Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Detox Food Round-up

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first detox edition of the Friday food round-up! As most of you know, Daiku and I have decided to welcome 2007 by following Alex Jamieson's "Great American Detox Diet" to cleanse our bodies from both everyday and holiday overindulgence.

A little bit of background-- you might be asking, if I am vegan and Daiku is mostly vegan, what is there to detox from? I found that I was relying too much on refined foods (such as white bread and pasta). Daiku has a serious coffee habit, and doesn't feel right unless he drinks several cups a day. Both of us have sugar issues- I love baking various fun desserts, and both of us regularly indulge in sweets cravings (think ice cream, cupcakes, muffins, dark chocolate, granola, etc.)

Therefore, we thought that this detox would make us more conscious of our eating habits and their effects on our bodies and moods. We also both liked this specific detox because it is not radical at all. Jamieson's book talks about the nutritious benefits of unrefined, whole foods, but there is no starvation, no eating plan, no fasts, no liquid days, no weird supplements or schedules. This is something that we can not only do for a few days or weeks, but can continue to incorporate into our lives.

We have decided that because we are not detoxing from fast food or animal products (as for example Jamieson's partner Morgan Spurlock was at the end of the film "Supersize Me"!), that we will follow this plan strictly for 6 weeks instead of 8. Now I will show you some of the meals we have had this past week. You will find that the meals are a little bit repetitive, but that is not due to the diet so much as the fact that we have yet to do serious grocery shopping since getting back from vacation! Hence, the reliance on frozen and pantry foods.

The day after new year's day, we slapped our forheads after we realized that, d'oh! We'd forgotten to eat the traditional black-eyed peas for good luck on January 1st! We hope that these January 2nd black-eyed peas will make up for it.

We cooked these peas, along with some frozen mustard greens, onions, and diced tomatoes in our favorite detox find, unrefined coconut oil. I'd never cooked with this oil before, but am glad I discovered it because in addition to all its anti-inflammatory and health properties, it makes food taste great. Even though it smells very coconutty on first glance, the food you cook in it does not really taste like coconut. If you are freaked out by coconut oil because it is a saturated fat, don't worry, because plant-derived saturated fats (in the context of a healthy, plant-based diet) are not nearly as harmful as animal-derived saturated fats.

We had the peas mixture over brown Basmati rice cooked with saffron. I used saffron to cook the rice, because we discovered that the veggie broth powder that we use has maltodextrin in it (a sweetener) and the detox advises against refined or chemical sweeteners.

I can not tell you how delicious this was.

One thing about following this detox is how hungry we have been for the last few days! This is a reflection of how much we had depended on snacks and junk food previously. Without snacks between meals (due also to our empty kitchen), we both really feel it when it is time to eat! Here's a lunch salad we made. A mixture of: whole wheat couscous, cannelini beans, shredded organic carrot, organic sunflower seeds, onions, and organic currants, dressed with flax oil, vinegar, and heaps of dried mint, garnished with basil. This salad was inhaled in a few minutes!

Here is a typical detox breakfast: organic steel-cut oats topped with unsweetened soymilk and a mixture of maple nuts and currants. Daiku had made these nuts the night before when he really wanted a sweet snack: he had taken raw pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds, and toasted them with maple syrup and cinnamon. I learned from the book that maple syrup is a great natural sweetener that is low in sucrose (as opposed to white sugar which is almost 100% sucrose.) However, watch out! Maple sugar or crystals is considered a refined product that is also nearly 100% sucrose. Therefore, your body would react to it in the same way as it would to regular table sugar.

Daiku and I gave ourselves a new cast-iron grill pan (flat on one side, ridges on the other) as our Christmas gift. Here it was being used for the first time to make some grilled tofu rubbed with homemade jerk seasoning, organic shoyu, and lime juice. Look at those grill marks- so exciting!!

The tofu was served on a bed of mustard greens cooked with onions and some lentils that were cooked and then sauteed with some caramelized onions (again, cooked in coconut oil.) This was such a satisfying meal for both of us.

Here are some spices (yellow mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cardamom, turmeric, and freshly grated nutmeg). These, along with some bay leaves gave the explosive flavor for our...

...potato and okra curry stew. Potatoes, frozen okra, tomatoes, carrots, and onions went into the stew, which we served with Hawaiian Wehani rice (a textured, chewy, and delicious whole-grain rice variety).

Finally, tonight's dinner, which we call "Burrito Pasta Salad." We mixed together: whole wheat penne pasta, black beans, garbanzo beans, frozen corn, shredded carrot, onion, and some spaghetti squash that we had cooked and frozen a few weeks ago. We also mixed in some frozen cilantro, salsa, chopped olives, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes and topped with fresh lime juice, flax oil, and julienned basil. This salad was hard to resist, it was just like a burrito in a bowl, although both of us wished we had some avocado to put in there!

So what has the first week of detox been like?

I gave up caffeine totally, since my black and green tea intake was not that high. However, Daiku has been gradually lowering his coffee intake, as the book suggested. As Jamieson notes, for someone who is used to large amounts of caffeine, going cold-turkey would be unneccessarily painful. Still, both of us went through a few days of unusual irritability, which we attribute to the detox. I also had a low-grade headache for a couple of days and felt that I was coming down with a head cold. These symptoms are also passing. Daiku and I have also noticed how much more we appreciate the taste of food even after such a short time. This evening, we were desperately searching the house for a sweet, detox-friendly snack, and found a bag of unsweetened dried fruit. As I bit into a prune, it tasted like the world'd most beautiful thing. Ultimately, this is what the detox is giving us: a renewed appreciation for the taste of real food. It has also forced us to put a variety of ingredients into use: instead of just olive oil all the time, we are using more coconut oil, flax oil, and walnut oil (All expeller- or cold-pressed, of course). Instead of just bread, rice, and pasta, we are using couscous, oats, buckwheat, and barley. That variety is a good thing.

Another update next week! By then, I hope to have cooked some of the recipes provided in the book (such as scones!) I look forward to hearing any comments, suggestions, or questions you guys might have.

Have a great weekend!



springsandwells said...

I really love this post. I am so interested in this idea of a detox diet. I have a pretty detoxed diet to start with - no alcohol or caffeine, very little refined flour, not too much sugar. But lately I've been eating a bit more sugar (with the holidays and all), and I do have some "naughty" baking planned for this weekend. :) Also, I do use lightly sweetened soymilk. So, I love seeing all the things you two are eating and I think they all look SO GOOD! Yum! The oatmeal looks great. So does the tofu & greens. Your grill pan is awesome.

In a couple of weeks, Musty is going away for 3 days, & I think I'll do some sort of detox diet while he's away. :) Can't wait to see what else comes along.


Carrie™ said...

Bazu, I can't wait to hear more about this diet. I've read about this book (some love it, some don't) but it sounds very flexible. My naturopath had me on an anti-inflammatory diet for a couple of weeks and it was quite restrictive. This sounds like something that is fairly easy to follow once you get past the coffee and convenience foods. That is so much our household right now. It makes me feel really icky!

Kati said...

Wow - your food looks wonderful! It really makes me want to reread this book (when I read it previously, I was eating 100% raw, not really making it possible to use the recipes she provides). Your grill pan is so cool, too - a taste of the summer in January!

Hey, and thanks for the heads up about the maple sugar. I used it in all my holiday baking since giving up cane sugar, and I can testify that it does react in your body the same way cane sugar would. The ups and downs - yikes!

Have a good week - I'm looking forward to next Friday's roundup.

Urban Vegan said...

I have that book and love it, even though I don't follow it 100%. [I am not sure I follow anything 100%!]. She really does raise great awareness of all the potential toxins in our lives--and not just the ones from food. I think Alex had a baby last month!

Yes, even vegans need detox. I'm thinking of sugar, alcohol, stress, envoronmental toxins, etc. Ugh. Our bodies need all the help they can get.

*SIGH* This makes me realize how sugared out I've been over the past 2 months.

Congrats on your efforts and brava for your yummy documentation.

Pixie said...

Interesting, I just finished re-watching Supersize Me twice this week on TV (I'm a big time night owl), so it's very interesting here's the subject of the detoxing. I'm not disciplined enough to do any kind of detoxing. But I do think it's amazing that you're taking charge and going for it. I'm interested to hear your progress and thanks for sharing. And yeah, I have to say that stew looks ultra yummy.

