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.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'll Not Fade Away

As day 4 of the master cleanse comes to an end, things are going really well.  I made it through today without any temptation to eat anything even though my daughter made dinner and it smelled really good.  I even sat at the table while everyone else ate their food and wasn't even tempted to taste it.  The potential gain from sticking to the cleanse is just too great for me to stop now.

After dinner, I did a short workout on the Wii with Wii Fit Plus.  I put in about 30 minutes total with Wii Fit Plus and about 15 minutes without it.  Because it was convenient, I also weighed myself.  It turns out that I have dropped 6 pounds since I started the master cleanse!  I can't helped being pleased about this - even though it is not my primary goal to lose weight.  Sure, I want to lose weight - it just isn't my number 1 reason for doing the cleanse.  Since starting the cleanse, I have stepped up my efforts to exercise.  I want to be sure that any weight that I lose is not from muscle.  No matter how much weight I lose, I'll not fade away (Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away).  The nice thing - and somewhat unexpected - is that I actually have the energy to do some exercise.

The only downside to the cleanse so far is that I need to make yet another trip to the grocery store - more lemons and maple syrup!  I don't want to stock up on too many lemons as I don't want them to go bad sitting on my counter, but I should have bought more maple syrup than I did.  Tomorrow, I plan to check out a couple of options for syrup, though.  The two stores I have been to in the last week only sell grade A syrup.  Grade B syrup is recommended for the cleanse due to its higher mineral and vitamin content.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm On Fire

Day three of the Master Cleanse - according to several reports - is one of the hardest days to conquer, but I'm on fire!  Today wasn't hard at all for me.  It was also a day that we spent mostly away from home which should have compounded the difficulty.  It is never easy to stick to any sort of dietary change when you are on the road.  Proper preparation made it really easy to manage everything, though.

Yesterday, I had to buy more lemons and maple syrup.  I wasn't completely out of either, but I knew that I would have none left by the end of today if I didn't go shopping.  Because of other errands that we had to run, I ended up going to a different grocery store than I normally do.  I was pleased to find that they had organic lemons for only a few cents more each than my normal store sold their regular lemons for.  I was a little bothered by the fact that they were a bit smaller, but they seem to yield the same amount of juice.

In reading The Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing the Benefits of The Lemonade Diet yesterday, I learned that it is better to consume the lemonade shortly after squeezing the lemons.  The only exception to this should be when that is just not possible because you are away from home.  In this case, it is acceptable to squeeze the lemons and combine the juice with the maple syrup but not the cayenne pepper and water and store the juice/syrup mix in an airtight container to reduce oxidation until needed.  So, this morning I squeezed enough lemons for 6 servings of lemonade, mixed and consumed one for breakfast and blended maple syrup with the remainder and poured it into a mason jar.  I packed the mason jar, cayenne pepper, and water to take on the road with me to mix when I needed it.

Other than being away most of the day, the day was rather uneventful.  I didn't really have any hunger pangs so it wasn't hard to resist the temptation to eat.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Life In The Fast Lane

In my second entry yesterday, Less Is More, I mentioned that my modification to the salt water flush made it ineffective.  This morning, I followed the recommendations and used 2 tsp. sea salt in 1 quart of water.  Let me tell you, it really was life in the fast lane!  I really don't want to be too graphic, but within 90 minutes I was in the bathroom.  In and of itself it was not a terribly enjoyable experience, but the end result (no pun intended - OK, maybe it is intended) is that I already feel considerably better!  I am sure that this is partially the psychological effect from knowing that something is working correctly.  By the way, the song choice should be obvious, Life In The Fast Lane, Eagles - from the Hotel California album.

Over the course of the day yesterday, I was able to get 6 full servings of the lemonade in.  Today, I am off to a much better start.  It is only 11:00 AM at the time that I write this and I have already consumed 4 servings.  I plan to taper off a bit as the day progresses so that I end up with 8-10 glasses of lemonade by the time that I go to sleep.

This morning, I added one more resource to my research on the Master CleanseThe Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing the Benefits of The Lemonade Diet by Tom Woloshyn is a much more comprehensive description of the cleanse than anything I have read thus far.  Mind you, I have not actually read the original book by Stanley Burroughs.  All of my research has been from websites and magazine articles up until today.  The good news is that all of the articles I have read agree on the fundamental points of the cleanse.  In the case of Tom Woloshyn's book, he delves a lot deeper into the hows and whys of the process.  I don't agree with him on all of his points - for instance, he is a proponent of the vegetarian diet - I am grateful for this additional insight on the cleanse.

At this point in Day 2 - yes, early in the day and having only just begun the overall process - I am truly considering extending beyond the 10 days.  As I said when I began using VIDACELL a couple of years ago, there is enough damage done to my body that it will not be corrected 'overnight.'  Woloshyn's book provides a marker to look for that will tell you that your body is ready to revert to a 'normal' diet.  I will likely continue the cleanse until I see that marker.  After that, I will slowly ease back into The Maker's Diet - grass-fed meats, raw milk, raw honey, sprouted grains, etc..  Technically, the cleanse does not truly break The Maker's Diet, it just really limits the 'foods' being consumed.