Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Growing fruit in an urban lot

I'm getting close to maxing out how many fruiting plants and trees I want to have in our urban yard. Usually I focus a tremendous amount of energy on annual vegetable plants, with a side-obsession on herbs and routinely forget how many fruit trees and the like I have already put in.

Want to know what we have growing? It's more than I thought:
  • Peter's honey fig tree (just planted last summer)
  • Strawberries (2 plants in our rain barrel lid)
  • Blueberries (2 bushes)
  • Thornless blackberries (2 bushes)
  • Columnar apples (2 trees)
  • Grapes (3 plants)
  • Arbequina olive tree
  • Dwarf cherry tree (5 different kinds grafted onto one rootstock)
  • Elderberry
  • Cavendish banana (indoors)

We have height restriction covenants in our neighborhood so I can't grow anything too huge. I am planning on planting some privacy screening trees on the back end of our lot (on the other side of our fence in a huge 30 foot raised bed set back from a somewhat busy street) and am interested in putting in a Pindo palm, which produces edible fruit.

There are a couple species of palms that do really well in Seattle (we are Zone 8). We have two windmill palms already. I'd also love to sneak in a few winter hardy Basjoo banana plants for the same reason. I can cut them down each winter if they get too unruly and they'll grow back to full size each year. They produce fruit, but it's not really edible. There are also prickly pear cacti that produce fruits that grow well (and huge!) up here, but I'm not sure I want to add that to my tropical oasis.

What kind of fruit trees/plants/vines do you have growing? What aren't you growing that you desperately wish you were?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are you Freezin' Yer Buns yet?

I really can't complain. It's been downright balmy here in Seattle. Over the weekend, I managed to get several hours of gardening in, getting a head start on weeding and cutting down some dead and not so dead plant growth.

Today it's supposed to be partly sunny and 58 degrees. I have to keep reminding myself that it's too early to plant things, although it hasn't stopped me from putting in some tulips and primroses to give the front planters some color. I can't help myself and they seem to be surviving just fine so far.

In other areas of the country, I know you guys are freezing more than just your buns off. How are you holding out? Are you still keeping your thermostat low or is it too cold to be freezing both outside and inside? You won't mind if I told you I had the bedroom window open for an hour or two last night, will you?

Coming up, I will be holding a Freeze Yer Buns contest that is long overdue. It's a good one, so make sure you check it out. Consider yourselves forewarned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adventures in Juicing: Apple Carrot n' Stuff

Since today marks the second of my juice fasts for my detox, I figured it was fitting to do a post on some of the fresh juices I've been making with my Breville Juicer. If you saw my first Adventure in Juicing, you'll have noticed that I really don't follow any particular recipe, but rather just wing it. I tend to just throw in whatever ingredients I have in the house that are juiceable. Things with high juiceability. Whatever.

For today's Adventure in Juicing, I thought I'd share my most recent concoction. For the most part, I use this juice as a liquid base for making my daily smoothies (which I'll post about soon). When I'm juice fasting, I'll dilute this juice 50% with filtered water so I don't go into sugar shock.

Apple Carrot Surprise

(All ingredients are organic)
Apples
Carrots
Small peeled chunk of ginger
1/4 lemon (cut down rind, if desired)

Yeah, pretty exciting isn't it? The lemon juice helps keep the apple juice from browning and gives it a touch of tang. The ginger gives it a fresh taste and, if you go for a large chunk, a bit of kick.

As a side note, I've been so far (knock on wood) managing to fend off the latest round of cold virus that has infected the house. In spite of spending a lot of time with snotty, coughing children (and husband), I still haven't come down with it.

I'm going to partially credit my boosted immune system from everything I've been doing the last three weeks. Well, that and the elderberry.

Note: Argh! There be affiliate links in this post. Consider yerself warned.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Detox update #2

I am a few days into the fourth week of my detox and I'm not feeling the same sort of crap like I was before. I think increasing my calorie intake helped quite a bit as probably reducing a few other things (see below). As such, I'm holding steady at the same weight as last week, but looking leaner given all the exercise and good eatin'.

