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Post-detox – and I have a plan for keeping the weight off and making sure I carry on eating a nutrient-dense diet. The first and easiest thing is to continue having juices/smoothies for breakfast. I’ve always loved doing this but I’d slipped out of the routine. Firmly back into it now, though!
This recipe showcases two amazing ingredients – acai berry powder and chia seeds. Someone gave me some acai berry powder the other day so I tried it out in this smoothie and it gave the smoothie a beautifully rich, complex taste – as well as incredible amounts of nutrients, including phytochemicals, antioxidants and omega-3 and -6. Buy some today – you won’t regret it.
But how can I call this a smoothie, you’ll be wondering?… There’s no yogurt, banana or any of the other things you normally make a creamy smooth smoothie from. The answer is the tiny, nutrient-powerhouse that is the chia seed. Chia seeds are super-rich in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, potassium and iron, they have the highest amount of omega-3 in any plant-based ingredient and also contain excellent quantities of fibre and protein. What’s more, when chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they expand and form a coating of gel. This means that they can act as a bulking ingredient – and this is why you can get a smoothie consistency when used with a juice mix, and why many people swear by chia seeds for weight-loss as they feel fuller for longer. But it also means that they can be used as a substitute for eggs in baking – more of that to come…. So go for it with chia seeds – sprinkle them onto salads or stir-frys, thicken soups and stews with them and try them in this awesome smoothie.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 2 people
2 tbsp acai berry powder
2 tbsp mesquite meal, agarve syrup or honey
300g/10½oz mixed frozen berries
1l/35fl oz/4 cups apple juice
1 tbsp chia seeds
1. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
I’m now in week 3 of the 4-week Cleanse 28 from Arise & Shine – the Power Phase. Peter says I look glowing (yay!) and I’ve now lost a total of 5½ kilos. I’m finding that I’m full of energy – and definitely more clear-thinking. When I get tired at the end of the day, I’m really tired (which is how it should be, I guess) so I’m sleeping incredibly deeply.
On this week’s the schedule, I’m having 4 shakes throughout the day and veggie juices and lunch. (Next week will just be shakes and veggie juices.)
What’s still amazing to me is just how do-able this all is. It sounds daunting and yet I’m not finding it too difficult to do. One of the things that’s lovely about following a diet like this is how much you start to appreciate the taste of the food you eat. Without any seasoning, sauces or other ingredients, you start to really appreciate the pure, natural taste of the fruit and veggies. I remember when I did this detox before, I had just bought a fantastic new saucepan that had a very heavy base. I cooked some veggies in it over a very, very low heat and they steamed very gently in their own juice. This method brought out the sweetness of those veggies and made them utterly delicious. I’ve been doing this again this time, and I’ve also been having a lot of steamed veggies, too. My favourite, I’ve decided, is definitely broccoli – and the combination of beetroot, carrot, broccoli and spinach is awesome!
- 3 beetroots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large batons or slices
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into large florets
- 200g/7oz baby-leaf spinach
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Put the beetroots in a steamer and steam, covered, over a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and steam for another 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for another 2 minutes, then add the spinach and steam for 1–2 minutes until wilted. By now, all the vegetables should be cooked but still either firm or crunchy. Serve hot with a little oil drizzled over.
Onto week 2 of the 4-week Cleanse 28 from Arise & Shine – the Gentle Phase… Week 1 – the Mild Phase – has been easier than I anticipated (although I’m conscious that it’s referred to as Baby steps by the company!) I started getting some cleansing reactions on day 4, but they have been mild – just some slight dizziness and nausea. I’ve also been waking early and finding it hard to go back to sleep again (so I am getting tired) which feels like it’s due to feeling hungry at that time of the early morning. And I’ve been experiencing some emotional cleansing, too – with some outburst of tears! But, apart from that, so far, so good. I’ve lost over 3kg in weight, my skin is looking clearer and I feel more vibrant and clearer-headed.
The hunger aspect of this detox is proving to be fascinating. Generally I eat heartily – not masses, but certainly full plates of food. I’ve never been one of those people who has gone on starvation-style diets to lose weight, and I don’t usually skip meals as I feel too hungry if I do. I normally eat healthily, but I don’t pay particular attention to calories. I won’t eat loads of sweet food and I won’t eat junk food – because they’re unhealthy – but I don’t particularly restrict the amount I eat.
Just before I started this detox I decided that I wasn’t going to let fear of hunger become an issue during the program. I decided that I was simply going to see how I get on. And so far it feels like it’s not an issue. Certainly I don’t feel full at the end of a meal in the way I normally do, and certainly I am feeling hungry throughout the day and night. But I’m eating large platefuls of veggies and fruit and it’s proving to be enough – and I’m finding that I’m not dwelling on it as a problem. In fact, I’m even finding it ok to make Zoe’s meals and sit happily with her as she eats them. Phew!
During the week I’ve had fresh juices and some soaked nuts in the mornings and often salads at lunch (as this is much easier at work.) In the evenings I’ve either had steamed veggies (wow, steamed broccoli tastes good!) or quinoa with different types of veggies, either steamed or raw. I’ve also been making the Alkalizing Vegetable Mineral Broth from the Arise & Shine Sample Menus in the Program Guide, and this tastes really good.
