Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September Challenge: Less than Four Days to Go **with Joshi Basics**

I have mixed feelings right now about the 'end' of the detox. I don't want to stop, and this is normal for me. This happens every time we do a detox. I feel great. I have a reduced appetite. I have minimal (some days zero) cravings. I feel happy. I feel like I can keep going like this forever. Alas, the 30 days are about to come to an end.

When I've done the Master Cleanse in the past, which is much more severe than a holistic detox (it's a fasting cleanse), I've had those same feelings near the end: a reluctance to go back to 'normal.' And hoping that my new normal will be different than my old normal, but I guess everyone has their own brand of normal to default to. I always say, "I feel so good not needing caffeine first thing in the morning--I think I'll stay off coffee!" I say, "Wow, wheat and too much dairy really make me bloated; I'm going to continue to buy gluten-free and stay away from most cow products!" I say, "Sugar spikes and crashes are not worth the taste of a lemon bar."

But you know what? Sometimes a lemon bar is worth it. And that's okay.

Things I want to continue:

- Dry skin brushing. This feels great, and according to many websites, it reduces cellulite. All I know is that my skin feels super soft.
- 99% no red meat. I wouldn't be fussy as a guest if someone served red meat, and I might have the occasional sausage when out for breakfast, but I would like it to be less than a monthly occurrence.
- Minimal wheat. We like the brown rice pasta, wheat-free waffles, and rice crackers. The bread is so-so, but we don't really eat enough bread to care that much. I think we'll still probably eat tortillas on occasion for wraps, but not weekly or anything.
- Caffeine... I don't know what to do with this one. I definitely want to keep up the tea drinking because of all the health benefits. And I would rather not go back to daily coffee consumption, but I really love it. Like, so much. It's my favourite food. So I don't know. I can live with one cup a day (I normally drink two, three max on a rare occasion), but I'd love to be able to turn it into a weekend thing.
- I want to stay off sugar. We are able to keep sweets in the house without eating them, and we always have a box of Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate in the cupboard, and an ounce of that does wonders for a sugar craving, as does a tablespoon of dark chocolate Chipits, which we always have in the freezer. I only crave chocolate about once a week or every two weeks, even, and other than that, raw honey in some yogurt or on a waffle also does the trick. I definitely want to stay away from anything that is both wheat + sugar. Those are the things that make me feel the worst, and cause me to have cravings for more of same.

Actually, that was just a total ah-ha moment for me. I don't do well with sugar + wheat. Cakes, squares, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, etc. I don't eat them on a regular basis, but when I do, I want more the next day, and the next, and the next. Sugar on its own isn't a problem for me, and neither is wheat (but maybe a little more so than sugar--crackers, pitas, etc), but together, they are my enemy. Okay, good to know.

I wanted to write down the basics of the Joshi Program for those who are curious about trying it. In his book, he doesn't write down GOOD foods vs BAD foods, just things to decrease vs things to increase. We take his suggestions seriously and avoid the bad foods altogether, but if he's wishy washy on something, we jump on it (like avocado seems to be straddling the two lists, so we've shared maybe two this entire month). I'm going to call my lists the EAT and DON'T EAT lists, just because we are pretty strict with it.


- red meat
- dairy other than exceptions in other list
- booze
- fizzy drinks (even water)
- caffeine (other than green tea)
- sugar and sugary products (candy, etc)
- wheat
- mushrooms
- tomatoes
- vinegar, mustard, miso, anything fermented
- nightshades (cucumber, peppers, zucchini, eggplant)
- fruit, other than bananas, lemons, and limes
- seafood (shrimp, scallops, etc)
- canned fish or poultry


- chicken, turkey, white fish
- legumes and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, etc)
- leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, chard, etc)
- herbal and green teas
- lemon water
- tofu
- cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc)
- carrots, celery, beets, onion, radishes, leeks, asparagus, etc
- bananas
- Joshi-approved dairy: goat cheese, goat feta, pro-biotic yogurt, buffalo mozzarella (limited)
- walnuts and almonds, seeds (in moderation)
- brown, black, or wild rice
- soy or almond milk

He recommends avoiding processed foods, but we've found some great brown rice pastas, brown rice crackers, store-bought hummus (though it's simple to make your own), waffles, cereal, etc, that fits the bill. The recipes in the back of the book seemed incredibly boring, but fortunately we are creative enough in the kitchen to make some great meals. I highly recommended playing around with flavours--we bought fresh herbs every week and found ways to work them into our meal plan, and we added roasted walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds to many dishes (especially delicious in salads). Farm Boy Lemon Garlic dressing is okay on the detox as well, plus we used a detox recipe for a creamy tahini dressing, so we didn't get bored.

