Spring Cleanse Journal #3 - So what the heck DO you eat?

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2015 Spring Cleanse
2015 Spring Cleanse

When I last posted I talked a lot about how things were feeling and some of the ideas behind the biological processes that a cleanse really brings to our awareness. Now, I want to talk about FOOD. Food really is such an essential part of our daily life, not just because of it's necessity for our survival, but also because of how much it is a part of our culture. Not just our ethnic culture but our daily culture and interactions with other human beings. Food can be incredibly social. Food can be relatable or not-relatable depending on our habits. It can draw us together or push us apart.

Looking back 10 years later I fondly smile when I remember my poor Mother's reaction to my hypoglycemia diagnosis and my new dietary needs. "No PASTA?! What the heck am I going to feed you?!?" (Just for the record, Mom is half Sicilian so the idea of no pasta is pretty much like the idea of no air to breathe.) And then when I threw in that I wasn't eating meat anymore? My Father will still look at me sometimes and ask with an air of incredulity in his voice, "So what the heck DO you eat?"

Nuts and berries Dad. Nuts and berries.

But to be a little more serious, food can really be an important function in our lives living and relating to others. During this cleanse I have been mostly eating my own food by myself. When my husband is around we are making separate meals, but eating them together. I'm not going to lie, it makes me (and him actually) a little sad. There is something about sharing a meal with someone you love that is very connecting.

During my yoga teacher training back in NJ this was an important aspect of our time together that I look back on with fondness and wonder. My teacher brilliantly asked that during our weekend training days, we would all bring a vegetarian dish to the studio and we would all share the food and eat lunch together. What an amazing way to bring a diverse group together quickly! Not all of us were vegetarians at the time and some of us had specific food needs, so as we learned everyone's likes and dislikes and their allergies or sensitivities we adapted what we brought. And we NEVER consulted each other before the weekend on what we were going to bring and it was ALWAYS an amazing meal. In our recent Yoga Intensive sessions at Forever Yoga, I incorporated the same thing with the same effect. Food is a powerful way to bring people together.

So today I wanted to share with you a few recipes that I've found during the time of this cleanse that I thought were quite good. They'll give you an idea of how to make clean meals that are healthy AND delicious! Part of this cleanse for me is about breaking out of my routines and not getting stuck in a rut, so I've been trying out some new ideas. Here are a few that I really loved.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Red Quinoa Soup

wok stew
wok stew

I'd never made soup in a wok before and I LOVE my wok so I was really happy to find this one! This is a really simple and flavorful meal for the solid meal (remember this cleanse recommends that the biggest meal of the day be eaten at lunch with solid foods) of the day. To keep with the guidelines of the cleanse I didn't use the jalapeno (I'm a wimp when it comes to very hot spices anyway), the corn chips or the tomatoes. I did wilt some spinach over it and added avocado (one of my FAVORITE foods). Super yummy results and with the sweet potato it was really nice and filling and grounding for early in the cleanse. The weather was pretty raw on the day I tried this out too so it was nice to have such a warm filling meal.

Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato

loaded sweet potato
loaded sweet potato

Oh. My. God people. This may not look like much, but there just aren't enough exclamation points in the word for this one! A friend of mine posted this recipe a while ago and I'm SO GLAD I saved it to try at some point. This is ridiculously yummy. I can't even begin to tell you. While the recipe mentions this being a quick evening meal, try it out when you don't have to rush. It's a little complicated and took me well over an hour to make the first time around but it was totally worth it! The Green Goddess Dressing that goes with this is absolutely amazing. It was also part of what got me hung up time wise making it, so make sure you have the right tools available to you. No modifications necessary for this one to meet the guidelines of the cleanse. Cleansing or not I'm totally adding this to my repertoire. I haven't had vegan food this good in a long time, and especially not out of my own kitchen!

Make your own veggie broth/stock!

IMG_3445
IMG_3445

I've been doing this for so long I don't even remember how I got started doing it, but it's one of those things that makes me feel super thrifty! It also lets me know EXACTLY what's going into my food which is never a bad thing. So as you make your meals and smoothies, save your clean cuttings that you might normally throw away. The onion skin, the ends of the asparagus, that squeezed out lemon, the peelings of your ginger... whatever it might be. Toss them into a good sized container and store them in your fridge until you have a good amount saved. The container I use is one of the larger sized gladware type ones or you might just use a plastic bag. When you've got a good amount ready to use, throw it all into a 6 quart crockpot. Cover with filtered water. Set it on high for a couple of hours and then turn it down to low and let it cook overnight. In the morning, turn it off and go about your business until it cools. Then strain out the solids and freeze the liquid for future use or put it in a container in the fridge for about a week or so. I usually measure what I've strained and put it into containers labeled by how many cups of liquid it was. Then, when I'm making a favorite soup, I just pull out however many containers I need to get me up to the right number of cups of stock and melt it into the pot as I'm making the soup. Speaking of soup...

Vegan Curried Split Pea Soup

(No picture because, frankly, it isn't very exciting to look at but it sure does taste good!)

This is a recipe that I adapted from a friend who got it online somewhere I think. I love this because it's rich and filling without adding dairy and has a nice little flavor and spice from the curry powder.

Ingredients

1 tbs. olive oil (or oil of your choice)

1 chopped onion (I make enough to cover the bottom of the soup pot)

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 package dried split peas (you'll want to go through them a bit to find anything that isn't a split pea and rinse them a bit)

6 cups veggie broth

1 tbs. curry powder or to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Method: Heat the oil and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions for 2-3 min. Add garlic and sweat a bit more until that nice onion/garlic aroma meets you. Don't let them brown though. Add peas, broth and curry powder. Bring to a boil (if you're using the frozen veggie broth method I described above this is where that works in.) Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the peas are soft, 40-50 min. Puree with an immersion blender. Enjoy!

Here's a few links to other recipes online that I've enjoyed:

Umeboshi Scallion Dressing from Kripalu - this was in my Kripalu cookbook. Super easy and super flavorful. I tried it over a more traditional salad but I think I'm going to use it over a wilted greens salad with some bok choy next.

Vegan Cheese Sauce - Wow! This was another super find! Absolutely delicious over steamed broccoli and asparagus for lunch one day. In the future I would cut back on the salt a bit but still quite tasty. The picture is a little misleading though. For me it turned out pretty solid, but I might have blended it a touch too long. And if you don't have a Vitamix, DO IT. You won't be sorry. I just got one during this cleanse and I absolutely LOVE it. The hype isn't just hype. This is one amazing machine and I feel like it's saving me a ton of time and energy in the kitchen, especially with all the smoothies I've been making.

And hey, are you following Forever Yoga on Pinterest? I'm pinning recipes and other good stuff there from time to time, so check it out!

And last but not least, here's a super simple smoothie recipe I've been playing around with:

1-2 apples

1-2 tbs of almond butter

1-2 cups of almond milk

pumpkin pie spice to taste

touch of maple syrup

a date or two

ice if you like

Put it all in a blender and let 'er rip! A nice taste of fall in the warmer weather.

I hope you've found some food inspiration here! I know I've really enjoyed breaking out of my routine and trying some new things. If you've found this post valuable, leave me a comment and let me know! Happy Eating!!