October 17, 2011

roasted vegetable salad + a restart

This is a salad I made last week with all the veggies from the vegetable drawer in order to clean out the fridge. It had eggplant, peppers, yellow squash, golden beets and swiss chard, served over brown rice. I roasted the veg at 400 for about 45 min., then sauteed the chard with a little garlic and chicken broth and tossed with the roasted veggies, adding a few drops of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to season. It was easy, healthy and really tasty.

I'm on week three of the cleanse now but really I'm starting over. Let me explain. I started this detox program/elimination diet with every intention of sticking to it for 60 days. That means 60 days of no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no wheat/gluten, no dairy and no junk of any kind. It means eating mostly fruits and vegetables, brown rice and grilled fish, lots of good, clean water and that's about it. Let me tell you, it is hard.

The first week I did great but I felt like crap. I guess it's true that when you clean out your systems, stuff gets eliminated that is toxic and so the effects of that can make you feel sick. I felt tired and grumpy, hungry and like I had a mild cold. I had thoughts like "if this is what it feels like to eat clean, I want to go back to my old ways," and "Life is not worth living without coffee, alcohol, etc." These are exactly the kind of thoughts that I was warned were possible by the doctor* who says this diet is "not for irresolute wimps."

*the doctor is the creator of the program I'm following. I'm not going to recommend him or his site until this thing is over.

I guess I felt sorry for myself because as soon as I started to feel pretty good, about day 5, with more energy and no cold symptoms, I cheated. First it was an innocent little coffee with milk. Then it was a whole lunch at Back to Cuba cafe with my Spanish conversation partner. I reasoned that it was "a special occasion" as I had never been there (!) and my partner would not want to eat alone and after all, I had invited her. I had a cubano (ham and cheese, pickles and mayo sandwiched between two pieces of crusty white bread) and a cafe con leche.

(image courtesy of Meet Me in the Kitchen)

Then this past weekend, we went out of town to Louisville, KY and I confess I went a little crazy. I ate like I would eat on any trip since for me, eating and exploring a city's food scene is one of the reasons I travel and I can't imagine going anywhere and not doing that. And it was so much fun and we had a great time. We ate dinner at the excellent Proof on Main inside the 21c Hotel. The next day we had brunch at a more casual place by the same owner/chef, Garage Bar. Both were great examples of restaurants showcasing local ingredients with lots of style and excellent, creative food--just the kind of places I love.

I'm not even going to get into what I ate. Suffice it to say I broke every rule.

And now, Monday morning, I am sitting here half thinking that I should just throw in the towel and forget about this diet thing. And then I remember that I am doing this for my health. It's not because I want to lose weight (though that wouldn't be the worst thing) or because I enjoy dieting. I am doing it because I have some real concerns about my health and I want to get to the bottom of them and find some balance.

My friend Judy sent me a stern but loving email last week when I told her I'd cheated (she is my "diet buddy" and very knowledgeable about nutrition and health). She reminded me why I was doing this, and said that it takes 7.5 weeks for a person's body to get mellowed out and quit reacting to gluten. So I guess I'm back to day one.

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