Archive for October, 2010

Orb Me Up Scotty

Orbs are kind of like energy balls.  They’re a great snack and treat to make for Halloween.  I will be shoving a few of these in my mouth tomorrow night instead of chocolate bars and candy.  The following recipe was inspired from the cookbook “How It All Vegan” and has been cleansed for all community cleansers.  Note to Roxanne and any other sugar mongers – eat a few at a time, not the entire plate in one sitting. 

They taste better than they look – delicious!  Yesterday evening, I tried these out on six friends (men and woman), most of them not YET participating in The Community Cleanse (you can join anytime) and they all gave me the thumbs up.

“Chocolate” Nut Orbs 

  • 1 cup nut butter (e.g., almond, organic peanut, sesame, cashew)
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • ½ cup carob powder to make them “chocolate”
  • ½ cup water

This recipe normally calls for 1/3 to ½ of real maple syrup (or agave). 

  1. Blend the nut butter and the agave in a big bowl.  Add the oat bran, wheat germ, sesame seeds, unsweetened coconut, carob powder and half the water.  Blend.  We want the mixture to become a stiff dough-like consistency.  Add the rest of water as needed to create this.  You may even need a little more water.  You can use a food processor.  I just use my hands.  I find this to be the easiest way to get the “dough” all blended together.  Roll the mixture into about 18 individual orbs and chill.  Makes about 18 Orbs.

Sources:  Barnard, Tanya and Kramer, Sarah. How It All Vegan – Irresistable Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002.

Advertisements

Cleansing The Sweet Tooth

A few nights ago, we had a couple of friends over for dinner who are also partaking in The Community Cleanse.  One of my friends’s – let’s call her Roxanne – has a skin condition, a type of fungal rash that she’s had for years.  As we sipped our POM (pomegranate) and sparkling water “martinis” she said, “My skin thing is at bay.  It’s still there, but it’s not bothering me right now.  I swear it’s going away.”  We all cheered and talked about how great we’re all feeling on the cleanse.

It was a special occasion so the girls brought “Luna and Larry’s Dairy Free Coconut Bliss Ice Cream”.   After our cleanse friendly Thai dinner, we put the “ice cream” into four bowls and sat down to eat it.  Roxanne said, “Oh my God.  I love this stuff.  I’ve been eating a pint of it mostly every day.  Laura, you have to give me other ideas for desserts,” she whined.  “I’m dying without desserts.”   

I was quiet for a moment and then asked, “Are you serious?  You’re eating a pint of this stuff in one sitting?”  Roxanne nodded in between hurried spoonfuls.  “Roxanne, you’re not supposed to overdo it,” I said.  “You really shouldn’t be eating this every night.  I mean there isn’t any “sugar” in it, but it contains agave which of course is much, much healthier, given it’s a plant and has a low glycemic index value.  But I think you might have…” and here it was the C-word, “Candida.”  A hush came over the table and Roxanne looked into her empty bowl.  “I don’t think you should eat this anymore,” I said.  “If you have Candida, eating large amounts of agave or honey can feed it.  I think you need to stay clear of anything sweet.”  Roxanne pouted, but she knew she was going a little too loopy for Luna and Larry’s treats.

Once home, Roxanne texted me the following, “Thanks to you both and especially the chef (that would be Jay), for a great meal and laughs.  I don’t want the nickname “Yeaste”…so from this point on I have added no desserts to my list for the cleanse.” 

I leave you with deep thoughts by The Healthy Junkie…”The key to life is moderation.  The trick is figuring out what that means.”

Happy cleansing!

Feel The Community Cleanse

I feel calmer.  I feel a little more grounded and a lot less irritated.  I feel more consistently happy.  Not cart-wheel through the neighborhood happy (like I sometimes feel after a few sips of coffee) but I feel more than just content.  It’s a middle of the road, consistent contentment.  But a brighter feeling than that…I suppose what I’m trying to say is I feel evenly joyful.  Are there any other community cleansers feeling me?  

