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Cleanse Days 6 and 7: Veggie Stigma

Gina Iannitelli
iBerkshires Contributor

Gina Stats, Days 6 and 7:

Weight Loss: 4 lbs
Headaches: Improvement! I only get a tiny headache by late afternoon when I crave caffeine the most.
Skin and lips: Super soft and smooth! I use about ¼ the amount of chapstick I usually do in this weather.  
Semi diet cheat: I had some Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce last night. More on that later—not a good tale…

Dylan Stats, Days 6 and 7:
Weight Loss: probably between 5 and 6 lbs
Joint Pain: none!
Concentration: Dylan stated that it is “top notch”
Number of Cigarettes, past 3 days: One
Semi diet Cheat: Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce


Ok, ok, I’m a day behind…sue me! My excuses are valid: the computer in the MCLA library wasn’t working last night while Dylan was in class, I did not feel like blogging from my phone, and, most of all, I got ridiculously distracted by some great blogs about a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle:

Clean Eating Chelsey
Manifest Vegan

And lastly, an overall health and fitness blog I’ve been following for awhile:
Peanut Butter Fingers

These guys have all mastered a system that I have not, as of yet; retain full-time jobs, plan dinner, get to the gym, go grocery shopping, cook enough dinner to have leftovers, shower, and get to bed at a decent hour. I’ll admit that though I have pulled this off a few days of my cleanse so far, the past three days I’ve failed.

And thus the theme of today’s post will be the following: multitasking, planning ahead, and simplifying.

Mysterious and daunting as it is, I’m going to have to enforce myself to multitask when necessary. For example, right now as I’m typing this I’m planning tonight’s dinner in my head: some sort of cabbage lentil soup with sweet potato fries on the side. Later, while I’m working out, I will plan out what I’m going to buy at the grocery store and (safely) write out a list while warming up on the treadmill. And, while my fries are baking and soup stewing, I’ll take a shower.
It sounds so easy when I type it out like that—let’s see how it works!

Planning ahead. I am either absolutely terrible at this or a pro, depending on the day. It all relies on how much I set myself up at night for the next morning. I think that by this point everyone I’ve come in contact with can sense that I am by no means a morning person! Luckily I know how to snap out of my sleepy haze by the time I have to get in my car to drive, but this just means that my trouble lies in the first forty-five minutes of each day. Alright, twenty-five.  If I have some leftover food for lunch the next day I have to pack it at night. Otherwise I can guarantee that three times out of four I will either 1. Accidentally forget it altogether or 2. Try to hastily pack it on the way out the door and spill it all over myself like a freak.

Even if you are a self-professed early bird, planning ahead and preparing enough food to have leftovers will make your life simpler. I find it least stressful to cook in ‘bulk’ when you are using a family favorite or tried-and-true recipe in which you are confident. It is not a great feeling to eat a huge batch of a failed experimental recipe for the rest of the week! And an even worse feeling to throw it away if it is completely unpalatable. If you are in the mood to experiment with a new recipe take it slow and try out a normal sized portion the first time. Once you have perfected it and feel comfortable, go ahead and make a monster batch!

Lastly, when it comes to my new style of cooking, I can’t stress enough how important it is to simplify, simplify, simplify. I’m going to make a confession: when I decided to commit to this cleanse I told myself that I was excited to try these new, plant-based flavors. But I think there was a smaller subconscious part of me that thought I could get away with masking the natural flavors by using an abundance of other ingredients and condiments; garlic, chili powder, balsamic vinegar, vegetable stock, etc. If you use too much of anything you will ruin a dish! This coming from a garlic lover to the highest extent. 

This is about to get corny and preachy: it is absolutely vital that you embrace the natural flavors and textures of the products you are using. If you rely on “disguising” your veggies under other, more pungent flavors, or cooking the heck out of them, you will end up disappointed. I just confirmed this theory, which I was thinking about last night, when I got lunch at Eat to Total Health today. I felt like my body needed greens and the employees kindly offered to make me a Kale and Avocado salad on the spot. It was simple, with six uncooked ingredients, but honestly one of the best meals I’ve had all week. I even ate the raw onions, which I usually would have picked out and discarded. The minimal amount of lime and ground pepper, which was not overwhelming, balanced out the meal but did not dominate.

This goes for Dylan as well. Yesterday I asked him what he is craving the most and he quickly replied “Buffalo wings, burgers, Chinese food, sushi…” among a long list of other prohibited items. ‘Alright, Buffalo sauce, I can do that,’ I thought to myself. ‘Maybe burgers too.’ I found an interesting recipe on PETA.com for Buffalo Cauliflower that is completely cleanse-friendly. The ingredients are flour (any kind), water, garlic, olive oil, and Franks Red Hot, which is gluten and dairy-free but obviously processed to some extent. I figured we could stretch it a little bit and ‘celebrate’ reaching Day 7 of the cleanse.  

WRONG. We both felt so sick after we ate that it was not worth the temporary satisfaction of that Buffalo flavor on the cauliflower, which was actually pretty tasty. And both of us can usually eat super spicy food without hesitation. I get the feeling that it was our body's automatic response to eating processed food after a long break. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, Dylan, but we would have been just fine eating some roasted cauliflower with garlic, olive oil, and pepper. Lesson of that meal: don’t overdo it. It’s not worth it. We felt like crap for the rest of the night.
The point of my rambling is that it is necessary to get the “vegetable stigma” out of your mind. Don’t view them as more of a challenge than they are. Find a way to eat them that works for you and roll with it. Dylan actually enjoys a bowl of raw spinach with a splash of balsamic and some ground pepper, whereas a couple months ago he hated spinach. Next secret plan: get him to try kale, which, during our consultation with Renee, he drew “stink lines” next to the word on our instructional package. It’s going to be a challenge.


A New Recipe:

Spaghetti Squash, Two Ways
Spaghetti squash! It is a really interesting vegetable that, in my opinion, works well when paired with either savory or sweet flavors. Find out how to cook a spaghetti squash here: How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash.  

In the first dish I treated the squash as though it was actually spaghetti. The most noticeable difference between pasta and squash is that squash will not absorb liquid in the same manner as pasta, which was my biggest mistake—I added too much vegetable stock and water to the pan. All of the moisture automatically went into my crisp asparagus and sundried tomatoes and the rest of the liquid sat at the bottom of the pan. Besides this mishap, the other flavors were nice together: garlic, onion, mushrooms, asparagus, half a can of Trader Joe’s artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes from Peace Valley Farm, and a little bit of turmeric, ground pepper, and sea salt. 

When I make this again I will most likely exclude the turmeric and asparagus and, instead, of vegetable stock, I will use some Ooma Tesoro’s Marinara, (which tastes just like Italy, I swear)! This night was a good test of self control, as you can see in the picture above; we were cooking in Dylan's father's house while he was frying up sausages. I had to put my blinders on.

The second way I prepared the spaghetti squash was with a bit of organic maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Delish breakfast! Simple as that.

I’m going to try to post again tonight after I finish the soup and while Dylan is surrounding himself with deliciously tempting gourmet food at work. Ciao!



                                                            I'm craving sushi today...

Do not begin a diet like this without consulting Eat to Total Health or another professional! This plan was created specifically for Dylan and I and our health concerns. While I encourage you to try out some recipes and eat more healthfully in general, please do not mirror this plan as a whole.



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