Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weekend Fun and Final Thoughts on the Conscious Cleanse

We had a busy but good weekend, filled with cleaning, soccer, a last-minute get-together, a visit from the older kid, playground fun, a sleepover, and a trip to Happy Hollow. On Monday night, we took the kid to his second San Jose Giants game.







Final Thoughts on the Conscious Cleanse

The Conscious Cleanse ended last week on Sunday, and we have been reintroducing the food we cut out during the cleanse since. In fact, hubby started reintroducing food a bit early as he wanted to make sure he took the time to really test the different foods we had been eliminating during the cleanse. So far everything he has reintroduced (wheat, dairy, corn, tomatoes, strawberries) sits well with him. Next, he will reintroduce eggs, which we think he may have some issues with.

I reintroduced dairy and initially found I had some problems with cheese. I have since experimented with different kinds of cheese and seem to be okay with small amounts of some cheeses. I am definitely eating a lot less dairy than before the cleanse, something I knew I had to work on.

Since we finished the Conscious Cleanse, I had one bad reaction to food. I ate some beef and black beans my mother-in-law made, and I had forgotten that the soy sauce she used in both dishes had wheat in it. I was very, very uncomfortable and will pay more attention in the future.

During the cleanse, you are supposed to pay attention to how you combine foods to aid digestion. That is, grains and protein do not combine well as they slow down digestion. You can either eat a protein with vegetables or a grain with vegetables, but not together. Ideally, you are also not supposed to mix different proteins and grains. This principle really makes a difference in how we feel after a meal and is the way I continued to eat after the last cleanse and is something we plan to continue after this cleanse.

Since I already ate pretty much according to the principles of the cleanse, I didn’t notice too many changes during the cleanse (except for some detox symptoms, probably from dairy, during the first few days), but I did lose 5 pounds. The Conscious Cleanse really encourages you to look at all aspects of your life, from cleaning up your surroundings to nurturing/repairing relationships to taking some time every day for yourself through journaling. There are constant reminders to be mindful and tune into your body. You are supposed to pay attention to how you feel at all times.

The cleanse was a great reminder to make vegetables the main part of our meals and add little extras, and we definitely went through even more produce than usual. I also paid even more attention to when and how often I reached for my “sweet treat,” usually dates (which are allowed in moderation on the cleanse). Since I also didn’t eat dairy or chocolate and monitored my consumption of avocados and nuts, I know I ate fewer calories. While I believe I am pretty mindful already, I was even more mindful when I ate and didn’t reach for food mindlessly.

The Conscious Cleanse also makes you look at the “soul food” in your life. Jo and Jules believe that if you don’t have satisfying soul food (physical activity, fulfilling work, relationships, and spirituality), it’s very difficult to have a permanently good relationship with food because your food choices will be influenced by what’s missing in these areas of your life. I think this point - that it’s never just about the food - is so important and so many programs don’t address it.

Overall, we are very glad we did the Conscious Cleanse. Doing it a second time made it easier as I was already eating according to the Conscious Cleanse principles for the most part. Yet, I was able to fine-tune quite a few things, mainly what kind and how much dairy I eat as well as my date, avocado and nut consumption. Hubby had been eating many cleanse-friendly meals before the cleanse, but it was good for him to completely cut out sugar, wheat, and dairy for two weeks. It definitely helped with his sweet tooth.

Questions: What are some highlights from your weekend? Are you as mindful as you should be (when it comes to food or life in general)?
 
Be well,
Andrea

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Spicy Black Beans

The other day Jessie at Happiness in Health posted a recipe for chickpea curry. It was a simple, quick recipe and sounded delicious. I had most of the ingredients and thought I’d make it with slight alterations.

However, when I went to get the chickpeas, I realized that I didn’t have any canned chickpeas. I did however have canned organic black beans. And some organic canned tomatoes. Since I didn’t measure anything, I can’t give you amounts for the spices. I would suggest you start with a little and add more to taste.


Spicy Black Beans
Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced 
  • Red curry powder, start with 1 Tsp
  • Turmeric, start with 1/2 Tsp
  • Cardamom, start with 1/4 Tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can black beans
  • Ketchup, 1-2 Tbs
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium pot. When hot, add the onions and sauté for a minute. Then add the garlic.
  2. Next, add the curry powder, turmeric, and cardamom and let the onions, garlic and spices brown a bit.
  3. After a few minutes, add the black beans. Coat the black beans with the onion/spice mixture and let cook for a minute.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, ketchup, salt and pepper. Taste the dish and add more curry powder, turmeric, cardamon, salt, and pepper if needed.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
I’ll definitely make Jessie’s chickpea curry soon! But this was a great, unplanned meal that came together in no time – the ultimate “fast food.” While it isn’t a pretty dish, the flavor is wonderful. Plus, the leftovers were even better the next day.

This dish would be great with tortillas, as a vegetarian burrito filling, or with corn chips as a dip.

I ate the beans with leftover baby asparagus and sautéed onions, mushrooms, and bok choy.



Questions: What’s your favorite “fast food?” What was the last unplanned meal you cooked?
 
Be well,
Andrea

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beet Greens Smoothie

We love beets, especially roasted. Until recently, I had never used the beet greens that often come with beets when you buy them at the Farmers’ Market even though I had known that they are edible.




After using beet greens the first time in a smoothie, I realized that I had made a huge mistake. Beet greens are very mild in flavor and make a delicious green smoothie. From now on, I’ll never waste beet greens again.

Beet Greens Mango Smoothie
  • 2 – 3 cups chopped beet greens stems removed
  • 1 banana
  • 2 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1/2 – 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • A little stevia (optional)


For several weeks, we weren’t able to go to the Farmers’ Market on Sundays, so we especially enjoyed our leisurely stroll through the market this week. In addition to the beet greens, we picked up some raw cheese, kale, lettuce, zucchini, mushrooms, radishes, local raw honey, and peaches.

Questions: Do you like beets? I love beets, but I used to seriously dislike them until I was about 30. I remember watching my mom eating beets when I was young, and I didn’t understand how she could eat them. She said, she didn’t like them until she was older and used to think the same thing about her mom. I guess it runs in the family… Have you ever used beet greens? If so, in what? Feel free to share a recipe! 

Be well,
Andrea

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Afterschool Fun & More Conscious Cleanse Food

We took the kid and one of his friends to Gilroy Gardens after school. 2.5 hours flew by, and we did a lot as it wasn’t crowded. The boys had lots of fun and got tons of exercise; they were so exhausted that they fell asleep in the car on the way home.


Conscious Cleanse Update

Hubby and I are finally feeling great. But while I don’t mind being around food we can’t eat, hubby has a much harder time... For me the hardest part of the cleanse is always having a variety of cleanse-friendly food available and not getting bored. I miss my little go-to snacks, like almonds and a small piece of cheese or yogurt and fruit. At the same time, I know I was eating a bit too much dairy, so the cleanse is a great reminder to make plant-based foods the main part of our meals.

Most days still start with green smoothies. We have also had chia pudding (chia seeds, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a little stevia soaked overnight) a few times. I have found that the smoothies keep me full much longer. Plus, I love that we get so many greens in right in the morning. Instead of warm lemon water, we sometimes have room temperature water with a few drops of honey, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. It tastes MUCH better than it sounds!


Conscious Cleanse Food On-the-Go

Here is food for a day ready to pack in a cooler: grapes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, black bean hummus, and wild rice salad (wild rice, spinach, mushrooms, cilantro, parsley, mint, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, & pepper).



And here is some more food. Some meals may not follow the Conscious Cleanse  guidelines 100%, but overall they are cleanse friendly.


Hubby really wanted some Korean-style food. I’m not sure the kimchi (and some of the other foods) is Conscious Cleanse-approved, but he really enjoyed the meal and felt great afterward (a sign that it’s a good combination for him).


