Good Dirty Summer

My son on Uncle J's tractor

Boys on tractors

Jumping bales with cousins

Jumping hay bales

100 year old barn

100 year old barn

Hay bale meditations

Hay bale meditations

Muddy creek walks

Muddy creek walks

Potato digging party

Potato digging party

Girls on tractors

Girls on tractors

Unearthing gem colored coolers while emptying rooms at Addie's

Unearthing gem colored coolers while emptying rooms at Addie’s


My First Cleanse – The Wrap Up

After 5 days on the Gut Flush Cleanse by Dr. Junger, my sister provides the final verdict:

The weigh in:  Energy!  That was VERY apparent.  Also feeling pretty darn happy on days four and five.   Physically I lost 4 pounds, and I noticed that my face seemed brighter.  My skin was rosier.  The puff under my eyes when I wake up was gone.  I also noticed that the allergies I’ve had that usually block one or the other nostril at night had disappeared, and therefore better sleep.  Yes the sleep.  I slept like the dead (except when getting up to pee) and I had some weird and vivid dreams.  I’m not sure if this was cleanse related but it was unusual so maybe.  My husband was convinced that he’d gained weight and the scale confirmed it on Day three, but by day five he said that weight was gone plus another two pounds.  And maybe it was my imagination but his waist looked slimmer.  My co-worker suffered none of the blah that I did at any point, but she eats consistently healthy, without the curbs and breaks I take.  She did tell me that her pants that were previously too tight for her were now fitting loosely and she was thrilled. 

The Aftermath: I’m on day two of my non-cleanse, it’s 7:17 and I haven’t had my glass of wine.  I want to feel full of energy at work tomorrow like I did on days four and five, so I’m abstaining for now.  Can’t say there won’t be a glass in my hand this weekend though.   I’m finishing up leftovers from the cleanse, but I must admit I sprinkled a little grated cheddar and sea salt on the vegetable frittata tonight, and it was better.  So, I’m not going hard-core anymore, but I’m inspired to stick with Dr. Junger’s general guidelines for now because I really loved how it made me feel…at the end anyway.   “The first three days are the hardest.”  That’s what a few friends who had completed different cleanses had warned us, and they were absolutely correct.

The Questions:  If I were to give feedback to Dr. Junger or to Dr. Oz who posted this cleanse on his website I would request that portion amounts be included in the recipe.  Some recipes made LOADS and could feed four, and others were rather anemic for even one person.  I would also prefer that the recipes clarified between canned coconut milk and the refrigerated coconut milk that comes in the carton.  I assumed when it called for “full fat” it meant canned, and when it asked for “unsweetened” it meant the carton, but some recipes said neither.  It just said, “coconut milk”, so there was some guess work.  The importance of strictly following the recipes versus going by the general do’s and don’ts was not exactly explained.  For example, sweet potatoes were on the “Eat these foods” list, but they were not listed as a possible snack, and they were not in any of the recipes, so I didn’t eat any, even though I love them and would have welcomed one.  I wondered if the timing of the meals was crucial as well.  It seemed like the recipes started with a lot of fat on the first two days, then the fat tapered down quite a bit.  Was this coincidence or a progressive meal plan tailored to allow your body to cleanse itself more effectively?  I followed the recipe schedule as strictly as I realistically could, only rearranging a meal due to work, and I’m curious now if that was even important.   Still all in all, it was a little five-day adventure, and I feel pretty darn accomplished for having graduated alive and well.  Who knows, next year maybe I’ll try the Whole 30, but between now and then, there will be wine, there will be ice cream, and there will be donuts piled with maple glaze and bacon. 


800 arrow note:  Dr. Junger recently released two new books, “Clean Gut” and a new cookbook, “Clean Eats” (proceeds go to charities supporting children’s nutritional health).  Some of the above questions could be clarified in those resources.  Another option for learning more about this cleanse is to contact a member of the Clean Team on Dr. Junger’s website.

HUGE thank you to my sister for sharing her cleanse experience with all the 800 arrows readers.

My First Cleanse – Days 4 and 5

Back to my sister’s experience on her first cleanse.

That's commitment!

That’s commitment!

