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Food Cleanse Highlights: Days 5-11

If you only know me through this blog, you probably assumed that the Food Lover’s Cleanse drove me crazy from lack of sugar and baked goods and I stopped eating entirely.

Not so.

I stuck with the food cleanse (with a number of modifications and a few cheats) until day 11 when I gave up and bought a big falafel platter. Why did I stop blogging? Why did I fail? Truth: Things got crazy at work and then I got sick. I lost the will to blog. My body felt great from the cleanse until unrelated illness struck, but when it did, I reverted to quick meals and salad bars.

I still think the cleanse was a success and full of tasty recipes anyone could enjoy, so I’ve compiled a few of my favorite photos from days 5-11, like this photo of a grape, walnut, and arugula salad and pan-roasted vegetable curry:

Pumpkin tofu curry and a grapefruit, arugula, and avocado salad: Continue Reading →

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Food Lover’s Cleanse: Day Four

I felt good on day four of the Food Lover’s Cleanse. I’d gone four days without bread, processed foods, or refined sugar and was more alert and energized than I’d been in months. It may have been psychosomatic or the fact I was getting over a sinus infection, but let a girl dream. I also mastered the art of packing meals and made sure all of the necessary Tupperware was waiting on the counter in the morning. All of my food was accounted for and it saved me from digging through towering cupboards on the step stool.

When I arrived at work, breakfast was tea and ten-grain hot cereal with blueberries and nuts. I’m terrible at eyeballing liquid amounts and we don’t have measuring cups in the office kitchen, so I didn’t use enough water. The cereal was a little undercooked, but I ate it anyway during a morning meeting. Continue Reading →

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Food Lover’s Cleanse: Day Three

Every day of Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse brings new culinary revelations. Day one taught me that not all cod are the same. Day two proved that oats will soften in yogurt and orange juice overnight. And day three? Cheeseless omelets travel well. The two-egg omelet pictured above was my breakfast on Tuesday. I made it at home in five minutes with my hair in a towel as I packed all of my food for the day, then reheated it at work in the microwave. I substituted roast pumpkin seed and cilantro pesto for the recipe’s caramelized onions because so much pesto was left over from Monday’s dinner.

I also modified the suggested lunch. Monday night’s salmon barely made it out of the pan so I didn’t have any leftovers. In its place, I packed lentils and Greek yogurt to go with the grapefruit salad. Grapefruit salad, where have you been all my life? Continue Reading →

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Food Lover’s Cleanse: Day Two

Day one fish disasters aside, my cleanse was off to a pretty good start. The recipes were delicious, and I didn’t cave in and eat the homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that were taunting me from the cupboard. Every ingredient I needed for the week was waiting in my kitchen, so it was easy to pull my meals together in between housework and British TV shows. As I posted on my other blog earlier this week, things broke bad on Monday morning when I had to pack up breakfast, lunch, and my afternoon snack to bring to work. So many things to contain. Pictured above:

  • One (1) tiny container of Greek yogurt
  • One (1) medium container of muesli (nonfat yogurt, fresh orange juice, oats, frozen raspberries, shredded apple, etc.)
  • One (1) large container of mixed greens that also contains one (1) teeny tiny container of miso and lime dressing
  • Two (2) ziploc bags, one containing rye crackers, the other containing chevre
  • One (1) small container of French lentils
  • Three (3) freewheeling produce items (avocado, apple, navel orange)

Between my meals and the make-ahead items I had stored in the fridge, like lentils and caramelized onions, I was out of storage containers. The other challenge of workplace cleansing is documentation. Behold! Cell phone photos. Muesli and iced tea for breakfast:The muesli tastes better than it looks, although I wish there were more oats.

As I mentioned yesterday, I swapped the day one and two lunches, so I had salad with oranges, avocado, and miso lime dressing with a side of lentils and Greek yogurt. Continue Reading →

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Food Lover’s Cleanse: Preparation and Day One

I haven’t been kind to my body since July. First, I used pre-wedding weight loss as an excuse. (“I ate nothing but salad for months! I deserve this BLT.”) Then came the holidays. (“Another massive tin of caramel corn in the office kitchen? On my way.”) Sandwiches replaced lunch salads. Subpar blueberry muffins replaced breakfast fruit. I told moderation to go to hell and put on ten pounds.

The time has come to get back to healthier eating, and when I spotted Bon Appetit’s 2012 Food Lover’s Cleanse last week, it seemed like the perfect way to start. It’s focused on real, whole foods and doesn’t involve any of that juice and protein shake nonsense. The only drawback is that is requires a lot of ingredients: over 140 items for the first week alone.

To try to save money and cut down on waste, I printed out the shopping list and all of the recipes on Saturday morning to cut what I already had, what I knew I wouldn’t make, what I thought was absurd (two kinds of rice vinegar?), and to account for portion sizes. I trimmed almost half of the list, but as I stood in the middle of Fairway Market in Red Hook that afternoon, my arms laden with produce and my path blocked by half the geriatric population of south Brooklyn, I almost lost it. Perhaps the cleanse gods were punishing me for the lobster roll I ate before shopping as a last hurrah.

I got up early the next morning to make my first cleanse breakfast before a photography class in Bushwick. I made the suggested ten grain hot cereal with blueberries, but substituted pecans I already had for walnuts. It was my first ever bowl of hot cereal and it was surprisingly delicious. A new addition to my regular breakfast rotation.

I got home from my photography class around two and threw together a lunch salad. I swapped the Sunday and Monday lunches because Monday called for an entire can of tuna and I hate stinking up the office. Five ounces really is a lot of tuna: Continue Reading →