“Ten years ago, my husband David and I did our first January cleanse together. We were so influenced by how it made us feel that it has become a ritual. It’s not about restriction, but really about clean eating, anti-inflammatory foods, and slowing down to think about the health of our eating habits.
Over the decade, we’ve pulled from various methods to create something that works for us. Gwyneth Paltrow introduced me to Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program and that’s still a big influence: no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, grains, or processed foods. It’s dramatic how much better we feel as the month goes on—better sleep, less anxiety, improved digestion, clearer minds. It's also a mental reset that’s a life lesson: I like the idea of evaluating what you think you’re dependent on, and remembering that a craving, or anything painful, is a fleeting moment that will pass. The only killer is giving up coffee—I’m still figuring out how to make that less painful!
Committing to a month-long cleanse means I cook a lot in January. In the early days, that felt a little intimidating, but I’ve learned that if you keep the fridge stocked with easy foods and find a few great recipes, it’s actually soothing and fun. Last weekend, I made banana pancakes with buckwheat, vanilla essence, and a little arrowroot to bind it and it was so delicious! It’s also a great way to press pause on outside distractions, take a break from social obligations, and have a month of meals together with David and our children.
Mornings are usually a shake that uses Dr. Junger’s Clean nutritional protein powder, plus homemade almond milk, a banana, Moon Juice Beauty Shroom and Probiotics supplements, hemp seeds, and frozen blueberries. I also like Elle McPherson’s Welleco's Nourishing Protein base with Indonesian chocolate.
Lunch is simple and comforting—maybe lentil soup with avocado or a warm chickpea salad on a base of spinach with organic cucumber and shallots. For dinner, I often pull from recipes I discovered and saved while doing Taryn Toomey’s The Layer cleanse. The meals are great and I’ve discovered new favorites this year, like chickpea sliders and spaghetti squash with herb salad. Later in the night, David and I have tea together and a huge bowl of blueberries awhile I catch up on The Morning Show. It's a relaxing way to end the day and I wake up feeling so much more refreshed.
Here, in honor of the New Year ahead, a fresh start and lots of good energy, I’m sharing a few of my very favorite clean eating recipes from this month-long journey. I hope you love them, too. Let’s go 2020!” Xx Gucci
Spaghetti Squash & Herb Salad
- 1 whole spaghetti squash
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup dill, chopped
- ¼ cup scallion, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Place whole squash on a parchment lined sheet pan. Cook for 30 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. Carefully remove squash from the oven and let cool.
- Slice the squash in half. Remove the seeds. Use a fork to separate the flesh of the squash into strands.
- In a large bowl, toss squash with herbs, lemon and salt.
- When using herbs, it is far better to utilize them in their fresh form to reap the full health benefits and flavor. Spaghetti squash alone has a mild sweet flavor, but with the addition of the green herbs, it takes the vegetable to new heights.
- 4 romaine leaves, shredded
- ½ cup onion, grated
- 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp ground chia seed
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
- Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to process until you are able to press the chickpeas between your fingers so they stay together.
- Add onion, garlic, spices, ground chia, parsley, cumin and baking soda. Pulse until just combined.
- Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl, use your hands to form four 1-inch sliders.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the sliders until golden brown on each side, roughly 2-3 minutes per side. Alternate cooking method - bake in preheated 400 degree oven until golden.
- Serve sliders on bed of shredded romaine. A lighter variation of classic falafel, these sliders couldn’t be simpler. Working with dried garbanzo beans is the magic ingredient that makes these sliders different from other vegan sliders.
Cauliflower Flat Bread
- 4 cups cauliflower, grated to texture of “rice” .
- Large handful arugula, optional
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced, optional
- 6 tbsp ground chia seeds
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 cup almond meal
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the grated cauliflower. Cover, reduce the heat and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a large colander, pressing well to remove excess liquid. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix 4 tbsp of ground chia with water. Set aside to thicken.
- In a large bowl, combine drained cauliflower, chia mixture, almond meal, the remaining 2 tbsp of ground chia seeds and salt until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Press the dough onto the parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and dry to the touch. Remove the flat bread from the oven. Using an additional piece of parchment paper and sheet pan, flip the cauliflower bread over and bake, 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Cut into 4 pieces, top with sliced avocado. The secret to the dough in this recipe is to drain the cauliflower well. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to knead the ingredients and allow the dough to come together.
Lentil Herb Soup
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrot, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 6 cups vegetable broth or water
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1 cup baby spinach chopped
- 1 ½ cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery cook until softened, 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, thyme, and vegetable broth or water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 30-40 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley, dill and baby spinach and simmer, 5 minutes.
- Season with apple cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Packed with protein, fiber, and folic acid, lentils are a delicious one stop shop for maintaining overall health.
Spicy Zucchini Pancakes
- Peel and grate 2 cups of zucchini.
- Dice ¼ Cup of onion.
- Deseed and mince ½ a jalapeno.
- Finely chop ½ Cup of Cilantro.
- Zest and juice of one lemon.
- Add 2 TBS Curry Powder, 2TBS Cayenne, ½ tsp Garlic Powder, ½ tsp Tumeric ,1 tsp sea salt, and a few cracks of black pepper into a bowl.
- Mix in 1 ½ Cups Garbanzo Flour, Mix in ½ Cup of Water, and stir well.
- On medium high heat, heat 1 TBS olive oil.
- Scoop out the mixture into small pancakes. Try and smooth out the circle to ¼ inch thick.
- Cook until browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Top with extra sea salt and serve with your favorite sauce if you’d like!
Spaghetti Squash and Herb Salad, Chickpea Sliders, and Lentil Herb Soup recipes courtesy of Taryn Toomey.