January 11, 2012

Detox Recipes That Taste Really Good

After my usual holiday over-doing it, It feels good to board the healthy eating bandwagon. And while it’s probably not the best habit to bounce from extremes (steak, bourbon, gravy to kale, green tea, soup), it does make me very eager for the change. I was stuffed with cookies and cheese; it felt good to alter course.

And perhaps a little surprisingly, it tasted delicious. After my brother-in-law sent me a link to My New Roots, I started seeing this vibrant Danish blog mentioned everywhere. She designed the recipes below, and they’re wonderful.

One of the recurring questions among my friends is, “Why is it so hard to do what’s good for you?” Cause lord knows it usually is. But there’s also a kind of snowball effect once you get going with decisions that affect your well-being. When you feel good, you want to keep feeling good. You begin to even crave the habits that make you feel bright, content, and fluid.

Here’s an example: I spent this past weekend in the first part of an Anusara yoga immersion. Going in, I was a bit terrified of what six hours of yoga two days in a row would feel like. I should have been more concerned about returning to my desk Monday morning and sitting in a chair for eight hours. Come evening, I’d usually rather watch another rerun of Roseanne than put on yoga pants right before bed. But on Monday evening a few pre-bedtime twists was the right choice for me.

The ultimate challenge, I think, is getting from feeling bad, mired in habits, depressed, whatever the current stuckness may be, to finding a spark that can spur a new kind of decision. Many of us tend to force ourselves out of it, but a friend of mine takes a more gentle approach. A change can start with the smallest choice, she says, and we’ll bring it on when we’re ready. I find that comforting. We don’t need to strong arm ourselves into new habits or new eras; it’s not a matter of force, it’s a matter of ease. And when we’re ready we’ll know it. I read a section in a book last night on receptivity that seems fitting:

Receptivity is a practice many people find difficult, because we live in a culture that says things are accomplished primarily through doing. This attitude creates a bias toward knowing, planning, taking action, a kind of predatory attitude toward life––where we decide what we want, focus on it, and go for it at all costs. But how many of us have done this only to be dissatisfied with what we get?  ––The Practice of Wholeness

Being receptive seems to fit beautifully with back to basics and leaning into the life we have now: being open to ourselves, our thoughts, our sense of whimsy, being open to the world around us and the people and obstacles we meet each day, and being open to every joy, quirk, and marvel in the moment to moment moment of the everyday. “We may experience a sense of magic or serendipity––wherein events happen which fit our needs perfectly. Seemingly remarkable coincidences […] are the result of our receptivity.”

And so back to feeling good, and specifically these recipes. Please, dear heavens, don’t see these dishes or this post as an admonition. If anything, it’s an invitation to be receptive to where you are, wherever you are, right now. If they recipes appeal to your senses at this moment in time, I promise they’re both really lovely. And no one’s saying you can’t eat a little kale slaw before a nice steak, either.

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
adapted slightly from Whole Living

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ground cloves
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tart apple, peeled, quartered, and chopped
4 cups chopped butternut squash
Coarse salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots, apple, squash, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree until smooth in a blender. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots
from Whole Living
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper
3 cups mixed shredded kale and red cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons diced red onion
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, mustard, and apple-cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, combine kale, cabbage, carrot, parsley, and red onion with sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds.

Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with dressing, and toss to coat.

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  • KBG in DC: This kale slaw recipe looks tasty and might even be something my notoriously meat-and-potatoes husband will eat.

    I so miss your daily posts Sara – I hope 2012 is treating you well.3 years ago

  • Lana: I love My New Roots and I am desperate need of a detox. To paraphrase what I posted on her blog, my detox is sitting in the bath full of Epsom and sipping on a glass of wine!3 years ago

  • Melissa: I’m not the least bit surprised that the Danes know how to detox. It’s a good thing!

    Last year I strongarmed myself into learning how to run and was glad about it in the end, when I was the one most surprised that it had worked and I was able to jog uninterruped for 45 minutes!

    The apple squash soup sounds delish. I’d still be dipping my croissant in it though…3 years ago

  • Cadi: Back to feeling good ~ amen to that! 2011 was a year that completely buried me in that stuck feeling, and I vow to change the things around and about me that are draining me of positivity. I already took my first swim lesson (yay me!) and we’re looking at new houses to move to. I’m taking the tornado and turning it inside out so it projects my wants and needs and newly-created positive energy into the world around me. I’m hoping that it helps to get everything swirling in the right direction.

    (This is a great visual for meditating and those ‘time out’ moments where you need to have an image to help you boost yourself and keep moving).

    And kale, BTW, is my favorite new superfood. That and Bok Choy. Yay for winter greens!3 years ago

  • Alice: My dear, the kale – red cabbage – and carrots that have been sitting in my fridge, without any attention or inspiration from me – thank you. This looks like dinner tonight!3 years ago

  • Ann: Beginning something is always the hardest part – especially when it’s getting back to eating healthy. I like this idea of something small, and even better this idea of receptivity.3 years ago

  • Monica: I took the opposite approach and am doing the whole 3 week detox from whole living magazine. It’s hard, but I feel like its what I really needed. After I’m done, I’m going to try to incorporate the good habits and awareness that I’m learning. Sometimes extremes are good.3 years ago

  • Sara Rose: I do need to do a detox and clean my body and soul out. There’s a lot of negativity pent up in more than one way. So this was a welcome read. Thank you. I’ll be working on my detox very soon. Hugs and good job.3 years ago

  • designchic: This just may be the inspiration I needed…thanks for the recipe!!3 years ago

  • geek+nerd: Wonderful post, yet again. I am all about small steps to find the spark. A couple of weeks ago, my kitchen was empty save for Christmas cookies and I began my day with coffee and chocolate dipped shortbreads for breakfast…then I had four more coffees throughout the day and was a cranky witch. So…I decided smoothies for breakfast for me for the rest of January. It’s going great – and very strange, for the first time in my life I feel like I don’t NEED coffee (injected intravenously) to wake up.3 years ago

  • Kaileen Elise: I’ve tried these recipes during Whole Living’s 2012 Action – both are delicious and fulfilling. This post is beautiful, especially: “When you feel good, you want to keep feeling good. You begin to even crave the habits that make you feel bright, content, and fluid.” Thank you for sharing.3 years ago

  • Kanesha: I just bought Kale this morning (and it was on sale!) to try out this slaw recipe. I need a break from my green smoothies.3 years ago

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