CLEANSE: Quinoa Salad w/ Grilled Chicken

I really admire all these friends & people that have turned to a gluten free and dairy free lifestyle (including some of my family members), but I just can't do it.

A friend lent me the book CLEAN, by Dr. Alejandro Junger who got healthy thru diet and changing his eating habits. It helped with depression, weight loss, and overall health. He is mentioned quite often on Gwyneth Paltrow's site GOOP, and is a friend and life coach of hers (good for him).

As we know, "we are, what we eat". A diet of lean protein heavy with fish (not shellfish) along with fresh fruits and vegetables can fight off certain type of cancers, help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as make us look and feel good (and I'm not even talking about weight loss).

In the 70's it was hip to say you were a "vegetarian". Hippie movement.
Then in the 80's "vegan" came into fashion. "Organic" followed in the 90's and now it's "gluten free".

Is it a trend? or are we just getting smarter about what we eat and seek out healthier foods that are better for our bodies?

I always ask people if having celiac disease or being lactose intolerant was the reason they turned to life without white flours, dairy and refined sugars and most of them say no, it was just a personal choice and they feel great.

Peri-menopausal women in their mid to late 40's (like me, yuck!), do better staying away from pastas and sugary carbs like white wine and cakes that make us feel bloated.

There are now restaurants and local bakeries and an entire supermarket aisle at the A&P here that cater to "organic" and "gluten free" customers.

Look how successful blogs like 101 Cookbooks (though they both use dairy), and La Tartine Gourmande are.

I decided to try a "cleanse" for 2 weeks, and I am embarrassed to tell you, that I failed.

Life without my morning 2 cups of coffee, a weekend without a glass of red wine and my midnight snack of cheese was just too much for me to take.

I couldn't make it to day 4 without a slice of bread (though I did eat whole wheat bread), and that bowl of delicious ice cream on a hot summer night.

I guess I am addicted to food, one might say.

Anyway, this WONDERFUL salad was part of the cleanse program, and I can say it was DELICIOUS. Even my husband loved it and he wants no part of any cleanse, except a hot shower after working outside in the garden.

I didn't have any carrots, so I added 2 roasted beets (from my garden) and cleanse or not, I will be making this salad often.

When I say "a big handful", figure it's a little more than 1/4 cup. I never measure.

Good luck!

Quinoa Salad w/ Grilled Chicken Breasts (adapted from the book CLEAN):

2 cups of cooked quinoa (I used red, black and white quinoa), cooled
big handful of currants
big handful of chopped scallions
big handful of fresh parsley, chopped
big handful of fresh mint (don't skip this one!), chopped
big handful of raw almonds (you can toast them if you like)
about 3 tbsp of minced red onion
2 roasted beets, diced (or 2 carrots, peeled and diced)

juice and zest of one or two limes (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp of cumin
1 tbsp agave syrup (or local honey)
olive oil
sea salt & pepper

Grilled chicken breasts (optional)

I usually cook my quinoa in chicken stock, but since it was a "cleanse", I cooked it in plain water. Quinoa is done when the liquid is absorbed and the little curly q's open (follow package directions). Let quinoa cool a bit.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients, including the quinoa, and toss.
Squeeze the juice of the lime over the bowl and add the cumin, sea salt & pepper.

Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat.

Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Grill or poach your chicken breasts and lay them on top of the salad before serving.

I took this to the beach 2 days in a row and it was excellent!


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Anonymous said…
I try to make the healthier choice when it comes to what I eat, but more importantly, I'm really cutting down on the quantity. At 50, the scale stays steady with noticably less food. It's important that those fewer bites pack in what I need nutritionally. And if I listen to my body, it's telling me what to do - I'm truly not as hungry! The last thing women dealing with menopausal issues need is indigestion from overeating. Find some kind of exercise you like doing and enjoy good-for-you-food - be kind to yourself!
The JR said…
I can't do it either

but, I really have to try to eat healthy
Gourmet Goddess said…
Have read about these cleanses , the all seem torturous just reading them .

I cannot picture my life without feta cheese and chicken ANYTHING ...

Just wondering what the next "hip" movement will be ????

Hotly Spiced said…
Great post. You are right about all the fads we've had through the decades. I'm late 40's too (regretably) and my naturopath (something we didn't have back in the 70's) suggested I go wheat and dairy free. I've found it easier to give up the gluten than give up the dairy. I'm not strict with it but I do try.
Lisa (of DE) now in Indy said…
This salad sounds fresh-tasting Stacey! So, you took it to "the BEACH"? What Jersey or East Coast person doesn't say "the SHORE"?! ha.
Oui, Chef said…
I'm with you, sister. I love food too much to totally rule out eating any one thing. If I had serious allergies that would be one thing, but everything in moderation has been working for me for years and I have no plans on changing now.