Family Centered Kitchen

Juice Fast:: Day 7

Scale Says:: -16 lbs.

Body Says:: Plenty of energy, some aches and paints (shoulder pull and arthritic joints)

Breakfast:: Melon Melba juice **

Lunch:: Something with gandules (green pidgeon peas) because I’ve been craving them.

Dinner:: Greek Smoothie (because I never got one yesterday)

One week!  16 lbs. away so far.  I expect that I’ve lost more water from our outing yesterday, but also some other stuff since starting my herbal cleanse yesterday.  Things are moving in the right direction, if you take my meaning.

We took a day off yesterday.  Completely off.  We took 6 of the children to Old Sturbridge Village for the afternoon and walked for hours.  Our oldest two went shopping and to a movie after chores.

I had an aura yesterday while we were out – the first migraine or near migraine since I was pregnant with Beatrice. It lasted longer than normal, but I didn’t get the nailing pain I normally do. Just a nagging one. My guess is that it was either the heat (around 90) we were walking in (I was VERY well hydrated), or possibly the pain from my shoulder shooting up into my neck and head…

Food temptations are momentarily rearing their heads.  But they are fleeting and I can move on.  I am determined to complete this fast.  And Brian has been a tremendous help.  Traditionally, we visit the local Friendly’s ice cream chain after OSV, but he kindly suggested that we go to the grocery to pick up supplies for homemade ice cream sundaes for the kids, and that it would give me an opportunity to pick up what I wanted for my lunch.  Good, sweet man.

I haven’t really been hungry at all.  My tummy is always full of juices or water… or builky veggies.  The most difficult time of the day for me right now is late evening.  I get peckish along about 10.  A few almonds settle that quickly.

I got a question yesterday from Karen about what juicer I use.  I have a Jack LaLanne Juicer
.  I have had it for 8 years.  Never had a single problem with it… except that I keep losing the key that helps dismantle the unit for washing.  No worries, a chopstick, or the stick end of an electric beater fits perfectly, as was discovered by our some Jack!

If you’re fasting along, please leave a comment below and let me know how you’re doing!

Today’s recipe::

Melon Melba Juice

  • 2 honeydews or cantaloupes, seeded and cut to fit your juicer
  • 4 peaches or nectarines
  • 1 c. each raspberries and blackberries
  • 1.5″ piece of ginger
  • equal amount of water


Juice Fast:: A Clarification

I just want to be clear, because I’ve already had some concerned messages about what I am doing. Folks who have known me for a long while also know that I am very concerned about holistic health, and ways to enable the body to heal itself. I am NOT doing ReBoot, though I signed up for membership on their site (solely for the purposes of finding some more interesting juicing recipes). I feel that their approach – or what I understand of it – is actually dangerous for most people. I am not keeping a strict juice fast, and I am allowing myself one meal each day. It is a large salad with plenty of protein in the form of beans, cheese, eggs, or meat. I’m not eating anything processed (except for the cheese, which is totally natural milk cheese, not that creepy factory stuff). I am not eating breads or pastas at all.

While I had some fun with my first post (about having gained a bit too much weight, which I have), I am also using this opportunity to renew my body from the inside. I have been blessed – some would say cursed – with several autoimmune diseases. I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Psoriatic Arthritis, asthma, migraine, and have tested positive for anti-cardiolipin antibody and SLE (lupus, most likely because I have autoimmune diseases to begin with). I used to have heinous seasonal and other allergies, which don’t seem to bother me anymore.

More than eight years ago, after a second round of oral chemotherapy which left me tired, weak, and feeling like I was being burned by acid from the inside – and a host of other medications – I decided I’d had enough. I decided to start researching holistic alternatives, believing firmly that our bodies were made to heal themselves, and that with a few exceptions, they can do without conventional medications. That is, provided that the body is properly fed.

And periodically cleansed. An important part of cleansing is fasting. Fasting restricts calories. Wise fasting also nourishes the body with as little impact to the digestive system as possible. That is, juice fasting. Almost anyone can do a three-day juice fast. If you intend to go longer, you should have a good idea of your health status, or a thumbs up from your health care provider.

In 2004, I discontinued my medications and began to cleanse, followed by a radical change in diet, which our whole family has largely maintained since then. I’ve written about it before, and I will again, as I go along. Basically, if God didn’t make it, we don’t eat it or make things from it. We eat as close to nature as is practical for our family. But every so often, life gets crazy busy, which makes my body much more sensitive. That busy-ness often also results in eating what is convenient rather than what is healthiest. And that begins a dangerous downward spiral for me. A diet that is not ideal + Stress = inflammatory response = pain = sedentary living = weight gain, and so on, and so on… And that is when I need to cleanse and fast again…

Which brings me to where I am now, and was over eight years ago. I stayed off of my medications, maintained a remission of my auto-immune diseases, achieved a healthy weight, regained my fertility. I became pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl (easiest delivery to that point), followed by a healthy boy 17 months later, and two other healthy, beautiful children, ending with our little Joséphine 18 months ago.

