Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 13 - Boredom

We're really in the doldrums now, aren't we? We're right in the middle - far enough from the beginning that the newness has worn off, but so far away from the end that it's nowhere in sight. And everyone's been quiet for the last few days - how are you doing?

This is where things can get boring and when boredom sets in, all sorts of hazards pop up. I get cranky when I'm bored. And when I get cranky I want to eat. Or drink. The bad stuff. You know what I'm talking about - that mindless, hollow-eyed, open-mouthed gorge fest in front of the TV with a simple, constant hand-to-mouth movement and rhythmic grinding of the jaws - it's enough to level the brainwaves and numb the mind. (They say Yoga's supposed to have a similar effect, but after years of practice I've never achieved the same bliss that occurs when my fingers are covered with Cheetos dust and I'm watching Molly Ringwald and the rest of the Breakfast Club punk dancing in the library of Shermer High.) So when I'm cleansing and hit that wall of boredom I can get pretty edgy and irritable. And I need to find something else to keep me busy. Or calm me down.

On Wednesday I took a bike ride with my husband after work. I didn't want to go because it was so windy - I hate riding my bike in the wind. But this time I decided use it to my advantage. I welcomed the added resistance as a way to intensify my workout. We only rode about 9 or 10 miles but when we got home I'd burned off enough stress that I was much more relaxed than before the ride. I whipped up a nice plate of leftovers for dinner, then settled in with my book - "Blogging for Dummies" (what else?!). So instead of falling off the wagon I got two great things out of the evening - a nice workout and more information about blogging. On top of that, I got to do something enjoyable and healthy with my husband. And I slept like a baby.

Last night I did a Yoga workout and some more reading. Then I studied Italian. No Cheetos required.

So what are you doing to to alleviate the boredom and restlessness that often accompanies this part of the cleanse? Anyone have any good ideas? And how are you doing in general? Would love to know!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sleep - Day 9

By now it should be much easier to sleep. We're already heard from some cleansers who have said they're sleeping better than before they started cleansing. And it stands to reason - you’ve eliminated caffeine, sugar and booze – all major culprits in the conspiracy to keep you from getting the quality z's you deserve. Our friend and fellow cleanser Kathleen said, “Now I know that if I feel tired, it’s because I really am. I’m not crashing from caffeine, sugar or the wine I had last night – I’m legitimately tired.” How succinctly and beautifully put! Her body's doing exactly what it's supposed to do!

If you typically fall asleep in front of the television, now is a great time to try turning it off before you close your eyes. You’ll save some energy and probably improve the quality of your sleep – those flashing lights can’t be good! Same thing if you’re a reader who winds up slumped over and drooling into your book while propped up against a few pillows. Turn out the light and see what happens. Chances are you’ll drop off quickly - and your neck will thank you for it in the morning!

Waking up should be easier, too. You might look more awake in the morning; less puffy, perhaps. And check out your eyes – they’re probably clearer and more alert-looking. Don’t you love waking up… awake?

Be sure to check out Prevention Magazine for a great article - "This is Your Body Without Sleep." At the end of the article there are tips to help you get your sleep routine together.

Here's to a fine Day 9!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When to Buy Organic - The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

This post is an oldie but a goodie - it might help make your shopping trips a little easier. The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 are the 12 fruits and vegetables you should always buy organic, and the 15 fruits and vegetables that are safe to purchase in non-organic form. It's all about pesticides and their ability to permeate the food. So take a look at this before you make your next run to the grocery store - then you can make informed decisions and feel good about the food you're eating!

Day 11 - Preening Your Produce

We never know who’s been handling our produce, but it’s safe to say that it’s felt the touch of many hands, from the farm to the processing plant, from the shipper to the merchandiser. And once it gets to the produce section or the farmer’s market, all bets are off. Next time you’re grocery shopping, take a look at all the people touching, holding, and pressing fruits and vegetables as they check for ripeness. Then watch what they do with their hands.

Okay, before you shun all things fresh and run to the processed food aisles, just remember that proper cleaning can eliminate all the … stuff that’s accumulated on your prized produce. And you probably have the perfect solution in your home already. It’s hydrogen peroxide. The United States Food and Drug Administration considers hydrogen peroxide an approved and safe way to kill bacteria.# Here’s what you do:

Don’t wash produce directly in your sink – the sink is one of the most dangerous places in the home because it’s loaded with bacteria. Be sure to use bowls for soaking and washing produce.

Produce - Fill a large bowl with cold water and add 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak the fruit and veggies for about 1 minute; then rinse with running water. According to scientific research, this process kills E. coli and bacteria effectively.*

Cutting board bacteria - Cutting boards can contain about 200% more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat. Keep them clean by soaking a paper towel or damp cloth in peroxide and wiping the wood or plastic board. The oxidizing agents kill salmonella and other organisms that can make you sick.*

# Information from ehow.com.
*Information from http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Great-uses-for-Hydrogen-Peroxide

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 10 - Weightloss Revisited

Week 1 is about becoming accustomed to the cleanse. It's the time to learn healthier alternatives for meals and snacks. But it's also a time of withdrawal, both physical and emotional. And during that time it's easy to eat a little more than usual – that’s where this cleanse can get a little tricky. It's easy to substitute quantity for what you used to consider quality – it’s easy to eat more because you might feel like you're depriving yourself of your old favorites - "Oh, because I'm not having fettucine alfredo I can have an extra helping of gluten-free pasta with olive oil and garlic." That's okay. You shouldn't restrict yourself during the first week because the dietary changes are so drastic.

But now that you're into the second week of cleansing, you're accustomed to it and can really start to think about what you want to accomplish over the next two weeks. I'm pretty certain that the Number 1 objective for many of us is to lose a few pounds. But weight loss can be tricky on this cleanse.

Turning to non-meat sources of protein isn't as cut and dried as eating chicken or fish. Black beans are a tremendous source of protein but they're high in carbs. Same with quinoa. And it's those damned carbs that keep us fleshier than we'd prefer to be. The trick to getting lean is to cut the carbs way back. Fitness buffs eat lots of chicken, fish and vegetables to strip off the fat. We can do the same thing - we just need to make sure we're getting at least some of our protein from tofu or tempeh and protein powder - they're packed with protein and low in carbs.

The foods that become comfort foods while cleansing (rice, quinoa, gluten-free breads, pastas and crackers) are loaded with carbs. So be cognizant of how much of these types of foods you're eating each day.

Calorie intake is the Holy Grail of weight loss. This is where a website called Livestrong can really help. Check out the "My Plate" feature, where you can enter each item of food you eat in a day and calculate the number of calories you’ve consumed. You can also enter any exercise you’ve done and it will add that into the mix. And you can enter your current weight and your weight loss goals (i.e., lose 2 pounds per week) and it will calculate the number of calories it takes to do that. It will even create a pie chart to show you a snapshot of how your eating balances (or doesn’t) out. If you're honest and enter your intake every day it can really help you shed some of that insulation.

Veggies are the best for keeping you full while keeping the calorie count low. Fruits are great too, but keep an eye on the sugars they contain. If you've got to nibble on something, look to veggies first.

Water is great for curbing hunger. We often mistake thirst for hunger so any time you feel like to you want nibble on something, swig down 8 ounces of water first. Then see if you're really hungry.

And if you haven't already tried it, psyllium is a great jump-start for your digestive system. It can help clean out the pipes, which will help improve your current digestion.

I hope this helps those of you who would like to shrink a bit during the course of this cleanse. Here's to getting some great results!

Have a great Day 10!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hunger vs. Habit - Day 9

Many times eating or drinking is triggered by certain events or behaviors rather than by true hunger or thirst. Think about all the times you've sipped a glass of wine while you prepared dinner or lost count of the number of pieces of bread you munched while you waited for dinner to be delivered at a restaurant.

Some of you may have felt some pangs of desire - almost Pavlovian responses to events or circumstances you encountered. But you've had to overcome those urges - you've been forced to think about them and then deal with them. And I suspect that ultimately you realized that what you were missing was the behavior - the habit - and not the food.

So much of what we put into our mouths is driven by habit rather than hunger. And we think we can't live without certain foods when it's really the behavior we've become addicted to. But you've just gone over a week without alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten and animal products - that's everything the Western diet is based upon! So you've shattered a few long-lived myths you've carried about yourself and about the choices you have when it comes to nutrition. You really do have a choice! Isn't it liberating to learn that?

Congratulations on completing eight days of mindful eating! I hope it has left everyone feeling a little more clarity, a little more energized, and a lot more empowered than you did last Sunday morning! You've all done a great job!

