Spring Cleaning: The Body Edition

Hey, internet. *waves* I’m back.

It’s been a long time coming (and I’ve been brainstorming for a while), but it’s time we do the full overhaul and admit the inevitable–this thing has become a full-fledged food blog, and I just can’t help it. Everything on my Google Reader is food, I’m taking a university program in Food Security, hell I’m staying in on a Friday night so I can write about and make and ogle food. The healthy kind, usually.

A lot of people do spring cleanses on their house. I like to think I do that too, if re-organizing your sock drawer and putting all of your stripey shirts closer together counts. But what I’m more attracted to is a spring cleanse of the body. Though I think I maintained a pretty health diet throughout my last year of full-time school and volleyball, and part-time work, my addiction to sugar and caffeine really became clear in the most clutch of times. Plus, summertime foods are much lighter than their winter counterparts, so I want to prepare myself. And now, it’s time to clean this bitch.

If you’re like me, and spent a large portion of your childhood on antibiotics, or tend to lean towards sugar, or have taken the birth control pill for an extended period of time, you’re more at risk for candida overgrowth. It’s kind of complicated to fully diagnose the whole deal, but you can take a quiz online that basically spells out the symptoms for you. I’m not trying to be a hippie hypochondriac or anything, but after getting headaches from the majority of my sugar intake for the last few weeks, I think it’s time I swept out the dust bunnies and gave my body a break. Plus the naturopath says so, and she is pretty damn well always right. And the best part? It’s lent, so I don’t have to try and explain it to everyone and make them think I’ve got some nasty yeast overgrowth that’ll soon turn me into pizza. The full diet is listed online, but basically it’s no sugar (including fruit, and sugars found in some veggies, and those natural, low-glycemic sugars that are sneaky, too), mostly no dairy, no caffeine, no booze, no gluten, and of course, no yeast.

So what does that leave me to eat? Nothing you might think. But I like the challenge of experimenting with a limited array of items—a Top Chef-esque challenge, if you will (though my wallet doesn’t). So drool with me, as I present you the mixes, meanderings, and mishaps in my kitchen this spring!

And of course, we will begin with a Recipe in Honour of St Patty’s Day: Zucchini Muffins. And I’ll try not to finish them all before my sober St. Patty’s day comes to an end…

Zucchini Muffins (adapted from WholeApproach.com forums)

Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegetarian

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup melted coconut butter (or regular butter, or earth balance would work I’m sure)

1/4 cup water

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated zucchini (add more if you wanna get extra vegetable-y!)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. zest of lemon

pinch of sea salt

stevia (optional, if you want a sweeter muffin—or you can use cane sugar or agave syrup if you’re not worried sugar!)

Directions

Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Makes ~ 6 muffins…. and I’d double-batch this one if I were you.

Re-evaluating

20110506-121432.jpg recovery dinner: kale + avocados (chock full of vitamins and EFAs), hummus, chia+flax seeds, and peanut-soy-ginger-marinated tofu in a sprouted wrap)

I’ve been noticeably absent from the web lately—with some kind of nasty sinusy sickness overtaking my body, I felt a bit hypocritical to blog about good food and nutrition while laying in bed miserable and hardly functioning (that said, I did make some mean mock-mom’s minestrone soup and got my vitamin c!).

But I’m getting back to normal.. and in between a plethora of HotDocs,(PomWonderful! Wiebo’s War! Kumare! and many, many more that weren’t quite as good!) I’ve been trying to cook and keep on the health wagon (or should that be a hybrid?), too. I realized I’ve yet to do my reflection/look-ahead post on the cleanse that I’d been promising, and I feel now I’ve pretty much got figured out what I’ve learned, where I’m at now, and what I want to do next. So here goes…

Reflections on the cleanse: (For another perspective, read Luke’s blog)

  1. Eating healthy is, in general, expensive. Whole foods=whole paycheck, yadda yadda. But hey, if you get your ass to a market and cook from scratch, avoiding the ready-made stuff, it ain’t so bad.
  2. To eat best, unless you’ve got big bucks and access to health-food stores and markets, plan plan ahead. Make big batches of food: quinoa bowls, chili, soup, rice dishes—and freeze individual portions. Always come prepared, ’cause you never know when hunger may strike!
  3. Pooping is good.
  4. ALWAYS BE PREPARED. (see #2)
  5. Alcohol makes bad things happen to your body, including the day after (this I especially learnt the week after the cleanse). It makes you crave weird things, it makes your blood sugar all wobbly, sleepy at night and a grouch the next day. A few glasses of wine followed by many more glasses of water is fine, hard liquor is, in general, just a bad idea, at least once you’re out of school.
  6. Eat well=feel well. It’s true. It may take some time for your body to adjust, but in the end it’s easily worth the effort.
  7. My body doesn’t love dairy. In fact, I think we’re all a bit lactose-intolerant (I mean, is it really natural to drink another species’ milk?), but I know it feels best for me to lay low on the dairy. Unsweetened almond milk is my new go-to, with ice cream and cheese in moderation.
  8. Sleep > caffeine.

So where am I at now?

Most importantly, I’ve finally embraced the interest I’ve always had in health and food and have decided to integrate it further into my life. Through my research and readings, I came across a school called the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, sat in on their classes for one day, and was instantly HOOKED. I’m attending next year, full-time, and can’t wait to get started!!!

As for food, I’m in a bit of limbo. I’m eating better—most of the time (and that’s okay, I’m not expecting to be perfect!)… except when I’m bartending till three a.m. and nachos somehow end up getting thrusted down my gullet.

I’m a lot more aware of how my body reacts to different foods and the way they make me feel. But I haven’t got the perfect balance yet. Maybe it’s the athlete in me, always wanting to one-up myself…. so what’s next?

In June, I’ll be in Phoenix, AZ, soaking up loads of yoga knowledge and doing all the good I can possibly cram in for my body in one month. In addition to my yoga teacher training, I’ll be joining my mom in an all vegan-diet for the month of June. I’m not saying I’ll be a lifelong vegan (I heavily doubt it), but I want to play and see the effects it has on my body. And knowing that it’s better for the planet doesn’t hurt, either. So I’ll be blogging the highlights of that too!

So that’s where I’m at for now. I’m always open for feedback on what’s working and what’s not in terms of the blog, and I’m trying to dedicate a bit more time into it now that it serves more of a purpose for me. Looking forward to things to come!

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Made the drive out, Arcade Fire style, to the ‘burbs for the highly-recommends Vinnie Zucchini’s all-you-can-eatery. This is plate one. Call it a retox..

But don’t worry, this was just a twenty-four hour thing. Gotta put the system in shock so it knows how well it’s been treated these past thirty days! Will blog on future food plans soon, but for now-a huge thanks to everyone who’s been so incredibly supportive during this cleanse! Everyone who sent me websites, passed along tips, humored me by reading this blog, took me out to dinner.. thank you!!! And of course the biggest thanks of all, to my wonderful boyfriend Luke who completed this cleanse by my side-two big bright shiny organic stars for you, too!