Day Four:  Pretty sure the Cleanse Fairy visits cleansers the morning of Day Four because I woke up feeling ten years younger.  Revitalized, energized, empty…but in a good way.  Dare I say, clean?  I hop out of bed to make the chocolate ginger shake.  Now I love ginger, my husband does not, but we agreed that this was a pretty nasty shake.  I may have used too much ginger. And my blender isn’t the best, so the ginger wasn’t as liquefied as I would have liked.  I would probably microplane it first then add it to the blender if I were even to make it again, which I probably won’t.  My sudden burst of energy led to a productive morning of spring cleaning the house, then preparing the vegetable frittata.   



We went off schedule on this one.  Sunday lunch was supposed to be the same Thai chicken soup from Day two, but I decided to save those leftovers for dinner on day five since it was a work day.  More time to cook and chop on Sunday for the frittata.  I’m actually having the rest of the frittata for dinner tonight and I can honestly say that I’m not looking forward to it.  The coconut milk in it was all wrong.  I would go with almond milk instead, and perhaps that would save it. 

But we choked it down and had higher hopes for the acorn squash wedges with the Asian broccoli salad. 

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

Now, if I hadn’t over steamed my beautiful farmer’s market broccoli and if we had quadrupled the amount of that delicious Asian dressing, this would probably have been a winning meal.  As it was, we had fleeting tastes of the dressing and a lot of over cooked veggies (totally my fault…I likely saw something shiny and completely forgot  about all the steaming that was going on).  So it’s probably unfair to pan the meal, but I doubt I’d make it again. 

I WILL make that dressing again though.  So we were hungry after eating, but this was nothing new to us.  We were old pros by now.  So we went to bed with familiarly empty tummies and looked forward to Day Five. Graduation Day!


Day Five: I woke up again feeling absolutely wonderful, and totally confused.  I had been looking forward to the last day SO much on days one through three, but now I was a little sad it was ending.  My head spun with thoughts of how we should eat when we’ve completed this cleanse.  Do we just go back to our old ways?  We shop organic and farmer’s markets, we cook light and use healthy ingredients.  We indulge in junk food enough to feel satisfied but not so much as to be sick or significantly overweight.  But there’s still another cleanse day ahead and a work cleanse day at that, so putting my ponderings aside I blend up our purple shake.  This was probably my favorite of them all, and more like the smoothies that I make myself on non-cleanse days with the healthy dose of nut butters and the blueberries.  After drinking, I still felt empty in that good way, and off to work I went.  As the morning progressed, I anticipated that 9:30 hunger, the weakness, the slurring words, the utter lack of brain power, but it never came.  I was fine.  Flew home for lunch to power down the Euro nut shake, which was supposed to be for dinner, but I tweaked our schedule slightly to make Monday night dinner an easy leftover.  I think I made that shake wrong.  Too much nut butter.  We don’t have hazelnut butter available, so I went with cashew butter and some almond butter to substitute.  It was good, but it was REALLY rich and thick. I had to eat it with a spoon. My husband LOVED his (I’d made them that morning and put his in a thermos for work.).  He thought it was more like a dessert which was just fine with him.  My portion was smaller than what was recommended because I gave my husband a little more than half so he wouldn’t go hungry at work, but I felt satisfied enough to last my second leg at work.  So, everything went smoothly, my husband came home and we had our final cleanse meal with the Thai chicken soup again.  There was no more complaining, no more wishing for the foods we couldn’t eat.  We felt just fine.  Never full, but usually satisfied.

800 arrows note:  Stay tuned for a wrap up of the 5 day experience, over all thoughts, pounds lost and some great questions…… if we only had access to those celebrity doctors that put together this fun, food experiment!


