It’s the Juice – Am I Crazy? – Part 2

This is a day to celebrate. It’s DAY 30 of the Juice Thing.

Juicing the Veg. Gotta love the purple cabbage foam!

Juicing the Veg. Gotta love the purple cabbage foam!

Okay, I’m back with the to-be-continued.

What I have come to call the “FlyLady Attitude” (Something done imperfectly can still bless your life) has become my mantra. I have SOOOO not been perfect at this juicing thing. I have sometimes eaten some food, even besides eggs. The other day I went into Costco at 12:30 P.M. I was hungry and tired. I have read Jason Vale’s book, Freedom from the Diet Trap: Slim for Life. His book is all about Drug Foods and the addiction trap. In it, Jason talks about taking responsibility for your food choices, and being conscious about the impact those choices will have on your body. He also says that if you choose to eat something, whatever it is, you need to own the choice. Just make the choice, don’t stand around whining about it one way or the other. With this in mind, on my way into Costco, I decided, “That’s it. I’m starving. I am absolutely going to eat whatever samples they have today.” At the same time, I was going there to buy more veggies to juice. Don’t you love irony?

So they had something like a gazillion food samples available (of course), but I only ate the ones that I thought I’d like, which was about three things, so I ate them, and they all tasted so good. Ha. Actually they didn’t. Those taquitos were not that great, and I actually spit out the General Tzao’s Chicken, because eew. It probably tasted just fine to lots of people, but after the massive doses of real food flavor that I’ve been saturated with, that stuff was no bueno. I confess I LOVED the organic sausage, and I even bought some for the freezer. I may be certifiably crazy. Even when I go back to “regular” food, it’s going to be generally limited to high quality real foods and mainly for just one meal a day, so sausage? What was I thinking? Although I didn’t buy a ton, I might now have a three-year supply for occasional indulgence.

So, back to owning your food choices and the consequences thereof. “Just make the choice, don’t stand around whining about it.” I need to work on that. Lately when people ask me how the juicing is going, I have generally said that I hate it. How’s that for not whining? I’m having some adjustment challenges. I spent five days proving the rule that you won’t lose weight by juicing fruit, because it causes an insulin (blood sugar) spike. Lovely. So I’ve been juicing mainly vegetables, and while they taste good, it’s one more sugar adjustment to make. I have discovered that I despise cauliflower juice, and barely tolerate broccoli juice. All those raw, leafy greens that everyone says are so good for you? I’ve learned that they make me lose my voice. I already knew this about raw spinach, but it seems the same thing happens with kale also. I don’t know about chard, that one may be okay, and lettuces seem to be all right, too. At any rate, I have to be careful and can’t put too many greens into my juice. Cabbage juice does well for me but I can’t stand the smell of the pulp and I find I’m getting tired of the juice flavor also. (FYI, all of these are combined with other vegetable juices, never straight, yuck.) Fun times, yeah. I think that learning new things is just sometimes hard and I have to be patient until I learn what works for me.

I told myself that on Day 30 I would evaluate how things are going with the juicing and decide whether I would really continue this 60 day journey. I’ve found myself craving lactofermented vegetables lately. Things like sauerkraut, and kimchi. I know that the thought of these things turns some people’s stomachs, but I like them, and I know that the probiotics and vitamins in these kinds of foods are off-the-charts good for you. So I’ve decided to continue the juicing journey, yet broaden things a bit by adding in some of these fermented foods.

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The Pickle Pipe – this jar has a recipe called “Sauerkraut Satay”, a Thai-inspired recipe.

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A Harsch-style crock with a water reservoir to maintain an anaerobic environment inside the crock.

Making lactofermented vegetables takes time – fermentation is an extended process, but just knowing that they are coming has me so excited. I have a HUGE sauerkraut crock that is currently working a batch of kraut, and will take a while before it’s ready, but I also have found some of the coolest thing-a-majigs for doing an airtight ferment in mason jars (Pickle-Pipe Airlocks), and so I’ve started some batches of vegetables that I will probably eat in about seven to ten days, rather than wait the full four to six weeks. Oh, in case anyone is interested, the book I used for reference on fermentation recipes is called,  Ferment Your Vegetables: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Making Your Own Pickles, Kimchi, Kraut, and More. (I don’t make any money from the links, they are just for your convenience.) There are also half a gazillion websites about fermentation, but I would caution you that some (many) of the methods presented are not airtight and therefore not quite as protected from mold (eew), and undesirable bacteria growth. For more sciencey information about this, this article is a good place to start – “Three Lies about Lactofermentation That Might Be Affecting Your Health”.

