My Two Week Juice Fast

Beet Juice Today is my last day of a two week juice fast. Two weeks not eating anything but just drinking water, herbal tea, and veggie juices (OK I will admit I did do some fruit juices) oh and coconut water from fresh young coconuts! It was an interesting experience.  Totally different from the first time I did a juice fast. But the first time it was more of a juice feast than fast. I am thankful that I had this opportunity to do a juice fast for two weeks. If it were not for Sashenka then I would have never completed it successfully. He encouraged and motivated me (also worried for me, made juices, took care of our toddler, gave me a massage, etc…!!!) A huge thank you!!! I’m not going to say that it was supper easy. But I’m not going to moan and groan about how horrible it was either. I’m just going to talk about some things that were different from what I expected when compared to the first time I did this. And of course a juice recipe at the end.

  • The first time around, the first three days were exhausting. I felt like a drug addict with a headache and absolutely no energy. This time, my first three days were not as extreme. Yes, I felt a little bit week and hungry but not as bad as the first time. I was surprised that I could actually function normally; and this all on only 3 juices a day. Where, compared to the initial feast, I did ten juices a day.
  • Cravings. The past two weeks I did not know what that word meant! I did not have a single craving for anything. Sure I had an appetite when I saw or smelled food, but I was under control and calm. My first experiment with juicing was an enslaving dance with cravings. I craved burgers to chocolate. Even things I normally do not like. But I was pleasantly surprised that this juice fast did not torment me at all with cravings. I did not mind a green salad with sprouts and an avocado but it was not a possessive kind of ‘want’. Just a ‘sure would not mind’ – kind of thing.
  • The past two weeks were very smooth. No roller coaster like the first time – low on energy and then a high of energy.
  • This time around I did not cheat by drinking V8 – the first time I had two cans of it.
  • I still cooked for our toddler and Sashenka. Where last time I could not be under the same roof of a building with food that is cooking. During the first fast Sashenka ate on our balcony because I could not tolerate the smell. But this time around, I cooked most meals for both of them and even made cinnamon rolls today and veggie burgers for a cookout on our street!
  • I enjoyed the juices exceedingly more the past two weeks then on the initial juice feast. And had the inspiration to get creative with them.

 

And speaking of tasty juice recipes…

…. The star that is pictured consists of…

1 Sweet Potato

1 Beet

2-3 Carrots

Juice root veggies with skins on and enjoy!

This juice is very filling, sweet, and beautiful!

 

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O Christmas Tree

Christmas tree 2013

This is our fourth Christmas together and our first real Christmas tree. Our last year’s ‘tree’ and the year before that were far from ordinary. But this year we went with a real tree, surprisingly! We still could not get away from making something; therefore we made all of the ornaments and the star topper (using this tutorial for the star). The stars are made from salt dough and a cookie cutter while the other ornaments are made from a combination of balloons, papier-mâché, and drywall mud. We thought about making the garlands of beads but could not come up with what to make them with so that they would be cost efficient as well. In the end we just bought four strands from the craft store.

A Sundry Post of Life

I have not cooked creatively for the past month (as you can tell from the lack of recipe posts) and need to start back up again. But I have been engaged in creative ‘other’ things so I can’t say I have been slaking off. Therefore here are some insights into what we have been up to…

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Running: I started running back up in April and have been at it religiously since. I run 2-5 times a week 2.3 miles each run with an average pace 9:50-10:20. I would like to run a longer distance at a time but for some reason seam stuck at my currant distance. I am running with a baby and stroller and it has been very humid/hot lately (my excuses for not reaching my goal of 5 miles). But does anyone have any tips of what I can do to improve and reach my goal? What time of day is best for a run; morning afternoon or evening? I usually run in the morning before 9am but occasionally in the afternoon around 2-3 pm. I have noticed that I have more endurance later on in the day verses in the morning and it is less humid in the afternoon. But morning runs help me start out my day. To eat or not to eat before/after run, how much and what? With music or not? I use an app called Podrunner and its just beats that help me stay motivated and I have noticed that the faster the beat the faster I run. But sometimes I also enjoy running without anything and just listen o the birds and my baby. Any other helpful tips?

Sprouts: We are growing our own sprouts! I have wanted to do this for some time and finally Sashenka urged me to start after reading this article of how sprouts improve eye sight.

