Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Won't Back Down

Sorry for the seemingly combative title, but it works.  The song, of course is by Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down.  The reason that it works for this entry?  Well, I have decided to begin following the master cleanse for the next 10 - 14 days and I am setting my mind to the task.  I have been reading up on the process and the benefits for quite some time, and the timing just seems right to start the fast tomorrow.

Essentially, the master cleanse calls for you to drink a mixture of freshly squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.  In addition, it is recommended to drink a cup of senna tea each night for the laxative properties and as much purified water as desired.  I have never been a big fan of tea, so I will be skipping that part.  I will also be modifying the fast by adding my daily dose of VIDACELL, raw honey, and cinnamon in the morning.  I don't really know what sort of impact this will have on the overall benefits of the cleanse, but I am willing to find out.

My plan is to keep a daily log during the next 10 days of the fast and the following four days while I slowly resume my regular diet.  Depending on how things go, I will likely be posting at least one entry per day on this blog.  So, if you are interested in my progress, be sure to check back!

To start off right, I had a simple dinner of plain, whole milk yogurt mixed with some berries and cherries with a glass of water.  As well, I weighed myself to see if there is any weight loss benefit.  As of a few moments ago, I weighed in at 237 pounds.  This is considerably less than the almost 300 pounds that I weighed at the beginning of the year, but still has quite a bit of room for improvement.  Tonight, while I will not be drinking any tea, I will be using a psyllium seed husk drink mix in place of it.  Hopefully it will have a similar effect to the tea.

This past week has been another eventful and exhausting one...  In my last post, Take It To the Limit, I talked about our adventure to the NY Renaissance Faire and about my work on preparing the garden for next year.  Well, this week was almost a carbon copy!  Instead of the NY Ren Faire, we went to the CT Ren Faire on Saturday - much closer to home.  The girls didn't feel like going in costume, but I did.  We got another chance to see one of our favorite performers, Jayna Lee.  She does an amazing aerial acrobatics (how's that for alliteration?) performance.

Yesterday found me in the garden once again.  My intent was to sift some more of the soil back into what will eventually be a raised bed.  While I was out there, my neighbor came out and suggested that I claim the compost bin that was left behind by another neighbor several years ago.  She and I went down the hill into the woods where Jim had installed the bin.  He had it wedged in pretty well and it was about half full of wonderfully composted soil, so it took a bit of effort for us to move it.  We scooped out and distributed the soil to some of the plants we have growing out back as well as into my raised bed.  After that, it was simple to move the bin out of its spot and up into the area that I had already established as my compost pile.
In addition to recovering the compost bin, we also discovered some really nice flagstones that were essentially discarded down the hill.  It took some effort, but we also moved those from their resting place to the spot just outside my door.  I didn't spend too much time nestling them into a nice, level spot, but I plan to revisit that project.  I will probably have to get some gravel to really do the job right, though.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Take It To The Limit

One thing about recovery, whether it be from an accident, surgery, or disease, is that you need to constantly - but within reason - push the limits of your abilities.  Really, you have two paths that you can choose to follow.  On one side, you have the path of least resistance.  Following this path means that you accept your limitations and essentially give up the fight.  On the other side, you have the path to recovery.  This path is much more tiring to follow.  It entails physical activity - using your body in a way that will take it to the limit of your endurance (and, of course, the title of this post refers to the song from the Eagles, Take It To The Limit).

