Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Time to Detox: < Lent's > get Healthy!

 Since the beginning of the year, I've been on a mission to lead a healthier lifestyle.  At work, we've formed a support group called 'The Healthclub'-- meeting weekly to discuss our progress, setbacks, and any pointers or tips to encourage each other to live healthfully.  We even do a 5 minute arm-toning Zumba session (complete with jazzy salsa music) in our warehouse!!  I started to eat a bit better and made it a point to walk at least 45 minutes a day.  Finally I could wiggle back into some skinny jeans that I threw to the back of the closet before the holidays!

My health regimen took a U-turn last week, though.  A U-turn that actually took the form of an 'O' called a King Cake.  It was Mardi Gras, and I was determined to redeem myself from a King Cake Fail...see link.  I think my 2nd attempt turned out quite nicely (and even healthier with the fruit topping):

And this time, I made it without a mix and from complete scratch!!

 And whaddya know, Valentines Day also fell during the same week as Fat Tuesday.  So the party never quite ended....and my healthy ways went to the wayside.  And that was ok with me- sometimes you gotta taste a little dirt, I mean cake & chocolates, to really want to go after the prize!

What's that?  A prize you say!?  Well, yes, as part of the incentive to stick with our 'Health Club' meetings at work, there will be a $100 prize given away to the person who has shown the greatest improvement.

So, with that carrot dangling in front of me, I needed to whip it (good) and into gear!

Over the weekend, I wandered into Barnes & Noble with my man Jimmy (he's a book nerd), and while he was off getting lost in the History section, I headed over to the Bargain section.  You never know what kind of books you'll find there.  I came across The 28 Day Plan by Christine Green.  $6.  Small enough to stuff in your purse, chockfull of all sorts of health & wellness tips, and featuring 6 different health plans that you complete in 28 days each...I was sold.  The first health plan I stumbled upon was the Detox plan.  I was immediately drawn to this one.  I felt that it was a good fit for me- 30 minutes of daily exercise, but most importantly, eating a healthful diet void of sugar, salt, and meat (except fish) to cleanse your system was what really drew me in.  Don't get me wrong, I love my meats...I'm Italian and couldn't say no to a cappicola/ salami/ prosciutto sub sandwich with asiago & provolone cheese!!  But I thought- for 28 days, I'm going to try this.  And besides, it's the Lenten season and now I can say I'm finally giving something up for Lent.

I purchased the book and immediately went into prep mode for the detox plan.
I said my goodbyes to my dearly beloved companions:  wine, chocolate and coffee.....

And got chopping.....literally!  Yes, I prepped a few salads to kick off the program.  I wanted to have some easy go-to salads (that tasted awesome) that I could just grab out of the fridge & combine with some of the other things you were supposed to eat on this plan-- brown rice, lettuces, fish, even potatoes, and goat cheese (but only goat cheese/milk & sheep cheese/ moo-moo stuff!)

So here are my salad recipes.  It only took me a total of an hour to prepare all 4 salads, too!   And they all taste BOMB!

Potato Salad with Fennel:
  • baby new potatoes- boiled in water for 10 minutes, chopped in half
  • fresh fennel- chopped finely
  • fresh dill- chopped finely
  • 1/4 of a red onion- chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper- chopped
  • Minced Garlic
  • black cracked pepper
  • olive oil drizzle
  • dijon mustard (mine was homemade)
Chickpea-Greek Veggie Salad:
  • Can of Chickpeas 
  • 1/2 cucumber- chopped
  • 1/4 red onion- chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper- chopped
  • Fresh Mint Leaves- chopped
  • Minced Garlic
  • lemon juice
  • Goats Milk Yogurt
  • black cracked pepper
  • a few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • ***I realize canned goods are not so healthy (with concerns of nasty BPA's in the lining of the can).  When I have a little extra prep time at some point, I will prepare dried chickpeas to use in a salad.  Here's a great link to show you how!

Carrot-Pear-Cabbage Slaw:
  • Red Cabbage- chopped
  • Carrot (peeled into ribbons)
  • Pear- chopped
  • Dried Apricot- chopped
  • Fresh Mint leaves- chopped
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • A tablespoon of honey
  • A dash of Garam Masala (or Curry would work)
  • Drizzle of Sesame Oil
  • Drizzle of Rice Vinegar
  • sesame seeds ( I used black ones)
Black Bean- Radish- Cilantro Salad:
  • Can of Black Beans
  • Radish Bunch- leaves removed, stems discarded, radishes chopped
  • Cilantro Bunch- chopped
  • Lime Juice
  • Ground Cumin
  • Minced Garlic
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • Black cracked pepper

Today was my first official day of the Detox.  It was a little rough not having coffee, but tea came to my rescue.  And instead of my nightly piece of Baci Chocolate after dinner...I reached for a kiwi fruit instead.  Giving up sugar for a little while might not be such a bad thing after all....

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