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My eye sight has been failing and Sashenka is on the verge of forbidding me to use my smart phone because I read only from my phone. I blame it on pregnancy, he says it’s from me reading in the dark off my phone. I read everything off my phone from Bible reading to recipes to health articles. A solution would be is to get a reader. But that is not appealing to me because it means I will not be able to buy physical books and I have an attachment to physical books. Nor is it practical buying two copies, one digital and one physical. Anyways, back to sprouts. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are super tasty. In general I love sprouts but from the grocery store you are very limited between alfalfa, broccoli, maybe mung bean and pea shoots plus they can get pricey. We bought seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs for Radish, Crimson Clover, Buckwheat, Brown Mustard, Broccoli, and Alfalfa. We are growing them in mason jars with a screen on top. We start a jar a day to have a continual supply (but I think we will need to start three jars every two days). To grow them you just soak the seeds in water for 4-8 hrs to germinate them and then drain on the first day. Then rinse twice a day with fresh water to water them. Make sure they get air circulation so they don’t get moldy but do not blow on them because that introduces bacteria from your mouth into the jar. They do not need a lot of sun so a kitchen counter is more than enough. If they are on the paler side, I would put them on the window sill for couple of hours after they are done growing but before I eat them. You can store them in the refrigerator for one maybe two weeks but our sprouts never make it to the fridge; we eat them before they do. If you Google ‘sprouts’ you will get a ton of info but if you have any questions I would be glad to answer from our experience and research.

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Clockwise: Sunscreen, Eye cream, Magnesium Body Butter, Solid Perfume.

Personal care products: Here is a quick story: “They were in the local Wal-Mart and she reluctantly found the sunscreen shelf. It was the second day they were at the beach and they had a whole week ahead of them. She was seven weeks pregnant and feeling great! The only problem was that everyone was pressuring for her to use sunscreen and stating she was going to burn up and feel miserable. Part of her knew they were right but the other part could not agree to put toxic chemicals on her body that she knew would absorb into her skin and be passed to her baby. Her husband and best friend, supported her but did not know how to help her. So there she stood trying to pick the lesser evil of the many choices. She knew how bad they all were even the ones labeled ‘natural’. This was before she read this and this article. All she had back at the hotel was coconut oil that she had planned on using as sunscreen but was afraid it would not be enough. She did not want to be the ‘natural miserable one who burned up’…” That was me last summer at the beach with a group of friends. So this year I found this article and made my own sunscreen. And while I was at it I made my own bug repellent, toothpaste, eye cream, magnesium body butter, magnesium oil, and solid perfume. Whew! Told you I was busy! I’m excited because my eye cream turned out great! I used lanolin, wheat germ oil, natural vitamin E, and bees wax. Bug repellent smells so superior then store bought and is not toxic at all with 20 drops EO Lavender, 20 drops EO peppermint, 20 drops EO Rosemary, and 1 TBSP Coconut oil. The toothpaste I was not thrilled about and will try to improve it to share a recipe in a different post. The sunscreen is amazing, it works, and I absolutely love it so follow the link to make your own! Also magnesium on skin to help you sleep better – works! I put some magnesium butter on mine and Sashenka’s feet and we slept like the dead. The solid perfume …um so-so. I like the idea of a solid perfume but after spending money on the essential oils I was not thrilled with the aroma. Maybe it would be great just with a different combination of oils. But this is something that I am not going to venture into for now because the art of perfume making is so extensive and expensive that (for now at least) I’m not going to dive into it. I still want a perfume that I love and does not smell like you local health and herb store. Also that it would naturally be made from essential oils and not chemicals, so hopefully I will be able to find something soon. And will tell you about it.

Elimination Communication: While I’m at ‘updates’ I might as well write about how EC is coming along. AMAZING! I am extremely glad that we started and did EC with our first baby and now we will defiantly do it with every single baby following, God willing. Aurelius is 9 months and asks to go to the bathroom every time. He sleeps threw the night dry with waking up to go to the bathroom once. We do not have poppy diapers. Sometimes we will have a wet diaper but 98% of the time it will be our fault because he would ask and we either are too busy or just didn’t pay attention. I would recommend that everyone should at least give EC a try. It is not as hard as it seems!

