30+ Hour Bone Broth

Once again, the summary is at the top!

SUMMARY Get bones from butcher, properly raised animals…bones are cheap!  Get feet too! Roast them for 30 minutes if you want, not required. Put bones, carrot, celery, garlic, S&P, onion in the crock.  Fill with water. Lid on, low temp, come back in 24 hours.  Put broth through a mesh strainer into jars. Leave headroom.  Let cool.  Freeze.  Drink daily.  Try to heat on the stove rather than the microwave…you just spent the better part of 30 hours slow-cooking it, better not to nuke all the delicate nutrients!

I welcome my sister’s input on this topic as she has been creating bone broth for longer than I have.  I avoided getting involved in bone broth for…..what, 4 years now?  Obviously in my travels of the paleo/grain free blogosphere, I’ve read about the many wonderful benefits of bone broth and tried to put it out of my head.  For a few reasons.  First, I knew that I could not make bone broth with conventionally raised animal bones but I did not want to source properly raised bones.  Second, I thought it would be a shittone of work.  Third, I didn’t want to only do it for myself (this one I could explain to you but it would take paragraphs).  Fourth, I didn’t think I would like it, and finally, I didn’t want to spend an assload of money on mason jars to store it.

So….at a good quality butcher about 5 months ago (first hold up eliminated!), I purchased chicken bones (called a rack), a tray of feet and a tray of gizzards.  Threw them in the deep freeze and tried to forget about them.  I even tried to give them to my sister but she wouldn’t take them.  A little under a month ago, with a weekend totally to myself and a deep freeze full to bursting, I decided to get those bones turned into broth.  I texted my sister for her recipe (my modified recipe below) and fired up the crockpot.  I wasn’t fully committed to the process yet and so I basically half-assed it and broke 3 carrots in half, broke 3 celery stalks in half, cut an onion in half, poured in some ACV and a handful of coarse salt and peppercorns, tossed a full bunch of whole parsley in and filled the rest of the space with water.  Turned it on low and walked away. That was Friday night.  By Saturday morning it had turned into The Nectar of The Gods.  And….in that first mug, holdups number two and four were blasted.  No work whatsoever and delicious!  I think that weekend I drank about a litre of it myself….just kept dipping into the crockpot and replacing what I took off with more water.

Now that I had a giant crockpot full of this stuff I had to figure out storage.  A little voice in the back of my head reminded me that I’d seen some mason jars way in the back of the garage in a dusty, cobwebby, broken down old box.  Ray’s ex-wife used to do a lot of canning and those jars were leftovers from many years gone by.  Mine now!  Once I knocked the (enormous) spider carcasses out of them and ran them through the dishwasher, I realized I had at least a dozen 1 litre jars and another dozen 500ml jars.  I bought some sealer lids for about $10 and the final holdup was gone.  Part of the jar issue was also where to store the filled jars so I basically evicted everything old and freezer burned from our fridge freezer and moved the broth in.  Easy access to pull a jar every day and easy to see what stock is there.

All that was left was my desire to get Ray on board.  For the first week I heated it up in the mornings and took it to work with me, offering to make him some every other day or so.  The second week, when I’d acquired pig bones and feet (which Ray was interested in seeing/learning about), I poured him a mug the evening it was done cooking and he’s been a broth hound ever since.  I chalk it up to not pestering, to answering questions as they arose and his relative interest in the process.  Plus, the house smells so good when it’s cooking!  The only thing he did ask me to do for him is to skim the fat until he gets used to that texture and the fact that conventional wisdom is BS.  Can do, buddy!

So, want a recipe?  SO easy.  We like chicken the best but the pork is good also.  When the pork bones/feet are all used up next weekend I’ll get some beef bones and a calf’s foot and I will try my hand at a beef broth.

My crockpot is huge, adjust your bones/veg accordingly.

 

For every batch I use:

3# bones, feet, gizzards, skin, tendons etc, roasted 30 minutes at 400F first if you want

3-4 carrots

3-4 celery

3-4 smashed garlic cloves

1-2 yellow onions depending on their size (no onion peel, makes broth bitter!)

3 bay leaves (from my bay plant)

a palmful of coarse salt

a palmful of peppercorns

about ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 head of fennel (use the top green part) or dried fennel seeds

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

About 2 tbsp each dried thyme leaves (not powder) and dried rosemary leaves in the chicken one.  A sprinkle of sage if you have it

A bunch of parsley (I don’t use parsley anymore, I don’t like the aroma it gives the broth, but most recipes will call for it)

My sister uses a dried chile and I know recipes call for star anise which I don’t have but want to get

 

I run the crockpot on Low for around 26-30 hours before straining and jarring.  With the pork bones I bottled about half after 20 hours and then replaced what I drew off with more water and cooked another 12 hours.  If I’d had time that weekend I would have let the second incarnation go for longer because it seemed to be getting even richer in the second round.  My sister does a remouillage (a weak stock made by re-simmering bones that have already been used to make stock once) after she’s done jarring the main brew and then she uses that in place of/in addition to water in the next week’s simmer.  I don’t do that but I can understand why it would be preferable!