So that’s the that. I’m at Day 30 of imperfectly juicing, but I’m still learning about how food works in my body, what is good for me, and what isn’t. I’m down about 20 lbs for what it’s worth, but more importantly, I’m seeing signs of healing in my body and that’s what’s most encouraging in the big picture. I do have discouraging days, and yesterday was one, but when I hold on to the big picture, I get through frustration a little better. Thank heaven Mr. Hot Stuff is my biggest cheer-leader and supporter. It makes a huge difference.

This song, yesterday, gave me hope that I can continue this journey:

Published in: on 05/10/2016 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s the Juice – Am I Crazy? – Part 1

Juice the Rainbow

Juice the Rainbow

It’s time for some catch-up, because I’m nearly halfway through 60 days of almost only juice. Here’s the thing that happened. About a month ago, I did a lot of juicing for almost a week, and then the weekend hit and we had a big family celebration. (Arctic Boy is on a mission in Cambodia, so we have to celebrate their holidays too, right?) I ate the entire world, plus some cake. That Sunday night I felt sick to my stomach, had the worst migraine I’ve had in ages, and my entire body hurt. My hair hurt. My toenails hurt. I was like, “Happy Khmer New Year, Mr. Hot Stuff. Don’t touch me.”

In my mind, I was thinking, “Dear Lord, forgive me, I’ll never do that again.” I was an addict who backslid (backslided?). Excruciating honesty here. Truly, organic sugar is still sugar. For me, sugar is heroin. My challenge is that it’s a legally and socially accepted drug and the whole world is a dealer.

I woke up the early the next morning suffering the aftermath of the sugar high and broke my #1 morning rule: Never check Facebook or emails before breakfast. That was when I saw the photo Rainbow’s mother-in-law posted of herself in the middle of her 56 day stint of juicing. She looked so alive and glowing. I felt like road kill. At this crucial moment, I felt a nudge to try again to do the juice thing.

For Sixty Days.

Sixty.

Days.

I took a deep breath, and told Mr. Hot Stuff. He said something along the lines of, “Go for it. And make me some, too.”

Two days in, I wanted to eat the dog food. It smelled so good. But seriously? ICK. That was when I decided that I was not going to be able to juice 100% exclusively for 60 days. I decided that I would allow myself to have eggs if I wanted them. This has helped immensely. BUT, I am still not perfect (more on that later). I have had days when the chicken salad in the fridge calls my name, and I cave to the siren song and have some bites. When that happened the first time, I thought I should just give up, but something whispered to me a version of the *FlyLady mantra, and I thought, “Juicing done imperfectly still blesses my body.” This was a thought that encouraged me more than I ever would have expected. (*FlyLady says, “Housework done imperfectly still blesses your family.”)

To be continued…

Published in: on 05/07/2016 at 12:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hiding My Dirty Feet – Exposing my Inadequacies

I have been suppressing a spiritual nudge for quite a while now. Okay, it’s stronger than a nudge. You know how God works. He gives you a little shoulder tap that says, “Hey, think about this.” Those shoulder taps are easy to ignore. Then He starts sending other messengers who sometimes say things straight to your face and heart, letting you know clearly what He wants you to do. You can try to ignore these messengers or procrastinate acting on the message, but God will keep getting more and more clear, and the messages will get louder and louder. It’s said that God doesn’t shout. That He speaks with the still, small, voice of the Holy Spirit. I’m here to tell you that it may not be a shout, but when He starts sending messages directly into my email inbox, I know I’d better sit down, listen, and do what I’m told. I’ve had at least two of those emails in the last week, and numerous other moments when the message has been made clear to me.

“Heather, get back to your blog.” “Heather, stop hiding.” “Heather, someone needs you to share the things that you are learning. Now.” “Sit down and write.” “Write your blog and work on your book. This is the work you need to do. Now.”

But I’ve hesitated. I’ve worked on my book, but I’ve been ignoring this blog. If I really show my heart, I might say something that offends or hurts someone. I might not be clear enough. I might not be kind enough. I feel inadequate. I know I’m not perfect, but it’s not really something I want to advertise to the world. What on earth could I possibly have to say that will matter to anyone else? Who in their right mind would want to read about the clutter in my mental closets? Nevertheless, I know through hard experience that happiness never comes from procrastinating God’s promptings. So here I blog.

I have a friend who is currently in chaplain school. She recently shared with me one of the assignments she wrote for her class.  She wrote about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and how this was considered a menial task. Peter even tried to refuse this service from the Savior, but Jesus reminded Peter that we need to be cleansed by him to better understand how to serve others. My friend helped me remember that I don’t have to be perfect, but I need to be willing to let Him clean and work on me. Sometimes I just want to hide my dirty, sore, callused feet. I can cover my feet by rolling down my pant legs and putting on shoes, but I can’t hide the cracks, calluses, and dirt from God. I am uncomfortable with shoes full of dirt. It gets into the cracks and rubs the skin raw. The thing is, I know I don’t have to let my feet cause discomfort and distract me. They can be made clean, and He can soften them and soothe the sores, and make them so much more comfortable. In this life, I may not always have perfectly clean feet, but I can be willing to let Him work on me and through me. I just have to remember that by letting Jesus serve me, I can better serve others. After all, why would others accept my imperfect service, if I won’t even accept service from the One who serves perfectly?