Tandoori Tofu

The June issue (I know - it’s only April!) of Eating Well magazine featured this tofu recipe in its "Healthy in a Hurry" feature. The first time I tried it I was so pleasantly surprised with the flavor - the only thing I'd do is use less lime juice (the recipe calls for 1T - next time I'm going to use 1/2T). But it was good enough to pass the husband test so it's really tasty!

“A tandoori-inspired spice rub and smokiness from the grill flavor these tofu steaks. While you’re there, grill some vegetables too, to serve alongside.”*

Tandoori Tofu

2 t paprika
1 t salt, divided
½ t ground cumin
½ t ground coriander
¼ t ground turmeric
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 T lime juice
2 14-oz packages extra-firm or firm water-packed tofu, drained
2/3 C plain soy yogurt
6 T sliced scallions or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Combine paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, lime juice and the spice mixture; cook, stirring until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Slice each tofu block crosswise into 6 slices; pat dry. Use about 3 tablespoons of the spiced oil to brush both sides of the tofu slices; sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. (Reserve the remaining spiced oil.)

Oil the grill rack. Grill the tofu until it has grill marks and is heated through, 2-3 minutes per side.

Combine yogurt with the reserved spiced oil in a small bowl. Serve the grilled tofu with the yogurt sauce, garnished with scallions (or cilantro, if desired).

Makes 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes; Total Time: 30 minutes

Per serving: 173 calories; 13g fat (2g sat, 7 g mono); 1 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 12 g protein; 2 g fiber; 419 mg sodium; 224 mg potassium.

NUTRITIONAL BONUS: Calcium (31% daily value).

*From Eating Well Magazine, June 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 8 - Rewards

Can you believe it? You’ve already finished the first week of cleansing! Maybe you’re thinking about giving yourself a treat – and you deserve one because you’ve done a great job so far!

But the reward system we’ve grown accustomed to is probably one of the most dangerous landmines we face in our dietary lives. From the time we smeared our first birthday cake across our faces we’ve been taught to celebrate through our mouths.

Special dinners, holiday meals, even funeral buffets find us hunched over our plates, fork or spoon in constant motion, prospecting for that one bite that will bring us a culinary version of comfort or joy. Some of us seek solace or celebration in liquid form, tossing back glass after glass of beer or booze in an effort to rejoice or relax. But in either case the satisfaction is only temporary and we wind up with an overstuffed belly, a pounding head, and an empty soul.

This cleanse gives us time to rethink and redefine our relationships with food and alcohol – it’s the perfect time to consider a more sophisticated way of rewarding ourselves when we deserve a little something special. Some of you have already experienced challenges and victories during the course of this cleanse. And some of you have probably felt like you deserved a reward simply because of the sacrifices you’re making. But you can’t have a cookie, you can’t have a glass of wine – hell, you can’t even have a Wheat Thin!

So what do you do? Here are some ideas:

1) Get a mani/pedi - not express; the spa kind that gives you get the full royal treatment
2) Get your hair done - a new cut or color, highlights, straighting, deep conditioning
3) Take a Yoga class - Bikram for sweating out toxins; restorative is almost better than a massage
4) Buy those cute red (or whatever color your covet) shoes you’ve been eyeing
5) Make a date with your vibrator (very healthy!)
6) See a foreign movie
7) Spend an undisturbed hour with a good book
8) Take a walk
9) Get a makeover - fall is the perfect time to bring new colors into your makeup palette
10) Try a new perfume
11) Take a dance class - tap, salsa, pole; whatever gets your juices flowing
12) Get a wax - brows, upper lip, Brazillian, arms
13) See a concert
14) Get a massage
15) Go to the zoo
16) Tackle a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle
17) Watch an old movie
18) See a psychic
19) Paint a room a new color
20) Get a cushy pair of slippers

We’re making all sorts of changes during these 21 days. This is the chance to shift your perspective and find other ways to reward yourself. What do you like to do? What gives you joy? What makes you feel safe, secure and well tended to? Whatever the answer, remember that you're already taking great care of your body - now is the time to feed your soul? You deserve it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 7 - Delete the Meat

Congratulations, Everybody! We’re on Day 7 already!

Many of you have asked what to do for protein. My two favorite sources are tofu and the protein powder I add to my morning smoothie (I use Rainbow Light Vanilla - it's the most cleanse-friendly kind I can find). But there are other sources.

Here's a great comprehensive article from Vegan Resource Group about finding meatless sources of protein, how much protein is required in the diet and a list of foods and their protein content.

I found a short explanation on RealAge, a favorite website of mine, and posted it below.

How to Stay Healthy Without Eating Meat
March 27, 2010 12:00 AM by Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD |

Q. …How can I get all the protein I need without eating meat? -- Colleen, Denver, CO

A. Ask a vegetarian. Plenty of folks who have sworn off meat and poultry (we're guessing you avoid both) can rattle off plant proteins as easily as you can spout the alphabet. Among them: beans, lentils, chickpeas and other legumes, tofu, edamame, nuts, seeds, low-fat cheese and yogurt, even potatoes. These are all good sources of protein that, when eaten as part of a varied diet, supply all the amino acids you need in a day. For comparison: A 3-ounce chicken breast delivers 27 grams of protein; a cup of lentils gives you a hefty 18 g. If you're not a vegan -- someone who doesn't consume any animal products at all -- you can also eat an egg a day (perfectly fine if you don't have a cholesterol problem). An egg has about 6g of protein. And of course there's fish. They're not only full of protein but some types are good sources of healthy omega-3 fats.

The truth is, you're better off getting your protein this way, instead of from a T-bone or turkey leg. Vegetarians tend to be healthier than carnivores -- they're thinner; have lower lousy (LDL) cholesterol, higher healthy (HDL) cholesterol, and better blood pressure; and are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

That’s a good explanation, but how much protein do you need? The standard method used by nutritionists to estimate our minimum daily protein requirement is to multiply the body weight...in pounds by .37. This is the number of grams of protein that should be the daily minimum.*

Here's a list of some of the foods you can turn to:

Beans (including soy)
Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
Soy milk, 1 cup - 6 -10 grams
Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams
Nuts and Seeds
Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons - 8 grams protein
Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

If you’re looking to drop some weight, be careful about the calorie counts of some of these foods, particularly the nuts.

I hope this helps and I hope everyone has a great weekend!

*http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/highproteinfood.htm; food list also from this source

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 6 - Booze

TGIF, Cleansers!

Every Friday is a little milestone, but this is a special one for us – we’re completing six days of cleansing! Our next challenge is making it through the weekend…

For many of us, giving up alcohol is major challenge – especially when weekends or social gatherings pop up. But oftentimes we mindlessly order a drink in social situations simply because it’s a habit we picked up a long time ago. Most of us started drinking in our younger years when we were awkward and experimental – when alcohol was something new that helped us feel more confident and outgoing. But even after we’ve cultivated our own brand of panache, we continue to say yes to the wine served at dinner parties, the drinks ordered with colleagues after work, or the beers cracked during Sunday football games. We no longer even think about it because drinking is just “what people do.”

The habit of drinking is deeply engrained in our lifestyles and psyches. And it’s scary to think about upsetting the status quo. The first time I cleansed I didn’t go out until Day 18 because I didn’t think I could sit at a bar or have dinner in a restaurant without ordering a glass of wine. And I didn’t want to make other people uncomfortable (I actually thought that what was in my glass had some bearing on how other people perceived me!). But on Day 19 I was obligated to go to a dinner party. I was certain I’d be the most boring – and bored – person in the room. But no one even noticed that I was drinking water (which I’d poured into a wine glass – probably more as a crutch for me than anything else). And to my surprise I had just as much – if not more – fun as I would have had with a couple of glasses of wine in my system.

That night I realized that my habit of alcohol wasn’t as necessary as I believed it was. I realized that I didn’t need it in social settings. And that made me think about the other times I would turn to alcohol, particularly as a reward for a good day or a pacifier after a bad one. Now I know I can stop and ask myself, ‘Do I really want this?’ And chances are that, more often than not, the answer will be no.

This cleanse gives us the chance to retool our approach to alcohol. There may be some twinges or urges to head for happy hour or uncork a bottle, particularly now that the weekend is here. But when we feel those habitual pangs we can ask ourselves, ‘Why do I want this drink now?’ And when we have our answer we can ask, ‘Is there anything else I can drink – or do – that can take the place of a drink right now?’ If it’s about relaxation, a half-hour Yoga or meditation session works wonders. As does half an hour with the stillness of a good book.

And if you're in a social setting, try my favorite NA drink, a little cranberry juice shaken with soda water (just like a Cosmopolitan, but without the booze) and served straight up in a martini glass with a twist of lemon. It’s got all the sass without the shlosh!

