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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Foodie Sunday: Gastronomy and Gluttony! Happy New Year my fellow foodies! I think it's time for a cleanse!


Oh my god, what a tremendous holiday. Like many of you I have not stopped cooking since November, beginning with Thanksgiving, moving towards our annual Winter Solstice party, followed by the first ever Christmas Eve dinner at my home,followed by our traditional Christmas breakfast , Christmas dinner, never ending plates of Christmas cookies and that was only the beginning. Three days later it was off to New York for a fabulous Black Tie wedding at The New York Palace (Duck breast, steak tartare and lobster ceviche, the most amazing wedding cake and constantly flowing champagne!), Scotch and cigars at Club Macanudo , High Tea at Bergdorfs, Charcroute Garnie at Les Halles and then New Years Eve with my niece in Bridgewater where after yet another even more fabulous High Tea we cooked up a feast of king crab, steak, au gratin potatoes , creamed spinach washed down by copious amounts of yummy Veuve Cliquot .

Thankfully by the time we got to Lexington Mass to see my darling friend John and his equally wonderful wife, they’d decided to cook a traditional Japanese meal for New Years, where I was thrilled to eat sukiyaki , sushi , seared tuna and even learned how to make homemade mochi, something that I’ve longed to do for years which we ate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and crystallized ginger. Delicious and simple…thank goodness because by then my liver was beginning to ache every time I thought about eating.

Can you say Gluttony? I can’t even begin to think about picking up a whisk….

So I’ve decided that it is time once again for a cleanse, a complete food overhaul. So my primary challenge for the next month is to return to culinary saneness. Jim’s on board and I’m thrilled to say that my 24 year son Alex, is on board. He’s agreed to give up smoking (YES!) and alcohol for a few weeks and Jim is giving up alcohol and cigars. I am giving up alcohol , too much sugar , cream and my overall lack of willpower!

I know how to do this having been vegetarian/vegan on and off for years but when you love food as much as I do the holidays make it tough. Of course the goal here is to burn off a few pounds, but mostly to reset the clock. Like I said, I know what to do, I just lack the will. It’s time though , I’m 52 and suddenly noticing aches and pains where there were none. I want to keep sailing through menopause like I have. My son said something very pointed to me the other day. He looked at me when we were out riding and said quite directly, “You know , if you don’t lose that 20 pounds you’re going to shorten your horseback riding life by at least 15 years, almost one year per pound mom.” Now my son is no paragon of virtue but in this case he was right. That would be a disaster for me, riding , cooking and writing being my chosen meditations. Upon arrival at my home I broke out my Vitamix and new Mauviel steamer and banished the kitchen aid mixer to the basement!

If you’ve never heard of a Vitamix trust me when I say that this is the one appliance that would be with me if I were ever stranded on an island. When I am cleansing I use it everyday. It is WAY more than a blender although it does make the best frozen cocktails ever! There’s nothing like it for juicing and because it is so powerful it helps me create incredibly fast soups that are simple, completely fresh and delicious! I've discovered that when I stick to it that consuming a diet rich in whole foods simply makes me feel better and for me is the key to keeping me healthy and happily moving into my middle age. It's easy to prepare wonderful foods when you've got a weapon like this in your arsenal! I make fresh juice that's full of fiber and flavor in under a minute. I can cook fresh soups from scratch andhave them hot enough to serve in just a few moments. Salsa is a snap and so is guacamole, although I do prefer making mine the old fashioned way in a stone bowl. I can make fresh puddings and ice creams that are full of fruit and low in fat in really only 30 seconds. When I make "Cream of anything" soup, before I strain it I give a turn in the Vitamix and then press it through a chinoise. The machine purees so well that it eliminates the need for extra cream (for now I’ll be using mostly unsweetened coconut milk) and gives any soup a silken texture. If I want fresh butter I can make my own using the Vitamix in about 2 minutes. I even make fabulous plant food with it using fish and veggie scraps, coffee beans, eggshells and water!

You hear it all the time now, with even Doctors are finally acknowledging that the key to real and lasting health is to consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day while encouraging us to eat way less meat, fish and dairy. Finally, the return to food sanity is becoming mainstream.

This time instead of going totally vegan which is very hard for us to do in the winter, we’re going to stick to a wonderful Mediterranean diet full of rich sunny flavors. I’ve brought home infused olive oils from New York and I’m ready to use the beautiful new copper steamer that my husband bought me to lighten up the calories without sacrificing flavor. Tons of fresh herbs, way less sugar and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Almost nothing processed. One splurge night a week! Lots of fresh fish, shellfish and very little red meat and lots of slow food. Only real cheese, not processed and absolutely no fast food of any sort. I will allow myself a glass of red wine or champagne if I want it. Practically no sugar, except for maple, agave honey and lots of yoga to keep everything moving smoothly! I’m excited…lots of new recipes to create, lots of wonderful food to eat after several days of creative juicing!

