What’s New at La Domestique

Wheat Berry Stir Fry (c)2013 La Domestique

Hello there! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. We got 10 inches of snow here in Colorado! It was nice to be snowed in and the husband and I spent a lot of time working on projects around the house while little Minnie the dachshund slept by the fire. Today I would like to share a couple of updates with you. First, I’ve added a Portfolio tab at the top of the page so you can browse the best of La Domestique food photography and styling. Second, you can find me over at Food52 guest posting for their Halfway to Dinner column. I suggest preparing one big pot of slow-cooking grains (wheat berries) and give you 5 ideas for serving them in suppers throughout the week. Pop on over and take a look by clicking on the Food52 icon below! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day…

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Learning From The Cleanse

Eat the rainbow of vegetables (c)2013 La Domestique

The husband and I made it through the cleanse, learning a lot in the process. It was challenging, but so rewarding. For one week we followed a meal plan inspired by the Whole Living Action Plan and Dr. Junger’s book, Clean: smoothie for breakfast, satisfying vegan meal for lunch, pureed vegetable soup for supper. We were hungry, but it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. I gave up caffeine, and was surprised to find that once I got through the first few days, I actually have more energy without it. I also feel more calm and focused during the day. More than just a week- long detox, the cleanse caused major upheaval in our physical and emotional lives. Planning meals and preparing all the fresh produce took a lot of time and effort. The first four days were the toughest, with us crashing into bed at 8:00 p.m. most nights and a nagging fatigue. Towards the end of the week energy returned with renewed vigor and we both felt a spring in our step. Here are five lessons I took away from cleansing:

5 Lessons From the Cleanse

#1  Taste the Rainbow of Vegetables

Before starting the cleanse I was stuck in a rut, cooking the same old vegetables over and over again. It’s easy to get lazy during the bleak days of winter, eating more creamy comfort food and less fresh produce. But winter provides her own rainbow of vibrant colors to make cooking with vegetables interesting. It’s so important to choose colorful vegetables and fruits, which are richer in anti-oxidants, protecting our bodies and decreasing inflammation.

#2  Travel the World in Your Kitchen

The first week of the cleanse was restricted to a vegan and grain-free diet, which forced me to get creative with the vegetables and legumes I brought home. Inspired by India, I prepared a curry stew with coconut milk, winter squash, okra, and chickpeas. Dreaming of Asia lead to a hearty soba noodle bowl with shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, carrots, and cilantro in a garlicky ginger-infused broth. I learned to make my own Berbere (an Ethiopian spice blend) to make a fiery red lentil stew. To keep fresh salads interesting, I looked to the Middle East and took note of their talent for combining fresh vegetables in unexpected ways with spices and fresh herbs. Not only did these exotic cuisines add flavor to our meals, but also health benefits. Cilantro, garlic, and ginger aid in detox and decrease inflammation, as do spices like cinnamon, chili, and turmeric.

#3  Make Meat a Garnish, Not the Main Course

During the cleanse our main source of protein came from legumes (beans and lentils), which provide long-lasting energy. Now that I’m beginning to add meat back into our diet I’m thinking of it more as a garnish for adding flavor than as a source of sustenance. Normally I would buy three sausages for supper (two for the husband, one for me), but last night I only bought one chorizo sausage to grill and serve sliced atop black bean soup. Don’t get me wrong, I am a meat-lover. But with more satisfying vegetables and healthful legumes on the plate I don’t need as much meat to feel full.

#4  Consider Portion Size

Doing a cleanse is like hitting the reset button and starting over. A week of light meals and small portions brought to light the relationship between my acid reflux and eating too much at one time. I can put down some serious pasta in one sitting, but eating a more balanced, nutritious meal made me feel fuller faster. While on the cleanse, I did not have any episodes of acid reflux. Going forward, I know I’ve got to stop eating before I’m FULL and enjoy smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

#5  Try New Things

I’ve been preaching about “trying something new” for a long time, but this cleanse taught me to take my own advice. Being an omnivore, I had a prejudice against certain ingredients I considered to be for “health nuts.” Last week I tried almond milk for the first time and discovered that I actually REALLY like it. I’ve also happily incorporated an array of coconut products into my diet (milk, flakes, oil). For some reason dates are a new thing for me, having become a favorite snack in our house. The next new thing I’m planning to try is seaweed. Balance is key here, and it’s easier to incorporate new ingredients into meals you are comfortable with than go all out with a whole new diet plan.

Healthy Vegetables (c)2013 La Domestique

Now that the cleanse is over I’m slowly incorporating meats, whole grains, and dairy back into our diet. So far I haven’t noticed any food sensitivities. It seems my issues lie in an unbalanced diet (carbs carbs carbs!) and portions that are too large. I’ve also been avoiding things that are known to trigger acid reflux, like caffeine, alcohol, mint, chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus. However, the last week felt very restrictive, and I’m looking forward to enjoying my favorite foods again (cheese, pasta, meat). In the book, Clean, Dr. Junger suggests enjoying your favorite foods as part of a rotating diet. It’s nice to know I don’t have to give up my favorite foods forever, rather, truly savor them as a special treat. The plate looks a lot different now, though, mostly covered in the freshest, most vibrant produce and fiber-rich legumes. The greatest thing I learned from cleansing is a renewed appreciation for the link between the food I eat and the way my body feels.

Have you done a cleanse or detox diet in the last year? What was your greatest lesson? Share it here.

The Cleanse Begins

Winter Fruits (c)2013 La Domestique

Remember when I said the husband and I were going to do a cleanse? Well, today the cleanse begins! So many of you commented on my last post, showing your support and desire to follow along – I thought you might like to see what our first week looks like. As I mentioned before, we’ll be doing a combination of the Whole Living Action Plan and the cleanse from Dr. Junger’s book, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself.

Why combine two plans? I like how the Whole Living Action Plan is vegan during the first week, and their meal plan provided a guide upon which I could personalize the cleanse. I think Dr. Junger’s Yes and No food lists in Clean might be good for helping me avoid reflux-causing foods and plan on incorporating some of the recipes from the book into our detox diet this week. Also, I’m going to try a few of Dr. Junger’s recommendations, like taking probiotics during the cleanse and drinking 2 tablespoons olive oil every evening. Dr. Junger suggests sauna and deep tissue massage to help the body get rid of toxins during the cleanse, and I’ll be making time for that too. This week is all about eating fresh, unprocessed foods and trying to avoid toxins (pesticides, artificial ingredients) so the body has a chance to heal. Two liquid meals a day and a more substantial lunch gives the digestive system a rest so energy can be put toward detoxifying. I won’t go into much detail here, but encourage you to check out Clean and the Whole Living Action Plan to learn more.

Below you’ll see a bird’s-eye-view of the first week of our cleanse. When applicable, I’ve included a link to the recipe – just click on the item. You can follow along our daily journey over on instagram and I’m pinning recipes on our Pinterest board: Cleanse Inspiration. Do you have a favorite cleansing recipe? I would love for you to share it in the comments section. Click Here.

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