Thursday, January 29, 2015

Detox Diet Month Recap

Thai Sweet Potato Soup and a Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
Last year I didn't do my January detox diet like I have been for the past 5 years or so, I just did a pescatarian diet, thinking that it would help ease Scott into my January habit of lessening the digestive load.  It didn't really help me much and by the end of 2014 my digestive system was not in great shape.  So this year we did full-on detox diet in January.  No gluten, processed sugar, corn, soy, nightshades (tomato, potato, peppers, etc), caffeine, or alcohol was permitted in our diet for a full month (or at least once we got back from our FL vacay on January 5).  I told S he could cheat and have one beer in the evenings with dinner since I know he enjoys them so much and I gave him some yummy new beers to try for the holidays that he hadn't cracked open yet.  But he said he wanted to try the diet full on and see if it had any effect on him.  It was his choice, but he's been blaming me all month whenever he's craving a beer...
Maple Dijon Pork Loin with a Coconut Sugar Sweetened Sweet Potato
He certainly hasn't been complaining about the food he has been eating, though.  I of course have an arsenal of appropriate recipes on my pinterest boards, but this year I also got to use 2 new cookbooks that S got me for Hanukkah.  Danielle Walker is a paleo diet home cook who documents her recipes in her succesful blog Against All Grain.  S overheard my sister-in-law J talking favorably about the blog and the associated cookbooks that Danielle has put out while we were all home over Thanksgiving.  He'd been wanting to buy me some cookbooks anyway, so bam, inspiration! (J got both of the same cookbooks for the holidays too!)  The books focus on a variety of recipes that adhere to a paleo diet, which is completely grain, processed sugar, legume, and dairy free.  We haven't gone quite that hardcore this month (we've been eating beans, gluten free oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa products), but the recipes were a fantastic inspiration for new dishes to try in a month of restrictions.
Orange Cranberry Muffins
Apple Blueberry Crumble with Whipped Coconut Cream

Lemon Vanilla Bean Macaroons
Not eating processed sugar or added sugar products this month has definitely helped to cut down on our sweet tooth tendencies.  But the benefit of using the new cookbooks was having a few baked good options to fall back on that don't break any of our detox rules but still give us a slight sense of normalcy.  From the cookbooks I made "breakfast cookies" that are primarily fruit and coconut based, lemon vanilla bean macaroons, orange cranberry muffins and blueberry muffins (both of which heavily utilize almond flour), and an apple and berry crumble that is topped with chopped nuts and medjool dates as a sweetener as opposed to the sugar, butter and flour that tops a typical fruit crumble. 
Veggie and Sausage Breakfast Hash with Fried Quail Eggs
For breakfasts we still had to work around my egg yolk issues and a lot of paleo diet breakfasts are heavily egg-centric.  Our answer during the week was to whip up smoothies with frozen fruit, vegetable based protein powder, chia seeds, almond milk, coconut water, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and on occasion greens such as mint, spinach, or kale.  We mix it up each time.  We've also been eating a lot of gluten free oatmeal with fresh, frozen, and dried fuits, a squirt of honey, chia seeds, and almond milk.  And on the weekends I try to mix it up a bit with something different if we have time, like a sausage and vegetable hash (I topped mine with quail eggs), a veggie omelet using leftovers, or scrambled egg whites with fresh fruit and a paleo muffin.    We actually made so many smoothies that we killed my old (cheap) blender and decided that since we're going to continue making smoothies for breakfasts from here on out that it was worth investing in a Ninja blender.  We just got it yesterday and had our first Ninja smoothies for breakfast today - it's loud but those were some excellently blended smoothies!  I can't wait to try kale in them!
Pesto Stuffed, Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

Paleo Lamb Empenadas over Salad with Avocado
While we've fallen back on a lot of modified old favorites this month like roasted vegetables, baked chicken, root vegetable beef stew, and broiled spiced salmon, I've also gotten to try out a lot of new recipes and ingredients that I hadn't known of before.  It took forever to find in a local grocery store, but I've been using Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce, palm shortening and ghee (clarified butter fat without milk solids) in place of butter, coconut flour as a thickener, and my new favorite discovery, yucca root as a potato replacement and a DOUGH!  Two of my favorite new recipes are both yucca based, this Yucca con Mojo which was insanely tasty and insanely easy to make, and these Paleo Empenadas, which actually used boiled and blended yucca root to create a dough for the empenadas!  We've also made yucca fries in the past - such a versatile root vegetable!
Broiled Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, Steamed Asparagus, and Mashed "Faux"tatoes
The first week of our detox diet I was recovering from a cold, so all of my new energy went to getting healthy again.  The second week my stomach was a mess and my skin was breaking out everywhere, but that is because this is when the toxins and nasty stuff were finally getting processed out of my body.  Week three I felt like a new woman!  It still amazes me the effects that diet changes like this can have on our bodies.  My digestive system feels so much better, I'm not bloated, and I have a ton of energy.  I'm not craving sugary products any more and I actually feel mostly full between meals (minimized snacking).  And on top of all of this, we've been decreasing our portion sizes too, and still not feeling hungry!  S hasn't felt all of the same benefits I have, but his digestive system isn't as finicky as mine on a regular basis.  But he definitely appreciates that we are minimizing sugar, snacking, and portion sizes. He said next year he probably will go ahead and have that beer with dinner, though.  I know the next obvious question is why wouldn't we just eat like this all the time?  The answer to that is cheese and wine.  I could live without them, but my taste buds love them so much.  Also, the diet puts a slight kink in our social lives since we can't have a drink or go to dinner with friends as easily.  I think we'll stick with a diet like this for the most part when it comes to home cooking, but we're not going to deprive ourselves of the foods we love.  We're just going to eat them in moderation (as we usually do).  If I find my digestive system starts acting up again, I'll frequently institute a mid-year two-week detox diet to set it right again.



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