Questions: What’s your favorite vegetable at the moment? I really like Brussels sprouts right now and could eat them every day.  What’s your favorite fruit right now? I love all the cherries and peaches.

Be well,
Andrea

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Conscious Cleanse Food and Update

After some headaches on Monday, hubby started to feel better on Tuesday. Interestingly, by Tuesday evening, I didn’t feel well at all (headache, achy all over, generally not feeling well). And here I had thought I wouldn’t go through withdrawal/detox this time doing the Conscious Cleanse! My guess is that cutting out dairy may have caused some detox symptoms. The symptoms weren’t bad, but since I didn’t anticipate them, they threw me off…

The rest of the week, both of us had mild headaches and just didn’t feel great on and off. Like during the last cleanse, I don’t feel up to lots of exercise. I do some daily yoga (class in a studio or at home) but have  been walking less.

I look forward to feeling better during week 2!

Here are some of our meals. Not pictured are lots of raw veggies and some fruits.


Questions: What was on your menu this week? What’s a new food you recently discovered that you really like? I really like the black bean hummus, a Conscious Cleanse recipe. It’s a very simple recipe – basically just cooked black beans processed in a food processor with some oil, lemon juice and spices. 

Be well,
Andrea

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beach Trip and Starting Another Cleanse

We took a weekend trip to Avila Beach and had lots of fun. We left on Friday morning and enjoyed a very sunny and warm day at the beach. On Saturday, hubby attended the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest, and the kid and I hung out at the pool (his favorite part of the trip), went to the small aquarium in town, and spent some more time at the beach. By Sunday the temperatures had dropped considerably, but we had fun exploring some more, including Pismo Beach


“But weren’t you transitioning to do a cleanse?” you ask. Yes, I was, and it was a bit challenging. I brought most of the food we ate with us, so I had control over what we were eating. Obviously, hubby didn’t follow the “no alcohol” transition. Since he was surrounded by beer and non-cleanse-friendly food on Saturday (an event he had planned to attend many months ago before we decided to do the cleanse), I suggested he just start the cleanse on Monday and not worry about transitioning into the cleanse, but I followed the transition guidelines (no caffeine, no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, no alcohol) for the most part.

We got back home on Sunday evening, and I started to stress a bit about my lack of preparation for the cleanse. Last time I did the cleanse, I decided to do it last minute and felt like catching up the entire first week. I didn’t want to repeat that experience.

I decided to tackle the laundry and the house (it’s amazing how much stuff there is when you go on a three-day trip to the beach!), made some black rice, green beans and mushrooms and decided to wait until early Monday morning to deal with the rest of the food prep for the first few days of the cleanse. I had bought ingredients for green smoothies before we left for the trip, so I knew breakfast was covered.

I got up very early on Monday morning and made some carrot soup. Then I decided to splurge and go to an early morning yoga class. I felt really anxious because of all the things on my to-do list, but yoga really helped to calm me down. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store. Monday was super busy, but I managed to get some more food prepped, so here is what we are eating for the first few days of the cleanse:
  • Green smoothies
  • Chia pudding
  • Black rice with veggies
  • Salads with salmon
  • Carrot soup
  • Turkey/spinach burgers on top of a salad
  • Fruit
  • Veggies
I feel much better now that there is food we can easily grab. Since I am not going through caffeine withdrawal this time around, I don’t really notice a big difference in how I feel at this point. The Conscious Cleanse is really not that different from the way I normally eat; the biggest difference is that I am cutting out dairy and condiments (which I miss.)

Hubby, on the other hand, is having a bit of a tough time. He eats quite a bit of sugar, and I think he is experiencing withdrawal from sugar at this point and got a series of headaches yesterday. Actually, one of the reasons I wanted us to do the cleanse is for him to take a good look at his sugar intake. Hopefully, it’ll show him that it’s possible to eat a lot less sugar.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What’s on your menu this week? Do you like sweet foods? Hubby definitely loves his sweets, but I enjoy savory foods more.

Be well,
Andrea