Going booze-free brings a clarity and balance that can be disturbed by just one glass of wine a day. And one of the greatest things about letting go of alcohol is waking up in the morning. There’s no lag time – no need to recover from the night before – you can start living immediately. And you don’t look like you drank the night before!

Cheers to a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Walk - For Good Health and For a Good Cause

As we move into a more mindful way of eating, we're giving thought to how foods end up on our plates. In the same way, we are wise to consider our water supply. We are so fortunate to have accessible, potable water and most of us take it for granted. But women in developing countries walk an average of 6 kilometers every day to collect clean water. The Aveda Walk for Water is a 6 kilometer walk held in cities around the world to raise awareness and funding for clean water organizations. During Earth Month the walks will be held at different times in different cities. The link below will show the dates and times for your city.

The Walk for Water is a great way to help fund clean water in developing nations, to bring greater awareness and gratitude for the ease of our own lives, and to burn a few extra calories. What a great combination!

Click here http://avedawalkforwater.com/find-a-walk-US.html for more information.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 3 - How's Everybody Doing?

Today I got some disturbing news and found myself kneejerking - wanting something like bread or pasta, and sweets. I've been sitting with it and holding on. I know it'll pass so I'm just laying low and breathing for now. I ate some pineapple to get my sweet fix and that seemed to help.

Anyone care to share their experience so far? Anything you miss? Any challenging social situations you've experienced? Are you feeling like you're getting enough to eat? Are you feeling a little edgy? Relaxed? Somewhere in between?

Please blog in and let us know!

Day 3 - Sugar

We’re getting into it now, and the more you know the better. So here’s some dirt I dug up on one of our favorite nasty foods …

Sugar. There’s no getting around it – we love it. And that should come as no surprise, considering it’s in almost everything we eat. But, aside from the taste – and the high – there’s nothing good about it.

For the purposes of simplicity, let’s look at sugar (in most cases) just like we’re looking at gluten – as a processed food. And in that sense, it’s something to be avoided.

To be sure, sugar occurs naturally in certain foods – and that’s a good thing because sugar (or glucose) is a natural fuel for the body. It’s when we start supplementing the naturally-occurring sugar that we get into trouble.

The average American eats 140 pounds – yes, I said POUNDS – of sugar in a year. That figure is from 2005 – it’s probably higher today. And that breaks down to 22 teaspoons a day (teens do an average of 34 teaspoons a day). “One can of soda has 10 teaspoons, and 10 teaspoons is the maximum amount of sugar we should be eating in an entire day to be healthy.”1

And here are a few things that sugar does to the body: “Refined sugar has been linked to hypoglycemia, yeast overgrowth, a weakened immune system, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, enlargement of the liver and kidneys, increase of uric acid in the blood, mental and emotional disorders, dental cavities and an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.”2

I’m no scientist, but here are some interesting facts I’ve found in my research about sugar:

“The refined sugar you buy off the supermarket shelves might be cane sugar that is bleached by filtering the sugar through bone ash. Brown sugar may be bleached sugar that has molasses added to it.” 3 Bone ash? During this cleanse we’re not eating ANY animal products – bone ash is definitely off limits! And disgusting!

“Sugarcane is treated heavily with pesticides and herbicides. It is environmentally destructive and exposes the laborers to these harmful chemicals. Most workers harvesting sugarcane in the United States are paid below the minimum wage.” 4 Nobody wants to eat pesticides, that’s a given. And the karma that comes with eating food grown by people who are being treated unjustly has got to be pretty awful.

“Refined sugar is 99 % pure crystalline sucrose. When eaten, it enters the blood stream very fast, quickly elevating your blood sugar level. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin. This lowers your blood sugar level, resulting in irritability and fatigue. A cycle begins where you crave more sugar to raise your blood sugar levels again.”5 And that’s where the mood and energy swings begin.

And finally, “One can of soda per day can put on 10 pounds per year.”6

So here’s the good news – eliminate sugar and you’ll probably level out a bit emotionally. Your belly will probably level out too.

1From the Splendid Table, January 16, 2010
2From Skinny Bitch, quoting from “Sugar Blues,” Natural Nutrition, livrite.com
3Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
4 Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
5 Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
6 From The Doctors, February 3, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 2 - Are You Obsessed With Food?

Good Morning, Cleansers!

Congratulations on making it through the toughest day of all – Day 1! You took the leap and did something you never thought you’d be able to do! And here’s to creating another successful day today!

This article at Prevention is a good reality check for all of us. We all look at food in different ways at different times so it's good to be aware of how we're relating to it, particularly at this moment. This is our chance to learn mindful eating – giving true consideration to our food choices and opting for healthy choices each time we take a bite.

Many of us are looking to shed a few pounds over the next few weeks, but this cleanse isn’t just about losing weight - it's about restoring balance in our lives. Sometimes it's easy to forget that, particularly if we’re trying to whittle away some stubborn poundage.

During this cleanse we can bring balance to our relationships with food. Food is not the enemy. But it shouldn't be our best friend either. Take a look at this piece and then think about the best way to get the absolute most out of this cleanse.

Have a great Day 2!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 1 - We're Doin' It!

Good Morning, Cleansers!

We’re starting off on a journey that will give us new insights on our relationships with food, alcohol, ourselves and others. And it may seem daunting as we take the plunge today, but just remember that we’re all here together to hold each other up, to share war stories and celebrate little victories. So know that you’re not alone, and remember that you deserve to look and feel your absolute best!

We all deserve to be well taken care of, even if we're the ones who have to do it. And that's exactly what we're doing with this cleanse. It may feel a little awkward and challenging at first, but we'll all find our rhythm soon. So hang in there, have a great Day 1, and check in when you can.

And all you Chicagoans, be sure to check the post below - it's got a great deal for dining out at Karyn's on Green - an awesome vegan restaurant!

With love,

Today I commit to putting myself first for the next 21 days. I can devote 5% of the year to me. I spend the other 95% worrying about someone or something else, skipping workouts to work late or drive the kids around, eating poorly when I’m crunched for time, sacrificing my time for family time. But for the next 21 days I’m going to prove to myself that it doesn’t always have to be that way. For 21 days I’m not going to be pulled by my life – I’m going to set its course. And during that time I will allow myself to believe I deserve to come first, that I deserve to be healthy, that I deserve to feel great, that I deserve to look good, that I deserve the time it takes to care for me.

A Great Deal on Cleanse-Friendly Dining in Chicago!

This morning I received a great dining offer for Karyn's on Green - a FABULOUS new vegan restaurant in Chicago. Karyn is the 60+- year-old woman who has been eating raw for 40 years and has the looks and bod of a 35-year-old (See "An Interview with Karyn Calabrese")! Karyn's on Green is not raw, however there are some non-cooked items on the menu. Most of the food is cooked and vegan. And make no mistake, this woman makes killer food! I was there in February and absolutely loved it! Not only is the food cleanse-friendly - it's delicious! And the room is sexy and modern, with a bit of a Meat Packing District vibe - a touch of irony, perhaps? This place is worth a try for anyone who calls him or herself a foodie, so hit the link below for a great deal - $25-worth of food and drink for $10. You can buy as many coupons as you like, but I'm not sure how many you can use at one time. You must buy the coupons today, but I think they last one year. Be sure to read the small print before you press "Buy." http://groupon.com/r/uu1112565 Bon apetit!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Final Countdown

With less than 24 hours to go, it's the final countdown to Day 1, so do whatcha gotta do today. If that's getting your drink on, wolfing down a pint of Ben & Jerry's, or chomping down on a thick, chewy bagel, get your yayas out today! And be aware of your mindset as you do it - it will be interesting to compare it with how you feel a few weeks from now.

Enjoy a blissful spring day, and we'll meet again tomorrow when we start on our new path! I'm looking forward to sharing the next 21 days with you!

Cooking and Baking Stand-ins

I found these cooking and baking substitutes on AOL Food. For those of you who are turning your kitchen into a lab and trying new recipes, this might widen your scope of possibilities. Particularly in the chocolate department...:-)

Butter - Use canola oil. (I use olive oil as well.)

Eggs - For each replaced egg, grind a tablespoon of flax seed and dissolve it in 3 tablespoons of water. When it breaks down, it will have the same gooey consistency as an egg, and possess the same binding power.

Or, try 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder, 1 heaping tablespoon oil, plus 1 tablespoon warm water for each egg called for in a recipe.

Milk - Soy, rice and nut milks are good substitutes for milk in recipes. Use the unsweetened kind or adjust the amount of sweetener called for in the recipe. For a buttermilk substitute, use 1 TBSP of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in non-dairy milk and let sit 15 minutes before using.

Sugar - Use 3/4 C of agave or pure maple syrup for every one cup of sugar.