Arise & Shine Alkalizing Vegetable Mineral Broth (made with organic ingredients) – often also known as Potassium Broth
The recipe below is for a simple version. You can spice it up with a dash, or more, of cayenne pepper or raw apple cider vinegar. Fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, oregano or thyme, or any salt-free, msg-free herbal seasoning blend can be added for extra flavour. And truly, any organically-grown vegetable can be added to the broth.
- 3–4 unpeeled potatoes of any variety, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3–4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1–2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 large handful of greens, such as kale or chard (I can’t get either at the moment, so I’ve been using cabbage)
- 1 sweet potato or yam, diced (optional)
- Put all the ingredients in a very large, heavy-based saucepan. Pour in 3.4 litres/3 quarts/generous 13½ cups bottled or distilled water. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Turn the heat down to gentle and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain all the liquid through a sieve, discard the veggies and drink the broth either warm or cold.
This weekend I started the 28-day Arise & Shine Cleanse. I’ve done this one before – about 10 years ago – and I remember vividly how incredibly powerful it was. It’s certainly not an easy detox to embark on, or carry through with. But it delivered incredible results for me the first time, so I’m hoping it will do the same this time!
According to Rich Anderson, who created the program, this is a complete intestinal cleanse, not just a colon cleanse. While on The Cleanse, he claims that you’ll cleanse your entire alimentary canal, from your tongue, to your stomach, and all the way down through your colon. Apparently people testify that they feel significantly healthier – especially in terms of their energy levels. And he also says that while you rid your body of toxins, you can also release built up negative feelings and emotions – and experience a profound sense of well-being.
When I did The Cleanse a few years ago, I found that my energy levels soared and I felt full of vitality. I noticed that my eyes were more shiny and my skin was much clearer. I became slimmer and more toned, certainly, and I felt thoroughly cleansed. I even experienced the extraordinary mucoid plaque removal. (I’m not going to go into that now – but if it happens again this time, I’ll probably be so excited that I won’t be able to stop myself telling you all about it!)
I haven’t done a proper detox for a long, long time. I used to do at least one full one a year. Six years and pregnancy, breastfeeding and high-carb and comfort food eating later, a thorough detox is long overdue! I’m a size and a half larger than I used to be, I crave comfort food and chocolate, and I feel that my energy levels are lower than they used to be. And my skin feels a little dry and depleted. So bring it on!
I started by preparing for a day. On Saturday I ate only veggies, vegetable juices and water. Then on Sunday I did the ph Test in the kit Arise & Shine had sent me. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be too bad but damn! my ph levels were pretty low – not the bottom of the chart – but not great. Damn, damn!
I continued with the Mild Phase and I’ll follow this for a week. Each day, you have a Shake which you make from Bentonite Clay, Psyllium Husk Powder and either water or a combination of juice and water. The idea is that Bentonite clay can absorb toxins and Psyllium husk powder is a fibrous bulking agent that can push toxins out of your body and help you not to feel too hungry. After that it’s Breakfast time – fruit, fruit or veggie juices or smoothies (home-made without dairy products) soaked nuts and herbal teas. Then time for a mixture of herbs – Chomper and the Herbal Nutrition. Chomper is a herbal mixture that apparently helps remove toxins and helps to cleanse the alimentary canal, liver, organs and deep cell tissues. The Herbal Nutrition helps with this, too, apparently, as well as providing dietary supplementation to keep you strong.
Lunch and Dinner consist of salads, steamed veggies, some limited potatoes, corn, quinoa and millet, and also veggie soups or what they call Alkalizing Vegetable Mineral Broth (which is also often called Potassium Broth.) There’s another Shake and another dose of herbs and a dose of Flora Grow (beneficial bacteria) before bed.
To be honest, this is all a little daunting because this is the easiest week! As the weeks go by, you cut out Breakfast, then Dinner and then finally Lunch. I have been quite nervous in the gear-up to doing this as my days are very hectic – I work full-time and life with Zoe is very full-on. I’ll have to do this program while doing everything else I generally do – including shopping for food, making meals for Zoe and sitting and eating with her. Having said that, I’m surprised by how do-able it was this weekend. I felt a little shaky and certainly hungry, but I haven’t experienced any strong reactions (yet…!). I’ve had some delicious juices, salads, steamed veggies – and even this steam-fry, and I’ve had a great weekend with Peter and Zoe, walking around the park, playing Fairy Princesses and all the normal weekend things…!
Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes Serves 1
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1cm/½in piece of root ginger, finely chopped
- 100g/3½oz green beans, halved
- 2 red peppers deseeded and sliced
- 200g/7oz shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- Heat 4 tablespoons filtered/bottled water in a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and steam-fry for 1 minute, then stir in the garlic and ginger. Add the beans and pepper and steam-fry for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, and adding a little extra water if needed. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another 3–4 minutes until the beans and peppers are cooked but remain crunchy. Pour the olive oil over and serve hot.
