Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gluten-Free Steampunk

Okay, not really. I highly doubt people of the Victorian era persuasion were knowledgeable of gluten intolerance or had access to quinoa, coconut milk, brown rice, and other celiac-friendly items. However, I am still choosing to blog a bit about my newest health endeavor: following The Candida Diet. In a nutshell, it is a gluten-free, mostly dairy-free diet which purposes to rebalance the bacterial content of your body, aiding in weight loss and reducing several ailments such as poor sleep, skin rashes, and digestive issues. My mother is following a stricter version of the diet, and in solidarity (and frustration of my inability to lose weight while still eating bread), I have joined her in this venture.

The bad news is that many things I love (kiwis, Mom's homemade bread, Red Mango yogurt, ham) are verboten for awhile. The good news is that I lost 2.6 pounds the first week on the diet, I feel full of energy, my digestive system is much happier, and I have been busily experimenting with creating tasty goodies, such as this lovely Vanilla Cream Smoothie I invented yesterday.

To make it, assemble these ingredients:

1 TB coconut oil
1 TB almond butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup almond milk
1 Stevia packet
1 dash cinnamon
1 splash of vanilla

Throw everything into a blender and blend for several minutes, then drink!

So far, The Candida Diet has been nicely tolerable, and I have not been bothered overmuch with cravings. I have, a few times, given into my unsatiated desire for QuikTrip's sausage, egg, and cheese on a biscuit breakfast sandwiches and a side of ice tea, perhaps the most primaly delicious breakfast pairings on the planet. Yet, I have managed to keep my burgeoning love for QT's offerings fairly restrained, and my jeans are obliging by growing looser by the day. Whoopie!

On a more steamy note, I have much of Part 1 of Steam on the Horizon revised. Thanks to my earlier conversation with Dad, I need to add in some things to prior chapters, but as of now, I am on Page 72 of 110 pages to revise of Part 1. I had toyed a bit with getting Part 1 out on Amazon before Part 2 (or Parts 2 and 3 if that is how it works). However, I read an excellent article months ago that said it is better to post several things to the internet at once than one at a time. The idea is that if someone lights upon your video, chapter, picture, etc. and likes it, they will eagerly look for more and you should be able to capitalize on their initial interest. If the person has to wait for the next installment, their excitement will wane and you will lose their interest. Thus, I will not make Steam on the Horizon ready for the reading public until it is completed.

So far, I still anticipate Steam on the Horizon will be broken down into at least two parts. However, I have been paring away adjectives and descriptions with resolute determination, so I may possibly whittle it down to 150,00 words or less. We shall see!

Speaking of length, I was amused to read in this article that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was rejected by several publishers for being too long. Apparently savvy adults determined that 320 pages was far too taxing for the average child's mind to tackle, until one publisher tossed the manuscript to his 8 year old daughter and was surprised at how voraciously she devoured it.

Well, time to start revising Chapter Nine! The Horizon and crew are currently berthed in Larne, Ireland after delivering a load of flour and grains and will be heading back over the Irish Sea where a skirmish with a menacing airship awaits them. Here is a little teaser for you:

   Hold on to something!” Roberts ordered. “And for God's sake, stay the hell out of the way!” Bloomberg retreated several feet and wrapped his arms around a sturdy rope, his eyes gleaming with a queer sort of excitement. “And get down!” Roberts added sharply. “You want to be a target, man?” They were growing closer to the other ship, and the bullets would soon be flying. 
        Thirty-two knots. The crew of the Horizon was a welter of frantic activity as Roberts' hands clenched on the wheel, poised to jerk Horizon's nose up into the air to break through the thick clouds and climb her upwards into the heavens. Air battles were lost and won by altitude: once an airship was above another's bloated envelope, it was a hard target to shoot. If the Horizon kicked up enough speed quickly, they could hopscotch over the attacking vessel and then outrun her as she turned around to pursue. It was a matter of charging forward to close the distance, then quickly kicking up into the air before the other ship had a chance to gain superiority of height. Picking the right time was crucial – too close and it put you in danger of a boarding harpoon and too far would give the other ship enough time to climb upwards with you.
         Through his telescope, Roberts saw that the attacking ship was a light bird, build for speed and maneuverability. But she wasn't the Horizon, and Roberts highly doubted that the pirate vessel could top twenty-five knots. All his airship had to do was stay out of range of any shots or harpoon snares, and they'd make it out unscathed.
          Thirty-four knots. The Horizon was rapidly approaching the point of no return, directly on course to collide with its attacker, and through the darkening air Roberts could see men rushing about on board the other vessel which was already rising up sharply. He gave the wheel a vicious jerk, sending the Horizon's prow screaming up into the heavens and leaving the other vessel below as it fought to keep pace with the rapidly ascending Horizon.
          They punched through clouds fat and heavy with rain, dampness soaking Roberts' clothing as he wrestled the wheel to keep her nose upwards. The clouds below and the darkness of a threatening storm were throwing everything into shadows and as the Horizon breached the cloud bank, nothing was visible except fitful sunlight. Underneath the Horizon was a vast expanse of sluggish clouds, but the attacking airship was somewhere underneath their feet and would find its prey eventually: Roberts could faintly hear the engines of the pirate ship, louder and deeper than the Horizon, growling in anticipation of its quarry.

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