Saturday, September 11, 2010

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

My battle with fruit flies has become a yearly thing.  I was surprised at how few I had seen this summer until my mom said, "It might just be early."  Sure enough, a month later I was fighting a losing battle.  The past two years I tried keeping them under control with the bowls of soap and vinegar on the counter.  The fruit flies would fly to the bowl and perch on the edges but rarely would they actually hop in and drown.  I was told that I needed to cover the bowls with plastic wrap and punch little holes in the plastic so that the flies would get in but not be able to fly out.  I tried both ways and experimented with different mixtures in the bowls.  What a mess.  I ended up with kitchen that smelled of vinegar, a counter cluttered with bowls of soapy liquids just waiting for a spill... and four or five dead fruit flies.  I was thrilled when a friend of mine turned me on to this amazing fruit fly trap:

Not only does this trap actually work, it is humane!  I know most of you probably don't care about killing a few dozen flies or so, but if it is at all possible to get by without killing something, I am all for it.  Just ask the wasps that live on my porch... (I did give them their evacuation notice, but they haven't taken heed yet.  I may have to take more drastic measures and relocate them myself once it gets colder.)

In any case, this trap is simple to make and works like a charm.  Simply take a small jar and a piece of paper.  Twist the paper into a fairly wide cone with a hole in the tip just big enough for a fruit fly to pass through.  You may have to fiddle with it a little; when you place the cone in the jar, the tip should not be touching the bottom of the jar (or your bait).  Tape the loose edge of the cone to secure it.  Set the cone aside and place a bit of fruit or fruit peel in the jar.  Fruit flies go crazy for cantaloupe and banana, and less so for orange and watermelon, in my experience. Gently set the cone in and secure it with two or three pieces of tape, making sure there are no gaps between the cone and the glass.  Set the trap wherever you notice the most fruit flies.  Obviously, it will help to remove any other attractants in the room.  Do not let the trap sit longer than overnight, since the idea is to get rid of your fruit flies, not breed them (you also do not want to reuse your bait for the same reason).  Once you have caught yourself some of those bitty buggies, take the jar outside and release them. 

For a picture tutorial, go HERE.

Day 11-12: Easing Back

Many of you were impressed that I did this cleanse and consumed nothing but the lemonade for 10 days, but I'm finding out that was actually the easy part!  Coming off a cleanse is harder than being on it.   I know I was supposed to drink nothing but orange juice for the first 2 days.  The folks on the Master Cleanse forum seemed to think it would be alright to have the cantaloupe juice as well.  I am blaming it on my broken foot, but I admit that I had a small bowl of plain, baked spaghetti squash last night.  It just seemed like it would be something simple, good, easy to digest.  I'm starting today with some herbal tea and then making some watermelon juice.

Now, off to release my fruit flies!

Day 10: How NOT to Break a Fast

Coming to you from Day 11 12... I've been a bit preoccupied the past couple of days and didn't get to post.  All was going well on Day 10.  We took a trip to the grocery store and loaded up on all sorts of yummy things that I will be able to eat in a few days, including a bunch of organic oranges to juice.  Good thing I got all that done, because later that afternoon I slipped on something and fell and hurt my foot pretty badly.  I put ice on it and hoped that it was just a sprain or a bruise, but by the evening it was really swollen and I couldn't put any weight on it, so off to the ER I went.  About 3 hours later, the doctor came in said that I had indeed broken my foot (the first bone I have ever broken!).

As you can see, I didn't get a cast, but I do have to go see an orthopedist in the beginning of next week.  I wanted to post the x-ray of my foot, but I couldn't open it on the disk the doctor gave me.  Anyway,
I got back just before midnight, and went back over to my neighbors' house, where Kiira and Hana had already fallen asleep.  I came home for a minute to let the dogs out, rinse my sprouts, and make my senna tea, and then headed over there to sleep with them.  Since I wasn't at home in the morning, I didn't get to do my salt water flush, so I opted to start the day with a cup of peppermint tea; nevertheless, I am still amazed at how much is coming out of me!  Where is it coming from!??!

