Earlier this week, I embarked on a 4-week detox program. My impetus for doing so was twofold: 1) to give my body a chance to process the toxins that have built up over time, and 2) to help me hit the "reset" button on my diet: I think maybe I forgot to stop eating the rich foods and sweets after the holiday season ended. Time to change that.
The program I'm following is from The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health. I did this cleanse last summer and felt amazing afterwards. Week one of the detox calls for drinking a lot of herbal tea and low content mineral water, and cutting out wheat, dairy, meat, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. This means that I'm eating a lot of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (and drinking a lot of liquid!). It's only been six days, but I already feel like I'm sleeping better and have more energy during the day. Direct evidence: I got up at 8am this morning (a Saturday), which is nearly unheard of!
During the past week, my staple breakfast at work has been steel cut oats with banana, dried blueberries, flax seeds, and almonds. Saturday brought with it a break from this routine. After getting up this morning, I scoured the fridge and cupboards searching for something satiating and healthy. Leftover brown rice in the fridge plus dried fruit in the pantry from JR's parents sounded like, together, they would do the trick.
Before I get into the preparation details, let's check out the benefits of the food items that make up this dish (this section could aptly be titled, "what I learned from the internet today"):
Dried cherries & peaches: Both fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, B, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Cherries are detoxifying and rejuvenating; they stimulate the immune system and help prevent infection. Peaches are both diuretic and laxative - perfect during a cleanse. Researchers have discovered that when you dry fruit, it can become richer in antioxidants (though it's important to note that water soluble vitamins, like vitamin C are degraded in the process). Dried fruit is also higher in fiber than its fresh counterparts. Look for natural dried fruit that doesn't have added sugar.
Brown rice: Brown rice is a whole grain, energy-providing food. It is a complex carbohydrate that provides 15 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, niacin, and potassium. Brown rice is rich in fiber and gentle on the digestive system. It helps control blood sugar and cholesterol.
Soy milk: Soy milk is high in protein, and because it is made from beans, also contains much more fiber than cow's milk. Soy milk contains isoflavones, which are thought to help in the prevention of heart disease, osteoporosis, and many cancers.
Honey: Honey is a natural sweetener and a natural antibiotic. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals (that vary depending on the type of flowers used for apiculture). Because of its numerous nutritional benefits, honey is treasured around the world and is an important aspect of traditional medicines, such as Ayurveda. One source I read said that honey can also help with weight loss: when consumed with warm water, it helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. There's a good reason to add some honey to your tea!
Cinnamon: Chinese herbalists use cinnamon to promote vitality and warm the body. It has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol and have a regulatory effect on blood sugar. Honey is a good source of fiber, iron, and calcium. Bonus: it tastes good!
Pecans: Like other nuts, pecans are a good source of monounsaturated fat. Several studies have shown that pecans contain more antioxidants than any other type of nut. Pecans contain vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and zinc.
Ok, the health lesson for today is complete. Here's how it all came together in a tasty, satisfying breakfast:
Detox Breakfast Rice
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/4 c. dried peaches
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. brown rice, cooked
6-8 oz. soy milk
1 Tbsp. honey
Place the dried fruit in a small bowl. Boil water, add to bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat rice in a pot over medium heat with 1/4 c. soy milk, stirring occasionally, until the soy milk is absorbed and the rice is hot. Reduce heat to medium low. Add fruit (including water) and honey. Mix to combine. Stir periodically, adding more soy milk as needed to keep the rice moist and from sticking to the bottom of the pan (similar to making risotto). Continue with this process until rice reaches desired consistency - the longer you cook and add soy milk, the creamier it will become.
Serve topped with a couple dashes of cinnamon and a sprinkling of pecans.
One year ago: spicy salty sweet Brussels sprouts