Monday, August 31, 2009

iZO Cleanze: Day Five

I made it to Monday - and it hasn't been bad so far. I'd say the worst of it has been missing meals: the planning of, the preparation of, the consuming of ... food plays a huge role in our lives and not having those occasions is very strange indeed. That's not to say I was hungry; I wasn't. I just missed the anticipation of knowing I'd be enjoying that piece of grilled fish, that fresh salad or that slice of PIE!

My energy level has maintained - I'm not super-energetic, mind you. I feel just fine. A friend asked if I thought she could take spinning classes while on the cleanse. The answer for me was no. I swam some laps yesterday, but it was very leisurely. I also took a lot of walks this weekend with Savannah and the heat was so intense, I was fairly tired when I returned home. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't make it through a spinning class right now (I usually do 3-4/week).

OK, so I got on the scale today and had lost the 1/2 pound I'd put on yesterday. So, seven pounds (in four days) and holding. We'll see about tomorrow....

This has been an interesting experience to say the least! I've gotten used to the taste of the juices and feel like I could continue this for a good long while. Suddenly it doesn't seem unreasonable that someone could do this for two weeks or more. Still, I think I'll stop, as I said I would, after five days. I think it's time to reintroduce food to my diet - even if it's just gazpacho (which I plan to make tonight in anticipation of my "first meal" tomorrow!). And, well ... maybe one last glass of rosé to celebrate the end of summer!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

iZO Cleanze: Day Four

I was up even earlier today - and took Savannah out so we could actually see the sunrise. It was not as beautiful as yesterday's - the smoke from the fires has gotten more intense. Crazy.

I was told that the second and third days were the "hump" days in a cleanse. It could be one or the other - I guess my hump day was Friday because yesterday I felt fine. Today, I feel even better. I don't know if it's psychological, but I believe the testimonials on the iZO Cleanze site that say your energy increases. I am beginning to see it for myself. I am ... beginning to see the light!

One thing I haven't mentioned is hunger - I have none. Since day one. I guess I'm getting enough calories and the liquids are filling. So, nope - no hunger pains. On the other hand, I've mentioned weight. As of yesterday I'd lost seven pounds. This morning I jumped on the scale and had put 1/2 pound back on ... which is cool, because as I'd written yesterday, I thought seven pounds in two days was too much. Of course, the weight is water and whatnot ... probably very little actual body weight, but two pounds/day is more reasonable.

I thought I'd run through the list of what I'm consuming on a daily basis. It's crazy how many things I'm consuming ... I can't imagine how long it took iZO Cleanze Founder Tim Martin to forumulate these juices. He is the master!

- I start with 1/2 pint of Anu Water, mineral infused (80 minerals), pH balanced H2O that contains trace amounts of hypochlorous acid, a week, non-toxic (I would hope!) oxy-chloro molecule that acts as an anticacterial (the EPA has recognized its action against protozoans - whatever they are - bacteria, mold, fungi and viruses ... it also destroys E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, mold, and fungi - get this - ON CONTACT!)

- Immediately following the Anu Water, I have one pint of iZO Cleanze SuperGreen, a combination of land veggies which I detailed on Day One (things like grass, nettle leaf, horsetail, alfalfa juice, dandelion leaf juice, oat grass juice, broccoli juice, kale juice, spinach juice, parsley juice, ginger, et al), algaes, wild-crafted aquatic veggies (like icelandic kelp - yikes!) and other "energetics, enzymes, probiotics and nutrients. It is meant to deeply nourish and detox my system. It actually tastes pretty good and does a neat trick of making you feel extremely healthy right off the bat - a great way to start the day.

- About an hour later I have one pint of iZO Juice Red. This is my favorite juice (it has great notes of ginger which I love). It is hugely nutritious (Vitamins A, C and B6 - plus maganese) and is a great source of fiber, lutein, calcium, copper and potassium. It is made from parseley, apples, beets, carrots, cucumber, celery and, of course, ginger. To me, it is the most flavorful of the juices. Along with the iZO Juice Red I take 3 iZO liver detox capsules and 3 iZO LAX capsules. The liver caps are made from milk thistle extract, a powerful antioxidant, and root extract of Japonica, et al. The iZO LAX capsules contain rhubarb root, peppermint leaf, wildcrafted Nopal cactus, ginger root, wasabi, thyme, oregano, whole leaf aloe ferox and enzymes.

