First Kombucha harvest

First Kombucha harvest

I just harvested my first quart of Kombucha! The jar in the background contains the mother and daughter scobys.

My good friend Dan gave me half of a scoby from his gallon jar. It was a sort of parting/christmas gift. Dan is going to Thailand in January. Anyway, I kept the mother Scoby that I had received in the fridge for a few days, then brewed some black tea, added sugar and set it to ferment it. Two weeks later, I have a pint of Kombucha and a healthy mother + daughter culture in the half gallon jar. I haven’t had time to sit down and enjoy a glass yet. I can’t wait to try it!

Also, returning from my all-too-lengthy wordpress hiatus. I look forward to being part of this community again 🙂

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Tribute and Memorial to the Search and Rescue Dogs of 9-11: Words and Images

I just came across these amazing and heartfelt stories of our veteran K9 heroes. A worthy read.

All Creatures LARGE & small

They had come to work. To get down to the business they were trained for.

They represented many states.

They represented local and federal agencies.

They traveled and arrived with their family persons and their handlers. They were very small, medium and large, black, brown, yellow, red and multi-hued. They answered to names as patrician as  Jolie Mome De Chipye Rossi and Sonne Varena von der Birkenheide, as quirky as Sunflower’s Summer Stardust and NiCad Batteries Rechargeable, as working class as Tuff, Socks and Riley. Many were specially trained former rescues. Some were family companions. They worked long and tireless hours, sometimes suffering from abrasions, inhalation problems, dehydration, fatigue and frustration. They went to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the Staten Island landfill. And each arrived with a common mission: to rescue the living…to locate the dead. And finally, when there was neither, they…

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Botanique toothpaste review

I was recently introduced to natural toothpaste by my ladyfriend. She had some spearmint peelu that was running low, and eager to share / get rid of the remainder. After having tried peelu, I was not a fan of natural toothpaste. However, I’m not quick to judge a whole genre by one book. So, after the peelu ran out, we went and searched for some good tasting natural toothpaste. We both chose Botanique’s toothpaste because it had a fairly small, and simple ingredient list that looked fresh and tasty. The packaging is quite attractive too.

My thoughts after trying Botanique toothpaste :

  • Smells like a natural toothpaste should smell. Minty fresh, not artificial.
  • A bit more expensive than ‘normal’ toothpaste, but that is to be expected with natural products for now. Lots of air in the tube makes it look more full. Check out the picture below comparing a tube after emptying the air out to the sealed tube. The box is also larger than it needs to be, giving the product a larger appearance.
  • Less gritty than what I’m used to with traditional toothpaste.
  • Foams up a lot more. The lathering seemed to clean extra things a bit more, like my tongue and the roof of my mouth. It was nice 😀

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Ladyfriend’s thoughts :

  • Not as minty as expected. It is a lot more tingly but it feels clean.
  • Definitely has a smooth texture.
  • Having just used a tube of peelu, I’m glad to have a smooth toothpaste.

Why might someone want to choose a natural toothpaste rather than the one you’re used to?
Fewer potentially harmful chemicals. Natural toothpastes are often fluoride free. Reducing the floride we take in as adults could be beneficial. fluoride is already in our water supply, and excess amounts of fluoride can be dangerous.
Saachrin and SLS are also chemicals of concern that are in most normal toothpastes.
For more info on these, check out Docakilah’s blog post.

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Breaking the juice fast & Here I am a week after starting.

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Day three, Wednesday, I had decided to break the fast for a number of reasons. My waking weight was 184, and I took in around 1400 calories. That’s a bit more than the first two days.  I thought, “I’m not far from a six-pack, but I don’t want to atrophy too much to achieve it. I also noticed focus at work was a bit more difficult from the fast, and my body felt more stressed than usual. Weakness increased a lot that day. Between cold symptoms and the lack of energy, my spirits had been down a bit. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to suddenly start eating heavy foods again. Even if it had only been two days without any solids, it’s better to play it safe and start small. So, I continued to juice as before, but I also ate a cliff bar mid-day and a cliff builder bar in the evening. I managed to go out and play a few games of volleyball after work as well. Surprisingly, after warming up a bit I felt a shift in my energy level. My body must have started metabolizing fat more. I was able to play at a near normal level of performance.

