the tinkerly half-arsed kinda-sorta cleanse/fast thingy.

After months of debauchery, I decided that I’d had enough of my disgusting eating habits (peanut butter from the jar anyone?) and that it was high time for a cleanse!  I had the best of intentions for following the Master Cleanse.  I had lemons and pure maple syrup and cayenne pepper — enough for days!  But things didn’t go quite as expected (as they never really do).

For the 25 people in the world unfamiliar with the Master Cleanse, it was conceived of by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s, and revised in the 70s.  Burroughs believed that consuming only maple syrup-sweetened, cayenne pepper-spiced lemonade for 10 days would detoxify the body and remove excess fat.  The cleanse is still widely practiced today, despite the obvious chinks in its proverbial armor (lack of nutrients, losing water weight vs. fat).  On the cleanse, the practitioner can drink as much of the lemonade concoction and herbal tea as desired.  There are 3 phases to the cleanse: ease-in, cleanse, ease-out.

This is my tale.

Day 1.

7:00am: Up and at em!  While the idea of drinking lemonade doesn’t sound like the most delightful thing on this great big planet, I’m resolved to do this!  At least for the 4 days until my scheduled pancake breakfast with favorite-landlord-ever, Errol. I decide that I will cheat, just a little, and allow myself coffee (decaf! almost exactly like herbal tea!), sweetened with maple syrup, of course.

7:30am: Lemonade! This stuff doesn’t taste so bad after all!

9:45am: More juice!

10:00am: I’m so very sleepy.  I take a shower and decide I will take the day off to recuperate from the ever-so-strenuous cabin weekend with handsome beau.

11:00am-5:00pm: Squeeze, squeeze, more juice.  At some point in the afternoon, I realize I have forgotten to add the cayenne. I  watch the entire Pillars of the Earth miniseries, plus a few episodes of Mork & Mindy, season 2.

6:00pm: It can’t hurt to have a few almonds, right?

7:00pm: Maybe a little coconut oil (Don’t ask, because I really have no answer as to 1. why this seemed an acceptable exception, and 2. why it sounded appetizing.)

7:35pm: I really don’t feel very good.

8:00pm: Trying simultaneously not to vomit and to fall asleep so I don’t have to experience how awful I feel. At this point, the idea of maple syrup is enough to cause dry heaves.  Eventually I fall asleep.

Day 2.

8:00am: Lemonade?  Please god, noooo! I’m still extremely put off on the idea of maple syrup.  I opt instead for coffee with almond milk, plus water and my daily vites.

9:00am: Running errands, depositing money in the bank.  Stop off at Trader Joe’s to stock up on lemons and maple syrup.  Still not able to stomach the combo, I buy a few bottles of 100% juice.  I know it’s a stretch, but I need to consume some calories, and I’m thinking the lemonade will not be palatable today.

12:30pm: Decide to walk 3 miles to have coffee with a friend, in lieu of driving.  Beautiful day for a walk! Plus, it’s the perfect weather for my Wellies.

1:30pm: Arrive at coffee shop.  Friend Elizabeth is eating a sandwich that I sort of want to rip out of her hands, or at least gnaw on the mostly-empty condiment packets to suck out the last traces of Miracle Whip or yellow mustard. I resist, and a lovely conversation ensues. I buy a Naked Juice, because it’s juice.  Perfect.

2:30pm: For the past hour, my stomach has been jump-n-jivin, and now I start to feel really off.  I ask friend Elizabeth if she’ll drive me home.  I have tunnel vision, and feel like I’m going to vomit, right on the curb in front of Dunn Bros. Grand Ave.  I feel embarrassed like a 3rd grader who’s just puked on the classroom floor. In the end, I prevail in not vomiting, and feel fine by the time I’m dropped off at home 10 mins later. There’s also some time spent in the bathroom, and I will not go into any detail in this department.

4:00-5:00pm: Sweet, blessed nap.

6:00-11:30pm: I’m feeling pretty energetic and spend some time working on websites, catching up on bills, getting stuff in order.  I feel fine!  I’ve also consumed a handful of almonds, drunk some black tea with almond milk and syrup, and splurged on one green olive.

Day 3.

7:30am: Coffee to get me going, and vites.  I have enough supplies to last a few more days, but am still hesitant about drinking the lemonade again.

8:30am: Begin work.  Feeling energetic and good!  Stomach feels hungry, and I may start the day with more of the Trader Joe’s juice, just until I can verify my stomach isn’t going to reject anything.

8:45am: Lemonade still entirely unpalatable.  Drink Trader Joe’s juice instead.

12:00pm: Handsome beau comes over for lunch and I successfully refrain from eating from his plate (well, all but one carrot, anyway).