Flour - Substitute soy, rice or nut flour for white flour in the same amount.

Nuts - Substitute sunflower seeds for higher calorie nuts in recipes because they're lower in calories. Use half the amount of seeds as you would nuts. Or use half the amount of actual nuts called for and toast them to intensify the flavor.

Shortening - Use coconut oil instead of shortening. But skip the kind labeled "virgin" because it has a strong coconut flavor.

Oil - Applesauce is the best baking substitute for vegetable oil as it keeps dough moist and cuts the fat. Use the unsweetened kind and half the amount called for in the recipe.

- Use 3 TBSP of unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 TBSP oil for every ounce of chocolate called for in a recipe.

Buttermilk - "...add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of soymilk... and mix well. It's not quite as robust as buttermilk, but will have a similar flavor." (From vegetarian.about.com)

Christina's Fresh Salad Dressing

Life’s busy. For simplicity’s sake, sometimes it’s just easier to toss a salad for lunch or dinner. Christina, a cleanser in Minneapolis, shared this easy and delicious recipe with us in January. So tear up your lettuce, chop up your veggies (make extra to keep on hand) and drizzle this over the top – what a refreshing dish! Thanks, Christina!!!

Christina’s Fresh Salad Dressing

Fresh basil leaves - 4-6
Olive oil - 2 tbl
Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon or lime
Sea salt and pepper

Put ingredients into a blender or food processor. It makes a great fresh salad dressing!

Jane's Five Grain Porridge

Jane, the creative cleanser who coined the term GAS CAP (for Gluten, Alcohol, Sugar, Caffeine, and Animal Products), shared this amazing recipe with us during a previous cleanse. Thank you, Jane!

Jane’s Five Grain Porridge

4 C---bring to boil and stir in the ingredients at ten minute intervals, in the following order:

1/2 C brown rice
1/2 C steel cut oats, rinsed
1/2 C amaranth
1/2 C millet
1/2 C quinoa, rinsed

After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes Then serve or refrigerate. Great and easy to reheat in the morning.

Jane says - “I use McCanns, and also organic steel cut oats from the coop. McCanns states the oats are gluten free but can't guarantee they haven't had cross contamination due to using same machines on others grains in their processing. Still, that's clean enough for me.

“It takes about an hour to make at night but makes a great breakfast on cold mornings, especially when mixed with blueberries or other fruit, and maybe some soy milk, and stevia, if you like it sweetened. The best part is it lasts several days and is easy to heat in the microwave.”

Navratan Korma

This dish blew our socks off! It’s luxuriously subtle and complex and tastes utterly authentic.

Navratan Korma

"This is an Indian vegetable korma with nuts, paneer cheese, and an adjustable list of vegetables. It is in a tomato-cream sauce as opposed to the usual yogurt based sauce. 'Navratan' means 'nine gems,' so choose nine of the vegetable, nuts, and paneer ingredients; you can leave out the elements you don't want to use, or add them all so it is 'ten gems' if you wish."

Prep Time:10 Min
Cook Time:25 Min
Ready In:35 Min

Original Recipe Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/3 cup mixed nuts (cashews, pistachios, almonds – I used all cashews)
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup water
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh green beans
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup chopped potatoes (peel and microwave for 3 minutes first)
4 ounces extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cubed
1/4 cup plain soy milk (I use Silk)
1/4 cup soy creamer (I use Silk)
salt to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place mixed nuts in the skillet, cook and stir until golden brown, and set aside. Stir onion into the skillet, and cook until tender. Mix in garlic paste and ginger paste, and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, turmeric, coriander, and garam masala. Pour in water, and mix in raisins, carrots, green bell pepper, beans, peas, and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, until carrots and potatoes are tender.

Heat remaining oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the tofu on both sides, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place in a bowl with enough hot water to cover for about 2 minutes to soften, then stir into the skillet with the vegetables.

Stir milk and cream into the skillet with the vegetables and paneer. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 378 | Total Fat: 24.8g | Cholesterol: 26mg

adapted from allrecipes.com

Mushroom - Wild Rice Soup

I just tried this recipe and it's savory and satisfying. We Minnesotans expect our wild rice soup to be a cream base so this broth-based soup will be a bit of a surprise. However, the original recipe suggests adding a swirl of heavy cream - you could try a soy cream substitute and see what happens. I like it just the way it is.

Mushroom – Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6 to 8
Use any combination of mushrooms. The soup is hearty without being heavy. And it’s easily frozen.

2 tbsp. vegan butter or 1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 lb. cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, chopped
2 large shallots, minced
9 C gluten-free vegetable broth
½ C wild rice, rinsed under cold water
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil and sauté the onion until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Sir in the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are soft and brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the carrots and shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, wild rice, thyme, parsley and season with more salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with more chopped parsley.

Adapted from a recipe from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lynn's Fabulous Smoothie

This smoothie was introduced to me by Lynn McMahan in Chicago, a gorgeous guru of all things healthy and sustainable, and it became a mainstay of my first few cleanses - it's so healthy, thanks to the green tea, berries, protein powder and psyllium. And for those of you who have not had the pleasure of introducing psyllium to your diets, it will really help clean out your system and then keep you regular going forward.

Be sure to find a cleanse-friendly protein powder. Many people forget that whey is a dairy derivative and is off limits. Many protein powders are very high in sugar content; some contain gluten. The two I’ve found are Rainbow Light Protein Energizer in Vanilla and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 50. My preference is the Manitoba Harvest – it as 15g of protein, 1200 mg omega-3, and 10 essential amino acids. And it tastes better than the Rainbow Light (in my opinion).

Use this recipe as a guideline. I typically cut it in half - a full one is really filling and has more calories. Just add a little more than a half scoop of protein powder, cut the other things in half (except the psyllium - go full strength) and you're good to go. And you can mix and match the fruits - lately I've been using just bananas and blueberries and it's really good. I've also been drinking the green tea separately and not adding it in -makes the smoothie taste more like a shake. Love it! This is a great way to start the day!

Lynn’s Fabulous Smoothie

1 scoop protein powder
½ banana (I use the same portion for the half-smoothie)
1 C unsweetened almond of soy milk
½ C brewed decaffeinated green tea (optional)
¾ C organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)
½ C organic raspberries or strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 T psyllium
2-3 packets stevia (to taste)

Pulse to desired smoothness. YUM!!!!!


This isn’t even a recipe for guacamole – it’s a suggestion. You can play with guacamole ingredients until you find your perfect blend. It could be as simple as mashing up a couple of avocados with some lemon juice and sea salt. Or you can dress it up with any number of ingredients – they’re all listed below. For an easy alternative, blend salsa (see recipe) into the mashed avocado and you’ve got spicy guacamole in just a few seconds. Great with gluten-free crackers and gluten-free tortilla chips.


Sweet red onion, chopped
½ jalapeno, chopped
Fresh garlic, minced, or
Roasted garlic
Cilantro, chopped
Sea salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste

Cut avocado in half lengthwise, place the knife blade firmly in the pit and twist to remove. Scoop out insides with a spoon. Mash avocado with a fork while adding desired ingredients one at a time.

Extra Easy Hummus

Here’s a basic recipe for hummus. You can add roasted garlic cloves, roasted red peppers, jalapenos or cayenne pepper – wherever you take this recipe is entirely up to you! Great with any kind of gluten-free cracker.

Extra Easy Hummus

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a blender or food processor combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil. Blend on low speed, gradually adding reserved bean liquid, until desired consistency is achieved.

Nutritional Information – 4 servings; Per Serving Calories: 35 | Total Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg

From allrecipes.com

Easy, Fresh Homemade Salsa

I found a recipe for a salsa to serve over a grilled skirt steak many years ago. Of course I modified it; then I modified my diet. The skirt steak’s no longer on my menu, but this salsa is a mainstay in our diet.

Easy, Fresh Homemade Salsa

4 Roma tomatoes, cut lengthwise in quarters
½ red or Vidalia sweet onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic (to taste), minced
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
Sea salt, to taste

Spray the skin side of the quartered tomatoes with olive oil or cooking spray. Heat a large pan or griddle to high. Place tomatoes, skin side down, in pan and cook until skin turns black. Remove and let cool.

Peel skin off tomatoes and chop. Mix with all other ingredients, add salt to taste. Let stand in refrigerator for 1 hour or more.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

A sweet take on the classic, with hints of heat and freah cilantro. It's good on its own, let along topping a salad or corn chips.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

For the best flavor, make at least 30 minutes ahead of time to allow the flavors to mingle.

2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Sea salt to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to use.

