After the non-stop delicious food of the holidays and to start 2019 off right, I’ve decided to cut out carbs (mainly bread, pasta, and rice) and sugar/sweets and do a paleo-ish cleanse for the new year. This is sort of a selfish post because I want to be able to go back to it next year and remember all of the recipes that I used and how I modified them. 🙂 Hopefully, it will be a good resource for you too!
I ended up being able to do this for about two weeks before my trip to Italy (there was no way I was going to cut out carbs during that trip!). I felt amazing and now that I’m back I’ve jumped back into the cleanse and made a few of my favorites from the first weeks of this year. I think the hardest part was researching recipes and meal prep. It was easy once I set myself up with a fridge full of good ingredients and a great list of bookmarked recipes.
Breakfasts have by far been my most difficult meal. I usually eat fairly healthily for breakfast but since I was trying to cut down on dairy and carbs/grains, my go-to healthy breakfasts (yogurt and oatmeal) were both out the window.
It wasn’t bad when I was home on the weekends I love these two-ingredient pancakes and these coconut wraps. I also made a few egg and veggie scrambles and Laura made me this delicious sweet potato hash with a fried egg (photo).
But breakfast during the week was really hard for me. I finally settled on a few favorites: hard-boiled eggs, bananas with almond butter, chia seed pudding and these fruit bars. Usually, I ended up snacking a lot in the morning on nuts and fruit after my light breakfast and was very excited for lunch.
I ate a lot of leftovers from dinner for lunch. It was way easier to just make more at night than to figure out something different for lunch.
I did make a few salads for days that I needed something new. I loved this Roasted Cauliflower Salad, I added a bit of arugula to make it slightly more salad-like and it was incredible.
Chickpeas are not considered paleo but I decided that they worked for me and made my own hummus and roasted them to top soups/salads or eat on their own.
I went through several bags of clementines. They were perfect for a grab and go snack and I seemed to always be in the mood to eat them. I also ate other fruits and berries but the clementines were my favorite by far.
I love buying in bulk but there is just something great about individual bags of nuts. I think the biggest struggle with any cleanse is how much prep work there is. Any time I could have something that was easy to grab and go, it made my life so much easier.
My favorite trick that I implemented this year was to buy a whole chicken on the weekend and cook it Sunday night so that I’d be able to use it all week. I decided to try a new technique and taught myself how to spatchcock the chicken. This helps the meat cook more evenly. I LOVED this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen. I subbed in butternut squash cubes instead of potatoes and oh man, it was fantastic. I’ll be making this one again even when I am not cleansing.
Another standby that I made over and over again was soup. When I made a chicken, I’d use the bones to make chicken stock and turn that into a chicken vegetable soup and used it as a base for other recipes. I also loved this Szechuan Carrot Soup recipe, I modified it a little (didn’t put in sugar and subbed almond butter for peanut butter and Bragg Liquid Aminos for soy sauce) to make it more paleo friendly. I also loved this Golden Soup made with cauliflower and cashews.
I did a few other combinations of meat and vegetables that all turned out great. I almost didn’t realize that the carb was missing from my plate. I love Home Chef and other meal box kits and used a few of their recipes that I’d liked in the past that fit my cleanse or I modified them to fit. One of my favorites was the brussel sprouts that are part of this recipe, I subbed in salmon for the pretzel-crusted pork chop and it was great.
There were a few instances where I just wasn’t prepared or needed to be on the go during meal time. I ended up eating out a few times and it worked out fine. I was thrilled to find a juice spot that does plant-based vegan ice cream, YUM. I ordered a few lettuce wrapped burgers and lots of salads. I didn’t get too crazy about the dressing (though I do love the idea of carrying these in my purse!) and just opted to not eat the bread that they normally came with.
Has anyone else been trying a New Year’s Cleanse? How’s it going, what are your favorite things you’ve made? Let us know in the comments!