Day four, Thursday, I solidified the end of the fast. I weighed in at 183. I Had two juices, a fruit smoothie, superfood seed-meal (Hemp, Chia and flax gruel) and later some raw vegetables with hummus. My energy levels returned to near-normal until I went to Capoeira class in the evening. I trained well, but i had to take a break midway through and took it easy from then on.

I do feel that I gained more control over my diet by attempting the Juice fast. It’s now a full 7 days after I attempted the juice fast. That’s 3 days after I cut it short, and I am still at 183. I am surprised that I didn’t gain any weight back after eating solid foods again. I suppose being in control of my diet, and eating Vegan has helped me keep the results. I’m close to my goals.

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Juice fast, day two

What happened to day one?
I’ll tell you what happened — it was yesterday, and I didn’t feel like posting 😉

A friend of mine has often recommended the master cleanse diet to me whenever I spoke of getting rid of the last bit of fat that always gives me trouble when I am at my lowest body-fat percentage. Low for me has been 11-14%, and while I can begin to see the outline of my abs, I don’t have a 6 pack.

After discussing the idea, I agreed to do the master cleanse diet with guidance. The guidance I received was a bit different than what I had been reading about the master cleanse diet online, and didn’t fit in with my vegan diet. So, I modified it a bit. The guidance that I received recommended one whey protein smoothie per day to minimize muscle loss. I’m using soy protein instead. Buying lemon juice from the store was also suggested. I decided to go out and buy a juicer and drink fresh juice instead. I’m lucky to live close to work and be able to come home for lunchjuice. I was very lucky to have found a juicer on my first day at my nearest thrift store. This juicer only cost me 4 dollars.

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Day 1 Went like this :
Morning – Called in sick, maybe a combination of a bad cold and allergies. The pollen count is really high, and I was exposed to some allergens (cat-house) over the weekend which seems to have really set me off. Hard to tel if I have a bad cold or bad allergies. Is this really a good way to start ?

Weighed in at 188 Lbs.

12:00PM 1 cup of pasturized apple cider. (~100 cal)

3:00 1 cup of pasturized apple cider (~100 cal)

5:30 1 large cup of lemon juice and maple syrup (200 cal) + 2x455MG capsules of cayenne pepper

6:30 1 soy protein shake (20g of protein) (190 cal) + 2x455MG capsules of cayenne pepper

8:00, 1 pint of so delicious coconut ice cream (600 cal)

The pint was my cheat item for “easing into” the diet on the first day.

So I had a grand total of 1190 calories on day one.

Day two (today)
Feeling a bit better than yesterday.
1st thing in the morning, weighed in at 185.5 Lbs.

7:30 1 cup of lemon juice and maple syrup (200 cal) + 2x455MG capsules of cayenne pepper

12:00 1 large cup of lemon juice and maple syrup (200 cal) + 2x455MG capsules of cayenne pepper

12:30 1 soy protein shake (20g of protein) (190 cal) + 2x455MG capsules of cayenne pepper

12:45 Smoothe Move organic Tea

2:00PM (Really feeling tired/slow at work) 1 sweetened black tea (200cal)

5:30PM 1 large cup of lemon, celery, mango juice (220 cal) + 2x455MG capsules of cayenne pepper

So here I am. I don’t feel hungry, or malnourished. I do however, still feel sick with a headcold. I worked the day away, and felt a bit less productive than normal. I can’t seem to find any reliable sources online that say juice fasting is a good idea with a cold. Perhaps I will end the fast after the third day. Any thoughts?

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Meatless may is over, What’s next?

