I used to trash my spirit house (aka my bod) like I was invincible and like nothing that I put in it would lead to shitty repercussions (ha!). Not with food necessarily, but with alcohol, drama and cigarettes. Smoking and drinking were two of my favorite things. I still miss them, but I have no intention of going back. Ever.
Because I used to treat my body like it was a public toilet in a heroin hooker bar, I make damn sure that I eat high quality, plant based fuel each and every time I’m hungry. It’s veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds for THIS lady.
And instead of drinking bottles of wine like I’m constantly parched and allergic to anything aside from fermented grapes, it’s a shit ton of water, herbal tea from time to time and coconut water when I want to be fancy about it.
It’s not as much fun as bottles (yes, with an “s”) of wine a night, but man, it feels a hellofalot better. Oh, I also eat dark chocolate on a weekly basis because CHOCOLATE.
Last week my mom, my dad, my girlfriend and I were in Colorado for my niece’s high school graduation. We rented a place on Airbnb.com so we could have access to a full kitchen during our stay. Having access to a kitchen is crucial for anyone wanting to keep it healthy while traveling.
We packed a blender so that we could have our morning smoothies, and packed a few essentials like hemp seeds, almond butter, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. As soon as we got to our place, we Yelped the nearest healthy grocery store and we stocked up on plant based supplies.
We bought loads of veggies and fruit. We swooped up some sprouted bread, sprouted corn tortillas and baked tofu. I found a no oil salad dressing and a no oil hummus. A super dark chocolate bar made it’s way into our cart and we were set to fuel up on plants all week long.
My mom made green smoothies every morning (lucky me). I simmered a big batch of sweet potatoes to snack on. I made huge salads with broccoli sprouts, radishes, baked tofu cubes and no oil salad dressing. I snacked on berries when I wanted something sweet and cucumber rounds dipped in hummus when I wanted something salty. I was eating how I normally eat.
On the day of my niece’s graduation ceremony, there were over 400 students graduating, so I came prepared with a snack bag full of fruit, pumpkin seeds, almond butter and berry sandwiches and tacos with sweet potato, hummus and broccoli sprouts. At first, people looked at me funny, but as the hours went by, even the most meaty of meat eaters wished that they had those tacos. Looking like a hippie and busting out some bird food in public is never as uncomfortable as being starving with no hope of food for hours to come. Bring on the weird looks.
My Whole Food Plant Based eating was going as well as expected. My niece has been vegan for one year, so at every get together, party and dinner there were vegan options. They weren’t totally Whole Food Plant Based, but when I eat out or eat at someone else’s house, I never expect that. I’m always super thankful to have vegan options. There’s no need to be an asshole and not eat something because it has some oil in it. When I’m in my house it’s one thing. When I leave my door, enter the world, and eat food that someone else has prepared for me, it’s a different story. If people want to eat 100% Whole Food Plant Based 100% of the time, I tell them to stay home and only eat food that they’ve cooked in their own kitchen.
So I was eating awesome while I was in our rental, and close to awesome when I ate out. But something happened around day four and I wound up with a cherry turnover in my mouth and loving every goddamn sugary, processed second of it.
The next day, I had onion rings and sweet potato tater tots – during the SAME meal.
The day after that I ate a bag of honey mustard potato chips. Later that day I had a chocolate donut.
The next day it was cookies – stupidly good chocolate chip cookies.
I was still having my morning smoothies and eating my rabbit food supplies, but everything was interspersed with sugary, salty, processed extra curricular activity.
As the week and the junk food binge went on, something started to happen that wasn’t unexpected. I guide people through the process of cleaning up their diet for a living, so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. Here’s what I started to experience a few days after eating crappy food that I usually don’t eat:
- I started looking less and less forward to my morning smoothies and I started thinking more and more about what “goodies” I was going to eat each day. Food that I never eat anymore was calling my name and taking up space in my brain.
- I felt like I had a mild hangover on a consistent basis (and here I thought I was done with those!)
- I usually have a ton of energy and I never get tired during the day. But after eating junk for a couple of days, I felt groggy and lethargic. Naps seemed like a necessity instead of a waste of time like they usually do.
- My usually clear skin started to break out.
- My 85% dark cacao bar no longer seemed like a treat.
- I became a cranky sonofagun. Sorry Luanne. (If you’ve been in the Clean Food Dirty Girl world for very long, or part of our private Facebook group, you know that Luanne is my girlfriend).
- I noticed that my heart was beating faster than usual.
It was obvious to me that shit food had saturated my system.
