Yay, I’m normal!

Okay, so I’m not really normal. I’m kind of odd, even my quirks have quirks, and add in an intermittent layer of brain fog and I could qualify to be someone’s crazy aunt. Come to think of it, I’m already several people’s crazy aunt.

However, for the first time since we starting testing my thyroid levels last year, my thyroid levels are normal! Granted that’s still on daily thyroid meds, but since it took a year for them to normalize even on the meds, that’s still a huge step in the right direction.

According to my doctor, now that my thyroid levels are normal the rest of my system will essentially take a deep breath and look around to realize that it doesn’t have to compensate for an underactive thyroid anymore, so I should continue to slowly feel even better as my body adjusts.

 

My Kitchen Aid is Not Yet Dead

This morning I was contemplating how pleased I am with my KitchenAid mixer.  It’s a Professional 600 model, heavy duty and very handy. I was pleased with myself for thinking ahead enough to purchase this particular mixer for my hope chest instead of dinky two person sized mixer. Having in my possession a mixer capable of kneading four loaves worth of whole wheat bread dough at once, I thought, makes me a more efficient person.

That was about when I discovered that an overheating KitchenAid mixer smells like flowers. Seriously, I was standing right in front of my mixer trying to figure out where that sweet jasminey lavenderish smell was coming from. I began to take the hint when the mixer stopped dead.

I was in the middle of making this super awesome 100% whole wheat bread. The first time I made it, I only made half a batch, being skeptical that it would truly be that amazing. (I did make a few small adjustments of my own, mostly adding the ginger to my yeast proofing mixture ala Rose Lane Farms bread cookbook.)

Colton liked it.

Yep, 100% whole wheat bread that was soft and breadlike enough that Colton *liked* it. I was sold. This time I went for it whole hog, making a full batch and trying a couple of the add ins. I suspect that was where things began to go wrong.

As per usual, I made a small, really hardly worth mentioning change to the recipe. I substituted chia seeds for flax seeds.

As you may be aware, chia seeds are the darling of weird healthy people. They have Omega 3s or maybe 6s (I can never keep those two straight in my head) and they absorb toxins from your system which then pass harmlessly through your gut encased  with lots of lovely fiber. They also absorb a lot of water. More than flax seed does. FYI.

I didn’t realize this error until after several attempts to get my Kitchen Aid to work again by such methods as letting it cool off and splitting the dough in half to make it easier to knead. By the time I tried adding water I was concerned that my Kitchen Aid was never going to permanently recover.

It’s amazing what 1/4 cup of water does for the health of a Kitchen Aid. Um, not on the Kitchen Aid though. That wouldn’t help. It’s much better if you put it in the bowl to thin down the dough.

After rescue efforts had been made, the dough eventually turned into bread that’s just as soft and breadlike as last time. (I think I’d leave out the millet next time though. I really don’t feel the need to add tiny crunchy grains to my bread.) And my Kitchen Aid isn’t dead.

I’m still very pleased with my Kitchen Aid. It’s a good machine and handy to have around. But next time I try to knead four loaves worth of whole wheat bread dough at one time I’m going to watch it carefully for any signs of distress.

And I think if I want to keep that title of thinking ahead I should apply it to my life more consistently.

Things I learned from Agatha Christie: Never Marry a Dull Person

Something else I learned from Agatha Christie is that merely sharing similar literary taste and general good sense with a person doesn’t make them a good choice for marriage. When people in your village start collapsing with alarming rapidity, when the servants start slipping on ladders more frequently than their previous clumsiness level suggests reasonable, and when your extended family has alarming rash of car accidents, you want to be in a relationship with someone who accepts the implications.

A dull person may well just wave aside your concerns with the very sensible suggestions that you’re blowing things out of proportion.

Obviously, your chances of survival are much better if you’re working with someone who’s willing consider the clues and jump into tracking down the murderer with you.

In other words, marriage is aided by a sense of shared adventure.

This particular advice has borne out in many other stories and genres as well. If you are attacked by any type of undead creature, or transported in time or between dimensions, or start developing a superpower, you’re much better off being able to trust the person you love with this startling information.