My First Cleanse – Day 3

Sorry for the delay, without further adieu back to my sister generously sharing her experience on the 5-Day Gut Flush Cleanse brought to you by Dr. Junger:

Day Three:  Oh hold on, rewind.  11:00pm…one hour before Day Three and I wake up to use the bathroom.  There’s a lot of waking up to use the bathroom during this cleanse because you are supposed to guzzle water from morning until night.  So I wake up, and my first thought was, “Oh, I drank too much wine.”  Then waking up a little more, no I didn’t, so what’s with the headache, the nausea, the dizziness?  Starvation perhaps?  I shrug it off and go back to bed.  Awaken on Day three to…blah.  No energy, headache continues, nauseated, and well….let’s just say that the “Gut Flush” part of the cleanse seemed to live up to it’s name that morning.  My husband, who had reported less energy since we began, did not share my symptoms.  He just noted that he slept 12 hours the night before.  His typical amount of sleep is 6 hours a night.  Still, I slug out of bed to make the Vanilla almond shake, which I don’t remember very well.  I wasn’t feeling awesome, and it was probably fine. Not great or terrible enough to remember.  Then I sat on the couch and watched HGTV until I begrudgingly stood up again to cook the Thai chicken salad, which revived me quite a bit.  Fantastically good.  After lunch my husband and I took a break, got a sitter and went to a movie.  This is really only noteworthy because the smell of the popcorn almost killed me.  I wasn’t prepared for that olfactory siren song, but I scooted past the concession and was able to focus on Divergent, or I think I did.   If you were to ask me what happened in the movie, I think I’d say, “Four was hot, and I was hungry.”  So, focus was not there on Day Three. Neither was energy, but we got home and made our roasted vegetable soup, and it was meh.  Not my favorite, and despite huge portions, not very satisfying, but better than raw greens so I took it.  What I also eagerly took was information from my sister that I was allowed a small bite of 70% cocoa dark chocolate to treat my headache.  Truthfully, my headache had resolved after dinner, but I still broke off two nickel sized pieces of chocolate for my husband and I, handed him his portion, and told him, “We have headaches.”  He laughed and said, “I love you.”  Hopefully this made up for being snappy with him earlier in the day.  Yeah, I was really irritable on day three. 


800 arrows note:  I’m no doctor, nutritionist, registered dietician, etc. so depending on your goals for a five day cleanse, the dark chocolate trick for a headache may or may not be a good choice for you.  When cleansing taking something like Advil isn’t ideal, but if you’ve tried water, walks, acupressure (you know the hand squeeze thing), etc., a small portion of chocolate (good quality, 70% dark or higher) is a fun thing to try and on day 3 of a cleanse it’s a good mood booster as well!

P.S.  800 arrows agrees with my sister’s synopsis of “Divergent”, I’d like to add the music and costumes were also enjoyable, but mainly…’s Four.


My first cleanse – Intro. and Day 1

I am very excited to turn 800arrows over to my sister for the next few days while she generously recounts her very first cleanse experience.  She’s funny, honest, detailed  – if you were ever curious about how it feels the first time you do a cleanse, I highly recommend following the story for the next few days.  Here’s my sister…..

As a newbie to any kind of cleanse, my sister and 800 arrows bloggess invited me to document my experience following the Dr. Junger’s 5-Day Gut Flush Cleanse-for the “bloated-middle body type”. Having never organized my thoughts enough to write more than the occasional sarcastic comment on facebook, I saw this invitation as both an honor and, like the cleanse, a challenge, so here we go.
First a little something about myself, I’m almost 41 years old, and have been married for several years to a very brave fellow who agreed to participate in the cleanse with me. The closest my husband ever came to a cleanse was going camping with friends, forgetting water and having to live off of a keg of beer for 3 days. So, you get the picture. We are pretty average in height and weight, but I found it extremely difficult to lose weight after both of my pregnancies. Especially the second, maybe because I was 37 and weight didn’t melt off like it used to. It was actually the shake recipes on this blog as well as talking to my sister, that helped me finally get down to my pre-pregnancy weight 3 years after our youngest was born. Our family has been eating healthier these past few years, but far from perfectly. We still love the beers, ice creams, brownies, bacons, and cheeses, and we indulge in them all regularly. At the same time, we make a conscious effort to include fresh fruits and veggies in almost every meal of the day.