If you have any questions about any particular foods, feel free to ask!

The regular Joshi plan is 21 days, and we normally began those on Mondays, with liver flushes on the three Sundays. The daily dry skin brushing is also part of the program.

Here's our basic soup recipe--we get asked for this a lot!

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
4 cups of broth
2 cups of veggies*
salt and pepper

*Some combinations we use are: cauliflower/curry, broccoli/pepper, fennel/cayenne, carrot/ginger.

Heat oil over medium heat, and add diced onion and garlic. Sauté for about five minutes, until tender (do not brown). Add chopped veggies and sauté another 10 minutes or so. Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about twenty minutes.

Use a blender to purée all of the soup. Add salt and pepper, and whatever spice(s) you've decided to use. That's it!

Here is the recipe for the Tahini Dressing we use (from the Wild Rose Detox Cookbook):

2/3c unsweetened soy milk
1/2c tahini
5 Tbsps freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Place all ingredients in blender and mix.

This is our favourite Smoky Split Pea Soup, from Appetite for Reduction (a great vegan cookbook):

1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbsps smoked paprika*
2 tbsps dried thyme
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 1/4 cups split peas
6 cups broth
1 tsp salt
1-2 tbsps fresh lemon juice

*We don't have smoked paprika, so we use 3 tsps regular paprika and 1 tsp chipotle flakes--muy caliente!

Heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent but not browned. Add salt, pepper, and garlic, sauté another minute, then add split peas, carrots, paprika, and thyme. Stir continously to toast the spices a little, and then add the broth. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer. The recipe says to simmer about 40 minutes or until split peas are creamy, but I find that it takes more like an hour and a half.

We threw cilantro into it last time and it added some great flavour! This would also be great with a dollop of plain yogurt to calm the heat a bit if you find it too spicy.

Now it's off to the gym for me. I was going to take September off because I thought I'd be getting more yoga in, but that didn't pan out quite like I wanted. I went for a run last week and now I'm dying to go again! I'm just going to let my lunch digest a little more first, and then it's time to hit the treadmill!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Challenge: Rounding the bend.

Eight days to go! Can it be? This month has been much more simple than I thought it would be (but that may have something to do with the fact that I'm only doing half of what I actually wanted to do). Yoga three times a week? I've done it twice. Walking every day? I've definitely improved, but it hasn't been quite as regular as that. Meditating daily? Not since the first week, I don't think! Yikes.

Also, I cheated a little and got on the scale halfway through. I was down six pounds in the first two weeks, and I'm quite happy with that. I was unofficially hoping for a loss of eight pounds during the Wellness Challenge, and I am thinking that I can get there.

It's been a little while since I've posted, and we haven't been taking photos as regularly, I don't think. The good news is that this way of eating is becoming just normal life, so we're kind of forgetting. And parts of it were normal life even before the detox began: we usually have plain yogurt as a morning snack; we often have hummus and rice crackers in the afternoon; our dinners are normally veggie-centric. I think the thing I'm missing most is tomatoes and tomato-based dishes.

Also, we're definitely noticing the lack of alcohol! We feel a little boring most of the time, but I'd like to cut back on that anyway. Nothing wrong with enjoying a glass or two of wine with a meal or while out with friends--no need to consume the whole bottle. (Right?)

My list of can't-wait-to-make dishes is growing.

- Moroccan Stew
- Le Creuset Cajun Salmon
- Veggie Shepherd's Pie
- Linguine alla Vongole

Most of this stuff is very healthy--but all of it involves tomatoes! I will keep up with the food photos and posts after September is over.

I'm excited for my Lymphatic Drainage Massage tomorrow evening. The RMT is coming over from 6-8pm. I've never had an LDM before, but it's apparently very good for detoxing!

Some food catch up:

This was Sunday's brunch at 2pm, after a morning flush. (We fell asleep during our mandatory resting period from 10.45am to 1.30pm!) We made omelets with basil, green onion, and a bit of goat cheese, and gluten-free, wheat-free waffles with almond butter, banana, honey, and cinnamon. Delicious!

