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Welcoming Spring, Honoring Winter, and a New Spark! + Choosing Raw Group Cleanse

Posted Apr 01 2010 8:00pm

fl-asparagus-0408p26b-l Hey all!

So it appears I’m not the only coffee lover among us. Glad that post struck a chord!

Since we’re getting real about our “gentle imperfections,” it’s the perfect time for me to announce the second Choosing Raw + Spark Wellness 10 Day Cleanse . You may recall our last cleanse initiative, which was in January. I’m happy to report that it was a tremendous success. Our cleansers (and we counselors, who were participating too!) felt unanimously more energetic, more confident about our food choices, more balanced, and more savvy in the kitch. Here are just a few of the testimonials we gathered after the cleanse:

The best thing about the cleanse is that I saw amazing results. My joint pain became almost non-existent, my energy level was through the roof and I felt clear headed and happy! I don’t know if I would have had the stamina to go 10 days on a cleanse without the support of Gena and the forum. This cleanse was definitely worth every penny. I can’t thank Gena and Spark Wellness enough.” –Cleanse participant, January 2010

“I had a wonderful experience doing the level three cleanse. Gena was warm, supportive, well-informed, and professional. the on-line forum was fun, informative, interesting. the group phone calls were fun and informative. The food was delicious!! I would not have had the courage and confidence to eat a raw vegan diet on my own, this cleanse gave me the structure and guidance I needed to try it.  I can’t recommend this program highly enough and that’s the truth.”  –Cleanse participant, January 2010

“I realized, the best testimonial I can give is telling you how I feel. In a word – amazing. I cannot believe how much more energy I have. I feel lighter, and my exercising habits have improved. The meal plan helped so much, and Gena’s recipes were delicious. I’m incredibly grateful.” –Cleanse participant, January 2010

Andrea , Hadley and I took such joy in helping to guide people towards a gentle, healing break for their bodies. And we’re delighted to be doing it again — this time, as a celebration of spring! Spring is the season of new life and new growth, of renewal and new beginnings. So what better time could there be to offer your body a tiny fresh start?

What’s different about our cleanse is that the focus is on real, whole foods, along with a manageable shift to a healthier lifestyle. This is not a “fad” cleanse where you drink juice or lemonade every day. You’ll be eating — and good food, at that! No starvation here. We also understand that everyone is different, which is why we’ve designed three unique programs for our participants. I lead Level 3, which is all vegan; descriptions of the three levels can be found here , at the Spark! website. As with our last cleanse, support will be offered in an online forum and a support call.

If you’re interested in joining us, mark your calendars: we are hosting a free teleclass on the benefits of a cleanse, as well as details of the program, on April 28th at 9pm EST. E-mail us to register and get your dial-in info.

We’re also offering a special discount for people who sign up before April 24th. Register today and pay only $69: this price includes detailed detox packet, menus, grocery lists, delicious recipes, a group telephone support call, and an online group form for additional support throughout your cleanse experience. Bloggers who participate and promote on their blog receive additional $10 off and Health practitioners receive an additional $10 off. (Again, you can e-mail us to take advantage of these special rates.)

If you have questions about the cleanse, please check out the detailed page on the Spark! Wellness website, which includes FAQs, sample menus for each level, and testimonials. We hope to have many of you along for the ride!

Before we move into the freshness of spring, though, it can be lovely to savor the last of winter’s vegetable bounty (if that doesn’t sound too oxymoronic). I love summer produce, naturally; I never met an heirloom tomato, red pepper, avocado, or zucchini I didn’t like. But in many ways, I’m first and foremost a lover of the fall and winter veggies: winter squashes, potatoes, kale, cabbage, and broccoli and cauliflower. I also love the hearty soups and grain dishes that winter calls to mind. As gleeful as I am to see asparagus appear at the farmer’s market, or to blanch some fresh green peas, I also love to use March and April as a last hurrah for winter produce, making all sorts of dishes with beets and turnips, and (now that I’m fast becoming a fermenting fiend) putting sauerkraut into jars.

This tasty, savory sweet grain dish is just one of many dishes I’m using as my farewell to winter. It’s appropriate that I cooked it up this week, as temperatures shifted from cold (with a side order of torrential rain) to springlike and sunny. All hail transitional food!


Quinoa, Cranberry, and Roasted Cauliflower Salad (yields 4-5 servings)

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets and pieces
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/4 cups quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roast the cauliflower by tossing it in 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and dusting it with salt and pepper. I also like to squeeze some lemon on it! Place in the oven, uncovered, and roast until the top of the cauliflower is slightly brown and crispy.

While it cooks, combine the quinoa with 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.

Transfer quinoa to a bowl, and add the roasted cauliflower and a little squeeze of lemon. Toss in the cranberries, and season to taste. Serve warm!

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The best thing about this dish — well, the second best thing, after it’s delicious taste — is how simple it is to prepare, and how satisfying it is to eat. Minimal time and maximum enjoyment: it doesn’t beat that.

While I’m not a truly seasonal or local eater — for reasons I’ve explained here , it isn’t entirely possible within my lifestyle — I do take joy in following the general rhythm of the seasons. This means not only celebrating new life and new crops, but also celebrating the end of previous seasons, and bidding some winter faves a fond adieu.

I’m sure I’m not the only one: tell me, what dishes are you preparing more than often, in anticipation of a summertime hiatus?


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