This week has been a relatively busy one, but today I pretty much ran into a brick wall.  Let me recap a bit...
  • Last Wednesday, I took Ginger for a fairly substantial walk.  I already talked about that in my last post, so I won't repeat myself here except to mention it as the beginning of this recent flurry of activity.
  • Thursday morning marked the first of ten weekly sessions at the YMCA for myself and the girls.  We have a group of homeschooling families that have secured one hour of pool time at the Y.  I didn't swim last week but I went with the girls to let them have some fun in the pool.  I will be swimming with them tomorrow, though!
  • On Friday, we hopped in the car and drove to New Jersey - just over the NY border.  We stayed the night in a hotel so we could be up and out to a Renaissance fair on Saturday.  After we arrived at our hotel, we unpacked, unwound, and hopped back into the car to head to the Palisades Center Mall.  This mall is huge at four stories tall.  Normally, we would visit the food court for a meal, but this year we packed food, so this was merely a shopping/walking visit.  We spent about 2 hours walking the mall until finally heading back to the hotel.
  • Saturday was spent at the NY Renaissance Faire.  This meant a lot more walking for me.  I fortunately had the insight to buy a pair of gel insoles for my boots!  I have a really nice pair of Minnetonka moccasin boots that I wear as part of my ren faire garb.  The only down side is that, even though these have a harder sole than your average moccasin, I still feel every little rock that I step on.  For my feet with the constant pins and needles I feel, it can be unbearable.  The insoles made all the difference!
  • Sunday really was a day of rest!  I was beat!  Even with the insoles, my feet were protesting any sort of real activity.  We did, however, go grocery shopping.  So I still got some walking in.
  • Monday found us with Ginger at the dog park in the neighboring town to let her get some quality, outdoor, off-leash time.  The park is set back in the woods.  It isn't much of a walk to get to, but it still takes a little effort.  There were several dogs and their people at the park and Ginger had a blast!  As well, we took a trip to Lyman's Orchards to pick some more apples.  We came home with about 10 pounds of apples - gala, empire, and Cortland.  We were just going to buy some apples at the grocery store, but would have only gotten about 10 apples for $11.00!  We go through at least 12 apples per week, so that wasn't working for us.  At Lyman's we saved $0.59 per pound off of the grocery store price and we got to pick them ourselves.  On top of that, the individual apples are smaller so portion control is a lot better.
  • Tuesday was another relatively uneventful day.  Phew!
Today, the girls are all off at the homeschool co-op, so I once again have the day to myself.  I didn't sleep well last night, so the morning found me dozing off quite a bit after they left.  Around noon, I decided that it was time to do something!
We have a small garden out back that has been rather unfruitful this year.  The soil is just awful - mostly a rocky clay - but we have had varying degrees of success.  Tomato plants usually do quite well but even they struggled this year.  I was able to harvest my two whole peppers, though, so that's at least something.
My goal for today was to prepare a small, raised bed for next year's planting.  I had made three frames a couple of years ago for the same purpose, but we didn't implement it well and decided not to use them this year.  As a result, I have been using one of the frames to contain my compost pile - which is doing quite nicely.  I read up on using raised beds for vegetable gardens, and I really wanted to give it another shot.  So...out I went with shovel and cultivator in hand to prepare a raised bed.
I started loosening up the soil and clearing it of weeds and rocks.  Somehow, no matter how well you clear out the rocks, they always seem to work their way back in to the garden!  After clearing a sufficient space for the frame - about 2' by 3' - I started to dig down about 6 inches, moving the soil into a pile.  I continued to encounter some really big rocks!  After placing the frame around my newly dug hole, I needed to level do a little more excavation so that the hole was as big as the frame.  I then lined the bottom of the hole with a weed barrier.  Raised bed farming is not supposed to require a weed barrier due to the fact that the plants are placed in such a way as to limit weed growth.  I figured that it couldn't hurt, though.  We had purchased a weed barrier made from recycled materials and is even eco-friendly.  Next came the refilling of the hole.  Along with the frames, I had also built a sifting frame.  This is simply a frame of 2x4's with a screen attached to sift smaller rocks out of the soil.  Setting the frame in the hole, I scooped a couple of shovels of dirt into it and sifted the soil right into the hole.  This meant a lot of bending and lifting for me and it is where I reached my limit of physical activity.  After about 8 or 10 rounds of shoveling and sifting, I was about done.  I began feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous after each round - each 'round' consisting of: shoveling dirt into the frame, bending to lift the frame but keeping it close to the ground, shaking the frame to sift the soil, and finally standing and dumping the rocks out.  I continued to sift more soil until the weed barrier was completely covered but not even close to filling the hole back up.  It didn't matter, though...I had nothing left.  One more round of sifting probably would have done me in.