(Throughout the day, I have one juice every hour with a couple of exceptions where I skip an hour. The point is the stretch the juices out throughout the day. This is easy for me since I've been getting up around 6 and going to bed around 9:30 since starting the cleanse. That's 15 and 1/2 hours divided by 12 liquid components, so it works out nicely.)

- Next up is one pint of iZO Tea: Activate, a spleen cleanse with things like Astragalus (helps promote "upright Chi", enhancing circulation), White Atractylodes (the most important herb for drying and activating the metabloism), Poria (helps the digestive organs), odonopsis (a nurturing Chi herb which helps activate the digestive process and enhances metabolism), Dang Gui (which provides elements that help the body attain and utilize iron - which helps build blood), Goji Berries ("a wonderful all-around tonic for blood, high in Beta Carotene, which is transformed to Vitamin A via the liver."), Jujube Date (a mild spleen Chi herb which also "hamonizes" the formula), Longan (high in iron and calming to the heart), White Peony (keeps blood activated), Schizandra (a do-all tonic herb that promotes cheerfulness and beauty - as if I need it!!) and Lo Han Quo (a sweet herb to enhance taste).

- Then it's on to iZO Tea: Replenish, a kidney cleanse (in my case it's only cleansing one kidney seeing as how I was born with just one) with Chinese tonic herbs designed by iZO Cleanze herbalist Rehmannia dean Thomas. This is actually very interesting: The formula "contains special herbs revered for thousands of years throughout the Orient for their longevity-rejuvenation-fertility (!) enhancing actions. The elite of China's Dynasties and the ancient elder mountain hermits called "immortals" drank teas of these herbs daily. Ho Sho Wu is the primary herb in the formula and is said to help turn grey hair back to its natural color. There is much more, but it also helps to counter stress, overwork, anxiety "and the many debilitating aspects of our society." Cool! With the Replenish I also take two iZO Zymes capsules containing protease, acid protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase, lactase, bromelain (pineapple) and papain (papaya).

- An hour later it's on to one pint of iZO Pro Almond Milk which is where I get my protein: black rice, black bean, black sesame, Maca (an Incan specialty that leaves people feeling powerful and invigorated), Ho Sho Wu (previously mentioned - it's the grey hair back to blond herb), bee pollen and pure, freshly made organic almond milk. Not bad!

- Next it's one pint of iZO Lemonade, a spicy drink with organic lemons, cayenne pepper and stevia (sometimes call sweet leaf) for sweetness. It's kind of like the lemonade you drink on the "Master Cleanse" but not as sweet.

- Following is another pint of iZO Juice Red (see above)

- Next is iZO Tea: Purify, a blood, liver and lymph cleanse. This is a sophisticated formula for cleansing with herbs that help rid the liver, lymph and blood of toxins. It also "provides emotional support and balance during the early stages of the cleanse". It has a bunch of things like Bupleurum (a Chinese herb for detoxifying the liver, lymph and blood), scutellaria (a blood cleanser), ginger, White peony, Coptis (another blood cleanser), Taraxaci (a liver aid), Dragon Bone (where do they get the dragon??), Polygala, Schizandra, Astragalus, Lo Han Guo and ... licorice!

- Following is the last tea of the day, one pint of iZO Tea: Elevate (a crown, chakra cleanse). This formula is all about cultivating the spiritual aspect of health, called "Shen". It contains Reishi Mushroom ("the herb of spiritual immortality" that promote the production of large white blood cells - an empowering herb), Asparagus Root (an interesting herb which helped ancient shamen fly - appartently after regularly consuming asparagus root, you have frequent dreams of flying which get longer and more lucid after a while ... it's a very cool concept of, as Jungian psychology supports, individual transformation "into higher frequencies of mind and liberation from gross mental attachment to material wealth and bondage."), Albizzia Flowr (an herb that helps to overcome heartbreak, anxiety and stress), Spirit Poria (a fungus that grows around the roots of pine trees said to be uplifting yet grounding - the Chinese believe that while yearing to be spiritually uplifted, it is also important to stay grounded on Earth.), Schizandra and Lycium, or Goji (an herb that benefits the liver and kidney(s)).

