So, I’ve just come off a cleanse. Yes, you did read that right. Me. On a cleanse. I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not the cleansing type. I tried it once, a few years back, and became fed up within hours, cursing the very idea that I was ever even encouraged do such a thing to my body. Deprivation is just not in my nature.
So it came as a bit of shock, to me as much as anyone else, when I found myself wanting to try a cleanse, and I figured I should take it as a sign or maybe even a blessing, and just go for it. Granted, this was not the most restrictive cleanse. It did not require a juicer or blender. It did not suggest that one should live off seeds and carrot sticks for an entire week. It simply eliminated some types of food, most of which I try to eat in moderation anyway. So for four days ( I couldn’t do a whole week, I just couldn’t) starting on Monday, I took a vow not to consume any gluten, animal products, soy or processed sugars, and remarkably enough, I stuck with it for the entire four days.
Perhaps it is a testament to just how much I normally tend to indulge myself, but it was hard. I prepared food in advance, snacks, sweets, the type of things I usually get cravings for. I planned meals. My boyfriend even pitched in and made a gorgeous lemony gluten-free bread, but at the end of the day I still felt like something was missing, and I still found myself getting bored and restless with my dining options or lack thereof. I felt okay for the duration of the thing, not great, just okay. But my boyfriend complained of a stomach ache, and both of us complained about how much we missed eating cheese.
Still, I stuck with it. The entire four days. I guess it was really just to prove that I do in fact possess a small amount of self-control when it comes to eating, which is a good thing to know, but not necessarily worth four days of deprivation. Not to mention the fact that the idea that I need to deny myself certain things I like in order to be “clean” just doesn’t sit right with me. There were, however, a few things that did kind of make it worthwhile.
1. My metabolism seems to have gone back to it’s normal state, pre-quitting-smoking (although, that had sort of started happening already). This was probably the biggest reason I wanted to do a cleanse in the first place. When I quit smoking my body felt gross. I really just wanted to be able to push a reset button and go back to normal. So mission accomplished I guess.
2. The piece of toast with butter and jam that I ate yesterday morning. Words cannot possibly ever describe to you this piece of toast. It was a revelation. The way the butter soaked into the bread ever so slightly, and then mingled with the sweet tart jam, creating perhaps the most comforting flavor combination I can ever recall tasting. I can’t get over it. Butter and jam. The things we take for granted.
And last, but certainly not least,
3. Raw Brownies. I know, I know, a lot of raw food tastes really gross. But these? These are different. Soft and chewy and intensely chocolatey, exactly how a brownie should be, only not quite as cake-like, and did I mention they are one of the easiest thing I have ever made? These brownies are good. Not just cleanse good, real good. Later tonight, after I’m done purging my refrigerator of all the things I ate way too much of on this cleanse and can’t even bring myself to look at anymore, I will probably eat one of these brownies. And then , I will probably make them again in the near future, playing around with different spices and flavors to see what I can come up with. Yes, they really are that good!
And the best part? You don’t even have to go on a cleanse to find out just how delicious they are! You can simply make these brownies, marvel at the fact that they’re actually good for you and then feel clean and pure and virtuous despite having just eaten a rich chocolate dessert. You can even do like I did, and eat these things for breakfast.
I may not ever be the cleansing type, but chocolate for breakfast? That is something that feels very, very right to me.
You can find the recipe I used here. When I first read it, I was worried that the dates would add too fruity a flavor to the final product, but their fruitiness is subtle and actually brings out some really interesting flavors in the cacao. I could see taking this recipe in so many different directions - chile and cinnamon for a Mexican Hot Chocolate vibe, or orange zest and cardamon for something a bit more exotic. Above all, make sure that you use good quality cacoa because you really do taste it. Enjoy!