I plan to revisit my currently-sunken raised bed within the next couple of days.  I really want to get the dirt that I removed from the hole sifted and returned to it soon.  I also need to establish a second compost pile so I can let the current one finish decomposing so that I can add the compost to the planting bed.  If I keep adding to it, it will never be ready for use.  I will eventually add more soil and compost to fill the hole and the frame thus creating the 'raised' bed.  This will result in depth of about 12 inches of sifted soil/compost for the plants to grow in.  Hopefully that will give them adequate space for the roots and will result in a much better harvest than we had this year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today Was Just What I Needed.

Sorry, yesterday's mention of The Cars just made me want to do it again, but the title really does fit.  Today really was just what I needed.  Nutritionally, physically, and even spiritually, today was amazing!

Greenspring, the new name for the homeschool co-op that we are a part of started today.  Well, it actually started yesterday, but the girls didn't end up taking any classes on Tuesday.  So, with them gone all day, I had the house to myself.

My morning pretty much ended up the same as it normally is.  Breakfast - after my regular, daily VidaCell - consisted of two free range eggs fried in my cast iron skillet, 1 slice of Ezekiel bread (the sesame variety), and a banana.  After breakfast, I did some surfing on the internet.

I recently joined a social network similar to facebook but with a twist.  SideTick is really new, so it isn't quite as deep in what it offers when compared to facebook.  It does have chat, blogs, picture albums, video links, and other common features.  One thing that it does have that facebook doesn't offer is your own, personal, video channel.  It will interact with your webcam allowing you to run a personal TV station.
Further, SideTick also rewards you with 'tickbucks' for all of your unique actions each day (up to 1,000 per day).  There are other ways to earn more tickbucks, as well, over and above the 1,000 earned for actions.  One way is through referring new members.  For each new member that joins SideTick through your invitation, you earn 2,000 tickbucks.  Here's the kicker... each 2,000 tickbucks earned converts into $1.00.  Yup, you can earn money to be social.

If you are interested in checking out SideTick, I invite you to click the banner on the right.

After surfing, I cleaned up from breakfast and took the pepitas out of the dehydrator and replaced them with the almonds.  Almonds take longer to dry, so they won't be done until some time tomorrow.

On the last trip to Deerfield Farm, I picked up a package of two veal chops.  Deerfield Farm, in addition to offering their own raw milk, cheese, and other products also provides space in their store to two other farms that I am aware of.  One of the farms sells free range eggs through the store and the other sells grass fed veal.  The veal is neatly packaged, frozen, and marked with the type of cut (cutlet, chop, kidney, etc.) and price.
Well, I decided that I wanted to cook the veal today so I took it out of the freezer to thaw.

Next, it was time to take Ginger for a walk.  We headed out the door and began to walk on the glorified sidewalk that runs along West Lake Blvd.  Instead of heading toward the bike trail that leads through the woods, I went the other way.  She was really anxious about the cars, so after a short walk we turned around.  I wasn't ready to go home so I kept on walking past our street and went on to the bike trail after all.  Rather than taking the trail all the way to the bridge, however, I decided to veer off into the woods.  Years ago, before they paved the trail, we had discovered a foot path that wended its way through the woods, past a swamp, and eventually back to the road.  I decided that this would be the route that Ginger and I would take today.  After getting out of sight of the paved trail, I let Ginger off-leash.  She doesn't get much of a chance to roam free and I wasn't sure how long she was going to be able to handle it.  I was a bit concerned that she might decide to chase a squirrel or rabbit and not come back to me.
She handled it so well that we made it off-leash until we started to approach the road again.  We got home after about an hour of walking and she immediately claimed a spot on the floor and promptly fell asleep!

At this point the veal was thawed out enough for me to put it into a marinade.  Last week, Tatyana and I made another batch of mojo de ajo so I decided to use that as the base of the marinade - a little mojo de ajo, a little balsamic vinegar, some sea salt, and some papaya pepper.

After the walk, my feet were really sore and I was a bit sweaty, so I decided to soak my feet in the tub before taking a shower.  Some warm water, epsom salt, and Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap made for an amazing foot soak.

Next came some reading time.  Currently, I am reading Deepak Chopra's Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul.  I'd give you a review, but I really haven't gotten all that far into it yet.  Reading pretty much filled the time until everyone else came home.