- Then it's one pint of iZO Juice Green made with parsley, cucumber, celery, fennel and ginger.

- Finally, it's one pint of Lemonade, or in my case, since I chose the heavy metal elective, it's one pint of iZO Detoxo utilizing a special fermentation process with kelp for balancing pH levels, chelating heavy metals and removing radiation and other impurities from the system. Fermented kelp was successfully used at Hiroshima and Chernobyl to remove radiation and heavy metals from the body.

Everything I've consumed for the last three days has been vegan, raw and organic ... kind of amazing, really. It's a wild ride - but certainly something that I'm happy to be doing.

I've had a great weekend - reading, walking with Savannah, getting a facial and a massage - I may even go to church this morning. This cleanse has been a wonderful opportunity for me to slow down and get centered. Good timing too: I'm heading to Martha's Vineyard on Thursday!

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

iZO Cleanze: Day Three

It's Saturday morning and I was up in time to take Savannah for a daybreak walk. We passed by Lindsay Lohan's house and my good friend Mae Brunken's house (she not only designed my NY apartment, but lives around the corner from me in a beautifiul Mediterranean house made famous in the film "Double Indemnity" where it starred as Barbara Stanwyck's home) and Doris Robert's casa (who lives around the corner from Minne Driver and America Ferrera - it's quite a neighborhood!) ... and then down the road, a cul-de-sac ending in a spectacular view of Los Angeles from downtown to the ocean to take in the sunrise. It was spectacular - made all the more beautiful, I suspect, because of the smoke from the wild fires we've all seen these past few days. Nature sometimes has a way of turning even tragedies into something positive.

So, obviously I have some energy today. That's a good thing, because yesterday wasn't a terrific day. It was a productive day, for me, but not very comfortable. The headache persisted for most of the day. Nothing major - just, you know, there. It was also beastly hot in LA: 100 degrees. And I've been driving my vintage car (a '86 Mercedes 560SL) as my primary vehicle these days which is fun, but it has no A/C, so it was a challenge. I also felt a bit lethargic. I ended up going to bed at 10PM.

The iZO Cleanze drinks became less feast and more fast for me yesterday. I now simply down the liquid in one fell swoop as opposed to "savoring" it. They are so full of nutritional integrity, I suppose, that they couldn't taste good by definition. Amy Fuller, in my office, who is also doing the cleanse, really enjoys the teas. I think I'll take iZO Cleanze's suggestion and go to Whole Foods market to purchase some agave nectar in order to sweeten them - I find them very "earthy" if you will.

I stepped on the scale again this morning and have lost another two pounds, which is more reasonable, but still surprising. Seven pounds in two days is too much, I think. But hopefully it'll level off by tomorrow.

Today I feel better - clearly my energy is better (I also slept really well last night) and the headache is all but gone. It should be a low-key day. I'll watch Ted Kennedy's funeral and then get into my new book, "Netherland" by Joseph O'Neill. Maybe some laps at the pool ... maybe a movie at ArcLight. But no BBQ's and no cocktail parties ... oh well; no pain, no gain!

Friday, August 28, 2009

iZO Cleanze: Day Two

I greeted the little black iZO Cleanze bag this morning with a tad less enthusiasm than I did yesterday. iZO Cleanze Founder Tim Martin warned me yesterday that the novelty could wear off ... he was right. It's not that I didn't enjoy Day One, per se, it's just that, well ... there was a whole lot of liquid to consume in one fifteen hour period! And let's face it, as nutritious and complex Tim's concoctions are, a 1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild it is not!