My broth never gels.  I’m not too concerned with that since we also take a gelatin supplement every day. I suspect I’m not using enough bones/feet for the size of my crockpot since I get an “almost” gel every time, but the flavour I get is good and the bones are basically paste when I’m done so as far as I care, I’m getting maximum nutrition from them.  We have our broth in the evenings, around 8pm as a nice wind down for the day.  I like going to bed with a broth tummy and whether it has anything to do with it or not, I have been sleeping great.  As much as I don’t want to wish my life away, I’m looking forward to broth in the winter and I think we’ll go through more of it after walks and outings in the cold….which is good because winter = cold/flu season and broth = nature’s elixir.

I usually let the jars sit out until they have cooled and are only warm to the touch, then I cap and freeze (leave an inch of headspace at least to prevent explosions).  Food-safety wise, I should probably cool in the fridge before freezing…but I don’t have room so I don’t worry about it.  I always refrigerate one jar which is the next day’s dose….mainly to see if it gelled or not.  Usually “not” or “barely”.

That’s it.  Bones, crock, time, jars.

July 16, 2014: Pride & Gelato

This whole “new bike, high expectations, frustration inducing” few days that I’ve had are, of course, teaching me a lesson about myself and about life.

Yesterday at work my boss told me of a top notch ice cream store about a 45 minute ride away.  After some consideration and deciding that nothing changes if you don’t make changes, I studied the map, memorized the directions and then told Ray that I wanted to lead a ride to a “mystery location”.  Normally I would never ride in the lead.  I’ve done it approximately a half dozen times in 6 years.  I always preferred riding at the back and taking my cues and confidence from him.  I also basically get lost in a parking lot so leading a ride to somewhere completely new is even more foreign.  Last night though, I put my confidence out on the line and went way out of my comfort zone.

And it turned out?  Pretty frigging awesome.  I didn’t tell him where we were going because I felt like it would be easier for me to “need” to lead if only I knew our destination (also, I like surprises so I thought I would give him one).  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best riding I have ever done and 1 being “I’m done, abandon bike”, the ride out to the ice cream last night was a solid 6.  Not super great….but not horrible and I’m happy with that.  My stopping has improved immensley since Monday and now I’m achieving a smooth, controlled landing 90% of the time.  My accelerating from a stop still sort of sucks, I haven’t quite figured out the clutch/brake/throttle combo yet but it’s better than it was.  Blah blah blah…if you’re not a rider, you probably don’t care about that crap.  My point is, improvement!

For the ride back home I asked Ray to lead as I was a bit turned around and besides, behind him is normally where I’m most comfortable so I wanted to give that a whirl too.  If the ride out was a 6, the ride back was a 3.  Wha?!  Never, in my wildest imagination, would I have believed I would have more confidence beign in charge of myself and leading myself around.  Never.  Around halfway home, Ray took off ahead faster than I wanted to go which made us “independent riders” rather than riding as a pair (closer together and staggered).  Once again, higher skill level, higher confidence, better ride.  He told me when we got home that he’d noticed it wasn’t going as well as the ride out there so he spread us out to give me space to do my own thing. 

So…I learned a few things last night.  First, all my efforts at gaining my own space, time, independence has worked in ways I never predicted.  I will not, for one second, say that I was oppressed…..but I did, over time and circumstance, stop working on the things that are important to making me a strong, healthy woman.  Second, had I not just spent 5 figures on this new bike, I would have quit on Monday.  And Tuesday.  And a little bit on Wednesday morning.  I expect perfection right out of the gate and if I don’t have it, my first reaction is to assume that I am broken, useless or bad at whatever it is.  Instead, if I could learn to expect wobbles and a bumpy start and just keep pushing on, I would distress myself a lot less!  I’ll keep practicing and paying attention and I’ll get better.  Ray’s comment Tuesday was that Jezebel is talking to me, I just don’t understand what she’s saying yet.  Last night I figured out a bit of her language.  It makes me wonder how many other things I have quit in defeat because I wasn’t perfect at it right off the bat.

Finally, I learned last night to never make anyone else responsible for making you feel good, accomplished or proud.  I was very, VERY proud of myself last night.  I rode my brand new bike the furthest I’ve gone with her, I led the ride which I have rarely done and I took us to somewhere totally new which I have never done.  That is all HUGE for me.  Unfortunately, for a little while, I was feeling let down because I was really expecting (hoping) that Ray would be super impressed and proud of me.  And………..he wasn’t really.  I don’t think he really sees it as an accomplishment, just as something he figures I should be able to do.  It was very disappointing (and possibly led to the less-fantastic ride home) and took the shine off.  Along the way home I “turned the corner” and decided that my pride in myself is enough.  I am enough!  However………I did have a calm word with Ray before I went to bed; along the lines of “Honey, sometimes I need you to tell me that you’re proud of me.”.  He was basically shocked and couldn’t understand why I didn’t just know that he was impressed and proud of me because he always is, “duh.”.  It’s an ongoing communication issue that flares up from time to time. (remember how I told you my blog is totally honest and unfiltered these days? This would be one of those instances………..relationships are hard, we can be on different playing fields sometimes and we don’t always make our spouses feel very good………it’s life……..and even though I was screaming “You’re quite the confidence killer!” in my head on the way home, I pulled myself together and went at the issue much more gently………whether it worked or not?  Who knows.)

