Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead & Jesse Wong's Kitchen

I don’t know how many of you have watched the movie “Fat,Sick and Nearly Dead” but it is on my 10 ten list of must watch movies about health.  Talk about an inspiration, this movie has it from start to finish.  I doubt there are many people who could watch this and not think about adding juice to their life.  I will admit that I was one of those people. As soon as the movie was over I immediately thought that I needed to get back to juicing at least part time as a supplement or a single meal replacement once per day. 

If you haven’t seen this movie it is on Netflix and our local library even has a copy.  Both my husband and I think this is one to watch.  If you haven’t yet seen it I hope you will give it chance.  We were most impressed with the health improvements people made but they also dropped a huge amount of weight in a very short time. We have been recommending this movie to everyone we know and even gave it to some of our health conscious friends for Christmas.  This movie is great for anyone who needs a little inspiration to make lifestyle changes in order to improve their health.

Juice Fast

After watching the movie a few times I ended up doing a 16 day juice fast in November and dropped 14 pounds.  What? I know crazy right?  While I did regain 4 pounds once I started eating (as my colon refilled) I have maintained the 14 pound loss since I dropped a few pounds again after the juice fast. Here is the crazy part of juice fasting I felt amazing while I was doing it.  I woke up refreshed and ready to go which is nothing like me on a typical morning. Additionally I slept well and was full of energy and was alert.

If anyone is interested in trying a juice fast let me know and I will post more about what I did.  Heck I may even do another one and post my recipes if there is enough interest in juice fasting.  It was a great experience and one that I wouldn’t mind repeating because I felt wonderful!

In addition to juice fasting we both started adding juice back into our diet like we did a couple of years ago. Here is the crazy part of this entire story. Our Johns Hopkins oncologist (an MD and PhD) is completely on board with this and even said he should buy a juicer.  Yes that really happened and Dan and I both were blown away. If that isn’t an endorsement for juicing I don’t know what is.  In fact the last time we saw the oncologist he commented that Dan’s blood work results were fantastic.  Go plants! Don’t you just love results like this?  *happy dance*

Jesse Wong’s Kitchen in Hunt Valley Mall

We have been spending ridiculous amounts of time at JesseWong’s lately. Dan purchased 10 Living Social Coupons and that is a lot of eating out let me tell you.  However now we know a few of the servers by name and the hostess greats us with “weren’t you just here”.  It sounds like when we go to visit Ian at the restaurant doesn’t it?

If you are local and get to Jesse Wong’s ask for a table in Dan’s section.  He is great and knows how to point you to the vegan options since we ask for him when we make a reservation online (they are on Open table). Also Dan is really nice and working his way through college so please be good to him at tip time.  If Dan doesn’t have an available table you should ask for Mike. He is also a nice guy and we get him often too so he is familiar with the requirements of vegan diners.

Since we have become regulars at this restaurant I can point you to some of our favorite vegan items on the menu.   I thought those of you who are nearby would appreciate the guidance.  Those who aren’t nearby might get ideas for things to make at your house.

If you are a soup person order the vegetable soup which comes with tofu.  This is light and not salty.  I think it is perfect way to start your meal.

If salad is more your thing I have four suggestions.

 My favorite is the seaweed salad which I realize isn’t for everyone.  But it is a great source of trace minerals, particularly iodine which most westerners are low in.  We ordered it last week when we met our buddy Louis for dinner and he tried it.  Apparently it wasn’t bad because Louis ordered seaweed salad a few days ago at a different restaurant.  I am sharing this because I want those of you who haven’t tried seaweed salad it give it a chance.  It is very healthy for you as well as being tasty (in my opinion).

Another salad option is the sweet and spice cabbage that I also love. This one is made with bok choy that is shredded and a spicy and sweet vinegar based dressing. There are also strips of bell pepper and it is topped with sesame seeds.

Then there is the Vietnamese salad which Dan likes. This comes with a vinegar based dressing, romaine, rice noodles, fresh mango, carrot and Dan’s favorite a fried spring roll.

I prefer the Nippon salad which also has romaine, mango and carrot and comes with a ginger, carrot and walnut dressing (mostly carrot).

In terms of appetizers there are three options that we like.

The first is the edamame light on the salt.  You need to ask them to go light on the salt when you order these.

Dan’s favorite is the Asian lettuce wraps made with faux chicken. This isn’t on the menu so you have to ask for it.

Another one of Dan’s favorites is the steamed veggie dumplings.

If you are still hungry there is always the veggie sushi.  Your options are avocado, asparagus, cucumber, shitake, seaweed salad roll (my favorite), Japanese squash, tempura sweet potato (Dan’s favorite) and at least one more which has slipped my mind.  See what happens when you get old.  LOL

We also like the Veggie Hunan Chicken made with faux chicken.

