This summer, I embarked on what may turn out to be one of the most important things I’ve ever done for my health. It started as a need to do SOMETHING about my sinus headaches and congestion, which led to a fair amount of research into allergy testing, food tolerance testing, medication options, and even surgical possibilities. In a somewhat desperate attempt to avoid the path that seemed to lead only to bigger, stronger prescription drugs and, eventually, extremely unpleasant-sounding surgery, I decided to give the Clean Cleanse detox program a go. It’s a 21-day program based on the elimination diet. The idea is that many, if not all, health problems start in your gut. (“Gut” is an often-used word in the program, as is “mucus.” You get used to it.) And that if you clean out your gut and quit putting stuff in there that falls into three main categories — common allergens, inflammatory foods, and acidic foods — your gut will have the chance to heal itself and get your entire system back on a healthy track.
I have a lot more to share on the topic, but for now, I’ll just say that the results have been remarkable. I am off all medication and cannot remember a time in the past decade or more that I have had so few sinus/allergy issues.
Many of Clean’s principles have become part of my daily life, including morning protein shakes. I do not know of another breakfast that gives me more nutrients and energy for my crazy days. There are several smoothie recipes that I love, including this creamy, sweet mango-cashew concoction. It’s adapted from a Clean recipe, and includes what quickly became my favorite protein powder. It makes a big, satisfying, meal-replacement smoothie for one, or a snack-sized smoothie for two. Use organic everything!
Recipe: Mango Cashew Green Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon maca powder
the flesh of 1 fresh, ripe mango (or use about 1 cup frozen mango)
small handful raw cashews (about 4 Tablespoons)
two moderate handfuls raw baby spinach
3 or 4 ice cubes
Add ingredients to blender in the order given. Blend until smooth. Add more ice if you want it colder and/or thicker!
Note: I use a Vitamix (aka “the best small appliance I ever bought”) for this. If you have a less powerful blender, you might want to add the spinach gradually.