Food related stuff
I'm still working a ton of smoothies and juices into my day. I start off with about a half cup of some sort of grain - either oatmeal, brown rice cereal or 5 grain cereal. After my morning walk, I'll have a spinach smoothie. Lunch is generally some sort of sauteed greens with some sort of protein. I'll have a carrot and hummus snack and a wheat and dairy free dinner with a mix of grain, protein and vegetable. I did one day of juice fasting last week and might do another one tomorrow just to go out with a bang.

Other stuff
I've been getting a lot of exercise in, not just my planned aerobic exercise, but also from doing about three hours of gardening over the week. I've been skipping the sweat therapy because of scheduling issues and lots of other things going on.

My third deep tissue massage last week went incredibly well and I think my lumps are finally responding to it. I'm still doing the dry skin brushing and I'm done with my detox foot pads, although I received some more for review that are made with different ingredients. I'm still meditating daily for about 30 minutes and that helps too.

Today, I go in for my second set of body burden toxicity testing (all blood tests). This will be testing for heavy metals, solvents, chlorinated pesticides and a few other things. I'll also be doing two 24-hour urine collections - one for heavy metals testing and the other for phthalates and parabens. I can't wait to see what difference (if any?) I've been able to achieve over the last five months of lifestyle changes.

Anyone else doing some form of the detox? How is it going for you?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Adventures in Juicing: V8

I have to start out by saying that I hate V8 juice. I've never been able to stomach it because it always tasted to me like tinned tomato soup that was doused in salt in order to cover up the metallic taste. Not unlike canned tomato soup. It wasn't until I had a Bloody Mary at Etta's in Seattle a number of years ago that I realized that tomato juice could possibly taste decent, if not good.

With my new juicer, I decided to branch out and make my own vegetable juice. I dutifully went to the store, after checking out some online recipes, and ended up concocting my own combination of ingredients (all organic) based on what was available and not exorbitantly expensive. Since we are nowhere near tomato season, organic tomatoes were something like $5 a pound, with the Roma's a few dollars cheaper per pound.

What this means is that my V8 juice wasn't exactly heavy on the tomatoes, but I made up for it with other ingredients. I didn't exactly decide how much of one thing over another went into it, I just grabbed what I felt like throwing in there from the fridge:

Random V8 Juice Recipe

Roma tomatoes
celery
green bell pepper
carrots
lettuce
onion
flat leaf parsley

Okay, you caught me, it's more like V7 juice. But, since I added the following, I'm calling it whatever I please:

garlic powder
salt
fresh ground pepper
hot sauce

I juiced the vegetables, then added the garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. It was phenomenally good, except it was a lot more filling than I anticipated and wouldn't pour myself a tanker of it next time.

Because of the high cost of tomatoes, I probably won't be making this very often, but I can't wait for summer so I can start cranking these out like crazy.

Note: Argh! There be affiliate links in this post. Consider yerself warned.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In the Ballard News Tribune

Here's some blog fill for you. In this week's Ballard News Tribune, my blog and detox challenge are mentioned in the Green My Ballard column by Laura McLeod (who also, incidentally, helps out on the sailboat CSA we subscribe to).

You can check it out in the article, Green Your Year, if you are so inclined.

Oh, and I highly recommend Ballard Organics soaps, which is also mentioned in the article. We use their products almost exclusively for liquid soaps around the house (and Dr. Bronners for bars). Now, if only they made a shampoo bar...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Detox: Fasting

I keep trying to get up the gumption to do some fasting as part of my detox. Fasting helps aid the body in ridding itself of stored toxins. This happens when the body switches over from burning carbohydrates to stored body fat for energy. Also known as ketosis, this switchover helps release stored toxins for elimination. Of course, it takes a couple days for your body to hit ketosis, but doing a short, one day fast is also effective at just giving your body a rest so it's not working on digesting food and can work on eliminating waste.

