Back to School Mini-Cleanse (liquid recipes galore!)

After a truly lovely last weekend of summer, I feel ready to head back to school for a fresh new year! For those of us in education (I’m a grad student and a college-level instructor), we’ll never outgrow that exciting rush of September energy that most of you probably remember from your childhood. The smell of fall air coupled with the feel of fresh notebooks; the breaking-in of new school shoes and the anticipation of meeting new students; the memories of summer fondly tucked away behind the delicious potentiality of a new year….It’s quite magical, so I’m glad I still get to have it. :)

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The other cool thing about September being another “new year” is that you can look at it as as much of a “fresh start” as the January new year. This means re-committing yourself to good habits, which for me means rebooting from some of my summer treat indulgences. Now, as I hope I’ll make clear on this blog, I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating special treats once in a while. In fact, finding ways to create healthy treats is one of the main impetuses behind my desire to cook and bake more (because if they’re healthy treats, then you can have them more than “once in a while,” right? Right.). But as you saw on some of these summer posts, my treats weren’t always particularly healthy (—need I remind you of the corn-syrup filled marshmallows?) And so a new year mini-cleanse seemed an appropriate move for a rejuvenating start to my first year as a doctoral candidate (or, put another way, my entering of “the 21st grade” (!)).

As I’ve written about before, I’m a big fan of Dr. Junger’s CLEAN program and Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD), and although I like to do a full-blown 3 week CLEAN detox twice a year, my periodic mini-cleanses are a combination of Dr. J’s with a dash of Carr’s less-restrictive menu. On CLEAN, you follow a routine of liquid meal in the morning, nutritious solid lunch, and liquid meal for dinner. In addition, you’re restricted from not only gluten, sugar and alcohol (as you are on the CSD), but also a fairly long list of “no-foods,” such as nightshade vegetables, certain fruits, and soy. (Oh, Dr. J allows fish, CSD is all vegan; neither allows cheese. I forget about these things since that’s never something I have to be conscious of, since I don’t eat meat or cheese anyway!). Both recommend tons of water, supplements (I’ve fallen in love with probiotics), and CSD encourages mediation and positive affirmations.

So for the next 7-10 days (I’m giving myself some wiggle room), I’m going to follow the liquid/solid/liquid routine, say no to sugar, gluten, soy and alcohol (and all the other restricted things I already say no to). These mini-cleanses are also a great time to practice drinking tons of water, something I tend to be hit or miss on.

So does this mean the blog is going to be boring without any pictures of delicious-looking food? Of course not! That’s why these cleanses are so great—you still get to eat amazing food and drink amazing drinks! All my mid-day meals will be “normal” recipes, and the world of smoothies, juices and soups is so exciting it could have it’s own reality TV show. No, for serious. I’m stoked to share some of the best liquid meal recipes I’ve come across, starting with this amazing Pumpkin, Corn and Lemongrass soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds that I made last night:

This recipe is courtesy of one of my good friends from Chicago who always cooks unbelievably tasty meals when I come back for a visit. See more of her recipes on Big Fork, Little Spoon. Note: corn is technically a “no” veggie on Dr. J’s cleanse, plus the pumpkin seeds are technically solid (but I chewed ’em real good!). So, I would avoid this during an actual cleanse, but for this mini version, I decided to go for it. Also, that thing I said yesterday about it being too soon for pumpkin: yeah, that didn’t last. ;)

Stay tuned for more delicious detox-friendly recipes!

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