There is also a steamed veggie side that you can order which I often ask for.

Don’t forget that you can order brown rice instead of white. Also any dish on the menu with real meat can be made with faux meat or tofu if you wish.  Again you just need to ask.

One thing I have learned about going out to dinner is that if you ask for things the kitchen is typically happy to honor your request.  Whenever we go out whether it is a new restaurant or not I always ask questions and ask items to be prepared differently than they are found on the menu. Once you get used to doing this it is easy.  Not to mention if you tip well no one minds.  In fact most servers have told us to ask for them when we come back so I think they are okay that we are a little high maintenance (a reference to my favorite movie of all-time “When Harry Met Sally”).  ;-)

Happy Thoughts

I am writing this on January 1st to be posted on the third and my first thought was that tomorrow was back to work which is not a happy thought. However there are always things to be happy for so here goes:

  1. At this moment I am very grateful for jazz.  I am listening to East Bay Soul 2.0 while I write this post. The song “The Love of My Life” is one of my favorites and it reminds me of my precious husband.  I have included a link to it on YouTube in case you want to listen to it.
  2. As always I am grateful for my wonderful husband.  I know I have said this many times but he is the perfect match for me.  I can’t imagine my life without him in it. 
  3. I am thankful that I have such precious little fur kids in my life.  While the felines are not well-behaved they are mine and I adore them.  As I type this all three of the kids are within 10 feet of me. Whoever said that cats are standoffish never met ours. They love their humans are always close to us.
  4. Another thing I am grateful for that I know this one sounds odd is the slippers Dan bought me for Christmas.  I got a pair of slippers that are tall like boots. These little babies really keep my feet and ankles warm and that is huge this time of year.   ;-)  I suppose this could be one of those signs of being old, like appreciating socks for Christmas.  LOL
  5. The scale continues to be my friend for which I am extremely grateful.  It is wonderful knowing that my habits impact both my health and my weight.  I can’t tell how great it feels to know that I am in control in a healthy way.  After years of struggling with my weight and my emotions regarding my weight this is a huge accomplishment for me.
  6. I am also thankful everyone who wants to improve their health even if it means going against the grain and trying something “crazy” like a healthy vegan diet.  I still remember how difficult this was when we did it and I want to commend everyone who is willing to give this a try.  As I like to say if you want radical improvement you need to make radical changes.  Remember what seems radical when you start becomes easy.  In fact it just becomes your new normal.  Dan and I talk about this often and we both say that we wouldn’t go back to the way we used to eat because we feel so fantastic now.  After you have adopted this lifestyle for a month you will know what we mean.  I never want to go back to those days of a food coma after eating, a slow GI tract, more visits to the dentist, or having elevated blood pressure.

Signing out

Thursday will be hectic for me.  We will be starting our day at Johns Hopkins and then I have a few appointments and errands to run.  I hope to get a post up on Friday but it may be brief.  However I promise to do my best and will get something posted.  Wishing you a wonderful day.


  1. I'm so glad you're posting again, although who can blame you for relaxing on the boat!

    I love FSND too. I'm actually on day 3 of a juice fast at the moment.
    I've posted about it here:
    I would love to read any additional information you have or follow your journey if you decide to do another fast- or even hear and reading suggestions?

    Thanks for sharing all the yummy vegan food ideas x

    1. Happy New Year Claire!

      Thank you for the warm welcome back. I really appreciate it.

      Woo hoo for juice fasting. Congratulations on making it to day 3. For me the day 1 was the hardest by 3 I was in a groove. Excellent suggestions for what to write about thanks for sharing those. I will make that happen. :-)

      As soon as I get a break today I will pop over to your blog. Thanks for the address. :-)

      Hope you have a marvelous 2013 and that we can chat again soon,

  2. Hi Ali,

    good to know FSND is on Netflix. I'll convince my diet buddy to watch it today.
    I recently did dr. OZ three days cleanse with smoothies and I am really interested in your juice fast.



    1. FSND is also free on Amazon Prime if you know anyone with that. If you haven't seen the movie please watch it. I find it to be incredibly inspiring. :-)

      I was thinking of doing another juice fast soon anyway. Now I will just have to make that happen and write about it in more detail.

  3. It's great to see you back! I have seen this movie - it is a favorite of mine. There are several good juicing websites out there with recipes, including Joe's. I have been doing a juice semi-fast (juice for 2 meals and dinner) - I think its a great way to be back into the habit of getting in loads of veggies - especially after the holidays when far too much "junk" crept back into our diets!

    Take care.