2:00-3:00pm: Nap, obvi.

3:00pm: Decide to take a walk and realize that I will most likely pass out from lack of nutrients.  At this point I realize the cleanse has become a silly exercise in starvation, and that it’s time to stop.

3:15pm: Oatmeal.

4:15pm: Walk at Hidden Falls (see pics below).

5:30pm: Return hateful Master Cleanse ingredients to Trader Joe’s in exchange for fruits and veg.  The idea is to do the ease-out by way of eating mostly raw for a day.

6:30pm: Delicious soup, salad, and rice dinner.

7:00pm: Plus a little peanut butter.  Which makes me feel ill and I throw the dregs of the bottle away.

8:00pm: Clean out refrigerator and cabinets of all trigger and splurge foods (generally speaking, the ones I have difficultyeating in moderation).

So the conclusion here is that the Master Cleanse is probably not for me.  Had I not been so horribly nauseated on Day 1, this may have had a different, and later, outcome.  But, as it is, it may be a long time before I can use real maple syrup on anything, let alone subsist on it for days on end.

I do like the idea of a periodic fast, and intermittent fasting has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years. My reasoning behind attempting the cleanse was to regain some mindfulness about what I eat, how much, and how often.  For a long time I’ve advocated many small meals, but working at home and having the kitchen never further than 10 steps away means that eating was often out of boredom, or to break up the monotony of sitting at the desk.

My weakness is grains.  I cut down, only to find myself imbibing a carb-heavy diet mere months later.  I also struggle to find balance, as my diet has been gluten-free for several years.  Because I already limit what I choose to eat, I’m extremely loathe to adhere to even more severe dietary restrictions — both for myself, and for those who cook for me.

As with everything, this is a learning curve.  In the future, I’d like to do an actual cleanse, perhaps a prepared juice cleanse, or even the Master Cleanse — properly prepared for!  I don’t know that 3 days is enough to make much of a difference in my eating habits right now, but it has got me thinking differently.  It was nice not to think about food prep for a few days, or to think about food at all, really!  It was also highly interesting to know that I can really go a lot longer, and do a whole lot more than I’d have thought on very little food.

I’d love to hear your experiences with intermittent fasting or cleansing — share in comments!

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FOOD! apple skillet cake

It’s Sunday, which means I’m being a lazy-bones.  It started last night, with a Fellini film I’ve had on loan from the Hennepin County Library for the better part of the past 4 months.  The extended borrowing period wasn’t intentional; rather, it was an item I “lost” while packing, and which has recently resurfaced.  [Side note: I just have to say, for the record, I don’t resonate with Fellini films.  This particular oeuvre, 8-1/2, is hailed as one of the greatest films of all time.  Interesting, perhaps, but life would have been just as well had I not seen it.]  I slept on the couch, which always feels like a slumber party to me.  I awoke at 6, then fell back asleep at 7 until approximately 8:30 (ok, 9).

This caught my eye whilst checking my social media sites, and, though I initially poo-poo’d the idea of making it, I changed my mind once I realized all the ingredients* were in my kitchen.  The recipe is pretty forgiving, so improvise as needed!

Apple Skillet Cake:

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, or your preferred type of milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup Domata Gluten Free Recipe Ready Flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 3 sweet apples cored, and sliced (sweet or tart, depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar (brown, if preferred)
  • thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk warm water and flour together, ensuring few to no lumps.  Add eggs, milk, and salt, and set aside. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ginger and apples; stirring occasionally, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the top of apples, cooking until caramelized, 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in batter, distributing evenly throughout skillet.  Transfer to oven and bake until cake puffs and knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with 2 teaspoons sugar and return to oven until brown on top, 5 minutes. Or, place under high-heat broiler for 1-2 minutes (watching closely!) until brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8 (Calories: 187 / Carbs: 29g / Fat: 7g / Protein: 3 g)

*Before you go telling me how awesome this is, and what a great cook I am, I have to give credit where it’s due.  This recipe was adapted from a little something I spied in my FB feed this morning, from Whole Living.  I adapted it to exclude dairy and wheat, but if these things are of no concern to you, just follow that recipe instead!

downtime.

I am foraying into the world of self-employ.  While I’ve been freelancing for almost a year, I am now at the point where the work I’m doing is enough to cut back my office-work schedule to 3 days/week, and I have more than enough work to do the remaining 4 days/week for my main client.  I’ve fantasized for years about working for myself; it’s quite a different story when confronted with the reality of the thing, am I right?  I don’t say this as a negative, it’s simply an adjustment in both daily habits and practices, and in mentality/perception. I’m loving it so far, and getting more disciplined about my work habits, primarily because I can see how easy it is to simply work all the time. Although, this isn’t really anything new for me, I’m fond of being a busy-busy-bee! I can also see the necessity of getting out and spending time with people, ie volunteering, and participating in a writing group (of which, incidentally, I found a really great one last week! through the Hennepin County Library system.  Have I ever mentioned how much I looooove the library? Home away from home for this word nerd!).