I didn’t expect this – I mean no coffee, no alcohol, “denying” myself cheese…I thought the only way I was going to keep myself from shouting “screw you” to everyone who walked by, was to lock myself in my closet for the four weeks of The Community Cleanse.  I must admit, I did feel a little bit like this for the first three days and I apologize to anyone who caught the brunt of it (Jay).  But three days into the cleanse I started to regain my energy – my own energy, not coffee, alcohol, sugar induced energy, but my own energy – who knew that was even there?

I don’t wake up dehydrated or fuzzy (or hung over).  I’m sleeping better.  I don’t feel “speedy” during the day and I’m able to brush off the little things.  My digestion is amazing (I won’t go into details) and I love the food we’re eating.  I feel like I’m at a retreat in my own home.  But this is probably because, being a restaurant lover, I’ve never spent so much time in this home.  I’m probably more of a restaurant addict, but I prefer the term restaurant lover.

The other night Jay and I were discussing what restaurants we’re going to rush out to and visit first.  Jay said, “Once the cleanse is over, I think sharing a bottle of wine two to three times a week is totally good and moderate.” 

I said, “I think we should go out to eat at least two to three times a week because that’s totally good and moderate.”

We talked like this for another few minutes, dreaming of our favorite wines and restaurants and then we looked at each other and knew we were feeling the same way. 

Jay said, “I’m really just enjoying this cleanse right now.  I don’t even want to think about all that – the aftermath.” 

I said, “Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more.  Let’s just enjoy our cleansing time.  It’s fun.”

So, for now I’m feeling really good and knowing there are so many other community cleansers out there makes me feel even more calmly joyful.  Happy cleansing everyone!

More Cleansing Anyone?

There are other methods to help with the detoxification process.  This list is not absolute.  For instance, I don’t mention the infamous enema.  Okay, well I suppose I just mentioned it and it is effective.  But I won’t be going into details, so if you’re interested add it to the following list. 

To deepen your cleanse – even more – try some of the following:

  1. Dry brushing to increase lymphatic drainage.  The skin is the largest elimination organ, so be sure to dry brush in a circular motion over your whole body.  Dry brushing also helps to increase circulation and remove dead skin cells.  You can find a natural fiber bristle brush in health food stores.  Loofah brushes work as well.  Do this once to twice a day.        
  2. Exercise – get out there, get moving and break a sweat.
  3. Drink lots of water and then drink more water.  It is said that 75% of us are chronically dehydrated.
  4. Take warm baths with Epsom salts.  This is a great way to detoxify and soothe any aches and pains.
  5. Saunas and hydrotherapy increase lymphatic activity.  Saunas and extreme heat are not recommended for those who are weak, obese or pregnant.
  6. Drink lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in water (you can also add cayenne for an extra detox kick).
  7. Herbal teas help to support many of the elimination organs of the body.  I personally like milk thistle, dandelion root, red raspberry, nettle, chamomile and burdock root.  Try incorporating these healing teas into your rituals while on The Community Cleanse.

Happy cleansing community cleansers!  Next post will be on Thursday.

The Colon – A Potential Sewer?

We made it through one week!  Day 8 of The Community Cleanse.  Hopefully we didn’t lose too many over the weekend.  Yesterday, one of my close friends’ said, “I used my cheat day last night.  But I’m back on it.  I’m refocused and ready to go.  No more cheat days.”  Of course you don’t have to take your one allowed cheat day.  At the moment, I’m feeling really good and don’t have any intention of using it – we’ll see.  I know we have some new community cleansers and I would like to welcome you all.  Anyone can join from now until the end on November 14th. 

Let’s talk about the colon!  There are two contributing factors that can lead to chronic disease – slow digestion and incomplete digestion.  Digestion begins in the mouth.  As we chew, our saliva secretes enzymes that aid in the assimilation of nutrients.  To ensure adequate digestion, especially of carbohydrates, it’s important that we feel relaxed, eat slowly and chew our food.

