The past few months of transient living, penny pinching and the stress of a new job (that provides many pizza lunches) can make one lose their grasp on healthy eating. Foods I used to balk at, I have been snacking on without thinking twice. It has come time to break that cycle. The word “cleanse” typically has negative or unrealistic, even unhealthy connotation. I did some research to find a week long, extremely healthy – yet manageable – eating plan. The winner: Whole Living Cleanse. It is actually a 4 week cleanse, and I chose “week 1” as my guide.
The gist is to only eat fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts. I used my Google calendar to map out my meals and snacks for this week to help plan my grocery list and when to cook. I’m even cutting out alcohol and coffee (!) I don’t remember the last morning I didn’t have a cup of coffee… Oh, I guess in Africa. And you know how much fun I had there.
Breakfast: smoothies! You make one batch which makes 3 servings, divided into jars and reserved in the freezer.
Strawberry Orange D-Lite
2 oranges, peeled
1 sweet apple (fuji or pink lady), cored and diced
6 strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup water
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Divide into 3 jars and freeze until ready to drink.
The best part about this cleanse is that it’s got me cooking again. It has calmed me down and made my little sublet feel homier.
Spiced Sweet Potato Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
salt and pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 small yams, peeled and diced
1 ripe sweet pear, diced (or apple)
3 cups of water
In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic until tender. Stir in ginger and spices until fragrant, then add carrots, sweet potatoes and pear. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool briefly and working in batches, transfer to blender and blend until smooth. Blend 2/3 of the soup and mix in with remaining chunks. Top with toasted seeds or parsley.
Luckily, this cleanse accounts for snacking. I’m not trying to starve for 5 days. (I’d probably get fired and lose friends). These little fruity nut balls are delicious and will save the day – or at least the hours from 1 to 7 this week.
Fruity Nut Balls
2 cups of dried fruit (prunes, craisins, dates)
2 cups mixed nuts (roasted and salted)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
Combine dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon in a food processor (or chopped up and mashed with a knife, in my case). I mixed half of the mixture with a banana and coconut, the other half I left as is. Roll the mixture into small balls by hand and roll in sesame seeds. Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat. (The banana ones are my fav)
After 3-4 episodes of Parenthood (obsessed!!) I busted out the vegetables and got crackin’ on dinner. The tahini sauce was loosely based on the Whole Living recipe with a myriad of random additions that I will try to recount.
Steamed Vegetables in Tahini Sauce
1/2 head broccoli
1 squash, sliced
2 handfuls spinach
1/2 cup sliced cabbage
1/4 cup sliced red onions
1 tablespoon chopped roasted almonds
1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2” fresh ground ginger
2 dashes hot sauce
salt and pepper
1/4-1/3 cup water – stir to thin sauce
In a small pot, steam broccoli for 3 minutes until bright green. Remove and add to large bowl. Add squash to pot and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Add to large bowl, with spinach, cabbage, and red onions.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for tahini sauce and adjust taste as necessary. Toss sauce in vegetables and top with chopped almonds.