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Veggie, Dawg!

So here we are, our very last veggie burger of Meatless March. Since several of the other veggie burgers I tried this month were from places where I’d already had their regular burger, I decided I’d continue that trend and stopped by Good Dog Bar – a bold move considering that on both of my visits there, I was extremely disappointed in their basic beef burger. Could their veggie burger wow me? Or would I leave once again with my tail tucked between my legs?

The veggie burger here is a patty of roasted eggplant, mushrooms, lentils & brown rice topped with lettuce, tomato, crispy shallots & spicy ketchup on onion brioche roll. The patty itself looked great; I love when I’m able to see all the elements together. That way I know they’re not just using some frozen fake meat. All the flavors came together really nicely and the spicy ketchup wasn’t overly spicy. I tried to put some of the accompanying fry sauce on the patty, but it made it kind of bland, cancelling out the veggie flavors. I also liked that they used an onion roll and not a boring brioche. It tasted really fresh and healthy – even if I was also chowing down on their signature kennebec & sweet potato hand-cut fries! I’m a little disappointed that their veggie burger was better than their regular burger, but that just means I’ll have to give the regular burger one last shot after all.

So, which of the four veggie burgers that I ate this month stole my heart? Unlike last year, there was a clear winner – CITY TAP HOUSE! Everything about their veggie burger just clicked for me. The beets, the cheese, the multi-grain roll – it was the kind of veggie burger that makes you forget that you’re not eating meat because it’s so damn delicious. Am I about to give up on meat burgers for good for it? Definitely not! I’m already counting the minutes until April 1st so I can dive right back into some medium-cooked meat!

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Juicin’

I did it! I survived a 3 day juice cleanse and I lived to tell the tale! Honestly though, it wasn’t that bad. I went into this expecting the worst and by the end of it all, it was a total breeze. So I wouldn’t really say that I survived, but that I thrived


So, why do a juice cleanse, you ask? Am I crazy? Maybe a little bit, but I’m pretty sure that was a pre-existing condition. When I saw a Living Social deal a few weeks ago for the Catalyst Cleanse at Jar Bar, I said, “Why not!?” There are lots of benefits to doing a juice cleanse. For me, it was kind of a motivator to stop eating a lot of junk all the time (which is what I’ve been trying to cut back on doing leading up to this Seattle/Portland trip where I will probably be gorging myself on anything I can find for a week). Also, just to do something different! My life has been feeling stagnant lately, and by giving myself a challenge, it kind of gave me a little boost of “Hey, if you can do this – you can do anything!” 


Here’s how the juice cleanse worked: For three days you drink nothing but 16 oz of six different juices. No coffee or alcohol; just water and decaf tea. Each juice is blended with enough elements that they are supposed to provide you a 1,200 calorie a day diet. You drink them roughly every two hours or so, with it being suggested that you drink the last juice 2 hours before bedtime.


Breakdown:
8 AM – Green Juice #1: Cucumber, celery, parsley, apple, lemon, lime, spinach & ginger
10 AM – Spicy Lemonade: Lemon, agave, cayenne
12 PM – Carrot Juice: Carrot, apple, celery, lemon, lime
2 PM – Watermelon lime
4 PM – Green Juice #2: Repeat of breakfast
~7-8 PM (I tend to go to bed late & was treating this juice more like dessert) Cashew milk: Cashew, vanilla, cinnamon, agave

Mmm… Juices!

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Day 1 was kind of brutal just because it made me realize how much of my life revolves around food. I couldn’t escape it! I follow so many restaurant and food blogs on Twitter, everyone is always eating, there were all kinds of awesome smells everywhere – I was being tempted by foods that I don’t even like! (like the empty bag of Cheez-its in the trash at work) After drinking pureed produce all day, Juice #6 was such a treat. 


Day 2 I woke up and wasn’t even hungry at all. I would see food and go, “Oh hey, that looks cool. I’d like to eat that when I can have food again.” It certainly wasn’t as torturous and I was actually starting to enjoy the juices. Admittedly, I loved the Green juice. I know it sounds gross, but it was actually really good. I’d recommend leaving it out a little bit to get warm because it did taste bitter straight out of the fridge. Once it got to almost room temp, it wasn’t half bad.


Day 3 was more of the same. I wasn’t hungry and was feeling great! I kept thinking about what to eat after the cleanse as my “celebration”, but to be honest, I wasn’t even craving food. I was doing the cleanse with a friend and he was ready to eat a slice of pizza at 12:01 AM. We toasted with our final juices and then fantasized about a delicious brunch the next day.

Final juice: Complete.



Post cleanse, Day 4: I still wasn’t hungry. In fact, I kind of wished I’d done the 5 day cleanse. (More of that crazy right here) I felt skinny and awesome – even though I didn’t really lose any weight.  I definitely had more energy; I wanted to be more energetic on the cleanse and work out, but the weather had been unbearably hot and humid and I didn’t want my lack of solid food to make me sick. (The only time I ever felt sick at all was when drinking the carrot juice. It made me dizzy. This was also my least favorite juice.) We had brunch and it was nice to eat and feel like I was enjoying it and not just shoveling it into my face.


Post cleanse, Day 5: Still feeling good and not ravenously hungry. After a week with no coffee (I stopped drinking it  leading up to the cleanse), I didn’t even feel like I needed coffee today. Could I have finally rid myself of my daily caffeine crutch?? Now I just feel like I want this awesome feeling to continue, to not “gum up” my system with gross stuff, to really go overboard with the junk food sometimes, to make a conscious effort to incorporate a healthier eating lifestyle into my everyday routine. 


Would I do it again? Absolutely! I am definitely looking to incorporate more fresh juices into my life on a regular basis along with solid food. 


But you don’t have to do a juice cleanse all the time just to feel better about yourself. It doesn’t have to be about the physical aspect; it’s about your mental mood as well. During the cleanse I reflected on a lot of the things I do and how much I made food a part of my life. At one point, I even contemplated for a split second going Vegetarian!! (Let’s not get crazy.) So many of the things I had been doing on a weekly basis were so centered around food and drink that it was starting to consume me. (What’s for X meal? Where are we eating tomorrow? etc.) Don’t get me wrong, I love food, but maybe it’s easier to appreciate it when it’s not always the constant in your life.



That being said, I’m ready to go on my trip and enjoy every bite a little more thoroughly instead of blindly ingesting something because it’s in front of my face.

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