What I love about working from home, more than anything, is that I get to decide my schedule.  I do not enjoy the necessity of being at an office for a prescribed number of hours during a set time frame. This has always made me a little cray-cray, though I’ve spent years trying to convince myself that it’s what I need to adjust to to make a living in this world.  I’m soooo happy to be finding out that there are other options- and they’re even viable options!  What I love about freelance writing is, well, writing.  Because the more you do of something you love, the more you do of something you love! Or, something to the effect of, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While some may debunk this as bad career advice, I say it’s completely true!

At the moment, I’m taking a break from writing about various types of cancer for clients (just a little light writing for a Monday, thank you very much!).  These are the ways I like to give my mind a rest:

  • More writing, ovbi.  Though it’s nice to be able to vent the randomness in my brain
  • Trail running.  Today @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park, which is a bit of a jaunt, but definitely worth it.  It was grey and dreary, which made the leaves still clinging to the branches scream their vibrant colors.  I f’ing love autumn in Minnesota!
  • Regular running, too.
  • Or walking along the mighty Mississipp’, which is nearby.
  • Doing headstands, a la B.K.S. Iyengar. Like this:   Ha!  No, more like this:Except sh!ttier, with a lot of confused adjusting happening throughout.
  • Playing Words with Friends with a guy I used to date.  I suppose he would be considered some sort of ex, though he wasn’t technically a boyfriend (of course, this is my attitude about our relationship now. Had you asked while we were dating, he probably was considered a boyfriend.  Still, there needs to be some sort of nomenclature pertaining to people you formerly dated.  Ex… datees? No. Come up with something and leave it in the comments, if you would!).  Anyhoo, it’s weird because we don’t talk, but I soooooo want to beat him, so we keep playing.
  • Eat food.  Make food.  Think about going to get food or ordering food.  Looking at food in the cupboards. Making more coffee to drink for when my break is over.
  • Facebooking, tweeting, et cetera.  Truly, an addiction.  (Feel free to friend ‘n’ follow, btw.)
  • Daydreaming about getting a French Bulldog.
  • Perusing adopt-a-dog sites, searching for vicarious puppy-love
  • Many, many other interesting things.

What do you do on your breaks, peeps who work from home and otherwise?  I’m always fascinated by how people spend their downtime… or procrastinate-time.

FOOD! refrigerator pickles

I made these today.

I don’t love pickles, not really.  Something about dill pickles just doesn’t suit my palate.  Dill itself I think is quite divine, but dill pickles don’t interest me at all.  Bread and butter pickles (I think this is the type, the sweet ones?), on the other hand, I do like these.  Which are basically the same as refrigerator pickles.

All summer long I’ve been splitting a CSA share with a friend.  Every week we’d get something different – lemon cukes, edamame, kale, thyme, what-have-you.  More than anything else though, we got BEANS.  Every damn week, BEANS.  Green beans, wax beans, I don’t know the exact nomenclature, but there were OODLES of them.  And I loved to eat them, but I wasn’t creative enough, and got bored, and a lot of beans went to waste, unfortunately.  The whole time though, I was thinking how great it would be to pickle them! But it seemed too daunting, and so I didn’t.  I think I’m a little scared of canning because of something I read in a book once about botulism, maybe in East of Eden, or similar.

But, I digress. Refrigerator pickles, on the other hand, so easy!  I found a few recipes, like this one, and just adapted it, because some of the recipes I found seemed like they wanted to be fancy and I just wanted the most basic one I could find.  No fanciness of ingredient for me, just a plain old McDonald’s burger, thankyouverymuch. Also, I had this big old jar, so I adapted for the size of the thing.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups cucumbers (pickling cukes are great, but no need to discriminate), thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups vinegar (I used 4 cups white, 2 cups apple cider to cut the tartness)
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon celery seeds

Prep:

Place cukes and onion in a gallon jar.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Carefully pour liquid into gallon jar and refrigerate.  Let chill 3-4 days.  Pickles can be kept for up to 6 weeks.

Voila! I tried mine after they’d been in the fridge for about 12 hours.  The cukes were still very raw and crunchy, but the flavor of the wash tastes about right, so I’m excited to test them again in a few days!

Are you a pickler, or a canner?  Leave your tips in the comments below!

American Woman, redux.