Of course, I have the best of both worlds, as Colton and I share at least an overlapping (if not quite identical) taste in literature and movies *and* a sense of adventure. I’m pretty sure being married to Colton astronomically raises my odds of survival in case a catastrophe of any genre suddenly breaks out around us.

Things I learned from Agatha Christie: Imagination is Vital

I’ve started rereading my Agatha Christie books. As a teenager they were one of my reading staples, and thanks to a thrift store with a good book selection and prices even I could afford, I accumulated a couple dozen of her books. Coming back to them after ten or twelve years of only sporadic reading makes certain themes a lot more obvious.

For one thing, I remember why I used to be concerned about eating food that was just sitting around, because you never know when someone might have poisoned a sandwich or a cookie or an apple in the assumption that a particular person was going to eat it, and by coming along and eating it you would throw off their plans entirely, not to mention dying in the process.

Another thing that stands out to me is the connection she makes between imagination and sympathy. A person with no imagination is pretty scary in her world, because that person has absolutely no idea what other people want or like. The kindest person, without the imagination to know what kindness is needed, becomes a frightening force.

This kind of person relentlessly bakes fruitcake for neighbors who hate fruitcake, knits ugly sweaters for relatives who are never cold and cannot comprehend a friend’s disappointment at being unable to travel, because traveling is so inconvenient, surely the friend wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway.

And naturally, any person this annoying is eventually going to be knocked in the head with a poker or poisoned with arsenic laced fruitcake. (I learned that from Agatha Christie too.) So you can see how dangerous it is to be a person who lacks imagination!

I must recommend that every person cultivate great powers of imagination. Not only does it save the people around you great tedium and annoyance, but it may just be vital to a long and healthy life as well.

Is there supposed to be a hill around here somewhere?

A couple weeks ago at church I heard someone say, “Everyone over thirty should really take digestive enzymes, because the body doesn’t produce them as well when you hit thirty.” I started to file this as a mildly interesting tidbit that applied to all ‘those people’ over thirty and stopped.

All of those things I’ve ever heard about ‘when you’re thirty’ are going to apply to me in just a couple of years.

I had a bit of a mental block about turning 27 this year, not because I have any problem with the number 27  (in fact, I’m kind of a fan of the number of 27, despite the fact that it’s an odd number, because it’s 3 cubed, and I like multiples of 3) but because 27 represents a definite shift to ‘late twenties’.

I kind of stopped paying attention to my exact age when I got married. It didn’t seem to matter nearly as much if I wasn’t thinking, “I’m ___ years old and I’m still not married!” but ‘late twenties’ was still a bit of a shock. How did that happen?

There’s a general understanding that about 30 your body starts slowing down and subtly breaking. There are things you could do when you were 18 or in your 20s that just don’t work anymore. You have begun the process of becoming old.

I have other plans.

I’ve spent most of my 20s dealing with some kind of chronic health problem. At various points and it no particular order I managed to hit chronic fatigue, recurring cysts, adrenal fatigue, appendectomy with post operative infection, undiagnosed Lyme, joint pains, hypothyroid (causing weight gain) and an egg allergy. (Not the mention having the word ‘infertility’ kind of floating around the edges of my health consciousness while I decide whether I hate that word enough to come up with some other descriptor.) If my 20s represent the pinnacle of my health and energy, I’m staging a revolt.

This year I’ve played ultimate frisbee almost every week since it started for the season (including a couple games in the rain), played soccer and walleyball for the first time, and started running most mornings. Extrapolating this out a few years, I’m pretty sure my 30s should include running 5ks, outdoor rock climbing, and maybe even learning to play a sport well enough to be considered an average player instead of a tolerated noob.

And apparently they should also include taking digestive enzymes.

Juice Fast, Day 4

Breakfast: organic celery, ($1.25, Kroger), cucumber (.75, farmer’s market), organic lettuce ($1.25, Kroger), organic parsley (about .30, Fresh Market)

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Results, about 3 cups. Cost about $3.50

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You might notice there’s no fruit in this juice. That’s because we semi-spontaneously decided to make an overnight stay away from the house. My original brilliant plan was to just make green juice and mix it with our supper juice leftovers since that turned out to be so much juice. This could have actually been a brilliant plan except for how very minty the supper juice turned out.

