I went down to Pike Place on Sunday and bought the MOST DELICIOUS smoked king salmon from City Fish. If you're eating meat/poultry/fish on your cleanse, go for organic, grass-fed, free-range, etc (avoid the factory-farmed meats that have been fed hormones and antibiotics). Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is the best fish.
This week I'm making two delicious dishes to munch on for lunches and dinners:
Green Noodles and Chickpea Tagine. Recipes below.
Green Noodles (Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Makes 4 servings
1 T minced garlic
1 1/2 T fresh ginger, grated
1 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1 t turmeric
1/2 t salt
1 t vegetable or coconut oil
15oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup water
2 T honey
2 T lime juice
Sauce: Puree ingredients above in a blender, then transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.
1 box spinach or 1 bunch kale
1 T minced garlic
1-2 T olive or coconut oil
3 T Braggs liquid aminos (or other gluten-free soy sauce alternative)
2 T water
6 cups broccoli, cut small
4-6 servings brown rice noodles (not the pad thai kind, but a spaghetti-size noodle)
avocado, for garnish
Chickpea Tagine (Yoga Journal) Makes 4 servings
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 T)
2 14.5-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
¼ cup dried currants or raisins
1 t each ground turmeric, cinnamon, cumin
¼ t cayenne pepper
2 t honey
finely chopped parsley, for garnish
I serve mine over a brown rice, mung bean mix. To prepare this, soak about 1/4 cup mung beans (4 hrs - overnight). Rinse soaked beans and add enough brown rice to equal 1 cup. Put rice/mung beans into a small sauce pan and cover with 2 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 45-50 minutes.
I know that 'cleanse' can be a buzzword, so bear with me... when I talk about a seasonal cleanse, I mean a very low-key elimination diet based on cutting out foods that tend to cause inflammation or that people tend to be sensitive to, and replacing them with healthy, whole foods. I take some supplements for liver support and antioxidants. I can't speak to the juice fasts or intense cleanses that some people choose to do because I've never tried (and probably never will) do something that extreme. My fall and spring cleanses are a way to clear out any junk that has built up in my liver or digestive tract from eating processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugars, preservatives in pre-packaged foods, etc. Our livers work so hard... sometimes they need a break!
I learned about this type of cleanse from Dr. Deborah Epstein, a naturopath who specializes in digestive health. She recommends about 10-14 days twice per year of the elimination diet. She also makes her own rad liver cleanse supplement and herbal tea. (Disclaimer: If you have more serious digestive or health issues, this may not be for you. It's also great to get guidance from a doctor if you are thinking of trying a cleanse.)
I usually look forward to my cleanse time. For one, I have an excuse to say no to all the parties and bar-hopping I've been invited to (yes, I'm an introvert), and for two, I love actively pursuing new and delicious recipes. So many doors open up when I get away from my lazy-food lifestyle. I am usually in awe of the delicious flavors and creative foods that I can eat when I start looking for 'cleanse-friendly' food. In my normal life, I forget about coconut oil, tahini, cashew cream, mung beans, coconut milk, shredded beets, fennel, chia seeds (... OK, maybe that list doesn't sound delicious... but seriously, I'll share some delicious recipes). I even found a replacement chocolate bar recipe!
Chocolate Bar (cleanse-friendly)
Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie.
1/4 cup carob or cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 T honey
Optional: shredded coconut, dried fruit, nuts
Mix ingredients together in a bowl, spoon into a sandwich-size ziploc baggie. Smoosh flat, and freeze until solid... doesn't take long! YUM!
The elimination diet involves cutting out the following foods: processed foods, refined grains and sugars (ie white rice), alcohol, caffeine, gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, and factory-farmed meats. Though this may seem intimidating, there is SO MUCH flavorful and filling food that is outside of this list. There is no limit on the amount of food during a cleanse, you shouldn't feel hungry, snack as much as you want. I find that I stay fuller longer and feel more satiated when I'm eating delicious (and fibrous) cleanse food vs the processed, packaged alternatives.
This morning I started the day with delicious refrigerator oatmeal adapted from Oh She Glows.