    1. Happy New Year Neca,

      It is great to hear from you. :-) I hope all is going well with you in sunny Florida.

      I just love this movie. I lost count but I have probably seen it at least 6 times and each time I pick up another tid-bit or two. I have been to Joe's site but wasn't too keen on the recipes which seemed to contain a little more fruit than I wanted. In my usual style I made up my own recipes. ;-) Do you have a favorite juice you are drinking now?

      Sorry to hear the holidays were a bit indulgent. However it sounds like you have things under control again and that is what is important. Hope the 2 juices, 1 meal plan is working well. I would love to hear more about that. Are you blogging about it?

      Hope 2013 is the best year ever for you,

    2. My plan is a riff on one I found on Joe's site. I make up about 2 quarts of juice in the AM and bring 3 bottles to work in my lunchbox (I have the 4th when I get home from work). Then I make a veggie centric dinner.

      I tend to make 1 quart a "sweet" juice - lemon, ginger, carrots, cucumber (adds volume), and a couple of apples for example. Then I make a quart of "savory" juice - celery, cucumber, beets, peppers, spinach, tomatoes - a sort of homemade V8.

      I'm not really blogging a lot these days, but I am trying to get back in the habit. ;-)

      Great to see you back blogging again!

    3. Neca,

      My husband would love your morning juice he has a sweet tooth. I used to make him something similar but it also had romaine, kale and celery in it. I am definitely more a savory juice girl . I make one similar to yours but I add garlic (not much it is powerful) and add a little sherry vinegar to it. Great minds think a like. LOL

      I would love to hear how this 2 and 1 plan works for you. Please keep me posted.

      Thanks, it is good to be back. :-) I am working on the next post now. This will be a quick one since we had the appt with the oncologist today. However that went very well so I am still bouncing off the walls. LOL

      talk with you later,

  4. I would love to read more about your juice fast. It's something that interests me, but I don't have a juicer (nor the money to buy one, unfortunately). Now that I have a new blender after my old one went kaput, I'm excited to start enjoying green smoothies again. Once in a while, I treat myself to an apple-ginger-cucumber juice from my local health-food store. So delicious!

    1. Hi Brigid,

      I will definitely be doing another juice fast and will document and write about it. When I did the first one I had difficulty making it all the way through day one. In fact it took me 4 days to complete day 1. However once I did it the rest was easy. I expected to lose maybe 5 pounds but was blown away by 14. The most amazing thing was how good I felt. I have never been a morning person but I woke up ready to take on the world when I was on the juice fast. It was insane.

      Have you looked for used juicers? I think they are a lot like exercise equipment. People buy them, don't use them and then sell them. I bet you can find a deal on a barely used one if you look. Just an idea. ;-)

      chat with you later,

    2. Brigid,

      I bought my first juicer at Aldi for $40. It stills works - I gave it to my mom!

    3. Neca,

      What a great suggestion! Thank you so much for sharing it. :-)


      If you have any friends who belong to Costco I noticed that they were carrying juicers a few weeks ago. You might want to check that out too.


  5. I'm so glad the oncologist visit went well! I'm also so very glad you're back to blogging. I had really worried that something bad had happened to one of you. We watched FSND and it really inspired us, but I found that first I needed to work on my (lack of) cooking skills, so that if we do this, we won't fall back off the wagon later on. Your blog has been very inspirational for that! We've been drinking a smoothie in the evening for a while (a big bunch of kale or collards, a cucumber, an apple, water & some frozen mango/berries). We have a juicer but haven't tried it yet.

    I live between Baltimore and Washington, so the local restaurant recommendations are great!

    1. Happy New Year Statch,

      Thank you! We were very please that the oncologist appt went well too. I think we danced out of the Weinberg building this morning.

      The beauty of juicing in that you don't need to cook. However you will need to cook once you are finished. BTW I am considering doing PCRM's "Food For Life" cooking instructor program in April. If I do then there will be cooking lessons coming soon if you are interested. ;-)

      Yay, thanks for letting me know I have been inspirational. That makes me very happy. :-)

      BTW Baltimore and Washington sounds like Columbia to me. We should get together at Great Sage for lunch sometime if I guessed correctly.

      Hope to hear from you again soon,

  6. You had asked what people would like to see you blog about...and I was thinking about the fact that you're very busy, and that it's been a while since I read your older posts. What about sometimes either reposting previous posts -- especially if you picked out the ones that you feel have really stood the test of time and match your current thinking -- or creating some new posts with excerpts from early posts, maybe with recipes and/or nutritional information from earlier posts?