So to summarize. Bike = much better, Shanny = more confident, relationships are hard, ice cream is where it’s at!

Gelato

Home Brewing Kombucha, you SHOULD DO IT!

UPDATE – July 22, 2014, shown in blue

I’ve been homebrewing kombucha now for around a month and thought I would give a run down on how it’s going and what I’ve learned as the Brewmaster.  I put the summary here at the top in order to not scare people away from brewing…because this post is LONG!

 

SUMMARY! Time wise it will take you about 20 minutes every 6 days or so once you get going.  A little longer if you batch brew, a little less if you Continuous Brew.  Get/make scoby. Brew and cool sweetened tea.  Dump equal amounts tea and water into large glass vessel with scoby. Come back 6 days later and start tasting.  Put tea in bottles when it tastes good to you. Put fruit in bottles if desired. Refrigerate immediately if plain, counter ferment sealed & covered with towel if using fruit.  About 30 hours, burp daily.  Refrigerate.  Start again.

BATCH OR CONTINUOUS? I started out doing the kombucha as “batch brew” because I wasn’t sure how it would go, if we would like it and how much time, mess and effort it would take.  I did two batches that way and then switched over to Continuous Brew and am now on Batch #4.  There isn’t a huge amount of difference between Continuous Brew and Batch Brew, the main difference is that for Continuous, you need a large vessel with a spigot so that when you bottle, you draw off from the bottom and leave the scoby floating on the top liquid.  The other main difference is that with Batch you bottle 90% of it and then start completely over.  With Continuous, and because the jar is much larger, you bottle only what you would use in a week and then add the same volume of new sweet tea as what you just drew off.  Continuous, over time, will brew faster because you’re leaving a larger amount of more mature liquid in the vessel rather than starting from square one.  And…with Continuous Brew, you hit more of the ferment markers at 14-21 days than you do with Batch Brew where you stop and start every 7-10 days, never moving beyond that one small cycle.

So…..as far as I’m concerned, providing that your household can consume between 12-16 oz/day and you use a 2.2 gallon (7L) brew jar, Continuous Brewing knocks the socks off of Batch Brew in every way; less work, less mess, easier & quicker bottling and quicker brewing.  One final note on Continuous Brew is both positive and negative.  Positive is that you rarely ever touch the scoby in a Continuous Brew situation (in Batch Brew you handle it into a new jar every batch), thereby greatly reducing the chance it could become infected or contaminated.  Negative is that the scoby can get rather large and has to be pared down from time to time as it will take up valuable liquid brewing space. 

So….getting a SCOBY.  SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria And Yeast.  If you can’t get a scoby and some starter tea from someone you know (if you’re local, hit me up!), you can grow your own.  The downside to growing your own is that you have to wait quite awhile for it to mature so that you can use it.  The upside to growing your own is that you can grow a couple at a time so that you always have a backup in case one meets an unfortunate end.  To grow your own scoby, buy a bottle of plain kombucha, pour it into a glass jar (a canning jar works great), put a coffee filter and a rubber band over the top (you do NOT want fruit flies getting in there!) , wrap a towel around it for darkness and put it somewhere ambient and dark.  Don’t bug it.  Once you can’t stand the suspense anymore (around 10-14 days after starting), you can check on it.  There should be a layer forming on the top and once it’s about ¼” thick, you’re ready to go.  (when I did mine, my first scoby sank to the bottom around Day 7 and a new one started to grow on the top.  Between the two I figured I had enough ready and I used it successfully.) I did not feed mine, but after researching it, I would feed it next time (1 cup of strong black tea sweetened with 1/8 cup sugar and cooled, added to the plain kombucha) so that it grew quicker and healthier.

BREWING!  Now that your little monster is ready to go, you can brew up your tea mixture.  8 cups of water brought to neeeaaarrly a boil & then removed from heat (not a rolling boil as that boils off needed oxygen), 8 black, green or white (or combo) of tea bags steeped for 20 minutes and 1 cup of sugar stirred in to dissolve.  Then let it cool to room temperature!  Pour your cooled sweet tea and 8 more cups of room temp water into your brewing vessel, dump your scoby and nursery liquid in, cover the top with a coffee filter and elastic, wrap the vessel with a towel or t-shirt and place in your ambient location.  Depending on how warm your house is and the size of your jar, start checking on it around Day 6.  You’ll want to start tasting it (insert a straw just below the scoby bring some out.  Do NOT suck on the straw…the backwash will contain bacteria that can hurt your scoby.  Taste test it until it reaches yoru desired sweet/tart level.

