Read an Excerpt
TODAY IS GOING TO BE TRICKY, NO DOUBT. PROBABLY YOUR MORNing ritual has already been stood on its head. No coffee, no muffin or bagel. What are you going to do?
- Irish steel-cut oats. Oats do contain some gluten, but for most people they are quite tolerable. Unless you are particularly sensitive, they are okay to use.
- Mixed-grain hot cereals. Be sure they’re gluten- and sugar-free -- and this means no honey or maple syrup.
- Rice cakes
- Flax crackers
- Gluten-free bread. There are many delicious alternatives. Try some sprouted breads, as they are easier to digest and are less processed. You can usually find wonderful options such as millet and rice bread in the freezer section of the store. Also, if you surf the Net, there is a whole host of selections you can order and have delivered to your home!
- Sweet potatoes, yams
- Grains: brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, corn. You can even find precooked brown rice on store shelves in vacuum-sealed packages or in the freezer case. Cook your own if you can, but these are also fine.
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, soy nuts, macadamia nuts, filberts, etc.
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, hemp, flax. Flaxseeds must be freshly ground rather than eaten whole, otherwise they will go straight through your body without giving you their full nutritional benefit.
- Nut or seed butters: almond butter, tahini, cashew butter, peanut butter (all unsweetened)
- Vegan butter
- Vegan mayonnaise
- Nondairy protein powder (soy, pea, hemp, or rice-based)
- Beans and legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas, lima beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, edamame, fava beans. Dried beans are best, but they do take a while to cook. Canned are also fine.
- Faux meats: burgers, sausage patties, “meat crumbles,” “chicken” patties. Make sure all are gluten-free.
- Artichoke, rice, or quinoa pasta
- Pasta sauce
- Vegetables: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, brussels sprouts, zucchini, eggplant, collard greens, squash (butternut, spaghetti, acorn), tomatoes, etc.
- Mushrooms: shiitake, hen of the woods, portobello. Grilled, they make a great centerpiece for a meal.
- Salad: arugula, radicchio, endive, mixed greens, peppers, avocado, tomato, radish, etc.
- Fruits: apples, cherries, peaches, blueberries, goji berries; frozen fruits for smoothies; lemons, limes, and unsweetened pomegranate juice for sparkling-water cocktails
- Herbal teas such as mint, chamomile, vanilla spice, etc.
- Nondairy milk, such as rice, almond, hemp, or soy milk (unsweetened)
- Sweeteners: xylitol, agave nectar, and stevia for smoothies, milks, cereals, baked goods, etc.; use sparingly.
- Extra-virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed organic canola, high-oleic versions of sunflower and safflower oils, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil (the last is good to pour over things like salad or baked yam, but not to cook with).
- Seasonings: garlic, ginger, tamari; Himalayan crystal or Celtic sea salt. Regular table salt is bleached and stripped of minerals.
- Flours to cook or bake with: bean, pea, soy, potato, buckwheat, tapioca, nut and seed, arrowroot, and rice. There are also prepackaged flour mixes that cater to the gluten-free shopper.
- Corn chips
- Soy cheese (rennet-free)
- Frozen spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower to throw into smoothies . . . you won’t even taste it!
- Vegetarian stock for cooking
Because you are giving up a lot at once, you might feel some withdrawal symptoms, especially during the first few days. But with just a little mental preparation, you will be able to navigate the seas, no matter how uncomfortable they may make you at first. If you know, for example, that you might get a headache from the lack of caffeine, instead of resenting the headache you can nod to it when it comes and just say, “Okay, this is going to be a tough few hours, but just for today, I can get through these feelings and stick to my program. This is temporary; I can do it. And it shows me how addicted my body has become to a powerful substance.”
You might also feel a bit cranky, so if you can put off making important phone calls or having a critical meeting on a weighty issue, do so. Because you are not taking in artificial stimulants, you might feel a bit sluggish and uninspired to exercise. The last thing you may want to do is exercise, but do it anyway; within five to ten minutes, you will be glad you’re on your bike, hiking, or on the treadmill. Exercise creates a natural sense of wellness by increasing blood flow and by creating endorphins that make you happy; your body can use the boost as you withdraw from the artificial stimulants. And with exercise you never have the crash that comes after a sugar or caffeine high. Drink lots of clean, fresh water and herbal tea. And add the following meditation to your daily routine. If meditation is new to you, don’t be shy. For many people the word brings to mind an image of sitting in an uncomfortably stiff position and feeling antsy or preoccupied. It is nothing more than the practice of quiet contemplation. You just turn your focus inward for a few minutes so you can access a deeper reality. But what a powerful few minutes they can be. By practicing a daily ritual of closing your eyes and turning your thoughts to the shift or change that is being awakened in you, you can greatly accelerate the cleanse’s positive effects. Today’s Meditation
Find a quiet spot and sit or lie down and close your eyes. For at least ten breaths, drop down as deep into yourself as you can and connect to the part of you that wants to heal and flourish. Feel the little buzz of magic that is getting stirred within, and repeat the following phrase a few times: I am leaning in. By repeating these affirming words, you are gently but firmly planting the idea that you are beginning a process that will reward you in all dimensions -- improving your health, restoring emotional connectedness, and making you more comfortable and confident about your overall sense of place in the universe. As you breathe into the words I am leaning in, feel yourself moving in the direction of realizing your highest and most fulfilling path. No pressure, no specific goals. Just a little push to help you gain momentum. Set your sights on how you would like to feel and do your best as you move in that direction. Imagine what a cleaner and more vibrant way of living will feel like. As you say the words, know that you will naturally draw into your awareness whatever you need to understand or embrace. That’s the beauty of meditation: you will receive inspiration. Don’t worry about how long you sit . . . even a few breaths is a good place to start. Now plot out what you’d like to eat tomorrow. Choose a couple of recipes from the back of this book or from a favorite cookbook, or think about what you can order from the cafeteria at work, and get excited about what the future holds. This is an ever-unfolding process of wellness, and there is much to discover. You might even ask a friend to share a meal with you so that you have some companionship as you learn about new things.