Colton mixed his green juice with half supper watermelon juice and it was still unbearably minty. I drank my green juice straight and it was very green and not at all sweet.

Colton snacked on some red juice when he got to the office and I finished off the container of coconut water and had some dandelion root tea.

Lunch: pineapple ($1.20, Aldi), organic beet (about $1, Azure Standard), oranges, (.80, Aldi), organic carrots (about $4.50, Azure Standard)

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Result, about 7 cups of juice. Cost about $7.50.

Again I didn’t get a picture of the lunch juice, but it looked like the other beet/carrot juices. (Except maybe for the fact that it sat a little longer and it started to get an oranger layer on top and a redder layer toward the bottom as the juices separated.)

I set out to make a really good tasting juice to make up for the rough patch over the last couple meals, and mostly succeeded. But regardless, by the end of the meal I very suddenly hit a moment of my body being done with juice, to the point of feeling kind of sick to my stomach and really not wanting to do this juice fast thing anymore.

Colton had already been feeling kind of shaky and ready for food. Neither of us finished our lunch juice.

We’d already been planning to cut our juice fast a little bit short so we could eat before playing frisbee tonight, and we stepped that up slightly with a plan to snack in the afternoon on real food leading up to a light supper. I had a grand plan of how to come off the juice fast with homemade cheese (made from organic raw milk), but it really didn’t sound that great at first so I started with a mango, then an hour or so later had a carrot stick, and shortly after that a couple small bites of cheddar cheese. A little later I did start on the homemade cheese with a few crackers.

I’d never gone so long without solid food before (unless maybe sometime I was really sick when I was little, but if so I don’t remember it) so while I knew in theory about going slow  to reintroduce my body to solid food, it was odd to experience it. I wanted to just keep eating and eating, but at the same time even the small bits of food I let myself eat were sitting heavy on my stomach.

We ate a light supper (chicken and a couple spoonfuls of leftover homemade baked beans), played frisbee (my stomach continued to feel heavy, but I had better energy than usual), came home and had a second light supper (quesadilla with sour cream and fresh salsa). Colton even ate ice cream, and did just fine with eating real food again.

I’m still struggling a big with the transition back to solid food, even after eating nothing but raw milk for the whole morning today. On the plus side, I think I lost about 6 pounds on the juice fast, which is very encouraging if only because for the past couple of years I hadn’t lost weight at all, even doing the GAPS diet. Either juice fasting really worked well for me, or my thyroid is finally functioning better. Either way I’m pleased with the results.

Based on how Colton’s system reacted to the juice fast and how easily he went back to solid food, I’m pretty sure that juice fasting isn’t the best match for his metabolism. It was still a good cleanse for both of us, and I would definitely consider doing it again, and I think even Colton might eventually consider doing it again, especially to replace a water only type fast.

The whole cost of an almost four day juice fast for two people came to about $65, counting the coconut water we drank, and allowing a little more for the tea and honey, which I didn’t figure up the exact cost of.

Juice Fast, Day 3

Breakfast: cantaloupe (1/2 a $2.40 melon, Aldi), spinach (3/4 of a $2 bag, farmer’s market), organic parsley (maybe 1/8 of $1.69 bunch, Fresh market), organic apples (1/4 of $5 bag, Kroger), cucumber, (.75, farmer’s market), organic celery (1/2 a $2.50 bunch)

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Result, about 7 cups of juice. Cost about $6.25

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This juice tasted a lot like cantaloupe, with some green undertones. I enjoyed it very much, drinking the entire leftover pint and a half over the course of the morning. Between coconut water tasting so good yesterday, and cantaloupe tasting so good today, I wonder if my electrolyte balance had been thrown off over the course of juicing.

Colton was having some metallic taste in his mouth, and especially when drinking water, which I think points to the effectiveness of the juicing as a cleanse to get rid of toxins.