I knew that as soon as I got home, I would clean it up. In the meantime, I had fun. I gave myself permission. I didn’t beat myself up. I dealt with the consequences, and I looked forward to getting home and back into my usual bird food routine.
If we’re in the habit of eating junk, we crave junk. If we stop eating junk and eat nutrient dense food, the body will adjust and start craving nutrient dense food. It’s that easy. Thank God because it’s way easier to eat healthy when we crave green smoothies instead of donuts.
One of the questions that I get asked a lot is if I recommend doing a juice/smoothie fast after a spell of eating like shit. This isn’t a terrible idea, but I caution people because we shouldn’t get in the habit of using fasts as a crutch. If we have fasting as a built in backup plan then it’s easier to be less diligent with eating a well balanced Whole Food Plant Based diet on a consistent basis,
So fasting is okay, just don’t make it a habit to eat like shit and then fast, and then eat like shit and then fast, and then eat like shit and then fast. The whole point of eating this way and adopting this lifestyle is to eat (and enjoy it!), not to fast.
So instead of fasting, here’s what I did to assist my body in bringing me back into balance when I got home from my trip. Try these steps the next time you have a bout with pastries and potato chips and you will feel better in no time:
- Skip dinner the day you get home from your trip and have a big green smoothie instead. My fave post crap food smoothie is: water, banana, cooked sweet potato, frozen cherries, ground flaxseeds, avo, lemon zest, and a shit ton of kale.
- The next morning, start your day off with a big glass of warm lemon water and then wait until you’re hungry before you eat or drink anything else.
- When you get hungry, drink a green smoothie or a green juice and then wait until you are truly hungry again before you eat anything else.
- When you get hungry, eat some fruit and then you guessed it…wait until you’re hungry to eat anything else.
- When you get hungry, eat a big bowl of steamed broccoli topped with Coconut Aminos and sesame seeds, and some legumes (or beans) and grains on the side. I had black rice and lentil tacos, drizzled with T-Crack on the side of my broccoli this past week (the recipe for Black Rice and Lentils is today’s recipe. #bonus).
- Drink at least half your weight (lbs) in ounces of water throughout the day, but not while you’re eating, as that would dilute your digestive enzymes. Wait at least 15 minutes before and after you eat until you drink water.
- Snack on raw veggies (cucumber rounds, carrots, radishes, celery, etc.) by themselves or dipped in hummus when you feel snacky.
- Eat a big salad for dinner with lots of greens, other veggies, beans, seeds, sauerkraut and some oil free dressing. Make your salad big enough to fill you up.
- Do not eat anything else after your salad.
- Be kind and DO NOT beat yourself up. To be human is to be perfectly imperfect. And besides that, all the crap food beat you up enough. Give yourself a break.
There isn’t anything fancy about this formula. The main thing is to eat only when you’re hungry and then eat lots of whole plant foods when you reach that point. Ideally, this is what should happen on a daily basis, but it’s especially important to commit to this after you’ve treated your body like a public toilet in that heroin hooker bar.
I know – I saw you there, it’s okay. We’re in this together.
Here’s another tip for when you travel. Be sure to freeze some batched WFPB food before you go on your trip. This makes it super easy when you get back home. Unpacking and getting back into the swing of things is hard enough – having to spend hours in your kitchen so you can eat only makes it worse. Opening the freezer and thawing shit out is a much better idea.
My Plant Fueled Meal Plans give you plenty of opportunities to freeze delicious, nutrient dense, Whole Food Plant Based food.
Sign up and get ready to put high quality fuel in that spirit house of yours (if new age word of the day toilet paper isn’t a thing, I should get on that).
Today’s recipe freezes really well and you can add it to lots of different things. I ate a lot of it after my trip because I had a bunch of it frozen. I moved it from the freezer to the fridge as soon as I got home, and it was ready for me the next day.
Black Rice and Lentils
Black Rice and Lentils
Makes 3 1/2 cups (480g).
Black rice is even more nutrient dense than brown rice. This is because the phytochemicals that make black rice black are some of the same phytochemicals that give blueberries their deep blue color. Black rice and lentils are packed with antioxidants and fiber. Let’s just say that if your getaway caused some backup, this will help move things along.
- 1/2 cup brown lentils 110g
- 1/2 cup black rice 110g
- 2 cups water
Rinse the lentils and the rice in a fine mesh strainer (you can rinse them together because they are going in the same pot to cook).
Tap the strainer on the sink to remove as much liquid from the rice / lentils as possible, and then transfer the mixture to a pot along with the 2 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, stir once and then turn the heat down to very low and place the lid on the pot.
Cook for 30 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the lentils and rice are both cooked.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with looking forward to smoothies instead of donuts.