Sunday, August 15, 2010

blueberry walnut wonderfuls

I arrived back in the Bay Area last night, after a couple of days of work in Seattle followed by a few days vacation in Poulsbo visiting my mom. I have not been spending much time in the kitchen lately. I also haven't been taking as much advantage of the local bounty of summer produce as I would like (either from my own garden or from local farmers' markets). Rather, recent nights out with friends added to the summer BBQs of late and working a bit too much (which seems to often lead to dinners of pizza) have left me feeling like my diet needs a bit of an overhaul. I've come to a decision: it's time for a cleanse!

My dietary cleanse of choice is a 4-week detox program. It is not one of those crazy, cayenne-lemon-juice sorts of "cleanses" aimed at weight loss. Rather, the focus is on healthy eating in order to give the body a break from processing junk so that it can instead focus on eliminating the toxins that build up over time.* I've done the full cleanse once before, and did a modified 2-week version earlier this year. The biggest benefits I felt were higher quality sleep and much more energy during the day. It also proved a good way to reset my diet and get back to eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which is probably what we should all mostly be eating, anyway.
*Our lungs eliminate the acids produced during the digestive process when we breath. When more is produced than can be eliminated by our body during the day (often the case in Western diets), these acids are stored in serous fluid in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen) to be processed at night while we sleep. Over time, though, these acids can build up in the body's tissue as the toxins accumulate. This detox is meant to give the body a chance to process these toxins that build up over time. Source: The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health

The first week of the cleanse, which I am beginning today, calls for 1) the elimination of dairy, wheat, meat, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol and 2) the addition of mineral water with low mineral content, herbal tea, and cooking with more fresh herbs. I'm pretty excited to get started. I spent my morning run thinking about a vegetable curry that I plan to make for dinner. I came away from today's farmers' market with some beautiful fruit and veggies, and harvested the last of the Swiss chard and first of the tomatoes from my garden.

But before I start posting my cleanse-friendly recipes over the coming weeks, I'll share a slightly sweeter (albeit quite healthy) one: cookies I made at my mother's house. The recipe is heavily adapted from a carrot cookie recipe on 101cookbooks. I love the flavor of oat flour and the not-so-sweet sweetening of maple syrup. The combination of oat flour and coconut oil makes for some pretty dense cookies (almost more energy-bar-like than traditional-cookie-like). The dough seemed a little wet, so I added more flour - a bit too much - so I've reduced the amount in the recipe below accordingly. Enjoy!

Blueberry Walnut Wonderfuls
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 1/4 c. oat flour
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 c. dried blueberries
2/3 c. walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Position top oven rack to top 1/3 of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Add this to dry mixture and stir to combine.

Drop rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork, if desired. Bake 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden.

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