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Last week marked the autumnal equinox, the end of summer and the beginning of fall, a day when sunlight and darkness are equal in balance. As this day approached I was feeling completely out of balance. In an effort to "reset" myself, I decided to try a juice cleanse. I had tried one five years ago, but I wasn't as invested in my health at that point in time, so I decided to give it another shot.
While I know that many people benefit from juice cleanses, I can now safely say that juice fasting is not for me. As someone who typically has a good relationship with food, I suddenly felt obsessed. I was so hungry that I was craving junk foods that have never interested me. I don't normally have any "rules" about what I eat. I simply eat what appeals to me while trying to make the most nourishing choices I can. But as soon as foods were off limits, they were all that I could think about. Half way through the third and final day I decided to break the cleanse. I was so hungry that I knew if I kept it up I'd end up eating something unhealthy. By stopping early I was able to make a more sensible yet delicious choice: quinoa and avocado veggie bowl with tahini lemon dressing.
I'd rather create an ongoing healthy lifestyle than do a few days of extreme cleansing. But that is what works for me. It may be worth trying a juice fast to find out what works for you.
You've probably heard plenty about quinoa as it has become popular as a superfood, grain alternative. Although quinoa cooks and tastes like a grain, it is actually a seed. Grains are incomplete proteins, which is why it is recommended that they be paired with beans and legumes to provide the complimentary amino acids. Quinoa is a complete protein on its own. For an added nutrient boost, try red or black quinoa which have even more antioxidants.
I recommend making a large batch of quinoa when you make this. That way you already have it on hand for a breakfast porridge with almond milk and fruit or in place of rice for dinners throughout the week.
Quinoa and Avocado Veggie Bowl with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Makes 2 large servings
1 cup cooked quinoa (cooks like rice with 2:1 water to quinoa ratio)
1 zucchini, cubed
10 stalks asparagus, halved
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 carrots, shredded
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 tbsp organic tamari sauce
1 tbsp tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp water
1 tsp honey
1. Spread zucchini and asparagus out on a baking sheet and drizzle with coconut oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until slightly browned. Flip the veggies halfway through cooking time.
2. In a small bowl whisk together tamari, tahini, lemon juice, water, and honey until smooth.
3. Put quinoa in serving bowls and add shredded carrots, sliced avocado, and the roasted vegetables.
4. Pour dressing over the veggie bowl and serve.