Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I’ve been wanting to talk a little bit about my cleanse experience here for a while, so even though I am far, far away in London and basically doing the opposite of a cleanse, I’m sharing some thoughts on what it means to give up the sweeter thing in life. First off, I do seriously heart wine and cocktails and, contrary to popular belief, beer too! That’s part of the reason I started this blog, coupled with my deep love affair with veggie food. However, it was really refreshing to socialize sans the alcohol for three weeks. My boyfriend and I threw parties, went to social events and even bars and felt totally fine sipping tonic water with a lime wedge (note, this is a great drink for a night off the booze, since no one will offer to get you a drink if you already have something that looks like a drink in hand, plus it’s yummy). So, lesson learned, it’s possible and even pleasant to go out to events involving alcohol and abstain.

The second lesson I learned was much, much more difficult but well worth it. That’s right, my other great love, caffeine! For some it may be completely difficult to believe, but I gave up coffee, tea and soda for the full three weeks (OK, had a little white tea to curtail the massive headache that came upon me the second night). Cleansing my body of caffeine was an intense experience. The second night, I felt that my head was caving in and was oddly emotional (I was nearly in tears when my boyfriend offered to get me tea and tried to take care of me). After my evening from hell, it wasn’t so difficult and I found myself able to get up and about without my usual caffeine boost. It felt nice to actually detox my body of these chemicals that I had been so dependent upon. It’s also allowed me to drop my usual intake down to a small pot of chai or a single latte per day (down from a double latte plus soda or tea). It was like pressing the reset button on my body.

The last difficult task was eliminating refined carbs from my diet (the rest was cake, no pun intended, since I clearly have experience eating vegan food). I have a hardcore addiction to baguettes, udon noodles, capellini, white jasmine rice, brown sugar and so many other refined carbs, and I had to let them go. It’s not so difficult to replace rices and pastas at home, but going out became a challenge. Luckily there are a few places in SF that offer brown rice and whole wheat bread. I found myself visiting Gracias Madre and Herbivore more than once. While I will never fully give up an occasional sour baguette with earth balance and hummus slathered on it, this definitely showed me I could go for long stretches without them.

In case you’re wondering what sorts of things I ate, here are some of the yummy foods I made at home. Most are foods I’ve already mentioned here with whole grains substituted for any refined grains.

Here is some miso soup I made with brown rice miso base. It’s a little more pungent than the white miso, but still palatable.
Next some delicious curry I made for a game night we had during the cleanse. I used cabbage (Farm Fresh to you had been sending us an ungodly amount) and peas, but the recipe is the same as my former post.

This is sort of an impromptu peanut noodle dish. I bought the ginger people peanut sauce (yum!) and sautéed some veggies (of course including cabbage) in it, then served it over soba noodles.

This is a big stand by in our apartment, Pho! Here it is in the pot with our mulled wine ball (used for the pho spices instead). We basically threw in any veggies we had on hand (yes, more cabbage) and cooked in the lovely pho spices, then ladle it over brown rice udon noodles.

I loosely based this spicy tomato and leek pasta on a recipe from gourmet, but I changed around some stuff. It’s basically sautéed up leeks with chili peppers and garlic and then some chard thrown in for good measure. The pasta is brown rice macaroni. By the way, one thing about whole grain pasta is it has a very short window of time where it’s cooked right. You have to somehow be ready for it or you end up with hard or mushy pasta!

Lastly, here’s a shot of my chickeny noodle soup. I love this stuff, and it’s cleanse friendly as long as you use a whole grain noodle.

Stay tuned for my adventures in London food. Instead of my usual home cooking posts, I’ll probably focus more on the fun vegan products they have here and restos I visit, since my kitchen isn’t quite as well set up here.

No comments: