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!

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, days 6 til 9!

Very happy with the way my mother/scoby is coming along!  I’ve been diligently monitoring the progress, though this weekend I’m away and not able to check up on it.  The slideshow might be overkill, but I am quite excited!  Captions indicate date, with A for AM and P for PM.

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You can see it’s getting bigger and frothier, and a film becomes apparent round about day 7 or 8, if you look closely.  I have been keeping the jar covered with a paper bag, and have placed it closer to a heat source for to keep the temperature up.

I splurged on a GT’s yesterday…  Can’t wait to have my own!

kombucha experi-fermentation, day 4

I think the little beasties are making magic now.

I added some sustenance last night, which left the liquid a bit dark and murky. Today, however, the color is back to a lighter amber, and the small globules seem to have all joined forces, so there’s a larger blob floating around, with some random tendrils here and there. I moved it out of the furnace room, because with the weather as it is, I don’t think it’s any warmer there than on the pantry. Also, I like having it nearby so I can check it 5 times a day.

AM:

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PM:

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FOOD! (ok- drink, actually) Kombucha

I’m thinking of starting an experiment:

batch of kombucha, mature.

I was at Whole Foods last night, stocking up on vites, as ya do, and wanted to get a little treat, also as ya do, since it was dinner time, and a beautiful day, and I simply wanted something fun to consume.  I grabbed for a bottle of kombucha, of which I don’t think I have ever, not once, drank more than a thimbleful another time I was at Whole Foods and a sampler was schlepping his fermented-tea wares.  Original flavor, GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha.  I was hesitant upon first sip, but it was quite delicious and I drank the whole bottle whilst (finally!) watching the Season 2 Finale of Downton Abbey.  Sixteen ounces may have been a bit much for one sitting, but I do feel pretty damn good today for no apparent reason, so I’ll attribute it to the tea.

It’s funny, once you start looking into it, everyone absolutely raves about this tea; it’s a cure-all from everything to arthritis to lactose intolerance.  In any case, it’s a tinkerly-type thing, so I can’t resist.  It’s a little like brewing your own wine (which I convinced mummy-kins to do), or concocting limoncello (pops and stepmum still do this on occasion, on my suggestion), or tapping the maple trees for syrup (next year- right, dad?).  I can’t take all the credit since my parents were, and still are, the ultimate source of my tinkerlyhood: mom with the giant garden in the summers and her devotion to sourdough bread; dad with the vast and sweeping building projects throughout my lifetime, including building a cabin, and swapping out vehicle engines.

The experiment will begin as soon as I can make my way to a store that carries kombucha, so I’ll have fodder to grow the scoby, or mushroom.  I already have a fantastic old-school sun-tea container that will work perfectly.  Can’t wait!  More to come.

In the meanwhile, what are your favorite tinkerly-type projects and hobbies?

FOOD! Broke Bean Stew

It’s difficult to say broke bean, isn’t it?  Don’t you really want to say Brokeback?  Like this is a clandestine comfort food?  It’s not, of course.  There’s no shame in the Broke Bean Stew!  Well, barring any adverse reactions to the level of highly-soluble fiber provided by the magical fruit.  The recipe is from The Biggest Loser, which I have never watched, not once.  But the stew is really good!  Basic recipe, they’re not reinventing the wheel here, but a hearty, easy staple for a week’s lunches.  Also great fiber, low fat, freezes well, yadda yadda.

Per usual, I couldn’t be bothered to follow the recipe exactly.  Actually, the store I visited didn’t have kale or swiss chard and I wasn’t feeling the spinach.  The only alternative was collard greens, which works just as well, though I still would have preferred kale.  For beans, I chose 2 cans of navy/white beans and 1 can of black beans to blend for the broth.  I also made it a little easier by browning onions, blending the specified ingredients, then tossing it all into a slow-cooker overnight.  I can’t imagine it makes much difference.

A few notes to ensure gluten-freedom: packaged foods can be tricky, so check labels for canned beans.  Also, soups, broths, and bouillons are notorious for containing wheat and/or MSG (which I’ve read is unrelated to gluten sensitivity, but many people are highly sensitive to it, so why risk it?), so ensure these are safe!

Visit the Biggest Loser site for more info and other low-fat/cal/sodium/etc. recipes. (There are actually several that sound really tasty, including this chocolate-raspberry deliciousness.)

Broke Bean Stew

(makes 10 1-cup servings)

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 can (28 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
3 cans (15.5 ounces each) chickpeas (or kidney beans, black beans, white beans), rinsed and drained (or 4-1/2 cups cooked beans)
4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped kale or Swiss chard

Instructions
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 4-quart saucepan. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Do not brown garlic.

Add spices and tomatoes and simmer about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups (2 cans) of beans and 2-1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Place remaining beans and broth in bowl of food processor or in blender. Add cilantro and puree until smooth. Add mixture to stew. Add spinach and heat just until wilted. Stir well and serve hot.

Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories: 160
Protein: 8 grams
Carbohydrates: 26 grams
Fiber: 7 grams
Fat: 3 grams
Saturated fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 330 milligrams

Click here to download the recipe.

Adapted from “The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You” by Cheryl Forberg, RD. Copyright © 2010 by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP, The Biggest Loser™ and NBC Studios, Inc., and Reveille LLC. Reprinted by permission of Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098.