Food moves along the esophagus to the stomach where it is churned.  Chemicals in digestive juices are released.  This aids in the breakdown and digestion of food and assimilation of amino acids, vitamins and minerals.  HCL (hydrochloric acid) helps prevent the growth of microbes into the intestinal tract.  It’s important that the stomach remain highly acid.  Many have what is called, an underactive stomach.  We’ll come back to the stomach in a later post.

Food is then moved into the small intestine, where most of the digestion takes place.  When undigested food reaches the colon, the problem begins.  The colon is a “sewer” and houses good and bad bacteria.  The ratio should be about 70%-80% “good bacteria”.  The colon expects food to be properly digested before it gets here.  Good bacteria produce vitamins and protect the colon wall.  Undigested food ferments and the “bad bacteria” feed on this, allowing them to grow stronger in number and produce by-products of yeast, aldehydes and other toxins.  This brings the integrity of the colon wall into question as the “bad guys” make holes in it.  Undigested proteins and toxins move through the holes and into the blood stream where they freely circulate creating allergies and / or autoimmune diseases.  This is also named “Leaky Gut Syndrome”.

A common condition that results from a clogged colon or Leaky Gut is candidiasis – an overgrowth of yeast in the body.  Main complaints of Candida are; sugar cravings, high sensitivity to smells like perfume, gas, bloating, IBS, dizziness, fatigue, moodiness, itchy ears, nose and anus, difficulty concentrating, eczema, hives, hemorrhoids, vaginal yeast, and autoimmune conditions like fibromyalgia.  Those with many allergies seem to have higher levels of Candida – yeast in the body.

According to Dr. Jonn Matsen N.D., most everyone has an overgrowth of yeast.  This may be attributed to poor digestion over time, refined foods, processed foods, alcohol, white sugar, stress, an underactive stomach and the use of antibiotics and pharmaceutical drugs.     

If there is a colon problem, we can rebalance this by increasing fiber foods and drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day.  Fiber supplements like psyllium, ground flax meal, chia seeds and apple pectin can greatly help increase overall fiber intake.  Remember to drink lots of water.  Of course cleansing helps to improve the situation because sugar, alcohol, tobacco, refined and processed foods, white flour and dairy help to feed bad bacteria and irritate the digestive system.  Grapefruit seed extract and caprilic acid help to kill yeast (bad bacteria) and acidophilus helps to rebalance the intestinal flora (good bacteria).  Digestive enzymes can also help.  An elimination diet may be necessary if there are many food sensitivities.  Other foods that are known to be highly allergenic are; corn, peanuts, baking yeast, pork, wheat, mushrooms, soy and gluten.  So let’s get our potential sewers in check and happy cleansing to all!  

Sources:

Dr. Matsen N.D., Jonn. Eating Alive, Prevention Thru Good Nutrition. Crompton Books, Ltd, 1987.

Calling All Healthy Junkies – Recipes

Calling all Healthy Junkies!  If seems we have many recipes to share as a community.  Therefore, I propose The Healthy Junkie Community Recipe Page.  This idea was inspired by a few community cleansers.  Thanks to my Mom, Ashley, Indra and all of you who have already posted a recipe in the comments sections.   

If you are interested in sharing a delicious recipe with others, please put RECIPE in the subject line and send it to me at www.thehealthyjunkie@gmail.com.  If you are inspired please also send a photo of yourself, a picture of your recipe and a short bio.  I will post these about every week or as they come in.  I may change something around if necessary.  It’s fine to send a non-cleanse friendly recipe (of course it still needs to be ridiculously healthy), but this will not be posted until after The Community Cleanse finishes on November 14th.  If the recipe you choose was inspired by a website, person, magazine, cookbook or so on, please say so in your recipe piece.  So here’s what your Community Recipe and Bio might look like:

Laura Levesque-Page (aka – The Healthy Junkie)

Who doesn’t love pizza?  I have re-tweaked this recipe to make the most nutritiously delicious, cleanse friendly pizza possible.  The pesto part of the pizza recipe (you may have some left over) is also good on spaghetti or brown rice topped with stir fried vegetables.  You can of course add chicken if you’re looking to eat meat. 

