The garden

I know that I have been away from this site for far too long. I have written many thoughts that I would love to share but just never could seem to find the time to get them into coherent sentences. As usual, life got in the way.

To catch you up, the detox was great and I should probably do it again. While it was hard to give up caffeine, I bravely fought through the cravings to emerge victorious on the other side. The easy drinks were tasty and fun to concoct and I have  continued to create these types of meals.

Now that summer has arrived, I am excited to tell you all about my garden. I am growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and many varieties of herbs. Because I don’t have much land for cultivating, some tomatoes are in pots,  but are growing like crazy. I love being able to use the fresh herbs in many summer dishes and am very excited to start posting these tasty creations on here for your enjoyment. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some of my handiwork.

Pepper plants, basil, and rosemary dominate this view. Oregano is just starting out.

One tomato plant growing happily with basil.

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Think spring- compost

Well, it actually is kind of hard to think spring when the forecast always has some snow in it, but if you wait until it looks and feels like spring, then it will be too late to harness the entire growing season. Some plants can go into the ground after the last frost, so if you start some seedlings indoors, you will be able to enjoy the baby plants during the final winter weeks and have hardy plants to start off your garden.

Part of what makes a great organic garden, is the type of soil you plant your seeds in. A great way to have fresh dirt, full of nutrients for your plants, is to compost. I know that composting is a scary thought for some, because of the idea of smells. However, a properly done compost pile doesn’t stink. If yours is giving off unpleasant odors, use this trick from The Daily Green. “Add more dry carbon material (leaves, straw, or sawdust) and turn it more frequently” and this should eliminate any smells coming from your compost pile.

During the winter, composting can prove to be problematic if you live in a climate the gets ice and snow often. One solution is to keep your compost in a sealed bin, that has ventilation for creating the proper mixture, but that is shielded mostly from the elements. You can use these bins year-round, so while the inital cost  investment can be high, you will get many seasons out of it.

Another idea comes from Organic Gardening. He describes how he insulated his outdoor compost pile with hay and snow to keep the heat in and used hot water when adding food to the pile. Read his description here.

Finally, you can go to your local co-op and see if they have any soil that you could buy from them. A few specialty green houses do have organic soils in bags for purchase, but think of the satisfaction you could get through making your own. In what ways do you compost? Any tricks to share with those of us just starting on this endeavor?

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Final day

I am starting my final day of the Martha Stewart’s detox program. I actually haven’t found it to be as bad as I thought, I guess because you don’t have to give up food like some other diets, but I have noticed some positive changes from the plan.

First, my neck is always sore–I don’t know why, but it is. I have tried going to chiropractors and sleeping with special pillows, but nothing really seems to help. I can say, that this detox has helped the pain in my neck! I can move it from side to side and look over my shoulder without pain! I don’t know if it is the toxins that were in my causing me pain or the fact that I ate tons of pineapple (a natural anti-inflammatory), but whatever it was, worked like a charm.

Second, yesterday I mentioned my skin looking glowy. Well, it has gotten better with every passing day. I look so healthy (and young!); wrinkles have naturally minimized and I only need to put a little moisturizer on in the morning because it is dewy! The rest of my skin is soft and smooth as well. Could it be all the fruits and veggies that I ate or the toxins leaving and allowing my body to heal itself or both? I am very happy with the overall results in how I look and feel.

I was not tired this morning when I got up, but energized and ready to start the day. I did forget to weigh myself before rushing out the door to work, but my pants feel loose on me so I might have lost a little bit of weight. That wasn’t my ultimate goal, but if it is a side effect, I won’t complain!

This morning, I have to admit, I was a little sick of carrots and pineapple. So, after two days of that drink, I tried a new blend for my last day.

Peach carrot juice

Serves 2 (breakfast and dinner)

1 (14 oz) can sliced carrots

1 cup peaches in Lite juice

1 cup decaffeinated peach tea (I used Teavana’s Peach Tranquility)

ice

Make a cup of peach tea with a tea bag or loose tea leaves. Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the tea. Rinse the carrots very well to remove as much sodium as possible before making the juice. Place the carrots into a large glass jar, and using a hand blender, make a puree out of the carrots (it becomes the consistency of baby food). Add the peaches and blend it into the carrots. Mix the tea into the drink until you reach your desired consistency. Serve over crushed ice or blend the ice into the drink. Viola!

I don’t know if I will have an active journal after today to continue with Martha’s plan, but I will try to incorporate more fruit/ veggies drinks into my daily routine and I will also keep up with the exercises that are recommended for detox and general well-being.

Ah, the sun is shining, birds are chirping, and my body is ready for spring! Happy Friday!

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Half-way done!

Day 3- I am tired and when I got up this morning I felt horrid. However, now that I am up and moving around, I don’t feel so bad. I wish they had a list of side effects, both good and bad, so that you could tell how well the detox was working. I did noticed today that my skin seemed really smooth and glowy and my eyes were alert, despite my tiredness. I did lose a pound (!) from yesterday to today; however I am not doing this for weight loss, but rather to give my body a healthy start for the spring.

I had my pineapple carrot drink (more on this later) right away because I was extremely hungry, and now I should be good for a couple hours. I brought lentils and rice for lunch, placed on a bed of lettuce and topped with salsa. I have discovered that salsa adds so much flavor to food without all the calories of other condiments. The fresh veggies are a great plus too! I am bummed because I didn’t get to make my soup last night, but hopefully tonight I’ll be able to and then I’ll have it for a nice liquid dinner.

