Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's 'Revolution'

Yup, that's right.  I said Revolution instead of resolution.  Of course, the song I am referring to is Revolution from The Beatles, but that isn't currently available through, so I linked to the cover version by Stone Temple Pilots.

Personally, I am not a big fan of New Year's resolutions.  They don't tend to be kept for very long periods of time.  Resolutions are too often made and forgotten before even a week into the new year.  Instead, I would rather start a revolution.  Revolutions keep coming back.

In this case, I am going back to the basics for several things that I began this year.  I began 2010 with a whole new eating plan.  The Maker's Diet became my diet.  Throughout the year, I read more and more information regarding the principles of The Maker's Diet and I am more convinced than ever that it was the right choice for me.  In addition to the research, I am definitely feeling better because of the diet.  Removing processed, packaged food from my diet has been great.  Food just tastes better!  I am spending more time in the kitchen, but the rewards are worth the effort.  Sure, I haven't been perfect in following the diet and it took the better part of the year to improve my food choices, but progress has been made.  My New Year's revolution regarding The Maker's Diet involves starting with phase 1 all over again.  This time, having better food sources than I had the first time around, I am hoping for even better results!

During the year, I also embarked on The Master Cleanse.  This was an absolutely amazing experience.  The master cleanse essentially 'resets' the body.  It helps purge the body of all toxins and waste.  Thanks to the purge, the body is able to focus on healing.  I am going to start off the new year with another session with the master cleanse.  Because I was unable to get to the grocery store to buy some lemons, I won't be able to start drinking the lemonade on the first day of the year, but I will be able to start the ease-in phase in preparation for the actual cleanse.  Phase 1 of the Maker's Diet will begin after I finish the master cleanse.  Additionally, I plan to revisit the master cleanse at least two more times throughout the year.

Like 2010, I intend to strive towards a symptom free life.  I will continue to use my daily serving of VIDACELL except during my master cleanse sessions.  Since beginning (almost) daily VIDACELL use in October of 2008, I have experienced some major improvements in health and mobility.  To my daily regimen, I intend to add daily consumption of kefir that I make myself from raw whole milk.  Kefir is a relatively new addition to my foods.  It is similar to yogurt, but considerably easier to make.  It is one of the foods that is recommended on all phases of The Maker's Diet.  While I had the raw milk for my first foray into phase 1, I did not have kefir.  Sure, I could have purchased some from the grocery store, but the only varieties I could find were pasteurized and low-fat - some even had additives like fructose and other artificial ingredients.  Now that I have the ability to make my own, I am hoping for even better results.

Physically, I intend to be more regular with fitness activities.  I plan to start my day with some sort of physical activity.  During the warmer months, this might consist of taking Ginger for a walk.  One thing that I am planning on incorporating at least a couple of times per week is Dr. Mercola's PEAK 8 program.

So, with that - my plan for a revolution - I say good bye to 2010 - a relatively good year - and hello to 2011.  I can only hope that my progress is as good this coming year as it was over this past year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feelin' Groovy!

"Slow down, you move too fast..."  How true.  The lyrics, of course, are taken from Simon & Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).  When the song was originally recorded in 1967, there was no such thing as the internet, cell phones, microwave ovens, and while McDonald's existed, their drive-thru service had not yet been born.  Things were still moving relatively fast in 1967, but no where near the speed of life that we see today.

We are constantly looking for ways to speed things up, to be more efficient, and to earn more money while spending less on necessities so that we can spend more on frivolities.  What are we doing to our quality of life - not the superficial, material quality but the emotional, physical, and spiritual quality - with these pursuits?  People are behind the wheel of their car while talking on the cell phone and eating that fast food meal that they picked up at the drive-thru.  I am all for multitasking, but that is just dangerous in more ways than one!

