This past weekend, I did my first 3-day juice cleanse with a good friend of mine – the kind where you buy the juices from a company and they arrive via FedEx at your door the day before you start the cleanse. I chose to go with a local Dallas company call Roots Pressed Juices for the cleanse, and they sent me 6 fresh juices to drink each day.
The idea behind a juice cleanse is that you fill your body with fresh juices that are pressed in a way that preserves the most nutrients – vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients and enzymes. By just drinking the juice, you omit almost all of the fiber, so your body doesn’t have to digest the food. All of the fresh goodness then absorbs straight into your bloodstream. Since your body doesn’t have to mess with digesting food, the idea is that your body will use that extra energy plus all the added nutrients and enzymes to do a super good detox in all of your systems. Also, since no sugar, gluten, dairy, or any other processed foods (or any food at all!) is going in, you detox from all of that congesting junk as well.
I have heard stories of the detox symptoms people experience while on a juice cleanse, and I have to say that I didn’t experience any uncomfortable symptoms. But what I did experience was HUNGER! I had read that most people aren’t that hungry on a juice fast, but I was not one of those people. The first day was really quite enjoyable, as I liked trying each of the 6 juices. I was hungry throughout the day, but not miserably hungry. I woke up the morning of the second day and felt really, really good. I was in a good mood, not hungry or thinking about food, and felt very “clean”. About halfway through the second day and throughout the third day, I was really quite hungry. Really. So the juice fast became more of a mental mountain for me, and one that I ended up being very glad I climbed. The biggest thing I’m taking away from the 3 day experience was the continual reminder to only focus on what is immediately ahead of me and not stress out about what is coming the next day, or even the next hour. I had to live in each moment, just make it through that piece of time.
Would I do it again? Yes, but honestly, I felt the best on the morning of day 2. I would happily do 1 or 2 days, but 3 days nearly pushed me over the mental edge. I like to eat!
Coming off the juice fast, it was recommended to focos on eating vegan raw foods for the first few days. Plus, with spring upon us, leafy greens are in season, and I’m ready to trade in the heavy, warm, cooked foods for some light and easy raw creations. I say creations because I love the creativity that goes with raw food preparation. My first big meal after my cleanse was at Be Raw, a vegan raw restaurant (the only one!) in Dallas. The coconut kale enchiladas are my favorite! My mom, my brother, and his two friends also joined us for this raw experience, which was their first.
Today, I am making raw lasagna rolls using zucchini, sundried tomatoes, and macadamia nuts. This recipe can just as easily be made into a traditional lasagna by laying the zucchini lasagna “noodles” flat, spreading the macadamia nut “cheese” over them, and topping it with the sundried tomato marinara. Then repeat the layers.
To start, I got my zucchini lasagna “noodles” ready. Pretty simple – I just cut as slender of strips as I could lengthwise out of the zucchini. There is probably a great tool for this, but I don’t have it, and a good sharp knife worked just fine for me.
Second, I made the macadamia nut cheese. Again, don’t be intimidated because this is very simple as well. I used a recipe from Nuts.com (great place to buy nuts by the way) and made a few changes so it would taste like I wanted. In a food processor, I processed together the macadamia nuts (don’t soak them), lemon juice, sea salt, herbs de Provence (could use Italian seasoning), and a little water. I started out with no water, then added tablespoon by tablespoon until a big ball of “cheese” formed in my food processor. I ended up only adding 2 tablespoons of water, but adjust as you need to. Taste your “cheese” to make sure it is flavored like you like. This stuff is very, very good and can be eaten on seed crackers or spread on other veggies or substituted for ricotta cheese in many recipes.
Next, I made the sundried tomato marinara based on a recipe by Alissa Cohen that I learned in a raw food preparation class. I quickly wiped out my food processor, then added a tomato, soaked sundried tomatoes (soaking water discarded), olive oil, a date, garlic, salt, basil, and a splash of cayenne. I pulsed until a marinara formed, and then tasted it to make sure I liked the flavor.
The last step is assembly. I just spread a little of the “cheese” along each “noodle”, leaving a ½ an inch at the ends, and then rolled up the “noodle” with the “cheese” inside and set it in a serving dish. You can use toothpicks to hold your rolls together if needed. I repeated this step until all my “noodles” were used up. Lastly, I spooned a little marinara over each lasagna roll. This recipe makes about 16 to 18 rolls.
raw lasagna rolls
Recipe type: snack, entree
3 small zucchinis
1 cup macadamia nuts
juice of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
2 – 4 tablespoons of water, to taste
½ cup sundried tomatoes, soaked for at least 30 minutes and water discarded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon basil
dash of cayenne
Cut zucchinis lengthwise into very slender strips.
In a food processor, add macadamia nuts, lemon juice, salt, herbs, and process until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until a ball of “cheese” forms.
Remove the “cheese” from the food processor and wipe it out.
In the food processor, add the tomato, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, date, basil, and cayenne, and process until a marinara forms.
Spread a little “cheese” on each “noodle”, leaving a little space on each end.
Roll up each “noodle” with the “cheese” inside and place in a serving dish. Use toothpicks to hold the rolls together if needed.