The cleanse is officially over, and I'm so glad I stuck it out! I continued to have increased energy levels throughout, and around day 8 started to notice a great improvement in digestion. I definitely will be trying a cleanse again this year so that I can replicate this awesome feeling.
Now that it's over, I'm still feeling the benefits. Overall, my digestion is still improved, and I notice such a difference in how I feel after I eat certain foods. I'm better able to recognize foods that make me feel sluggish and gross (like the butter and sugar filled cinnamon bun I ate for breakfast on Saturday - big mistake!) and make a conscious effort to incorporate healthier foods into my diet. With the focus off of weight-loss and onto wellness and detoxification, I feel much more motivated to continue clean eating in my everyday life!
My favorite meal during the cleanse was the creamy butternut squash soup in Week 1. It packs in not only squash but apples and carrots as well to kick up the nutrient level, and is seasoned with lots of great cold-weather spices. According to Whole Living, turmeric even increases the liver's ability to detoxify! The result is a creamy, satisfying soup that is sure to warm you up on a cold day.
To start, prepare your fruit and vegetables - peel, seed, and cube the butternut squash, peel and slice the carrots, and peel, core, and chop the apples. No need for it to be perfect, because it's all going to be pureed later anyway.
Also prepare your spices and ginger. I was a little over-zealous with the spices, thinking that more was better. In this case, it's not! 1 teaspoon of ginger is sufficient, as are the spice measurements in the recipe.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic for about seven minutes or until tender. Add the ginger and spices and cook for 1 minute more. Then add the squash, apple, carrots, water, and salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Transfer the soup to a blende and puree until smooth. I had to do it in two batches. Return it to the saucepan and reheat. Adjust the seasonings to your taste, then serve!
Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Whole Living, January 2012
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
Dash ground cloves
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tart apple, peeled, quartered, cored, and chopped
1 large butternut squash (4 cups) chopped
3 cups water
Coarse salt and pepper
- In a large sauce pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Add carrots, apple, butternut squash, water, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender.
- Transfer soup mixture to blender, working in batches if necessary. Puree until smooth.
- Return to saucepan, reheat, and season to taste.