Today I have already spent quite a bit of time on 'slowing down.'  For almost a week, I have been working on making my own kefir.  Each morning, I have been straining raw milk to recover the kefir grains that have been soaking for the previous 24 hours.  The process of revitalizing the grains in order to produce kefir takes 5-7 days.  This morning started in similar fashion. 
My next project was to make my own peanut butter.  On Wednesday, I had purchased some raw peanuts at It's Only Natural and started soaking them in sea salt and filtered water.  After suitable soaking time, I transferred the peanuts to the dehydrator and started soaking the raw filberts (hazelnuts) that I had also gotten at I.O.N. with the peanuts (did you know that shelled, raw filberts float?).  When the filberts were done soaking, I added them to the dehydrator on a second tray.  I suppose that the difference in density between the peanuts and filberts is the reason, but both were completed drying yesterday.  I pulled out the food processor and loaded the peanuts into the bowl and stored the hazelnuts in a container for snacking.  Along with the peanuts, I added a Tbsp. of coconut oil and a dash of sea salt and turned on the processor.  Once the peanuts started to turn into a nice, creamy butter, I added a Tbsp. of raw honey and some flax seeds and let the processor run for another 30 seconds to mix it all well.
The third project of this morning was to transform two avocados, onion, green pepper, sea salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper into guacamole.  Only as I type this do I realize that I forgot to add cilantro to the mix.  No problem, though.  I can always add it later...
Fourth project - to make some more vegetable stock.  Actually, I was somewhat efficient on this project.  While dicing the onion green pepper for the guacamole, I also chopped the onion and green pepper for the stock.  I filled the Crock Pot with filtered water and turned it on while preheating the oven to roast the onion and green pepper.  To the roasting vegetables, I added some coconut oil and sea salt.  While they roasted, I coarsely chopped some cabbage, carrots, and celery and added them to the Crock Pot.
Time for clean-up!  With these projects, I certainly created a fair amount of dirty utensils so while the onion and green pepper roasted, I cleaned up.  Having just run a cycle, the dishwasher was full of clean dishes.  Rather than waste the electricity to have the dishwasher dry the dishes, we simply let them air dry before putting them away.  As the food processor parts would present a bit of a challenge for the dishwasher anyway, I decided to hand wash everything that I had used.

Out of all of these projects, the guacamole took the least amount of time from start to finish.  Had I been responsible for growing the ingredients, that would have been a different story.  The kefir project began almost a week ago and still isn't completed.  The peanut butter (and hazelnut) project(s) began on Wednesday and was completed today.  The vegetable stock project began today (aside from shopping for ingredients) and will be completed on Tuesday.  All of these things take time but the benefits far outweigh the time spent completing them.

To paraphrase the song, slow down, don't move so fast.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Nice...

OK, I will shamelessly admit that I lifted the title of this post from a fictional blog mentioned on a TV show last night.  I was watching Chase and one of the characters posted to her blog named for her mother's love of The Beach Boys.  Given my own desire to name my posts with titles or lyrics from songs, I couldn't resist.  So, I thank both The Beach Boys and Chase on NBC for the inspiration.

The song, 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' seems to be the perfect choice for this blog.

Wouldn't it be nice if:
  • We could all be disease-free!
  • We could all be out of debt.
  • We could all have access to truly healthy food.
  • We could all have the ideal home life.
  • We could all live in a world without hatred and war.
  • ...  fill in the blank with your own hopes and desires ...
Certainly, I am working towards at least a few of the ideals in the above list.  My most recent step on my journey to wellness is to attempt to make my own kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk product - though I have learned that it can be made from other things as well - that is similar to yogurt.  One of the primary differences is that the milk does not have to be heated at all in order to become kefir.  Yogurt, though the milk only needs to be heated briefly and incubated at 110 deg. F for a period, does require the milk to be 'cooked.'  Cooking anything can have the downside of killing off the beneficial bacteria and enzymes present in the food.

The Maker's Diet recommends kefir as one of the food choices.  Unfortunately, all of the kefir that is available from nearby stores is made from low-fat, pasteurized milk and has several undesirable additives - namely sugar - so I have yet to add it to my diet.  A couple of weeks ago, I went to It's Only Natural with the intent to purchase some kefir starter so that I could make my own from the raw milk that I get from Deerfield Farm.  Unfortunately, they only had one variety of starter 'grains' and the instructions required that the milk be heated.  Not being sure if this brand of kefir starter would work without heating the milk, I opted to pass.