This is a brilliant juice, again from Christine Bailey’s Juice Diet. Utterly jammed with protective antioxidants, this is surprisingly delicious – tasting slightly like a juice-version of a gazpacho, with the garlic and tomatoes. You can buy tomato or vegetables juices ready-made in health food shops but this is so simple to make and miles better in terms of nutrients and taste.
Watercress and spinach provide iron and vitamin C for energy and stamina, while the medley of veggies is packed full of protective phytonutrients. Garlic contains powerful detoxifying and immune-boosting compounds, and is a powerful antibiotic, helping to clear infections, especially in the digestive tract, and is an effective decongestant, useful in the relief of cold and cough symptoms. Brilliant for winter-time!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 1 person
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 small garlic clove
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 large handful spinach and watercress leaves
- 2 carrots
- Juice all the ingredients and mix well.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 107kcal • Protein 5g • Carbohydrates 18.7g [of which sugars 17.1g] • Fat 1.9g
With Christmas, New Year and my birthday over for another year, it’s time to do some detoxing. (Especially as I was out drinking and dancing last night until 3am!) So I’ve started this morning with this Mango Detox Juice from a book by Christine Bailey called The Juice Diet which DBP has just published. It’s a great book – with 100 juice recipes along with a nutrient analysis for each recipe, telling you exactly how many calories and how much protein, carbohydrate and fat you’re getting when you drink that juice.
Juices are a powerhouse of nutrients – with high quantities of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and amino acids. And they can be an incredibly effective way to lose weight. Their high water content helps clear your body of waste and they contain enzymes that boost your metabolism and enable your digestive tract and liver to function optimally, all of which can help you to lose weight. When toxins build up inside you, it causes you to put on weight because if you can’t process the toxins, your body stores them in fat cells. And the more toxins in your system, the more fat cells your body needs to store them. What’s more, juices also contain compounds, such as citric and malic acid, pectin and chlorophyll, which can absorb fats and toxins from your digestive tract. Brilliant!
This nourishing and cleansing smoothie is both refreshing and sweet. The mango is packed with detoxifying properties to boost your weight-loss plan. Adding a small spoonful of flaxseeds helps stabilize blood sugar and increases the fibre content to speed up detoxification. Mango is rich in soluble fibre to lower cholesterol and insoluble fibre to aid elimination. Loaded with the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, mangoes help protect against oxidative damage and support the liver in its work neutralizing and removing toxins from your body.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 2 people
- 1 apple
- ½ cucumber
- 2 celery sticks
- ½ mango, peeled, stoned and chopped
- ½ tsp ground flaxseeds
- Juice the apple, cucumber and celery. Put the juice into a blender with the mango and flaxseeds and process until smooth.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 109kcal • Protein 2.7g • Carbohydrates 22.2g [of which sugars 19.9g] • Fat 1.7g
It’s the 2nd weekend of my detox and it’s all going well! I’ve just made a lovely recipe from Max Tomlinson’s book, Clean Up Your Diet. Doing a detox is tough – there’s no getting around that. But there are so many benefits, including the fact that you find that you really appreciate the tastes, textures and aromas of foods in their pure state. And this recipe is a great example of that. I used puy lentils, and their nutty taste combines with the delicious sweet tastes from the nutmeg, pistachios, pine nuts and sweetened onions. Then there’s just enough lemon juice to give the whole dish a wonderful tanginess – and also to stop you wanting to add any salt to the dish. And all finished off with a great fresh tomato sauce and sprinklings of fresh coriander.
This recipe shows how when you cook vegetables very gently, you can bring out their deep, often sweet, flavours. To caramelize the onions here, there’s no sugar – but instead you cook them gently in water first to soften them and then gently fry them.
I have to admit that I didn’t bother to remove the skins and seeds from the tomatoes – completely up to you whether you want to or not.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, seed-free
Preparation time 30 minutes Cooking time 1 hour Serves 2
140g/5oz/⅔ cup brown rice, rinsed
4 tbsp green lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 litre/35fl oz/4½ cups water
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
450g/1lb ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tbsp unsalted pistachio nuts, lightly toasted
20 gratings nutmeg
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp lemon juice
2 pinches saffron threads
a small bunch coriander, to serve
- Put the rice, lentils, bay leaves and 900ml/30fl oz/scant 4 cups water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, until the rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, put the sliced onion, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 150ml/5fl oz/3⁄4 cup water in a frying pan over a medium to low heat and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and sweet. Increase the heat to high and boil off any excess water, then cook the onions for about 8 minutes until brown and caramelized. Watch them carefully and stir frequently to prevent them burning.
- While the onion and rice are cooking, skin the tomatoes. Cut a cross in the top of each tomato and put them in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 10 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the water using a slotted spoon, and peel off the skin when they are cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and roughly chop the tomato flesh.
- Put the chopped onion and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat and cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the saffron and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened slightly but have not collapsed. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.
- Drain the rice and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the pine nuts, pistachios, caramelized onions, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Divide the rice between two plates and spoon over the tomato sauce. Scatter over the coriander and serve.