Meatless May ended, and I have decided to continue eating a vegan (whole foods-focused) diet for another month. Perhaps longer. I’m really grateful to have been invited to participate in “Meatless May with the Bud Club“, and happy with my results.
I left the following message with the Meatless may FB group :

I have felt better overall with the vegan diet. I can compare it to changes in temperament that i experienced after switching from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. My arthritis has been reduced, and energy levels haven’t dropped. although, weight has. It has really helped me think outside of the box, and try a lot of new things. Most friends are supportive and in some cases overly concerned that I will not be happy while they are eating meat next to me. However, I haven’t had an urge to eat meat and I’m perfectly fine with everyone eating what they want to eat. Lol. I was previously concerned about protein intake. I came from a high protein / weight lifter diet, but I do have an abundant source of protein between my seeds, nuts and legumes. I cook more than I did before. The Vegan restaurants I have found are amazing! I am still on the fence about wether or not it is for me. I have lost muscle but I haven’t been weight training with any real frequency. I am deferring my decision and staying vegan another month. I can commit to do an annual meatless may, if that’s a thing.

This weekend has been great. I ate at Inn Season Cafe for the second time. This time, in good company. Tigressa and I enjoyed a healthy meal and indulged in Opera cake. The opera Cake is Vegan deliciousness. I can’t say enough good things about this resturant.ImageLook at that deliciousness!

Saturday morning, I enjoyed some time with Capoeiristas at Eastern Market. Don’t ask how we ended up playing under a truck. lol.

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Later that night, I bar-tended at a wedding reception as a favor for a friend.
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And Sunday, I accompanied Dan to Palmer Park in Detroit and reviewed some MovNat techniques.

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Today, I’m starting a 3-7 day fast. (3 days if it is too difficult to focus/work) A friend of mine occasionally does a master-cleanse fast, and has invited me to try it. I’m hoping this will help me achieve greater fat loss, and move me closer to my goal of having 6-pack abs. This is my first juice fast / cleanse, and I hear the first time is very difficult. I will do my best to try and stay healthy during the fast and I’m open to any advice that is offered.

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So much to do

So little time…

Tomorrow I need to get fitted for a tux. I’m the best man in my friend Lucian’s wedding. I’m still working on the speech too. The wedding is in under 30 days, and I feel like a slacker for not having both done already.

In the near future, I’d like to make something presentable / attractive out of “Elements of Evolution” for Dan. I’ve been spending plenty of time on my blog, and I’m learning wordpress well enough… it shouldn’t be a huge challenge.

I need to fit more weight training into my routine. With the vegan diet, I’ve lost weight very easily, but I fear my muscle mass is decreasing just as quickly as the fat. While that may seem like a negative thing, it’s not bad for me. I tend to build muscle easily, and this could be my opportunity to finally be ripped. I don’t feel the need to look like a Hulk or an Aaaanold but 8% bodyfat @190lbs would be pretty cool. It isn’t possible with my current routine, but if I can find the time it could happen. This kind of fitness goal, however, will always take a back seat to staying healthy in mind as well as body, keeping arthritis in check and practicing Capoeira.

I’ve started planning my trip to Ireland, but I don’t want to make a post about it until it’s more fleshed out. I’ve also decided to do a trip to Germany in 2015. This after somewhat randomly meeting and befriending a group of people in Plymouth from various parts of Germany. (Thanks Frau Brooks for teaching me many memorable bits of German in high school) Two were Au Pairs. Two are working a Laser engineering internship, and one works at an automotive supplier. They gave me some advice on interesting sights to see in Deutschland. I’ll include all of that later as I’m sorting the plans out.

This weekend is DEMF… DEMF!  For those of you who don’t know, DEMF is Detroit Electronic Movement Festival, or simply TechFest. I find it to be the most exciting event of the year in southeast Michigan (if you’re an electronic music fan, you should too.) There are I run into people from all over the country and the world at DEMF. Seldom is there such volume and variety of electronic music for such a length of time! Three 12 hour days with 5 stages going almost nonstop. If you don’t like one stage, just wander to the next. The people are just as exciting and various as the music. I’m looking forward to running into a torrent of old friends as well. 😀

Check out this promo video –

And this parody video 😀

 

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