BOTTLE! If you are going to fruit flavour in secondary fermentation, bottle your liquid and insert or pour in your flavourings (more on that below).  Around ¼ cup fruit/puree for 32oz brew is a good start.  Seal the bottles, leave on the counter under a towel.  BURP the bottles every 12 hours or so, letting off just a bit of pressure so you don’t have an explosion on your hands.  You can’t open the bottles in secondary enough to taste the product without losing all the fermentation so how long you leave them on the counter is your own experiment.  I usually refrigerate after 30 hours.  Refrigerating stops any further fermentation.  When you use fruit flavoured, you can strain if you prefer…or just go with it as is…and if you used whole fruit, eat the fruit chunks, they are delightfully fizzy!  If you’re just going to bottle plain you can seal and refrigerate immediately.

 

FLAVOURINGS!  So far we’ve done the following flavours:

  • Strawberry ginger (used whole fruit)
    • Very lovely color, good strawberry flavour, remaining strawberries were very fizzy
  • Watermelon Mint (used whole fruit)
    • Extremely light in color, almost a clearish pinky green, refreshing flavour…but couldn’t tell what it was exactly
    • Fairly fizzy, the remaining watermelon was CRAZY fizzy
  • Tri-Berry Banana (used puree – frozen blackberry, blueberry, raspberry & frozen banana blended together)
    • Nice bold color, reasonably fizzy, on the tart side which was surprising because I thought the banana would make it quite sweet
    • Couldn’t really determine the flavour profile…just generally fruity, I guess
  • Blueberry Nectarine (used puree – fresh bluebs and nectarine blended together)
    • Good color, extremely fizzy!!! Delicate blueberry flavour.  Tart but refreshing.
  • Cherry Vanilla (used puree – fresh pitted cherries & vanilla extract blended together)
    • Hands down favourite so far! This one I did for 60 hours in secondary fermentation because I didn’t feel that it was fizzy enough.  I burped twice a day until I was happy with the pressure.  It was delicious!
  • Blueberry Lemon (used puree – two cups fresh blueberries with about 3 tbsp. lemon juice (bottled)
    • used about 1/2 cup fruit mixture…which the secondary ferment consumed almost all of it. VERY fizzy in the bottles, didn’t leave any air space at all. Have not tasted it yet.  60 Hour secondary ferment on this one too.

I have plans for the next few flavours:

  • Peach (I’ll brew in first ferment with mainly white tea which is much more delicate and might compliment the peaches)
  • Date Vanilla (I’ve read that this tastes like cream soda!)
  • Apple Ginger (with a mainly white or green tea base)
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Strawberry Lemon
  • Lemon Rosemary (like a rosemary lemonade, I hope)
  • Strawberry Rhubarb

MY TIPS

  • When I secondary ferment with fruit, I leave it in first fermentation until it’s quite tart as the fruit will sweeten it slightly during the second fermentation and we prefer ours more on the tart side.
  • If I’m going to draw off and use it plain, I’ll take it when there’s just a teensy bit of sweetness left
  • Wash jars, vessels, tools & then rinse with white vinegar between brews.  Soap reside can kill your scoby
  • Do not use metal tools, the acidic nature of your brew can leach the metal.  Wooden or glass tools only
  • Flip top “grolsch” style bottles are the BEST.  You can use old screwtop Kombucha bottles but the pressure of the fermentation inside can make it impossible to get the lid off and burping can be really tricky.  IKEA has flip top bottles for a great price.
  • I keep a Brew Diary and log what I used for tea, how long I fermented for and what I used for flavourings (and if they were tasty, fizzy, attractive in appearance, etc)
  • Favourite tea so far is Stash Earl Grey Double Bergamot because it makes a gently citrusy brew…although I just heard that the oils in a Bergamot can hurt your scoby. Mine seems healthy but I will switch over to an unflavoured black tea in the next batch.
  • Use any combo of white, black or green…but to keep your scoby healthiest, try to always include a couple bags of black as your little monster enjoys consuming the tannins in black tea
  • You can freeze any leftover puree in ice cube trays, 2 cubes = around ¼ cup.  Just let them thaw out and then pour into your bottles
  • When bottling for secondary fermentation, put the tea in first and then the fruit/puree or you end up with a lot of foam and suds as you fill with the tea…..and then it’s hard to get the bottles full
  • For maximum fizz, fill the bottles all the way to the tippy top.  Don’t forget to burp regularly.

That’s it.  For equipment, I have the large beverage dispenser and the flip top bottles below.  I started out with 6 of the flip tops but I have them all in production right now so I’m going to pick up a few more just in case of a quick batch turnaround.

Bottle DelSol

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/del-sol-original-mason-2-15-gallon-beverage-dispenser/1042129226?skuId=42129226

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/40227983/

 

July 15, 2014: Expectations

You and me, Jez, we need to make nice.

You and me, Jez, we need to make nice.

 

As mentioned yesterday, we are currently living on the surface of the sun.  And, as mentioned, I knew it was coming so I planned for it accordingly. 

On Saturday & Sunday, in approximately 90 minutes total, I put together a kickass salad bar for the week.  We have four pre-cooked protein sources (gr beef, gr turkey, chkn thighs & hard boiled eggs), three fat sources (olives, nuts, avocado), various crispy veggie sources (spring greens, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot, diced apple, shredded beet), two warm-able starchy carb sources (baked yam & roasted beet/carrot/potato) and three dressing sources (sunshine sauce, a middle eastern avocado style dip/dressing and a homemade ranch dressing).  Ray also has the option of a Kaiser bun and the addition of either goat or shredded cheddar cheeses.  I’m telling you, this could be the way of the future!  Salad bar one week out of each month?  And in the winter, soup and “salad bar” with warmed veggies as the base?  Don’t tempt me!