So many good things today.  But this was a  highlight:

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I had lunch with my friend, Russ, today at the lovely Indian restaurant Gandhi Mahal, in South Minneapolis, near Lake St. and Hiawatha.  We ordered the lunch buffet, which was loaded up with all gluten-free choices, plus a few dairy-free options. And dessert: 3 options, all gluten free.  And some kind of magical fried chickpea patties, also gluten free. He had read an earlier post re: this album, and just happened to have it in his collection, and gifted it to me (Thanks Russ! Cherishing this as we speak!). A funny bit in this: Russ and I worked at a coffee shop together back when blogs were just becoming a thing. And I lamented them endlessly! How boring to read about what some joker had for lunch, or went on vacation… Clearly, I didn’t understand the depth and breadth of what one is capable of communicating via this commendable medium.

of a holiday-weekend Sunday

I can’t sleep, which is always a bummer. Instead, I’m laying on the daybed, in the screened-in porch at the cabin, hiding under the blankets, playing with my phone. And figuring out how to use Siri. Which is awesome because now I don’t even have to write out what I want to say. And I can keep telling her things to write.

Here are some pics from my uber-relaxing, highly lazy, mostly solo weekend:

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Where I’ve been stationed for the majority of the past 2 days.

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Lake Superior Lake Trout

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Trying to impress with the screen-side camera lens, which Dad pointed out they already had on their iPads.

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My contribution to the meal: home-brewed kombucha (Dad isn’t a fan; hence, a mere sip in his glass).

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence:

kombucha experi-fermentation, bottoms up!

Despite my lack of posts, the kombucha is coming along nicely.  I have bottled a few batches, and even had the nads to drink a few bottles!  I’ve only allowed others a sip here and there, and then only those whose composition is tried and true, by way of raw-food retreats and Master Cleanseses.

Here’s the bottle of the stuff I drank tonight.

liquid gold, texas tea.

Bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. It’s important to taste the brew regularly.  I didn’t realize this until after the first big growth batch had passed its prime and tasted very much like vinegar.  For some reason I was hesitant to do this at first, as though I was growing some exotic cocktail I’d never tried before.  Now I taste it every few days, and am getting a better sense of the process just by looking at the scoby and the tint of the liquid.
  2. Bubbles aren’t automatic.  I was surprised to discover my first batch was flat.   I thought this was just another benchmark I had missed, but a friend recommended a little beer-brewing trick, which worked.  I then corroborated the tidbit by looking it up on the ‘net.  You know, the internet?  Yeah, I’m connected.  (you have to forgive the wackedness, I really just want to update the dang blog, and it’s late, and I’m loopy.)  It’s simple: just add a little sugar to the bottle, close it up, and let it sit for a few days.  I don’t know exact ratios right now, I’ve just been adding a scant teaspoon in each 16-oz bottle.  What it comes down to, I suppose, is that the little buggers have food (sugar) to eat, so they’re happy, and the by-product is the fizzies that can’t escape from the bottle because it’s closed.  There are laws of gas and physics here, that I could possibly explain.  No, I really couldn’t.
  3. Stockpile bottles in advance.  My roomies have been saving Snapple bottles for me for the finished tea.  But you also need a good amount of filtered or clarified city water (boiled then left uncovered to allow chems, etc. to escape) when you start a new batch, so you’ll want to have a place to keep that as well.  Ideally, you would have enough water to bring the temp of the sweet-tea mix down to tepid before adding it to scoby/wash.

That’s all I can think of, though I’m sure there’s more.  At some point, I will add some info on the water kefir, which has been a great addition to the kombucha.  It takes much less time (1-2 days) and is infinitely tinkerly-able!

kombucha experi-fermentation, every now-and-then

Happy Friday!  I’ve been been mildly absorbed in my new fermentation adventures (NEW and IMPROVED!  Now with KEFIR grains!), and the butch hasn’t been doing a whole lot this week.  In part, I realized round about Wednesday, because there wasn’t any food in the larder, the cupboards were bare.  I courageously took a sip yesterday morning and confirmed that it was leaning more toward vinegar than is desirable.  I brewed up a fresh batch of sweet tea and added it into the mix.

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Sorry for the mash-up, still working on a system to get things from the phone to the computer, whilst maintaining date/time info.  And… yes, I was too lazy to walk upstairs to get the USB cord this morning.

kombucha experi-fermentation, douze(y) du jour

It’s definitely happening now, it wasn’t just a fluke yesterday.  The mushroom is definitely both gromandizing and aggrandizing (sorry, sleepy and in need of a little alliteration).  True to my word, I checked it just as many times today as usual.  And changed the location.  But it seems to be a resilient bugger and keeps on keepin’ on.

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I think I’m getting very close to being able to brew a batch of the coveted kombucha!