Food Venture in Philadelphia

collage in PA 2013

The weekend before last, we went to Philadelphia for the weekend. Sashenka had to do some stuff for his job so Aurelius and I went with him. Every time we go somewhere I try to find an interesting place to try new food. And since I do not eat dairy and we are vegetarian our search is already narrowed for us from the thousands of dining options that big cities have to offer. I searched online for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Philadelphia and was overwhelmed with the vast variety of eateries that they had! With great difficulty I narrowed it down to three and hoped we would have time to stop by at least one.

We stayed with Sashenka’s family and they were extremely hospitable and went out of their way to make vegetarian food for us. We had a cookout with grilled shiitake mushrooms and veggies, home pickled bell peppers, roasted eggplant and veggie dish, and rice. They also made ‘varenikie’ with fresh picked strawberries for dessert. And of course the best part was that we got to see everyone and Aurelius got to meet his cousins!

On Sunday we went to center city Philadelphia to shop at H&M because we do not have one in our city. On our way there we stop by a soap shop called Lush. It was an interesting place. They had solid toothpaste in tabs that you chew and then brush your teeth with and lots of huge and pretty bath bombs. We bought their solid shampoo. I picked one that smelled like rosemary. We than went to a park where they had a fine art exhibit. The weather was lovely and we had a great time. After all the walking everyone was hungry including Aurelius so we headed towards Hip City Veg Cafe. I breastfed Aurelius and we had the best vegan lunch that we ever ate out! Sashenka ordered a Buffalo Bella burger which was a crispy Portabella mushroom with celery slaw, tomato & buffalo sauce. I had the Bistro Bella burger with herb glazed grilled Portabella mushroom, dijon, olive tapenade, tomato, artichokes, red onion & arugula. We shared a side of sweet potato fries with cilantro-black bean dip which was a great combo and I will try to replicate it at home! For drinks we had the Groothie which is a green smoothie with organic apples, organic leafy greens, bananas & seasonal fruit and a Green Lemonade made with fresh squeezed lemons & organic kale juice, lightly sweetened with raw organic agave nectar. I also ordered a vegan cupcake that I saved for later for tea (but it was not as good as the rest of the food). Sashenka and I try to avoid mock meats for they are not healthy and if we really wanted to eat meat we would eat good quality meat. But we just do not want to eat meat and thus do not want to try to imitate it either. We were very happy that they had burgers with Portabella mushrooms but their menu also offered a veggie burger that we didn’t get to try. I think that the art of a great burger is all of the other details that you put into it. Instead of having the usual lettuce tomatoes and onions with ketchup mustered and mayo these burgers had olive tapenade, artichokes, arugula, and celery slaw. Now that’s two very creative burgers! Not to mention that the Portabella was very juicy and tasty! And did I mention that everything is vegan?! The atmosphere and decor was very crisp, clean and fresh. Sashenka really enjoyed it! Now what we didn’t enjoy was a 12 hr drive back home at night with a 7 month old! But it’s all part of life.

Oh I almost forgot! Before we left we stopped by a Russian food store and bought all kinds of goodies! Like Ukrainian chocolate, unrefined sunflower oil, buckwheat, ‘vareniki’ with cabbage and potatoes, kvass (you have to try it and its even good for you if it was fermented naturally and has natural ingredients and no preservatives or artificial flavors), and a whole lot of other things that I can’t remember right now.

So that was our food expedition in Philadelphia. Next time we go we hopefully can stay for a longer time and visit more places.

7 month EC update

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7 months update on EC: I know that there is a huge gap between my last update and know but I did write more than 3 page essay for a five month update but I did not save it before publishing and it was lost. I was very frustrated but that’s life and things happen. So here is the 7 months update on EC…

When is a child considered potty trained? One person online said “A child is considered FULLY potty trained when there are NO accidents during the day”. Some people consider being potty trained when a child asks to go to the potty before he makes an accident. And then there are others who say a child goes to the bathroom by himself when he needs to go. Well Aurelius is only 7 months and he can’t walk, so he can’t take himself to the bathroom but he does communicate that he needs to go and we also have whole days when he stays dry and even sleeps through the night dry. Thus, I do not know when we will pronounce him ‘potty trained’ but we don’t believe that is the main point for now.

We would generally have on and off days where, for example, he would be dry for two days straight and pee in his diaper on the third day or one wet diaper every two days. But the past three days he has been completely dry and out of four nights he had one wet diaper. He strictly goes on the potty for number 2. We have one poppy diaper about once a month. During naps, he either wakes up to go to the bathroom and then goes back to sleep or holds it till when he wakes up. Most of the time he will not fall asleep if we do not take him do the bathroom before nap time or bedtime.

