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Eat clean, live dirty

Elizabeth Fahey on the roof at Blue Plate

In the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Joe Cross, a fun and cute Australian day trader, was making tons of money and getting sicker by the day. Instead of the Aussie jock he once was, he now looked about 6 months pregnant and had been on steroids for years from a debilitating autoimmune disease … he was only 40!

“With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long-term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.”

Remarkable things happen in the film, not just to Joe, but to the people he encounters, especially the 429-pound truck driver he meets in the parking lot at a truck stop in Iowa who has the same very rare autoimmune disease (!) and to whom he gives his card just in case the driver ever decides to make a change. There are no coincidences: Six months later the call comes in. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead is a documentary that has a happy ending and is as entertaining as fiction. After watching it, I said, “If the fat guy can do it, so can I.”

That’s when I called Elizabeth Fahey of e juice jars. She lives in my building and delivers fresh, organic juices in glass Mason jars all over town. Quoting Elizabeth, “You see people pay for organic juice and then it’s bottled in plastic that leaches toxins into the juice. Defeats the whole purpose.”

When you buy juices at commercial outlets, you’ll notice the solids often don’t settle to the bottom; that’s because of additives and pasteurization, which kills the very things you’re looking for. What I love about Elizabeth’s model is that her fruits and vegetables are ALL ORGANIC, locally sourced as much as possible, so as fresh as can be. Her juices are all custom … so there’s as little waste as possible, they’re delivered in glass, not plastic, so no toxins leaching into the juice, and the jars are recycled instead of being added to the mountain of plastic with no place to go, no place to break down.

Other than the fact that they all start with the letter A, how much taste, color, and texture similarity is there among arugula, asparagus, artichokes, alfalfa sprouts … now, among steak, pork, lamb and chicken? My point is that there is so much more variety among vegetables when compared to meat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a cook and a baker and I love meat … but not as much as I used to. And however much I love vegetables, I didn’t want to drink them. So it was with some sense of dread that I ordered a week’s worth of juice jars from Elizabeth. Day 1 was like eating my front yard. Day 2 was not so bad. By Day 3, the night itches I’d suffered with for four years had mostly disappeared and I was truly craving juice.

I’m now sure that food is medicine, but it sure doesn’t taste like it.

My favorite juice

Elizabeth worked with me to come up with a delicious custom blend that she delivers to my door three days a week. I’m hooked. Juicing has led me down a greener path; I’m eating as little sugar and gluten as possible, but I still have chocolate every day.

Actually, Elizabeth says, “raw cacao is a superfood, an incredible antioxidant high in iron and magnesium among other vital minerals and nutrients.”

But I don’t know what to do with raw cacao, so I eat chocolate bars with the highest percentage of chocolate and the least of sugar and milk additives. Amazingly, the burning desire to eat everything in sight has cooled. When eating, or not eating, the need to fit into my skinny jeans became a secondary goal, and health the primary one. Suddenly, all the diet angst dropped away. “The less junk you eat, the less you crave,” advises Elizabeth.

And my beloved sugar? Well, as Elizabeth says, “sugar is the crack of the food world,” and cancer cells love it as much as you do. I have a feeling I’m headed for the day when I can’t eat anything that had eyes and a mommy. Headed to eating things that can be harvested, like tomatoes and peaches. But if those tomatoes and peaches are canned and processed, then they contain the same toxic BPA as plastic. Wheat can be harvested, but our wheat supply has been adulterated. Doesn’t it seem as if gluten intolerance came out of nowhere and now affects so many Americans? Maybe it’s not wheat we’re allergic to but the chemically altered GMO wheat.

We read that chemically processed foods are slowly killing us. Why are THEY trying to poison us and WHO are THEY? Don’t those same leaders of industry have kids and grandkids they worry about?

These days I eat an organic apple instead of an apple pie in a Crisco crust. I calm down by reminding myself that I got 60 years of total indulgence. For young people, all I can say is that you missed the food bacchanal when health and what you ate were not related, a time when doctors smoked cigarettes, when we trusted the Jolly Green Giant, and when the food sold at the Woodstock Festival was hotdogs until the granola was airlifted in.

Elizabeth Fahey was born in Hawaii, had lived in six cities on both coasts by the time she was 12, then lived in Italy (where her dad was the head of Marine Activities for the 6th Fleet — he was then with NATO in Rome). She finally settled in NOLA, where she married.

After the birth of her son, something didn’t feel right. All the doctors she went to said her tests were normal and she was healthy as a horse. But, despite the tests, she knew something was wrong. While she was visiting Chicago, her sister had to cancel an appointment with a chiropractic doctor who specialized in cause/effect nutritional muscle testing, so Elizabeth took the appointment. This was a doctor trained in Western medicine, and a medical psychic as well. Within 10 minutes he had sized up her problems. He cured the problems, not the symptoms, says Elizabeth, with high-grade nutritional/herbal supplements.

Once she was healthy and feeling great again, Elizabeth began studying the healing powers of nutrition and the Eastern systems of Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Nothing pleases her more than geeking out on micronutrients, supplements, methylation, probiotics, a healthy gut, and the like. As a germophobe myself, she convinced me that I should never use antibacterial wipes and lotions, and that washing my hands all the time may not be the best thing for my body … it needs those dirty little teacher germs to build strength and immunity. Elizabeth’s motto is, Eat Clean, Live Dirty.

She taught me how to make my own toothpaste and mouthwash, household cleaners minus the toxic chemicals, and a recipe for shampoo and conditioner using just white vinegar and baking soda. I’m hoping Elizabeth will hold one of her weekend workshops soon, at which she teaches all this stuff. She taught to me stick one toe in the water of healthier living and how to build on that. (Can we get enough people together for a workshop?)

And then there was my last hurdle, exercise RESISTANCE. Even that has gotten into the mix.

I’ve been watching a lot of Gaiam TV, in my opinion worth every penny of the $10/month to subscribe. Instead of (not) going to yoga classes that I’ve signed up for, I bought a little rug remnant to soften my concrete floor and can choose from hundreds of yoga, pilates, Tai Chi (and more) videos on Gaiam to do at home. I also highly recommend Regina Meredith’s Open Minds series of interviews on Gaiam. Some shows are as far out as you can go (like to Atlantis … not Atlanta) but there also are interviews with ex-Wall Streeters and physicists. In addition, there are a wealth of videos on health, nutrition, longevity — and you can watch it all from your computer.

Having been a food junkie my entire life, I’m taking deep appreciative breaths at this lovely break in the addiction. But I’m always listening for the sound of little monkey feet running behind me, ready at any moment to jump on my back and resume the torture, tasty torture.

Take good care.

Some resources:


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