So wish me luck and how about you? What are your tips and tricks for staying healthy, vibrant and fully alive? I need all of the help I can get! Anyone want to do this with me?

Be well, eat well and love well,

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Blogger Flora said...

This sounds like a great idea, and I am doing much the same thing - less sugar, dairy and grains, more veggies and whole fruits. So far so good and I feel really energetic! I don't have a Vitamix but when preparing food for just one person, my trusty Cuisinart and "vintage" blender work just fine.

2:00 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Hi Flora!
Isn't it amazing what happens when you just give the whole eating thing a bit of attention...It's going to take me at least another month to unclog from the holidays but we're having a great time. I'm relying on a lot of Asian staples to get me through as well..things like Pho and sushi that allow me a lot of flavor but not so much congestion!

7:08 AM EST  
Anonymous bethane & beyond said...

"Just add H2O", the universal solvent!

9:10 AM EST  
Anonymous Tatiana said...

I'll do this with you. I over indulged a bit during the holidays, too. But before that, I limited my sugar and simple carbs. Ate lots of veggies. And drank water as my beverage of choice. I would allow myself a glass of good wine with dinners on the weekends. And riding, riding, riding. While my daughter's away at college, I've been riding her mare. And I keep telling myself, losing the extra pounds is so it's easier on the mare's back.

1:51 PM EST  
Blogger Dixie said...

I had no idea a vitamix was so versatile! Where do you get recipes for this?

And good luck on your cleanse!

2:13 PM EST  
Blogger Lizzie said...

That sounds wonderful- I wish I could afford to do likewise! Both my husband and I love to cook, especially from fresh ingredients, but it can get really expensive. We end up having rice more nights than not, but we try to vary things a little: fried rice, spanish rice, cilantro-lime rice (you get the idea).

But tonight we had quite the treat- sweet crepes with the melted remnants of a chocolate orange. Crepes are always wonderful, and with free fresh eggs from my parents (who raise chickens and ducks), it's not exactly hard on the pocketbook. Though the waistline, that's another story... ;)

9:20 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


A former co-worker and great friend of mine who has lupus has one a vitamix and makes a green smoothie for herself every morning that keeps her in tip-top shape. I'll ask her for the recipe. I cannot tell you what a change it has made in her health over the past couple of years.

12:16 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Well. here's the reply:

Believe it or not, in mere weeks will be my 2 year green smoothie birthday. Still going strong. What has been key is constantly switching up the ingredients so that you don't get bored and so that your body will absorb the maximum nutrients. Here is one of my fav recipes:

I suggest starting with a 50/50 green to fruit ratio and working up to an 80/20 green to fruit ratio once you get used to the taste.

1 handful blueberries

3 strawberries

1 banana (key ingredient for creamy texture and sweetness)

2 heaping tablespoons of ground flax (trader joes; not the toasted kind)

1 or 2 types of greens (kale, chard, collards, dandelion weeds, spinach, etc).

Fill blender with 1 inch of water or unsweetened almond milk (no dairy)

*until you acclimate to the taste, I suggest starting with 4 leaves of kale or a handful of spinach.

*as the seasons change, you can rotate in peaches, cherries, grapes, pears, etc. beets along with their leafy stems are also very nice in the winter season and do a great job of cleaning out the kidneys. This website is for Victoria Boutenko’s family. She is the mother of green smoothies—a pioneer in the raw food world. She has a captivating story on how her family overcame illness through making dietary changes.

1:29 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're on the same wavelength. Just yesterday I was browsing for Mediterranean cookbooks. I was hoping to find one of those "cookbooks for two," but I will make do with what's available.

Do you have any suggestions for simple but good Mediterranean cookbooks, or even a recipe or two?

Good luck!
Ann C.

6:45 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Tatiana! Sounds great! Are you my facebook friend? If not find me and we'll have fun!
Dixie! Just go to the vitamix site...any blender recipe can be used of course, but you'll have fun creating your own. Just use your recipes as the base. Also, many vegan and raw cokbooks use the vitamix as their staple appliance.
Lizzie! That Orange chocolate crepe sounds heavenly...perfect splurge food!Yummm!
Tom! Thanks! that's fabulous...I'm familiar with Victoria Boutenko...but I've not used this recipe! I will as soon as I get the flax!
Ann ! my favorite Mediterranean cookbook is The New Mediterranean Diet cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, alsoI love Arabesque by Claudia ROden. There's also a wonderful vegan book...The Mediterranean vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein ...Love it! Good luck! Find me on facebook and we'll share ecipes!

8:52 AM EST  
Blogger No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 said...

I know exactly how you feel! Earlier today I got to thinking I should live off of grilled chicken, grown rice and blueberries for a bit!

7:15 PM EST  
Blogger Janet said...

Reading posts like this one helps me to stick to my goal! Shorten my life by 1 year a pound! NO! I want to enjoy as much as I can as long as I can! So glad to have read this :-)

3:01 PM EST  

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