Time to cook dinner.  I lit up the grill and got out the food processor.  I needed to do something with the eggplant that came home from the library garden before it rotted on me.  First, I prepared a baking dish by spreading a little mojo de ajo into the bottom of the dish.  I used the food processor to slice the eggplant thinly.  I put down a layer of the eggplant in the dish.  On top of that I spread some sliced zucchini and some tomato sauce.  I then repeated the pattern of eggplant, zucchini, and tomato sauce.  Next came some Parmesan cheese followed by a final layer of eggplant and tomato sauce.  Into the preheated oven (400 degrees) it went for 15 minutes.  The veal went onto the grill shortly after that so that it was ready to turn when the timer went off.  At this point, I added some shredded cheese to the top of the eggplant dish and let it finish off for another 5 minutes - just in time to pull the veal chops off the grill.
OH MY GOSH!!!  Everything tasted absolutely amazing!  ..and I am not even a particularly big fan of eggplant!

A great day that was indeed just what I needed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My New Favorite Candy, Oh!

The Cars were a great band that came out of Boston.  Their second album Candy-O - and the title song - is one that carries a lot of great memories for me.  It is definitely part of the soundtrack of my life.

A while back, I posted an entry about Papaya Pepper.  I had taken the seeds from a fresh papaya, soaked them, dried them, and ground them into a substance that looks just like pepper.  If you haven't already, I invite you to read that original post.

Not too long ago, I discovered my new favorite 'candy.'  While it isn't truly candy at all, I really like chewing on some dehydrated papaya.  Today, I took a trip to I.O.N..  As we are planning to spend Friday night and Saturday away from home, I wanted to get some things that were easily packed as snacks but also healthy.  I bought some raw pumpkin seeds (currently soaking in filtered water, sea salt, and dried, ground pepper from our garden) to make pepitas, some raw almonds (will be soaking while the pepitas are drying tomorrow), some newly discovered Organic Stadium-Style Hot Dogs (more on these later!), and some dried papaya.

Raw, hulled pumpkin seeds soaking.
Bagged, dried papaya.
I.O.N. also operates a restaurant, so I am not sure if they prepare this papaya themselves - I keep forgetting to ask - but it is packaged like something you would buy at a deli - no frills, no fancy label.  Unlike most dried fruit, it is not coated with sugar and has not been treated with sulfur.  It is just dried papaya cut into nice serving size pieces.  Because it still has a significant quantity of endogenous sugar, I really do treat this as a candy-type treat by limiting my consumption of it.  Sulfur - specifically the ion, sulfite - is used as a preservative in dried fruits.
According to WebMD:
Sulfites are a group of sulfur-based compounds that may occur naturally or may be added to food as an enhancer and preservative. The FDA estimates that one out of 100 people is sensitive to the compounds. A person can develop sensitivity to sulfites at any time in life, and the cause of sensitivity is unknown. For a person who is sensitive to sulfites, a reaction can be mild or life threatening.
...definitely something best avoided.

What I wasn't expecting to buy was the package of hot dogs.  I happened to be looking through the freezer section to see if there was anything that might be suitable for The Maker's Diet when I saw these.  The term 'Organic' jumped out at me causing me to take a closer look.  What sold me, however, was the fact that these hot dogs are made from 100% grass fed and finished beef!  The only concern that I have is with the casing.  Neither the package nor the website indicate that there even is a casing.  I just want to be sure that these are not made in a pork casing.  The hot dogs are sold by Applegate Farms.  There are two similar hot dogs listed on their website - the Organic Stadium-Style Hot Dogs (that I bought) and the Great Organic Hot Dog.  Both of these are made from grass fed/finished beef.  Neither product description mentions the casing.  On the product page for the latter, there is a link to a New York Times article.  The article talks about a cellulose casing that is removed prior to packaging.  My only question is if this applies to both products.  The article also has a sidebar that talks about cooking hot dogs that don't have a casing.  The only reason that I am confused is that one of the reviews on the former product's page mentions the casing.  I have sent an email to Applegate Farms with my question, so hopefully I will know soon.  If they turn out to have a pork casing, well, I will probably eat them anyway but I won't buy them again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Givin' the Dog a (Bath)

Today was quite the busy day!  The weather was (and still is) amazing and we had already planned on going letterboxing today.  Last night, the girls had a friend sleep over (so none of us got a whole lot of sleep!) and we had her accompany us on today's letterboxing trek.  After the usual morning routine (wake, walk dog, VidaCell, deep breathing, quiet time), I made myself some breakfast of two free range eggs, 1 slice of Ezekiel bread, and a banana.