Lunch: organic carrots (maybe $2, Azure Standard), organic beet (about $1, Azure Standard), mangos (2/$1, Aldi), orange (about .40, Aldi)

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Result about 5 cups of juice. Cost about $5.50.

I forgot to get a picture of this one, but it looked a lot like the other beet carrot juices we’ve had.

Beet carrot juice is still the best, and mangos are still amazing. What more can I say?

I probably would have snacked on juice or at least tea this afternoon, but instead I accidentally fell asleep and napped for almost the whole afternoon.

Supper: watermelon (I only used half what was in the picture, so 1/4 a $5 watermelon, Kroger. I could have gotten it cheaper at Aldi, but I mistakenly assumed the sale Aldi watermelons would be significantly smaller and not such a good deal.), cucumbers (2/$1.50, farmer’s market), apples (1/4 of a $5 bag, Kroger), lime (.25, farmer’s market), Young Living peppermint essential oil (about .30 worth)

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Result, just over 8 cups of juice. Cost, about $4.75.

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I was aiming for a good refreshing electrolyte juice, but I slipped with the mint oil so it was extra refreshing… I’ve really enjoyed a touch of fresh mint in juices and I was wondering if a drop or two of mint oil would have the same effect. At this point I’m still not sure what effect a *proper* amount of mint oil would have on the juice. I tasted the juice pre-mint oil, and it was really good, so I can at least recommend that combination of fruit.

We mixed some of it with leftover carrot beet juice to cut down the mintiness, and I’ll probably have some more cut with water later in the evening.

Overall I’d say day 3 was slightly easier than day 2, though the lack of food is also starting to get a bit old. Also I woke up from my nap feeling like I was about to come down with a cold. This eased off as I got up and started moving around, but I’m not sure if I’m getting sick or just getting rid of old toxins.

Juice Fast, Day 2

Breakfast: cucumber (.59, Kroger), organic celery (1/2 a $2.50 bunch, Kroger), organic parsley (maybe 1/5 of a $1.69 bunch, yesterday I said this was from Kroger, but this particular bunch was from the Fresh market where it’s the same price as the ‘snooty Kroger’ on N Knoxville, though cheaper than other area Krogers), organic leaf lettuce ($1.25, Kroger), oranges (about $1.40, Aldi), pineapple ($1.19, Aldi) plus lemon juice, not pictured (about 20 cents worth, Aldi)

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Result about 6 1/2 cups of juice from the produce, plus a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Cost about $6.

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This was a mild juice with lots of tart overtones. I’ve been using lemon in the morning  juice to help with getting rid of toxins, but I’m already starting to cut back on it for flavor reasons, and I might start skipping it entirely.

Colton didn’t quite finish his breakfast juice so I sipped his leftovers plus the juice that wouldn’t quite fit in the canning jars for most of the morning and never needed more of a morning snack than that.

Lunch: organic carrots (about $3, Azure Standard), mango (.49, Aldi), organic beet, (about $1, Azure Standard), organic cranberries (again I used about half what was in the picture, so maybe .50, Azure Standard)

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Result about 3 cups of juice. Cost about $5.

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Though I was very hungry shortly before lunch, by lunchtime I was barely hungry at all, and we had leftover juices building up, so I made a much smaller amount of juice than previously. It was also very good, with lots of mango flavor and a bit of tart from the cranberries and earthy undertones. I think beet/carrot based juices are quickly becoming our favorites.

My stomach was increasingly confused over the course of the afternoon, ranging quickly from very full to starving to kind of sick and back again for no apparent reason. I had a cup of dandelion root tea which was a bit of a nice change from juice, and is supposed to help cleanse the liver and gallbladder. I put in just a bit of honey and didn’t miss my normal large spoonful of honey at all. Just when I was hitting the stage of ‘I’m hungry and really tired of drinking juice and this is no fun at all’ I remembered coconut water and drank two small glasses of it. It tasted really good and evened out both my stomach and my mood again. I also had a cup of Good Earth tea (no sweetener) late in the afternoon, but no more juice.