Yesterday went by without incident. I liked some of the teas better than others. I prefer the iZO Super Green, Red and Almond Milk drinks the best. Probably would put the Green at the bottom. I noticed mid-morning that I felt sleepy, but that was probably because I'd had a fitful sleep the previous night. The rest of the day, I felt fine; good energy, clear-headed ... until around eight last night when I got a headache that lasted until around four this morning. Not a throbbing headache; more like a dull pain at the top of my head. On a scale from one to ten, it was a three ... and it has decreased to about a one now, so hopefully that will be completely gone soon.

Here's the surprising thing: I stepped on the scale this morning and it registered five pounds lighter. Five pounds? How could that be? (This is a very accurate scale, always in synch with the professional scale at the gym and I weigh myself every morning at the same time, so I know it's not the technology....). Go figure. Hopefully that first day drop will be the last and moving forward I'll only lose at the most a pound a day (the iZO Cleanze literature says most people lose between one and two pounds a day).

Socially, this cleanse has really cramped my style. I've had to say no thanks to a few invitations including a late-afternoon cocktail party in Malibu this afternoon, a dinner party tonight (though I may drop by) and a BBQ tomorrow night. Too, you realize as you go through the day (as if I didn't already know) how much FOOD plays into your daily routine. When you cut out meals, you have a lot more time on your hands. And honestly, taking the iZO pint jar out of the fridge, shaking it, screwing off the lid and drinking it takes a lot less time than meeting a friend at the Ivy, ordering the grilled vegetable salad (with shrimp) and consuming it!

Still, I feel great about doing this for myself and I suppose that's the most important thing.

So onto and into Day Two!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

iZO Cleanze: Day One

“This is my last meal,” I said to a friend-of-30-years during dinner at Ammo last night.

Barbara Epstein, producer/director/choreographer/writer/Broadway investor and all-around great gal, simply looked at me and waited. She’s known me long enough to know to wait for the punch line.

“I’m starting a cleanse tomorrow… a super-nutrient, super cleanse. For five days. I won’t eat again until … next month! Tuesday, September 1, to be exact.”

Here’s the story.

My business has a lot of perks. Over the years I’ve gotten to experience many of my client’s products and services … you know, for, like, - FREE. I’m talking about stays in beautiful hotel rooms (thank you Shutters at the Beach), movie tickets (thank you ArcLight Cinemas) and even, once, a day of psychological analysis courtesy of Moonview Sanctuary. Gastronomically speaking, I’ve had some amazing meals at five star restaurants served by the chefs themselves: Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, Bradley Ogden, Neal Fraser, Marcus Samuelsson, et al. Sometimes it’s an opportunity to be one of the first to taste a new smoothie (Jamba Juice), Ice-Blended (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf), pizza (California Pizza Kitchen) or, (iced, half-caf, triple grande, non-fat) latte (Starbucks). And sometimes it’s a bit more out there, like today.

We just signed iZO Cleanze. According to the marketing brochure I have sitting in front of me, iZO Cleanze is a full-body detox cleanse designed to transform your health and let your body start fresh! (punctuation theirs). Founder and CEO Tim Martin told me the other day, “It’s not a fast, it’s a feast.” Cool.

So, here’s how it works, Every morning I will wake up to find, as I did this morning, a nifty, insulated bag containing the day’s “feast” waiting for me just inside the garden gate in my front yard. Inside are the following:

Two Pints iZO Red
One Pint iZO Green
One Pint iZO SuperGreen
One Pint iZO Tea: Purify
One Pint iZO Tea: Elevate
One Pint iZO Tea: Activate
One Pint iZO Tea: Replenish
One Pint iZO Pro
Two Pints Lemonade
½ Pint Anu Water
Liver supplements

These, dear reader, I will consume on a daily basis for the next five days. 11 and ½ pints of liquid. That’s just about one and ½ gallons. And I’m encouraged to drink all the water I can/want … that’s a lot o’ liquid!

Here’s how my morning has gone so far:

- I didn’t sleep great, waiting for the sound of the gate opening (will Savannah bark?).

- Up at 3:15 to check – nope, no bag.

