Get Clean

Since it's awfully un-summer looking today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite summer recipes to make up for it.  A few summers ago, my cousin went on a "detox" based on this book called Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself.  I thought she was kind of crazy.  But then my mom started reading the book and she "ate" up every word of it.  So I tried it.  The easiest way I can think of to describe it is that it's basically like being a vegan, except you can have lean protein for your "solid" meal of the day (the other two meals are liquid diets - soup or smoothies).  (It also reminds me a lot of the 28-day Whole Foods Eat Right Challenge - details here.)  

Let me tell you, some of the food was delicious in it's simplicity.  I still make some of the recipes.  But, I was dying without bread and cheese. Dy-ing.  I was fine with having a smoothie for breakfast and soup for lunch.  But you weren't supposed to heat the soup up - which, who's a fan of cold soup? I know I'm not - the warmth is 90% of the appeal - and how can you eat soup without a hunk (ok fine, at least a small hunk) of chewy crusty bread to sop up the remains in the bowl?  I mean come on.  I know the guy who wrote the book/diet is a doctor and knows what he's talking about, but I need my carbs man!  Anyways, I'm glad I tried it, but I couldn't do it forever.  (I think the book recommends doing the 2-4 week "cleanse" around 4 times a year - but I just work some of the recipes into my usual diet, cuz that's how I roll people.)

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the program that I made this morning in an attempt to make my apartment feel more summery despite the dreary weather.  And I also felt like creating a ton of dishes for myself.  Win win!  (kidding)

Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Mixed Greens
I make this a lot, but I tend to improvise on some of the ingredients (i.e. I make it sans chicken, with carrots and celery, with craisins instead of currants, and omit the agave since you don't need it with the sweetness of the craisins,  no mint or parsley cuz I rarely have those fresh on hand - I used dried basil instead, and I sometimes add a little garlic in place of the scallions for a little extra kick.  Feel free to do your own improvising based on what you have handy!)
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
2 (4-ounce) chicken breasts, grilled or steamed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup scallions, cut thinly diagonally
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup lime
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups salad greens tossed with 2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Steam chicken breast: cook it in 1/2-inch boiling water in a covered pan for 6 minutes
2. Put all ingredients except chicken and salad greens in a bowl, and toss together with quinoa, adjust seasoning to taste.
3. Mound half this quinoa salad on each plate.
4. Make a bed of salad greens next to quinoa and place the sliced chicken on top.

Blueberry, Carob, and Almond Milk Smoothie
(again, I fudged it a little - used frozen raspberries (no need for ice) and soy milk instead of almond milk because I didn't have enough almonds to make the milk - and I used a teeny weeny bit of raw honey instead of agave since I didn't have any in-house.)
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 to 2 teaspoons agave syrup
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder, carob powder, or cocoa
1/2 cup ice

1. Blend together until smooth.

Mango and Coconut Milk Smootie
(again - I didn't have any dried coconut so I didn't make coconut milk, but it's still just as good with regular soy milk! Note: Trader Joe's has a great selection of frozen mango and pineapple chunks that are perfect for this!)
1 cup mango chunks
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 to 2 teaspoons agave syrup
1/2 cup ice

1. Blend together until smooth.


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