Fortunately, I was able to find a brand of kefir starter online that does work without heating the milk.  My order arrived yesterday!  The Milk Kefir Grains from Cultures for Health LLC come in dehydrated form and need to be revitalized over the course of 5-7 days before they will start producing kefir.  I started the process this morning, so I will hopefully be able to enjoy some kefir next week.

During my failed quest for kefir starter at It's Only Natural, I did pick up a jar of coconut oil.  While I have been strictly using olive oil or butter for cooking, I have been reading more and more about the benefits of coconut oil.  While olive oil is great, it is not truly suited for high heat cooking.  I am not opposed to butter, but the benefits of coconut oil are too great to be ignored.  I have had a couple of opportunities to cook with coconut oil, but it is far too early to notice any results.  I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here Comes the Rain Again.

I am not sure why, but my motivation to write a new entry has been at an all time low since last week.  It isn't because I have nothing to say - in fact, I have quite a bit to update - I just haven't really felt like writing...

I ended my first bout with The Master Cleanse on Sunday, 10 days ago.  It was a bit more abrupt on an ending than I was planning on, but the timing was right.  My tongue was not completely pink, but other factors just made it the right time for me to revert to a normal diet.

One thing that I was looking forward to eating once I went off the cleanse was my version of miso soup.  I have since made the soup four times and each time it just got better!  For the first attempt, I simply sliced some celery, carrots, and green cabbage (thinly) and added them to the vegetable broth while it heated up.  After it reached the desired temperature, I removed the soup from the heat and added the miso.  It was pretty good, though I am sure that the fact that I hadn't eaten anything for more than two weeks other than the lemonade had something to do with my perception of the taste.
The second attempt found me adding some diced onion to the complement of vegetables.  I also lightly sauteed the veggies in some butter prior to adding the broth.  I started by melting the butter in a sauce pan - just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  I then added the onion and cooked them until they just turned translucent.  After that, I added the carrots and celery and sauteed the mix for a little longer before adding the cabbage.  Before the cabbage started to wilt, I added the broth and brought the soup up to the desired temperature.  I did not allow it to boil.  Again, I removed the soup from the heat and added the miso.  Oh My Goodness!  What an amazing improvement!  The first attempt was good but the second attempt was excellent!  I am not sure if the addition of the onions accounted for the improvement or if it was the fact that I sauteed the veggies first.  Whatever it was, it was worth it.
My daughter saw (smelled) me making the soup and wanted to try it.  The 'food critic' loved it!

My intent to begin with phase one of The Maker's Diet fell a little short, however.  I am still sticking to The Maker's Diet, but I have been eating some foods that should not be consumed until phases 2 and 3.  Overall, though, my food choices have improved.  As well, thanks to the cleanse, I am definitely more satisfied with smaller quantities of food.  Eating due to true hunger vs. eating on impulse or because society dictates three 'square' meals was also something learned by the cleanse.  We simply do not need to eat the quantities of food that we have grown accustomed to eating!  As a simple comparison; the equivalent of one regular McDonald's hamburger and small order of  should be enough food to satisfy hunger.  (Of course, the nutritional content of that meal is suspect, but the quantity is what I am trying to illustrate.)  Instead, we favor the Quarter Pounder or the Big Mac and a large order of fries.

In a previous post, Mom Always Said..., I talked about three things that mom really did always say about eating.  Of these things, I am really focused on implementing two of them - taking smaller bites and chewing each one more thoroughly - as I was when this whole thing began.  Because I am already eating smaller portions, I am not too concerned with leaving some on my plate.  These rules are things that I constantly have to remind myself of.  It is far too easy to revert to swallowing large, partially chewed bites.  When I enjoy a meal, my tendency is to eat quickly.  Rather than savoring each bite, I tend to stuff myself.  Really, it just makes more sense to chew slowly and truly enjoy the food.

