Saturday, March 30, 2013

Three Day Juice Cleanse - Spring cleansing

 Howdy yall... this post has been haunting me. I've been trying to finish it for the last week and a half but between the Jewish holidays and finishing up my taxes and dealing with the barrage of hideous noises coming from the construction on my balcony, this post has been continuously tossed onto the back burner. Well today it all ends. I really want to tell you all about my experience on a three day juice cleanse, so here goes...
I've spent the better part of last week starving... I kid I was actually on a juice cleanse and I'm happy
to report while it was challenging, it was very doable.

There are many variations of a juice "fast" or cleanse. I would say that they key to motivating yourself and staying on track is to find the cleanse that works for you. I based mine on one from Dr. Oz with some desperately needed modifications I found after the first day of trying to choke down my "lunch" for almost two hours. I was warned by my best friend before hand that he and his gf had tried the same cleanse and that there were some pretty disgusting "meals" ahead of me.

I was actually advised by someone who shall remain nameless to stay home and take it easy while doing the cleanse, as they experienced extreme explosive diarrhea when doing a similar cleanse and suffered from terrible head aches. I will not confirm or deny said side effects as it really depends on your own body. I will admit to some strangely coloured stool, and a mild pre bed time head ache but it really wasn't as bad as I expected, mind you I'm not addicted to coffee or sugar, which can make your cleanse much more physically challenging.

Some of you are probably asking why a juice cleanse? Well, it's a great way to give your digestive system a break, to help eliminate toxins from your body and restore your immune system. As some of you loyal readers know I've done a bunch of food based cleanses in the past however this is the first time I've done a juice cleanse. Any cleanse takes some effort and a lot of prepping in advance. This cleanse was fairly easy as long as you are diligent about drinking your next "meal" within three hours of the last one.

In the week following the cleanse I ate a vegan, gluten free diet. Its important to start slow so you don't shock the system with eating too much food or foods that are too difficult to digest. As much as I love eating meat I really enjoyed eating a vegan diet. I never felt sick after a meal and had absolutely  no stomach aches - which is something I felt a lot before doing the cleanse.  Since then I have started to incorporate meat a few times a week and dairy in the form of Greek yogurt and goats milk cheeses, but in very small amounts. The only time I've had a stomach ache was Monday night, which was the first night of Passover - I ate a few bites of a matzo ball soup which I'm positive had some sort of bullion powder or cube, since I felt bloated and awful very shortly after eating it. That stuff just kills my stomach and contains MGS which is terrible for you. One of the benefits to doing the cleanse is being able to to reintroduce food slowly so you can have a better understanding of what foods effect you negatively.

Some of the modifications I made were combining juicing with blending, adding/replacing some creamy/fatty fruits, and instead of the additional snack smoothy I made a fresh vegetable/ fruit juice using  fruits and vegetables not listed on the sheet below. I did not work out during the cleanse but in retrospect I could have easily included a work out in the afternoon. You will need a good blender or magic bullet to complete this cleanse, a juicer is a bonus.
TIP: juice your celery, kale stems and cucumber.
TIP: add 1/2 an avocado or banana to your lunch smoothy and heat you coconut oil before blending.
TIP: Replace one of your daily servings of flax seeds with chia seeds.
TIP: snack juice using beets, carrots, apple, ginger etc...

Happy cleansing, Passover & Easter to you all. xo

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Vietnamese salad rolls - Gỏi Cuốn

Oh hello lovely readers. I know I've been absent for a few weeks, but work has been crazy and my free time has been pretty much tied up with trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, going to the gym oh ya and eating a few meals here or there. Yes I'm very dramatic this morning - you love it. Anyway what I've lacked in blogging last month I've certainly made up for with cooking. My callus index finger from where I hold my chefs knife is proof, not to mention the burn marks on my hand from where I sizzled them on the BBQ by accident about a week ago. I'm so glad to finally be able to sit down and write after this crazy month. 

Today I'm going to tell you about a simple Vietnamese dish that takes fresh shredded vegetables and transforms them into a  refreshing tasty salad wrapped up in a rice paper roll. I have to admit I rarely order these in a restaurant because I usually find them extremely boring and bland. Many Vietnamese restos skimp out and fill the rolls with iceberg lettuce and rice paper noodles. Making these at home you can stuff them with whatever you want, shredded chicken, poached shrimp, apples, mango, carrots, peppers you name it.

INGREDIENTS: I'll leave this up to you and your taste buds. This list is to give you some ideas. The only thing to keep in mind is that everything should be finely julienned (shredded).

PREP: Very thinly slice your veg using a sharp chefs knife or a mandolin. Fill a large bowl with warm water for the rice paper rolls. You can make your dipping sauces well in advance I like a chili hoisin sauce or a peanut vinaigrette. I'll post recipes for those sauces at the end of this post. 

1 - Place rice paper in the bowl of warm water until soft (about 30 seconds), pat it dry on a a clean kitchen towel, then flatten out on a cutting board. If you want to make mini rolls like the ones above slice the rice paper into four pieces (like a pizza).
2 - If you are using shrimp slice them in half lengthwise and place them pink side down in the center of the rice paper.
3 - stack your veggies on top of each other in layers for aesthetic purposes or just toss in any of the ingredients you like except for your green herbs ie. mint, cilantro, basil etc...
4 - Fold the sides towards the center, then the bottom.
5 - Place your herbs on top of that bottom folded flap
6 - Roll the top flap over the herbs

CHILI HOISIN SAUCE: Whisk everything together
Combine 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce with 1-2 Tbs of sambal
1/2 tbs minced ginger, and a spritz or splash of orange, lemon or lime juice. 

PEANUT VINAIGRETTE: Whisk everything together adding the water in last until you reach desired consistency
2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 limes, zest and juice
2 tangerines or mandarins, zest & juice
2 tbs honey
1/4 cup light soy sauce or tamari
1 tbs sambal
1 tbs rice wine vinegar 
splash of fish sauce - optional 
drizzle of sesame oil 
1/4 - 1/2 cup of water 

Garnish with chopped toasted peanuts, black sesame and fresh herbs. Enjoy!