Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 6 & 7 of QW Cleanse: What's for dinner?

The most common question I've been getting, except why I am doing this, is about the food. What do I actually eat now that I'm not eating animal products, gluten or sugar?
I'll start by debunking the myth which I've heard a lot since I started the Cleanse. That is, people seem to think that the only protein available to vegans is tofu. Oh, I bought tofu at the grocery store on day 1. But the truth is I'm utterly intimidated, make that irrationally terrified of the idea of cooking (and eating) it. So it's still sitting in my fridge. Maybe tomorrow... Read: cry for help.

One of my fave finds is this Smooth Operator peanut butter. Yum! I'm usually a Skippy gal but even the "Natural Skippy" has sugar in it. This one by Peanut Butter & Co. is smooth and creamy. It tastes so good even my kids can't tell the difference.
I've also been enjoying a lot of quinoa ( pronounced "keen-wah"). Quinoa is supposed to be a perfect protein whatever that means. I just know it's super easy to make and tastes good. Good "mouth feel" (texture) as well. I've been mixing it with beans, lots of different veggies and varied seasonings.
In general, I can eat any fruit or vegetable so lots of options there. It's actually been fun trying different combinations of things in different preparations. I'm like a mad veggie scientist -- bawahaha!
Did you know that artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and many other vegetables have a decent amount of protein? I seriously had no idea so this has been a huge revelation for me!
The other night I tried gluten free pasta which was a nice treat. Pre-cleanse, I only ate Barilla Plus pasta, and not very often. The gluten-free version tastes just like regular pasta to me. Unfortunately I didn't have the cooking time exactly right so it was slightly overdone texturally. For the sauce, I made my own using canned tomato sauce (naural, nothing added) and a bunch of spices.
I mentioned the hummus and organic, gluten-free crackers in a previous post - double YUM.
For butter, I'm just using the vegan version of my usual SmartBalance. It tastes like butter to me!
Since I'm accustomed to having a meal bar in the morning, I've been trying different flavors of the Larabar. They are all pretty good but the texture takes some getting used to. Slightly mushy. Good news is they are gluten-free, vegan and have no added sweeteners. My kids' babysitter also recommended some of the Kind Fruit & Nut bars; label reading required.
I've also been eating rice, rice noodles and brown rice bread. Rice noodles ROCK and have always been a favorite food of mine. The rice bread is "meh." With peanut butter or hummus on it, it's fine. But definitely not the same as wheat-based bread.
I could drink decaf coffee but I simply can't tolerate my coffee black. Since I haven't found an acceptable substitute for milk, I've just been drinking herbal tea. It's honestly not as satisfying, but it's okay. Also, some teas seem to make me nauseous so I have to be a bit careful.
Although the Quantum Wellness Cleanse is billed as a "weight loss program" by some, I've been slightly worried about all the carbs I've been eating and if I might actually gain weight. I also haven't really been thinking about portion control. So much to keep track of already! I started out being okay with whatever the scale says and I have a different set of goals in general. So, I just put those concerns in the "it is what it is" pile.
Yet here I am at the end of week one and I've actually (drum roll please) lost three pounds (1.36 kg)! Pretty cool, right? I've tried a lot harder to lose a lot less before.
Can I keep this up for two more weeks? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....
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ME Sheehy said...

Of course you can. You're Charlene! I just read through all of your recent posts and am so excited for you about what you are doing.

I've done a similar cleanse 3x and plan to do it again in Oct. Mine was a program lead by a local nutritionist affiliated with our health food store. We 'gave up' alcohol, caffeine, sugar, wheat, dairy (the hardest for me) and all processed food (no crackers, bread, pasta, cereal etc.) Which essentially meant I ate fruit, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. (In other words, I ate what I've been told for years we're supposed to eat!) I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt and how well I was able to incorporate some of my new habits into my life once the cleanse was over. Of course my diligence waned over time which is why I have made this an annual practice and each additional time I've done it, I've made more lasting changes. You'll be motivated to stick with the changes by how good you feel once you are over the initial hump. So keep it up, girl!

Here are a couple suggestions I wanted to share with you:

1/ Initially, eating a lot of whole grains were sort of tough for me since they were not part of my regular diet. I often ate org. plain oatmeal with fruit but I also learned to treat oatmeal as I would other grains (with tamari soy sauce, or salt and pepper, beans, veggies, etc.) all of which was surprisingly good. And I ate brown rice or quinoa, too, as another version of a hot cereal-type breakfast. I made a delicious mushroom and barley soup, too, but that was a far as I have ever gotten with grains.

2/ Assuming part of your goal is to remove toxins, you'll want to eat a lot of cruciferous veggies which are very supportive of your digestive system. And these are dense, almost meaty veggies that are satisfying especially if you aren't eating more filling meat (or bread at was the case for me). These include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, all cabbages, etc. I roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts and beets, all separately, tossed with EVOO and sea salt (full of impt trace minerals). All were delicious either hot or cold and were my lunch staples.

3/ Again, if part of your goal is to remove toxins and therefore you need to provide extra support to your digestive track, check out cultured veggies which are loaded with live, good bacteria which is great for a healthy gut. You'll find pickles, sour kraut, kimchee, as well as a number of veggies that are pickled "the old fashioned way" to encourage the growth of the good bacteria. One brand that I like is "Real Pickles" but there should be a number of choices at your health food store.

4/ Lastly, not to be discouraging, but be careful of the meat-substitute and dairy-substitute foods many of which are highly processed and full of 'faux-food' ingredients otherwise you are just swapping one unhealthy food for another.

5/ I drank gallons of green tea - hot and cold - and replaced my nightime wine ritual with a hot green tea ritual. There are a number of 'cleansing teas' by YOGI brand which are good especially the peach de-tox tea. When I really wanted a alcohol-like treat, I drank KOMBUCHA. I highly recommend it if you haven't tried it. Its a fermented drink (again lots of good gut flora) which has a slightly yeasty taste like beer. It comes flavored with fruit juices and / or ginger or you can mix your own. Its great when you are socializing with drinkers since its fizzy and meant to be sipped. I love it and still drink it almost daily mixed with cran or pom juice and seltzer. Be careful, its got a bit of a kick to it!

HAVE FUN! I am so inspired, I am thinking about starting my next cleanse sooner than October...

Anonymous said...

You should definately be Opra's new spokes-person on strategies of wellness and happiness.
I get excited each day to see your progress and have oppurtunity to be inspired and have the courage to change my lifestyle. Lisa M.

Angela said...

Here's a couple of tofu recipes that might be up your alley (note that to get the spongey texture like in pad thai, you need to freeze the tofu and then defrost it):

Tofu and Vegetables with Lower-Fat Peanut Sauce: (substitute agave syrup with honey)

Thai Coconut Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms:

Thai-Style Basil Tofu and Asparagus:

Light version of Goddess dressing (so good!):

Chocolate Dream Pie (mousse):

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