Meet Ayun, Who Lost 27 Pounds in Four Months with CleanFoodCrush!
I’m Ayun, a 56-year-old writer, theatermaker, and zine publisher in New York City, where I live with my husband, Greg, and our aged cat, who would surely smite us had we the audacity to refer to him as a “fur baby”. Our 23-year-old daughter lives next door, and our 20-year-old son is studying comedy writing and performance halfway across the country. I enjoy wandering NYC, poking around in thrift stores and museums, and dreaming of the day when we’ll be free to resume travel and our theatrical doings.
I was an unathletic child, whose creativity was the ticket to self-worth. After school, my grandmother would ply me with her excellent chocolate chip cookies, cold cuts, cheese and crackers, while I lazed around drawing and reading. That model was a hard one to shake.
Like my mother and grandmother, I enjoy cooking, feeding people and trying out new recipes, but I’m also prone to mindlessly devouring an entire box of dry cereal while sitting in front of the computer, waiting for some elusive word to present itself.
When the pandemic hit, I started cranking out sourdough, sharing the starter with neighbors, friends, and folks to whom I was connected on social media. At the time, it felt comforting and pro-active, like I was contributing on the homefront. My skinny-legged, stretchy jeans accommodated this activity for a bit, but the custom-made jumpsuit I was making as part of a nifty online sewing class was not fooled.
A small emergency, given the state of the world, but I started feeling really down on myself, and punished myself by consuming even more high-calorie food and drink, not that it was bringing me any pleasure.
I’d also managed to pull a muscle in my hip the day all the theaters in NYC closed down, and almost nine months later, it hadn’t healed. I couldn’t rise from a lunge without grabbing on to something. I stopped dancing and doing yoga, two forms of exercise I do enjoy.
Deep in my lizard brain, I knew I was the only person who could turn this train around…
But first I had to wrestle with some resentment, some Eeyore-ish thoughts that maybe this was just the way things were going to be for the rest of my life, and many many more loaves of sourdough.
Even after resigning myself to shelving my customary DIY approach in favor of the accountability I knew a paid challenge would provide, I was leery of participating in the Facebook group. Surely, spending more time on social media was the absolute last thing I needed to be doing.
Amazingly, the CleanFoodCrush Challenge Group turned out to be a great motivator, source of information, and – at a time when our country felt particularly divided – spirit lifter.
There’s no fat shaming – that would have been a major turn-off. Instead, we celebrate each other’s victories (both scale and non-scale), keep it gentle with those who are angry at themselves for slipping up, and compliment each other’s banana pancake pics (with extra love thrown at any child or pet who wanders into the frame).
I can confidently state, if it weren’t for this group, I would never in a million years have considered making something called “Cheeseburger Salad” but after umpteen fellow crushers sang its praises in that forum, curiosity got the better of me. They were right! I was wrong! It’s delicious! My world is expanded.
In addition to the wealth of materials that are provided with every challenge, it’s possible to make this lifestyle fit beautifully into your actual life by typing favorite ingredients, flavors, and cooking methods into the search box on Clean Food Crush’s homepage. “Paprika” has yet to steer me wrong!
Make room in your fridge and cupboards, as well as your brain. Give away the gluten, sweeties, white flour, pasta, white rice, etc etc to a friend, neighbor, or the local food pantry. (I love seeding the Community Fridges that have sprung up to address food scarcity in my neighborhood.) Buy a chalk marker at the 99¢ store and use it to label your leftovers, as if they are a precious commodity…which they are.
And heaven forbid I fail to share a tip I learned early in the pandemic when circumstances forced me to buy 8lb of fresh ginger: Put it in the freezer. Whenever you need some, grab a frozen hunk and grate it, peel and all.
When asked about my favorite CleanFoodCrush Recipes, honestly, it would be easier to narrow it down to my 20 favorite recipes from the blog. I trust that someone other Crusher has crowned the infamous Cheeseburger Salad, so I will anoint the Greek Protein Bowls and the Veggie Noodle Tuna Salad.