other things I got hooked on, this one had drastic repercussions. It changed my life for good. I documented the beginning in this blog post, and I don’t think I wrote much else about it since. But now I can say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Over the last twelve months I’ve lost aboutt 20 pounds, I have more energy, I don’t need my asthma inhaler quite as much (this is huge because I’m without health insurance and those things are expensive), and I feel like my conscience is clear; I know what happens to animals that are bred for food in this country and I’m proud of myself for not taking part in that process. I’ve also learned how to cook a ton of new dishes, which has been incredibly fun, since I cook dinner for my girlfriend and me every night. It’s been one of the best years of my life, and I look forward to a lot more like it in the future.
I’ve learned a lot of things because of my addictive personality, and I’m incredibly thankful that I had it one year ago. Maybe some more life-changing things are in store for me because of it, but for now I couldn’t be happier with the one I already have.
If you’d like to take a shot at being vegan (or even just vegetarian) download PETA’s starter kit here. I encourage you to try it, even if just for a week.
Last week I reported that Transformers: Dark of the Moon was one of the laziest, most unentertaining films I’ve seen in a long time. After subjecting myself to that, I needed a palate cleanser, and I got it big time.
There are many Woody Allen movies that I don’t like–Match Point, Bananas, and Anything Else, to name a few. But there are also Woody Allen movies that I absolutely love: Manhattan, Annie Hall, Vicki Christina Barcelona, and now Midnight in Paris. This is probably the best film Woody has put out since the ’90s.
Midnight in Paris is the story of Gil (Owen Wilson), a burnt out Hollywood screenwriter on holiday in Paris with his incredibly closed-minded fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. Like so many before him, Gil is in love with the city and longs to live there, drenched in the inspiration and creating art. In his case, that is a novel about a man who works in a nostalgia shop–perfect for what goes on throughout this film. Inez thinks he’s a dreamer and is happy with a house in Malibu.
When Inez runs into an old acquaintance–brilliantly played as a pompus blowhard by Michael Sheen–she leaves Gil to wander the city alone at night. His meandering eventually him to an ultimate inspiration and to places he could’ve never imagined going.
I find a real underlying sense of sweet sincerity to the protagonists in most of Woody Allen’s movies (except for the “serious” films like Match Point) and Owen Wilson carries on that tradition; this role is perfect for what he does. And in addition to Sheen, most of the supporting cast (which I can’t really list because their characters would give away the big plot twist) is equally great–especially Kathy Bates, of course.
Midnight in Paris is evidence that Woody Allen got his groove back. It’s a beautiful film from start to finish, both in its visuals and its story. Go see it while it’s still in theaters.
Midnight in Paris trailer: