Monthly Archives: April 2013

I apologize for the lack in blog posts, recipes, and What I Ate Wednesday last week!

I attempted my first “cleanse” last week.  I went to a 2-hour yoga workshop last weekend and the studio was promoting a week-long cleanse program which had me a little intrigued.

“Ignite the Fire” with Mimi Ray at Lakeshore Yoga Studio


Working with partners (I’m in aqua on the right)

I had already given some thought to cleansing and detoxing since I will have to take an entire class devoted to the subject for my holistic nutrition program at Nutrition Therapy Institute (its part of the second year of classes).  And I had always been curious how I would feel after a week without caffeine, sugar, wheat, dairy, etc.  The people at the yoga studio were really pushing the idea that we’d feel GREAT.  But I was a little skeptical, since I’d also heard that there were side effects as all of the toxins work their way out of your body.  I also wanted to try it out since I have been wondering for quite some time now if I have some sensitivities to wheat and/or dairy based on how I feel after eating them.

I didn’t sign up for the formal program at the yoga studio since I have a pretty good idea of what a detox involves from my own research and have an arsenal of clean-eating detox-friendly recipes.  Their timing also didn’t work well for me since I’ll be travelling for a few days this week which is when their program is going on.  It worked better for me to do my cleanse last week, starting on Sunday (which was the 2-hour yoga workshop) and going through Friday afternoon.  Also, I have such strong feelings about food that I knew I would end up modifying some part of their program anyway.

I didn’t have any hard and fast rules but the general outline of my cleanse was:

  • no wheat/gluten
  • no dairy or meat
  • no sugar (even natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, etc.)
  • no caffeine or alcohol (or soda but I don’t drink that anyway)
  • started every morning off with a mug of warm water with juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • included detoxing activities such as yoga and dry brushing (dry brushing is just an all-over exfoliation that helps the skin, your body’s largest organ, rid itself of toxins).  I was hoping to get to a gym with a sauna to sweat out more toxins but it just didn’t happen.  I think my workouts took care of that anyway!


Some of my meals included:

Smoothies (breakfast, lunch or snack)

beet smoothie

Smoothie with beet, carrot, apple, 1/2 red grapefruit, fresh ginger, lemon


detox dandy smoothie

Super Detox Smoothie with dandelion greens, wild blueberries, 1/2 orange, 1/2 banana, and juice from 1/2 lime


Green Smoothie made with kale, clementine, pineapple, ginger and parsley

Green Smoothie made with kale, cucumber, clementine, pineapple, ginger and parsley


As a side note, I decided to stick with smoothies instead of juices, to be careful of the sugars I was ingesting.  I liked the idea of keeping the fiber in there to slow the absorption of nutrients, keep the blood sugar from spiking, and keep me fuller longer.  Some detoxes are purely juicing, and I don’t feel that this is the right thing for me.  I’ve had problems with my blood sugar levels in the past and I also don’t deal well with feeling hungry.  I also wanted my kids to see me eating and not just drinking juice all day.


Chia Puddings (morning snack)

Chia Pudding with mango, blueberries, and walnuts

Chia Pudding with mango, blueberries, and walnuts


Had this one quite a few times lately!  Chia pudding layered with strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.  SO good!

Had this one quite a few times lately! Chia pudding layered with strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. SO good!



Salads (lunch or dinner)

Romaine with carrots, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and tahini +  olive oil + lemon dressing

Romaine with carrots, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and tahini + olive oil + lemon dressing


Massaged kale salad with avocado & lemon, topped with carrots, red onion, cucumber, and toasted walnuts

Massaged kale salad with avocado & lemon, topped with carrots, red onion, cucumber, and toasted walnuts


Soups (lunch or dinner)

Carrot Ginger Soup (also had sweet potatoes and coconut milk)

Carrot Ginger Soup (also had sweet potatoes and coconut milk)


Miso Soup - homemade vegetable broth (made with veggie scraps overnight in the crockpot), miso and grated raw garlic

Miso Soup – homemade vegetable broth (made with veggie scraps overnight in the crockpot), miso and grated raw garlic


Dinners (slight variations from what I served the family for dinner)

Baked organic corn tortilla with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, and cashew "cheeze" sauce with guacamole on the side

Baked organic corn tortilla with beans and sauteed peppers/onions/zucchini topped with lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, and cashew “cheeze” sauce served with guacamole on the side


Zucchini "noodles" lightly sauteed and topped with avocado/garlic/lemon/basil sauce.  Served with mixed green salad.

Zucchini “noodles” lightly sauteed and topped with avocado/garlic/lemon/basil sauce. Served with mixed green salad.



Apple with Raw Almond Butter

Mary’s Gone Crackers brand Gluten Free Crackers topped with mashed avocado

Celery and Carrot Sticks with Avocado White Bean Dip

Lemon Larabars (raw bars made with only nuts, dates, and dried fruit)

Leftover smoothies


Trail Mix with raw pecans, almonds, cashews, pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) and raw unsweetened coconut flakes


My Thoughts

In general, I was surprised at how well I was able to stick to it.  I guess if you’re truly determined and genuinely want to do something (versus being forced to eat a certain way) then its a little easier to stick with it.  I did have a couple of situations come up and just tried to go with the flow the best that I could.  There was one social opportunity where I didn’t feel like justifying or explaining my detox so I ordered a glass of red wine.  I was feeling the effects halfway through the glass!!!  I didn’t even end up finishing it!  The next was a rare opportunity for a mid-day lunch date with my hubby.  I had a salad with roasted beets and a little bit of goat cheese.  I was not about to make myself miserable or feel totally cheated by this cleansing experiment.  This is probably not in line with a true yoga type cleanse, but I was still more aware of my feelings (physical and mental) than I usually would have been in these situations, which is one of the goals of cleansing.

By the second day, I was feeling some serious detox effects.  Even though I don’t drink much coffee/caffeine, I definitely had a headache!  And this  lasted for 2-3 days!!!!!!  The best way to describe how I was feeling was like a cold coming on.  It was very strange.  But I just kept chugging tons of water and doing my yoga and tried to get plenty of sleep at night.  I think by the 3rd or 4th night, I kind of hit a breaking point with the headache, sick, weak kind of feeling and made myself some oatmeal and a green smoothie for dinner to feel like I had something with some substance to it.  I don’t know if that did the trick or if I finally got through the detox symptoms, but I felt better by the next day.

I didn’t have a strong plan for coming out of the detox.  I just knew I’d stick with the same plan for the day on Friday and then just ease back into normal eating since we usually go out to eat on Friday nights.  Well, we ended up staying home and all of a sudden, it was like I was craving every food I hadn’t eaten all week – salty snacks, creamy cheesy food, sweets – you name it, I wanted it all!  It was really frustrating and disappointing!!!!  It may have just been mental since in my mind I knew I was “done” but I didn’t really have a plan so that next meal was wide open.  I think my takeaway from this is that I’m really happy with the amount of healthy foods that I eat every day and feel OK with balancing that out with a splurge every once in a while – whether its homemade pizza or pasta for dinner, a glass of wine, a little dark chocolate, some goat cheese on a salad, or a meal eaten out at a restaurant.  I would rather mix a little of that stuff in here and there throughout the week than be craving it all in one sitting.

Once I got through the “blah” detoxing symptoms, I did actually feel really good for a day or two (before I started eating normal foods again).  The two things that I noticed that upsets my system the most are wheat and sugar.  Wheat (like our whole wheat pasta or traditional breads/tortillas) make me feel really heavy and bloated and sugar gives me the most intense headache.  The Ezekiel sprouted grain bread seems fine though.  Definitely something to think about for the future.

One thing that I think REALLY helped me stay focused during the week was the yoga.  I think I may be addicted :)  I am not sure if its the holistic aspect of my nutrition studies or just this time in my life, but I am connecting to yoga now more than ever before.  It just makes sense and I am enjoying it so much more than I ever did before.  I used to do it just because “its supposed to be good for you”.  Now I do it because I truly LOVE it.  I’ve been practicing at the studio 3 times a week and at home on the other days.  Since this post is already a little long and full of info-overload, I’ll write about my yoga practice and other new workouts in another post.

It will be really interesting to go through NTI’s detox program.  I am not sure if it is more of a traditional juice cleanse or an elimination diet similar to what I did (eliminating the most common food allergens and toxins).  I do think that its a great experience to have since this is something that I will need to be able to help clients with.

So, I’m curious…..have any of my readers ever attempted a cleanse or detox?  What kind?  What was your experience?  Any other questions I didn’t cover here – do you want to know more?  I’d love to hear from you…..even if its just that you missed me 😉



Happy Wednesday!  Here is a rundown of all that I had to eat today.

