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Let's Begin Again: Rejuvenate After the Decadent Holidays

menu_0112The Big Clean Up

2012 has eased its way into our lives and by now you should be ready to up the calorie burning exercise and reduce the amount of rich foods and alcohol from your diet. Naturally, this allows you to lose any extra weight gained during the holidays, but it also provides the body's internal organ system a chance to process, eliminate and cleanse filtering organs and glands. If you have been too distracted or busy to get started then schedule a day this week to begin the elimination process.

Schedule for Holiday Detox

Day 1: Eat a protein rich breakfast and include more vegetables in your meals. Take time to sit and eat slowly, chewing your food at least 25 times per mouthful. This is the most important thing you can do for your digestive system to work properly.

Day 2: Prepare a healthy lunch to bring to work or enjoy at home, including warm soup and a hearty salad. Put away the refined, processed and sugary foods and eat more sweet winter vegetables, miso soup, cooked whole grains and warming herbs and spices.

Day 3: Once you are in the habit of eating desserts it is a hard habit to break. So rather than have a piece of cake or several calorie loaded cookies indulge in a small square or two of dark chocolate and let it melt in your mouth rather than chew it quickly. Meanwhile clear your cabinets of all the food temptations and stock the fridge and shelves with fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Just seeing all this healthy food in your kitchen is a great motivation to get back on track.

Day 4: What are you drinking now that the parties are over? Rather than a martini and a few glasses of wine plan to take a break from alcohol. When the urge for a glass of wine hits mix some unsweetened cranberry juice with stevia and seltzer over ice for a refreshing cocktail that is actually good for you.

Day 5: Reduce the bread, pasta and cheese to 2 times a week, and watch the pounds come off. If sinus infections are your nemesis then skip the dairy altogether and purchase a Neti pot to rinse and heal your nasal passages.

Recipes to Return Internal Balance

Here are a few favorite recipes when leaving the yuletide behind and needing strong foods to return internal balance. Cleansing does not have to mean starving yourself, when it can be done with the proper spices and the use of quality food, fat and oil to counter the processed excess eaten during the holidays. As a matter of fact these are great recipes to enjoy throughout the colder months. Most of all remember to eat well, chew well, eat the highest quality fresh whole foods in moderation and your body-mind will reward you with energy, vitality and good health.

Winter Vegetable Salad

4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • ½ butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
  • 4 small red onions, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, peeled, julienne
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup assorted dried mushrooms, rehydrated
  • 2 Tbs. organic butter plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked French lentils
  • 4 oz. organic goats feta cheese
  • Sea salt
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Method:

  1. Place the butternut, onion, and garlic in a medium size bowl.
  2. Drizzle with half the oil and a small amount of salt. Mix to coat well.
  3. Spread on a well oiled baking sheet and place in a pre-heated 400-degree oven.
  4. Roast until squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a skillet sauté the mushrooms and elephant garlic in the butter plus oil for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  6. When squash is done assemble on 4 plates: squash, onion, and French lentils.
  7. Drizzle anchovy dressing over the vegetables, top with the mushrooms, then the feta cheese and finally the walnuts.
  8. Serve while squash is still warm.

Anchovy Dressing

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 anchovies (more as needed)

Place ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate when not using.

Spinach Red Lentil Dal and Basmati Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 ½ ounces baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 

Tempering Oil:

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 red chile, finely chopped
  • Sea salt

Method:

  1. Rinse and drain the rice. Place in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. When done, leave covered, remove from heat and set aside until time to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, place the lentils in a large saucepan with the water and turmeric. Bring to a boil.  Skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  3. Cover, lower the heat and cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the spinach and chopped cilantro, stir, and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan and when it is hot add the garlic, ginger, cumin, mustard seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, and red chili.  Stir-fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes, then pour this mixture into the lentils.  Add a small amount of water to the skillet to collect any remaining spices and oil and add this to the lentils. Stir to mix well, season with salt, return to a low simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered while the table is set and the family gathers.
  5. Serve over the basmati rice with a side of chapatti flat bread and raisin chutney.

Raisin Chutney

(Makes 1/2 cup)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:

  1. Soak the raisins in the hot water for 15 minutes.
  2. Then place all ingredients in a blender and process to a coarse paste.

Delia Quigley is a holistic health practitioner, author of seven health books and an experienced yoga instructor. She also teaches the exquisite science of preparing whole, organic foods to support and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.

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