and two other years in the recent past), it was Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet. And one time, I did the 21-Day PCRM meal plan.
This year, I'm using one of my favorite bloggers' new cookbooks! When Gena Hamshaw's Choosing Raw came out earlier this year, I immediately spied the 21-day meal plan. I'm such a sucker for a meal plan. I crave structure, especially when it comes to food. And I love having someone else — especially some smart, nutritionist like Gena — design a well-balanced day or week of eating for me! Plus, Gena uses leftovers in her plan, and for a girl on a budget, that's crucial.
Plus, Gena has a really practical approach to raw foods. She's all about moderation. Eat some cooked stuff. Enjoy a splurge every now and then. But her meals are probably 70 to 80 percent raw. The book contains both raw and cooked recipes. Also, for the 21 days of Choosing Raw, I'm cutting out sugar (except in my morning coffee creamer or my home-brewed kombucha). Yes, I am having coffee this year. And I'm even having red wine a few days a week, if I want it. But I'm mostly cutting out processed stuff and cutting back on gluten.
Also, just to be clear, I'm not calling this a cleanse this year. It's more of a reset. That's mostly because every time I say "I'm going on a cleanse," someone always replys, "I've read that cleanses don't really work." I think maybe I think of the word "cleanse" a little differently. For me, it's just a way to get my eating habits back in line, a way to counteract the naughty fried food-face-stuffing ways of the holidays. I don't believe I'm clearing out any "toxins" or anything. Just resetting.
On that note, here's a rundown of what I ate on the first weekend of Gena's high-raw meal plan. I'm following Gena's meal plans pretty closely, but I'm mixing the breakfasts up a bit to accomodate my running day protein smoothies. Breakfast on Day 1 — Friday — was Chickpea Tofu Tahini Scramble with Steamed Kale tossed in herbs de provence dressing. Loved starting the cleanse with a protein-packed tofu scramble!
Each day offers a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack. That's my kind of diet! On Day 1, I had the Veggie Bowl Juice (beets, carrots, celery, spinach, cucumber, & ginger) in the morning and Superfood Trail Mix in the afternoon. The trail mix recipe is in the book, but I cheated and bought a mix from the Whole Foods bulk bin that had most of the same ingredients.
Lunch on Friday was Sweet Pea Hummus Tartines with Homegrown Sprouts and a Salad with Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, and Balsamic Vinaigrette. I used Ezekiel sprouted grain bread for the tartines.
Dinner was Raw Carrot Falafel with Tangy Tahini Sauce over salad and a bowl of Mixed Heirloom Lentils. The falafel is made in the dehydrator using carrot pulp from juicing and sesame seeds. Yum!
Each day also includes dessert! Score! Every day this weekend, I've enjoyed a couple of these Simple Raw Vanilla Macaroons made in the dehydrator with cashews, bee-free honee, and coconut. I never would have imagined such simple ingredients could make something so delicious. But OMG, these macaroons!! Like little balls of bliss.
On Saturday, Day 2, I'd planned a six-mile run. But when I awoke, it was pouring rain. I don't mind running for short distances in the rain, but I'd be soaked after six miles. So I stayed in and had some leftover Chickpea Tofu Tahini Scramble and Kale for breakfast.
For my mid-morning snack, I had some leftover Sweet Pea Hummus (made with both chickpeas and green peas) with carrots and cauliflower. This hummus reminds me of spring, which I really need right now. It's so stupid cold this week. I also like how it looks like a blob of wasabi! My afternoon snack isn't pictured because it was just a banana.
Lunch was leftover Raw Carrot Falafel over salad greens and some Hemp Seed Tabouli. I'd never thought to replace the traditional bulgur with hemp seeds, but it's genius and so very tasty.
Dinner on Saturday was Raw Pad Thai with Steamed Broccoli and Mixed Heirloom Lentils. What a fun dinner! The pad thai is made with kelp noodles, which are basically my favorite raw food ever. I'm not a fan of most sea veggies because I hate the fishy taste. But kelp noodles don't taste like anything! Yet they have an awesome crunchy, chewy texture.
Dessert on Saturday was more macaroons!
On Sunday, Day 3, I finally got to take that six-miler! So for breakfast, I had my traditional Vega protein smoothie. This morning, I created a new recipe using Berry Vega One, but I'm going to save it for a later review post of the new Vega One formula. But here's a pic of my Wild Berry Banana Protein Smoothie.
Almost every Sunday, my friends and I go to brunch at Imagine Vegan Cafe. And while Imagine has a few cleanse-safe dishes, I wanted to stick to Gena's meal plans as closely as possible. So I picked a lunch option (actually the one I was supposed to have on Monday) that would be good with one of Imagine's side salads. Then I made a double-batch and brought it to Imagine to share with Pam, while Stephanie and Cassi gorged on vegan chili-cheese fries and vegan potato skins (yes, they just had to rub that in our faces!). Anyway, Pam and I had Black Bean, Mango, & Avocado Salad Over Zucchini Noodles with Imagine's Side Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. I also had coffee because I can.
I skipped my morning snack on Sunday because breakfast and lunch were so close together. But I did have an afternoon snack of Sweet Pea Hummus with Carrots and Celery.
Dinner was another fantastic raw dish! Unfried Rice with Scallions, Broccoli, Snow Peas and Shiitake Mushrooms. The "rice" is made by chopping jicama in a food processor and then dehydrating it for an hour. On the side, I had a Spinach Salad with Chickpeas, Radishes, Sprouts, and a Citrus Vinaigrette.
I'm about to have more macaroons for dessert and get to work prepping Monday's food! I'll be back tomorrow with a full day rundown!