I wanted something kind of fun for breakfast since it was so dark, wet and dreary this morning so I made a chia pudding and fruit parfait.

chia berry parfait

I made some strawberry chia pudding yesterday by blending 1 cup of almond milk with 6 strawberries until it was pureed smooth.  Then I mixed it with 1/3 cup of chia seeds in a bowl and left it covered in the refrigerator to thicken.  I ate half of the chia pudding yesterday and used half of it today to make this parfait.

chia berry parfait 1

It was layered with sliced bananas, blueberries, sliced strawberries, and some unsweetened coconut.  I was surprised at how filling this was!!  Must be all of the fiber from the chia seeds and berries!!!

Later in the morning, I decided that I wanted to try out some new muffins to pack in the kids lunches.  Of course I had to sample a little bit of each flavor – lemon blueberry and strawberry basil.  They were pretty good but need a little tweaking before I post the recipe.  I am testing how low I can go with the sweetener (honey) and I think this might be a little too low :)

berry muffins

For lunch, I made a chopped salad with romaine, roasted asparagus, kalamata olives, chopped cucumber, grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, hardboiled egg, avocado, and red onion, with a simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.

chopped salad

I have gotten into a bad habit of snacking while making dinner – so tonight I tried to combat that by eating some clementines while cooking.



Dinner was my version of Thai Peanut Noodles with chicken, red pepper, carrots, and peapods.

Healthy Plate Happy Family Thai Peanut Noodles

I debated whether or not to do a full post on this recipe.  Its really good and pretty kid-friendly, especially when served with fun chopsticks!

Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Veggies

Stir Fry Ingredients

1-2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

1-2 whole carrots, peeled and chopped into small strips

red pepper, sliced into thin strips

1-2 handfuls of peapods (I cut these thin too so that everything cooks quickly)

coconut oil

soy sauce

Peanut Sauce Ingredients

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

3 T. natural (unsweetened peanut butter)

3 T. soy sauce (or organic shoyu)

2 T. honey

1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

2 small cloves of garlic, finely minced

juice of 1/2 lime

Other Ingredients

8 oz. Noodles (brown rice noodles, udon noodles,  Buckwheat Soba noodles, or whole wheat spaghetti)

Chopped cilantro, green onion, chopped peanuts, lime wedges for serving – all optional


Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 3 T. natural peanut butter, 3 T. soy sauce, 2 T. honey, 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce, 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger, 2 small cloves minced garlic, and juice from 1/2 of a lime.  When the mixture is smooth and starting to thicken and bubble, remove from heat and set aside.

In the boiling water, cook 8 oz. of noodles according to package directions.  I generally use fettuccine style brown rice or Buckwheat Soba noodles, which are readily available at the most grocery stores and are gluten free.  They have a great taste and texture.

While noodles are cooking, saute thin strips of chicken in coconut oil with a little soy sauce (I have started using organic shoyu sauce to avoid GMO soy – it has the exact same flavor and our regular grocery store carries it right by the soy sauce).  Set chicken aside and saute thin strips of carrots, red pepper and peapods in some coconut oil for a couple of minutes until tender crisp (about 5 minutes or less).

When pasta is finished cooking and drained, place it back into the pot and combine noodles, sauce, chicken, and veggies.  Serve with desired toppings – chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, sliced green onion, lime wedges, etc.

In some ways, its good to be home.  I love sleeping in my own bed.  I missed my sweet dog.  And I don’t know that I could handle another day with all 3 meals eaten in a restaurant!  Don’t get me wrong…every single meal we had was absolutely amazing!  But it just gets to be a little much after awhile, especially when my only workout was walking on the beach :)

But I am definitely missing the sunshine, bright colors, and awesome Mexican food that we had while we were there.  So I attempted to incorporate those three things into today’s lunch!  A super colorful, light and bright lunch with Mexican-inspired flavors like lime, cilantro, and chipotle.  SO good!!!!

southwestern quinoa and black bean salad


I know I was just saying that I try not to go overboard with the quinoa dishes, but this just totally hit the spot today.  I cooked 1 cup of quinoa for about 15-20 minutes until it was perfectly fluffy and put it into a bowl to cool while I chopped up the veggies and made the dressing.

cooked quinoa2

Quite a bit of chopping going on here – 2 roma tomatoes, 1/2 of a red onion, 1 small avocado, 1 jalapeno (no seeds), 1/2 of a yellow pepper, and 1/2 of a red pepper.

chopped veggies

I wanted the dressing to be a little thicker so I made it in the blender similar to how I make my balsamic vinaigrette.  By pouring the oil in slowly while the blender is running, it emulsifies into a nice thick dressing.  But this is optional as the dressing could just as easily be whisked in a bowl. The dressing is a combination of fresh lime juice, garlic, a canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, kosher salt and extra virgin olive oil.

quinoa with chipotle lime dressing

Mix in chopped veggies and a can of rinsed and drained black beans.  Then, top with a handful of fresh chopped cilantro.  Mix thoroughly to combine all ingredients.

southwestern quinoa salad with fresh cilantro


Now all I need is a margarita, a palm tree, and some ocean waves!!!


Southwestern Black Bean and Quinoa Salad


1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and cooked according to package

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well

1/4-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

For Dressing

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes for me)

1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I chose a smaller one and sliced it open to remove the seeds and lessen the heat), finely chopped plus 1 tsp. of adobo sauce from can

3 small cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt

1/4 extra virgin olive oil


Rinse quinoa well to remove the bitter coating and cook it according to directions on package, about 15 minutes covered over low heat, plus additional time to steam until it is perfectly cooked and fluffy.  Place quinoa into a bowl to cool.

Chop all veggies and rinse black beans.

Make dressing either by whisking to combine in a bowl or in a blender.  If using blender, add lime juice, garlic, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and salt and blend on medium to medium high speed until combined.  Reduce blender speed to low and slowly drizzle olive oil in through center cap.

Pour dressing over quinoa and toss to coat.  Add chopped veggies and black beans and mix thoroughly.  Add fresh cilantro and mix again.  Individual servings may be topped with an extra squeeze of lime, if desired.






We are having such a great time exploring California on Spring Break! We started off in San Francisco where we stayed in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. We rode cable cars, ate in Chinatown, walked down Lombard Street, saw the sea lions at Pier 39, sampled some local Dungeness crab, went to an Easter parade on Union Street, and finished off our time there with hot fudge sundaes in Ghirardelli Square.

Then we spent a day touring LA including a ride down Rodeo Drive, pictures of the Hollywood sign, lunch at 25 Degrees on Hollywood Blvd, and a visit to Madame Tusseauds Wax Museum.

We’re ending the trip with a few days in Carlsbad, a cute little surf town outside of San Diego. We took the kids to Legoland and we’ll be spending the rest of our days here relaxing on the beach.

Each of the cities have been so different, but the one thing they all share is amazing food!!! I can’t even begin to describe the amazing fresh fruit, local seafood, and ethnic food we’ve enjoyed here! I especially love that avocado comes on just about everything!!


This morning, we walked down to the Daily News Cafe for breakfast.

Daily News Cafe

They’re known for their homemade sticky buns and cinnamon rolls so we ordered one of each for everyone to share.

Cinnamon Roll and Sticky Bun from Daily News Cafe in Carlsbad, CA

I had a California omelette with tomato and avocado, an English muffin and fresh fruit.

Californian Omelette from Daily News Cafe

When we got back to the hotel, I had some coffee out on the balcony while watching the dolphins.

Beach Terrace Coffee

The kids played in the pool most of the morning.  I was able to get away for a little bit for a walk along the beach.  The houses here are to die for!


For lunch, we sat outside at a new(er) restaurant called 83 Degrees in Carlsbad Village. I had an all organic salad with arugula, roasted chioggia beets, goat cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Roasted Beet Salad at 83 Degrees in Carlsbad, CA

After that, we went over to check out the local farmers market. I am beyond jealous of the seafood and organic produce!!!!! Lobster tails were 10 for $20 and most organic produce was $2-3/container.  We bought some organic strawberries and a specialty tea, and sampled a keg of fresh brewed kombucha and different varieties of citrus fruits.

Carlsbad Farmers Market

We love Mexican food so its no surprise that we’ve been indulging as much as we can while we’re in southern California!!!  Tonight for dinner, we went to Norte, just a short walk from the hotel, and sat out on the patio by the fire.  Other than a little “island style” slow service, the food was really good!  I had a margarita and the grilled mahi mahi tacos.

Dinner at Norte in Carlsbad, CA

I’m so glad that we have a couple more days here before we have to head back home.  We’re loving the sunshine, salty ocean air, great food, and fun little beach town atmosphere!


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