Today, I started to precede each meal with a small serving of plain, whole milk yogurt.  Well, any meal that isn't primarily consisting of yogurt, that is.  I figure that regularly supplementing with the probiotics found in the yogurt prior to eating would do wonders for my digestive system without spending any money on other supplements. 

As it is Wednesday, I found myself alone at home all day.  Weather prevented me from any outdoor activity - hence the title and the song reference, Here Comes the Rain Again, Eurythmics.  Instead of getting outside - except to walk Ginger - I got some exercise on the Wii Fit Plus.  Today also marked the first day that I have weighed myself since ending the cleanse.  As expected, my weight loss was considerably less dramatic.  Since ending the cleanse, I have only lost half of a pound.  However, this 0.5 pound weight loss puts me at exactly 76 pounds lost year to date.  Not bad for a 10 month total!
After my workout, I sat down and watched The Future Of Food.  I had started watching it a few weeks ago, but didn't have the opportunity to finish it.  If you are unfamiliar with it, the movie/documentary is focused on genetically modified food and Monsanto.  I highly recommend watching this one.  In fact, I have made it easy for you (at least for as long as it is available to watch online).  I have it posted right here for you!  Please, take a look.  (When I watched it, I found it ironic that one of the sponsors of the movie was Lean, really?  A movie about genetically modified food sponsored by a company that sells processed food?)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Still A Whiter Shade Of Pale

It is day 14 of the master cleanse and my tongue is still white (Song: A Whiter Shade of Pale, Procol Harum), though it does seem that the tip and the sides of my tongue are beginning to turn pink.

On the way home from the YMCA today, I stopped at It's Only Natural to pick up a couple of things.  Primarily, I wanted to get some miso to use in the vegetable stock that I made earlier in the week.  I had tried to find some at the grocery store, but they only had a dried miso soup mix that had a whole lot of undesirable additives.  While I was there, I checked on their organic lemon prices.  To my surprise, their prices for organic lemons was actually less than Stop & Shop's lemons - and Stop & Shop's are not organic!

Things are still going well on the cleanse.  The only thing that has really begun to bother me is the frequency of squeezing lemons and the clean-up afterward.  It really isn't a major problem, though.  It just seems that I am spending a lot of time in the kitchen!  On the positive side, I am certainly generating a lot of materials to add to the compost pile.

Weight lost on the cleanse now stands at  16 pounds in 13 days (as of yesterday - I haven't weighed myself today).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Living In The Past

In a moment of spontaneity yesterday, we found ourselves heading off to visit the CT Renaissance Fair for a second time this year (See: I Won't Back Down to read about our first trip to the fair this year).  A family friend called us and asked if we would like to accompany them to the fair.  After a short deliberation, we decided to go along.  It turned out to be a great day!  Of course, the song here is Jethro Tull's, Living In The Past as an homage to the Renaissance Faire's celebration of history.

It was a bit of a challenge for the master cleanse, however.  The previous night, I had taken a full, 4 capsule dose of senna and I had done the salt water flush about 60 minutes prior to the call.  I was not really in a position to be too far away from a bathroom!  Fortunately, it didn't take too long for the flush to do its work.  I didn't have time to prepare any lemonade other than my morning glass, though.  As such, I didn't have any to take with me to the fair.  I ended up buying a bottle of water at the fair, but that was all that I consumed while we were there.
While at the fair, we got a chance to see another performance of two of our favorites, Dextre Tripp and Jayna Lee.  Over the last 10 years, we have seen both of them perform several times at the NY Renaissance Faire and Jayna at the CT fair both last year and this year.  This was the first time that we got to see them perform together!  Jayna had a show at 1:00 PM with Dextre assisting and Dextre had one at 2:30 PM with Jayna assisting.  I also had the privilege of assisting Dextre with his act!

After the fair, we headed home and I was able to resume the cleanse without a hitch.

