As I mentioned in my January 7 blog about “sehnsucht” (a longing or yearning), part of what I’m doing to manifest what I want in my life is decluttering my home and cleansing my body.
I’m sharing here some of the delicious and energizing recipes I’ve been using as part of the anti-inflammatory and detoxing regimen, that is facilitated by a Ardmore, Pennsylvania-based naturopath named Jill Hoffman and hosted by my favorite green spa Eviama Life Spa.
I invite you to follow along if you want to boost your own energy in a delicious, nourishing way! (Make sure you seek the guidance of your trusted health care professional along the way.)
The first week of the mid-winter cleanse was challenging for most, but pretty simple for me. Goal of the first week: completely cut out caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
I’ve been “off” coffee since 2003 and only once in a while drink chai or have a dark chocolate. Saying no to a beer or glass of wine was fairly easy, although I missed my Friday afternoon happy hour treat. Instead I had sparkling water with fresh slices of lemon.
Hidden sugars were the challenge for me. The approach calls for removing all forms of natural and artificial sugar including dried fruits and fruit juices.
I was surprised to learn how much “sugar” is in my organic Cascadian Farms granola and my “original” flavored almond milk. So I transitioned to a simple steel cut oats breakfast and upgraded to a better quality unsweetened almond milk with no carrageenan (an extract of seaweed which I recently learned is potentially carcinogenic and promotes inflammation in the GI tract).
RECIPE #1 Simple Steel Cut Oats Breakfast
3 min prep, 3 min cooking, 1 min assembly
Trader Joe’s brand Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats
1 T. lemon juice
Whole fruit of choice, sliced or chopped
Raw nuts of choice, whole or broken into smaller pieces
The night before, soak ¼ cup steel cup oats in filtered water (filling the water 2 inches above the oats) and adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
This step not only speeds up the cooking time the next morning but more importantly may remove phytic acid on the grain that can contribute to the blocking of nutrient absorption. Cover the container with a tight-fitting lit or plastic wrap.
In the morning, dump your much expanded steel cut oats into a fine-mesh strainer and wash thoroughly with filtered water. Plop the oats back in a small cast-iron pot (or other pot of choice) on the stove top, add ½ cup more filtered water (or rice milk or almond milk) and with the lid on, bring to a boil. Immediately drop the heat to simmer-level (low heat) and stir until desired consistency. Feel free to add more water or rice/almond milk to make creamier, which I like to do.
Stir-in slices or chopped pieces of a favorite fruit and chopped or whole raw nuts, serve, and enjoy!
Variations: Add more liquid after stirring in fruit and nuts. Skip the fruit and just focus on the nuts.
The second week is the official first week of the anti-inflammatory way of eating, and its goal is to: cut out all common allergens and inflammatory foods including wheat and other gluten-containing products (spelt, kamut, barley, rye), soy, corn, tomato, peanut, beef, pork, tuna, swordfish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, all “cured” meats (cold cuts, hot dogs, sausages, canned meats), fake butters (margarine, shortening, processed or hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise, peanut oil), sodas and “soft” drinks, and condiments (ketchup, relish, BBQ sauce, chutneys, etc). All while still not consuming caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
You might wonder, “what is there left to eat?” But don’t worry. I’ve had tons of experience eating in a simple, more healthful way over the years in order to cure my own health issues and stop taking prescription medication, and more recently to avoid the foods that my youngest could not eat when he was still breast feeding (wheat, corn, soy, peanut, dairy). I can tell you that there is a lot left to eat AND it’s quite delicious and energizing to focus on these foods.
RECIPE #2 Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts, Savory Wild Rice, and Garlic Green Beans – a delicious dinner for 1 or more!