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one  another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who  is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”  (John 13: 14 ­ 17)

Here I am, Lord, taking off my shoes. Help me. And please don’t let me cringe when someone else takes off their shoes, too. Help me be adequate to the task.

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Published in: on 05/03/2016 at 8:01 pm  Comments (5)  
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The Fog Comes

Calvin and Hobbes new fallen snow

Waking up early on Christmas Eve, 2015

Fog

By Carl Sandburg

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

 

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

 

This poem creeps into my mind intermittently when triggered by circumstance; once when looking down on the pollution hovering over a city; another when driving through a fog so thick I could only see twenty-five feet ahead, and none of the street or traffic signs were visible. I have often wished the fog to be a thing that moves on sooner rather than later.

My parents-in-law are moving in with us soon. We realized that my father-in-law’s progressing dementia, though not severe yet, has coupled with some hearing loss, and led him to live more and more in an isolated world of television and Louis L’amour novels. In consequence, my mother-in-law is losing the support he once gave her as she struggles with her own progressive health problems. Observing the situation, it seems best to have them both in a place where there could be more family social support and less worry about the day-to-day maintenance of a house.

My dad recently had major back surgery, fusing several vertebrae, in hopes of relieving some of his constant and excruciating pain. This is overlaid on a lung problem that is also progressive and makes it difficult to do activities without supplemental oxygen. Lately we’ve also noticed that he’s having trouble composing his sentences in conversation, and reading aloud has become difficult. This has concerned us, but the doctors have insisted that he doesn’t have dementia or Alzheimer’s, and that his challenges are just stress-related.

My youngest brother is handicapped from a bicycle accident that happened about 24 years ago. He is legally blind due to visual processing problems, and his physical limitations require him to use a walker or a wheelchair to get around. He lives in his own head a lot, as he tries to hold on to his daily routines and habits, not always realizing the emotional tenor of the circumstances around him. Mom  is a tiger-like force, pushing my brother to maintain his healthy interactions with the world, and she takes him to the local elementary school regularly so that he can work as a special tutor for children who are struggling with reading. Somehow, in spite of his visual processing problems, he is still able to have success and teach, and  motivate these kids to improve their reading and not give up, and the students love him. And yet I have noticed that he, too, is slowing down. It now takes him longer to work through his personal care routines and it seems like his visual processing may be suffering even more.

Mom called last night. She wanted to confirm the time for Christmas dinner, but she also had news. The results of Dad’s recent brain scan show “a significant increase of white matter” in the areas of the brain related to the condition which she has long suspected he is struggling with, and now the doctors say he needs to have another scan in three months. Frontotemporal dementia is apparently not a common enough disease that many doctors recognize the symptoms of it, which is why they have been brushing aside Mom’s insistence that there is a problem. Unfortunately there is no treatment for this disorder, except palliative care as the disease progresses. There are times when you really wish you were wrong.

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

 

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches…

 

 

Published in: on 12/24/2015 at 7:18 am  Comments (4)  
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Babies Are Wonderful!

Ansel 1She did it! Rainbow had her baby. He is wonderful. I know every grandmother says that, but I happen to believe it’s always true. Babies are the best thing ever. Baby Chili Pepper is a cutie. He doesn’t like having his diaper changed, he can burp with the best of them, and he knows how to make the big people act fast when he makes loud noises.

It was a dark and stormy night (haha!) when he was born. The wind had been blowing most of the day, and snow was falling the night I was called by Daddy Pepper telling me they were at the hospital because Rainbow was in labor.

Finally! At a week past his due date, we knew he was going to be a big Chili Pepper. I hurried up to the hospital women’s center. Rainbow had asked me to be there to help her, and you just never know how fast these things are going to go the first time around.

The midwife and Daddy Pepper were there with her helping her to breathe low through the contractions and she was doing a great job listening and taking their advice. I stayed back for a while and just doodled in a notebook. It didn’t seem like I could really add much to the effort at that time, so it seemed best to not get in the way. There were both water and apple juice there for her to sip on while she labored. It was nice to see that the antiquated philosophy of forcing an IV drip on laboring women and starving them during labor has finally passed.

Soon Rainbow moved to the jetted tub. Now there’s a blessing for laboring mommies. Hurray for the buoyancy of water during contractions. Daddy Pepper was a great support to Rainbow this whole time, and the midwife and nurses were fantastic, giving them good ideas for how to work/relax through each contraction.

