During Portia Joyce Wellness’sBeyondThe Resolutions: 11-Day, Winter Clean Eating Program, I probably use about 2 whole lemons in one day. My morning lemon elixir, to get my digestive enzymes started and to release toxins from my liver, alone uses 1 whole lemon for juicing. Then, throughout my day, I can possibly use a lemon or two for a massaged kale salad, to give a pâté some acidity or to season a soup. Thinking ahead, I realized there is a much wasted ingredient every time I juice a lemon and throw it in the trash.
The lemon zest is an essential part of flavoring in modern day cooking. Citrus fruit have the outer layer called a peel. The peel is made up of two parts, the flavedo and the pith. The pith is the white under layer of the peel which gives the citrus fruit its bitter characteristics. The flavedo, which is what the zest comes from, is the outer most layer of the peel. It contains the essential oils in citrus that is key to flavoring dishes without the use of its juice. Using the zest eliminates the addition of liquid and the “sour” and/or “sweet” taste of the fruit. The zest gives us the basic, yet powerful, flavor and smell of the fruit itself.
HOW TO ZEST THE PERFECT LEMON (CITRUS FRUIT):
1. MICROPLANE/GRATER: This ingenious tool is designed to finely grate zest from citrus fruit such as lemons, limes, and oranges (oh, my). However, I have used my microplane to finely grate Parmagianno-Reggiano or hard cheeses, finely mince garlic, top off my coffee with ground nutmeg, or even use it to finely grate dark chocolate to top off a panna cotta. Depending on the size of the microplane or grater, you will get a different coarseness of zest.
2. ZESTER/CHANNEL KNIFE: This is very useful when trying to remove strips of zest from citrus fruit for garnish or to chop up finely and use as zest. The beginning product comes out a bit larger than if you were to just grate a lemon for zest finely. The channeling knife produces larger and longer ribbons of zest. Usually found on the opposite end of the zester or right beneath it on the same metallic piece. This is a great way to store citrus zest before use. Once ready to use, you can finely chop these ribbons of zest into a finer product.
3. PEELER or PAIRING KNIFE: This method produces the largest portions of zest. This is the best way to zest citrus for later use. Whether using a peeler or knife, you just remove the zest, which is the first layer of rind. You never want to remove the white pith part of a citrus fruit. It is the most bitter part of the citrus. Removing these larger pieces can give you the best advantage of more yield. You can then julienne, cutting into long strips, them into a zest size, then finely chop those strips into a fine grated size. This is my favorite way of zesting in bulk to store for later use!
I take the zest and use it in many aspects of my cooking. I add orange zest into coffee to make an orange spiced coffee and some added cinnamon for more flavor. I always use lemon zest in making my homemade vinaigrettes or dressings. This is the best way I know to add the lemony citrus flavor to my recipe without adding additional acidity or liquid. Zest is amazing any way you use it. So please, next time you know you are about to juice lemons for a cleanse, drink, or recipe, ZEST IT FIRST! You never know when you need that extra burst of citrus in your life.
Two years ago, this week, I made a promise to myself that I would change the way I ate and lived. I was fearful that four years from then, when I turn the big THREE ZERO, I would have to assess where my life is at and ask myself “How crappy does it look?”
At this point in my life, being a single, self-employed (or what I like to call “f-unemployed”), twenty-six year old father has been quite an adventure. Trying to keep afloat and busy with my hands in four different, yet strangely connected, business concepts, mainly as a PERSONAL CHEF, is quite tiresome. So confusing and frantic that I just realized I’m no longer twenty-six but two years older. As much as anyone can see that my desire for total domination in the foodservice and wellness industries look a bit hectic, it’s probably the one that is a constant. A constant that keeps me happy and moving. And by the way, I don’t talk about being a father so much as a job or something I have to think about. My instincts are what help me raise my daughter. Well, that along with my parents! What? There’s no point in lying about that. Anyhow, busy as I may seem, I do have time to notice that there is one thing that has been falling to the wayside. My health! My health AND all the fatty body parts that we all try to hide from. The truth is that I’m not getting any younger and all the stress from my life along with the crappy food I eat (Well, taste. At least that’s what I tell myself) is the cause of my unhealthy life.
And #letsbehonest, this means YOU too!
