Happy New Year! Crazy to think that another year has passed and that it's 2013 already. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. J and I had a fantastic trip to Cuba for Christmas, but I'll post about that later in the week...
First I want to share my detox plan for this new year. Let's face it, most of us overindulge during the holidays. A few drinks here, a few extra treats there, food at parties that you don't normally eat. It starts to add up, and we may feel sluggish or irritable, develop pimples, and may even get a cold or get sick - the body's way of coping with an overload. Sweet things seem to be a big part of the equation. Desserts, cookies, sweet drinks, chocolate.... even if it's "healthy" (gluten free, refined sugar free, raw, and/or vegan) it's still sugar - and too much sugar in the body is bad.
So what's the cure when we've had too much? Simply abstain for a while. It's as easy as that. Or is it? For most of us it can be challenging to give up sugar for a while because we're either addicted to it and/or we're so used to having it in our lives. Have you ever gone off all forms of sugar? Was it easy or hard?
As you may know from my other blogs, I've done several sugar free detoxes over the past few years. Since I love sweet things so much it takes a mind adjustment in the beginning but becomes smooth sailing after that. I always feel refreshed, strong, energized, and mentally/physically balanced during and after the cleanse. I also notice that my digestion and metabolism improves greatly. These are the reasons I do it.
Here are some of the posts I've written about my sugar cleanses in the past:
- My two week sugar free diet one Autumn and another post on why I think this works for me.
- My strategy for going off sugar and cacao in this post on Universal Eater.
- The verdict of my sugar cleanse.
- The start of my sugar detox last January.
Starting today, I'm going sugar free for 2 weeks - maybe a little longer, maybe a little shorter. I'll go with the flow.
What exactly does this plan mean? I'll be eliminating almost all forms of sugar from my diet. I say "almost" because this time I've chosen to include some berries and stevia in my daily protein shake. I've gone sugar free with and without the shake before and I've found that it satisfies me in a good way - without it I found myself snacking on too many nuts. This is also a gluten free and grain free plan.
I choose not to think of this as a restriction, but rather as a chance to rebalance in all ways, fill up on nutrient dense foods, and experiment with fun new savory recipes that I otherwise wouldn't make.
What will I eat? (Check out more of the above post links for my sugar free eats in the past)
- wild meat/fish
- plain yogurt
- butter, coconut oil, spices, herbs, apple cider vinegar, himalayan salt
- whey protein powder
- raw (unpasteurized) cheese, feta
I know this may sound limited, but there's so much you can do with these foods - just think about how many vegetables there are to choose from, and spices really make the food fun. Since I'm a creature of habit for the most part, I enjoy many of the same meals every day like my egg/veggie breaky, protein shake, and salads with meat. But this is an opportunity to get creative! I'll be trying new paleo style recipes - I've got a few new cookbooks to try and will report back about the things I make.
Have you gone sugar free? Paleo? Would love to hear your experience and any great websites or cookbook recommendations.
To get started, here's one of my favorite veggie dips that I posted a while back on Universal Eater. It can be made chunky as I have here or can be pureed to be more smooth and creamy. I've made it countless times - it's that good.
Chunky Eggplant Red Pepper Dip
2 eggplants, peeled and diced into 1-2" pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan salt and pepper, to taste
1. Toss the veggies with enough olive oil to coat, and sprinkle with salt/pepper.
2. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
3. Bake in a 375F preheated oven for 20 minutes. Check on the veggies, pushing them around and then bake another 8-10 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.
4. Roughly mash the veggies with a potato masher. Add another drizzle of olive oil.
5. Chill before serving (but I like it warm too).
Cheers to feeling great!
Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesday