Ok so I’m into week one of my “cleanse”. I’m loosely using this term to describe what is really my “month of mindful eating”. First my disclaimer, as a massage therapist and personal trainer I am in no position to diagnose or treat your particular health condition, please see your medical professional for that.
I do like to cook and share new recipes so I will be listing my favorites here for you to try. I will be offering the highlights (and low lights) of my month long plan for improved eating. My goal is to give my body a break from my holiday over indulgences and shape it up for my trip to Maui in February.
Step One: The Plan
I have decided to avoid coffee and alcohol for the next few weeks. Ditching coffee was surprisingly easy for me. Over the past two weeks I did a step down program – going from coffee to decaf to black tea – and now my morning beverage of choice is sliced ginger, lemon and a spoon of honey in hot water. I even met a friend for lunch at my favorite coffee shop this week and I wasn’t tempted by the smell of coffee or the pastry case. I will admit that I did fudge and have some wine this weekend. Ok now back on the horse.
I am eliminating any white sugars and anything that comes in a box (processed foods). I am shopping the perimeter of the grocery store – veggies, fruit, meat, cheese, and the bulk bins – and preparing most of my meals at home. While this sounds like a lot of work if you plan ahead it actually saves time (and $) and you have the benefit of knowing exactly what you are eating.
Sunday I do meal planning and cooking. I like to have some staples on hand for the rest of the week. I cook a big batch of brown rice and freeze it in 1-2 cup servings for example. I will bake a few sweet potatoes (or yams), chop them and add them to breakfast cereal, salads, soups…(see my hot breakfast cereal below). Steamed chicken is a quick and easy lean protein and good to add to salads, soups, etc…
I like to keep healthy snacks on hand, especially crunchy sweet things. I stash baby carrots, snap peas, cut up celery and apples on the top shelf right in the front of the fridge for a quick snack.
Ok so I’ll stop here and tell you my menu for today:
Breakfast: I try to drink 32 oz of water first thing in the morning. I sip on it as I am getting ready. Then I make a fruit smoothie or hot breakfast cereal (oatmeal, cracked wheat) loaded with apples, raisins and nuts.
Fruit Smoothie – 1 cup kefir or yogurt, 1/2 cup rice milk or water, 1-2 cups frozen fruit (today I used peaches, mango, blueberries, and cherries), 1 small beet or carrot – boiled and chopped, 1 spoon of honey. Blend all ingredients and drink up! Here is a yummy recipe that incorporates dates and my beloved coconut oil (more on that later).
Hot cereal – Cracked wheat (I like Bob’s Red Mill) cooked with half a sweet potato and half an apple, salt, cinnamon, a tiny hit of cayenne, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and a squeeze of honey or agave.
Lunch: I tend to eat small meals throughout the day and I usually eat every 3-4 hours.
Steamed chicken with cabbage salad – I subbed chicken for the shrimp in this recipe. This chicken recipe is really easy, you just steam the bird for 20 minutes,then turn it off and let it sit (with the lid on) for 20 minutes.
Sliced zucchini and baby carrots with hummus. Hummus – super easy. Here’s a good basic recipe.
Chickpea and spinach curry with rice. I found all the ingredients for this at my QFC but you may find more traditional curry sauce at an Asian market like Fubonn or Uwajimaya.
You may notice I am not including servings, calories, portions etc… My goal is to eat when my tank starts to feel empty and stop when I’m about 3/4 full. I’m shooting for mostly fruits and veggies, some protein and dairy for this week. Here are a few of the resources I am using for recipes and nutrition information:
Eat Fat to Lose Fat This book has loads of good recipes! The basic theory is that we eat too much sugar and not enough fat (you heard me). The authors suggest drinking a tablespoon of coconut oil in hot water in the morning – I have been adding it to my breakfast cereal – and having a small amount of fat with each meal. Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride so it “acts like” butter or shortening in that it is hard at room temperature, but your body eliminates it so quickly it does not hang around and get turned into cholesterol. Interesting read.
The Body Ecology This is about how our bodies absorb food. They are big fans of kefir and other fermented foods and say we should eat a little bit of funky food (kombucha, yogurt, beet kvass) at each meal. I’ve just started this one so I’ll keep you posted on what I learn. I did try soaking my oatmeal overnight in kefir as they recommended and it seemed to stick to my ribs a little longer than usual.
Try some of these recipes and let me know what you think!