My Favorite Cleanse Foods

 quinoa with shrimp | the reluctant cook

In 2014 I participated in two cleanses hosted by Persephone Brown, one in the spring, one in the autumn. At the time we lived in England, in a charming cottage in Berkshire, just outside of Windsor. For the first time in decades I did not have a job. My husband was earning enough to support us and we decided that I could take some time out following yet another international relocation. It definitely helped that I had more time to prepare nutritious meals and I cooked quite a lot that spring and summer. I also started cycling on my beloved but heavy Dutch-style bike with the basket, along the Thames tow path, around Richmond Park, a cycling weekend in the New Forrest. I loved that so much and after a few months of regular exercise, eating well and watching my portions I lost 25 lbs and while I was still heavy at more than 200 lbs I felt so much more energetic and good in my body. 

Three years later I weigh a lot more than I ever did in England and when I decided to pull the emergency breaks on my slow but sure decline into gluttony and severe obesity (strong words, I know, but they describe the situation quite accurately) I gave a lot of consideration as to how I would do that. Calorie counting worked really well for me in 2015 when I looked at it as a tool rather than a restrictive plan. Alas, something in me no longer can bear the thought of measuring and counting every morsel I put into my mouth, I just don’t see this as a long-term solution. I kept thinking of 2014 when I was learning to listen to my body and using my knowledge of foods and nutrition to get on a healthier path. What happened to all of that, you may ask? Well, first I got a new full-time job in the autumn of 2014, which made it harder again to prepare healthy meals as I was so tired and stressed all the time. Then we decided to have a radical rethink and quit our jobs and moved to our dream location in the Pacific Northwest! An amazing adventure but also another huge disruption and all my good habits and intentions flew out the window.

Out of all the weight loss programs I’ve tried over the last four decades that summer in 2014 comes closest to how I envisage my life going forward. Listening to my body was a big part of that, as well as having a fresh veggie box delivered every week. But the biggest contributor to my success was COOKING! I am not a bad cook actually, but there is a lot of room for improvement, a lot that I can still learn. One of the things I feel strongly about is that I am not too keen on recipes. I love looking at them online or in cook books but I prefer to cook without recipes. Yet I am not fluent at that at all, most of my cooking relies on the same foods and quite a bit of fat in the form of butter or olive oil (anything fried is pretty good, right?). I could definitely benefit from more diversity and learning to cook a bit leaner. Which is why I am so looking forward to starting Darya’s Foodist Kitchen course. Which I purchased in late 2015! And never completed because my mom passed away shortly after. But I still have access to this course, I printed out all the PDF’s and am ready to go once my cleanse is finished later this week.

Which brings me to my current cleanse. It is loosely based on what I learned from Persephone and you can download my overview of it here.

Cleanse Guidelines:

  • No refined sugar
  • No wheat
  • No red meat, no chicken
  • No alcohol
  • 1 liter of water every day
  • 1 liter of diluted cranberry juice every day
  • Herbal teas
  • Lots of veggies, fruit and nuts, fresh herbs
  • I also allow fish, eggs and a bit of feta and parmesan cheese

Foods I enjoy on my cleanse:

  • Green smoothies for breakfast
  • Quinoa and rice bowls with assorted veggies, avocado, eggs or shrimp
  • Miso soup (I love South River Sweet White) with veggies and shrimp
  • Fried or poached eggs over quinoa with a side of avocado
  • Roasted root vegetables (great for leftovers) with oven baked salmon
  • Sautéed kale or other greens with quinoa and a fried egg
  • Thom Kha soup from Persephone’s recipes, so delicious
  • Green salad with veggies, feta cheese and walnuts or toasted pine nuts
  • Fruit salad with nuts and toasted almond slivers
  • Steamed sweet potato with coconut oil, blueberries and toasted almond slivers
  • Snacks: boiled eggs, handful of nuts & raisons, apple with almond butter
  • Treat: Deliciously Ella’s energy balls! I make them without the Baobab (too fruity for my liking) and also add hazelnuts, yum!

When I get myself organized enough I will also start sharing recipes, this part of blogging is still very new to me! In the meantime I hope you enjoy my pictures of some of these meals! 

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