1/3-1/2 cup organic oats (steel-cut is best)
1/2 cup organic (unsweetened) almond milk (other non-dairy milks are fine here... just look out for additives)
1 T chia seeds
1/4 t cinnamon
1-2 t honey
1/2 t vanilla extract
Toppings: fresh berries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, banana, or whatever strikes you
Mix all ingredients in a small mason jar or tupperware (I use a little magic bullet container). Shake. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning, adjust the milk and honey and top with toppings.
This is so delicious and satisfying! I drink a cup of green or green chai tea sweetened with honey or stevia (a little caffeine in green tea is OK because it's so full of healthy antioxidants!) and I am good to go until my mid-morning snack of bananas and almond butter :)
I'll post more recipes this week. Happy fall!
For my first substantive post I'd like to address the shift into fall in Seattle. Aside from the excitement I feel about crisp fall weather, I also have a looming sense of dread about the upcoming dark, damp months. Here's what I've come up with to deal with it. It's not rocket science, but there are things that help me to ease the pain of a long, dark winter. What works for you?
1- Self-care: Self-care to me means massages, yoga, healthy food, acupuncture, chiropractic care, exercise, hydrotherapy, laughter and sleep. When you care for yourself, you feel better and you will treat those around you better. If you have a block against treating yourself, get over it! You will seriously be a better, kinder, happier, healthier person if you take care of yourself.
2- Get outside: It can be hard when it's damp and dark, but even a walk around the block can help a tired, sour self. Fresh air, circulation, whatever light is out... these can all increase your mood and energy. Even better if you can go out for a day hike or head to a sunnier place (like east of the mountains) for a bit of light and fresh air.
3- Light: Buy a happy light. Use it for at least 10 minutes in the morning. This stimulates your brain to wake up and helps fight fatigue. It can boost your mood and energy. You can even take it to a desk job and turn it on the afternoon when you feel the afternoon doldrums sink in. Here's what I have.
4- Honor the highs and lows: Sometimes we fight how we really feel. It's normal to have times when you feel more lethargic or sad than others. This is part of the beauty of the human experience... the full range of emotions. When we try desperately to combat it, we just create a struggle for ourselves. I think of the struggle as adding an extra layer of suffering onto something that already feels like suffering. If you feel down, take a moment and let yourself feel it. Honor it. Know that it's normal and OK. It will pass. Breathe, rest, relax, do self-care, and be OK.
5- Check your attitude: If you're anything like me, you love to get melodramatic about the winters here. Yes, we don't often get much daylight, but there is plenty to celebrate about our PNW in the cooler months. Many places have bitter dry cold snowy winters, but it's so lush and green here. We get off easy. When you start feeling gloomy, it can be nice to breathe in the fresh damp earth smell of the winters and embrace the cold darkness by snuggling in a letting it wrap you up like a hug.
6- Get out of town: I was going to say, 'If all else fails, get out of town.' But go ahead and do it even if the other things are working! Taking a trip somewhere in Jan/Feb/March is a great way to refresh yourself, see a little more daylight, and get away from the collective gloom that is upon us here. Last year I went to the Big Island... I thought it was so funny that they gave us mai tai's on the way over, but nothing on the way back. I'm going to suggest they give you a shot of espresso and a wellbutrin for flights into Seattle :)
Happy fall, everyone! Have a warm, caffeinated beverage, get a massage, and go to bed early.
Hello! This is my first EVER blog post! I've put it off for years because I didn't know what I had to say, or if it would add value to the world. I also read some people's amazing writing and think, "I'm just not that good!" But I finally decided, what the heck... it's not going to add value if I don't do it. I hope you get something out of it.
The theme for my blog is healthy, happy lifestyle. I consider myself a lifetime learner... always tweaking my attitudes, practices and routines to see what makes me thrive the most in my life. I also have a sense of humor, so I'm not going to make this super serious or deep. Life is too damn short to be serious :) I'll explore ideas the way I think about them, and I'd love to hear what works for you!
I am a lifetime learner and researcher in happy, healthy, fun living.