Jennifer said...

good luck on your detox! I love to clean my system & get all the crud out. A couple of things I use are unsweetened cranberry juice deluted with water. I also use green tea extract, just mix it with water & it's 15 cups of tea - and no caffeine! All the great health benefits of green tea without added caffeine. It's great for any detox or weight loss program. I use a brand from

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing your first week on the detox, Bazu! Your food looks lovely. :-) The only recipe I photographed from my Chef Alex detox was the calzones. I was so proud to have successfully made them (my first attempt). I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one to get headaches during the first few days of the detox, but isn't it cool how they just disappear after your body gets used to it? I can't wait to find out how you like the scones. It was my absolute favorite recipe and so easily modified w/ different citrus and dried fruits. I'll be checking back in on your progress!

Dori said...

Bazu, Ihave read your post thouroughly and want to congartualte you on week one. I am VERY interested in this book and diet, but it scares me a bit to see the flu symptoms and headachey stuff... i'd have to seriously consider the timing of trying something like this. Yet the food looks great. I will be e'ing soon to respond to your ?.

Dori said...

congartualte, translated = congratulate

I really need to have a spell check for the comment box. :)

Anonymous said...

The food you've been eating looks delicious. I am going to go right now and see if my library has this book (although probably not because they never have ANYTHING I want to read). Wowweee, was that whiny or what?

Village Mama said...

any detox that involves jerk tofu and coconut oil is music to my ears - those pictures prove that healthy is beautiful!

You mentioned irritability, I've been that for some time due to parenting stress, I've turned to daily cocktails of Bach flower Remedies, Bach rescue remedy spray and cream, and just tonight started with Boiron Silicea 6 pellets.

Look forward to more educational/inspiring updates.

Paulie said...

Hehe, I'm on a detox too - No alcohol or cigarettes! I gave up caffeine months ago now and I've gotta say it's the way forwards. I start the day with half a lemon in a cup of hot water, drink herbal tea in the middle, then end it with root ginger, lemon and honey in hot water. It's so good for ya!


runswithdog said...

Great information. I will have to see if the library has that book. I haven't read much about detoxing and had some image in my mind of drinking lots of lukewarm water with lemon juice. Who knows why? LOL Anyways, your food looks great (as always)! If that is detox food, maybe I can handle a detox diet! LOL

aTxVegn said...

What a great post, Bazu! It doesn't seem like diet food at all. I just watched "Supersize Me" for the first time last week and felt Alex's pain as she watched her husband get fat and sick. I am so sugared out right now and having a hard time cutting back, so thanks for your inspiration.

- Diann

Judy said...

I guess the New Year has inspired a lot of us to detox! Yours sounds quite different than mine, and to be honest, a little easier! Everything you made looks awesome, especially the couscous salad and the burrito salad.

Isn't it fun re-learning to appreciate food? My bf and I have found that when we detox, we also appreciate the most simple, and yet totally delicious foods. That says a lot about what we normally put into our bodies and the effect it has on our taste buds.

Good luck!

Village Mama said...

do you want my 'secret' recipe for clementine quinoa cake?

Anonymous said...

that look s like such a healthy detox. You get to eat all sorts of amazing things! good luck with it.

KathyF said...

What are the cooking properties of coconut oil? Can you heat it over high heat? I bet it is very nourishing for the skin!

I tried something similar to that diet once, and I too was hungry all the time, without the usual hunger staving cookies!

wheresmymind said...

We forgot the BEP's as well..*doh*

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

You guys rock! Way to go on the detox...and even your pantry food looks great.

So, I guess I never knew about eating black eyed peas for good luck on Jan. 1st. Too bad because I like them a lot and totally would have made a dish with them. Oh well - next year, right?!?


Emmy said...

Thanks for the heads up about unrefined coconut oil. I've heard of it but never tried it. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. All of your detox foods looks great and very yummy!!!

Congrats on the new cast-iron grill pan. The grilled tofu looks awesome. Rob would love that Burrito Pasta Salad.

Candi said...

Congrats on the detoxing! I feel not-so-great from all the holiday carbs and could totally use a detox like yours. The foods you show are SO yummy, it's hard to believe that is a detoxing diet!! Lol! I'd love it. I have to get a copy of the book now. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

this detox sound truly's hard to believe that is a detoxing diet :)