I was first planning on doing a juice fast one day a week during my detox, but I was experiencing some stomach issues going into the first week and then the second week, well, it didn't happen. So, I thought I'd do it today. Just a 24 hour fast from dinner to dinner. What this means is that I don't eat breakfast and lunch today. Although I was planning on doing a juice fast, I'm ending up doing a smoothie fast instead. Well, I'm having one smoothie and lots of juice and water during the 24 hour period.

Maybe after today, I'll be more likely to do just the juice fast next week. Depends on how I feel by the end of the day today. We have a running joke in the house that, when my blood sugar gets low, I get "hangry", being a combination of hungry and angry, which is generally unpleasant for everyone involved. Which is why I've been tentative about this fasting business.

Have you ever done a fast? Was it a water fast, a juice fast or the Master Cleanse kind of fast? And for how long?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blowing feathers

I woke up this morning to find our chicken coop run covered in white feathers and Sarah no where to be seen. This is always disturbing because it looks like a chicken crime scene. I knew there was a reasonable explanation, that she was probably up in the coop working on today's egg delivery, but you have to wonder what's going on with the feathers.

I suspect she's hotter than the chicken we roasted in the oven last night due to the change in temperatures around here. It's been uncommonly warm (or so it seems) with fifty degree temperatures during the day. The other night it was still 50 degrees at midnight. Compared to the build up of feathers for the more frigid weather, she probably just needed to blow a few feathers to stay comfortable.

For you chicken keepers, do you see this as well when the weather gets a little warmer?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Detox update #1

Yesterday marked the first day of the third week of my detox and I wanted to fill you in on how things are going. I'm feeling pretty good so far. At times I feel absolutely fantastic and almost euphoric but, if I let my blood sugar get too low (which has been an issue for me), I get symptoms of hypoglycemia, which aren't too fun.

Food related stuff
With all the fruits and vegetables it's easy to get filled up and yet, at the same time, not really eat enough. So, the biggest thing I've struggled with is not getting in enough calories and feeling less than energetic at times. If I stay on top of things and make sure I have my food planned out and eat before I get hungry, then I feel fine. If I don't, I feel really tired. That's when I know I need a bolus of peanut butter.

I think my digestive system is finally adjusting to all the fiber. The first week I ate something that I'm sensitive too (frozen pineapple) and it caused me some serious stomach issues for a few days. Normally it wouldn't be a problem but I think that with all the other changes in my diet my stomach wasn't too pleased. It's fine now, although I'm still laying off on some of the spicy stuff.

Starting yesterday, I also added a little wheat back into my diet. I'm still mostly avoiding it, but just threw in some whole grain sprouted bread to help round out my grains. Otherwise, I'm sticking to oats, brown rice and quinoa, among other things. And, I'm still avoiding dairy. I did treat myself to some Coconut Bliss ice "cream" to help bump up the calories.

Over the two weeks I've lost about six pounds.

Other stuff
I'm still doing the Epsom baths and have done one clay bath. I'll be doing another one tomorrow. I'm hoping to make it in to Banya 5 in downtown Seattle this week. It's a Russian style sauna with a number of different dry and wet saunas, with cold pools and the like.

My second deep tissue massage last week kicked my ass and I'm still a little sore. I have major issues with muscles in my shoulders and upper back so I really need to have it done. I'm thinking of adding acupuncture for those problems (and my on-again off-again carpal tunnel issues) but that doesn't have much to do with this detox.

I love the dry skin brushing and look forward to doing it in the morning. Between the daily exercise, weight loss and dry brushing I've seen a noticeable difference in my upper legs with quite a reduction in cellulite. And I just look less puffy all over - my upper body looks a ton leaner than it did before I started.

I started week two of the detox foot pads although I doubt they are doing anything worthwhile. But, I've got 'em so I'm using them and telling myself they are doing something in the hope that I can employ some placebo action.