Today marks my 12th day on the cleanse.  My tongue is still white, so it appears that my body is not yet ready for me to resume my normal diet.  I was running low on everything so I made yet another trip to the grocery store for supplies.  I opted for Trader Joe's in order to get some grade B maple syrup.  They also have a great deal on organic lemons and their cayenne pepper is non-irradiated, so it really was my best option.  I mentioned in a previous post that they offer two varieties of grade B syrup but were sold out of one of them last week.  This time, they had both in stock so I opted for the 32 oz. choice.  While I am sure that I will be ready to shift to a normal diet soon, I bought two bottles.  I fully intend to follow the master cleanse again within the next few months, so my plan is to be better prepared for it.  Rather than shell out a considerable amount of money just prior and during my next cleanse, I will build up a stock of the maple syrup over time so that I will have enough before I begin.  Of course, I will still need to buy the lemons as I go.
En route home from Trader Joe's, I stopped at The Vitamin Shoppe to pick up an alternative to my herbal laxative.  While the senna is working fine, I wanted to boost the benefits of the cleanse.  In his book, Tom Woloshyn talks about doing a parasite cleanse as an adjunct to the master cleanse.  While I have no evidence that I have a parasite problem, there is also no evidence that I am parasite-free.  Either way, it really can't hurt to take the extra step.  Three herbs that have anti-parasite properties are black walnut, clove, and wormwood.  Some effect the eggs of the parasites, while the others effect the adult parasites so it is best to use them together.  I was hoping to find the individual herbs, but the only one the store had in stock was black walnut.  They did have a single product that included all three, however.  It also includes senna so I can use this in place of the senna that I was using.  This is designed as a 7 day cleanse, so now that I have more lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper I may just continue the master cleanse for the same 7 days - bringing my count to 19 days.  The other option - depending on the appearance of my tongue - would be to continue for three more days and then ease in to phase one of The Maker's Diet over the remaining 4 days.  I'll see how things go...

My current weight loss total for the duration of the cleanse stands at 13 pounds.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Am Still Not Tempted.

I can't believe that it took me until Day 10 of the master cleanse to make a musical reference to Squeeze.  I have been talking about squeezing lemons and temptation for over a week now and I am only just making the connection to the song, Tempted.

I haven't posted any progress reports for the last few days for a couple of reasons: one) my daughter discovered a new puzzle game and she has been monopolizing the PC, and two) there really hasn't been anything new to report.  I haven't had another weigh in since my last report and really haven't had any issues with sticking to the cleanse.  The temptation to eat really hasn't been a problem.

Ten days is the recommended minimum for following the cleanse.  Evidence indicates that it takes at least that long for the body to realize any benefits.  There has not been any upper limit established for the duration of the cleanse.  When I started, I wasn't sure how long I would continue on the cleanse but planned to go for at least the full 10 days and play it by 'tongue' to determine whether to continue longer.  The tongue is the prime indicator that you are ready to move on to a regular diet.  During the cleanse, the tongue will turn white.  When it returns to a normal, pink color, your body is ready.  This doesn't mean that you need to end the cleanse, just that you can.
My tongue is still white so, I will following the cleanse for at least another day.

Running low on lemons again, I made a trip to the grocery store to buy more.  I would have needed more even if I were to end the cleanse today.  One thing that is really important to note is that when you end the cleanse, you really need to ease back in to eating solid food. When I went to the store, I also picked up a few things to use during my 'ease out' phase.

My plan is to start over with Phase One of The Maker's Diet after the cleanse.  It seems a perfect 're-start' for me.  Granted, I never strayed away from the Maker's Diet, but it never hurts to go back to the basics once in a while.

