Making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP advice is low hanging fruit. It’s way too easy to mock. But I’m feeling lazy this morning, so let’s look at her 7 Day Detox diet. In addition to getting tons of colonics (!), she says we should purge toxic foods from your diet. OK, I’m down with clean eating. The colonics, not so much. So, what does she have to say?
She provides a menu for three full meals, a snack and lemon water for seven days. The recipes look tasty enough. I would probably eat everything and enjoy it. But the time, oh Gwyneth, the time.
Shopping for the week of ingredients, many of which can’t be found even in a Whole Foods, would require at least five hours. The list of ingredients were long. They would require several trips to stores on multiple days to assure vegetable freshness. And what are coconut aminos? Then there’s cooking and clean up time. This menu is a full time job.
Here’s my shortcut to healthy eating… Cook and prepare in large quantities.
Yesterday was my heavy lifting cooking day. I was in the kitchen for about two or three hours and Steve did the clean up later. What did I do?
Three Days of Salad
Because I’m Italian, we eat a cooked vegetable and a salad every night. I try to eat one at lunch, too. When I was growing up , our salads were very simple — some lettuce with some tomato or cucumber and some dressing. Now, we eat more complex salads.
A complex salad is a mix of raw vegetables, a protein, a sharp taste (cheese or olives or herbs), and a touch of dressing. If there are leftover cooked vegetables, they can go in, too. Not so complex, really.
The trick with salads is to cut up a ton of vegetables all at once. Enough for three days of salad. I put them in handy see through containers in the fridge and then assemble them when needed. It takes three minutes or less to do the assembling. Last night, I cut up cucumber, red onion, and cilantro. I had some feta crumbles and leftover olives from the holidays. I use bottled dressing to save time.
I wash enough lettuce for the week and keep the salad spinner in the fridge. Last night, it was arugula and green leaf lettuce.
Other items that could be ready and handy might be — sliced hard boiled eggs, leftover chicken (also sliced and ready to go), rinsed beans of any kind, celery, shredded carrots, boiled potatoes, green peppers.
Power Cooking Squash
I got a ton of squash from my CSA this year. At the end of the season, I had almost twenty squash in storage in the garage. There were pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and kabocha squash. Making squash can be very time consuming. So, it’s best to cook several at the same time and then freeze them. They freeze very well. I now have side dishes for six meals in the future.
Last night, I was down to the last four squash. I made two spaghetti squash using this Martha Stewart method. They went into freezer bags for future use. The last two were small butternut squash. I cut them in half. I covered the cut half with a little olive oil and salt. Then I roasted them cut side down for half an hour at 375 degrees. When they were done, I flipped them over, added a small pad of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Cook for another five minutes.
I told the kids that it was a “squash bowl” and that they should scoop out the food. They ate it.
When you freeze food, remember to label the item with a date. It’s good for six months.
Power Cook Everything
Along with the squash and salad, I made black beans and brown rice. (Ian, who is only 12, got leftover pasta and pork.)
I like to double or triple the quantities of everything that I cook. Steve packs up leftovers for lunch. I eat it for lunch. Jonah eats it as his first dinner, when he comes home from school. And I like to reuse parts of the previous meal in the next dinner. Picky eaters have a plan B in the fridge.
So, I made two cups of brown rice (Trader Joe’s Basmati plus one cube of chicken bouillon). I sautéed some fresh salsa from the local supermarket in some olive oil. I added two cans of Goya black beans, a dash of cumin, salt, and cayenne.
Many supermarkets, not just the high end ones, prepare their own salsas now. Our local one is great. It isn’t spicy ketchup, like some of the jarred stuff. It’s nice chunks of tomato, onion, pepper, and cilantro. They’ve done the prep work for me for so many meals — omelettes, rice, beans, fish, whatever. Supermarket salsa is my favorite cooking hack.
Brown rice takes an hour. Black beans take three minutes.
It takes the same amount of time to make twelve servings of food as four servings, so make more food.