All of the bustle of buying and restoring a large old home, commuting 40 minutes each way to farm, working, homeschooling, and school for Brian and me has taken a toll. Last winter I had one of the worst flares I have ever experienced, in the midst of which, I became pregnant. After we lost her, I woke up to the fact that it had come time – again – to renew my body.

Fasting is the first step in returning my body to normal health. For me, fasting includes an ample amount of protein from various sources to maintain muscle mass and function. Exercise is vital to continue building that muscle – work on the farm, walks, building, bending, play… Prayer, laughter, and recreation are also essential components to the Fit in 40™ plan.

Prayer and Fasting, Fasting and Prayer

In just under three weeks, Brian will be ordained to the diaconate.  We will become a deacon’s family.  An auspicious occasion, to say the least.  On such occasions, it is traditional to fast and pray, in order to prepare oneself in body, mind, and spirit.

But it isn’t a completely pious pursuit.  I have become concerned that I won’t fit into my new suit.  And in the interest of responsibly stewarding our hard-earned income, I would like not to have to buy another.  And anyway, I could do without another try-on session in a department store fitting room that is equipped with hideous lighting and an evil trick mirror which makes me look like… well… never mind.

This beautiful bunch of produce will soon be transformed into a drink worthy of a 3rd grader's fondest gross-out fantasy. It's actually not terrible - and it is really quite good-for-you.



So, I’m doing a juice fast for the next couple of weeks.  I’m hoping that I’ll drop a dress size and get myself a headstart to feeling and being better.  Giving up solid foods for three weeks is going to be a challenge.  I love food – I love the smell, the look, the taste… I love thinking about cooking for my family and inventing recipes.  I look forward to enjoyable meals.


It’s going to take an awful lot of prayer to get through these few days.  I’m going to be relying heavily on my prayer rope and rosary to get me through. Lots of begging for mercy, which is why the Jesus Prayer and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will come in handy. I may need back-up beads.

Mortification…  Dying to myself to become the person I was made to be.

I think I like this type of mortification better than the type that comes from inserting my hoof into my mouth.

I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. – Daniel 3:9 (NAB)

Good Daniel did know a thing or two about avoiding overindulgence in choice food.  I’ll be foregoing the sackcloth and ashes this time.  What I will be partaking in is some “Mean Green Juice”.

Brigid’s Footsteps

Photography by John Evans


The footsteps of St Brigid are everywhere I go
Rising out of darkness from the earth below
Little bells of Spring time –
Pure and white as snow.

The footsteps of St Brigid
Have travelled far and wide
Unconstrained by boundaries,
Monarchies or tides –

An abbess and a foundress
A holy one of God
Whose prayers rose up like incense
From rock and field and bog.

O Saint Brigid, Ireland’s children
Still recall with greatest pride
All you did for church and country
With the Cross your truest guide.

Ask the Saviour now to bless us
Ask Our Lady to enfold
In maternal wraps of goodness
All we are and all we hold.

Dear to us is Mother Ireland
Dear to us this faith passed down
Help us to uphold and value
All that won for you a crown.

May we follow in your footsteps
As you look from heaven above
May you shower upon your children
Heaven’s grace and heaven’s love.

Winter has given us a miss, it seems, and we’re headed straight into spring.  While that isn’t such good news for sugaring, we’re happy to have the mild weather.  The temperatures are forecast to reach 60 degrees here today.  On the feast of St. Brigid.  When we are normally watching the skies for freezing rain.

We will still have porridge oats with all of the fixings, and a pot of hot tea with breakfast, despite the warm weather.  Perhaps we’ll make a barmbrack for snack time.  I found a new, gluten free recipe.

I haven’t planned any activities for this feast, as I generally do.  Perhaps we’ll have a go at creating Brigid’s Footsteps (snowdrops) from white packing paper and pipe cleaners.  Something sweet and simple, reminding me so poignantly of the drifts of snowdrops all over England near her feast day.

I hope that your day is blessed in every way.


Sweetness and Light

Every year on 13 December, before the morning sun lights the sky, Lucia comes wearing a candle-lit evergreen wreath, bearing saffron buns and coffee (cocoa for the children).  We sit in bed together, savouring this delicacy in the stillness of dawn.


A circlet of evergreen, lit with candles, symbolising the Light of the World and His eternal nature

Lucia {eldest daughter Cat}


Josie's first taste of Lussekatt.


The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

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