Sunday night's dinner. Another time that we did Joshi's, we came up with a 'detox shawarma plate' and decided to try that again. It's SO delicious. These are chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper and sliced atop a bed of brown rice (Marielle threw some cardamom pods in the water while it boiled--yum), which we threw in a frying pan with some green onion, lemon juice, parsley and olive oil once it was ready. Served with a big green salad with feta, some avocado slices, a mixture of hummus, lemon juice, and yogurt, and some lemon-tahini dressing on top of everything. This was SO satifying (and felt like a cheat, although it was 100% Joshi-friendly).

On Monday night, we had a repeat from last week, which was a veggie stirfry sprinkled with toasted almonds, but we didn't get a photo of that. It was great though! Tuesday night is our game night with a couple of friends, and it's always a little difficult to try to eat Joshi when out, but we managed really well! Tina supplied the chicken breasts (ours were seasoned with only salt and pepper, and she put barbecue sauce on theirs), which Meagan and Marielle barbecued to perfection while Tina and I prepped salads! Marielle and I brought prepped lettuce, arugula, carrots, celery, red cabbage, green onion, and red onion, and I threw some chopped walnuts in the oven when we got there for roasting. Meagan provided some feta cheese, which we managed to finish off between four salads--YUM! Marielle and I brought our detox dressing and they used Kraft, and they added cucumber and tomato to theirs as well.

We were stuffed after all that! But we made room for some dark chocolate while we played Scattergories later with our tea! (I won. Heh.)

Yesterday we booked a day off work to do some shopping, and by the time we got home we'd been on our feet for hours and were totally wiped. We'd planned salmon en papillote, which is delicious but also really simple. We were famished and craving carbs big time, so we boiled up some brown rice macaroni and threw the rest of our walnut-arugula pesto into it, and added some raw crushed garlic at the end. It was GREAT!

The parcels included a base of leeks, bok choy, green beans and garlic, and we put some ginger and fresh cilantro on the salmon.

 I will definitely update this weekend, since we're thinking about trying out Asian lettuce wraps with ground turkey on Friday night, and we're hosting a Joshi dinner party on Saturday for my grandmother's 88th birthday! She probably wouldn't want her age posted for the world to see, but I seriously doubt she'll be browsing the interwebs anytime soon...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Challenge: Two Weeks Down, Two to Go!

I unfortunately don't have many new photos to post today. Only two, from dinner last night. We went out for Marielle's parents' 35th wedding anniversary, to Aroma Meze. It's an upscale Greek tapas place, where we had a private room and a set menu planned by the chef. He was told that there would be two people on a detox at the table, and invited me to call him to work something out! We ended up with a fantastic array of dishes:

- dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with dill-herbed rice and sheep's milk yogurt)
- a delicious dip called Spanakomizithra, which was a blend of spinach, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic and almonds
- zucchini fritters with tzatziki and cucumber
- chicken breast scaloppini stuffed with spinach and feta with an avgolemono sauce (egg and lemon)
- sesame seared feta drizzled in honey

We probably could've eaten more--I think we were fairly satisfied until we realized that we were done our set menu but the rest of the table was only about halfway through theirs. And all of it looked delicious! (They had dolmades as well, a Greek salad, the chicken scaloppini, phyllo pastries filled with a variety of fillings, cheese flambé, shrimp flambé, a mixed sausage platter, duck confit, calamari, Medjool dates filled with gorgonzola, foie gras, with a candied walnut on top... I'm probably forgetting something too.) But it was nice to leave a restaurant without a food baby for a change, and we could've snacked when we got home if we wanted, but it turned out we actually were completely satisfied.

These are the only two dishes we have photos of (the dolmades, and the sesame-seared feta, which I think was the unanimous favourite from our menu).

Other than that, things are going well. There are still things I'm dropping the ball on (yoga, meditation, keeping up my handwritten detox journal) but food-wise, everything is a-ok. We went off a little this weekend both nights (we had a little dinner party on Friday night with two friends, and had some wine as well as a cupcake and some beet loaf for dessert. The cupcakes weren't too bad but the icing certainly wasn't on the program, and the beet loaf was organic and delicious but did have some spelt flour in it). And then last night, the zucchini fritters and chicken scaloppini weren't 100% Joshi-friendly because of some light breading. But neither of us is too concerned.