Nutrition Per serving (1/4 cup/52g-wt.): 25 calories (0 from fat), 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g protein, 6g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium

From WholeFoods.com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Commitment to Yourself

Committing to our upcoming cleanse will mean facing some challenges in your day-to-day life. Like time crunches – often our nutrition suffers at the hands of scheduling pileups, but this time you’re going to have to drive past McDonald’s or walk past the vending machine. What will you do instead? And there will be social challenges – explaining your new eating habits to friends or family members who don’t get it and navigating through tricky menus are the two biggies that come to mind. Will you crumble or stand your ground? And you’ll face some personal challenges – you can be fairly certain that there will be times when you’d kill for a cup of coffee, a chocolate bar, or a double cheeseburger. How will you work through that?

I'll post tips to help you deal with all sorts of issues that might arise and you can vent your frustrations right here, where people who are going through the same thing can offer an empathetic ear and share ideas about how to get through whatever it is you’re facing.

But all the support in the world won’t help unless you’re willing to commit to yourself with the understanding that it will be difficult at times, but that the rewards will make it worthwhile. Here’s a commitment statement to help you gear up for the adventure…

I commit to putting myself first for 21 days. I can devote 5% of the year to me. I spend the other 95% worrying about someone or something else, skipping workouts to work late or drive the kids to soccer practice or music lessons, eating poorly when I’m crunched for time, and sacrificing my time for family or work time. But for the next 21 days I’m going to prove to myself that it doesn’t always have to be that way. For 21 days I’m not going to be pulled by my life – I’m going to set its course. And during that time I will allow myself to believe I deserve to come first, that I deserve to be healthy, that I deserve to feel great, that I deserve to look good, that I deserve the time it takes to care for me.

Everything involved with what we’re about to do is about shifting our perspective – on food, and on ourselves. It’s not selfish to take care of ourselves; to the contrary, when we take care of ourselves, we’re better able to take care of the people and issues that need our attention. So for just 21 days, give yourself permission to see yourself differently – as the top priority in your life. You really do deserve it!

Sexy Summer Basil Quinoa Salad

I adore this quinoa salad because it's so fresh tasting. Usually, I don't even bother with the roasted pinenuts – while I love them, it takes time to toast them. And this salad is so tasty it doesn’t need the extra help! Apparently it’s got some additional benefits too…

This recipe was posted by Rachel Venokur-Clark, who writes, “In my article Sexy Vegetarian Food, I explained how simple it is to eat vegetarian or vegan and still get all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy sex life.

Rachel also called out the salad’s sexy ingredients:
Quinoa -“Jing” and Kidney Support
Olive Oil- Omegas
Crushed Red Pepper- Blood Flow
Pine Nuts-Zinc
Onions and Garlic- Blood Purifying

Sexy Vegetarian Recipe: Summer Basil Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings as a main course

1 cup quinoa-rinsed
1/2 of a red onion-sliced
2 whole tomatoes-chopped
1 cucumber-peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil-chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts-quickly toasted in a dry pan until fragrant and set aside for garnish


4 garlic cloves-minced
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add quinoa, cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Set aside and let cool.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients except olive oil. When combined, slowly whisk in olive oil, a little at a time to allow oil and vinegar to mix.

Toss all salad ingredients with dressing and garnish with pine nuts.

From care2.com

Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas

The first time I made this recipe I overlooked the first step. And even though I forgot to sauté the mushrooms and just added them raw, this dish was absolutely delicious!

Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and/or 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
10 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup (about 1 onion) chopped red onion

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch loaf pan with oil; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, put beans, oats and 1/2 cup water into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, bean mixture, quinoa, peas, parsley, tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan, gently pressing down and mounding it in the middle. Bake until firm and golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Set aside to let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Per serving (about 6oz/172g-wt.): 170 calories (35 from fat), 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 8g protein

From WholeFoods.com

Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho

This gazpacho is perfect for a sultry summer day’s lunch or to cleanse the palette between courses of a spicy or heavy meal. As it is written, the recipe is light on the heat – I’ve made it once and the next time I would be more generous with the jalapeño. And it might be worth your while to split the recipe in half in order to make it – if you have a standard food processor (I didn’t even consider using my blender – it would never have held all the ingredients) the ingredients will go right to the brim. But it’s worth it – this soup is cool, fresh and satisfying!

Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho

3 cups chopped pineapple
3 cups chopped seeded and peeled cucumber
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
Salt to taste
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (white parts only)
2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Put pineapple, cucumber, pineapple juice, oil, lime juice, jalapeño and salt into a blender and purée until smooth. Add green onions and purée just until combined. Transfer soup to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with macadamia nuts and cilantro.

Per serving (about 12oz/346g-wt.): 250 calories (130 from fat), 14g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium, 32g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 23g sugar), 2g protein

From WholeFoods.com

Pineapple-Ginger Rice with Edamame

I just discovered this recipe on WholeFoods.com a few days ago during a pineapple promotion they were running. I’ve yet to try this one, but with ingredients like these, it has to be good!

Pineapple-Ginger Rice with Edamame

3/4 cup gluten-free vegetable broth
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons brown rice miso or light yellow miso
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups shelled edamame
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large, deep skillet, bring broth and ginger to a simmer over medium high heat; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and whisk in miso. Return to heat, add rice, edamame and pineapple, toss gently and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is hot throughout, 3 to 5 minutes more. Stir in cilantro and serve.

As main course: Per serving (about 13oz/382g-wt.): 370 calories (40 from fat), 4.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 66g total carbohydrate (10g dietary fiber, 8g sugar), 14g protein As side dish: Per serving (about 8oz/191g-wt.): 180 calories (20 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 7g protein

From WholeFoods.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 4 - About Losing Weight

For those of you who are interested in shedding some pounds while participating in this cleanse, there are some things to consider.

1.) The first week of cleansing is a time of withdrawal, both physical and emotional. And during that time it's easy to eat a little more than usual – that’s where things can get a little tricky. It's easy to substitute quantity for what you used to consider quality – you might eat more because you feel like you're depriving yourself of your old favorites.

2.) Turning to non-meat sources of protein isn't as cut and dried as eating chicken or fish. Black beans are a tremendous source of protein but they're high in carbs. Same with quinoa. And it's those damned carbs that keep us fleshier than we'd prefer to be. The simplest trick to getting lean is to cut back on the carbs. Fitness buffs eat lots of chicken, fish and vegetables to strip off the fat. We can do the same thing - we just need to make sure we're getting at least some of our protein from tofu or tempeh and protein powder - they're packed with protein and low in carbs.

3.) The foods that become comfort foods while cleansing (rice, quinoa, gluten-free breads, pastas and crackers) are loaded with carbs. So be cognizant of how much of these types of foods you're eating each day.

4.) Calorie intake is the Holy Grail of weight loss. This is where a website called Livestrong can really help. Check out the My Plate feature, where you can enter each item of food you eat in a day and calculate the number of calories you’ve consumed. You can also enter any exercise you’ve done and it will add that into the mix. And you can enter your current weight and your weight loss goals (i.e., lose 1 pound per week) and it will calculate the number of calories it takes to do that. If you're honest and enter your intake every day it can really help you shed some of that insulation.

5.) Adding exercise to your mix will accelerate the process, so get up and move! Whatever you can do will not only help you burn calories, it will serve the essence of that body of yours! It was designed for activity – give it what it craves!

Veggies are the best for keeping you full while keeping the calorie count low. Fruits are great too, but keep an eye on the sugars they contain. If you've got to nibble on something, look to veggies first.

Water is great for curbing hunger. We often mistake thirst for hunger so any time you feel like to you want nibble on something, swig down 8 ounces of water first. Then see if you're really hungry.

And if you haven't already tried it, psyllium is a great jump-start for your digestive system. It can help clean out the pipes, which will help improve your current digestion.

I hope this helps those of you who would like to shrink a bit during the course of this cleanse. Here's to getting healthy – and great results!

Vegetarian Quinoa-Cannellini Burgers

This one's a little bit tricky at first (shaping the burgers can feel a little klutzy, but you get the hang of it eventually), but it's really worthwhile. Mark really loves these veggie burgers and so do I. I cover them with a nice tossed salad and call it a meal. Really good!

Vegetarian Quinoa-Cannellini Burgers

a/k/a Quinoa-Kundalini Burgers

1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa, firmly packed
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 jalapeno, minced, including seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup grated carrot
1 egg, (substitute 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder, 1 heaping tablespoon oil, plus 1 tablespoon warm water)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
Generous amount of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil or canola oil, for frying
Additional sorghum flour for dredging

Using the back of a fork, mash the beans slightly (they should not be completely smooth). Add all other ingredients except olive oil and flour. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Slowly sprinkle in 3/4 cup of sorghum flour, combining until a loose "dough" is formed that is dense enough to be handled (use additional flour if necessary).