- Slept from 3:16 – 6:30 and had vivid dreams of the “feast.” In one, my good friend and client Doug Pick Founder and CEO of DAP World had me meet him in an upscale bait and tackle shop(don’t ask, I don’t know…) where he delivered the bag of goodies. Doug is super cool and super fit, so it figures he would be featured in my first cleanse-related dream. He encouraged me, in my dream, to get the most I could get out of the experience … and then told me to go ahead and chose something from the bag. I opened it up and in there were beautifully scrambled eggs and crisp, crackling bacon! Thanks, Doug….

- Out of bed at 6:31 … look through the French doors into the garden – yep! There it is! (Hmmmm, now I really have to do this.)

- 6:32, walked Savannah.

- 6:50, fed Savannah (wondered to myself: Is this chow going to start looking edible to me in three days??)

- 6:55 I weighed myself - I weigh 193 pounds (I expect to lose weight during the next five days, but that is not my goal). BTW, I am 6’2” tall.

- 7:00, as instructed, I cracked open my first pint jar and … drank! (Going to be doing a lot of that the next few days.)

- My normal breakfast is coffee (black) and fruit. Or coffee and cereal with fruit. Or coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. Or coffee and a hard boiled egg.

- This morning my breakfast consisted of ½ pint of Anu Water (hyper-mineralized alkaline water) and 1 pint of iZO SuperGreen: “A comprehensive blend of nature’s most potent superfoods for deep nourishment and detoxification including: “land vegetables” (grass, whole leaf wheat grass, nettle leaf, shavegrass aka horsetail, alfalfa leaf juice, dandelion leaf juice, barley grass juice, oat grass juice, burdock root, broccoli juice, kale juice, spinach juice, parsley juice, carob pod, ginger root, nopal cactus and amia berry); algaes (spirulina, broken cell wall chlorella); wild-crafted aquatic vegetables (Icelandic kelp, Nova Scotia dulse, laver, bladderwrack, alaria, mori, Irish moss); and energetics, enzymes, probiotics and nutrients (shilajit, protease, amylase, lipase, cellulose, bromelain, papain, alpha galactosidase, massive array of both implantable lactobacillus species, 100% organically bound chromium, selenium, molybdenum, B-vitamins, beta-glucans, etc.). Wow. Wait - Nettle leaf? Horsetail? Bladderwrack? Anyway … the water was strange tasting and heavy; the SuperGreen was … REALLY GOOD! The ginger really came through. I can do this!

I’ll be blogging about my experience and will update periodically. It is now 10AM and I have consumed 3.5 pints of liquid. I’ve got a ways to go, but so far I haven’t fallen off the wagon…. Good sign, huh?

Oh, and my last meal? It was Ammo’s signature turkey meatloaf with horseradish mashed potatoes and sautéed beet greens. DELICIOUS!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

EIght Years Young

Eight years ago today, on August 20, 2001, JS2 Communications was born. The place of birth was Hancock Park, a leafy Los Angeles neighborhood.

Jill and I named the company after ourselves … not the most original idea in our business, but certainly fitting for us as we both share the same initials (JS, natch, short for Jill Sandin and Jeff Smith). Our first offices were in a wonderful old 1920’s Spanish building. It was a perfect set-up … we worked there for a couple of years until we’d reached six employees and, bursting out of the seams, moved to our current offices on Melrose Avenue.

And then, just 22 days after starting our fledgling business, 9/11 happened.

Looking back on that period, it’s hard to believe we didn’t implode. Thankfully, we had a few super-steady clients (Jamba Juice, Wilmington Trust, Nike, et al) and we survived, just as we’ve survived the current financial crisis: With a lot of grit, perseverance and excellent work.

PR has changed so much since the summer of ‘01 … the past few years have seen huge swings in our industry. In 2001 social networking meant drinks at the Standard with a client and tweet was something you heard, not did. Print media was still relatively strong and secure and we paid far less attention to the blogosphere than we do today. Still, the principles of our industry have remained the same. I believe – as my colleagues have heard me say countless times – that what we do for our clients is very important. Raising the profile of a product or service to appropriate audiences is key to their survival. It’s not rocket science (never was), but it’s trickier and more complex than what one might think after, say, the 15th viewing of a favorite “Ab Fab” episode (“PR, dahling – PR!”).

