Sunday, February 24, 2013

Detox diet

I might as well share more about how I'm doing on my "What is happening to my body since I turned 40 and why am I always bloated and frighteningly depressed" detox diet. 

I have a colossal number of food sensitivities - for most of my life after eating an offending food I've gotten an itchy mouth, hay fever symptoms if I touch my eyes and some GI upset. My hypothesis is that as I age, my system reacts with more intensity to what it doesn't like, and I'll improve my well being if I listen and obey. Overall, I want to feel good, minimize emotional roller coasters and maybe reset my system. I'm lucky that it's a choice to eat this way: I don't have to. So if I bust into my kids' Valentines chocolate one night, oh well. Tomorrow is a new day (and I was pretty bloated that night, but that was the extent of the fallout).

Before going all Dr Oz on this detox I read a lot. My research included countless Internet hours, "The Plan", "UltraMetabolism" and thumbing though many more detox books/ideas. Based on my reading and my needs, my guidelines are:
At least 64 ounces of water a day. No gluten, dairy or sugar. None of the foods I'm sensitive to (I don't call it "allergic" because it's not anaphylactic but it's very similar to hay fever or other environmental allergies). Minimal caffeine (I cut it out entirely for a few days, now am back to 1 cup of coffee a day - as always, it must be a great cup). Minimal alcohol. I've had 4 glasses of wine in a 10 days (although one of them, while in itself innocent, was the gateway to a wild night with the leftover Valentines chocolate - not my finest hour, but not the end of the world either).

Highlighting the negatives is so limiting, so here's what I do eat: lots of vegetables, whole grains, our usual meat (local farm raised) and seafood and making sure I drink water. I've also added in some supplements, most notably Fish Oil, and am adding seaweed seasoning as dietary thyroid support. Additionally, my Lenten "Fast" this year is to mediate every day. This is such a positive thing. (And I keep slogging on with the exercise - trying to get something in most days of the week. It's a struggle but pays off when I can get it together.)

Turns out these guidelines mean eating how I normally do, only more so, and cutting out the "extras." I try to always focus on cooking, eating and feeding my family whole, minimally processed foods, emphasizing vegetables and whole grains. I find I'm eating even more veg and am satisfied enough not to miss the rest. The rest of the family isn't on the detox plan and one of the downsides is that occasionally I end up making 2 meals to satisfy all the members of our family. But even that is not such a trial and tribulation and as I get better at making my meals, it won't happen as often.

We've even discovered a new favorite way to eat carrots: Long carrots, peeled and halved - or even quartered if they're fat - rolled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Roast them at 400 for 20 minutes, turning them once. They come out soft on the inside, crispy on the outside and the kids love the long shape. I roast a lot at once and have them for the next day.

My staple breakfast has become brown rice with an egg and some kimchi. It's like my own mini Bibim Bop - What's not to love? (Although when Mur is making the kids sourdough waffles, there is a whiff of envy.)

I might blog more about how it goes. So far (10 days in) I feel much better, my depressed mood has lifted - although that may be because I have a project to focus on - and I think I've slimmed down a bit (although the scale hasn't budged. But that's not saying much. My weight didn't change when I ran a marathon, why should it change now?). And I really am eating quite well.

Here's what Murray thinks of all of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm on a crazy detox-esque diet, which means, for me, no dairy, gluten or sugar. So far I've only fallen off the wagon hard once in a week of it...not bad, hey?
Surprisingly, I've eaten quite well throughout. Dinner tonight was a riff on a recipe I had book marked ages ago, and happily rediscovered: Spinach and chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen.

I have a fondness for chickpeas - they're my favorite legume (if one is rating legumes). However, the dish I made is only a nod to Deb P's rather than the exact thing. It does have chickpeas and spinach, lots of garlic and smoked paprika (one of both of our favorite ingredients which makes me feel like we'd get along swimmingly and have so much to talk about - isn't the internet weird that way?).

The starting point is chickpeas, which I cooked a vat of this morning in my pressure cooker. This is a great, fast and easy way to cook beans and every infrequent time I do it, I wonder why I don't do it more often. Hopefully every time I do it, it will be less of a pause before I remember to do it again. Baby steps.

So then I had all these chickpeas - way more than I could use to make hummus with (which I did make, and which is delicious) and they become the foundation of our dinner. The other cornerstone was an oil that everyone should know about: a basic rosemary garlic oil that is so easy to make and so delicious it could be used for world peace. It is a combination of Nigella's Rosemary Oil and perhaps (my memory fails me) Michael Chiarello's Roasted Garlic.

Pour 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan over low heat, add a head of peeled garlic cloves (for this I only used about a half - no good reason, I just got tired of peeling cloves) and cook until cloves are toasty tan and smell amazing. Then, dunk 2-3 springs of rosemary in the oil and cook a minute or 2. Turn off the heat, let the rosemary cool in the oil then pull out and discard. Done. Delicious. (I already mentioned that but it bears repeating).

2 cups Chickpeas - check. Sweet, crunchy chewy roasted garlics - check. Hefty glug of rosemary garlic oil (1/3 cup or so) - check.
I sautéed some D'Artangnan Anduille sausage I'd bought today - because our grocery store started carrying D'Artangnan meat products and I figure I better buy them so they keep stocking them - you know "vote with your money" philosophy. And tossed in a cup of chopped  butternut squash to saute with the sausage. The squash finished cooking when added along with a 1/2 cup of water to the chickpeas. The addition of the water also helped the garlic melt into the dish and steamed the next item in - one of those salad boxes of baby spinach. The finishing touch was the smoked paprika and the juice from 1/2 a lemon.

All in all it was comfortingly tasty and filling. The kids had hot dogs (bribery for good behavior during haircuts) and we all enjoyed baby broccoli. And even though Mur is alarmed about the potential for intestinal combustion, I think I'm going to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Without dairy to exponentiate any danger, I'm feeling confident I'll be fine - better than fine, actually.