Things I learned from the BA Food Lover’s Cleanse!

Banana, Almond and Spinach Smoothie = YUM!

Banana, Almond and Spinach Smoothie = YUM!

I’m officially done with the Food Lover’s Cleanse. It was two weeks of post-holiday diet detox and it did my body good. And hey, I even learned a few things about myself:

1. I really do like quinoa. Sometimes I forget how much I like it so I never buy it. But then I eat it and remember it’s delicious. I now have a five-pound bag of red quinoa in my cupboard.

2. That my cravings for Mexican food actually rivaled my cravings for Italian food. As a lifelong pasta addict, this totally surprised me. My first post-cleanse meal involved tacos, a tamale and queso fundido. And soooo many tortillas. And a few margaritas. It was fabulous.

Smoked Brisket Tamale at La Taq

Smoked Brisket Tamale at La Taq

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Sticking to a cleanse is easier when you’re eating steak!

Seared Striploin, Orange-Parsley Chimichurri with Roasted Beets and Carrots.

Seared Striploin, Orange-Parsley Chimichurri with Roasted Beets and Carrots.

As you all may know, I’ve been participating in the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse. The refined-sugar-and flour-free eating plan has resulted in several dreams involving fudge and bread but so far I’ve managed to make it through without a single cheat. Of course, it’s fairly easy to stick to a cleanse that involves (at least a little) red meat.

Yes, this beautiful steak dinner was still part of the 2014 FLC and it was so satisfying it nearly made me forget about wanting a beer. Nearly.

The recipe was Hanger steak with Orange Oregano Chimichurri but I made a few substitutions. The first issue was that I hadn’t bought hanger steaks from work and trying to find them at the nearest grocery store was totally unsuccessful. I turned instead to another steak known for its leanness, the striploin. In the chimichurri, I used some home-dried thyme instead of dried oregano because that’s what I had on hand. I also added a bit of mint because I live on the edge.

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Quinoatmeal: A protein powerhouse of a breakfast

Apple Pecan Quinoatmeal

Apple Pecan Quinoatmeal with Almond Milk and Cinnamon

As far as cleanses go, the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse is an easy one for me to follow. They know their audience well — the 14-day eating plan allows for four cocktails a week and gives the exception for a morning cup of coffee. Which is good news for me because two weeks without caffeine would lead me into a deep dark place that even sprouted lentils couldn’t save me from.

I’m also very thankful that the recipes that Bon Appetit included in the cleanse are (so far) very good. I made this lovely and filling quinoa-oatmeal for Day 4 and was incredibly happy with how it turned out.

The quinoa is rinsed and left to soak overnight with steel-cut oats, reducing the morning cooking time. The next day, the mixture is brought to a boil. Add in some almond milk, cinnamon and salt and after 10 minutes, breakfast is ready! I topped my bowl (as recommended) with toasted pecans and half a cup of shredded apple for sweetness.

Apple Pecan Quinoatmeal with Almond Milk

Apple Pecan Quinoatmeal with Almond Milk

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