    1. Statch,

      This is an interesting idea that I had not considered thank you for sharing it. Today I was a bit stumped re: what to write so there will be a recipe coming of something that I made a few days ago that Dan really liked. I am still cooking just not documenting it like I used to. When I cook just for us I add a pinch of this or that and don't measure. That makes it much more difficult to tell people what I did as you can imagine. LOL

      I need to start a file of blog ideas like I used to have. That made it much easier to write. But also I want to write what people are interested in reading. Otherwise it feels like I am talking to myself. ;-)

      thanks again for sharing the idea, :-)

  7. I loved that doc and the husband enjoyed it too. We've recommended it to numerous family members who have all bought juicers and started juicing more regularly since watching it. I love juicing, but our juicer isn't that great. I want to upgrade to a better one once we can afford it and then I think I'll juice more. I'm definitely curious about your juice "feast".

    It's nice you have a vegan-friendly Chinese food place to enjoy. All of our local places are way too meaty, greasy and icky.

    1. Nadine,

      Thanks for letting me know that you are also interested in juicing. :-) The juice fast was much more enjoyable than I anticipated. I will definitely be doing it again.

      Before I forget I have two juicers now. Both are Omegas so I should write about the differences so everyone knows. Oddly after buying the second juicer I still prefer the first one. LOL, live and learn.

      We are very lucky to have a vegan-friendly restaurant nearby. Hunt Valley (where it is located) is only a 15-20 minute drive from home. The best part is there is a Wegman's in the same mall so it is never a single purpose trip. I know what you mean about meaty, greasy and icky. I would add to that overly salty. However I suppose that the restaurants are simply catering to the Western palate which is sad. Asian food in Asia is never that unhealthy. *sigh*

      Hope you have a great Friday,

  8. I'm so glad you're blogging again! I hope we'll hear more about your health coaching, too. I remember emailing with you about food/health movies and discussing Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It was definitely one of my favorites and one I wanted to share with my very unhealthy parents. If I could get some time off from teaching, I think I could do the juice fasting (and would love to), but I have to get the time off first because I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable teaching my hard cardio classes on a juice fast ... though who knows for sure? I would LOVE to hear more about your juice fast -- and especially your juicer. I think I recall that you have a slow masticating juicer. In FSND, he uses a Breville juicer, which is centrifugal. I wonder if there's a huge difference between the two, in terms of the juice results. I have stayed away from juicers and juicing primarily because I want to avoid extra calories -- I stick with my VitaMix for "juicing," which I enjoy because it lets me keep all the fiber to boot. When I have considered juicers, I get stuck between the slow masticating and the centrifugal varieties. When I was much younger I had a Juiceman Jr. I loved it, and I used it every day. And I always had one day of juice fasting per week. I loved it, but the juicing basket was often a pain to clean. Anyway ... I'd love to hear your thoughts on the juicers - as well as the juice! :-)

    1. Hey Gloria,

      Good point I need to write about coaching too. I guess there really is plenty for me to write about just not time. LOL

      If you get your parents to watch FSND I would love to know how. I can't imagine my parents sitting through more than 5 minutes unless I tie them down. ;-)

      I wouldn't suggest juice fasting with your cardio class teaching schedule. When I was doing it I backed way off on my workouts.

      He does use a centrifugal juicer in the movie which I didn't understand either. I love my Omega 8006. We also have an Omega VRT 350 which Dan got me when I started juicing a lot. It makes juice faster but is more prone to jam and is harder to clean. I will write a post about that soon too. See there is another idea. I just need to make it happen now. LOL

      I use juice as a meal replacement for me, extra calories for Dan. I understand not wanting the extra calories for yourself. Okay now I am sure I need to write about this. Thanks for the push. ;-) ((hugs))

      chat with you later,

  9. Ali, it's great to see you back! I clicked on the link not expecting anything new, so what a nice surprise! My husband and I watched FSND just the other night and it inspired me to start doing more juicing. However we don't need to lose any weight, so a juice fast is probably too severe.

    Nutrition, recipes/methods, medical info, book & equipment reviews, exercise, etc. are all great with me. I could use some motivation because I just got over my second bad cold of the winter and am wondering why my good diet didn't prevent these, or at least make them milder. This last one was a doozy, in fact I still have chest I go to my steam inhaler!

    1. Hey Laura,

      If you don't want to lose any weight you should do what Dan does and use juice as a supplement. He drinks it in place of water throughout the day.

      Thanks for letting me know what you are interested in reading. It helps me to know what people want to see.

      I am sorry to hear about your cold. That is crazy that you have had two because I haven't had a cold in at least 4 years and probably longer I have lost track now. Is it possible that you are exercising too much and that has run down your immune system? That is just a guess on my part given some of the things we have chatted about in the past.

      hope you feel better very soon,


Related Posts with Thumbnails