Shortly after everyone had eaten breakfast, we headed off on our trek.  Of course, we took Ginger - our dog - along with us, too.
"Did someone say 'Ride?'"
Our destination was not too far from home - Smith Park in Middletown.  While I am not sure of the significance, the letterboxer - dubbed 'chthiker' - that placed the three boxes along the trail had the theme of 'building a concrete mixer' for the boxes.  As you walk the trail and find the three boxes, the stamps all work together to create a picture of a cement truck. 
It was a fairly short walk, but it was a really nice trail that led around a small pond.  While we were on the trail - well away from the park - we let Ginger off-leash.  The girls, my daughters and their friend - ran ahead of my wife and I.  Ginger had a blast running at top speed between both groups.  At one point, there was a small side trail that led directly to the pond (that was really green due to the overgrowth of plants - fortunately not algae).  The girls got to the edge of the pond first with Ginger racing along behind them.  Well...not being able to detect the edge of the pond, Ginger ran full speed into it!  SPLASH!  She immediately did an about-face and got back on the land.  It was too funny!  Thankfully, we hadn't yet made it to the third box at this point, so she had some time to dry off before we were ready to head home.  We also let the girls spend a little time on the playground in the park after we finished our trek.  When we got home, it was time to give Ginger a bath (hence the title - my homage to AC/DC's Givin' the Dog a Bone).  She absolutely hates it, but even before today's dunk in the pond she was in need of one.

Not wanting to end our outside adventures, we decided to head to Lyman's Orchard and do some apple picking (and whatever fruit we might be able to pick).  Lyman's is a wonderful place to go to spend a few hours or more.  They have a corn maze to navigate, the Apple Barrel store where they sell all of the fruit they grow (for those not wanting to pick their own) among other things, a golf course, and quite a few pick-your-own groves.  Our target was apples but pears, pumpkins, and peaches were also able to be picked.  We spent some time picking gala and ginger gold apples.  The raspberry patch was right near where we were picking apples, so we diverted through there on the way to pay for our apples.  No luck, was really picked over.  Victoria wanted to find some pears, so we hopped in the car and headed to the pear grove.  Rae and I decided to let Victoria and Tatyana go on their own adventure, so we sat down on top of a hill with an absolutely amazing view while the girls went off pear hunting.  They came back empty handed, though.  Of the two varieties of pears available, they didn't like the taste of the 'brown pears' and they couldn't find any of the other ones.  I can only guess that the brown pears were bosc pears...  Our plan was then to go to the Apple Barrel and buy lunch at their deli.  The line was way to long, so we ended up getting a couple of things to snack on.  We all pretty much had our fill on apples, so we really weren't all that hungry anyway.  We took our 'lunch' to another park right near Lyman's and spent some time there before heading home.

Having mentioned Ginger, I wanted to share another VidaCell testimonial with you...

About a year ago, Ginger began favoring her back leg.  At times, she just didn't want to put any weight on it.  There was no real pattern to when she would and wouldn't do it, though.  We took her to the vet and had her checked out.  They told us that she had a luxating patella.  Essentially, this meant that her kneecap would pop out of the groove that it rode in.  While it didn't really cause any pain, it made it difficult for her knee to bend properly.  This is fairly common to small breeds - which she really isn't 'small' - and the only fix for it is surgery.  We obviously couldn't just shell out the $2,700 for the surgery and they told us that it wasn't really an emergency and that we could schedule it once we had the money.
I had already been adding Omega-3s to Ginger's food in the morning to help with any inflammation that she might have had.  After the diagnosis, I decided to try VidaCell with her, too.  I didn't use a whole packet for her as she only weighs 40 pounds.  Rather, I would just split the packet I was using with her.  I would sprinkle just a small amount on her food, moisten it,  and add the Omega-3.
After about a week or two, her limping became less pronounced.  Not too many weeks later, it completely went away.  We took her in for a follow-up visit with the vet.  He was amazed at her recovery.  Surgery was no longer required.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Light My Fire

Light My Fire is one of my favorite songs by The Doors.  Given the topic of my last post, can you guess what the link to the title of this post is?

