Chow Bella

21 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Week Four and Beyond

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Week Three was a feast, incorporating a black bean and spinach tostada with homemade corn tortillas, quinoa chickpea burgers and sweet potato fries, and pumpkin pie muffins made with almond meal.

I made it all. And I ate it all. Even the roasted chickpea snacks and sweet potato fries.

I will confess that I need some practice at the homemade tortillas, or maybe a tortilla press. But the rest of it I've got down.

At the end of the cleanse, there is a worksheet to list the snacks, recipes and smoothies you like and a monthly meal planner to incorporate them into an ongoing eating plan.

I may be a dreamer, but I think I actually can use these smoothies and other recipes to continue to get fresh fruits and vegetables into my system.

So here are the 10 things I learned from my three (four) week adventure:

1) Spinach and kale are my friends. Before I started the cleanse, I rarely (read VERY rarely) ate spinach, and kale even less often. When I did eat them, it was in a salad, and it felt like a lot of chewing to get to the bottom of the bowl. Now I throw big handfuls into my Vitamix, pulverize it with fruits and water or coconut water and drink it. I promise that it tastes great. I definitely will have a green smoothie every day to up my intake of these nutritious veggies.

2) Somehow, drinking the spinach and kale made me like it better in salads. Can your taste buds train themselves to like green stuff?

3) I slept better when I didn't drink gallons of Diet Coke and cups of coffee.

4) I didn't miss meat or dairy or refined sugar. In fact, I seemed to be less hungry, which seems counterintuitive. This seems to confirm the things I've read about eating sweets making you crave even more sweets. So I'll try to eat more fruit and less sugar.

5) I love pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. The plan uses pepitas and sunflower seeds in a lot of the recipes. They add protein and crunch and flavor.

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Judith Nichols