In a 12" pan, heat up oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of additional sorghum flour on a plate or in a pie tin. Compress "dough" between your hands to form 1/2" thick patties of about 4" diameter. One by one, carefully dredge them in sorghum flour, making sure the flour is distributed on both sides and along the edges of each patty. Use a slotted spatula to transfer carefully into hot oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown and slightly crisp. In between batches you may want to replace the oil. Remove burgers from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel or pieces of brown paper bag to absorb excess oil. Serve hot.

Adapted from glutenfreebay.blogspot.com

Vegan Sag Paneer

After I had this dish in its non-cleanse form at my favorite Indian restaurant, I decided to try to make it in cleanse-friendly form. I was delighted that it turned out so well! Tofu takes the place of cheese (I know, but it really works!), and soy cream and yogurt substitute for their dairy-laden namesakes. This is simply, utterly delicious! Serve with brown rice.

Vegan Sag Paneer

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 9
Yield 4.5 cups

1 1/2 lb Raw Spinach
12 oz Organic Tofu, Extra Firm
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 tbsp Concentrated Garlic Paste
3 dried red chili peppers
2 tbsp Spices, Garam Masala or Curry Powder (I’ve used both separately; next time I’m going to use 1.2 and ½)
1/2 cup soy yogurt, plain (I use Silk)
1 1/2 cup soy creamer (I use Silk)

Trim and wash spinach; do not dry. Chop leaves in 1-inch pieces. Cut tofu in two horizontally and wrap in paper towels. Place under a couple of plates.

Put oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. A minute later, add ginger, garlic and chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to color.

Stir in curry powder and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts, then add yogurt and a cup of the cream. Pick out chilies and discard.

Cook mixture over medium-high heat; liquid in spinach will boil off. When mixture is nearly dry, cut tofu into half-inch pieces and incorporate. When tofu is hot, add remaining cream and cook for another minute or two, stirring. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount per Serving
Calories 139
Calories from Fat 77.5
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8.61g 13%
Saturated Fat 0.47g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 152.59mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 7.85g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2.66g 10%
Sugars 0.67g
Protein 2.85g 5%

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 36%
Carbs 22%
Protein 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.

Adapted from bitten.blogs.nytimes.com

Indian Dal

Mark and I love this dish – it’s great with brown rice, or as a dip on rice crackers. And if you’re not big into spicy flavors, just leave out the jalapeno. A small amount of this traditional Indian dish is very satisfying.

Indian Dal

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
2 cups red lentils, picked through for stones and rinsed
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, with their juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

Heat oil in a large heavy bottom 5-quart pan over medium high heat, add onions, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add cumin seeds, cardamom, and garlic to the pan and stir until the spices are just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broth, lentils, tomatoes and their juice, cilantro, ginger, turmeric, salt and jalapeño pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring often, until lentils become soft, about 15 minutes. Ladle lentils into bowls and serve.

Nutrition Per serving (about 11oz/302g-wt.): 300 calories (60 from fat), 6g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 710mg sodium, 43g total carbohydrate (10g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 18g protein

From Wholefoods.com

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d use a Martha Stewart recipe, but somehow I stumbled across this gem. The girl knows what she’s doing! Thanks, Martha for this chili – it’s hearty, filling and tasty.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 zucchini (about 1 lb. total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 (19-oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen corn kernels, thawed

In a five-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.

Add zucchini, carrots, chili powder and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, corn and 1 cup water. Simmer until slightly thickened and carrots are soft, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 424 Fat 6 g Sodium 1,045 mg
Carbohydrates 79 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 234 mg
Protein 21 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 26 g

From MarthaStewart.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spicy Coconut Black Bean Soup

Mark and I never tire of the smooth, spicy flavor of this soup! The coconut milk gives it such a rich flavor that it almost seems a bit sinful, but it’s completely healthy! This soup will gain heat during the course of its life, so if you don’t like spicy food, go light on, or eliminate the cayenne.

Spicy Coconut Black Bean Soup

2T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1-2T fresh oregano, chopped (or 2-3tsp dried)
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2-3 carrots, diced
1 bell pepper (red or green), diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 whole sprigs cilantro
2 cans black beans
2-3 C vegetable stock or water (I use stock)
1 can coconut milk
Handful of cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil on medium high heat in bottom of pot. Add onions, sautee until translucent. Add garlic. Add oregano, 1 tsp. of salt, and cayenne. Sweat for 1 minute.

Add carrots, sauté for 2-3 minutes until carrots soften slightly. Add bell pepper, celery, and cilantro sprigs. Sautee for 1 minute.

Stir in beans and mix well. After combined, add all of the stock or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/medium low. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

After the beans have simmered about 7-10 minutes, add half of the coconut milk, adding more until you have a consistency and flavor you like. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally and testing for seasonings, and adding more stock/water/coconut milk to taste.

The soup is ready when the beans are very tender and melt in your mouth (though technically you could eat it after the coconut milk has mixed in a heated through).

Add other vegetables if you’d like, and be careful with the cayenne – it gets hotter as you cook it, so don’t add too much in the beginning. If anything, add it at the end!

Natural Foods chef Aja Tahan Marsh’s food is inventive and vibrant, yet always approachable, with flavors ranging from the utterly familiar to the exotic. With a focus on slow food and sustainable products, Aja has a commitment to supporting local agriculture and businesses, working with high-quality, fresh, and in-season ingredients, including as many organic products as possible. Aja studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute for health and Culinary Arts in New York City and works as a personal chef and caterer in NYC.

Recipe found on GirlieGirlArmy.com

Skillet Gardener's Pie

This recipe was a hands-down winner with previous cleansers. It’s hearty and satisfying, with great flavor. I used Yukon gold potatoes for a super-buttery flavor. One prep tip – be sure to soak the kidney beans overnight before you make the dish; cook them the next morning while you’re getting ready for the day.

Skillet Gardener's Pie

2 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced, leaves minced and reserved
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 cups fat-free, gluten-free vegetable broth
16 ounces kidney beans, cooked
2 cups green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (or veg. broth)
extra rosemary for garnish

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into cubes. (I leave mine unpeeled, but if you want you can peel them before dicing.) Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender. Reserve a cup of their cooking water, if possible, and drain. Place in a large bowl, add the soymilk, and mash until smooth, adding a little of the potato-cooking water if they seem too dry. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and set aside in a warm place.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the "pie." Spray a large non-stick or cast iron skillet with canola oil. Heat it on a medium-high burner and add the onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and sauté for 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes and all vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added a little hickory salt). There should still be some liquid in the pan, but if it has become too dry, add a little of the potato-cooking water. Add the spinach and stir until it's completely wilted. Mix the corn starch with the water until smooth, and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until mixture has thickened.

Spoon the potatoes evenly over the top of the filling and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. If potatoes have cooled, put the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve immediately while hot.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 272 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 46mg Sodium; 11g Fiber. Weight Watchers Core/ 5 Flex Points.
Recipe courtesy from Fatfreevegan.com

Tofu Scramble

This recipe has been very popular with the people during previous cleanses so it’s worth a try. I have bolded some items that I did not include in the shopping list - it sucks to have to run back to the store after you thought you've gotten everything you need!

Tofu Scramble

2–3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, cut into chunks
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 pound firm tofu, drained well and cut into bite-size pieces
Tamari or Bragg’s Amino Acids to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh snipped chives to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the garlic, nutritional yeast and spices, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the pepper and mushrooms, stir-frying until tender and crisp.

Add the tomatoes and slices of tofu. Gently stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the tamari sauce and season with fresh pepper and chives.

San Antonio Quinoa

I serve this at dinner parties as a side dish and everyone loves it. It works great as an entree for lunch or dinner, too.

San Antonio Quinoa

Recipe By :The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook, page 29
Serving Size : 4

1 cup fat-free vegetable broth, gluten-free
1/2 cup quinoa -- rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
15 ounces black beans, canned -- rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels -- thawed
1 tomato -- chopped
3 green onions -- chopped
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup oil-free dressing
Place the vegetable broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and cumin. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the beans, corn, tomato, green onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Add the quinoa and dressing and toss well to mix. Refrigerate at least 1hour before serving.
Recipe Hint: Vary the dressing to suit your taste. We have even used salsa on several occasions with good results. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a high-protein grain. Uncooked, it looks somewhat like toasted sesame seeds. It becomes translucent when cooked. It is available in natural food stores.