So, I don’t know why this cleanse called out to me when others had not. Maybe the five day goal seemed less intimidating. Also some of the recipes looked pretty tempting at a glance. And how could anyone resist the lovely sentiment of “Gut Flush”? I mean really, doesn’t that sound a little gross, but kind of intriguing at the same time? So, I caught the bug and started to prepare.
The Prep: In preparation I asked my sister, husband, and one of my healthier co-workers to do this with me. Everyone agreed. That was pretty much all the preparation I did. The week before the cleanse my husband and I ate at a food truck in Austin that dumps bacon and maple glaze on a fresh donut. That same week I sent my husband out for Dairy Queen Blizzards after dinner because I felt like doomsday was approaching and that I had to suck down all the delicious food I could before the torture began.
The Cleanse: My husband and I, by some amazing stroke of luck, only work Monday-Thursday this year, so I timed the cleanse to begin on Thursday and to end on Monday. Some of our friends thought it was idiotic to “ruin” a weekend, and I see their point. My thinking was that I’d rather be hungry and grouchy at home than at work. The menu is also pretty work intensive with lots of chopping and preparing of vegetables, so I wanted free days for cooking. This schedule really worked out for us especially since both my husband and I hit an energy wall on day three which was a Saturday so we felt perfectly fine sitting around and doing nothing that day (except cooking the meals of course). 

Jen blend

Day one: I wasn’t prepared for this. I honestly and stupidly thought that Day one would be a piece of cake. I thought that the pure adrenaline and novelty of beginning this program would carry me through this day. That was true through my first breakfast shake, and leaving for work at 7:30am feeling like an accomplished saint. It ended at 9:30am when my stomach was audibly growling and by 10:30am when I thought I was going to faint from hunger at work. Here’s when my co-worker mentioned the approved snacks. “Snacks you say?” I whimpered from my fetal position on the floor (I may be exaggerating a little). But yes, there were snacks! Why didn’t I notice this before you ask? Please refer to my stellar preparation which consisted of eating junk food and glancing at the recipes. But oh, now I reread the fine print, and I can have some almonds and berries! Ok, that got me through until lunch, and lunch was delicious! I made the lamb tacos the night before so that my husband and I would have them at work. I did arrange mine more like a salad because I had a department meeting during lunch, and the tacos looked messy, so I figured a bowl and a fork was a bit more dignified than wearing lamb filling on my shirt. The rest of the workday went smoothly with my filling lunch in my belly and then came 5:00pm. Apparently I have an internal clock that tells my hand to reach for a glass of wine at 5:00pm. Anyone else? I am not a heavy drinker, but I AM a nightly drinker (I guess that would be heavy to many people) and enjoy my glass of wine with dinner. I didn’t realize how much I enjoy it until I just didn’t allow myself to have it. Again, I wasn’t prepared for this to be so tough on day one. I didn’t drink at all for my pregnancies, and I never found it a sacrifice, but I was growing precious babies at that time. This time I had no such mission, just a self made challenge and apparently that was not enough to make it easy. But I made it. I made it and I ate my sparse green salad for dinner (Forgoing the yucky looking cucumber soup recipe, my sister found a great alternative salad with asparagus, wilted greens, and a poached egg). Still, I went to bed feeling unsatisfied and well, just hungry. I was curious to see about Day two.

I know you all are probably curious about Day 2 as well, stay tuned….

I saw the sign 3

It just keeps getting better.

Stop I Pity the Fool

And my favorite so far….

Stop Hammertime / Stop in the name of Love

That “Hammertime” is askew and barely hanging on makes me laugh even harder, but the winner has to be “in the name of love”.  Gotta love the postivity on the stop sign everybody loves to hate!

Me and my TV

I’m constantly at odds with our television.  We disconnected from “regular” television years ago, opting now for the offerings on Apple TV and Netflix, it was a great decision for us and we will surely continue on this path.  We watch maybe a few hours a week, a movie for my husband and I, a show here and there for the kids, family movie night, other than that the appliance is OFF.  So I’m left staring at the black frame most hours of most days and it bugs me, so today when I came upon this picture from House Beautiful, I thought maybe others have the same problem, hence the sharing:

Photo via House

This solution of a pull down map hiding the TV is brilliant for me, because another problem I have is that my grasp of geography is crap.  Double points if I can get my map used on eBay, as it seems the folks above were able to do.

 For more photos of the house with the hidden tv,venture here.