When we got home, I made myself a lemonade, and then a while later decided to go for the orange juice. In my opinion, there is nothing quite like fresh pressed orange juice, even when one hasn't been fasting.  I feel a little sorry for all the people who come off their Master Cleanses and start drinking boxed orange juice, even if it is the Not-From-Concentrate stuff.  No problems with the orange juice, so over the next few hours I squeezed a couple more small glasses. I noticed myself feeling a bit hungry. Later that afternoon I started getting tired of the o.j. and decided to press one of the long awaited cantaloupes.  Oh, my goodness... now this was heaven!  (The fruit flies were in complete agreement.)  I set a humane trap for the fruit flies using a bit of the cantaloupe peel for the bait, cleaned up the kitchen a bit and sat down.  It had probably been less than 20 minutes when I noticed my lip starting to puff up in a hive.  I wasn't getting the more usual and superficial body hives that I get, but rather the more annoying kind where they pop up more under my skin.  Rats.  Right at that moment a friend of mine called saying that he would be picking me up in 20 minutes to go for a boat ride, so I decided to pop a Claritin.  Now I am a little scared to try the rest of the cantaloupes, because I have really been hoping that I am not sensitive to salicylate- cantaloupes are high in salicylate- and I would really, really hate to give up fresh cantaloupe juice!  I guess I will just have to drink up while the antihistamine is still working today ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 9

My recipe organizing and typing has continued into today.  I've been feeling sort of hungry today, but I think I might have just made less lemonade today since I have been occupied with typing (plus I was running out of lemons).

No major updates on the cleanse front; my skin is breaking out a bit more, which sort of makes me think that I should continue for a few more days.  Of course it is hard to tell, since my feeling on this seems to change daily.  I got another bag of lemons today, so maybe I will just continue until they are gone.  Or I run out of maple syrup, whichever comes first.  Either way, it seems like the transition back into eating is so clean and gradual (if done properly) that it is almost like an extension of the cleanse.

Trying to get into bed a little earlier tonight.  It doesn't seem too likely at this point, but I'm going to end it here anyway :)

Until tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 8: The End is in Sight! Fruit Flies 2, Kai 0

I take back what I said about wanting to do some extra days.  I think 10 days will be just fine.
Yesterday someone gave me the great suggestion to eat sprouts when I start eating again, and I figured that if I start them right away, they would be ready just in time for me to eat them.  I started a batch last night, and have been rinsing them today.  I went to give them their final rinse for the night and discovered that the jar was full of fruit flies. Ugh!  I guess since I put the rest of the bananas that were on the counter into the dehydrator this afternoon, they had nothing left to eat, and so turned to the sprouts.  I just can't figure out how they got in there!

I have been feeling good today, though I felt myself turning inward somehow and decided against going to a church event this evening.  Instead, as torturous as it may sound, I sorted through my cookbooks and recipes and started to tackle the long awaited task of typing my recipe collection (a large folder of torn out newspaper and magazine pages, random scraps of paper with fading ink and the like) into the computer.  I have to say it was easier to handle than making pancakes for the girls this morning! (Having sent my Vita-Mix to be repaired, I was forced to make them with all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat, and I accidentally put a little too much oil in the pan for frying- wouldn't that have been a great way to break my fast, with sweet, greasy, white flour goodness! :D)

I have still been somewhat hivey the past days; although they haven't been any worse than before, unfortunately it is looking like this cleanse will not be my miracle cure.