The down parts of the detox so far were really just diet related, trying to arrange my food needs around the rest of the family and their meal planning. The first week was fine, the second week I was getting bored of my limited food choices, but this week I've got a whole new game plan and am looking forward to trying out some new foods I wouldn't ordinarily try. The end result is that I'll be keeping some of these new food habits even after the detox is over.

Finally, this isn't exactly detox related, but I've been meditating daily for about 30 minutes. I find this helps with keeping focused and with my mood during this "program" and I have to credit being happier as a result of integrating this in as well.

If any of you are just starting out and want to comment about how things are going early on, feel free to leave one!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Body Burden Detox Challenge Begins!

As I start my third week of detox, many of you are joining me for two weeks of your own detox experience. I'll be posting a full update tomorrow on how I'm doing so far.

I've been alternately feeling euphoric and crappy oftentimes in the same day, but I'll go into more of that then!

Good luck everyone!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Detox: Foot pads

I didn't initially plan on using this product as part of my detox but, since they appear to be extremely popular, I thought I'd throw them into the mix. I've seen them advertised in catalogs like Gaiam and other places and, since they claimed to detox your body while you sleep, I figured I'd give them a whirl.

Basically, they are little pouches of herbs (the brand I got contains powderized double-distilled wood vinegar, tourmaline and germanium) that you attach to your feet at night with adhesive pads and voila! in the morning instead of being a bright white pouch, they are black. This blackness (I have read) is indicative that they are removing toxins. My take on it is that your feet sweat at night and soak into the pouch, exposing the black colored herbal concoction inside. Think of it like you are attaching tea bags to your feet.

The packaging has some information on how they are effective due to some foot reflexology action, which I find hard to believe is helpful since the pads are so small they don't cover enough of your foot to "stimulate" anything, meridian or otherwise. Granted, these things are designed for petite Asian customers and not my ginormous feet. That picture above must be a picture of a toddler wearing them. Or someone with a size 2 shoe. I suppose I need to super size them or, at least, wear two at a time per foot.

There's also some claim about them generating far infrared energy that helps with detoxing and healing, by stimulating blood and lymph circulation. This is attributed to the tourmaline in the pads.

There is much touting regarding the wood vinegar and its healing powers, yet I couldn't find any actual information or evidence suggesting its efficacy. I chalked it up to the possibility that, like acupuncture, it has some utility even if I didn't understand the eastern medicine explanation for it.

In any case, I bought enough for two weeks worth. They are supposed to lighten up the longer you use them and, since I took photographic evidence after the first night, I'll be able to compare the last one I use to see if my detoxing was "successful". Aside from being a little herbal smelling and feeling like I have tingling teabags strapped to my feet at night, they are otherwise harmless enough. Whether or not they are doing anything is debatable. I'd like to see some more of the purported "science" behind this one.

I still have another week to go with the foot pads. I'd like to think there is some merit to this product, but as of yet, I'm unconvinced. Can't one of these manufacturers run a research study on these to show some actual results rather than mere anecdotal claims? Or does the absence of simple lab tests done on used pads mean they are worthless?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Detox: Sweat therapy, Epsom baths and Bentonite clay

Part of my original detox plan included hanging out at the sauna for 4 hours a day for 4 weeks. The reasoning behind this torture was that, by sweating profusely for such time periods, you substantially reduce the amount of toxins that are stored in your body. For those who scoff at this idea, there have been a number of studies done on the efficacy of this.

Generally known as the "Hubbard Protocol", named after nut job L. Ron Hubbard, and initially developed for drug detoxification, it was soon after investigated as a therapy for reducing other toxins in the body. To make a long story short, studies have been done on Chernobyl victims as well as 9/11 clean-up crew following the protocol and the end result was a considerable drop in body toxins. In some cases by around 20% and up to 40% during a follow-up.