Normally we do the Joshi detox for 21 days, as suggested in his book, so since we're tacking an extra nine days onto that, I don't think it's the end of the world that we went off a tiny bit. We're having a dinner party again next Saturday--this time with my parents and grandmother--but we're sticking to an entirely detox menu. I'll make sure to take photos and update afterwards!

Today is Sunday, meaning we have to flush our livers this morning and then head back to bed. Not going to lie, I really need it this morning. We went to bed after midnight and I was up at 6.30am for no apparent reason. I'm hoping to nap during our mandatory rest time, and I might wake Marielle up shortly to get this show on the road.

Afterwards, I plan to make two kinds of soup (smoky split pea with leek and curried cauliflower purée) as well as our favourite tahini-lemon detox dressing. We made our meal plan for the week yesterday before doing groceries and decided to make a chicken shawarma style dinner tonight:

- chicken thighs, baked with seasonings and sliced super thin
- brown rice, cooked normally but then thrown into a frying pan with a little olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and lots of green onion
- sliced onions with sumac
- big green salad with feta
- a blob of hummus and everything drizzled with the tahini-lemon dressing

Yum! Can't wait! We've also been dying to make baked falafel--I think we'll try that on Friday night. Either baked falafel or Asian lettuce wraps with ground turkey, sprouts, onion, etc.

My goal for this week is to try to do something in the morning before work, whether it's walking Tyson, doing a short yoga DVD, or just journaling and doing a bit of a meditation. Maybe just three times at least. If I shower at night I can get up at six in the morning and have a whole hour before I have to start getting ready. Sounds do-able.

We also might go through our closets today and switch out our summer and winter wardrobes. It's that time of  year already! Christmas is in three short months! Amazing. Hard to imagine it, with the sun shining outside, trees still full of healthy green leaves (though some have a couple of gold and red leaves peaking through here and there), and not a cloud in the sky.

Time for a nice morning walk! Hope Marielle isn't too cozy in there...

Monday, September 12, 2011

September Challenge: Day Twelve!

We are 40% done! Amazing. The time is flying by, and this hasn't felt difficult in the slightest, fortunately. Marielle snuck a peek at the scale and she was down about two pounds after the first week, but I am still holding out until October 1st. I feel much more in tune with the changes this way; I feel much less bloated, when I rest my chin on my fist while sitting at a table, the underneath of my chin feels smoother, and my pants are definitely fitting better.

Between June 2010 and April 2011, I lost 35lbs. Then over the course of the summer, I put back on three pounds, and let me tell you, I felt like I was starting from scratch. The difference in how I feel when I'm eating well and exercising (and not drinking too much) is huge. Three pounds made such a difference because I was bloated, retaining so much water, feeling run-down and lethargic. The overall puffiness gave me a perpetual muffin-top.

I still need to do better with the yoga, though I have stepped it up with walking. Tonight is my first belly dancing class, which is apparently great cardio and a good core work-out too! I'm looking forward to it, though I'm kind of nervous about going by myself and not knowing anyone else in the class. Better to embarrass myself in front of strangers though, I guess!

Last night was the full moon (it was actually around 5.30am today), so we did our detox baths (during the full moon, the body absorbs more minerals). I mixed two cups of Epsom salts with half a package of mineral salts scented with essential oils, made sure the water was 98.6°F, put on a chocolate mud mask, lit some candles, and asked Marielle to tell me when a half-hour had passed. I turned out the lights and just lay there. It was actually really relaxing. I tried to do some meditating, thought about my "Intentions" (almost like prayers for the agnostic--I just wanted to think about people I should reach out to, think about any friends or family going through any issues with whom I should check in, see if I have any negative thoughts about any people or situations that I want to let go of, etc), and kind of zoned out. I didn't even ask for a time check until 25 minutes in.

Marielle had hers next, and while she was in the bath, I put on my softest cotton oversized t-shirt, which was fresh from the dryer, and crawled in between clean sheets. Heaven!! I must've passed out shortly after 9.30pm. I feel great today.

I will end this entry with some food photos from the past week! 

