Photo credit: John Pozadzides, Flickr Creative Commons
SIGNS THAT IT’S TIME
Since finishing my fall races/events a month ago, I’ve been getting lazy about my eating habits. And over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed my energy levels and mood both tanking big time … and my stress level and weight starting to creep up. Clear signs that it’s time to hit the nutritional reset button with a good Fall cleanse. If you want to feel AMAZING you might want to think about doing it with me (as some others are…Lisa and Amanda, this blog’s for you!) or doing a cleanse that best suits you.
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
I’m still training moderately hard so am not taking on the full-blown Clean program that I’ve done a couple of times before. And I considered the Whole 30 program that’s popular right now; however, for me personally, eliminating whole grains and legumes makes no sense. I don’t like meat enough to go “Paleo” and I don’t think it’s necessary. But – different strokes. Do what works for YOU. It may take some exploration.
Personally, for the next two weeks (until it’s time for my 45th birthday cupcake!) I’m eliminating ALL PROCESSED FOOD, including but not limited to processed sugar. I need to eat WAY more vegetables than I have been. And I’m reducing my dairy, but keeping some milk and yogurt in, to ensure I get enough calcium and vitamin D and keep my bones strong, especially heading into Vitamin-D-deficiency-season here in the great white North. I use a little bit of honey, agave or maple syrup when I need a little bit of sweet. And I still get my morning coffee or a chai tea – NOT the hyper-sweetened coffee shop variety – if I want it.
“WHAT DO YOU EAT?”
So what do I eat/recommend, as some of you have asked?
Much of what turns me on about clean eating right now is inspired by having recently read the book Eat and Run, by vegan ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek. I’m not a vegan (though I once was, for a few years). At times in my training I want MEAT. And at times, it grosses me out. Last night I ate a cheeseburger (which rarely happens) and today the thought of that makes me want to vomit so I’m having veggie chili. In general my way of eating is very in line with Scott’s, and the recipes in his book alone are worth the cover price. Here are a couple of sample recipes, from his website. The lentil mushroom burgers are outstanding.
I also just finished reading Born to Run by Chris McDougall, finally, and I love to eat the way he describes: salads (even for breakfast), greens, pinto beans, corn tortillas, squash, chia seeds…mmmm. Maybe it’s the time I’ve spent in “out there” parts of Mexico in the past but this diet is very appealing to me. But it’s not all I eat. Here are just a few of my “tried and true”, go-to food choices. Please share YOURS in the comments!
SMOOTHIES AND JUICES
This Just Peachy Green Smoothie from the Skinny Taste blog (one of my favorites) became a staple for me this summer and I started my day with it today on detox day one. It’s incredibly refreshing and restorative. I like it with the hemp seeds and also make it with chia seeds. We always have these ingredients on hand so it’s easy to throw together.
And here’s a Green Machine Smoothie recommended by Erin Ulicki that I’ll be making this week. It’s got pineapple which another food that’s great for inflammation/runners, and ginger. Good stuff!
I am also trying to drink at least one fresh-squeezed juice per day, usually green juice or ginger beet juice . The green juice – “cancer’s kryptonite!” – just helped cure my day one detox headache. And the beet juice is supposed to increase stamina by boosting blood flow, when you drink it before a workout. Excited to try that out.
I like a banana before a workout, or during a long workout…high in sugar, yes, but personally I am not concerned about naturally-occuring fruit sugar. I eat an apple almost every day…especially helpful during processed-food detox. I eat berries often…blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, either fresh or frozen in a smoothie. And I drink tart cherry juice almost every day because it’s great for inflammation and has been proven to enhance recovery in runners. Also, it’s YUMMY.
Eating enough veggies is KEY to any good detox and to making sure your body is working well…put them in anything and everything. I try to get leafy greens in my body at LEAST twice a day if not three times.
One of the green breakfast smoothies is a great way to start the day right. In a time pinch, I’ll often lightly sautee a huge pile of spinach and scramble in a couple of eggs/egg whites…VERY filling and satisfying. At least once or twice a week, I’ll eat a pile of chard sauteed with some garlic, with a nice piece of fish like five-spice tilapia or wild salmon on top, for dinner. I’m also planning to keep kale chips on hand for snacks (just as good with only salt and pepper as with fresh parm and chili powder, as in the recipe).
Heidi Ketroser Massey suggested “I roast tons of veggies (with whole garlic cloves-lots of ‘em!) With olive oil and perhaps salt and pepper. But you gotta eat a lot to get full. I might do 4 bell pepers, 2 onions, maybe some mushrooms, or asparagus, and a whole head of garlic. When I fill up on that, I’m really satisfied…” I plan to do this (minus the onions, for me) and throw them on top of a salad. Roasted BEETS are delicious too!
I also bought a couple of acorn squash today and am looking forward to baking those bad boys up with a *touch* of maple syrup. Also, a baked sweet potato is a great standby, very filling, meal or snack.
Soups are a huge part of my diet, especially soups with legumes and lots of veggies. It’s easy to make up a pot of soup and eat if for lunch for a few days…it’s a great convenience food. Very Green Lentil Soup is a great go-to detox food. When I need something a little spicier we make Wheatberry Black Bean Chili. The wheat berries have a nice nutty flavor but you could also substitute quinoa.
WHOLE GRAINS AND LEGUMES
If I need more for breakfast than a smoothie, I’ll often eat Jillian Michaels’ Steel Cut Oats with Apples and Pecans.
I eat a LOT of beans and lentils, whether or not I’m detoxing. Scott Jurek’s Smoky Chipotle Refried Beans will be a HUGE staple for me during this detox. Here’s his recipe, though I highly recommend you get your hands on his book.
3 cups dried pinto beans
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
Half inch piece dried Kombu seaweed (optional…definitely recommend)
1-2 dried whole chipotle peppers or canned chipotles in adobo to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried epazote (we did not use this, but added cilantro instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and a half teaspoons sea salt
Soak the beans in water to cover by 2 inches, 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander a few times, then transfer to a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, seaweed, chipotles, and spices. Add water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, or until the beans are soft and cooked through.
Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of the liquid, remove the seaweed. Remove the chiles, or leave one in if spicier beans are desired. Cool the beans for 15 minutes, then place in a food processor along with half cup of the liquid and process until smooth. If desired, you may thin the beans with additional cooking liquid.
Return the pureed beans to the pot with the olive oil and salt. Simmer over low to medium-low heat for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve warm.
Makes 7 cups, 8-10 servings.
NOTE: I do not puree the beans. I like them better partly intact so I just smush them up a little bit. And I like them a littler spicier, too, so am adding more chipotles.
Once you’ve got the killer beans, eat them a) on natural corn tortillas b) with some quinoa, preferably with lots of veggies chopped up and thrown in.
I’ve got more great whole grain recipes I’ll share another time…curried quinoa with veggies…and my absolute favorite, millet cakes.
WHAT I ATE TODAY ON DAY ONE
Here’s a sample day…this is about 1,800 calories, since I ran 5 miles this morning. On a “normal” day I’m targeting about 1,400-1,600 calories right now.
Pre run: Just Peachy Green Smoothie
Post run: Tart cherry juice and two dates each stuffed with 1 t. almond butter
Lunch: Lentil soup with greens
Snack: 1 ounce cashews, half a LaraBar and an apple
Dinner: Veggie chili, two corn tortillas, and green veggie juice
HOW ABOUT YOU?
So this has been a very long post but I hope useful for some of you! If you’re doing this or another detox, let me know how it’s going and if I can help in any way. And I’d LOVE to hear what YOU eat in the comments…link to your favorite detox-appropriate recipes if you got ‘em!