Cleanse. It's a word that strikes fear into the heart of every foodie and non-foodie alike.
A cleanse used to mean a woman named Monica was about to get up close and personal with a big scary tube to literally flush your system. Nowadays a cleanse usually involves juicing (which is so hot right now) and generally starving yourself for three days or more while biting the heads off of everyone you come in contact with, leading up to a drinking and eating binge afterward. Sounds AWESOME.
Not exactly. I stumbled upon Bon Appetit Magazine's Food Lover's Cleanse while clicking through the tweets in the blogosphere. I read through the meals -- five actual solid food meals per day for two weeks -- and they looked pretty good. It's for people who love food, not people who love starving, right? How bad could it be? Famous last words, indeed.
I knew it would be a lot of work, but I'm practically made of fried chicken and tequila at this point, so it was time for a break. So I spent a couple of hours at Central Market spending a couple hundred dollars and came out with a fridge-full of quinoa, bulgur, fennel and kale. Among other things. Two weeks starts now.
Sunday night, after a farewell-to-restaurant-food brunch at Smoke and a nearly weepy sushi dinner, I diligently began prepping some of the more time-intensive dishes for the next week. Over three hours later I went to bed, with about an hour's worth of cooking still to do the next morning before work. But I had my lunch ready for Monday and I felt good.
This plan somehow came to be, as I woke up at 7, made my snack for the day (a pumpkin smoothie), and cooked a big pot of applesauce and then my breakfast. And that's when I heard that screeching tires sound in my brain. Plain oatmeal, stove-cooked, with blueberries and walnuts. I like blueberries and walnuts, but just plain oats with no cinnamon or sugar or anything? I was suddenly worried I'd be looking forward to the taste of my toothpaste pretty soon. Deep breath. I added a teaspoon of maple syrup and choked it down.
Lunch was made up of the lentils I cooked the night before (its camouflage-green color didn't make it disappear as I'd hoped), with a salad that tasted surprisingly great (butter lettuce with avocado, miso-lime dressing and orange segments). Snack was a pumpkin smoothie, which my brilliant ass made into a sweet potato smoothie after I bought the wrong orange can. It was ... interesting. Tasted like those drinkable yogurts you gulp down on your way out the door in the morning. So not great.
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Dinner was a vast improvement, however. It was a lot to prepare: a kale salad with balsamic vinegar-soaked currants and toasted pine nuts, black cod (or if you're like me and couldn't find black cod ANYWHERE, sea bass) with caramelized onions and apples, and baked sweet potato slices. Everything came out great.
I didn't even have
the room the energy for dessert. And just like that, Day 1 was over.
This cleanse/project/challenge/thing is tons of work. Not for the faint of kitchen. So right about now, two weeks feels like forever. I'll catch up with you guys in about a week, if I make it that long. Until then, if you're bored and/or curious, or you just want to watch a train wreck happen, feel free to follow my cleansing adventures over on foodbitch.me.