This was a stirfry I made to use up all the veggies we had. I didn't serve it with rice, but I did add some yummy toasted almonds at the end! They were delicious--I can't imagine a stirfry without roasted nuts now! I sautéed some tofu cubes until crispy on the outside--we love these in salads, too.
This was our Friday night "treat" dinner. Salad, pizza, and a movie! You can get anything gluten-free and wheat-free these days. We try to limit processed foods on Joshi's, but once or twice a week we do like to make mini-pizzas or a brown-rice pasta dish.

On this pizza we put walnut-arugula pesto, red onion, chicken breast, goat cheese, and fresh arugula.

Saturday was an especially good day. We started with a breakfast of gf-wf toast with goat cheese spread on it, some arugula, smoked salmon, and a soft poached egg to top it all off. We spent the afternoon wandering around the National Gallery checking out the Caravaggio exhibit with Nic and Munia, and then did groceries. We were somehow really not that hungry this day, and didn't eat again until about nine hours later, when we made the world's best pasta dish: arugula (yes, I know, we eat a lot of arugula), brown rice fettuccine with pesto, chicken breast, caramelized onion, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts. Unreal!

Yesterday was our second Liver Flush. It went well--same idea as the last one. Went for a walk with the dog, made the drink, choked it down (ugh!), did some deep breathing, and then lay in bed for an exquisite (mandatory!) two hours. We chatted, cuddled, read magazines, and even napped for about half an hour. Marielle had plans to see a movie so she had to get up and get going pretty quickly. I prepped our breakfast, which was toast again--two slices, one with just an egg, the other with goat cheese, red onion, smoked salmon, and arugula. While she was gone, I made some dahl for lunches this week, had a shower, walked the dog again, tidied under the bathroom sink, and started prepping other foods. When she got home from the movie, she helped too. For dinner last night, we made a puréed broccoli soup, and tilapia 'en papillote'--we sautéed some veggies and let them cool, then lay them in the middle of two pieces of parchment paper. We put the raw fish on top with fresh thyme, basil, and cilantro, and some lemon slices. Then we wrapped it all up and baked it in the little parcel. I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this, but I ended up loving it.


The fresh herbs were the star of the show. I removed the fresh thyme, but ate the basil and cilantro with the fish. The texture of the tilapia was incredible, too. Next time we do papillotes, we're thinking that we'll probably do bok choy, onion, and asparagus sautéed with ginger, garlic, and Braggs, with a piece of salmon on top and a little drizzle of sesame oil, with some lemon and cilantro. This is something we'll probably pull out for dinner parties as well--everything can be prepped in advance, and they take 15-20 minutes in the oven.
And that's it! I'll be back with more photos in a few days I'm sure.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September Challenge: Heading into Week Two.

Well, look at that. A week completed, successfully. I can honestly say that it wasn't difficult, thankfully. There are definitely things I need to improve on, but they aren't in the detox/food category.
  • I only did yoga for real once (I did some yoga stretches in the morning a couple of times). This needs to change. I always feel better when I'm practicing yoga regularly. I know that, and you would think that I would have learned by now, after 15 years of on-and-off practice, that I should just stick with it. MAKE THE TIME.
  • I did well the first five days with meditation and the morning/evening routines, but this week I kind of dropped the ball. Heading back to work after a long weekend threw me off--I've been sleeping in a bit in the morning rather than getting up with enough time to journal, meditate, stretch, and take my time getting ready like I had been.
I have managed to stay on top of the dry skin brushing, at least once daily if not twice. I have kept up with the beauty routine in the evenings: wash face, apply eye and night cream, brush, floss, and rinse. I try to pick a chapter in my Grail Springs detox book to reread every couple of days for inspiration (I want to go for a two-night retreat so bad!).  

After a week of cleansing, I feel...

I feel boring. When we aren't detoxing, we hang out with people more. Go out for drinks. Have people over for drinks. Go out to eat (very rarely, actually, considering how much we like food). We spent Monday wandering around the Byward Market, doing a bit of shopping--I would've loved to stop somewhere for a coffee and carb item (you know, like a square or piece of coffee cake or something) and just sit and enjoy the afternoon with my lovely girlfriend. Instead, we had a green tea, which was delicious, but it's not the same. Coffee drinkers understand.

