I am totally grooving on how good I feel with no sugar or sweeteners other than fresh fruit. Apart from the odd detox headache, and a little passing brain fog, I’m already seeing enormous benefits. Before you shout “not another health oriented post”, it’s only going to be on Thursdays for the next three weeks, Mondays will be my normal banter, so come back then if you want to tune out now.

Playing in my kitchen (age five) with friend Wendy
Day one, one sip of the vegan protein shake, and I knew I would be eating crow soon. I did my best to mask the flavor with berries, but it was still a little too reminiscent of 1970’s hippy food for my palate. Shame, because it did really fill me up. I will have it again, but I just couldn’t fathom three weeks of that every morning. Slightly panicky, I tried to persuade Chef Tal Ronnen to come play in the kitchen with me, but unfortunately he is out of town. He suggested I look at the recipes he wrote for Kathy Freston’s 21-Day Quantum Wellness Cleanse. I know people that have done Kathy’s cleanse. After the 21 days they felt so good, and loved the recipes so much – they never went back to eating as they did before the cleanse!

However, the cleanse we are on with @aGoddessinLA has more restrictions. No soy or soy products, no margarine, no sweeteners other than fresh fruit (including honey or stevia), and no mayonnaise, vegan or otherwise. I took a few deep yoga breaths, reminded myself how much I had learned doing The Conscious Cook Challenge, and set about getting creative on my own.

Banana-Cinnamon Cream of Buckwheat with Strawberries

Then I found a little bit of heaven. I made some cream of buckwheat according to the package instructions (using water, not milk), mashed a large banana with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and stirred that into the buckwheat with 1/4 cup of almond milk. I added sliced strawberries and decided I could look forward to breakfast every day now by just applying the same principal to other grains and fruit.

Crudite and Hummus

Lunch and/or snacks I decided to keep simple. A sliced apple with raw cashew butter, or crudite with hummus, and a bowl full of my balsamic marinated vegetables to graze on. So far I haven’t really wanted any snacks, because the whole foods keep me satiated so much longer. I have had a few sugar cravings, but a handful of cherries soon dealt with that.

Fresh Artichoke Hearts & Portobello Mushrooms on Red & Golden Beets, with Red Quinoa Pilaf

Dinner the first night was a fresh artichoke, portobello mushroom, and beet salad with red quinoa pilaf. The chopped celery leaves added a nice freshness to the Mediterranean flavor; but it was the raw yellow squash and zucchini “angel hair” pesto that my friend Jimmy gave the major thumbs up to. It really does help with any pasta cravings you may be having.

Still playing in my kitchen many years later

Oh, and if you are used to dessert after dinner? Lara Coker Hayes shared an interesting article, 10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar Addiction, on my facebook page. It mentioned how satisfying frozen fruit can be in place of ice cream. I froze some grapes to try it, and I have to agree, it does help.

So what little gems have you come up with so far, and how are you feeling since starting the cleanse?

Yellow Squash & Zucchini “Angel Hair” Pesto

This fast and easy recipe may require a mandolin and a food processor, but not only does it taste like summer – it’s a no cooking necessary recipe. Perfect for sweltering summer days and nights.

Servings: 4


Pesto Sauce
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra – virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, optional
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes , optional
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped raw almonds for texture and garnish
“Angel Hair” Zucchini & Yellow Squash
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 large yellow squash

1). Into a food processor, add garlic, raw almonds, and 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse until it comes together as a paste. Add basil, yeast flakes and (if using) sea salt, then pulse until well mixed in. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until it forms the consistency you would like.

2). Put the 7mm blade into your mandolin to cut the “angel hair”. Using the hand guard, run the yellow squash and three zucchini back and forth, placing each one into a large bowl after it is cut. Toss with the pesto sauce and chopped almonds. Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes if desired.

Serving Suggestions: with a white bean or mixed bean salad, and follow it up with some frozen fruit for dessert, and still be cleanse friendly.
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