Saturday, September 18, 2010


Ever been on a "cleanse?" Any type of cleanse? You know, where you try to clear your body of all the toxic bad stuff that we put into it everyday; kind of like a little holiday for your liver. During my first and second year of teaching, I heard the word "cleanse" every single day. Everyone at my school was obsessed with losing weight and "cleansing." Two teachers in particular, raved about this cleanse program where you have a smoothie made from this super expensive powder for breakfast and lunch, and then eat a prescribed dinner. I have to admit that I was tempted to try. But the idea of the powdered smoothie that had ingredients that I couldn't pronounced really freaked me out, so I passed.

I'm all about putting foods that feel good into my body, so that in turn, my body will feel good. I often am obligated to do so or my body will ultimately reject whatever I put into it. Go figure. Recently, during one of our three-coffee days, my best friend suggested that we try this weekend detox. You didn't have to by an expensive powder, most of the advice was common sense, and you don't do it every day. It looked doable. For 2 days (or however long), you drink lemon water before breakfast and abstain from alcohol, caffeine and sugar while drinking lots of water and exercising. They also suggest giving up red meat, gluten, wheat and dairy. We're taking it a little further by also eliminating all meat, potatoes, excessive sugar (including juice and dried fruit), salt, nuts and fat. We decided that the weekend would be difficult, so we're detoxing this Wednesday and Thursday.

As well giving my liver a break and cleansing my body for two days, I thought it would be a cool way to experiment with different foods and different ways to prepare foods. I've done a little test run by making a breakfast quinoa. I first saw a picture (scroll down till you hit January 26th) of this warm, comforting and satisfying meal over at simply breakfast awhile ago. There was also a link to a Martha Steward recipe that seemed simple enough to follow and adjust to fit the confines of the cleanse. I've had quinoa before, but never cooked into a porridge-like breakfast (or lunch in my case!) dish, so I gave it a shot. You know what? I didn't miss the diary, sugar or gluten one bit. It was still warm and satisfying and creamy but the quinoa held its unique, bubbly chewy texture. I definitely recommend it, even if you're not cleansing!

Next up .. millet ...

Breakfast Quinoa
adapted from Martha Stewart
My recipe makes only one portion -- Martha's, probably at least 2 if not 3.

1/4 cup of quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of soy or almond milk
a splash of vanilla extract (or almond extract or dash of cinnamon)
1/4 of a banana, mashed (chop up the rest and freeze it!)
a handful of fresh or frozen berries (I used strawberries, blueberries and sour cherries)

1. Bring the water and soy/almond milk up to a boil. Add the quinoa and vanilla extract. Cook, covered on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

2. Add bananas and berries. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring, until the porridge thickens.

3. Sit back, snack and let your liver relax.

Oh yeah! More on the coffee tour:

Crema on Dundas: We had cappucinno, soy latte, americano and chocolate biscotti and blueberry almond cookie, all enjoyed on the patio. One more thing ...

Beautiful, old buildings on Dundas St. West ... I wonder what all those books are about ..

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