Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's been (over) 'One Week'...

...since my last blog post.  While the title sounds like someone heading to a confessional, it is also represents the title of the song, One Week.

For the last ten days, there really hasn't been anything of note to talk about.  I am still following The Maker's Diet but I still haven't gotten back to using the Wii Fit Plus or even checked my weight loss progress.  This is not to say that I haven't been physically active, however.

 Today is the second day in what is supposed to be a three day deluge.  While the rain isn't torrential, it hasn't let up for in the last 36 hours and it is supposed to continue through tomorrow.  The brook out back has swollen considerably.  Most of the rivers and streams are at or beyond flood levels due to all of the rain we had last week and this current rain is only exacerbating the issue.  As of 4 AM today (according to the National Weather Service), the Connecticut River has risen 8.4 above normal.  Flood stage is at 8 feet.  They also expect the river to crest at 13 feet on Thursday due to the course of the storm.  Fortunately for us, we are not at any risk of flooding.  One positive result from all this rain is that the plants and trees have really started to bud.  Things are really starting to turn green again - except for the forsythia bushes which are now a vibrant yellow!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring Day!

Today is the first day of spring and it is absolutely amazing weather!

It is also my birthday, today.  I had set a goal for myself to be down to 250 lbs. though my nutrition plan is not focused on weight loss.  Since I have started on The Maker's Diet, I have been losing weight at a fairly regular pace.  I figured that I might as well set a goal for myself.  When I set the goal, 250 lbs. seemed like a reachable goal, though not too simple.
Well, I haven't weighed myself yet.  I honestly don't think that I have made it to that goal and I don't really care that much.  I suppose that if weight loss were my primary reason for following the diet, I would be a little more anxious about it.  Depending on how the day unfolds - if I have the time - I may get around to weighing myself to see how close I came to my goal.

It has been a busy day, already.  This morning, I made French Toast again.  I used the Ezekiel 4:9 bread for mine, but for everyone else I bought a loaf of Texas Toast at Trader Joe's yesterday.  I think my cast iron skillet is finally seasoned properly.  I had no issues with the egg sticking to it at all.
After breakfast, we drove down to Deerfield Farm to buy some more milk.  On the way back, I went into It's Only Natural.  I have been wanting to pick up a mortar and pestle so that I can grind my own spices and It's Only Natural has a decent selection to choose from.  I also picked up a few other things - like Ezekiel 4:9 cinnamon raisin cereal! (This link is to the almond variety, but they don't seem to have the cinnamon raisin on their website)  I am looking forward to trying this cereal out.  It is a little pricey ($4.99 per box at I.O.N.) so I am sure that I will be using it only sparingly.  It will be nice to have something to eat that is easily and quickly prepared (get bowl, pour cereal, add milk, eat!) - not to mention easy clean-up - when I just don't have the motivation to cook a meal.

After arriving home, I washed my newly acquired mortar and pestle and started preparing some Crispy Almonds.  The almonds need to soak in filtered water and sea salt for 12 hours before being transferred to my food dehydrator.  I liked the way they tasted when I added granulated garlic to the soaking solution, so I did that again.

For lunch - not being terribly hungry - I ate a RAW Revolution Coconut and Agave bar and an apple.  Stop & Shop has three varieties of the RAW Revolution bars and they put them on sale for 3/$4.00.  I figured I would at least give it a try.  It was good, but it is not something that I will be eating too often (if at all).  I really like what they have to say about food, though.  From their website: "Raw, living foods are clean, and have higher nutrient content than cooked food. Processed foods such as protein isolates and grain based fillers are acidic and cause fermentation in the body. Raw Organic foods are closest to their natural state, bringing us closer to healing ourselves and the global ecology."  The bars are gluten free, vegan, wheat free, corn free, soy free, as well as being trans-fat, cholesterol and refined sugar free.  Personally, I am not concerned with gluten or cholesterol.  I have long been of the belief that dietary cholesterol is not the villain that it has been made out to be and while many people have issues with wheat gluten, I do not.  I also think that issues with gluten and lactose are more a result of the processing flour and milk undergo than any sort of inherent allergy - but that is a soapbox for a different day.

As I write this entry, I am sitting outside in the late-afternoon sun typing on my laptop.  My kids are playing with the neighbors, my wife is reading a book, and our dog is alternating between trying to make sure that she knows where everybody is and curling up at my feet.  The mail arrived a while ago and included were the tickets I bought to the New Britain Rock Cats games for the family as a Christmas present.  My older daughter announced that - in celebration of MY birthday - she is buying pizza dinner for the family (so I can't eat the pizza, but the thought is there).

All in all, a pretty good day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life is just a candle, and a dream must give it flame.

The title of this post is from a song by Rush from their Caress of Steel album, The Fountains of Lamneth.  This is definitely a thought-provoking line.

Well, the weather has returned to being amazing after several cold, overcast, rainy days.  The girls are all busy with their homeschool co-op today, so I decided to capitalize on the weather and take Ginger for a walk on the trail.  I did the now-usual walk to the bridge and turned around to come home.  For some reason, Ginger was really anxious and pretty much tried to pull me home once we started to head back.  I really hope that by taking her out for walks we can both benefit - me by getting the much needed physical activity and her by growing accustomed to the walks and not being so anxious all the time.

I haven't used the Wii Fit Plus for almost a week, now.  This is partially due to a lack of motivation to do so but it is more due to the fact that I just haven't had much of an opportunity over the last week.  The girls had a 4H event on Saturday and that took the whole day.  Additionally, I just wasn't feeling too great which is probably what led to my lack of motivation.

We need to go grocery shopping soon.  I am running low on milk and I am out of yogurt among other things.  So, today for dinner I made French Toast!  You know what is really odd about French Toast?  It is neither French nor toast.  Bread dipped in egg and fried in a skillet.  For my French Toast, I used Ezekiel 4:9 bread and cage free eggs along with a little 100% pure organic maple syrup.  I used 2 slices of bread instead of only one.  Finding the cheaper price on it at Trader Joe's makes it a little easier to use more than one slice, though I am still trying to keep to an average of 1 per day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three in a row...

For the third day in a row, I have been able to take a fairly extended walk.  Today was a  major test of my endurance.  I went for a walk with Ginger that took me a little under an hour.  I would have gone longer, but Ginger spooked and yanked her leash out of my hand.  She didn't run far - she actually came right back to me - but I didn't want to continue walking if she was stressed out so I turned back.  When I returned home, I was somewhat surprised at the energy that I still had.  I decided to make another attempt at learning T'ai Chi.  I worked on learning the first six positions for a while before taking a break.

After a short break, I popped in the Wii Fit Plus and spent some time using that.  The Wii Fit Plus allows you to set a calorie burn goal and keeps a running tab of the calories you burn doing the various activities.  Whether it is accurate or not, I don't really know.  It does provide a decent goal, however.  I have set my goal at 455 calories burned.  This can take me up to 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on what activities I do.  The boxing 'game' seems to be the most efficient (most calories burned per minute) - which makes sense given that it involves both upper and lower body.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A 'spring' in my step...

Spring has not yet officially begun though it is literally right around the corner - only 11 days until the first day of spring.  Major League Baseball has begun spring training with the Boston Red Sox with a record of 5 wins and 2 losses.  More importantly, the weather has been absolutely amazing  for the last several days and for 3 of the last 5 days I have gone for walks approaching (if not exceeding) 2.5 miles.  I haven't used the Wii Fit Plus since Friday but I intend to spend some time with that tomorrow.  If the weather holds, I will likely take another walk tomorrow as well.

I have been starting every day with VIDACELL, one capsule of Primal Defense Ultra, one capsule of Omega-Zyme Ultra, and a breakfast of two cage free eggs with a slice of Ezekiel 4:9 bread.  Today, knowing that I was going to go for a walk, I decided to have a yogurt smoothie for lunch.  I didn't want to have anything too heavy that would slow me down or cause me to cramp up on the walk.  Today for my smoothie, I used frozen, organic raspberries and blueberries that we bought at Trader Joe's.  I was amazed at the difference in flavor compared to the Stop & Shop brand that I had been using.  As well, I added the usual flax seeds but this time I included a packet of VIDACELL.  I have occasionally taken an extra serving of VIDACELL in the past, but not too often.  Because I am a distributor of VIDACELL, I earned a enough 'life points' to redeem for a free box.  My free box arrived the other day giving me a little freedom to boost my intake and hopefully speed healing.

VIDACELL has been a wonderful benefit for me for the last year and a half.  I really don't know where I would be physically without it.  According to GreatLife International, "VIDACELL is an all natural functional food that provides your body's cells with vital and essential nutrients they can use to fight the "cellular aging process" and promote better health."  By helping the body to regenerate healthy cells, VIDACELL helps us to heal.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Papaya pepper!

Today I am making papaya pepper.  It is a simple recipe that I got from the book Nourishing Traditions using the seeds of a papaya.  Well, the recipe itself is simple, but the preparation is a bit tedious.  Properly prepared, the papaya seeds can be used similarly to black pepper - in fact, the seeds even resemble peppercorns in appearance.

Papaya seeds have numerous health benefits.  According to Eat This!, the benefits include:
  • Antibacterial Properties - Research has found that papaya seeds are effective against E. coli, Salmonella, and Staph infections. 
  • Kidney Protection - Research has found that papaya seed extract may protect the kidneys from toxin-induced kidney failure. 
  • Eliminate Intestinal Parasites - There is evidence that papaya seeds eradicate intestinal parasites. In a study done on Nigerian children with intestinal parasites, 76.7% of the children were parasite-free after seven days of treatment with papaya seeds compared to only 16.7% of the children who received a placebo. 
  • Liver Detoxifier - In Chinese medicine, it is believed that a teaspoon of papaya seeds will help detoxify the liver. Papaya seeds are often recommended by natural doctors in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver.
 The seeds are prepared similarly to other nuts and seeds in that you need to soak them for a period of time followed by drying them in an oven (though I intend to use my food dehydrator for this).  The tedious part comes from the fact that the individual seeds are encased in a sort of pulp that needs to be removed prior to soaking.  I am sure that this could be done with some sort of mechanical process, but I ended up pinching each seed to 'pop' the pulp and remove it.  It took me about an hour for that process.  As I write this entry, the seeds are soaking in filtered water.  Later today, I will transfer them to the dehydrator to dry them out.  The seeds can then be used/eaten as is or ground to be used as a pepper substitute - not that there is anything wrong with pepper.  Supposedly, papaya seeds also make an excellent meat tenderizer.

I recently returned the copy of Nourishing Traditions that I had borrowed from the library.  I was planning on buying my own copy, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet - partially due to the cost.  Yesterday however, I obtained amazon.com's Kindle for PC.  This software, available for free at amazon.com and allows you to read the Kindle version of books on your PC.  Amazon.com also sells Nourishing Traditions in a Kindle version for only $9.99.  The price combined with the instant 'delivery' made the decision to buy the book a lot easier.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I took the dog for a walk!

OK, so the title of this post is not terribly awe-inspiring or exciting for the most part.  For me, however, it is quite a milestone.  It was such a beautiful day today that I decided to see how far I could push myself by taking Ginger for a walk.  We have a really nice walking/bicycle trail right near our home, so I figured that I would take advantage of that.  I don't do too well walking up and down hills and the trail is rather flat.  After spending some time using the Wii Fit Plus, it was time to head out for the walk.  As the trail does not allow motorized vehicles, I don't have any way to measure how far I really walked.  The trail eventually follows a small river and passes underneath a bridge.  Shortly after passing under the bridge I decided to turn around and head home.  By the time I got home, I was exhausted.  Had I not turned around when I did, I might have had trouble getting all the way home.

Using MapQuest, I plugged in some landmarks and got a driving distance close to where I ended up turning around.  The trail meanders a bit more than the roads do so I can only estimate that I walked about 2.5 miles round trip.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Got Milk?

Well, I do now.  We just made another run down to Deerfield Farm in Durham.  I was down to my last glass of milk and one more serving of yogurt until moments ago.  I was a little bothered to find out that Deerfield Farm has raised their prices.  Now, instead of $6.75 the milk is $7.50 per gallon.  It is a little painful, but the more I read about milk the more I am convinced that I need to be drinking raw milk rather than pasteurized/homogenized milk.  It is definitely worth the expense.

As I was prepared to pay $6.75 each for two gallons of milk - I had a $10.00 and four $1.00 bills - I had to make an adjustment.  As I also had a $20.00 bill, I ended up buying a container of yogurt ($4.50) in addition to the milk.  Deerfield Farm works on the honor system with a lock box in the store for customers to leave payment for their products.
My options were to:
  • Buy 1 gallon for $7.50 and a 1/2 gallon for $4.00 and paying $12.00
  • Buy the intended 2 gallons for $15.00 and paying $20.00
  • Buy 2 and 1/2 gallons for $19.00 and paying $20.00
  • Buy 2 gallons and 1 quart of plain yogurt for $19.50 and paying $20.00
I opted for the 4th choice.  Even though their yogurt is pasteurized, there are no additives at all.  It will work nicely as a starter for my own homemade, unpasteurized yogurt.

