Sunday, January 6, 2013

Taming the Sugar Craving

Well, it's back to work. I've had a glorious two weeks off: lots of coffee, lots of chocolate, lots of sleep, lots of runs and hikes and workouts, lots of brunches and giggles and coffee talks and catching up and even an awesome waffle party (!!), lots of Christmas cookies and baking, lots of time to clear my mind. It's back to the routine tomorrow, back to waking up at 4:50am, back to the blur of the classroom and exhaustion that follows. Except I won't have that stack of Christmas cookies to give me a sugar rush around 3pm, right when I need it. But it's January, the month of detoxes and juice diets and so forth.

Do you go for that? I've tried cleansing a couple times, and while I honestly felt detoxed after, I was generally lacking energy, something that can't happen in January, not with report cards due in just three short weeks. I don't know about you, but I still need that sugar fix. Is that wrong? Yeah, well, maybe a little, but I made a solution today: a beautiful, healthy, cleansing solution that doesn't involve juice diets or anything like that. I made this beautiful, fruity salad. I couldn't resist the insanely good deal on pineapple and strawberries at the supermarket, but I think this salad would work just as well with more seasonal fruit -- like blood oranges, crisp apples, grapefruit, and pomegranate. The base of this salad is red quinoa, a nice gluten-free super food to amp you up, grated carrots and parsley. Don't skip the parsley! Aside from it's detoxing qualities, just a little adds a beautiful green, almost citrusy freshness.

Because of all the beautiful fresh fruit in this salad, there's no need for a dressing, besides a nice big squeeze of lemon. If you're not feeling the quinoa love just yet, you might want to try brown rice or millet in your base. If you want some crunch and extra protein, a sprinkling of nuts or pumpkin seeds would be lovely as well. And, if you serve this over some baby spinach or massaged kale, you've got a salad that's definitely a detox and a sugar kick.

Don't sweat it if you're not psyched for a January juice cleanse. Eat your cleanse instead. Happy salad!

Sugar Kick Cleanse Salad
inspired by the Tropical Fruit Salad in Quinoa: the everyday superfood, by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming

For the Salad Base:
1/2 cup of red quinoa, rinsed well
1 cup of water
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
juice of half a lemon

In my salad, I added:
half a small pineapple, chopped into small chunks
2 tangerine oranges, peeled and segmented
1 cup of chopped strawberries
1 small mango, chopped into small chunks

1. Put the quinoa and water in a small pot and bring it up to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the water. Cool and set aside.

2. Place the cooled quinoa, grated carrots, fruit add-ins and parsley in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

3. Enjoy! I plan on eating my salad for lunch over baby spinach. It would also be lovely in the morning with an added dollop of yogurt.

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