Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Cleanse Factor--January Menu Plan

So every January (and by every January I mean once two years ago in December and maybe last year in January, but I can't remember for sure) my DH and I do a week-long cleanse.  Sort of.  Because I am an avid rule follower--if I like the rules, or if I made the rules up myself.  Anyhow, strict cleanse or not, it just seems like a good idea to get a handle on food choices after all of the holiday junk treats.

To be honest with you, we don't do a cleanse in the strictest sense of the word (depending on whose variation you choose.)  Our personal experience was that focusing on eating primarily vegetables and on reducing and being selective about grains and proteins was a better option than eliminating them all together.  (We also allowed ourselves one cup of coffee each morning because we are total wimps. I think we may have used a little honey from time-to-time as well.)  However, we did eliminate dairy and refined sugar, which is how I came to drink my coffee like a real grown up--black.

Our "cleanse" looked something like this:
(Oh yes, I am not a doctor, and all that jazz. This is not medical advice, consult your doctor, etc, etc.)

Wake: water with lemon

Breakfast Options: fruit-only smoothie (no dairy or soy milk), steel cut oats with apples, fruit salad with almonds/pumpkin seeds and a little plain yogurt, cooked millet

Snack Options: veggies with hummus or almond butter, yogurt (plain) with fruit, raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable broth

Lunch Options: vegetable soup, salad, beans, veggie sandwich (can use portabello mushrooms instead of bread)

Dinner Options: Lentils, beans, brown rice (in moderation), chicken or fish (every other night), lots of vegetables, quinoa, salad (every night)

Beverages: Green tea (limited), water, herbal teas, vegetable broth

***Note: I prefer to make my own broths, as commercial broths can have unexpected ingredients or additives, and homemade just tastes better.  Beans are also even more economical when purchased dry, and can be left alone to cook in the crock pot.***

Since we only have the discipline to last about a week, below is my Winter Menu Plan which will get us through the rest of the month and possibly into January.  This being our coldest month, you'll see quite a few soups on the menu.  I love soup because not only are they warming, but they are also economical and extremely forgiving, easily modified to fit whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand.  I've starred recipes that could be eaten on the cleanse or slightly modified to fit.

Week One

Saturday: Pot Roast with Veggies/Steak with potatoes (or potato soup) & veggies

Monday: Quinoa Chili* (I don't use TVP.) / Vegetarian Chili*

Tuesday: Spaghetti (with noodles or spaghetti squash)

Wednesday: Swiss chard and chickpeas*/ Hummus (with less lemon juice) & Veggies*

Thursday: Bean burrito

Friday: Chicken & Dumplings/ Chicken Soup*

Week Two

Saturday: Lasagna/ Lasagna Soup

Sunday: Lentil Rice Casserole*

Monday: Winter Vegetable Soup*(without Parmesan) / Holiday Soup For the Soul* (leave out vegetable bouillon and replace all or part of water with vegetable broth)

Tuesday: Parmesan Chicken/ Roasted Chicken*

Wednesday: Rustic Cabbage Soup*(without Parmesan)/ Nutmeg and Honey Carrot Soup

Thursday: Crock Pot Roasted Winter Veggies with or without Salmon*

Friday: White Bean Chili*/New England Clam Chowder

Hope your New Year is off to a great start!