I dehydrated some peppers overnight last night.  I also made some salsa (we went grocery shopping right after I wrote the post, so I got the needed ingredients).  The peppers were done drying this morning.  I pulled off the dried husks that remained of the stems and put the peppers one at a time into my mortar and ground them with the pestle.  After all was ground, I ended up with about 1 oz. (dry measure) of 'pepper powder.'  I only call it that because I can't remember the variety of peppers that I used...  I blended both types of pepper together as well.

I am still fasting to this point, so I haven't even tasted the salsa.  However, I wanted to see how hot the pepper powder was.  Tasting the pepper wouldn't break the fast so I simply ran my finger on the pestle that had some residue on it and gave it a lick.  Wow!  It was pleasingly hot but not overpowering.  I felt the heat from even a small taste but I didn't feel the need to guzzle a glass of water.

For the fast, I am mostly just drinking water but have had about 8 oz. of fresh squeezed orange juice -  squeezed 'em myself.  Of course, I also had my VidaCell this morning.  Since dinner on Tuesday night, the only 'solid' food that I have had was for dinner on Wednesday and that consisted of a yogurt smoothie.

Today, I will be breaking my fast around dinner time.  Oddly, I am not doing it because I am at all hungry.  I just don't want to take it too far.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

There And Back Again

Yes, I am aware that 'There And Back Again' is part of the title of J.R.R. Tolkien's book, The Hobbit.  It is also the title of a song by Daughtry - yes, that guy that got voted off of American Idol yet seems to have a better career than that year's winner.

Last night, I wrote about fasting.  Well, I decided that I would repeat my mini-fast today - hence, there and back again.  I think that I might have made a mistake with that choice.  Not a major mistake as I can simply choose to break my fast at any time, but the temptation to eat is a bit greater today.

Yesterday, the girls came home from the library with a bag full of freshly harvested vegetables and herbs.  Their group, Green Children, had planted a vegetable garden for one of their projects.  They harvested everything during yesterday's event.  We ended up with quite a lot of tomatoes, a couple of green bell peppers, some spicy peppers that I don't recall the name of, an eggplant, and a squash.  Additionally, we got some basil and some dill.  Victoria was still in the harvesting mood when they got home so she ran out back to our garden and harvested the two peppers that we managed to grow.

The long, green peppers on the left are from our home garden, the rest are from the Green Children garden.
Bottom tray with the basil and dill
Today, after my VidaCell and deep breathing, I got out the food dehydrator and set the basil, dill, and all of the peppers except the bell peppers to dry.  While I would have preferred to use the basil fresh in a recipe, I didn't have anything planned.  Rather than let it wilt and lose it entirely, I needed to dry it for storage.  The dill I will likely use to make pickles, but that won't happen in the immediate future.  As for the peppers, my plan for the ones I had planted was always to dry them and grind them for use in recipes.  I really wanted to plant them indoors to extend the growing season, but they ended up getting planted in the garden.
Second tray with the peppers

The basil and the dill dried out very quickly (as expected), so I simply removed the lower tray when it was done and left the peppers to continue drying.  To speed the process, I cut a slit into the peppers lengthwise.  I expect the peppers to go overnight before they are ready.
I plan to grind the dried pepper for use in guacamole, pepitas, and a lot of other recipes, so I was thrilled to get some of the Green Children harvest in addition to my own.  The plum tomatoes that came home will be made into salsa either today or tomorrow.  I need to get a couple more ingredients in order to make a good salsa, so it will have to wait until I can get to the store.

Anyway, as soon as I started to pick the basil leaves from the stem, the wonderful aroma began to fill the house.  It was only amplified when the dehydrator started doing its job.  If I can fight off the temptation to eat today after smelling that, I will be doing really well!  I think that this is when the spiritual aspect of fasting really comes into play.  Avoiding temptation through prayer is just one of the benefits.

