Vegetable Intervention

Spring is just 2 weeks away now! Lilly is totally feeling it.

20140303-144505.jpg
You know who else is feeling it? EVERYONE! Everywhere I turn people are talking about cleanses. It’s exciting how whole-food cleanses are really getting popular! And because I want to be popular I put a link up to the cleanse I do a couple times a year. I haven’t done it in quite a while but after reading my post it made me want to! It sounds like I was feeling pretty stellar when I wrote it.

I’m seeing a lot of 7 day, 21 day and 30 day cleanses right now and various cleanses with support groups. I think it’s great. Sometimes we need a group supporting us to get through a tough cleanse. But if you don’t want to spend any money you don’t have to! The cleanse I posted is free so enlist a few friends and give it a try!

We have a running joke in our house that I eat so many vegetables we are just waiting for me to turn green. Last night I told my husband I needed to go to the grocery store because I was out of spinach and he gave me a look of genuine concern. Like, what did you do with the giant tub of spinach that was there earlier today? I had used it up making this spinach dip. But he didn’t know that so his expression was priceless.

This is the lunch I’m eating right now. Curried spinach and tofu wrap. (See recipe below)

20140303-145225.jpg
And over the weekend we were drinking green drinks!

20140303-145257.jpg
I’ll post that recipe tomorrow. Such a tease, I know!

My husband and I have gotten totally addicted to Game of Thrones. We’ve been binge watching it for the last 3 weeks and just finished season 3 a couple days ago. We are sad now because we don’t have HBO which means we will have to wait a year before we can watch season 4. In the meantime we will probably start binge watching Breaking Bad. I really didn’t think I would like Game of Thrones because I’m not into medieval shows or beheading but I totally got in to it! Now I walk around calling Lilly “your grace” and “my lady”. Ugh, get a life Laura, hahaha!

Alright, here’s a recipe for that Curried Spinach and Tofu wrap. It’s so easy and delicious!!

Curried Spinach and Tofu Wrap

Ezekiel tortillas
Spinach
Cooked Tofu
Curried Spinach Dip

Slather a hearty helping of spinach dip on the tortilla. Add tofu and heat through. Top with spinach, wrap and enjoy!

I made a batch of everything and brought it all to work with me for the week so I have my lunch for the week DONE! That’s my favorite 🙂
Have a great week!
Laura

Pumped Up Superfood Salad and Cleanse Results

I don’t know what to call this meal! I hate calling it a “salad” because salad implies a certain boring-ness and a ton of lettuce.
This meal is something I created after the cleanse because I felt so good I just wanted to come up with more tasty dishes that would support my health. I needed something I could quickly make and pack for my lunches but it had to meet the following criteria:
1. Be satisfying
2. Be high in protein
3. Be full of veggies
4. Contain good fats
5. Be gluten free
6. Be good as a meal on its own OR spooned over a bed of greens
7. Above all else, be TASTY!

I am really proud because I achieved that!
Thanks to the kale and cucumber I snuck those veggies in and you can hardly tell they’re there! The beans, quinoa and spelt berries make it high in protein, the walnuts add healthy fat and the apple and cranberries make me feel like I’m eating a salad at a 5 star restaurant!

Before I get to the recipe I want to share the end results of my cleanse. After 3 weeks of no sugar, gluten, caffeine, alcohol or animal products I FEEL GREAT!
I have chondromalacia in my knees which causes a constant crackling and popping when I walk up or down stairs or do anything that requires my knees to bend. The crackling is pretty much gone and my knees feel great!
My energy is always good, but I have been waking up earlier and not feeling sleepy in the morning.
And the biggest and best change: my neck is PAIN FREE! I have a chronic neck injury that will always be something I have to live with. But after the cleanse I actually have full range of motion in my neck and it DOES NOT HURT!! This is huge because it has not been pain free in almost a year. Woo hoo!
Since being off the cleanse I really haven’t been craving sweets. Even though I am free to eat whatever I want sweets just don’t sound as good.
I have had a little bit of coffee but there is no way I will go back to consuming as much as I had been prior to the cleanse.

Ok, that was a lot of words. Let’s get to the good stuff.

20120501-211328.jpg

Pumped Up Superfood Salad
(Why pumped up? I don’t know. Im just feeling pumped!)

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups spelt berries (for directions on how to cook these keep reading)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large cucumber, peeled, sliced long ways into quarters then sliced thin
1 green apple, sliced thin into bite sized pieces
1 cup walnuts, broken into pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped kale (about 2-3 stalks, leaves only, no stem)
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons hemp oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a very large mixing bowl combine the kale, onions, lemon juice, oil, garlic, mustard, agave, vinegar and salt. Add in the sliced cucumber, apple & cranberries and stir. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate everything. You are ready to get pumped up!

How to cook quinoa, spelt berries or any other grain. Rinse and drain the grain. In a large saucepan cook the grain in water in a 2:1 ratio. 2 parts water for every 1 cup grain. So, 1 cup dry quinoa in 2 cups water. Grains about double in size when you cook them. So 1 cup dry quinoa will yield about 2 cups cooked. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cook until the water is all absorbed. It can take 20-40 minutes. Or better yet, invest in a rice cooker ($20). Any grain can be cooked in a rice cooker and it just makes life SO easy! Spelt berries however must be soaked for about 8 hours prior to cooking. I know, that requires some planning ahead. Just soak them the night before you plan on cooking them. I always make a ton of grains at once and freeze the leftovers in 1.5-2 cup pre-measured baggies. It makes cooking so fast!

The 3 Week Cleanse

Today I am finishing up my second week out of my 3 week long cleanse and I feel GREAT!
My cleanse does not involve cayenne pepper or lemon juice or any pills. It is a purely plant based food cleanse designed to remove inflammation from the body and get it running smoothly again.

Why am I doing this?
I have a couple nagging injuries that just refuse to go away. My ankle has been hurting for at least 2 months now and I suffer from chronic neck pain. Inflammation is the culprit for both these injuries. Taking 3 weeks to let the body heal and re-set is good to do 2-4 times a year, particularly when the seasons change.

What is the cleanse?
I have talked about it on here a couple times before, it is from the book Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston. In her book she writes about how making changes to our diet and life will some day result in a “Quantum Leap”, and you won’t know when that will happen or what it will be. I first did this cleanse 4 years ago and sitting here today I know I have made my leap. My life is profoundly different than it was 4 years ago. I absolutely love my life and it all started with this little 3 week challenge. I set out just to do this to test my toughness and ended up changing my life.
The Cleanse:
No sugar
No caffeine
No alcohol
No gluten (including oatmeal)
No dairy or anything containing casein
No meat
No animal products of any kind (including eggs, butter etc)
No foods that contain any of the above ingredients

Is that tough to do? YES! Especially the first time I did it!

The past two weeks I have been living off my Green Smoothies for Breakfast, Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta for lunch, Hummus and carrots for a snack and my Avocado, Strawberry Quinoa salad for dinner. So I’m hardly suffering!

Giving up caffeine and sugar all together is really hard. Every day I have to turn down a brownie or cake or some yummy treat. It’s tough, but after 2 weeks I am feeling really great!
I have been waking up before my alarm and my neck is starting to feel better. My body just feels happier overall and the longer I keep it up the easier it is to turn sweets down. Coffee on the other hand, I can’t wait to get back to enjoying 🙂

So what do you think? Does this sound like a fun challenge? What’s the worst thing that could happen? You could start to feel really great and have more energy?