Well, I'm not following the Hubbard Protocol for a variety of reasons, the most pressing is that it's time consuming, uncomfortable and I wanted what I was doing for my detox to be approachable to those reading my book. Sitting in a sauna for that length of time over that many weeks isn't approachable to anyone. Plus, I frankly just didn't want to do it. There are other reasons why I'm not doing it, which I explain in the book, but suffice it to say that I'm comfortable replacing the Hubbard Protocol sweat therapy with a modified sweat.

What am I doing then? Well, instead of the long sweats I'm doing some short sweats. Five days a week for 30 minutes I'm either sweating in the bathtub, a hot tub and soon enough I'll be going to a sauna.

Several times a week I'm doing an Epsom salt bath. What this means is that I get the bathwater temperature up to about 102 degrees and put in 1.5 - 2 cups of Epsom salts. Epsom salts are thought to flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, ease muscle pain and help the body eliminate harmful substances. This supposedly works by reverse osmosis, pulling the toxins back out of the skin when soaking in the bath.

Once a week I'm doing a bentonite clay bath. This is a little more complicated and messy and not my favorite thing by far. It makes the water slippery and murky and, if you get the wrong kind of clay, you can mess up your pipes. You have to prepare the clay in the water and avoid breathing it in. Once you've got the whole thing set up, bentonite clay is supposed to help draw impurities out of your skin. Toxins like metals and other contaminants are supposedly pulled out from the negative charge of the clay.

While there are a lot of statements made about the benefits of clay baths and they have been traditionally used for thousands of years (bentonite being used by North American Native Americans), I haven't seen any studies showing whether or not they actually do much of anything. You can read the alleged health benefits of the baths here. You can also find a lot of reference articles mentioning research done and the results showing detoxification, but no citations, etc.

All in all, I think the sweating helps, and the Epsom and clay certainly don't hurt and are, at the very least, good for the skin. But, as you can probably tell, my science-based evidence radar is going off.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Detox: Dry skin brushing

Of all the things I'm doing for my month long detox (and what you should be doing for the Detox Challenge), I have to say that I like doing the dry skin brushing a lot and will continue doing it daily even after the month ends. What the heck is dry skin brushing? Well, you basically take a skin brush, like the kind you use for scrubbing in the shower, and brush your dry skin with it.

There are several benefits of doing this. The first and most obvious is that it removes dead skin cells and makes your skin softer. The second benefit, and the reason why I'm doing it for my detox, is that dry skin brushing helps detox your body by stimulating the lymphatic system in your body. Which is why it is also called lymphatic skin brushing.

Basically, your lymph vessels collect waste materials all through your skin. Your skin is your largest organ and is a runner up for clearing out waste in your body which is why it is sometimes called your third kidney. The lymph vessels are essentially little one way valves distributed throughout your skin. By brushing your skin, always in the direction towards your heart, you help circulate those toxins being collected for faster disposal. Since your lymphatic system relies on a pump with limited feedback, brushing gives it a helping hand.

There are a number of different methods for how to brush your skin. I received a three page handout for my detox from my doctor, but you can follow whatever method you like. If you are visually oriented there are YouTube videos or you can search The Google for detailed written instructions, like this one.

The easy explanation is, before you take a shower, take a natural bristled brush and lightly brush, starting at your feet and working your way upwards, in long strokes along your body always in the direction towards your heart to speed the movement of lymph.

I started out with a softer brush that we've had for years to do the brushing, like the one pictured above. I was finding that it's too soft, so I switched to a stiffer brush (pictured at left). You shouldn't brush so hard that it's painful, but hard enough that it leaves your skin somewhat pink and stimulated. It should be a pleasurable sensation, although it can be uncomfortable at first until your skin gets used to it. It's almost like getting a whole body scratch.

So, in addition to being one of the easiest and cheapest methods to helping detox your body, it's also very invigorating!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Detox diet examples

A couple people were interested in finding out what I've been eating during this body burden detox so, for those participating in the Detox Challenge, they get an idea of what to eat. There's some meal repetition, a lot from just having leftovers or more of the same ingredients on hand. I'm not including the water I drank. I generally included 2 servings of Detox Tea each day as well.