Finally, after the jetted tub, and moving back to the bed, we counted through the contractions and the pushing, and in the wee hours of the morning, Baby Chili Pepper was born! 9 pounds, 1 ounce, 21 inches long. Quite an accomplishment. Mommy worked so hard to get him here. There was a little excitement at the end to make sure he didn’t inhale anything he shouldn’t have just before birth, but he was all fine, and Mommy got to hold him for a little bit while Daddy cut the umbilical cord.

Rainbow had the midwife and nurse hopping for a little while to make sure she didn’t bleed too much, but they handled it just fine. Daddy needed to go put his feet up and take it easy for a minute there. It can be unnerving to see how much bleeding sometimes happens after birth. When Chili Pepper was ready to be held again, Daddy was right there and ready on the job.

After Rainbow and Baby Chili Pepper were moved to their very own room, he had a messy diaper to test the capacity of the diaper. Diaper fail. Daddy was the hero of the moment and changed the diaper and cleaned up the poopy perpetrator. Poor Mommy was so tired she could hardly lift her arms.

I left the hospital in the grey light of dawn, scraped an inch of beautiful, downy snow off the windshield of my car, and drove home for a long nap.

Babies are wonderful! It’s a grandma’s job to say that, and remind mommies when they are too tired and frustrated from being up all night trying to figure out baby mysteries. And by the way, Grandma is always right.😉

Published in: on 11/19/2015 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Three of a Kind, and a Pair – We Have a Full House

Ten Minute Blog Post #5

Well the daily blogs got thrown off a bit. Moving to a new house is my excuse. I know that for some people moving and writing is something that is not a big problem for them (I’ve heard all about how they have done it), but for me it’s very difficult to focus on writing when the rest of my life is in a jumble, and right now I feel like someone put all my belongings in a Yahtzee can and shook them up together. I’ve been sorting the results and discovered I have three sixes and a pair of fives (also known as a full house). Oh also the internet thing. I’m pleased to say that although we do not yet have internet service at our new house, I have learned how to make my phone a wireless hot spot so I can now post to the internet at least a little. Did I mention that I’m grateful for unlimited data on my phone plan? Well I am. Yay for technology!

Our new house is awesome, it feels huge, but mostly it’s just arranged differently and the ceilings are vast. Seriously, we could put up a basketball standard in our living room and play half-court ball. Out Cathedral Ceiling

The living room isn’t very big as far as floor space, but it will hold the sofa, loveseat, rocking chair and Christmas tree, which tree, now that I think about it, could be really big. Not quite Rockefeller size, but over ten feet. We won’t go that big though. I love the idea of a big tree, but I get exhausted at the thought of decorating it and taking it down. I suppose I could get some of that really fat ribbon and giant Christmas balls and get the job done pretty quickly though. We could even do a themed tree sometimes. Like, in two or three years, I can make it a cookie tree and hang cookies on it and then let the grandkids take big bites out of all the ones below four feet high. Of course, there is the Dog Factor, which says that any plans that involve food must necessarily involve them. Especially if the food is below four feet high, because that’s the go-zone for them as well. Hmm. I suppose I’ll have to think about it for a couple of years.

Published in: on 11/10/2015 at 1:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Support to Keep Going

Ten minute blog post #4

Keep Going

Today was another writers group meeting for me. It’s so great to have cheerleaders who, at the same time, are honest about your work and sincere and knowledgeable about helping you improve, and who you can in turn help to improve. One of these days, I’ll actually give them something to read again. Won’t that be nice?

We talked about the importance of having a central story problem run through your novel and how the character’s resolution of their internal problem helps them resolve the external problem. As the conversation ebbed and flowed, I realized that in my 2016 NaNoWriMo book I have not yet given my main character (MC) a flaw or a secret. Well, she sort of has a secret, but she needs a flaw, so maybe tonight as I work on my daily writing word count, I can figure out what hers is.

I have a theme for the book, which just sort of appeared out of thin air for me, and got me all excited about the story. Now I realize that there’s a bunch of other stuff I need to work out, and it’s made me want to sit down and be quiet a little bit. That’s okay. It gives me plenty to write for the story. Otherwise it would be, “A princess is thrown out of her home. She gets helped by her godmother. She tries to go to a ball. She shows up late and soaking wet. People doubt who she is. She has to prove her value. She wins the prince, but isn’t sure she wants him. Her dad invites her to come back home, but she isn’t sure she wants that either. Maybe she’ll go to culinary school instead. The End.”

It might sound like it has the potential to be a good story, but the bones need some flesh on them for it to really become interesting. Anyway, talking about writing, and working on it regularly is fun and motivating, and helps me to remember to KEEP GOING.

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.”

–John Greenleaf Whittier

 

Published in: on 11/05/2015 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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