I found the official snack list for the program (I had based my snacks off the food lists), but this gives snack suggestions if you cannot think of anything tasty to bring or you are getting bored with the same old snack. The one thing I can’t figure out though, is why yogurt is on the snack list–I thought dairy was a no-no. Well, regardless, I am going to stick with the ‘yes’ list and avoid the dairy. However, if you are running out of ideas for snacks, they had a lot of good thoughts, so here is is.

I have somewhat altered/ revised my pineapple carrot drink so that it is a thinner consistency and more easy to drink. Here is the modification:

Pineapple carrot tea

1 (14 oz) can sliced carrots

1 cup crushed pineapple in 100% juice

1/4 to 1/2 cup citrus tea or 100% pineapple juice

ice

Make a cup of citrus tea with a tea bag or loose tea leaves. Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the tea. Rinse the carrots very well to remove as much sodium as possible before making the juice. Place the carrots into a large glass jar, and using a hand blender, make a puree out of the carrots (it becomes the consistency of baby food). Add the pineapple and blend it into the carrots. Mix the tea or juice into the drink until you reach your desired consistency. Serve over crushed ice or blend the ice into the drink. Viola!

I only have one day to go with Martha’s plan, but from watching the taping of the show where Martha had the detox creator on, he said that he normally does it for 21 days! I’ll try to work up to that…. If you are feeling ambitious, here is the site for the doctor’s 21 Clean program.

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Day 2

Let me start by saying that last night I reread the detox program and found a list of foods that should be avoided while detoxing and also a list to include. Orange juice was on the avoid list! While my drink was delicious, it wasn’t part of the plan, so I created a new one today with pineapple and carrots (both acceptable per the list).

Pineapple carrot juice

1 (14 oz) can sliced carrots

1 cup crushed pineapple with 100% natural juice

Rinse the carrots very well to remove as much sodium as possible before making the juice. Place the carrots into a large glass jar, and using a hand blender, make a puree out of the carrots (it becomes the consistency of baby food). Add the pineapple and blend it into the carrots. Serve over crushed ice or blend the ice into the drink. Viola!

You can find the lists here: to include and to avoid.

I was also curious about snacks during the detox program, but then I came across this statement: “While following any type of detox plan or restrictive diet, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, flavoring it with lemon or mint if you want. For snacks, try raw veggies, fresh berries, or raw almonds, along with herbal tea. And for optimal cleansing, leave at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.” http://www.wholeliving.com/photogallery/action-plan-menus

I am not the only one on the web detoxing. I found another meat free individual who is starting her cleansing today. I think it is that time of year, when you not only think about spring cleaning for your home, but also for your body. http://greenveganliving.blogspot.com/2010/02/cleansing.html

Ok, so now that it is day 2, I feel like I am on the right track. I know what I should and should not eat and what is permissible for snacking purposes. My meal plan today looks like pineapple carrot juice for breakfast and dinner, raw veggies and almonds for snacks, and refried beans and salsa for lunch. Let the detox continue!

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Fat Tuesday= Day 1

It has been over a month since I wrote about the WholeLiving detox plan and yet, I still haven’t found time to do it! Something always comes up that I deem more important than getting my body healthy and clean, so because today is designated Fat Tuesday, I decided once and for all that I would start to get skinny on this ‘fat’ day.

I am using the WholeLiving plan (see Detox) for a guideline, but not all the recipes they recommend are vegetarian, and so I need to alter what is provided. Today is Day 1.

I feel great and it is 3 PM. I started the day around 7:30 and made myself a delicious carrot juice drink. This is not the traditional juicer juice; it is much thicker, with a smoothie consistency, but never-the-less, it is quite tasty. It really couldn’t have been easier to make either!

Carrot-Orange juice

1 (14 oz) can sliced carrots

1 cup orange juice

Open the can and wash the carrots very well to remove as much sodium as possible before making the juice. Place the carrots into a large glass jar, and using a hand blender, make a puree out of the carrots (it becomes the consistency of baby food). Add the orange juice and blend it into the carrots. Viola!

I had the drink for breakfast and also took a multivitamin for nutrients. For lunch I had refried beans and salsa. I have had a pot of tea warming all day so when I want some coffee, I can easily grab the caffeine free tea instead. So far so good; however, this is a 4 day diet, so we’ll see how I feel when Friday rolls around! Do you need to detox with me? Take this short quiz to find out.

http://mvdietdetox.com/about/detox-quiz

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Green cleaning

While it is still February outside, I am starting to think about spring cleaning (it is never too early!) With less money in my pocket due to the economy, I have started to look for recipes to make homemade cleaning products. Many sites boost that you have all the cleaning items already in your kitchen pantry, you simply need to employ them for scrubbing rather than cooking. One great site that I found claims you only need 3, that’s right, 3 products to clean everything!

http://beingfrugal.net/2008/01/29/save-money-by-making-homemade-cleaning-products/

One recipe provided on the post that I thought would be useful was the bath tub cleaner. “My favorite bathroom cleaner is a spray bottle filled with 1/2 cup Dawn and as much vinegar as the bottle holds.  It works better than any commercial tub cleaner I’ve ever tried!” I wonder though how strong the smell of vinegar is and how long the scent lasts. Maybe using scented Dawn would help?

Another option I found while looking for homemade cleaners was green/ natural cleaners. Again, the ingredients are readily available in my house already, and the consistent theme I found was the use of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. HGTV offers a list of household items and recipes to create your very own green cleaning products.

http://www.hgtv.ca/green/indoors_cleaningproducts.aspx

A floor wax recipe that I know of consists of mixing equal parts vinegar and mineral oil together and applying with a clean mop. Very simple, but also very green! Do you have any special recipes to share?

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