However, as I continued my research, I did find a website with an elimination diet that I am interested in trying. The RPAH Elimination Diet, also known as the FAILSAFE diet, helps determine salicylate, amine, glutamate, and additive sensitivities in individuals.  The FAILSAFE (Free of Additives, Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers) was developed by allergists at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia in the 1980's, and apparently is not well known outside of Australia.  It's amazing that I've just come across it now, after researching chronic urticaria for so many years already. I'm pretty sure I can already rule out the additives, since I avoid artificial colors and preservatives, etc., but I think it may be a good idea to go through the diet and see about the other three.   As much as I would like to try it right away, I think I will ease myself back into eating as directed, and then start clearing my cupboards of the foods that I will not be able to eat while doing the FAILSAFE experiment.

Other than that, I have no other significant updates... two days to go.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Plastic Trash Challenge: Week 2

approx. 91 items, 1 lb 4.3 oz (+ 3.7 oz)
Recyclable items: 9 (7 locally)

There are a few items this week that I am ashamed of.  I don't know why I had taken my To-Go Ware stainless steel food carrier out of my car the day we went to Ruby Tuesday's, but because of it I ended up with that horrible styrofoam box and cup.  I should have known better.  And I could have refused the to-go cup (at least I refused the lid and straw, but still...!)  
The other thing that was appalling to me was the amount of plastic that came with a recent order of school supplies.  As if the packaging of the individual items wasn't enough, Utrecht Art Supplies packed my order into a box that was far, far too big, and then filled it with all these Filled-Air bags.  I forgot to count the bags, but it added that 3.7 oz to my trash and you can see the size of the pile there on the right side of the picture.
Going into Week 2, I realized that deciding to use less plastic in my life was going to take a little longer than I expected because of having to use up my previous purchases.  Writing this from Week 3, I can say that with even more certainty.  Last night I cleaned and organized my pantry and one of my kitchen cupboards.  The pantry, especially, was remarkable as it contained a lot of plastic bags: trash bags that had fallen out of the box, all those grocery bags that I got when I forgot my reusable bags, produce/bulk bin bags department store bags, bread bags, cereal bags, miscellaneous bags that I kept because they "might come in handy someday".  I realized that I had a lifetime supply (or more!) of plastic bags and it was time to purge.  (Notice a theme in my blog lately?)  I ended up with 5 bags of bags that I will recycle at Kroger next time I head out.  I am not counting these in my Week 3 trash because I want to keep the focus on my average weekly output, but I will document them here. 

I wish I had taken a "before" picture, but here's my freshly organized pantry:
There's still quite a bit of plastic in there, but at least a lot of it gets reused.  For instance, I found that the plastic containers that dates come in at our co-op are great for storing my dehydrated foods since they are clear, have good lids and stack nicely.  

Anyway, that's it for show and tell.  I'm off to see how else I can utilize this cleansing energy before the day is though!

Plastic Trash Challenge: Week 1

Well, folks, here it is: the result of the plastic trash I accumulated over the course of my first week participating in the Fake Plastic Fish "Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash" Challenge.  I will post the complete details once it is posted on Fake Plastic Fish (I figure it will be easier to copy the list from there rather than type it all in a FOURTH time.)

A few details about this mess of plastic:
There are approximately 91 pieces in the picture (not counting individual produce stickers), and the combined weight is 1 lb.  Aside from the grocery bags (how do those pile up so quickly!?), only ONE thing is recyclable in Bedford County.

Day 7

I got the right amount of salt in my water this morning, apparently.  Drinking a glass of lemonade soon after the SWF seems to really help get things moving.  It's really amazing what is coming out of me.  I read this morning that there is from 5-8 pounds of fecal matter in our intestinal lining!  I weighed in at 125.2 lb today, which is about 5 or 6 pounds less than I weighed when I started, and actually what I consider  to be my ideal weight (not that I was doing this cleanse to lose weight; it is sort of a nice bonus though).  My skin is breaking out just a little; I'm noticing little blemishes here and there.

