The 21-Day Sugar Detox – Part 2
Part 1 post about the 21-Day Sugar Detox (21-DSD) exemplified the fun products that made this program interesting. This Part 2 post is a rather challenging topic – cooking and meal prep. Cooking of course is fun, however planning ahead of time and meal prep can be an arduous task.
If you’re preparing for a round of the 21-DSD, Whole30 or any such program for the first time, I highly suggest doing it with a friend or partner. Its always a plus to have someone around to share ideas, recipes and frustrating moments (only initially). I did this all by myself but I had some experience after the Whole30’s.
Cooking fresh everyday is not something I could do so meal-prep was necessary. Two days of the week were reserved for most cooking and meal-prep – Sunday and Wednesday. I made a list of items to cook and split them between these two days and shopped for groceries accordingly. This requires some effort and planning but after a while it becomes like second nature.
Here are some examples of meal-prep – baked meat and sweet potatoes to eat over salad with sumac marinated onions and mint-tahini dressing.
Marinated chicken two different ways – one with ginger, garlic, coconut aminos, chili sauce and scallions. Second with ginger, coconut milk yogurt and baharat spice blend. I combined the cooked chicken either with salad or cauliflower fried rice.
I cooked a LOT during these 21 days (not to forget grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.) and here is an attempt to document most of what I ate.
I’m a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast, fried eggs with seasoning and sautéed kale is my go to breakfast. The seasoning is probably the only element that changes. I didn’t experiment much with breakfast except for the occasional chia pudding with homemade almond milk. Spicing food up really helped with creating remarkable flavor profiles even with something as basic as chia pudding. Flavors and textures created by using nuts and spices distracts your mind away from sugar, its probably a mind game but it truly works!
Every effort was made to get creative with toppings (with minimal effort) – this bowl of pudding below was topped with slivered pistachios, ground cardamom and strands of saffron.
When there was a bit more time to spare the toppings also included some chopped up grapefruit and almond butter…so good!
Lunch & Dinner
Lunch was always packed from home and dinner was almost never the same as what I ate for lunch. This was all an effort to never get bored of eating the same thing repeatedly. Different cooking techniques were explored to maximize natural flavors of ingredients – steam, bake, pan fry, sear.
These steamed chicken-cabbage dumplings are a favorite, chicken meatballs in a cabbage wrap. This requires some effort to make but is so addictive. I spiced the chicken with homemade chili sauce, fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. The leftovers were pan fried to make the outer cabbage slightly crispy, soooo good when dipped in coconut aminos.
My favorite lettuce wraps were reserved for dinners – Fried eggs, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sumac marinated onions and spicy mustard in a lettuce wrap.
Work lunches looked like this – cauliflower fried rice, steamed broccoli and spicy chili chicken.
For days when Indian food cravings hit – spicy black pepper chicken, cumin-cauliflower rice, green beans with coconut.
This is my favorite paleo-indian food ever – spicy cauliflower rice chicken biryani, topped with boiled eggs.
Easy dinners on long days looked like this – baked sweet potato steaks, asparagus, chicken burger and kale salad seasoned with olive oil and Harissa.
I always have whole baked sweet potatoes in the fridge, you can stuff them with almost anything and make a fancy meal out of it. This sweet potato was stuffed with baharat spiced chicken, arugula and a radish-onion-cucumber salsa.
These two home made condiments saved the day almost everyday!
This spicy raw mango relish tempered with ghee, curry leaves and mustard seeds goes with any and everything. I even topped my burger patty with it once, really delicious.
I could never eat raw onions but these sumac marinated onions are the best. Sliced onions are first soaked in water and dried for on paper towels. Then add sumac, lemon juice and vinegar. These are so versatile and can be refrigerated for unto a week.
I didn’t have the urge to really snack a lot but when I needed a change these bitter gourd chips were fun to eat.
Cucumber and creamy coconut milk yogurt with a sprinkle of sumac required no effort to make, this helped on busy days.
My favorite treat was this popsicle made with coconut milk yogurt, chunks of grapefruit and cardamom, topped with chopped pistachios. This is seriously the best snack/dessert/treat ever, I plan to make variations of this during summer with different fruits.