Updates and Interests

A few things have changed around here, we got toilets seats for one.  Summer has taken over our house mind and body, I’m rarely on the computer, reaching for a book instead.  I’m spending time marinating on all of the “arrows” I’ve been following since the spring and feel like these interests still have a lot to teach me before adding something new.  Here’s a short list of the things I seem to be coming back to again and again:

1.  “Primary Nutrition: “Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can feed your soul and satisfy your hunger for life.” (excerpt from the curriculum of the Institute Integrative of Nutrition)  This idea was developed by some of the leading functional/integrative medicine folks whose books and blogs I’ve come to know and respect.  I find this whole concept deeply interesting, above whatever we put in/on our bodies, “primary nutrition” is paramount.

2.  Summer Smut:  I love to read and I read all kinds of things, this summer I’ve been reading quite a bit of smut, and it’s been AWESOME.  I’ve also found it’s like a drug, trying to pick up a more substantial book after this should be interesting.  It’s all in the name of the art of doing nothing – a practice worthy of my effort this summer.

3.  Spending trends:  Our family has identified some new interests, namely travel, that we’d like to do more of so I’ve been combing through and categorizing our expenses from past months to figure out how we can turbo charge our travel savings fund.  If you don’t already do this I highly recommend it, there’s waste in our spending that has gone unidentified for too long, we are “spring cleaning” our spending and it feels soooo good.

4.  Creating boundaries:  I live in a big city with a lot of choice – many restaurants, many activities, many shopping venues.  It’s too much choice, too much distraction for me and mine so I’m creating my own little small town by identifying the places and ways I want to spend my time, money and energy – I’m creating a list, and if you know me, you know I LOVE a list.  If it’s not on the list you won’t see us there!

5.  Breaking back out “Clean” by Dr. Junger M.D, to start thinking about our summer detox for August (possibly September due to aforementioned travel).  There are tons of detox programs out there, if you are considering one I urge you to do your research, a week of water, lemon and paprika won’t work for a busy mom the way it might for a yogi on retreat in India……ya get what I’m saying.

The problem with too much

First let me acknowledge, this is a lucky problem to have, the problem of having too much.  The fact that I sit here, blogging on my Mac, in my comfortable home, my healthy children quietly engaged, I’m a member of the lucky few…..chances are that you , dear reader, are as well.

So we, with our freedom, money, health and safety, tend to create problems.  One of these is the problem of having too much.  Let’s look at the example of clothes, we typically buy enough for every member of the family to wear something once a week and then into the laundry basket it goes.  For now, with my younger children, I’ll concede the benefits of abundant underwear, BUT otherwise it’s kind of silly.  It creates mess, it necessitates storage, which necessitates more consumption, plastic hangers anyone?  It creates more laundry, necessitating more water usage, more soaps, more energy consumption.

During our two weeks on the road I did laundry once, twice if you count my hotel room sink load with Camping Suds, we each had about 3 changes of clothes, so we chose hardy, darker items that could withstand multiple wears, a bit of dirt and still look “presentable”.  Let me tell you when I think about being out from the burden of daily laundry, the question of what am I going to wear, the simplicity of packing, freedom and peace are the feelings that come to mind.

Many of you may have already figured this out, and obviously I see the benefits of this concept in spades, but it still gets tricky.  I’m thinking beyond clothes and into relationships.  Great people in my life that tell me about a soccer team they are putting together –  do we want to sign up, a lovely CSA opportunity – do we want to participate, a birthday party invitation taking our only “free” weekend – will we accept?  It all seems harmless, part of being in a community that I cherish, but in the end, the result is the same, it’s too much.  I end up creating more problems, over tired children, not enough time to run the business of our life, wasted food that I didn’t have the energy to cook so we ate out instead.

Let me reiterate again, I am lucky that I can even count these trivial matters among my “problems”.  The question is whether I will continue to perpetuate these problems or find more comfort in my own self-imposed limits?

Thank you Martha

I love that Martha Stewart is detoxing and yoga-ing and part of a magazine that I enjoy….online of course.  Follow the link for a list of breakfast smoothies that put together.  These are sure to be my go-to snacks for the kids (and me) this summer.