Salad Bar

On my way home yesterday I stopped in at a vacant, relatively shaded parking lot and did 20 minutes of stop and start trials on Jezebel to help get used to her weight and controls.  20 minutes might not seem like much, but 20 minutes of handling 800# at 10km/hour in the scorching sun is plenty long!  Unfortunately I left the parking lot feeling really defeated.  Jezebel is a heavy bitch and, for whatever reason, I assumed I’d just hop on her and ride away.  It’s taking longer than I thought to get used to her controls, weight, handling.  WAIT.  PAUSE!  Holy crap how stupid am I behaving!  I have ridden her to and from work once; 12km, 20 minutes total….and I’m disappointed in myself that I’m having some rookie-roughness.  Quite honestly, that is ridiculous and not fair to myself.  So that said, I’m doing something I’ve never consciously done before.  I’m lowering my expectations of myself.  I am not going to expect to be able to perform like someone who has been riding their entire life.  I am not going to expect to be perfect right out of the gate.  I’m going to forget everything that came “before” and focus on what is going on right now.  It might be a bit wobbly and rough and tentative for the next little while….but I’ll keep practicing, go to my lesson, focus on improving my skills with her….and accept my performance as it is in that moment.

Jez1

After salad-bar dinner last night we puttered around for an hour……………and then disaster struck!  I got sick with violent bathrooming and vomiting for about 2 hours.  It was awful and….well…..violent.  I know I was dehydrated yesterday and on the weekend and then I was messing around in the parking lot with my helmet on, baking my brain…..so I think I got a touch of heat stroke.  I felt kind of sketchy all night in bed but basically slept right through.  At 5am when it was time to get up and take Gracie for some exercise, I downgraded my 5km walk-jog plan to our 3km just-walk instead.  Seemed like the right thing to do rather than stressing my already questionable body and it felt good; refreshing.  I had bone broth last night after I stopped being sick and another 2 cups this morning and I don’t feel too badly right now, I’ll be sucking back the water today though!

Here’s a fun picture from work yesterday.  His name is Harley and he is a 185# bull mastiff and he clearly just hates the attention!  My co-worker brought him in because my boss is out of town this week and it’s air conditioned here instead of at home where he swelters.  He’s awesome and snuggly and so huggable!  And…he’s here again this morning giving out hugs and kisses!

harley

July 14, 2014: Jezebel!

Where should I start! It has been stupidly, ridiculously, unbearably hot and humid here in the last week or more.  I love the sunshine and I am NOT complaining….but it’s getting a bit wearing, honestly.  Need a teensy little break from living in an armpit!

In the last week or so and definitely this weekend I’d noticed that something wasn’t right in my nutrition.  Basically I’ve been having waves of feeling really nauseated and weak and like passing out might be imminent….you know that horrible weak, barfy, deep internal yucky feeling?  It’s been far too hot to be eating too much in one sitting so I’ve been “snacking” more than eating my normal three meals/day.   The snacks are decent food; 2 hard boiled eggs and an apple with almond butter or a hamburger patty w/ homemade mayo and a nectarine as examples.  Decent nutritious food and once I’ve eaten it I feel better nearly immediately.  But I still am not feeling quite right.  Ray thought that maybe I’m dehydrated from the excessive heat and after having reviewed the signs, I think he could be right.  So today I’ll be hydrating like crazy because I feel downright crappy.  Which seems rather unfortunate since I’ve been working really hard at self-care and overall feeling pretty solid about it.

Saturday morning I headed out to my motorcycle training for 9am…in order to beat the heat.  I was there not 20 minutes and my bike basically bit the dust again.  This time I caught the problem before it got too far and I was able to ride it home instead of having to get Ray to come out with the flat-deck.  Once I got home, disappointed and pissed off and irritated and bummed out, I sat on my bench and sipped some kombucha and tried to figure out what I was going to do.  We didn’t know for sure what the problem was, we have jobs that do not afford us flexibility in time off or alternate hours to deal with things that pop up and to be quite honest, I really didn’t want to put money towards that bike.  I felt like maybe it was a sign that our time together was up.

Jezebel

She’s a Harley Davidson, 2006 Electra Glide Standard. She comes with a detachable trunk and a feisty attitude! I love her!

Enter, Jezebel.  I traded in my Yamaha and Jezebel is parked outside my office right now!  She’s a bit rough around the edges, the idiot who owned her previously sprayed some sort of corrosive cleaner on her shiny bits and basically the motor looks like crap.  But….Ray worked on her all day yesterday and she’s ¾ of the way back to where she should be.  Fortunately for us, that corrosive, dull, rough looking motor was enough to get us a wicked deal on her.  A little (or a lot) of elbow grease and $40 in metal polish and engine brightener and she’ll be good as new!