I feel the same.
Normally I notice a huge improvement on a detox, but I feel more or less the same right now. Actually, that's not entirely true... I feel less changed, but still better. And this is a completely positive thing--it's because we tend to eat well Monday through Friday, our diet is made up of mostly 'whole' foods, and other than booze, we don't tend to 'binge' on things that are bad for us. 

I feel calm.
I like this one! I do feel much more calm and even-tempered. Soothed, almost. I haven't experienced any anxiety, which is normally a regular occurrence, and I find that I'm less impatient.

I feel not-bloated. I don't know what the opposite of bloated is, but that's how I feel. Less puffy. I'm so curious about weight loss, but how amazing to have to put faith into my own perception of my body and how I feel rather than gauging how I'm doing by a number on the scale. I definitely do feel like I've lost a few pounds. I guess I'll find out in October!

Tuesday night's dinner was a new concoction: chicken fried rice, Joshi-styles. I chopped up some celery, carrots, onion, broccoli, cauliflower and green beans and threw them in the wok with a bit of oil, tossing it up frequently. Then I added a splash of vegetable "better-than-broth" and some crushed garlic, chopped ginger, and about 1.5 tsps of Chinese 5-Spice. I threw in some wild and brown rice, some more broth (I ended up using about a cup of broth in total), and some pre-cooked diced chicken breast. Near the end, I squirted in about 4-5 Tbsps of Braggs. This made four servings.

Last night, I went to dinner at my friend Tina's. She had a big head of cauliflower in the fridge that needed to be used, so I whipped up a batch of curried cauliflower soup, which we ate with a chicken breast. I put left-over walnut-arugula pesto on mine, but it was a little too garlicky for her (I didn't know there was such a thing), so she had Diana's BBQ sauce. It was delicious and filling, and she's left with about 2-3 bowls of soup for her lunches for the rest of the week.  
I made a really happy discovery yesterday. I went to a naturopathic store on my lunch break to look for a cinnamon-ginger tea, and found a delicious one. "Classic India Spice" by Yogi. It's an Ayurvedic blend--cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, black pepper--totally delicious. So I went to Starbucks and ordered a tall steamed soy milk, which is totally okay on Joshi's, but I asked for "half-sweet sugar-free caramel" as well. I'm sure that whatever chemicals are in this sugar-free syrup are not okay on Joshi's, but 'half-sweet' means they only put half the syrup they normally would. I had planned to just have a caramel soy milk, but I had the brilliant idea to add a spice tea bag to it and Oh. My. God. I want to have it everyday. I won't, because of the chemicals (and also because a tall costs more than a 2L carton of soy milk from the store), but I've tucked three tea bags into my wallet for future Starbucks visits! 

Today started out rushed, again--it's a busy time of year at the office and I've been coming in a half hour or so early. I didn't even have time for my usual millet rice flakes cereal, so instead I grabbed two Thin Cakes with almond butter, which I ate at my desk. Marielle made us delicious-looking salads for lunch with chicken, red cabbage, feta, and all sorts of goodies. I'm thinking that next week's meal plan will include some preparation-free foods. I'm sick of chopping carrots.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Challenge: Joshi Detox Week One.

I've decided to start a blog regarding my self-titled "September Wellness Challenge." I started Everything Extraordinary a couple of years ago but never updated it (I have an online journal that takes up the majority of the time I have to, you know, waste time)--the idea was to update about food, recipes, weight loss, exercise, my personal self challenges (which include running a 5K, then a 10K, doing the Master Cleanse and other random detoxes, and so on), as well as use it as a style and fashion blog.

So for September 2011, I've decided to give myself a 'Wellness Challenge.' The guidelines (not rules) are:

- Follow the Dr. Joshi Holistic Detox (no red meat, no coffee, no booze, no wheat, no fruit except bananas and lemons, no fungii, no nightshades
- Meditate daily
- Do yoga 1-2x per week
- Reach out (check in with friends and family, and try to remember if there is anything special or stressful going on in their lives)
- Don't say no to family and friends if they try to make plans
- Take detox baths
- Walk my dog more often
- Develop a morning routine (get up earlier in order to write my Morning Pages, meditate, and do a bit of light stretching or yoga before work)
- Develop an evening routine (wash off make-up, floss and brush teeth, do not watch TV in bed)
- Pick creativity over lazy entertainment (ie. less TV, more sketching, painting, writing, etc.)
- Organize and edit (get rid of unnecessary clutter, organize and file basket of mail, get rid of clothes I no longer wear, etc.)

