Feeling Defeated – Did The Challenge Get The Best of Me?

I’m not quitting, I don’t think. But I am having one of those discouraging days when I just don’t think I can carry on with this challenge anymore. It’s difficult. I knew it would be when I started it. But it’s also…expensive. I can no longer go to my fave ‘cheap stores’ to buy affordable food. Instead, I’m paying €5 for a jar of mayonnaise.

My diet is extremely restricted – as I can only eat what’s seasonal and grown locally (with the exception of wheat powder, sugar, rice, eggs, butter, oil and dried beans that I’ve allowed myself) so that basically leaves me with red currants, cucumber, kale, summer squash, turnips and potato at the moment. In a few weeks we can add onion and carrots. Now this sounds like a lot. And it is, because its summer. That’s what scares me. If, during the time of plenty, I’m hungry and bored….what will happen in a month? Will I still be eating salads? Or will cold food be a thing of the past and I’ll be going the potato, cabbage and rice path. What am I supposed to do? And why can’t I buy a 20 penny bag of macaroni to save money and use as a filling in my salads to make them last longer? Why do I find myself spending more and eating less?

I keep telling myself that this is good for the local economy. Small farms that work hard to bring in any profit and that I would much rather give them my hard earned money instead of just throwing into the machine which manufactures our food as a multi-billion dollar industry. I mean, the machine doesn’t notice but the local farmer definitely does – and they are thankful. This one thought is what is keeping me on this challenge at the moment. Well ok, that and the hope that I will eventually find myself a bit healthier since I’m not eating a diet full of processed foods.

However, now that I mentioned that – I feel as though I’m actually eating a ton more processed sugars. You see, I have to preserve most of the food I have so that it will last me past next week. Since the harvest times are short and the crops do not last forever, I find I must buy when it is available (and more than I will be just eating for a couple days) and preserve, freeze, dry the rest so that I have at least a bit of something different to break up the monotony in the coming months. (Am I really planning to last that long. No. No way I can do it. But I do plan to at least incorporate this local buying strategy into our lives in the long-term. So in a way, yes, I guess…but nooooo.) But do you realize that 1/4 kg (about ½ lb) of sugar goes into each bottle of juice? I averaged it out. I use 2 kgs sugar per 10 liter pot of currant or rhubarb juice. Each pot makes between 8-12 bottles of concentrated juice. We then pour a bit of the concentrate and then mix with water. But that’s still ALOT and that’s only the juice! Jam, again –like 2 kgs sugar. Even pickling requires a bit of sugar in the mix. I assume this is why I’ve lost basically no weight.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at today. Any words of encouragement would be thoroughly appreciated at this point.

Thanks for reading


*Photo sourced via Pixabay

5 Great Uses for Household White Vinegar

When we think of vinegar, the image that usually comes to mind is cucumbers soaked in the stuff and an odiferous smell. Well, white vinegar is actually great for a multitude of uses. I am a big fan of having anything in my home which serves more than one purpose. Here are some of the great uses for white vinegar. There are hundreds, I’m sure. But I’m listing my top 5:

  • Preserving and Canning, of course: I think that just about anything can be preserved with a varying ratio of vinegar, water and sugar. This is something I love to do but need tons of practice to perfect.
  • Windows: My grandmother taught me this little trick. Add 25% white vinegar to 75% hot water (not much, a small dessert bowl will go a loooonnngggg way!) Take a balled up piece of newspaper, dip in solution and wipe windows. Use a dry balled up piece of newspaper to dry window and you shouldn’t have streaks!
  • Sunburn: Yes, you heard me – Sunburn. The acidity in the vinegar effectively sucks the burn out. If it’s really bad, you might want to do this several times. For a light or patchy sunburn pour a small bit of vinegar to the palm of your hand, place on burnt skin and rub in. (Yes, it smells bad…but it helps…A LOT). For a full-on I-fell-asleep-on-the-beach-for-four-hours burn, hop in the shower, run some cold water over yourself first, then pour (Yes, pour) the vinegar over your burnt bits. Try to rub in or just stand there and let it soak in. Don’t use the whole bottle in one go, but repeat several times. Rinse off, but wait until you feel the burning subside. (You will basically be dry by this point) It’s a desperate measure, but tried and proven.
  • To rid your home of odors: It actually works. Just a tad in a small dessert cup set out on the counter will help to get rid of weird food odors and the like. I’ve found that leaving it out for 6-8 hours is enough to completely clear the air and your home won’t smell vinegar-y either.
  • Smelly kitchen drains: If you’ve got that ‘ugh, what’s that fucking smell and where’s it coming from?!’ stench, its your drains. Pour a small amount of vinegar down the kitchen drains and let it just be there awhile before you turn on the water. It won’t eliminate it entirely, but it will give you a large degree of relief. Works well if you are in a rural area or have a septic tank and can’t use bleach or lye in your drains.