So, as we enter our ninth year, we are thankful to our clients (and there have been many) who have given us the opportunity to become better and better at what we do. The ArcLight Cinemas and UNICEF’s of the world, the Patina Restaurant Groups and Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs have all required us to be the very best we can be at what we do. It’s been a great eight years.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Celebrity PR and Lee Solters

I’m currently ½ way through the August edition of PR Week which is largely devoted to social media. The pub also lists its “40 Under 40” superstar picks and, again, I missed it. Oh wait, I just turned 49…whatever. (I was once named by Los Angeles Magazine as one of Los Angeles’s 101 Hottest People, but that was when I was, myself, under 40 and, frankly, not really the same thing. In any case, it didn’t do much for my professional or dating life, but I can report that the then relatively-unknown Ryan Seacrest was also named and had his photo just above mine on the page.) Exciting stuff….

Anyway, in the current issue I read a couple of excellent, non-social-networking-related opinion pieces; one about the premature, Mark Twain-like reporting of print journalism’s death, and the other about the need to have good, solid and (yes) old-fashioned media pitching skills. I rather liked the pieces and they made me think of my early PR training in the pre-Twitter dark ages of the (early) 1990’s.

My first job in PR was for PR master Lee Solters. Lee, who died in May at the age of 89, represented Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and Pia Zadora when I worked for him … and, at one time or another during his long career, repped every other major star – from Frank Sinatra to Led Zeppelin – in Hollywood. He was even credited with helping to introduce The Beatles to America! He was a legend.

Lee was very proud of a loose-leaf notebook he used to keep track of his media contacts in which he had glued the masthead for every outlet imaginable. Page after page, name after name, number after number, it was his own personal media map; his Bible. In the book's margins, he’d hand-written information on who had written about what client, when, etc. As most know, journalists flit back and forth from outlet to outlet, so you can imagine the hieroglyphics that resulted – I don’t know how he kept track of who was where, but he did!

One day, I borrowed the book to copy down some information into my own Bible. The phone rang - it was the manager of a client. During the rather long conversation, I absentmindedly began doodling … on Lee’s “New Yorker” page! By the time I’d finished the conversation, I’d added my own artistic renderings to Lee's … and completely covered some of the information! Oy vey! I was mortified.

The only thing to do was leave, but of course I couldn’t do that. The only thing to do was be a man and fess up – but first I went out and bought a new New Yorker. I tore out the masthead and pasted it onto a new page. I got out our media books (yes, boys and girls - we had media books ... they were published by Bacon's) and started looking up phone numbers. Then I called The New Yorker and verified every single person on the list and clarified their information. I then saw that he’d had freelancers listed – some were also obscured – so for extra measure I went through several back-issues of the magazine and identified every writer who was not on the masthead. Then I started calling and somehow managed to get information for many listed. This, remember, was pre-internet. No Google searches. No Twitter lifelines.

When I was mostly satisfied, I brought his bible back to Lee who was, no doubt, listening to some Steve and Eydie CD, and presented my case. I showed him his Bible and the graffiti I’d added to the New Yorker page and then presented my new page with what I hoped was the right combination of remorse, humility and triumph. He looked up at me over the tops of his glasses and held my gaze. Then, he opened a drawer and pulled out a thick stack of hole-punched papers. Without saying a word, he found what he was looking for, removed the bastardized New Yorker page from his Bible and replaced it with a clean one: the exact copy of what I’d so skillfully (I thought) replaced! He had copies of everything! Then he said something I’ll never forget: “I appreciate your honesty and I appreciate the work you did on getting the new information. But never forget that you and only you are responsible for your resources. Protect them – always!”

There is no need for hand-written media bibles any more (that’s what databases are for) but
I will always remember that valuable lesson.

And God save Print Journalism!

RIP, Lee.