The weight and handling difference between old bike and Jezebel is considerable.   Old bike weighed 593# and Jezebel is nearly 200# heavier at 789#.  It’ll take some getting used to in slow speeds but she cruises like a…..well…..like a cruiser.  Ray tells me that she’s “been hot-rodded”, “is a finely tuned machine” and that she “goes like snot”.  So…that’s good!  Cosmetic surgery aside, she was an amazing deal!

Update, I guess I’m going to have to change the bike in my header, LOL!

So…that was basically our whole weekend….we were at the dealership for 5 hours on Saturday and then came home and stripped stuff off of the old bike for 2 hours so that we could turn it in.  Saturday night we chilled on the back deck for hours, well into the deep darkness of a hot summer night.  Sunday morning we were up early, I did some cooking for this week ahead and then we went back to the dealership to bring Jezebel home.  Unfortunately I didn’t get her inaugural ride because I refused to go to Andrea’s baby shower with helmet hair and in jeans (see picture above, all dressed up, no riding for me!).

The baby shower was great, Andrea got completely spoiled with baby gear and clothes and the weather was….well……stupidly hot.   It was 36.5 (98F) in Judy’s backyard and we were all chasing the shade around.  Once the baby shower was over I raced home, showered again, changed into an even lighter dress and we went to a gala fundraiser for Kyle’s hatchery.  Happily, hat was held near the water so it was a bit cooler.  The food there was awesome…and the guy serving the bbq salmon was “paleo friendly”.  He took notice & commented on the couple of us who did not have pasta salad, noodle salad, rice or a bun and gave a double serving of the salmon to go with our green salad.  I was VERY impressed.  Plus he was a firefighter and super cute!  ;)

Sunday night after the gala we headed home, farted around with the new bike in the driveway for awhile, had a coffee with our neighbors (our H-D mechanic, actually) and then it was bedtime.

This morning Gracie and I were up at 5am and took our walk.  We did the shorter route and we just walked it instead of jogging because it was super warm out even that early and poor Gracie was suffering halfway in!  It’s supposed to cool off somewhat as the week goes by so hopefully we get some relief (and some better exercise).  And….sadly…..compared to this time last week, it’s not quite as bright out in the morning…..the shorter days are starting already.

Happy Monday out there in the interwebs!

July 11, 2014: Thou Shalt Not Suffer

I said yesterday that in the last three weeks I’ve had some questionable meals; potato chips for one, ice cream for another and a blueberry egg compilation that was more “decadent” in presentation than actual nutrition (it was fine, just eggs, bluebs and some coconut milk all baked together).  I found myself, later that day, reading various primal and paleo blogs and someone mentioned pizza.  I have a very suitable recipe for a paleo-fied pizza crust and thought it might be nice if that showed up on the menu soon.  And then I was overcome with thoughts about it.  Floodgates, consider yourselves open!

  • I have never been able to moderate my consumption of that item
  • Should I just make a half batch so that when it’s gone, that’s the end or do I have to test my willpower in order to “progress” in my self-awareness and development?
  • Is there any particular reason I shouldn’t just eat the whole thing if I want to?
  • When would be a good time to eat the pizza?  In a month after I’ve been more consistent with exercise?  When my good jeans fit?

And then……………I had to write off paleo pizza for a while.  Here’s why; I would be more successful and better able to cope with real pizza than with paleo pizza.  In fact real pizza gives me no emotional response whatsoever and paleo pizza, even sitting here in a pizza free zone, makes me a bit testy and antsy.  Any food that is going to cause me this much grief before I’ve even made it has no place in my life at this moment.  I consider that a stellar example of self-awareness and development.

A friend and I talked about embargoes the other day when I declared (and then nearly immediately rescinded) a 4 week alcohol and ice cream embargo.  Her thoughts were that an embargo is perhaps not the most mentally healthy way of considering food….naming something BAD for 4 weeks…. ….because why? (Whole30 elimination notwithstanding as it is for the purpose of determining food sensitivities and allergies whereas my embargo was self-imposed as a sort of punishment with a “reward” at the end; going on holidays and then eating the embargoed items as desired).  I changed my “2014 Booze & Ice Cream Embargo” to my “2014 Don’t Eat Crap If It’s Going To Make You Feel Bad Physically, Mentally Or Emotionally”.  Not quite as catchy.  That said, this ridiculous mental conversation about it, causes paleo-pizza to fall into the “…Bad Mentally Or Emotionally” category.  I don’t eat donuts because they slaughter my stomach.  I don’t eat paleo pizza because it punches holes in my mental/emotional health.

Paleo-logic, self-love, self-awareness. They are all about finding natural health (in all aspects) that works for the special snowflake that I am.  Not how I could be or how someone else is or how Instagram says I should be.  How I am right now.  It’s incredibly empowering, actually.

This morning was Outing #4 that Gracie and I took at 5am…my plan is to phase in a longer route and alternate it with this shorter route dependent on my energy and overall wellness.  I have a 10km Night Run that I signed up and paid for that happens in late September and instead of killing myself to get ready for it I thought I could lend some of my intuitive practice to the training for that as well.  It’s supposed to be blazing sunballs here for the next 14-20 days at least…..and I plan to enjoy as much of that early morning cool as I can. 

