Red lentil curry

I made this red lentil curry the other day from a random recipe I found online, and it turned out really well. You can find the recipe here, if you’re interested. I skipped the teaspoon of sugar and the can of tomato puree (no tomatoes on the cleanse), but I did add in a tablespoon or so of tamarind chutney I had in the fridge. I’m sure there’s a little sugar in it, but I OK’d it because I thought it added great flavor.

I also served it over brown rice with some peas for a little extra color. I actually really like peas.

We’ve mostly been eating leftovers the past couple days, but I did make up some quinoa burgers.

Mike had this yummy salad with chickpeas.

And we’ve been snacking on pineapple, which feels like a treat. And it’s ridiculously cheap here.

Last night we ate out for the first time. There’s a sushi place pretty close to our house that allows you to sub brown rice for the white rice in your rolls. So we had some veggie rolls and a chicken skewer. It’s so hard to be a purist on this diet because there are so many things you would normally consider healthy (tofu, tomatoes, oranges) that you’re not supposed to have because of the allergy thing or because they’re too acidic. So we’re not trying to be perfect, just as good as we can be.

I’ve already lost 2.6 pounds, so I must be doing something right!

Days 3 and 4

Yesterday was day 3 of the cleanse. Neither one of us ever got a caffeine headache, which was awesome. I felt fantastic yesterday and pretty energetic today as well. I’ve pretty much eaten the same things both days.

Breakfast: blueberry-almond smoothie
Lunch: guacamole with rice crackers, one clementine
Snacks: hummus and carrots, pineapple
Dinner: Herbed chicken with brown rice and roasted zucchini. I just made this recipe without any parmesan cheese, and subbed some gluten-free tamari for most of the Worcestershire sauce)
Also: sparkling water with raspberries, pomegranate white tea

Still enjoying the colorful foods (apart from the beige chicken and rice)

By next week I’ll probably have had enough smoothies to be ready for juice breakfasts instead. We’re going to have a major veggie shopping trip to the grocery store this weekend.

Loving: post-Christmas edition

We have some new additions around the house, thanks to Christmas gifts.

Mike got this San Francisco poster, which we had custom framed. It’s huge!

When you get up close to it you can see all the details are actually words.

We also got a new small TV for our bedroom. Our old one was so ancient, when Mike pushed the power button it fell into the TV.

I also got a nice frame for my octopus flower print.

And some Merrell hiking boots from REI. They’re warm and comfy and waterproof.

Last but not least, I finally spent a whopping $8 to replace the totally non-functional Mac mouse I’ve had for like 3 years now. It works so much better it’s ridiculous.

January sale!

Last year I had a January sale in my Etsy shop and it worked out great, so I decided to do it again.

Just enter coupon code JANUARY when you check out and get 10% off your whole order!

I have a few things up my sleeve for 2012, so this is a chance for me to clear out the old and make way for fun new products. And don’t forget that you can buy the giant pouf pattern now.

New Year, fresh start

OK, confession. I weighed myself the other day and I had gained 9 pounds. Yowsa!

I had already planned on doing a cleanse in January, and I knew the last month had been pretty gluttonous, but that was the motivation I needed to kick start everything.

Step one: trash temptations.

And guess what… Mike is doing it with me!

We’ve actually really enjoyed the first couple of days. The food is just so fresh and colorful. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a salad more than the first one I ate yesterday.

In case you didn’t follow me last year, the cleanse consists of one week of an elimination diet where you stop eating processed foods, refined sugar, and a slew of foods that people often have allergies to (peanuts, dairy, wheat, shellfish…) Then you follow that with three weeks of eating off that list, but with two liquid meals a day. For me that was usually one juice and one soup, and I plan to do that again. You can also take probiotics and fiber to help your digestive system heal.

Here’s what I’ve had the first two days:

Breakfast: Blueberry-almond smoothie (1 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, two handfuls of blueberries, one pitted date)
Lunch: Salad of butter lettuce, carrots, pecans, and an avocado with homemade dressing
Snack: Hummus and carrots
Dinner: Moroccan-spiced lamb chops, quinoa with pine nuts and pineapple, sauteed zucchini and shallots
Also, two cups of black tea (trying to wean myself off coffee)

Breakfast: Quinoa oatmeal (leftover quinoa warmed up with almond milk, cinnamon, walnuts, raspberries, and a drizzle of agave nectar)
Lunch: Same salad as Day 1
Snacks: One fruit/nut ball and hummus on homemade crackers
Dinner: Butternut squash bisque (roasted squash, apple, and carrot chunks blended up with onions, celery, apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and turmeric)
Also, one cup green tea and a glass of sparkling water with crushed raspberries

We’ve definitely felt hungry at times and are expecting a withdrawal period to set in. But overall I think we’re doing well. I’d never cooked lamb before, but it was super easy and delicious. I’m trying to be diverse in my meal planning because I know we’ll get sick of eating the same things pretty quickly.

I was thinking about some of the things that helped me lose weight last year. Some deep thoughts, some tips and tricks. If I have a health resolution for this year it’s to remember all of these things and keep using them every day.

• Be honest with yourself about how much you weigh and the bad habits that got you there.
• Then forgive yourself for all of it and work on freeing yourself of guilt from splurges. It never helps.
• Believe that change is possible. You are the one in charge of everything you put in your mouth.
• Eat real food. I’ve gotten to a point where I’d rather have real butter and real cream if I’m gonna have it, just in small amounts. No more diet Coke.
• Avoid sugar and processed foods as much as possible. These are the things that pull you into an addictive cycle that makes you hungry for more junk. If you shouldn’t eat it, don’t keep it in your house either. I always send treats to work with Mike so they don’t hang around too long.
• Get smaller plates and bowls that fit realistic servings. Use measuring cups if you’re not sure what a serving looks like.
• Keep an emotional journal rather than a food journal. It always helped me more to write down how I felt at the end of the day.
• View weight loss like a man. And by that I mean stop beating yourself up for past failures and focus on the practical solutions that will help you get on track.
• At restaurants, order what you want to eat, but eat half an entree. Then you get to have it twice! Also, split desserts so you get your splurge without being overly full.
• Make time to meal plan, shop, and cook. If eating healthy is important to you, you have to do those things.
• Try to eat more earlier in the day when you need the energy (for me being hungry in the afternoon and then eating big dinners has always been a problem). Instead of dessert, have a cup of tea at night. It’s the perfect way to wind down.

I certainly haven’t been perfect with my eating habits, but the past few months have been so eye-opening and so refreshing compared to years of struggling. I still eat well, and I eat plenty of rich foods, but I have changed a lot of my day-to-day habits. The fact that I want to do a cleanse, that I’m excited to do it — that in itself says it all.