Just to recap the food portion of the detox, it goes a little sumptin' like this:

Food and Drink
  • No alcohol
  • No coffee or tea (regular or decaf)
  • No processed foods
  • No fried foods
  • No refined grains or sugars
  • 60 - 70% total food intake is fruits and vegetables
  • Focus on cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower)
  • 15% protein sources (lean meats, beans, nuts, seeds)
  • 15% grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or flaxseed oil) per day
  • All food is 100% organic
  • No dairy (or, if you must, choose non-fat)
  • 2 - 3 liters of water (dependent on sweating) a day
  • Yogi Detox Tea
  • Juicing

Here's what I ate the previous Sunday (all organic):
  • 1 banana and 1 apple, chopped with lime, honey and cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with raisins, pecans, ginger, coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 3 carrots, 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 cup bok choy sauteed with eggs (3) in olive oil
  • Green olives with almonds and peppers
  • Salmon, 1/2 cup brown rice, Brussels sprouts, beets (all cooked in olive oil)

Here's what I ate last Thursday (all organic):
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon
  • Green smoothie made with 1 banana, 1 cup fresh apple/carrot juice, 1 cup chopped rainbow chard, 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 5 large frozen strawberries, cinnamon
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, beets, olive oil
  • 1 cup bok choy sauteed with eggs (3) in olive oil
  • 3 carrots, 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, chicken breast, tomato sauce
  • Roasted cauliflower and garlic in olive oil

The last couple of days I've been eating Bob's Red Mill 5 grain hot cereal (mostly like a polenta with buckwheat and gluten free stuff in it) for breakfast, a green smoothie after my sweat session, eggs with bok choy or swiss chard or leftovers for lunch, carrots and hummus for snack and dinner varies considerably.

It doesn't look like I'm eating much, but I can't say that I'm hungry much, mostly from all the fiber and water, I'm sure.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Body Burden Detox Challenge

I'm over a week into my month long detox to further reduce my toxic body burden for my book and many of you were interested in following along for the last two weeks of my detox. So far, things have been going well except for some uncomfortable symptoms that I can't tell whether or not they are due to the detox process or the change in diet, etc.

In any case, here's the breakdown of what I'm doing. I'll be writing posts all this week explaining most of the following sections (except for the obvious ones). If you have questions, just ask! When the challenge starts on the 15th, you can do as much of what I'm doing as you feel comfortable.*

Food and Drink
  • No alcohol
  • No coffee or tea (regular or decaf)
  • No processed foods
  • No fried foods
  • No refined grains or sugars
  • 60 - 70% total food intake is fruits and vegetables
  • Focus on cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower)
  • 15% protein sources (lean meats, beans, nuts, seeds)
  • 15% grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or flaxseed oil) per day
  • All food is 100% organic
  • No dairy (or, if you must, choose non-fat)
  • 2 - 3 liters of water (dependent on sweating) a day
  • Yogi Detox Tea
  • Juicing

Detox Actions
  • Sauna or hot bath (Epsom or Bentonite clay) at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes
  • 30+ minutes cardio exercise every day
  • Daily dry skin brushing
  • Detox foot pads
  • Professional massage - at least 30 minutes once a week

Supplements
(Choose organic supplements, follow recommended dosages on bottle or less, depending on what you can tolerate)
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Chlorella
  • Vitamin C (1,000 mg per day)

Remember to use all non-toxic body care products, household cleaners, make-up, etc. during this time. You don't want to add in more toxins while you are trying to remove them. I'll go into more detail on this later this week. Also, make sure you get at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night.

If you want to officially participate, feel free to sign up in the comments of this posts. Otherwise, you can follow along and just check back this week for more posts detailing the how to's of this program.

