I started a detox program when I got back from vacation, and the list of “foods you may not eat!”, especially considering that I’m a vegetarian, seemed like it would make for some pretty uninventive (or least unappetizing) meal plans. I also thought that meant I wouldn’t have much to contribute here for a little while, but it turns out that the kitchen experiments remain interesting! Considering my commitment to bread, I never expected to be looking into gluten-free foods, for instance, but I’m finding some amazingly beautiful ideas out there. It should be an enlightening few weeks.
I’m used to doing a lot of cooking, so the food production side of this detox plan is not too much of a lifestyle shock. That said, wandering the aisles of the grocery store looking for non-wheat, non-dairy, non-soy products was still something of an eye-opener. Reading ingredient list after ingredient list filled with sweeteners and unpronounceable additives of all stripes (pretty much everything on the shelves, it seemed, outside of the produce department–the need for which being both obvious and disturbing) pushed me to consider what even my “healthy” diet includes and what I want to do about it. Of all my food experiments, this one includes my own body on more obvious terms and I’m curious to see where it will take me.
My usual Saturday morning farmers’ market haul still had plenty to offer, of course, though I had to dig for some commitment in order to leave forbidden foods like that corn, those eggplants, and the yards of amazing tomatoes on the table (okay, in the end I bought some tomatoes, but they’re for my husband, I swear!).
Last week I made a version of this quinoa with grilled zucchini (I lightly roasted mine) and garbanzo beans to eat as my work-day lunches, though I used a sweet curry power in place of most of the spices and added in bits of avocado or cashews when some additional fat seemed warranted. When I saw that the bean man had fresh October beans this morning, I opted to somewhat repeat the recipe, this time with these beans, millet, sautéed swiss chard, and some carrot slices and onion cooked with a somewhat hotter curry powder I like. I also cut back on the olive oil a bit, as I found it a little overdressed in the quinoa version.
I also had time to make one allowable treat: spicy pickled green beans.
So far, I’m surprised to say my favorite food discovery has been in the “chilled soup in a blender” department. The first I tried was a raw green pea soup that’s just a puree of a scant cup of peas, an avocado, two tablespoons lime juice, and one cup of water, with a bit of salt and cayenne pepper for kick. The other is a chilled cucumber and dill soup that’s a blend of three cucumbers (peeled and seeded), juice of one lemon, 1/2 cup cashews, a handful of fresh dill, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil with four cups of water. Maybe it’s just because it’s still 100 degrees here every day, but this has provided some seriously uplifting refreshment.