Today I actually feel a little sad that I am nearing the end, and am tempted to do a few extra days, especially since my first day was really only a half day having had those other juices.  While 10 days is minimum number of days for the Master Cleanse, the book also says that the cleanse is complete when the tongue becomes pink with no coating (mine does have a slight whitish coating now).  I recently watched a video on YouTube of a woman on her 40th day of the Master Cleanse.  She had started out planning on doing the 10 days, then decided to do 10 more and then 10 more until she went all the way to 40.  I don't want to go that long (at least not this time), but I can now see how she did it!

I have had some hives during the past couple days, but a bit less than 'usual'.  My body feels more relaxed.  Salicylate sensitivity was suggested to me as the cause of my hives, but since the cayenne (high in salicylate) doesn't seem to aggravate the hives I hope to rule it out.  I'm interested to see what happens when I switch back to lemons, as they are somewhat higher in salicylate than limes.  I will probably try a salicylate free diet when I start eating again, to see if that has any effect.  

In other news, I am doing battle with fruit flies.  

Coming soon: Plastic Trash Challenge, Weeks 1 and 2

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 6: Over the hump, or "Where the heck is all this poop coming from?!"

Woke up feeling good.  I think I may have used the wrong measuring spoon for my salt this morning as I didn't experience quite the "flushing" effect that I have the past few mornings.  Still, I cannot figure out WHERE all this poop is coming from when I haven't eaten anything in 6 days (and I take back both days of saying I was cleared out)!

More and more I think that preparing food for the girls is helping me deal with my cravings.  I managed to clean and organize the pantry and one kitchen cupboard this evening, as well as wash and polish the car earlier this afternoon.  Now, I'm ready for bed!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 5: Halfway!

I had a feeling that since yesterday was so unremarkable, that I'd probably have more to write about today. For one thing, I've made it to the halfway point!  I didn't feel the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but when I woke up in the morning I felt really lousy: weak and shaky.  I got up and made myself my salt water and chugged it down, hoping that getting things moving would help.  No luck; it was taking too long and I really started feeling hungry, so I made myself a lemonade, too.  That seemed to help a bit, and when the salt water did its trick I felt a tiny bit better as well.  I was still feeling really weak and pasty in the mouth, so I drank more water. I drank a big glass and then felt somewhat nauseous. It's interesting that I feel a bit dehydrated even though all I have been consuming for the past 4 days is liquids!   I think I have been focusing more on the lemonade for the past four days, and I will be drinking a lot of water today. The salt water flush had me going to the bathroom more than any of the other mornings, and I also take back what I said about clearing my intestines in three days as the last trip this morning was the first that has really been clear.  (Sorry if it is TMI.)  I also suddenly noticed that I DIDN'T HAVE MY USUAL MORNING HIVES!  Still feeling pretty lousy, I finally decided to lie down for a bit, and after 10 or 15 minutes I started feeling a little better, at least enough to get up and start cleaning the bedroom for a guest this evening. 

I have been making mental lists of things I would like to eat once this cleanse is finished.  My neighbor requested a wheatberry salad that I haven't made in ages for a get-together this afternoon. It looks delicious... wish I could eat it.  I'd also like to make more veggie sushi rolls.  Vegan marshmallows. Hummus. Oh goodness, all this maple syrup makes me think of pancakes :D I have to remember not to go crazy with all the food once I start eating again.  I remember once, years ago, I  forgot I was fasting and I accidentally accepted a beer someone offered me.  What a way to break a fast! 

Anyway, it's nearing the end of the day again, hooray! I'm excited yet a little hesitant to say that I only got a few hives all day. I hope it's not just a coincidence.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 4

Not much to report today.  I woke up feeling good but when I tried to straighten up the house a bit I realized that my energy was a bit low and I was also a bit grumpy. Tomorrow is the halfway point; that is pretty exciting.  I'm still debating whether it is "already" or "only", although I am sort of leaning towards "only".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 3: When Life Hands You Lemons or "Oh God, there is half a peanut butter cup on the counter"