45 minutes prep (30 minutes hands-off time, 15 minutes hands-on time), 5 minutes to plate and serve
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 for each person)
Pesto (preferably dairy-free)
Salt & pepper
Wild rice (I bought organic Lundberg Farms brand)
Optional organic chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional garlic olive oil to taste
Trimmed organic green beans (1 large handful per person)
Salt & pepper
Crushed garlic cloves (2-3 small ones)
50 minutes ahead of targeted eating time, use a rice cooker to prepare the desired amount of wild rice (or follow package directions to cook in a pot). Either way, use filtered water. When wild rice is done cooking, optionally pour in organic chicken broth and add salt & pepper to taste to make more savory.
20-minutes ahead of targeted eating time, slice a thin pocket into the chicken breasts and spread pesto in the pocket. Warm olive oil (enough to spread a thin later over the bottom of a wide, flat skillet) until just more than medium heat (and a drop of water will sizzle in the pan). Then place chicken breasts in the pan and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Once there is a nice brown sear on the bottom of the chicken (about 5 -7 minutes, depending on thickness of the breasts), flip over to the other side and again add salt & pepper.
While chicken breasts are cooking on the first side, boil 1 inch of water in a wide soup pot. Add a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper, and crushed garlic cloves, followed by one large handful of green beans per person. Cover and turn heat down to medium for 5 minutes, then check for crisp/tenderness with a fork. Continue to simmer on low heat until just tender (or softer, if you prefer).
Scoop wild rice onto each plate, then add a double-seared chicken breast with pesto stuffing and a heaping spoonful of green beans with some crushed garlic coming along for the ride.
The third week adds on week 2’s focus by fully eliminating all forms of animal protein. So keep to the list of Week 2 focus but subtract all the fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, wild game. To make sure we’re getting enough protein, the naturopath has us following Thorne Research’s MediClear® program and using a pea-protein and rice-protein based protein drink mix. Ask your naturopath or holistic health provider for guidelines if you want to go this far and follow along!
RECIPE #3: Cream of Broccoli Soup
- Head of Organic Broccoli
- 3 cups organic Vegetable Broth
- Salt & Pepper
- ¼ cup Rice Milk (optional: Erin did not add this.)
- a dash or two of curry powder to taste (optional: Erin added this and the whole family loved it.)
- Steam the broccoli in 2-3 cups vegetable broth until bright green and just tender
- Strain the broth into a bowl (keep the liquid!)
- Allow the broth to cool
- Put the broccoli and one-quarter of the cool broth in a blender and blend
- Return the blended broccoli to the pot, add the remaining three-quarters of the cooled broth, and bring the mixture back up to simmer.
- Add ¼ cup rice milk and salt & pepper to taste.
Use asparagus or mushrooms instead of broccoli.
Source: Slightly adapted from the original Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe published in the Thorne Research MediClear® program patient guide.
Return to the Week 2 focus of foods and notice how your body feels with each food you re-introduce.
This final week (and the time that follows) is critical! Keep a detailed log of how your body responds as you add back in each common allergenic food and each inflammatory food.
The typical recommendation for any elimination diet is to add back in one food every 3 days. But don’t just eat a few bites. Add it in several times a day for those 3 days and note how the food affects your energy, bowels, skin, clarity of thought, digestion, libido, menstrual cycle, etc.
If you notice any problems or irritation at all, then stop eating that food. You’ve found a food that does not work well for your body. By keeping it out of the mix, you’ll benefit your body, your digestion, your immune system and your overall energy level. An important discovery!!!
As mentioned above, call on your trusted health care professional for support, to answer questions, and more. Ultimately, trust your body to tell you what is best for you!
I hope you enjoyed following along with my own cleansing adventure, and that you found the recipes to be tasty and stimulating for your palate.
When your body operates at its optimum level of performance, it can support YOU in being your best and performing at your own optimum level—feeling great, focusing on what you love to do, connecting more readily with those you work with and those you love, and bringing about the positive changes you are seeking in your life.
If you have questions or want to talk with me about how to move forward with your goals and dreams for 2014 and beyond, I invite you to schedule a free 15-minute call with me at your earliest convenience. Life moves fast, so why wait? I’d love to connect with you now!