I keep having an odd feeling that I’m not working hard enough or suffering enough or punishing myself enough because nothing that I’m doing hurts.  Not before, not during and not even after.  I harken back to when I first decided to change my life in 2007 and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, kept waiting for demons to start shoving pies into my mouth or being forced to eat food I hated or even for my limbs to start falling off.  But none of that happened.  That life change was completely different than what I am walking myself through right now….but considering that it didn’t “hurt” then and it’s not “hurting” now, I’m led to believe that I may have found my current road map.  That makes me very happy!

In order to add one more level of self-respect, this week I refused to wear yoga pants to work.  I wore jeans, a long dress, two short dresses and one denim skirt w/ a tshirt.  It felt so nice to feel nice…instead of sloppy and unkempt.  We don’t have a dress code here….yoga pants, hoodies, flip flops, runners, whatever you clothe yourself with is acceptable. Only…..after 8 months of wearing yoga clothes to work I started to feel badly about myself….and I don’t need any help in that department.  So I kyboshed the stretchies and wore actual clothes.  Turns out that feels good!

Tonight I’m going to do an hour of motorcycle practice in advance of my training course tomorrow morning (in the wicked heat, great!) and I’m going to get some Dixie cups and popsicle sticks so I can make us wholesome popsicles to help beat the heat (watermelon lime banana and strawberry ginger nectarine are what I’m thinking right now).  I’ll also put on a crock to do chicken bone broth tonight….fill up my broth coffers!  Tomorrow I have motorcycle training which should take about 4 hours including travel time.  Sunday morning I’ll cook our salad proteins and bake the yams earlier in the morning to beat the heat, in the afternoon is Andrea’s baby shower and then we have a gala dinner fundraiser in the evening.  I normally really dislike having more than one thing planned for a weekend….but for some reason I feel alright about this stuff…..maybe because I’m feeling more energetic and calmer?  Whatever, I’ll take it.

July 10, 2014: Au Naturel

In the last couple days I’ve been noticing something’s been….different.  I can’t put my finger on it enough to discern exactly what it is, but I’ll give you a run down on the things that I think have been making a difference in how I’m feeling lately.  Some of the things I’ve been noticing about myself:

 

  • More overall energy
  • Less overall high emotion/increased ability to respond appropriately
  • Less body pain
  • Calmer digestion
  • More motivation
  • Less mental noise
  • Better sleep

 

BONE BROTH

I’ve been making this for a couple weeks now and consuming at least 500ml daily (sometimes more if I also have some soup that was made with it).  It’s no secret that I have suffered for about the last 7 years with serious back, neck & shoulder pain that has, at times, laid me up completely or landed me in the hospital.  I realize, having only been two weeks, it might be a bit soon to make a sweeping judgment call, but I can say with absolute certainty that I have less overall pain and stiffness in my body.  For years, after getting up from my desk chair, the couch or even out of bed, I’d be a bit crippled over for a bit until things “loosen up” and I’ve just noticed, that stopped about three days ago!

Is it the bone broth?  I’m not ruling it out.  From the Whole9 website:

Proline and glycine are important for a healthy gut and digestion, muscle repair and growth, a balanced nervous system, and strong immune system. In fact, a study of chicken broth conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. (There’s a reason your mom always made you chicken soup when you were sick.) The gelatin in bone broth can help to heal a leaky gut, which may be of specific benefit those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. These compounds also reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, prevent bone loss, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails. – See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/12/whole9-bone-broth-faq/#sthash.Mu1NlpS4.dpuf 

Broth

 

KOMBUCHA

We’ve been drinking a cup of this daily for about a week.  The benefits of this particular product are many and include detoxification, joint care, digestion and gut health & immune system boosting.  Plus it’s high in vitamins and enzymes/acids (b vitamins = energy!).   

I love this article on the history and benefits! http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/  Could the KT be a player in having an overall feeling of greater wellness and energy?  Not ruling it out, tastes too good and is fun to make!

KT

 

SOIL BASED PROBIOTIC & RESISTANT STARCH

There is a tonne, tonne, TONNE of information on the internet regarding resistant starch and gut health.  Mark’s Daily Apple speaks up about it (which is a well respected source of logical and properly thought out information) and a great summary is from Free The Animal:  (start with this link and then just keep on clicking, the amount of research you can do on this topic is astounding!)

“The benefits most commonly touted are: lowered  fasting BG, BG blunting, better sleep, increased energy, wellbeing and calm, mental clarity, vivid dreams, curing of chronic constipation and infrequency, soft stools, satiation with gentle hunger, and increased body temperature.”

“…the reason some people have had less than expected results with resistant starch foods and/or supplementation, or even adverse results, is that they may lack some of the gut bacteria needed and those are really not to be found in dairy based probiotics. Fermented foods may help somewhat, but what we’ve found is that the biggest help comes from soil based probiotics.”