Raw milk v. pasteurized/homogenized milk is a considerable debate.  Raw milk is not sold legally in many states.  Fortunately for me, Connecticut is not one of those states.
I encourage you to check out the following links for more information concerning raw milk:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A new goal.

I began following The Maker's Diet on January 8th and while weight loss has not been my primary focus I have been losing quite a bit.  As reported in my previous entry, I have lost more than 30 pounds since January 1st - actually, as of today I have lost a total of 36 pounds.  As March 1st approached, I began toying with the idea of setting a new goal for myself.  My birthday falls on March 20th - the first day of Spring! - so I was thinking that I might like to set a specific weight loss goal for that day and essentially give myself a present.

As a result, I decided to set a goal of 250 pounds by March 20th.  That gives me 17 days from today to lose 10 pounds.  Given my current trend, it really should be a reachable goal.

I haven't really even considered what my ultimate weight goal will be.  Before I started experiencing symptoms, I had weighed 205 and was in the best shape of my life.  The Wii Fit Plus tells me that my ideal weight is 174 pounds putting me at a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 22.3.  BMI is a measure of weight as compared to height.  A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered to be the 'normal' range.  I cannot imagine weighing only 174 pounds!  I would be pleased to get down to 200 pounds - a BMI of 25.7.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Egg fast redux

Today began a second cycle of my egg fast.  One beneficial aspect of this plan is the fact that it is a plan.  I really like the fact that I know exactly what I will be eating while I am following the program and that all of the food I am eating is on the recommended list for The Maker's Diet.  I am hoping that the ease of following this plan will help me to develop the habit of planning meals ahead of time - at least, more than a day or so in advance.

I started the day with daily serving of VIDACELL.  For breakfast, I ate two cage free eggs scrambled and seasoned with a little sea salt and black pepper along with 1 slice of Ezekiel 4:9 bread and a glass of water.  For supplements I took one capsule of Primal Defense Ultra prior to taking my VIDACELL and one capsule of Omega-Zyme Ultra with breakfast.

Following breakfast, I started in on a new book, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.  I purchased the book the other day in anticipation of finishing The Gathering Storm.  I read about four chapters prior to dozing off.  While dozing off while reading could be taken as a not-so-good review of the book, this is not the case.  I like the book so far.  I just tend to doze off a lot.

Upon waking from my nap, I decided to get in some exercise using my Wii Fit Plus.  I posted about 1 hour and 15 minutes of activity.  This is getting easier and easier for me to handle.  Not too many months ago, I would have been struggling to make it even 30 minutes.  After my exercise, I decided to do the Wii Fit Plus body test.  The test consists of being weighed while being monitored for balance and posture.  The systems senses whether you lean to the left or right or are well balanced.  It also tracks how much you move - little shifts in your position - while being weighed.  After that, you are presented with your BMI (body mass index) and your weight along with your center of gravity.  You are then able to choose whether to continue with the test or not.  Continuing will present you with two random tests designed to measure different aspects ranging from balance to memory.  Upon completion of these two test you will be presented with your Wii Fit Age - the better that your score on the tests combined with other factors will dictate what you Wii Fit Age is.
I don't put a lot of stock in the Wii Fit Age as I have gotten results as low as 24 and as high as 52.  Today, my Wii Fit Age came in at 36.
With today's weigh in, I have lost 33 pounds since January 1st and 10 pounds towards my Pound for Pound Challenge pledge (I made the 50 pound pledge on February 1st).  While I am not really focusing on my weight loss, this is at least one quantifiable measurement and the fact is that I really do need to lose some weight.

Lunchtime followed the exercise and consisted of an omelet (two cage fee eggs, onions, one slice of Swiss cheese) and an apple.  Again, one capsule of Primal Defense Ultra prior to lunch and one capsule of Omega-Zyme Ultra with lunch.

For dinner, I had a yogurt smoothie.  I used about 8 oz. of my homemade yogurt, 1/2 cup of frozen organic raspberries, 1 Tbsp. raw honey, 1 Tbsp. flax seeds, 6 oz. of raw whole milk, and 2 oz. of whey (from my cheese making).