It's been a weird month.
As part of a commitment to healthier living, I'm taking part in a 10 week cleansing diet. The first week was raw food. After that, only "clean" foods - no chemicals, no preservatives, nothing that's not natural + limited wheat and dairy. None of that Semi-Homemade stuff. All made at home or with ingredients that can be seen.
Most of my meals looked like this (left image) for the first week. (Blackberries + water, "power greens", apple, walnut and a touch of flax.) I detoxed off the sugar and preservatives in my diet. It was tiring.
I spent a good part of the first part of the month asking why. "Why am I not having chocolate?" "Why am I not having wine?"
The answer is: summer bodies are made in the winter! Or, why I need to be healthier. I thought I was healthy. As a 20-year vegetarian, I eat a ton of veggies. Except for the last 4-5 years - when I've become increasingly seduced by convenience foods and had a few health challenges.
All Week One, I maked salads (right) filled with different things as my meals. Beautifully bright and "clean". I ate raw. And then, in preparation for Week Two, I looked for options of real food!
We were given resource blogs. I didn't love them. Rank ordered, these are the few I liked:
I tend to like cookbooks. I do keep a few recipes bookmarked electronically, but I'm a fan of the written book. I have dozens of recipe books and am always on the look out for more. I was excited to discover that even Martha Stewart is about clean eating, and I made the avocado/cocoa pudding recipe from her recent Today Show appearance. (Tip - let the flavors meld for a few hours. Then serve. The sea salt is essential.) But I'm not sure buying another book was the answer here. So I opened up a favorite cookbook- Fast, Fresh & Spicy Vegetarian. (Image at right. It's only available used.) It uses many of the elements of the "clean" eating style. (Middle right image is the Caramelized Fennel with Lemon Pasta from the F,F&SV book. I did have to source a "clean" pasta, but it was an easy conversion.)
What I realized after the third week - besides the fact that it will be a long 10 weeks of cooking from scratch - is that eating clean is really about being aware. Aware of your choice of what to eat. Aware that food is medicine. Aware that convenience can be a health trade-off.
Take-away - Commit to you. You are worth your own time to be the best you.