It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Dr. Junger’s Clean Program detox. So much so that I dedicated 4 blog posts that explained what it is, why I decided to endure 21 days of eating clean, what the results were and I also shared some of my favorite recipes. You can access these old posts here:
Since my first Clean detox, I basically reverted back to my normal eating habits but have fitted in a one week cleanse here and there. Lately, I realized I’m due a full detox since the realities of a dark London winter has taken its toll on me, emotionally and physcially. My lack of energy was even more evident after lunch at around 2:30/3pm, where I consistently felt like I ran into a wall. It was time to make a few changes.
Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t allow for a full 21 day detox but since I was bordering desperation I decided to eat clean for the days that I could. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fully maximize the benefits of the clean program – weight loss, glowing skin, clarity of mind – but I was curious to see what I could glean from it and just how flexible the program might be.
The biggest changes I made were to quit coffee & sugar completely and to have one green juice a day. On days where my social schedule allowed I followed the clean program strictly: juice in the morning, clean-friendly lunch, and soup or smoothie for dinner. I also gave my body the 12 hour fast it needs between dinner and breakfast the next day to fully detox.
The results were pretty immediate. While I didn’t sleep any better I woke up with more vigor to greet the day. I really acquired a taste for green juice and continue to look forward to that treat. Though I miss my morning coffee, it feels liberating to not be a slave to its effects. The dreadful slump I always felt in afternoons decreased to a much more manageable level, it’s all but gone. In general I have been feeling a lot more energetic. And to be frank it also feels good to try and pull myself out of that funk with food!
For those who need a little kickstart out of the winter doldrums I thought I’d put together a quick one day meal plan that’s been tried and true. I’ll try to add a few more clean-friendly and delicious recipes as I discover and try them in the future but for now here is what I loved:
I’ve been having a green juice every morning instead coffee. While I would never be so bold as to say that I prefer the taste to a cup of joe I do enjoy the zing of the juice. This green juice is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook.
For lunch I went for the easy to make meals that I’ve tried before: quinoa salad or roasted salmon with homemade pesto and asparagus. Recently, I tried the mango chicken with wild rice basmati and was instantly hooked! I’ve adapted the below recipe from the Clean Program based on my preference for chicken thighs as opposed to cubed chicken breast but substitute as you wish.
Mango Chicken with wild rice
adapted from the Clean Program, serves 2
2 organic chicken thighs, seasoned with a pinch of salt
1 garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3/4 cup basmati & wild rice mixture
1 small onion, diced
1/2 mango, diced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
juice of half a lemon
pinch of chili pepper flakes
1. Preheat your oven at 200 °C (392 °F). Place the chicken in the roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add the sliced garlic to the chicken. Roast for 35-40 minutes.
2. While the chicken is roasting, rinse the rice mixture then cook according to package instructions. To add extra flavor, you can choose to cook the rice with vegetable broth instead of water.
3. On a skillet, add coconut oil to medium heat. Once it has melted add the diced onions and cook for 6-8 minutes. Add the rice vinegar.
4. Separate the meat from the bones on the chicken. Reserve the bones for homemade chicken stock. Cut the meat in chunks and add it to the skillet with diced mango. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice and chili pepper flakes.
5. In a bowl, combine rice with the mango and chicken mixture. Season as desired.
For dinner, I like to quickly make a green or mango smoothie when I’m feeling lazy. Since it’s been so cold out I’ve been taking the time to cook up warming soups. This Creamy Winter Beet Soup is for beet lovers. I love how rich and soothing it is which is great for these winter nights.Creamy Winter Beet Soup
Recipe from Clean Program, serves 2
2 medium sized beets
1 small shallot, peeled & quartered
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons hemp seeds (I omitted b/c I couldn’t find any)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 cup coconut milk
Peel the beets and cut into quarters. Place on a steaming dish, above an inch of water. Cover the pot, bring to a boil and steam until tender. Put the vegetables into a high speed blender (or hand blender) along with the leftover steaming liquid. Add the vinegar, hemp seeds, and parsley. Blend the soup while drizzling in enough coconut milk to develop smooth creamy consistency. Taste, season with sea salt. Serve in bowls & enjoy.