Why Do I Eat Clean?

by Danielle Omar on April 16, 2014

toxinsLast month I finished copy edits on my first cook book – Skinny Juices, 101 Juice Recipes for Detox and Weight Loss (coming out in June!). This week I’ve been busy prepping for the launch of  my sixth group detox program. So detox is on my mind! But more specifically, toxins. Mostly because I keep seeing quotes and stories online suggesting that toxins are not something we really need to be worrying about. This is really upsetting for one because it’s misleading. But mainly because it’s just not helpful. I write a lot about eating clean, but I don’t really talk about why I eat clean, and why it’s so important to me.

So here’s an example of an unhelpful comment that got me crazy:

The idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins has no basis in human biology. Your organs and immune system handle those duties, no matter what you eat.

This is a quote from a Harvard-trained medical professional. I have to ask, is this all the medical profession has to offer us in response to legitimate concerns about toxic exposure? Okay, yes he is correct. Our liver and kidneys do handle those duties. But it ain’t pretty, people. And it’s not that black and white.

So let’s talk some truth about toxins. You don’t have to dive deep into research to know that we are confronted every single day with toxic chemicals. It really can’t be helped when there’s over 80,000 chemicals currently being used today, most untested for safety. It’s also a well-documented fact that many of these chemicals have taken up space in our bodies. And because they’re a part of us, they become a part of our family line…they will be in our children, their children, and their children. The Environmental Working Group studied the umbilical cord blood of 10 American babies and found over 413 different chemical toxins. Some were neurotoxins that had been banned over 30 years ago. The industry who uses and creates these chemicals wants us to think that the exposure we get is too low for it to matter, that the “parts per billion” is so low that none of the chemicals can have any real effect. But no long-term safety studies have been done on these chemicals. So the argument that there’s no research  to show any harm really makes no sense when there is no research. There are, however, tons of safety studies done on a certain class of chemical toxins that we use everyday…these are called prescription drugs. And guess what? Turns out very low doses do matter. They’re called side effects. At levels less than 30 parts per billion (which is not a lot), over 13% of the prescription drugs on the market today have serious side effects.

Having a hard time losing weight? Well, there are even special toxins that make us fat. They’re called obesogens. Obesogens are special chemicals that mess with your endocrine system. They tell your body to make more fat cells, decrease your metabolic rate, and make you hungry…all the time. Two of the most ubiquitous obesogens out there are BPA and high fructose corn syrup. I’d like to ask Mr. Harvard how well his body is “handling” them. I can tell you, not so good…considering 93% of us have BPA in our bodies. So yes, BPA, a chemical that has been linked to everything from cancer, infertility, obesity, early puberty, and heart disease is now a part of your body. Is that okay? Is that what he means by “handling” it?

So yeah, I do have an issue with toxins. Few people know that decreasing toxic exposure is one of the reasons I started my detox program. I know that I can’t prevent the use of toxic industrial chemicals in our society. Nor can I control what’s in the air I breath or the water I drink. But I can make choices about what I eat and the products I put on my skin. I can control, to some degree, the amount of toxic exposure I encounter on a daily basis by eating clean. And so can you.  

A client told me I should call my detox the “re-inventing eating” program and I love that. Because that’s what we are doing. We are re-inventing healthy, we are reviving choice, and we are literally changing the way we think about what’s in our food. And I love it. I’m so grateful to guide my detoxers on this journey. So when I read the generalizations being made about how our bodies handle toxins just fine and that detox is not necessary, it really bothers me. Not because I think my detox program is going to remove all toxins from our bodies. Obviously that’s not going to happen. But we are doing something very important. We are detoxing away from a toxic lifestyle. We are removing the destructive, inflammatory foods we’ve been eating our whole lives and have been told are healthy. We are learning so much about our bodies — which foods make us feel good, which makes us feel great, and which cause us pain. I think it might be the most important work that I do. 

But hey, I’m not in the convincing business, I’m in the healing business. I know that my clients feel better eating clean. They feel better when they don’t eat toxic food. They feel better when they can lose weight without deprivation. They feel better when they start choosing their food and not being numb to what food can do to their mood, vitality, and overall wellness.

So if you want to learn more about toxins and living a cleaner lifestyle, I hope you’ll join us while we eat clean for 21 days…straight. We start prepping next week and space is limited. You can learn more and register here.

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{recipe} Black Bean Pasta With Olives & Cauliflower

by Danielle Omar on April 9, 2014

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower 1

I found this black bean spaghetti at Costco. Surprisingly, it’s organic, gluten-free and pretty much clean eats. There are only 2 ingredients: black beans and water. Can’t get much cleaner than that, right?