Along with the lemons, I bought some onions and green bell peppers.  When I got home from the store, I immediately set to making a vegetable stock in preparation for the end of the cleanse.  Taking inspiration from a recipe that I found on for the 'World's Greatest Vegetable Broth,' I chopped the onion, green peppers, and some carrots into a glass baking dish, tossed the vegetables with some olive oil, and roasted them for 45 minutes.  While they were roasting, I chopped some celery and garlic which I put into a stock pot with a gallon of filtered water.  When the vegetables were sufficiently roasted, I removed them from the oven and added them to the stock pot which I set to boil and then simmer until it reduced.  The recipe recommends a 50% reduction, but I allowed it to go longer creating a more concentrated stock as opposed to a broth.
I plan to use this stock for at least the first few days after the cleanse in various recipes.  It fits in well with recommendations from both Tom Woloshyn's book, The Complete Master Cleanse, and Jordan Rubin's book, The Maker's Diet.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Little Marathon

OK, so it isn't even close to running (or walking) a marathon (Song: Rush, Marathon from Power Windows) - perhaps it is more like circuit training, but I squeezed in two exercise sessions over the course of 3 hours.  Using the Wii Fit Plus, I spent about an hour doing various different activities, mostly cardio-related but with a little bit of other stuff mixed in.  According to the 'game,' I burned just under 400 calories during that time.  The Wii Fit Plus allows you to set calorie burn goals.  Whether you reach your goal in one session or not, it keeps track of what you have burned each day.  My current goal is set for 455 calories.
After my hour of exercise, I decided to take a short break.  I took Ginger out for a brief walk - it was still raining and she doesn't like to be outside in the rain - and did some chores around the house.  Using one lemon, I made another glass of lemonade and cleaned up after that.  This was a particularly juicy lemon that yielded 5 Tbsp. of juice, so my glass of lemonade actually turned out to be 2.5 servings worth.  While I know that it is better to consume the juice immediately after squeezing it, it is a little annoying that one lemon can yield so much juice while another might barely be enough for one serving - even if they are the same size!  It definitely leads to the question - is it better to drink a larger portion of lemonade fresh or to reserve the excess for another serving at a later time?  My gut feeling is that it is perfectly acceptable to drink more than one serving at a time.  Considering that the recommendation is a minimum of 6-12 servings per day, if you consumed one serving per hour, it would take 12 hours for the upper end of the range.  If you squeeze, mix, drink, and clean up after each serving, that is a lot of time spent to get 12 individual servings of lemonade.
I guess that it is all about the results, anyway...

Due to timing - wanting to have showered prior to the family coming home - I decided to spend another 30 minutes exercising.  For lack of a better option, I turned the Wii back on and finished off my calorie burn goal.  I decided to do another weigh in to see what my progress was as well.  Normally, I wouldn't bother weighing myself this often, but the fact that I am following the master cleanse and that I already had easy access to a scale it just made sense.  It turns out that I have now lost a total of 8 pounds since beginning the cleanse.  According to my BMI, I am now, no longer considered obese!  Now I am just simply overweight...  Still some work to do on the weight loss front.  Not that it is currently a concern for me, judging obesity/overweight/normal weight just by BMI is a little skewed.  To truly get a picture of weight v. norms, you should also factor in body fat percentage.  In my case, muscle mass in not currently doing much to tip the scales, so BMI kind of works for me at the moment.  At least it does take height into account.

I'm Not Hungry (Like The Wolf)

Today is day 6 of the master cleanse and I am feeling great!  I repeated the four capsule senna dose last night and didn't have as much abdominal pain as I did yesterday but still felt some as a result - enough to confirm that the pain I felt is, indeed, a result of the senna.  Unlike yesterday, I did the salt water flush this morning.  The combination of an herbal laxative prior to bed and the salt water flush upon waking is definitely a powerful one!  I think that the truly amazing thing about this master cleanse is that I am not at all 'hungry like the wolf.'  (Song - Duran Duran, Hungry Like The Wolf)  I have been able to cook food and go grocery shopping for the family without being tempted to eat anything.  Yesterday, we went to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things.  After my second serving of lemonade yesterday, I was completely out of maple syrup so I needed to go shopping anyway.  Trader Joe's has two offerings of grade B maple syrup!  Unfortunately they happened to be sold out of one of those offerings...  The one I ended up getting is their Canadian maple syrup in 25 oz. glass bottles.  It is a bit more expensive than the 32 oz. bottle they also offer, but as it is grade B it is still cheaper than what I was buying before.  There is a misconception with maple syrup that grade B is somehow inferior to grade A.  Unlike eggs, meats, and grades on test scores, grade B maple syrup is not inferior.  It is thicker, darker, and has a higher mineral content than grade A.  It does tend to have a slightly different taste, though, that can make it less desirable.
This past Spring, we took a day trip to a local sugar shack that taps maple trees and processes its own maple syrup.  It was a really informative and fun trip!  Had I known then that I would be undertaking the master cleanse, I would have stocked up on grade B maple syrup.  Rick, the owner/operator of the sugar shack explained the difference between the grades (which, by the way, may be revised in the not too distant future) and expressed his preference for grade B.  I tried contacting him prior to buying more syrup at the grocery store, but I haven't gotten a reply yet.  I am just not sure if he has any syrup in stock at this point and I don't feel like driving over there only to come home empty-handed.  I would prefer to buy from him, though.  He is a lot more local - within 20 miles from home - and has better prices than the grocery store.