Yes he cannot talk yet but he has a certain cry/noise that he does when he has to go. And when we take him we just hold him on his potty or over the toilet (or on the grass). This saves us a lot of diapers and baby wipes! I have noticed that we practically do not use baby wipes anymore because we are not constantly cleaning up messes. Most of the time I would just use one baby wipe to clean his bottom or even toilet paper or just warm water with soap. If we throw diapers away mostly it’s because they do not close from constant opening and closing. But he mostly wears cloth diapers that I made or real underwear. We put disposables on if we go out. But he really hates them and tries to pull them off. I used this very easy pattern to make wool diaper covers and put a pre-fold diaper inside. When it was colder he would wear wool pants that I made as well. I buy 100% cashmere sweaters from goodwill and cut them up and make these adorable (if I may say so) diaper covers. They are super soft, warm, natural, and don’t let water through.

As I mentioned before, Aurelius cannot walk yet, therefore he relies on us to take him to the bathroom; just as he relies on us for food and protection. He is a human being and we need to treat him with dignity and not let him sit in his waste. And in return he is a happy baby who is rarely fussy and so far hasn’t cried ‘just because’. We believe that a lot of the unknown crying happens because babies are just asking to go to the bathroom and are holding to the last minute. Or maybe we are imagining things. What do you guys think?

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Sleeping through the night

collage dec 2012

Wow Aurelius slept 7 hrs and then 5 hrs. To be exact, 6 hrs and 46 min and then 4 hrs and 55 min. At 10:39 pm was when he last nursed and fell asleep to sleep 7 hrs. Then I nursed him and held him to pee and he went back to sleep. Actually he didn’t even wake up. He kept his eyes closed and was dead weight the whole time. Overall he sleeps well at night and never cries or wakes up. He just starts moving and grunting or sucking his fists and we hear him and feed him.
We never aimed at trying to make him sleep the whole night through or make him sleep more. It’s just because we do not have a strict sleeping schedule our selves (maybe something to consider changing in the New Year). We do not co sleep and we do not follow a feeding/sleeping regiment either. He eats every 2-3 hrs and I put him down to sleep whenever I see that he is about to get tiered. If he is tiered and wants to sleep then it’s harder for him to fall asleep. He then cries himself to sleep even if I’m holding him. But if we calm down and stop playing before he gets tiered then he coos himself to sleep and those are the most precious moments ever!

Two month update on EC

Aurelius Christmas 2012

Aurelius is two and a half months old and we have been practicing Elimination Communication (EC) with him. Of course people, who know us, now think we have officially lost it! 🙂 I do not blame them. I didn’t believe that this actually works until I tried it! A two month old CAN control his pee and poo!

For those that are lost at what EC is this one and this one and this one are all great posts that explain what it is. And you can find a lot more if you Google ‘Elimination Communication’.

At the end of my pregnancy I was looking into different diapering options and ran into EC. I was intrigued but though it would be the hardest thing to do. Constantly holding your baby over the toilet and begging them to pee or poop. I was determined to try it but didn’t think that I would have enough patients to do it. After Aurelius was born I again googled at what age you can start and a lot of people recommend from birth. So the first time that we held him over the potty was when he was ten days old. And that was the start of our journey.

Since then we had good days where very few diapers were used and not so good days where only diapers were used. But it is always a thrill to catch a poo or a pee. (Yes I’m excited about a baby pooping 🙂 ) Our record has been three days with no poopy diaper – all in the potty. We have more success when we stay home. It is a lot harder when we are out. I guess a lot has to do with the fact that it’s so cold and I hate going into public bathrooms with him. I rather change his diaper in the car or in his bassinet. I so can’t wait till its summer he defiantly will be without diapers outside. Also we have a harder time catching his pees then poops. Any advice from anyone who has mastered this?

That said, this is our two month EC update. And the latest news is that Aurelius used the potty twice for #2 this morning! So far a good start for today’s day.

My first week in the real world.

My first week in this new world and what a week it has been!

I had breakfast in bed with mom…

…Made a lot of new friends…

…I even went tanning…

…and in the few days that I have been here, already I was able to leave my foot print in this world!…

…And what about my three main duties so far? Eat, Poop, Sleep. Sleep what heavenly bliss!