On New Years day, I was feeling sluggish, a little out of balance, and like my digestive system needed a major break. After all the holiday parties, culinary school tastings, restaurant work, and baking projects, I needed a full body re-boot.
January is usually the month of extreme diet pledges, juice and raw foods cleanses. While some people swear by their 5-day green juice cleanses or all-salad-all-day regimes, I find they are usually a pain to follow, extremely hard on your system, and leave you with terrible cravings that will send you swinging back out of health.
I would like to offer a simpler, softer, and definitely tastier idea for those who are feeling ready to bring their health back into balance for the new year. The solution: WHOLE foods.
Rather than pledge to eliminate "naughty" foods from your diet, try to incorporate as many plant-based foods as possible. We're talking about vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. When you begin to increase the quantity of these nourishing, whole foods into your diet, you will naturally find yourself moving away from the processed, the artificial, and the overly sugared. Think more about what you should eat and less about what you shouldn't eat.
Trust me, your body and spirit will thank you.
This is the Whole Foods Cleanse. Its the way humans have been eating for millennia. Its not complicated or carefully measured. Rather, it's guided by vibrant colors, inspired by nature's bounty, and driven - most importantly - by what your body needs to feel its best.
The problem for most people, myself included, is that resolve to eat well fades without continual ideas of "what's for dinner." And we easily turn back to old, less-healthy habits. That is where Carly's Wellness Kitchen comes in. On this site, I will feature plant-based meals (with some high-quality animal products too) and teach you about basic nutrition principles. As I invite you into my kitchen, I hope you will find continual inspiration to nourish yourself with high quality, whole foods. Wellness begins in the kitchen. So lets get cooking!
Here's a recipe to refresh your breakfast routine. Ditch the refined cereals and turn to whole grains, cooked to a porridge consistency and mixed with fresh or frozen fruit and chia seeds. In this recipe, I've used quinoa and frozen blueberries and topped it with cashews and shredded coconut to add some healthy fats. The combination of fiber and fat helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. It works for New Years Day or any day.
Culinary Wellness Tip: Don't have time for this recipe on the weekdays? Make a pot on Sunday and reheat portions as needed with a little extra almond milk. All you'll have to do is throw on the toppings and enjoy.
Quinoa Porridge with Blueberries, Chia Seeds, and Coconut
Yield: 4 one-cup servings
1 cup quinoa, soaked overnight if possible
1 cup water
1 ½ + 1/4 cups almond milk
1 inch cinnamon stick, or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Honey or maple syrup
- Rinse quinoa and combine with water, 1 ½ cups almond milk, cinnamon stick, and salt in a medium-sized pot. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is porridge consistency.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds and blueberries, adding an additional ¼ cup almond milk. Rest for 10 minutes, allowing the chia seeds to expand.
- Serve with shredded coconut and a drizzle or honey or maple syrup.