Today being Wednesday means that I have the house to myself.  The weather is not conducive to working in the garden - unlike previous weeks.  This is fine, though, as I really don't have much else that I can do in the garden for now.  With the newly acquired compost bin in place, there isn't as much need for me to get out there and turn over the compost pile.  I still need to, just not as frequently.  Since adding the compost bin, I took a second frame - the one that had been containing the compost pile - and stacked it on top of the frame that defines my future raised bed for planting.  This will allow me to fill in even more soil and compost as a growing medium for the plants and pretty much negates the poor quality, resident soil that I started with.  Once finished, the bed will have depth of at least 15 inches of quality soil to plant in - no rocks, no clay.  I plan to take the third, remaining frame and cut it apart.  I will use the pieces to hold the stacked frames together.

Not having to spend time on the garden today means that I have more time to do other things.  Of course, the weather also rules out taking Ginger for anything other than a utility walk.  My plan is to put in a couple of sessions of exercise.  I don't really want to do one longer workout, so I will probably do two, half-hour sessions. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Everybody (or Every Body) Hurts Sometimes

Day 5 began with me feeling the worst that I have since beginning the master cleanse.  The lyrics of R.E.M.'s song, Everybody Hurts, might be a bit over the top compared to how I was feeling this morning, though.  The song talks more of an emotional hurt that brings on thoughts of ending your life but encourages you to 'hold on.'  Besides, it is not The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

The pain I felt this morning was centered right in my abdomen.  I can only guess that people on the cleanse that feel this pain might very well consider stopping before the 10 days have lapsed, but it really wasn't bad enough for me to consider it.  Besides, I know exactly what caused it.  While on the master cleanse it is recommended that you use a laxative herbal tea to help get things moving.  The lack of solid food causes the intestines to take a break - peristalsis kind of stalls - because there is not much going on.  Unfortunately, your intestines have grown used to the built up wastes and no longer consider the need to evacuate it.  The master cleanse is designed to do that very thing, though.  Using a laxative of any sort - herbal or otherwise - essentially irritates the intestines.  It causes peristalsis to occur and encourages the built up wastes to move.
Not being a tea drinker, I opted to use a laxative in the form of a capsule.  Senna is one of the most common herbal laxatives on the market.  It is sold as a tea, capsule, and even as a syrup.  Tea is recommended so as to avoid any additional ingredients such as binders (tablet) or cellulose (capsule) but, as long as those are minimal, the alternatives are better than nothing.
I had previously used three capsules of the senna but it didn't really have much of an effect (the brand that I purchased recommended 2-4 capsules, once or twice a day) so I upped the dosage to 4 capsules last night.  This dose was certainly more effective but it accounts for the pain that I was feeling.  The only downside - if it really is a downside - is that I didn't do the salt water flush this morning.  The flush would certainly help clear out the wastes that the laxative-induced peristalsis freed up, but I just didn't think that I would be able to ingest that much water with the pain that I was feeling.  According to Tom Woloshyn's book, The Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing the Benefits of The Lemonade Diet, the salt water flush need not be done everyday during the cleanse.