Supper: leftovers

Who knew you could have leftover night on a juice fast?  We had just over two pints of leftover juice in the fridge between yesterday’s leftover lunch juice and this morning’s leftover breakfast juice, so we combined them for supper. I’d carefully filled canning jars almost to the brim when putting the juice away, so as to minimize oxidation as much as possible, but I still wanted to use it up as quickly as we could so as to make the most of the nutrition in the juice. Colton still has some juice in the fridge at the office for between meal snacking, but we managed to use up all our leftovers here so we can start with a clean slate again.

Reports are day 2 is the hardest and day 3 is when the real energy boost comes. If that holds true the rest of the fast should go pretty easily. On the other hand, if it just gets harder the longer we go without real food we’re going to have lot of conversations about pizza while we drink our juices…

Juice Fast, Day 1

Breakfast+Morning snack: spinach ($2, farmer’s market), cucumber (.50, Kroger), organic celery (1/2 a $2.50 bunch, Kroger), parsley (maybe 1/5 of a $1.69 bunch, Kroger, I used most, but not quite all of the parsley pictured), organic apple (1/4 of a $5 bag, Kroger), canteloupe (1/2 a $1.49 melon, Aldi), lemon juice ($1.89 a bottle, Aldi) and mango (.49, Aldi, not pictured, because I added it to the second half of the juice when it tasted light on the fruit)

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Result, about 6 1/2 cups of juice from the produce, plus another 1/2 cup of bottled lemon juice. Cost of about $7.

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Colton said it tasted healthy, but not bad. I liked it, though it had a lot of green flavor, and was a little light on the fruit.

As when I was doing morning  juice on GAPS, my original glass of juice of was very filling and I suddenly got very hungry mid morning. After having another pint of juice I was afraid I was just going to feel very hungry all the way until lunch, but a glass of water made me feel completely full again. Colton and I both had a bit of low blood sugar brain fog, but not nearly as bad as with normal fasting.

Lunch+Afternoon Snack: carrots (maybe 1/6 of a $33 25lb bag, Azure Standard–I used most of the carrots in the picture, but there were about 14 left. Also, I could have gotten these cheaper at the ‘snooty Kroger’ on N Knoxville.), pineapple ($1.19, Aldi), beet (maybe 1/6 of a $12 5lb bag, Azure Standard), mangoes (.49, Aldi)

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Result about 8 1/2 cups of juice. Cost of about $9.

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This was our favorite juice of the day. The beets and carrots gave it some earthy undertones of flavor, but there were plenty of sweet and tart notes also, and overall the beet flavor was pretty well hidden in this combination.

I only needed a half pint of juice for an afternoon snack, and Colton didn’t need any juice at all between lunch and supper.

As far as energy goes, it’s a hard to describe what it feels like to be on a juice fast. The closest I can get is to say that I feel like my body has plenty of energy, but it’s all being directed to the cellular level for repairs, and none if it is actually at my discretionary use.

Supper: sweet potato (.59 each, Aldi), cranberries (maybe 1/2 lb of 10 lb for $12–I used about half the cranberries in this picture), orange (1/2 a 4lb bag for $4, lemon($1.89 bottle, Aldi), ginger, cinnamon

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Result about 3 1/3 cups of juice, plus another 1/3 cup of bottled lemon juice. Cost of about $4.

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This juice was very heavy on the orange. I kept the ginger and cinnamon low key, which I think was a good thing, but also meant they didn’t help tone down the orange much. It wasn’t bad, but it was noticeably acidic on my empty stomach. If I were to make this juice again I’d use more sweet potato and less orange.

I got through most of the day without missing food at all, but after supper Colton and I both started thinking that real food sounded really good. Tomorrow we’ll probably add in some coconut water for more variety, and I may cave just enough to make myself a cup of herbal tea.

Also, between supper and bedtime I drank about half that leftover juice that I didn’t drink for an afternoon snack. That means altogether Colton drank just under 2 quarts of juice today and I drank 2 1/2 quarts of juice. Since I’d tried to allow for enough produce to let us each drink up to 3 quarts of juice a day, that means we’re on track to have more than enough produce to finish out the four days.