*I am not a physician nor do I play one on the Internet. If you have health concerns, please consult a doctor before embarking on any kind of diet, exercise, supplements, or sauna routine.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken neglect

Our chickens generally are awake and down in their run even before it's really daylight out, so I was surprised yesterday morning when I glanced out the kitchen window and didn't see any of them digging around in their run, which is where they spend pretty much all day. I figured they were up in the coop eating or something and thought nothing of it.

When I came back home from dropping the kids off at school and going for a walk, it was the same thing. No visible chickens. Strange. I figured there was a reasonable excuse for their absence, but went out to check on them all the same. Plus I had some food waste for them.

In our house I always exclaim with delight how our three chickens turn our garbage into eggs. What other kind of pet does that? In any case, I figured they'd jump down the ramp as soon as they heard the back door open, which is what they usually do. But still, no chickens.

As I was walking down the stairs they all starting piling down in the run. Phew. I realized that I hadn't even bothered to check for eggs the day before so I think they were all in there nesting on the eggs, trying to hatch them or something. Because there were eggs out there and they were warm.

When we first got the chickens I would diligently go out there every morning, let down the ramp, clean the run and the coop and get them set up for the day. But, then again, the weather back in September was warm and it was light out that early. Over the months I started cleaning less frequently and, since the run is completely enclosed, figured I'd just leave the ramp permanently down so they could come and go as they pleased. I rethought how often I cleaned the coop and it's pretty much down to every other week. I still go out there just about every day to give them some scraps and check for eggs. Well, except for the day before yesterday. Fortunately, the air temperature is about refrigerator levels so it's not that big a deal.

I've become a less anal chicken keeper and they don't seem to care just as long as they get their dandelion treats, which they will pass over everything else in order to eat. I call the dandelions I dig up with our weed extractor chicken toys because they spend hours nibbling on them and flinging them around the run. I have to make sure I give them at least three or more so they don't steal them from each other. They are quite silly about it - I figured they'd prefer the bread or pasta but, no. Their most favorite food in the whole world is dandelions. And, it's a good thing for all of us because we have a shitload of them in our lawn. It's a symbiotic thing we got going on over here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You can't sweat when you're freezing

I started my month-long body burden detox program for my book on January 1st. I figured it was fitting to embark on it for the new year. Plus, I need to get it done so I still have time to do my follow-up body burden lab testing and get the results before my book manuscript is due in April. In other words, I couldn't stall any longer short of not doing the detox altogether.

I won't go into great detail in this post about what I'm doing for the detox, just suffice it to say that I'm somewhat wimping out on the sweat therapy portion of the program. I'm still doing some, but it's not the 4 hours a day in the sauna thing that was prescribed. I'm not going that route for several reasons (which I go into in the book) but I am still doing some detox bath and sauna stuff in addition to the rest of the program.

Yesterday, I decided to start the week with a combo sweat therapy bath with some Epsom salts thrown in for good measure. Epsom baths are purportedly detoxifying and provide some generally needed magnesium. The sweating helps "unlock", if you will, toxins that are trapped in your body fat. All the other things I'm doing help usher out these released toxins from my body. In any event, the last time I took an Epsom salt bath (last summer) I got overheated and dizzy and I was afraid of doing that again. So, this time I set the water temperature at a more reasonable level.

The problem is, with our house being Freeze Yer Buns temperatures, instead of sweating, the water cooled off quickly and I was quite cold. So, I added more hot water. That lasted for a few minutes and then I was cold again. Oh well, I guess I got the Epsom bath part accomplished for the day. So much for the sweat therapy. Tomorrow I have a treatment lined up and will definitely be sweating there.

My detox plan combines a bunch of different things including a restricted diet, lots of water, exercise, supplements, sweat therapy, detox treatments and other things like lymphatic dry brushing. Since I'm not doing the full-blown sweat therapy I'm planning on doing a once a week vegetable and fruit juice fast.

If any of you are interested and want to join me for the last two weeks of the month in a portion of my detox plan, I can fill you in on the diet and exercise stuff I'm doing and I can set up a mini-challenge. It's a great way to kick off the year and shake off the post-holiday malaise!

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