The day of reckoning is drawing near. I have made a promise to mayself and Dr Junger to stick to a 21-day detox diet following the Clean method. In preparation I have been eliminating certain food items from my diet, but to be truthful I have slipped once or twice ostensibly because I've had guests and have been entertaining; so I am a nervous wreck. Fortunately, I haven't gained a pound during those lapses and to date I have lost four pounds, so imagine what I will lose when I really go for it! I can't go into the supermarket without staring at my two loves - chocolate and banana chips, and all the other food items that I must now avoid.
It's like they are teasing me to come and have a taste. I have to turn a blind eye to my beautiful bottles of wine, the orange juice sitting in the fridge and the lovely bunch of honey bananas in the fruit bowl. If I open the freezer to take out some ice, a tub of ice cream smirks at me. I am going nuts in a house of temptations. If I lived alone things would be easier, but I am determined not to succumb to the enticement around me. What is 21 days to kick-start my weight loss regime? I can make this sacrifice!
This is where support comes in very handy. If you have a support group of others doing the same thing, you can call and bolster each other, or if you have friends who truly want you to succeed and are not dieting, they should be there for you too if they mean you well. Stay away from the negative people. Remember this is about health, not vanity. You want to feel good and have more energy to focus on the important things in life. Luckily, my family is incredibly loving and supportive and for the most part, will eat what I prepare which is a good thing, since cooking for one is no fun.
On this detox programme I have to have a shake for breakfast and dinner and one solid meal at lunchtime, similar to another popular product in Jamaica, but whereas with that one once you stop the weight comes back on, this is a one-off cleanse. Of course, afterwards you will hopefully maintain a better way of eating and do mini detoxes regularly. Remember the days of the "wash out" when our parents and grandparents would regularly give us castor oil, Senna pods or some other green tea every now and then? They were on to something, as it was a cleansing process!
Snacking is not really a part of the deal but if there is a hunger pang, drink some water and wait a bit to see if you were really hungry and not thirsty, if the feeling persists you are allowed a few nuts or a fruit. I cannot emphasise enough to check with your doctor first. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, but there is something for everyone and at your individual pace. I am simply sharing this experience, as I share many of my other food adventures. Secondly, keep hydrated and drink lots of water. I also do a little exercise, mostly walking for now (I want to start yoga in earnest). Find a regime you love, whether at the gym, dancing, cycling or whatever else you fancy.
The following are my recipes inspired by a couple of Clean recipes using local produce which is accessible to most of us.
Grilled Lamb with String Beans
I don't eat much red meat but I am a lover of lamb which I do not eat regularly, especially since sheep are raised right here in Jamaica at Longville Farms. The price is good and it is fresher than the imported one and equally delicious. While on my detox I want the occasional treat for my one solid meal a day. String beans are cheap and healthy. Simply season lamb chops with salt and pepper to taste to bring out its natural flavours and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side and serve with some steamed string beans or other greens if you prefer.
Cucumber and Avocado Soup
This is a cold soup detox recipe I got from Gwyneth Paltrow's website GOOP. Avocado season is in full swing on at the moment and cucumbers are full of water. I substituted the lemon with our local lime. This soup is surprisingly light.
. 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped
. 1/2 avocado
. 1 lime
. Salt to taste
. Chopped escallion to garnish
In a blender or food processor, add cucumber, avocado, lime juice and a pinch of salt.
Blend until smooth.
Garnish with escallion.
Brown Rice Salad with Basil, Pumpkin Seeds and Grilled Chicken Breast
. 2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled to room temperature.
. Handful of roasted pumpkin seeds (utilise those seeds from your pumpkins, don't throw them away, plus it's cheaper than store-bought!)
. A few basil leaves, roughly torn (or improvise with what you have)
. 1 stalk of escallion, green parts only, thinly sliced
. 2 chicken breasts
. Lime juice
. Olive oil.
. Lettuce (darker-leaved type is better for you)
. Prepare a simple marinade of lime juice, salt, pepper, a clove or 2 of garlic and olive oil. Add chicken breasts and marinate for at least an hour.
. Prepare a grill and grill until chicken is cooked through, allow to rest and slice.
. Mix brown rice together with basil, pumpkin seeds and escallion.
. Divide lettuce amongst two plates, top with equal amounts of brown rice and serve with one sliced chicken breast each.
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Jacqui Sinclair is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef/food stylist & hotelier. She has worked in the world of food photography and film in Europe. A bon vivant, she is passionate about sharing her food secrets with enthusiastic home cooks.