The Cleanse: One Week Down, Two to Go!

I’ve survived 1 week!  People keep asking me how I’m feeling.  I guess I’d have to say that I feel… okay.  Yes, I’m hungry a little more often but it hasn’t been terrible.  But I also haven’t experienced any moments of enlightenment, nor can I tell you I’ve lost any weight.  (Well, maybe I have… I didn’t think to weigh myself before I started, so I don’t really have a baseline.)  I suppose I’ve generally been in a good mood and I feel kind of balanced overall, so perhaps that’s something.

One thing I’m not sure I should be doing: compiling a list of things to eat as soon as this is over.  I’m pretty sure that kinda defeats the purpose of it.  At the top of the list is buffalo wings, which is odd because they’re not usually a “must have” food for me.  I would have expected that I’d be dreaming about chocolate or wine or bread or cheese.  But I’m rather fixated on buffalo wings at the moment.  The other night at a bar I actually said to my friend, “Those bitches behind us have buffalo wings!”  And last night I found myself encouraging Nick to eat hot sauce and blue cheese dressing with his chicken fingers. At least I didn’t ask if I could watch him eat.

We managed to go out to dinner on Saturday night- something I didn’t think would happen at all for these three weeks.  Even at a vegan restaurant my options were pretty limited since the first week doesn’t include grains of any sort or beans. Fortunately they had a “detox salad” on the menu, so the salad, topped with a marinated portobello mushroom, allowed me to stick to the confines of the cleanse and enjoy a night out where I didn’t have to cook or prepare anything.

I didn’t continue with the daily updates last week mainly because I already felt that this cleanse was consuming my life considering the amount of time that was going into food preparation (and subsequent dish washing). But I do want to share with you a few highlights from the rest of the week.

Mango & Coconut Water Smoothie (from Whole Living)

This is my favorite of the smoothies from Week 1.  I just used frozen mango since I already had a bunch of it, but I’d love to try it with fresh.  The cayenne might sound a little weird, but I liked it.

Blend 2 cups of mango chunks, 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 2 cups of coconut water (unsweetened) with a dash of cayenne pepper until smooth.  Makes 2 servings.

Kale Slaw with Cabbage and Carrots (from Whole Living)

Another one of my favorites.  With all the smoothies and soups this week, the “crunch” from this salad was a welcome change.  I thought the equal parts olive oil and Dijon mustard seemed strange when I was making the dressing, but it was perfect.  This recipe is supposed to make 4 servings, but those are super-tiny portions, so I divided it into three servings.  I made it almost exactly as instructed except for omitting sunflower seeds and using cilantro instead of parsley, since that’s what I had around.

Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Shred 2 cups of kale and 1 cup of red cabbage.  Peel and julienne one carrot. Chop 1/4 cup cilantro (or parsley, if you prefer). Dice 2 tablespoons red onion.  Combine kale, cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and onion in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of each: hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. 

Drizzle with dressing and toss.  Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Red Peppers and Cauliflower with Almonds and Olives (serves 2; from Whole Living)

This one was a stretch for me.  I usually don’t care for red peppers, but I decided I might as well give them another try.  And while they’re still not my favorite veggie, I’m warming up to them a bit.  This was surprisingly filling.  Once again, since parsley was nowhere to be found at the store this week, I used basil instead.

Heat oven to 425.  Quarter and seed one red pepper.  Cut 1/2 head of cauliflower into florets.  On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle peppers and cauliflower with two tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast until tender, around 18 to 20 minutes.  Throw some chicken fingers on another baking sheet if you have a husband who, while supporting you, opted not to go through The Cleanse journey with you.

While the veggies are roasting, whisk together two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Toast 1/4 cup slivered almonds in a small skillet over medium heat.  Stir or shake frequently until lightly browned and remove from skillet. Halve 1/4 cup kalamata olives.  Chop or slice 1/4 cup fresh basil (or parsley).

Arrange roasted veggies on a platter, and top with almonds, olives, and basil.  Drizzle with dressing.

And now Week 2 begins…  I’m welcoming legumes and seafood back into my diet.  The breakfasts this week are a little unusual- I’ll keep you in suspense until I write about them in detail (assuming they’re good…).  I decided to relax a little bit in terms of the meal plans.  I already have some chickpea soup in the freezer that meets the week’s requirements, and more snacks will just be a piece of fruit and some nuts, rather than taking the time to prepare something.  That being said, I have run out of the Fruit and Nut Bites, so I might have to make another batch of those soon!

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