As I’ve mentioned in past columns, my strategy for maintaining my health while writing and talking about food on a weekly basis has been to intensify my exercise routine in order to burn off the highest amount of calories as possible.Calories in, calories out and keep the calories in as healthy as possible at least 80 percent of the time allowing 20 percent for indulgence and maintaining regular exercise. I still think that is a common sense approach for living, especially for those of us that love to eat.
That said, how to fill the 80 percent with healthy, yet tasty, food is the topic that fuels a never-ending debate and a nice size chunk of our economy with companies claiming to have the answer. Paleo, Atkins, vegans, vegetarians, juicers — just to name a few — all have very strong opinions on the best way to eat.
I was approached recently by a company called Beaming and the new bBAR super food vitality establishment in Del Mar. Beaming started a year ago as a raw food cleansing program that has become one of San Diego’s most popular cleanses. Lisa Odenweller is the CEO and founder of Beaming and when I learned she had Susan Sbicca on board as one of her chefs my interest piqued. If there is any chef in the area I trust to make healthy taste good it would be Susan.
I noticed they were starting one of their wildly popular four-day cleanses and thought that would be a perfect way to start my new year and a way to turn myself on to healthier options to fill my 80 percent. It was shortly after I agreed to this, that the reality of what I had agreed to take part in sunk in.
I have never attempted anything like this and the closest I’ve come to cleansing has been a bout with the flu. One big selling point of the Beaming cleanse is how they formulate it to be a simple and delicious experience. They do not believe that cleansing should involve major discomfort or distress.
Instead, they know that by feeding your body foods made from fresh, organic, raw fruits and vegetables that taste good they have created a realistic and practical program that is simple, easy to follow, highly nutritious and for me, after my rough first day, an enjoyable and transformative experience.
The Beaming folks provide a daily cooler filled with five juice, smoothie and chilled soup concoctions plus a salad, tea, and several liquid supplements meant to add. They can be picked up the day before at their bBAR location in Del Mar or at Yoga 6 in Carlsbad.
Some of the juices and elixirs took a little getting used to, but it was more about adjusting my taste buds and that took about a day. The smoothies and soups were consistently delicious and the salads were tasty as well, especially the dressings. The cucumber, basil, coconut soup and gazpacho were both restaurant quality and will be incorporated into my 80 percent rotation for sure.
So back to that rough first day, and let me give a full disclaimer that I really did not do anything they suggested to prep for this so I was cutting myself off cold turkey. I was doing fine until about 3 p.m. when I started feeling some serious hunger pangs and was just a bit irritable in general.
I had a Crossfit class to attend that night and in my current state there was no way I was going to make it. One of their instructions was to listen to my body and snack if necessary on almonds or other raw foods. Well, that was not going to cut it for me so in a moment of weakness I gave in to a Lean Cuisine that was in the office freezer and inhaled a tiny Swedish meatball meal.
OK, yes, I went bad, but can proudly admit that it did not happen again. Day two had me feeling much better about the whole thing and days three and four had me realizing the positive effects of all the good stuff that was going in my body and really starting to think how I could incorporate what I was eating and drinking into my daily life. I will admit the convenience of having my day of nutrition pre-made was really nice. Beaming also provided a daily email with encouragement and detailed the menu for the day.
Lisa set out to fill the need for a program that went beyond the current weight-loss fad, deprivation-laden, confusing cleansing regimens on the market and in my opinion she nailed it. I am a Beaming convert and will make it a point to regularly visit their bBAR at 2683 Via de la Valle across from Flower Hill mall. Learn more about Beaming at bebeaming.com.