So far so good. Now, because I'm totally anal about this stuff, I'm going to do our daily meals!

Sept 1st.
: Mug of hot water with lemon, bowl of millet rice flakes with almond milk
Snack: organic plain yogurt with raw honey
Lunch: Wild rice salad--wild rice, lentils, red and green onion, celery, carrot, basil, lemon-garlic dressing
Snack: 10 brown rice crackers, 5-6 walnuts
Dinner: chicken breast with lemongrass paste, steamed carrots with ginger and garlic, small side salad

Sept 2nd. (mostly same as Sept 1st)
Breakfast: Mug of hot water with lemon, bowl of millet rice flakes with almond milk
Snack: organic plain yogurt with raw honey
Lunch: Wild rice salad--wild rice, lentils, red and green onion, celery, carrot, basil, lemon-garlic dressing
Snack: 10 brown rice crackers, 5-6 walnuts
Dinner: salmon marinated with Braggs, honey, ginger, garlic, and lime, green beans, blanched and tossed with toasted slivered almonds, roasted cauliflower tossed in garlic, olive oil, and cumin, then sprinkled afterwards with lime juice and fresh cilantro

Sept 3rd.
Breakfast: two-egg omelet with arugula, parsley, cilantro, and green onion, folded over feta cheese.
Lunch: split-pea soup with left-over roasted cauliflower mixed in
Dinner: asparagus sautéed with rosemary-infused olive oil and crushed garlic, wild rice mixed with toasted almonds, parsley, green onion, and crushed garlic, and tofu 'steaks' (Asian marinade--Braggs, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lime)

Sept 4th

We started the 4th with a 'liver flush.' I like the idea of a liver flush and basically every component of it other than drinking the actual goddamn drink. The recipe is 300mL of grapefruit and lemon juice (freshly squeezed, of course), 200mL of water, the juice of one small piece of ginger and one clove of garlic, and 2Tbsps of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Why yes, it is indeed as disgusting as it sounds. You start the day with a brisk walk, then drink this disgusting drink, and then, the best part--you have to lie in bed and relax for two hours afterwards while drinking herbal tea. Because of this, we didn't get out of bed until 1.30pm (we may have stretched the two hours into four...) so I'll start Day 4 with lunch:

Lunch: split pea soup and seasoned tofu 'chips'
Dinner: mixed greens with blanched almonds, red onion, and our favourite tahini-lemon detox salad dressing, as well as brown rice spaghetti tossed with dairy-free walnut-arugula pesto. This meal was unbelievable.
Snack: I had my first after-dinner snack on Saturday, and we ended up having Thin Cakes (like rice cakes, only square and way thinner). One had tahini and honey on it (we were trying to recreate Sesame Snaps--didn't work), one had almond butter and honey, and the third had almond butter and banana. It was quite a good snack, and I would definitely have it again post-detox.

Sept 5th

Breakfast: brown rice bread toasted with wilted arugula and a poached egg on top, with a side of blanched asparagus drizzled in tahini-lemon dressing.

Lunch: bowl of split pea soup.

Snack: rice crackers and home-made cilantro hummus

Dinner: salad of arugula, red onion, roasted beets, chicken breast, goat cheese, and walnuts roasted with honey and chili powder (I'd been waiting all week for that dinner, and it was worth every second. The beets took forever to cook, we almost forgot the walnuts, but in the end, it turned out perfectly).

We will definitely be making that one again!

You can see where we suddenly decided that we had to have photographic proof of our detox meals. Honestly though, I don't think we eat this well outside of a detox, and we love to eat--we're lucky in that we're creative in the kitchen, my girlfriend is the world's best food plater, and that the Joshi detox allows a lot of foods that we happen to love.

And that brings us to today, day six, and I suppose I can tell you what I've had so far but it's a little boring and redundant (millet rice flakes with almond milk, yogurt with honey, split-pea soup, hummus and rice crackers). We also drink copious amounts of water, green tea, and flavoured herbal teas. Our favourite so far is this ridiculously expensive tea by Pukka called "Revitalize." The box is gorgeous, too. The flavour is "cinnamon, cardamom & ginger" green tea--amazing. I might like it more because it's expensive and the box is pretty, I don't know. Sometimes I can't tell.

Six days down, 24 to go!