Thanks to last night's post, I really looked further into the health benefits of fasting.  What I found influenced me to repeat my fast today.  I am really feeling great about the decision to fast, so I doubt that I will have a problem fighting temptation at this point.  As well, I am considering taking it a bit further.  One site that I read talked about a 'juice fast.'  Essentially, the juice fast relies solely on fresh juice from a variety of fruits and vegetables and the fast can span one day on up to 30 days.  The duration of the fast depends on the goals the faster has.  As I do not currently have a juicer, I am unable to follow this juice fast as described.  As well, I would continue to use my VidaCell daily, so it would not be a true juice fast.  At any rate, as I did with my self-designed egg fast, I plan to take some elements from the juice fast and work them into my nutrition regimen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Follow it Faithfully and Realize That You Can't Always Have It Any Way You Want It.

Phew, that's a long title!  I realized the other day that my blog named My Journey to Wellness that often has references to music (yeah, I know...every title lately has been music related) has not one single reference to the band Journey.  Sooo... I had to make up for it here.  The song title Faithfully actually fits in quite well with the concept of this blog - not the lyrics, though.  As well, the title Any Way You Want It definitely does not always describe the way things happen in life.  You know what though?  Just Don't Stop Believin' and things will tend to work out!  Of course, any change in lifestyle can definitely be a Trial By Fire.  OK, enough song references (for now), but I think that makes up for the previous lack of Journey songs.

I know what you are thinking...  You are thinking, "OK Greg, how are you going to tie all of those songs to this article?"  Well, I'll tell you...

Following The Maker's Diet means that I can't always have what I want the way that I want it.  As well, the diet is based on the Bible.  It calls strongly on faith in God.  I think - and I stress think - that the focus on faith and the Bible is one reason that The Maker's Diet has essentially been repackaged and marketed as the Guts and Glory Program in the book Restoring Your Digestive Health that is co-written by Jordan Rubin and Joseph Brasco.  This really is the same diet.  The difference is that the latter has almost no reference to prayer, faith, or God.  It is not completely devoid of God, but the focus is considerably different.  Mind you, I have not finished reading the book so if I find it to be different I will let you know.

Today was one of my several mini-fasts as recommended by The Maker's Diet (and by the Guts and Glory Program).  Fasting is beneficial both physically and spiritually.  Wikipedia describes the physical benefits as such:
Research suggests there are major health benefits to caloric restriction. Benefits include reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, immune disorders, and more generally, the slowing of the aging process, and the potential to increase maximum life span.[2] According to Dr. Mark P. Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the US National Institute on Aging, fasting every other day (intermittent fasting) shows beneficial effects as strong as those of caloric-restriction diets[3] in mice, and a small study conducted on humans at the University of Illinois indicates the same results. [4]

In the context of both The Maker's Diet and the Guts and Glory Program, fasting is not meant to be used for long periods though this is not unacceptable if done properly.  Mini fasts once per week are recommended.  The mini fast could consist of a juice fast, water fast, or even a total fast from dinner one night until dinner the next day.  The primary reason is to enable the digestive system to 'catch up.'  Fasting gives your body a break.  It also allows you to 'reacquaint [yourself] with hunger.  Hunger is the body's signal to eat, yet most people don't experience this very basic sensation because they eat throughout the day and are always sated.  Short fasts put you in touch with your body's craving for food and help you understand when it is truly necessary to eat.' - page 108-109, Restoring Your Digestive Health
Furthermore, eating 'three square meals a day' is a relatively new standard.  Primitive cultures, in addition to hunting and foraging for their food as opposed to going to the drive thru, would go for longer periods of time between meals than we are accustomed to.
From The Maker's Diet, it is further recommended to pray during your fast each time you feel hunger.

From dinner last night (which consisted of sesame seed encrusted chicken - unfortunately not free range - and organic peas), I had only water to drink and my one serving of VidaCell with raw honey and cinnamon until dinner today.  Dinner consisted of a smoothie that I made with frozen berries (cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries), aloe juice, raw milk, raw honey, whole milk organic plain yogurt, and VidaCell.  As I write this, I am seriously considering repeating my mini fast tomorrow.  We'll see how I feel in the morning...