How does it taste? I was thinking that, too. So much so I never thought I would actually make this pasta. I have a few of those items in my pantry, stuff that looks interesting in the store, but I never feel inspired to actually cook. But tonight, I got adventurous. I figured you can’t go wrong with pasta, right?

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower 4

I approached this challenge the same way I would any pasta dish. Toss it with some olive oil, a few veggies and call it a day. I make this sort of dish regularly for Norah, but I actually stopped eating pasta years ago when I realized I could no longer eat half a pound all by myself and not suffer consequences. Since then, I’ve kind of gone cold turkey. Except for the occasional last bites of Norah’s bowl or my summer love affair with raw zucchini pasta, I just don’t eat it. Nor have I ventured into the gluten-free or low-carb pasta world. I had a short stint with whole wheat pasta, but our relationship didn’t last. I grew up eating Italian food. And a lot of pasta. I’ve mentioned before, my Italian mom would toss pasta with just about anything — peas, eggs, cauli, zucchini, eggplant, beans, tomatoes. I didn’t matter. It always tasted awesome. So to recreate that flavor with wheat pasta, well…I’d rather go without.

black bean pastaEnter this black bean pasta. Let’s not kid ourselves, this is not at all what I grew up eating. It definitely has that slight grainy texture as the whole wheat stuff. But, with one main difference. It is so filling! There’s no way I’m stuffing my face with this stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so satisfied (and full) from any pasta before. Another benefit? It’s jammed packed with protein. A two ounce serving has 25 grams (that’s a little over three ounces for those wondering).  And yes, it’s very low carb. Only 17 grams per two ounce serving and 12 of those grams are fiber! That means net carb: 5 grams.

black bean pasta with olives and cauliflower 2

Seriously, back in the day I would have eaten half of this serving plate. That’s the thing with pasta, right? You keep going back for more! I didn’t even put a dent in this stuff. I was full after just a few bites, and that says a lot!

Will your family like it? I think so. Norah was definitely intrigued by the “brown pasta.” She eagerly tried it and gave it the thumbs up. I will say though, by one quarter luck and the rest perseverance, she is an adventurous eater. I hope you’ll give it a try! Here’s how I made it:

Black Bean Pasta With Olives & Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 big handful black bean pasta
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Herbamare Italian Blend Season Salt (or any Italian herb blend)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (plus more for pasta water)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta in salted water, according to package directions. In a saute pan, heat olive oil and onions until golden brown. Add cauliflower and season salt (or just salt). Saute until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped olives. Then add fresh parsley. Stir well to combine. Add 1-2 ladles of pasta water to saute pan. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Drain pasta and place in large serving bowl. Toss cauliflower and olives with pasta. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
http://foodconfidence.com/2014/04/09/recipe-black-bean-pasta-olives-cauliflower/

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{recipe} Green Papaya and Carrot Salad

April 4, 2014
Green Papaya and Carrot Salad

Have you ever had green papaya? If you’ve ever eaten at a Thai restaurant, you probably have. Green papaya is actually just unripened papaya. It has a super mild, almost tasteless flavor that becomes sweet and crispy once it’s massaged with dressing. Ryan and I made this Thai-inspired salad at our Detox Kitchen cooking class last […]

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Sweet Apricot & Almond Granola

March 27, 2014
Apricot and Almond Granola

I’ve never made granola before. Not sure why, I just never thought I would like it. I had no idea I was totally missing out. I made this apricot granola as a request from the hubby, who was mesmerized by Bobby Flay whipping some up on The Food Network. He only recorded the last 5 […]

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Apricot Orange Energy Bars

March 24, 2014
Apricot Orange Energy Bars

This weekend I did some snack prep! Much more fun than dinner prep, right? I had some dried apricots that needed using and settled on these apricoty, orangey pecan and almond bars with a sinful orange icing. I’m eating one right now with some tea, and it’s quite the perfect breakfast. Not too sweet, not too […]

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Creamy Potato & Corn Chowder

March 8, 2014
potatocornchowder

Disclosure: I received a gift card to offset the expense of my ingredients. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. When you think of potato and corn chowder, what do […]

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Popcorn Salad + Vegan Cookbook Giveaway

March 3, 2014
Straight From The Heart Vegan Cookbook

I am in love with this amazing cookbook! It’s one of those books you read cover to cover because the pictures are so pretty and the food looks so delicious. It’s called Straight from the Earth, Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone and it’s written by Myra Goodman and her daughter, Marea Goodman. You may have heard […]

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Radishly Radical Apple Grapefruit Juice

February 22, 2014
radish grapefruit apple juice

Today I’ve got a little surprise in store for you. I thought it would be fun to combine this month’s recipe redux with a sneak peak inside my upcoming book, 101 Skinny Juices for Weight Loss and Detox! It works out perfectly because February’s theme is all about that which is served in a mug, glass, or […]

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