Pesto Pizza (serves 6)

Ingredients

Pesto

  • 7 oz of arugula 
  • 1 head of dino kale
  • ½ cups of frozen peas
  • 2 bunches of basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Juice of 1 1/2 -2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pepper to taste

Vegetable Topping

  • 2 onions
  • 3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow)
  • 2 zucchini
  • 3 Portobello mushrooms or other mushrooms

Pizza Crust

  • 1 package “Lavish” whole wheat flat bread or other flat bread (6 pieces)
  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic

“Cheese”

  • Soy cheese, brown rice cheese or other type of “cheese” while on cleanse

Method

  1. Put all ingredients for pesto in a food processor or a strong blender and whip it until smooth.
  2. Chop up the vegetables for the vegetable topping and sauté in some olive oil until tender.
  3. Grate the soy or brown rice cheese.
  4. Mix olive oil and minced raw garlic in a small bowl and brush mildly over the bottom of the Lavish flatbread.
  5. Place Lavish bread on pieces of tin foil or cookie sheets.
  6. Spread some pesto over Lavish flat breads.
  7. Add grated cheese on top of pesto.
  8. Add the vegetable mixture on top of the pizzas.
  9. Bake at 425°F for about 15-20 minutes – the flatbread should crisp up.
  10. Sprinkle with crushed red peppers – if desired.
  11. Eat and enjoy.

Oh No – It’s The Weekend!

Yay, it’s the weekend, time to have fun!  But wait, I’m on a cleanse.  What can we do over the next weekends to stay away from the temptations of alcohol, coffee, alcohol, dairy, alcohol, non-cleanse friendly foods, and alcohol?  Sounds like I’m staying in!  

For some of us this weekend is going to be the real test.  Let’s face it, most social events revolve around drinking.  Many of us have rarely been in a situation where we’re not partaking in the exercise of raising mugs or wine glasses to our own lips-even if only in sips of complete moderation.  It may take courage for us to believe we’ll continue to be fun and exciting without the loosening effects of alcohol.  This can be uncomfortable.  If we have committed to The Community Cleanse, we can’t allow ourselves to fail without even trying to get to know ourselves in social situations without alcohol.  Maybe, I’m speaking for myself here, but it can be a real struggle to hang out with the same friends and family in homes, out at bars, in restaurants, or at wine events.  It’s not the fact that they’re drinking, it’s that we’re not drinking.  So, if any of this rings true for you, here are some tricks to make it through the weekends:

  1. Give yourself a chance to interact without alcohol or any other usual, habitual non-cleanse friendly substance or food.
  2. Go out!!!  Go for coffee, but have an herbal tea.  Go out for a drink, but have Perrier.
  3. Tell restaurant servers you are looking for meals without sugar, dairy, and white flour.
  4. Tell your friends and family, prior to going over for a meal, that you are on a cleanse and offer to bring a contributing dish that’s cleanse friendly.
  5. At home or other people’s houses, drink bubbly water with POM-pomegranate juice in a wine glass or martini glass.  It’s delicious and pomegranates are super high in antioxidants.  This will make you feel like you’re drinking too.  It’s amazing how much of the discomfort comes from us not feeling like we’re a part of the group.
  6. All bars have options.  When out, drink pineapple juice, bubbly water with lime, soda water with lemon, pure grapefruit juice, or orange juice.

Happy weekend cleansers!  I have to go and get ready for the wine event I’m going to this afternoon.  I think I’ll have a Perrier and POM martini to “loosen” me up before I head out.