Per serving: 229 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (9% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 758mg Sodium

Monday, April 12, 2010

Velvety Pumpkin Curry Soup

This soup has become a staple in my household – the rich sweetness of the pumpkin combined with the warm snap of curry is irresistible. My carnivorous husband asks for it all the time! Fresh pumpkin is the best but during off-season, canned works quite well (I use Farmer’s Market brand Organic Pumpkin).

Velvety Pumpkin Curry Soup

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, pressed
2 tsp. curry powder or paste, or to taste (I use Penzey’s Maharajah curry)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
2 Tb. agave
1 Tb. very fine grated fresh ginger
1 can gluten-free vegetable broth - (14 1/2 oz) PLUS 1 can water
3 cups pumpkin or squash puree - either from a can, frozen or bake/steam your own and mash
3/4 cup coconut milk (or 1 can of it is fine, so there's no waste)

Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, curry powder, ginger, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more.

Add broth, agave, water and puree; mix well. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk.

Puree soup in blender in batches until smooth. Heat through before serving. Adjust seasonings - sometimes needs a bit more (or less) agave, or salt or cayenne - depending on your tastes.

Adapted from http://www.veggieboards.com

Gluten-free Spaghetti with Pesto Cream

This is the ultimate treat food and one that will show you how decadent gluten-free and vegan can be! It's like Fettucine Alfredo with Pesto! I have it occasionally as a treat - it does have a lot of calories so you can't have it every day. But it's a healthier splurge and a good recipe to have in your arsenal when you feel like you need some "comfort food"! Major YUM!!!

Gluten-free Spaghetti with Pesto Cream
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups packed basil leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, plus 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts for garnish
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon white rice flour
1/3 cup soy milk
1/3 cup gluten-free vegetable broth
1 pound dried gluten-free spaghetti
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Combine basil, 1/2 cup of the oil, 1/2 cup of the pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse the mixture, scraping down the sides of the food processor with a spatula, until smooth. Set pesto aside.

Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, rice flour, salt and pepper in a saucepan over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add soy milk a little at a time, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Reduce heat to medium low and return the saucepan to the heat. Slowly whisk in broth and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 6 minutes. Add pesto mixture, whisking until thoroughly blended and heated through. Take care not to boil the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well. Gently toss spaghetti and sauce together and transfer to bowls. Top with tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.

Per serving (about 8oz/229g-wt.): 630 calories (270 from fat), 30g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium,

From Wholefoods.com

Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa has become a mainstay of my diet and I love it because it tastes great, it's satisfying like pasta or rice, and it has a ton of protein. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly beforehand because it has a bitter coating I put it in a strainer and run water through it at least three times.
I use this recipe as a template for making quinoa – I go as simple as using just the onion, quinoa and veggie broth (I rarely add the dried cherries or pecans) because it's great just like that. For a fluffier texture, use only two cups of broth.

Quinoa Pilaf

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh chopped chives or yellow onion
3 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup dried cherries (optional)
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

Rinse the quinoa and drain it well. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chives and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in quinoa and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until the skillet gets dry.

In a separate pan, (or microwave) heat the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add hot broth, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in cherries and pecans.

Serves 4

Nutrition Info
Per serving (9oz/246g-wt.): 300 calories (110 from fat), 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 8g protein, 42g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium

From Wholefoods.com

Hittin' the Kitchen

It's time to start thinking about what your diet - and fridge - will look like over the course of our 21-day adventure. So today I'm going to start posting recipes to help bring that picture into focus. We'll start with some staples (like quinoa pilaf) and some of my favorites (like gluten-free spaghetti with pesto cream). And I'll continue to post more as we go along.

There's nothing worse than feeling deprived or hungry - that's when you can get into trouble. I've found that there are two things that keep me on track - having enough food to munch on whenever I feel hungry (or stressed or bored or any of the other emotions that send me to the fridge), and having food that's satisfying and delicious.

I always have a container-full of cooked quinoa pilaf or brown rice at the ready, and after some experimentation in the kitchen I've found the recipes that resonate with me. I hope you'll find a few that will do the trick for you!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whole Foods, I Got Your Six*

You can choose to pick up your cleansing supplies wherever you wish, but I’ve noticed in previous cleanses that people shy away from Whole Foods, primarily because they’ve heard it referred to as “Whole Paycheck.” But as someone who watches her food budget quite closely, I must defend Whole Foods from that misnomer. I've done comparisons on basic stock-up stuff and Whole Foods is right in the game. Whole Foods' 365-brand products are really competitive and are often organic when others aren't. So I get my tofu, soy milk, beans (canned and dried), quinoa, brown rice, and rice crackers there all the time. Even my favorite cleanse splurge, Amy's gluten and dairy free pizza, costs less than anywhere else. The produce at Whole Foods may appear to be a bit more expensive, but probably because most of it is organic - and if you put that up against competitors' organic produce it probably isn't that much different. So don't shun Whole Foods just because of a perceived truth - when you look at it a little more closely, the real story is quite different!

*Translation - I’ve got your back.

Cleanse Prep - Marketing 101

Here's a shopping list that can serve as a guideline as you prepare for the cleanse. Don't feel you need to get everything - these are just some of the products that I've come to gravitate toward over the course of eight or nine cleanses. Be sure to start reading labels, particularly when it comes to gluten and sugars. Gluten is sneaky and can be found in the most unlikely places so be on the lookout! Other names for gluten are: modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, textured vegetable protein, and wheat. And, according to dummies.com, “Beware of aliases like flour, bulgur, semolina, spelt, frumento, durum (also spelled duram), kamut, graham, einkorn, farina, couscous, seitan, matzoh, matzah, matzo, and cake flour. Often marketed as a “wheat alternative,” none of these is even remotely gluten-free.”*

And look for the sugar content in all your processed foods - I know it's almost impossible to find processed foods without any sugars so if you do buy processed foods of any kind, just make sure they contain the lowest amount of sugar possible.

Brown rice
Oatmeal (gluten-free/steel-cut)
Pasta (gluten-free)
Wild rice

Fruits &Veggies
Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Cauliflower (fresh is great for curries)
Corn (frozen is fine – use in salads and stir-fries)
Jalapenos (if you like spicy food)
Lettuce (romaine)
Onions (yellow for cooking, red for salads and garnishes)
Peas (Frozen are fine)
Peppers (any color bell)
Pineapple (fresh)
Potatoes (I like Yukon Golds, but any type is fine)
Pumpkin (fresh is better, canned is fine)
Spinach (fresh is great for salads, frozen is find for cooking)
Squash (butternut, spaghetti, acorn – whatever you like)
Strawberries (frozen are fine)
Sweet Potatoes (I love a sweet potato as a meal – just top with salsa)
Tomatoes (fresh/canned – diced)

Black Beans (dry or canned; if canned, be sure there’s no sugar or gluten)
Canellini Beans(dry or canned; if canned be sure there’s no sugar or gluten)
Chick Peas (dry or canned; if canned be sure there’s no gluten or sugar)
Lentils (dry/I like red)

Dairy and Protein Alternatives
Cheese – soy/almond/cashew
Milk – soy/almond
Miso paste (good for soups, dressings and sauces)
Tofu (extra firm is the most versatile)
Amy's Bistro Burgers

Pantry Items
Agave (a honey-like sweetener – good for cooking and baking)
Applesauce – unsweetened - (a good butter or oil substitute for baking)
Braggs Liquid Amino Acids (for flavoring – use like soy sauce)
Coconut milk
Coconut oil (if you don’t use if for cooking, use it as a body lotion – amazing in the winter!)
Flour – gluten-free (I keep rice and sorghum flours on hand)
Green tea - decaffeinated
Lemon juice
Mustard – Dijon
Nutritional yeast
Psyllium husk (I use 365 brand from Whole Foods)
Protein powder - Rainbow Light Food-Based Protein Energizer Rice Protein Powder (I like vanilla)
Salad dressing (I use Seeds of Change Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette – it has “evaporated cane juice and 3g of sugar per 2T, but I use it sparingly and not very often)
Stevia (a powder sweetener – good for tea and smoothies)
Tomatoes – canned
Tomato paste – gluten-free (even Contadina is gluten-free, but be sure to read the labels!)
Natural peanut butter
Vegetable broth – gluten-free
Vinegar – Balsamic
Vinegar – Cider

Crackers – gluten-free (Mary’s Gone Crackers and Glutino are my favorites)
Cranberries – dried
Popcorn – bulk
Tortilla chips – gluten-free

* - http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/glutenfree-knowhow-what-are-other-names-for-wheat.html#ixzz0csxpY3X5

Friday, April 9, 2010

Setting Up for Success

The key to success on this cleanse is being prepared with ready-to-eat stuff in the fridge. You’ll need to pick up your groceries and then spend some time in the kitchen making up a few entrees and prepping snacks that will last through the week. Typically, I’ll make two entrees (all the recipes are fairly ample so two should last you until Friday), a bunch of quinoa, and a batch of soup. Brown rice and beans (black beans are my favorite) are great to have on hand too. And don’t worry – none of the recipes take much time at all.