I can't decide whether I should write that it is "already day 3" or "only day 3".  The middle of the night trip to the bathroom is turning into a routine.  This time I looked at the clock- 3:30am- and then went back to bed until just before 8 when I got up to do my salt water flush.  I find it amazing (and a little disgusting) that it took three days of not eating to clear my bowels completely.  I added an extra teaspoon of sole to my salt water this morning since it seemed a little weak yesterday.  I'm not sure if it is the salt I am using, but I found it absolutely delicious this morning, contrary to the reaction people tend to have.  The warm saltiness is a welcome change to the lemonade, which, by the way, I have also been able to modify a little depending on the method I use to juice the lemons.  I have been switching between throwing whole lemons in my juicer and just squeezing them.  Juicing the peel makes for a slightly more bitter brew, and according to Burroughs, (author of The Master Cleanser) also adds to the cleansing and laxative effect.
I took the girls to story hour and stopped by Kroger on the way back to pick up more lemons.  I ended up with limes instead since they were cheaper and smaller (better for my citrus press), and they will also add another welcome taste variation.

Overall, I feel really good!  My energy level is good.   My skin (I think) already looks brighter, softer and clearer.  I haven't had any of the stomach pain that has plagued me for the past few weeks.  I would have to say that my main challenge is the cravings.  For instance, I made Kiira a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and she didn't eat it; it is still sitting on the table and calling to me.  I walked through the kitchen a little while ago and instinctually reached for a banana before I remembered that I am not eating food right now.

Alright, the sandwich is gone, the girls have had their dinner and I am looking forward to winding down for the evening.  I'm feeling hungry again, so I will have another glass or two of limeade.  In a couple hours I will be ready for my tea... and the end of the first third of the cleanse.  :P

Someone needs to eat the rest of that peanut butter cup... I don't think it will be difficult to talk Kiira into that :D

Until tomorrow..

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cleanse Day 2

I will spare you the graphic details of the cleanse, not that it has been bad so far.  There are other bloggers out there that go into every little detail of the detox, so if that is what you want, you will have to look elsewhere.  I will say that I felt pretty good all day yesterday.  I had no real huger pains or cravings. Even cooking the girls' dinner was no problem.  Around 9pm, however,  I suddenly started feeling really jittery and shaky.  I made myself one more lemonade, then settled into bed with my senna tea.  Although I was tired, I had a hard time falling asleep (further aggravated by the fact that my 3 year old, Kiira, "wasn't tired" at 10:30) Eventually sleep came, and sometime early, early in the morning I had to get up as the tea was making its way through me. When I went back to bed, I had sensations of not only my body being cleansed, but also my mind and spirit. I got back to sleep for a while and woke up feeling quite rested.

Today started with the salt water flush.  I used 8 tsp. of Himalayan salt solution in 1qt. of water, as suggested on the Raw Food Site forum.  The Master Cleanser book says to use 2 tsp. salt;  someone did the math and calculated that this was the correct amount of sole to use.  I found this amount of salt quite palatable, but I was a little worried that it wasn't enough salt for it to work properly.  However, within 15 or 20 minutes of drinking the quart of warm salty water I felt things moving in me and was again in the bathroom.

The morning went by slowly.  I've had 4 glasses of lemonade so far, and have felt a bit hungry.  Mostly though, I want to eat just to eat.  I am noticing how much of the eating I do is simply instinctual, or even brought on by boredom. I am also noticing food related Facebook posts more (the Co-op hit me hard with their mention of handmade bagels and chocolate-strawberry cupcakes this morning!) In a way, I think it might even help that I have to prepare food for the kids.  I don't get to eat it, but it keeps me occupied and I do get to engage my other senses.

Ironically, the October issue of Vegetarian Times also arrived in my mailbox today.   After I write this I am going to sit down and devour it :D

I'm down almost three pounds since yesterday (part of this is probably just daily fluctuation) and I started menstruating.  It seems a little early, but I haven't really been keeping track these days.