What are some of your favourite uses for vinegar?

Thanks for reading!


Camphor: Yes, you need it!

Remember that old green jar of smelly stuff (aka camphor-phenic) that your mom used to smear all over your face whenever you got a bad case of the sniffles? I haven’t seen that stuff in ages. But this is the grown up version…in liquid form, so it can be used for more than helping you breathe better when you’re sick.

This is Borneo Camphor, purchased on a small rubber tree and camphor farm in rural Thailand. I swear by this stuff. It’s one of the most commonly used medicines in traditional medicines.

It’s commonly used as inhalant to assist better breathing, but it’s also got at least 100 other uses. It can be used as an insecticide, and anti-nervous inhalant, to tell if there’s an imbalance in the body,  as a disinfectant and a germicide.

It is also used to calm muscle spasms and cramping, as a anti inflammatory and sedative. It’s even considered an aphrodisiac when consumed. (Don’t ask me about this one…I have no idea).

I’m a huge fan of all things that serve multiple purposes. (Especially since it helps to minimize the need for bags of different treatments into one pretty little vial). Camphor, is actually relatively inexpensive. So my suggestion to you, is to purchase it when given the opportunity.

What’s your favourite use for camphor?

Thanks for reading!




Cold and Flu season quick-fix

Good morning greetings and salutations from cold and flu land! I woke up the other day with a major case of the sniffles, due only to playing too much outside during major weather fluctuations. So I figure it’s as good a time as ever to share a home remedy of mine. OK, adapted and mutilated from several friends to fit me perfectly.

Years ago, I had a horrible case of the flu and was in a country where I recognized nothing, so felt unable to confidently purchase medicine for myself without risking something odd happening as a result. A good friend of mine from the East told me a home cure his mother used to make. He told me to slice an entire lemon and boil it in a huge pot of boiling water. Eventually the water would thicken with the boiled lemon pulp, to pour that into a mug and gulp it down. I must admit, I was skeptical because who, could cure the flu with nothing but lemon and water? Why the need for antibiotics, if its that simple? Well.. guess what. Although it might not have healed me completely, this hot lemon mash drink patched me up with some relief long enough to enjoy the rest of my trip!

I used to (and occasionally still do if its appropriate) indulge in a Hot Toddy or two when feeling totally…blaaahhhhhhh. Last year I was in the Nordics, and sniffling, of course. The management of the restaurant I’d been frequenting sat me down and poured me a liter creation of hot water, honey and a ton of rum. The result was a somewhat tipsy traveller with a new favourite drink and a slightly raspy voice but with less of a cough and a much drier nose.

This year a friend of mine whom I consult on all things natural and nutritional, recommended I eat ginger or hot chili when I was totally cold, in order to heat my body temp up. This actually really works, so best not to use it if you have a fever, because it will continue ramping up your body temperature.

So here are my 2 adaptions:

For cold/flu with a fever:

Hot lemon mash with honey and a splash of rum (only add the rum if its THAT moment). This helps break up the crud, slow down the sniffles and generally chill you out.

For cold/flu with a low body temperature:

Hot water with lemon, sliced or grated ginger and honey to taste. Adding a ton of garlic or hot chili to your food will also help to increase your body temp to normalize your low fever. Also, go see a doctor! Low temps are more dangerous than high temps…so I’ve been told.

What are some of your favorite home remedies?

Thanks for reading!