You know how “they” say that kids these days are so ultra-sanitized that they end up never developing a functioning immune system?  Same goes for adults.  Live too long in nearly sterile conditions and the good gut bacteria that live in your lower intestine are never replenished and give way to the sort of gut bacteria that basically have adapted to eat anything that you give them.  These particular “garbage gut bacteria” don’t do the same sort of thing as the kind that are supposed to live in your lower intestine.  If you feed yourself resistant starch (which, by the way, passes completely through your digestive system [resistant!] with no blood glucose load (think, low carb while eating potatoes!) and into your lower intestine where the proper bacteria (Soil Based Organisms – SBO) break it down and turn it into short chain fatty acids.  Those short chain fatty acids are where all the benefits above come in. 

So Resistant Starch plus SBO.  I’ve been including roasted potatoes (cooled after roasting before eating) with our meals and an SBO every morning.  Could it be having an effect on my energy, BM’ing, general wellness?  I’m not ruling it out!

 

BEAUTY REDEFINED/PERSONAL TIME

I’d linked to this website earlier this week but if you missed it, take an hour and go click around!  www.beautyredefined.net Trust me, it will be worth your time!  Besides being about shameful marketing practices that target women and our lowered (thanks to them!) self-esteem, it has been part of my new understanding that I deserve better from both myself and others.  Better than having to be fixed, corrected, repaired, enhanced, covered up, reduced and always pleasant.  I’ve been very focused lately on making sure that I’m doing things for the right reason; exercise because it feels good, choosing food and portions consciously, not using food as reward or punishment.  Earlier this week I stopped wearing makeup.  I have NEVER stopped wearing makeup, not since I started wearing it when I was 15.  That is over 20 years of smearing, painting, brushing, lining, dusting and glossing products onto my skin in order to “fix” my face.  As I was starting to put my powder on one morning this week I had the thought that it may be impossible to really learn to love myself if I keep painting over who I really am!  So….no makeup.  Not even eyebrow lining (although that will eventually be something I start to do again, I think) or mascara.  Just me.  I’m not saying I will never wear makeup again….but from day to day life it is more important to me right now to be as authentic as I can be…and that means no paint.  Plus, I have patches of painful redness on both my cheeks which refuses to go away and I feel as though layering powder and blush onto a rash is a poor idea.

au naturel

As I’ve talked about, I’ve also been creating and defending my personal time in the last few weeks and I’ve been feeling much more stable, recharged, relaxed and refreshed with even just a couple hours a week.  Sometimes I’ll run a fun errand alone or sit outside and read my book and the mornings with just the dog (below) has been heaven-sent.  Ray has also worked OT at least once a week in the last three weeks which works beautifully for me.  Chef’s Night Off is still in its infancy and will continue to be a large part of my return to me.

 

EXERCISE

This one has been a struggle for me lately (and I know that I am not alone!).  A heart breaking, lay awake at night, guilt inducing, shame enhancing struggle.  Fortunately (not for him), Ray was under the weather this week so I took over the morning dog walking.  It is beautiful weather here right now so at 5am, Gracie and I have been heading out for 30-40 minutes and walking, walk-jogging & jogging around the neighborhood.  And then when we get home, we sit outside for another 30 minutes in the cool early morning air and have some quiet time.  I attribute my ability to get up in the morning to my extra energy, decreased pain and corrected mental dialogue (sources currently unknown) which are all fed by a morning jog.  I am very careful to redirect my “weight loss-y” dialogue and “run faster/longer, get thinner” thoughts and turn them back towards “focus on breathing, talk to the dog, enjoy your time, create overall mental and physical health”.  So far so good.

 

TAKE YOUR RULES……

By this I mean I have given up all the notions, rules and ideas out there in order to optimize your health and performance.  Obviously since I am doing broth, KT, SBO/RS I haven’t given up attempting to improve my health but I have closed the door on “optimizing”. For example, after my walk/jog in the morning (which is a moderate to considerable workout for me right now), I have coffee.  With coconut milk.  And 90 minutes later we eat breakfast. According to “them” that is the exact wrong things to do; all the “research” says you must eat no more than 30 minutes afterwards and no fat, protein and carbs.  Screw you, wisdom.  I like my coffee post run and I will wait to have breakfast until we’re all ready for it.  Since my effort is for general wellness I have no need to “optimize” my results and therefore I can and will do whatever I want. Suck it, Tips.  Similarly (and thanks to a conversation with a friend), if I want something for a meal that is not conventional….I eat it.  And it’s SUPER!  Last night I made Blueberry Clafouti..and ate half of it.  Technically it’s a dessert….nutritionally it’s eggs, coconut milk & blueberries….and emotionally it was exactly what I wanted so I ate it.  Last Friday I ate potato chips for dinner.  They were delicious.  On Gracie’s bday I had ice cream for breakfast.  Yum!

Clafouti

I’m not saying that the door is open on consuming shit on a regular basis….but in three weeks to have had three questionable meals….I feel fine with that.  

So which one is it?  What has been making me feel good lately?  My job still blows, I’m still around 20# over my desired size (although no scale so not sure exactly), I still have no holidays, I haven’t come into money and Ray didn’t spontaneously ask me to marry him.  And yet, I feel alright.  My sister has tried to tell me for a while that I need to start doing things based on loving myself as I am right now. Right this very second.  I didn’t get it………….until I got it.  And now I’m not letting go.