Every few days I’ll bake a couple of blocks of tofu so I can have it on hand. I nibble on tofu slices throughout the course of the day and use them as chicken breast substitutes for salads and sandwiches (I make them with lettuce instead of bread). Just dry a block of tofu and slice it into 5 steaks. Marinate them in a bit of Bragg’s Amino Acids while you wait for the oven to heat to 375F. Then bake them for about 15 minutes, turn, and bake for another 15 minutes. Each steak has only about 70 calories and about 8g of protein – very efficient!

For snacks I’ll clean up some carrots and celery and make sure I’ve got fresh fruit on hand. And I keep gluten-free crackers and tortilla chips around for something to crunch on. For quick treats, I mash up an avocado with a drop of lemon juice for a simple guacamole and serve with gluten-free crackers or with gluten-free tortilla chips. And I love old-fashioned popcorn popped in a big pot on the stove - I use a bit of olive oil and it works like a charm. Nuts are great to have on hand, too – my preference has been almonds up until a few weeks ago when I started munching on raw cashews.

If you need portable foods (for lunch at the office or meals on the go), you can put some soup in a travel mug or put together a Tupperware feast of some of the entrées you’ve made. And the tofu steaks are super easy – you can eat them with your hands! I keep a baggie with almonds in my purse for hunger emergencies; gluten-free crackers work well, too.

The trick is making sure there’s something that’s always ready and within reach – it’s when you’ve run out of good food and you’re hungry that you can get into trouble. When there’s no alternative it’s easy to turn to the donuts or pretzels or whatever’s in front of you. So keep the fridge stocked and give yourself lots of options!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Are You Fat?

Anyone remember the Kellogg's SpecialK ad campaign from 1982? It was called "Can't Pinch an Inch on You" and it showed an array of people using their thumbs and forefingers to grab the skin just to the right or left of their belly buttons, or on their sides, just above the hipbones. And the message was if you could pinch an inch, you needed to lose weight.

Fast forward two and a half decades to the era of muffin tops and wide loads. There are many reasons for all the excess flab, but a simple one can be traced back to the '80's. Because back then, when we were all pinching ourselves to make sure we were in shape, we were also eating 500 calories (on average) less per day than we do now. And 500 calories per day translates to approximately one pound a week.

I know, a commercial is designed to compel a consumer to buy a certain product. But in the case of SpecialK, they might have been onto something. An extra inch of flab doesn't do anyone any good - and an extra 500 calories is just excess.

So today, when nobody's looking, give yourself a grab. What do you come up with?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview with Karyn Calabrese (I'll try to post pictures in a while...)

Karyn Calabrese says that 38 years ago she was a pot-smokin’ vegetarian.
But when she watched her mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother die young and overweight, she began to adjust her lifestyle to avoid meeting a similar fate. Using her body and her kitchen as her laboratories, Karyn experimented with food, exercise and alternative health treatments to fine-tune a lifestyle that defies aging. Did we mention she’s 61? A staunch practitioner of a raw diet and regular detoxification,Karyn is the personification of clean living and she’s turned her lifestyle into an empire. Karyn’s Cooked in River North offers “sexychic” vegetarian cuisine, while Karyn’s Fresh Corner & Karyn’s Inner Beauty Center in Lincoln Park houses a gourmet raw food restaurant, a raw café and a wellness center all under one roof. Devoted to spreading the gospel of living well, Karyn’s Inner Beauty Center offers classes in ballet, yoga and food preparation, a four-week detoxification program and alternative healing services. In addition, beginning later this month, Karyn shares the wisdom by blogging for www.tcwmag.com. As Karyn puts it, “I’m just here to give you information that’s worked for me for 38 years.”

Why raw foods? The whole point is enzymes and oxygen. Enzymes are the spark of life; when they’re gone, you die. Heating food destroys
enzymes and oxygen. Your body has to use its store of enzymes to break
it down. Raw foods add enzymes. Animals in the wild don’t get arthritis
or cancer or tuberculosis because they’re eating raw. Humans are the only
animals that voluntarily fire their food. If you eat cooked food, take lots
of enzymes!
Tell us about detoxing. I believe cleaning out the old stuff on a regular basis is the most important component to staying youthful and vital. If you’re not assimilating food and eliminating what you don’t need, it’s going to rot and putrefy. That’s why people are sick, tired, aging and dying too soon. The human body’s meant to last a couple hundred years. People dying at 60, 70, 80 is a travesty.
What does detoxing entail? It’s cutting out certain foods, adding
supplements and alkalizing. You know the acid-alkaline scale? You want
your body to be alkaline because acidity is what causes problems. Cancer
loves acid. If you eat a high-protein diet, you become pretty acidic. Detoxing helps restore balance to your body, improve digestion and find a
new level of health and wellness. It’s gentle and pretty easy.
You live a clean life. Why do you detox? I drive behind buses, I get
my clothes dry-cleaned, I have stress, I live in this world. The negative
gravitational pull can draw you in the wrong direction. That’s why you have to keep detoxing. That’s why I do it – to stay on track.
How do you know it works? I haven’t been to a doctor in 35 years.
I know that you get new cells every seven years and new tissue every
three months so the body’s in an ongoing process of recycling. If you
keep giving it the right materials, it’s going to be healthy. I wouldn’t
recommend that for anybody else, but I have no commercial medicine in my house. I went through menopause with no symptoms whatsoever and I don’t know what illness is.
What’s your take on Western medicine? We’re taught to take a pill,
get it cut out, get it burned out. We’re trained not to listen to our
bodies, but we know how to take care of ourselves. We’ve just forgotten
and we’re frightened to do it. We’re animals, we’re instinctual. But there’s a McDonald’s and a Starbucks on every corner so we forget what’s right.
Isn’t it hard to do ‘what’s right’? People think it’s harder than it is.Get started with a good smoothie. Then have a salad for lunch, and do
the best you can for dinner. If you start doing it every day it becomes a
priority. You don’t go from A to Z overnight. It’s a process.
It seems like eating healthy is so rigid. You have to find your own
best journey, what’s best for you. If it feels right, put it on. If it doesn’t,just let it pass on by. People get in trouble trying to live up other people’s standards. There are no tables for living. You don’t do the same things every day. Why would you need the same amount of water or
protein every day?
What’s your best advice for getting started? The first rule is you
must make yourself number one. That’s difficult because everything else seems more important - your job, children, husband, wife – but without your health none of those things matter. If you make yourself number one, then you’re able to do so much more. I’m living proof. I find out about all these therapies for myself, but look at all the people I’ve been able to help because of it. It’s all about self-love. When you love yourself, you can love everybody around you.
What do you do for your workouts? I have a trampoline, a Power
Plate,a ballet barre,a Pilates reformer and an upside-down machine at
home. The trampoline is one of the most perfect exercises you can do.
It’s great for lymph drainage. I’ve been doing it for 30 years, 15 minutes
a day. That’s equivalent to running three miles. I do yoga every day,
and I pray and meditate every day of my life. I believe my direct contact
with God is everything.
How do you pamper yourself? I put all my money into my bathroom.
I have a sauna, a steam room and a Japanese soaking tub in my house. Some people need a glass of wine; I need a steam and a sauna every day. And I bathe in salt water – it remineralizes your bones. I do a spa day every Sunday at home.
Any thoughts on cosmetic surgery? I’m 61. I haven’t had Botox or
surgery. If you look closely at my face you’ll see I have lines, which I’m
proud of. Everything on your face shows what’s going on internally
– your adrenals, kidneys, liver and intestines. I want to see what’s going
on so I don’t mask it.
You really defy aging. Just because the axis of the world went around one more time doesn’t mean we’re supposed grow older. I plan on looking exactly like this when I’m 80. I won’t allow my husband to buy me
a senior citizen ticket for anything, even if he buys one for himself. I
don’t need to save three dollars just because I’ve been on this planet
longer. But they start sending you that AARP shit at 50. They tell you
you’re old and wear you down.
You have such a wonderful attitude! I have a chain that says ‘I am
blessed.’ My whole life hasn’t been this way. My mother was married five times and three of her husbands raped me. I was gang-raped by five guys and hung up to die. I was physically abused in my first marriage. I’ve been homeless and without food for my children three times in my life. But I’ve always felt special. Some people might call it conceit or ego, but I’ve always felt blessed. I have no fear. I know I’ll always be rescued if I need it.