You would laugh if I told you how many comments I got last week with the general theme of "is this really a cleanse??!" hahah. I asked the same question! Honestly, it didn't really matter to me if it was a capital-C cleanse or not. I thought it would be a good way to kick off some healthy eating in 2012.
But more officially, the BA Food Lover's Cleanse was created in partnership with Marissa Lippert, a Manhattan dietician. She also wrote her list of guidelines for this cleanse - here.
- You can have alcohol! Just no more than four drinks per week... I'm fine with that "guideline" as it still allowed me the flexibility to substitute one cup of white wine in my caramelized onion sauce for dinner last night. No rules (technically) broken!
- Drink lots of water... no surprise here. She says to drink two liters per day. I will see what I can do... balancing actual thirst with my productivity decrease in terms of multiple bathroom breaks. hahah.
- Up the veg! And at least one salad per day.
- Grab whole grain and complex carbs for that starch, rather than the white breads and pasta.
- Enjoy healthy fats! Not like the diet-crazed "all fat is bad" mantras of fake sugar obsessed calorie counters.
- Limit your dairy. Aside from yogurt.
- Meat - try for one meatless day. Go veggie or fishy.
- Emphasis on natural sugars or sweeteners. Maple syrup, honey, good dark chocolate and fruit are all good examples.
- Coffee and tea. If you can't kick it, don't stress. Enjoy the cup, then switch to tea for the rest of the day.
- Eat every three to four hours.
- There are also portion guides for those of us who have no idea how many ounces are reasonable and tend to dollop versus measure.
You can also follow along with BA blogger Sara Dickerman while she navigates the cleanse. It's nice to read her comments about her own experience and making substitutions where required, for your life or dietary needs.
So, how did I do that first day?
Great, I think!
And I did well for the next few days too... A bit from column A and a bit from column B... I don't think I did anything quite as outlined or switched side dishes in and out as suited my particular tastes that day.
Ten Grain Hot Cereal (with Blueberries and Walnuts)
Instead of buying another cereal, I cooked up a batch of Red River Cereal - something I love already and had on hand. Since I didn't need the two teaspoons of maple syrup on the greek yogurt for the Snack, I opted to include that extra teaspoon here with blackberries and almonds. Close to the original. Definitely tasty and a hearty start to the day.
If it ain't broke... I really enjoyed this and didn't feel the need to switch it up every day. If I got bored of this, I knew that there were omelettes or other options. But the warm richness of the hot cereal was exactly what I seemed to need on all of these cold winter mornings.
Cannellini Bean Salad with Spinach, (Tuna), and Walnut Dressing
Since I had a leftover portion of cod from last night's dinner, I opted to take that for lunch rather than let it sit in the fridge for a longer period of time. Alongside the spinach, creamy cannellini beans and the walnut dressing, this fish and meal was wonderfully satisfying.
(Leftover) Pan-Roasted Veggie Curry
See dinner description below.
Pear Slices with Greek Yogurt and Maple Syrup
As I mentioned earlier, I reduced the maple syrup here to one teaspoon and used the other teaspoon earlier on my Red River Cereal. Between that and the pear, I am refilled for the afternoon. I only wish that my pear was more ripe. I do love a ripe grainy sugary pear.
Apple Slices with Greek Yogurt and Maple Syrup
A variation on the same theme above...
Pan-Roasted Veggie Curry and Orange Scented Bulgur with (switch up) Sauteed Kale
We really enjoyed this. Instead of chopping up the squash (which was not the squash prescribed on the shopping list but was rather a buttercup squash), I cut in half, removed the seeds and put it into the roasting pan as such. I neglected to roast the tomatoes in advance, so I put them into the oven at the same time as the vegetables and pulled them out after about 15 minutes (they were nicely blistered at this point). Everything else was chopped per direction, seasoned accordingly (using ground versus seeds of most of the spices) and put in the oven.
We served the curry in the hollow of the squash, which was a great vehicle. Alongside the bulgur and garlic-y sauteed kale, this was a great meal full of nearly every nutrient you could need. And don't forget the dollop of Greek yogurt - it's a perfect condiment here!
Five Spice Beet Soup with Salmon and Orange Scented Bulgur
This meal came together really quickly! The trick of microwaving the beets made this sort of soup a reasonable option on a weekday. A quick pan fry on the salmon and reheating of the bulgur rounded this meal out well.
And... then... I went on a business trip and off the bandwagon I fell. The food has been amazing thus far. We'll see how or how much I get back on this plan now that I am back...