Now when I say UNHEALTHY, I’m not only talking about the food that I eat. Unhealthy describes my lifestyle, my habits, and my addictions. Just like getting yourself back on track is a TOTAL PACKAGE, becoming unhealthy takes the same amount of effort. You don’t go to the gym, you stress yourself out about work, you drink yourself to a happy-state, and you top it off with Carne Asada Fries, a Shake Shack – Shack Shake…oh, and don’t forget the Bourbon Pecan Pie with extra whipped cream. Ok, maybe I went too far…maybe you only drink yourself until you’re inebriated, whatever! YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN! Our late twenties can not just be about celebrating that we’re out of college, “I finally get my own office (translation: cubicle), and possibly getting government healthcare (or not, whatever floats your boat)!” We have to start setting up our lives for SUCCESS. And in all honesty, without our personal well being, our health and our bodies being in the best shape possible, how can we even achieve what we really want in the future?
Our health determines our wealth! Sounds cheesy but it’s true!
Now that I let this glass of SANGIOVESE open up this post, here’s what I’m trying to tell you. Along with all the other challenges and responsibilities we have in our lives, we can’t forget the biggest one of all, our health. Aside from our genetics, WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR BODIES! Not your mom, your doctor, or even your significant other.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING!
I made a decision to take back my health with a vengeance. Two years ago, I became PLANT-STRONG. I changed my whole life around and accepted a plant-based lifestyle. It wasn’t just a diet. It was an entire overhaul of my health. I finally took control and said,
“I want to live. I want to live worry-free. I want to live so that I can see my daughter graduate. I want to live longer so I can walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to live so that I can watch over my grandkids when my daughter visits me in Hawaii, where I will be retiring!”
Somewhere in between me moving back to New Jersey to start over with my daughter and ending an 8-year relationship with an amazing company, I fell back into my ways. I had my ups and downs. I know what I should and shouldn’t eat. I knew what would probably send me back over the edge. I knew it all but I just kept saying, “One time won’t hurt. I’ll just work out more tomorrow. I’ve been good all week, I deserve this!” Well, guess what, I’m back where I started and nothing to show for it.
Well, not everything!
The one thing that I have that can help put me back on track is this amazing knowledge gained from a small span of time of living a plant-based lifestyle. That’s the best part, I know what I need to do. I know what the results will be if I stick to it. SO HERE I GO! AND I’M ASKING YOU TO JOIN ME! Whether you actually take this ride along with me or if you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. I want you to take as much away from my experience as you can. Enough to change your own life!
It’s an amazing DETOX where guess what?…YOU CAN EAT!”
Yesterday, started the 4-day Pre-Detox. We began to slowly eliminate certain foods so that we minimize withdrawal symptoms from all the food that we probably have depended on too much. Some of these foods like caffeine, alcohol (clearly I have not weened off of that just yet), gluten, dairy, and beans are what may cause us to be so toxic. (***CHEF FLO DISCLAIMER…DAIRY KILLS***)
Once, we have slowly removed these types of food out of our diet, once the actual detox meal plan begins, it will be a lot easier to adapt. We all know that it ain’t easy to quit addictions “COLD TURKEY!” And yes, eating unclean, toxic foods found in the Standard American Diet (or how my friends over at the Engine 2 Diet phrase it, “S.A.D.”) can be an addiction. OK, I take it back. It’s not that it “can be” and addition, IT IS AN ADDICTION. Let’s call it what it is.
“ADDICTION: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble) : an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
“Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware of their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.” – Psychology Today
A DETOX is about the removal of unwanted substances, such as toxins, that hinder our bodies from performing its natural and healthy functions. It is NOT to DEPRIVE or CAUSE STARVATION. It is to CLEAN AND REVITALIZE the one and only body that we have.
These next few days will be difficult and maybe at times unbearable. Knowing that this will be a form of rehab for my body and health is all worth it. To rid yourself of one of the worst addictions in this world causing many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, malnutrition, obesity, osteoporosis, anemia, and worse of all heart disease, is the best thing you can ever accomplish. The next best thing is to prevent yourself from contracting any of these diseases. Like I said before, aside from genetics, these diseases are more than reversible, they’re preventable. In the end, this is the best thing I can ever do for myself and my daughter.
There is still time to join. Go visit Portia Joyce’s website (or just click HERE) for more information. Like I said, if you don’t know if this is for you just yet, stick around. I’ll keep you posted on how I am feeling day to day, what I prepare to eat, down to if I ever let myself falter and grab that burger I THINK I want but know I don’t need. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and here on this blog to get up-to-date information on how this detox is working out for me.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll see that it isn’t that hard to “pick up the pieces” whether you’re turning 30 or even 60.