Many-a-Dark-Green Later: Sugar-Free Week One

>> Wednesday, April 8

In case you missed my last posts, I am eating along the guidelines of the Anti-Candida Diet this month in an attempt to balance the yeasts in my body. I am also participating in the Chase Daylight Vegan Challenge with this cleanse, and you should really check out Ryan's awesome blogging on her adventures in the world of veganism. Now, onto the sugar-free frontier...

Funny how when we make dietary commitments, they seem remarkably simple. No refined sugar? Heck, I've done that before. I love the natural flavors of foods, and I don't usually need anything to sweeten my already delicious fruits and veggies. I can easily skip the brown sugar on my breakfast porridge. I felt anything but insecure last Wednesday as I decided once and for all to go anti candida this month.

Blow number one: I didn't just lose the obvious crystallized and syrup sugars. I also cut out all fruits, except for avocado, tomato, and fresh lemon. That hurt a little. No apples or bananas in my breakfast porridge now. Looking stark. I got a definite sad face, but I kept my chin up.

Then came blow number two: low-carb diet. Gotta cut out as many carbs as possible so the yeasty little beasts can't feed on them. So not only are the apples and bananas gone from my breakfast bowl, the porridge is called into question too. While whole grains are allowed, they aren't really the focal point any more. That is a bit strange for most eaters, myself included. Add in the loss and/or reduction of starchy vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and beets, and you've got one confused cook.

I wracked my brain and those behind many, many anti-candida websites in my quest for simple recipes this week that were vegan, gluten-free, and anti-candida. That's not a lot of wiggle room, my friends. But, a few bland dishes of plain greens later, I emerged with my first good anti-candida recipes, which are here for you to enjoy.

First, because I did Shankhaprakshalana to start my cleanse, an ayurvedic intestinal cleanse from Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, I knew I had to start out my eating with lentils and rice. specifically, it's supposed to be a very simple kicheri with ghee and turmeric. I opted for plain red lentils, brown rice, and turmeric with flax oil on top. Delicious.

By day 2 I introduced some veggies to the meal, but kept the thick soupy consistency for ease of digestion. Unlike the juice fast I did for new years, this one recommends cooked veggies to start, again for ease of digestion. To each her own, so whatever feels right is probably it. For me, cooked, soft, and gentle sounded good a mere 48 hours after flushing everything out of my digestive tract.

The meal here is kicheri with the addition of a little carrot, turnip, garlic, onion, parsley, and kale. The flavor is unbelievably good, and the texture is so comforting and easy on the belly. I have no qualms about eating this meal regularly for the rest of my life, candida or no! I didnt use traditional Indian methods for cooking because I didn't want to fry the oil or spices in the beginning. This is more like a one-pot homey stew than your average restaurant kicheri, but it's really, REALLY fantastic, healthy, and easy.

If you're not on the ACD (anti candida diet) feel free to add more carrots and other starchy veggies, or not!

The dish here is shown with less kale than the recipe calls for.
Expect much more delicious greenery, this bowl wasn't quite up to snuff!)

Humble Kale Kicheri (for 3)

1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 cup brown rice
2 tsp flax oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
tons of kale, chopped
a bunch of parsely, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric

Rinse the lentils and rice and put in a pan with 3 cups water, the onions, carrot, turnip and the turmeric

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and cook for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and check that all the water doesn't evaporate. Add more as needed to keep the consistency a little on the stew side.

When the rice is done, add the kale, parsley, and garlic, stir them into the kicheri, and cover again. Cook for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Serve with flax oil drizzled on top, and roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds if desired. mmm....

When I felt like I couldn't eat another bite of kicheri (took about 4 days), I entered the realm of other legumes. I made a very hearty bean soup with I used as a base to add steamed veggies to for a few meals in a row. It was extremely satisfying yummy, especially given the simple ingredients list:

Four Bean Country Stew (makes 4-6 servings)

3/4 cup dried kidney beans
3/4 cup dried black beans
1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 cup red lentils
1 piece kombu seaweed

1 cup large onion chunks
6 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
a dash of salt

2 carrots, chunked
1 turnip, chunked
a whole lot of dark green: spinach, kale, chard, etc.
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Soak the kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas overnight. Drain, rinse, and set in a pot with the kombu seaweed and about 6 cups water (adjust as needed to keep from drying out). Cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender.

Add the lentils, carrots, turnip, onion, salt, pepper, turmeric, and rosemary. If needed, add a little more water. Cook, covered, until the veggies are soft, about 30 minutes, and add in the greens, parsley, and garlic. Cover again and cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the greens are wilted and the garlic is just cooked. Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds and/or steamed broccoli.

Finally, I couldn't look another bean in the eye, and I turned to salads for lighter fare. It's hard to make a salad that's truly satisfying when you're used to a bowl-full of hot carbs and protein. I came up with a few types that really hit the spot though. I didn't manage many pictures, but here are two with photos at least.

A super simple mix of nüssli-salat (corn salad) and spinach topped with avocado, celery, roasted sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, and a drizzle of flax oil.

A bombilicious spinach and unidentified dark purple green (use any lettuce you want) with carrot, celery, roasted flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and this incredible, AMAZING Lemon-Zatar Yogurt Dressing.

OMG it's so good. I served my salad with a little more dressing spread over a rice cake and sprinkled with more zatar, because I couldn't resist.

Lemon-Zatar Yogurt Dressing
1 cup plain soy or other yogurt
2 tbsp flax oil
2 tbsp zatar
juice of almost a whole lemon (about 3/4)
1 clove garlic

Grate the garlic clove and mix it all up. For a thinner dressing, add a bit of water. That's it! Try not to eat it ALL off the spoon directly, it's worth the wait to put it on a salad....

Last, but certainly not least, was a Creamed Avocado-Arugula mix. Very simple and good. I served it with fresh spinach alongside Kale Kicheri for a dark-green foodgasm yesterday afternoon.

Creamed Avocado-Arugula Salad (serves 4)
1/2 ripe avocado
juice of 1/2 lemon
a twist of fresh ground black pepper
a dash of salt

water as needed

150 g fresh arugula, washed
50 g spinach, washed

Mash the avocado with the other dressing ingredients until creamy. add water and whip until the mixture is fluffy and barely pourable. Toss the salad arugula and spinach with the avocado blend and top with roasted seeds, cherry tomatoes, chopped celery stalk, or anything else you like.


Anonymous April 8, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

Great post!! Thank you for joining me on this journey...I'm looking forward to seeing more on how it goes for you!

Liz April 8, 2009 at 6:41 PM  

Mmmmm! So fresh and healthy and delicious. All of the recipes look great and the majority of the ingredients I already have in my cupboard!

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