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Is it possible to cook deliciously without salt, sweeteners, soy, milk products, eggs, non-fish animal protein, alcohol, caffeine and wheat?

cimui Jan 20, 2009 04:10 PM

What would you make for someone on such a restricted diet? So far, I've just come up with fish or portobella mushroom grilled with olive oil, garlic and lemon, served over brown rice with a side of oven roasted veggies (with olive oil and more garlic). I'm not feeling terribly creative. Anyone else want to venture a few suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks -- or just offer tips on making food as deliciously as possible? (I know I'm relying a bit too heavily on the garlic and olive oil.)

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  1. Bryn RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 04:31 PM

    Add some toasted almonds to the rice!
    Maybe some herbs on the fish or mushroom, but it sounds alright to me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bryn
      cimui RE: Bryn Jan 20, 2009 05:54 PM

      and toasted almonds would work as a snack, too -- thanks. good suggestion.

      1. re: Bryn
        Emmmily RE: Bryn Jan 21, 2009 11:37 AM

        Add curry powder, 5-spice powder, and hot pepper to your list of seasonings. You can get a lot of flavor out of those without adding salt.

      2. k
        kobetobiko RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 04:40 PM

        Hi cimui,

        This is interesting. Can we use shellfish? How about regular sugar or fish sauce? Some dishes / snacks that I can think of:
        - crab meat (no seasoning required if it is fresh and naturally salty) with avocado (is shellfish allowed?).
        - sliced smoked salmon on top of cucumber or avocado
        - sushi with fresh fish (choose stronger flavored fish so soy sauce is not required)
        - maki rolls with burdock or pickled vegetables
        - seaweed salad or seaweed soup (again, natural saltiness)
        - fruit smoothies for breakfast?
        - Rice porridge with sweet potato or taro or ginko nuts
        - Grilled mackeral / sardines
        - seasame seed / pistaschio crusted tuna or salmon
        - fish wrapped in banana leaves
        - smoked eels?
        - fennels with oranges and grapefruit salad (though it will taste better with salt)

        I will give more thoughts to this.

        21 Replies
        1. re: kobetobiko
          cimui RE: kobetobiko Jan 20, 2009 05:42 PM

          i don't think smoked salmon would work because of the salt used in preservation and sushi rice is seasoned with added sugar and salt. love the sesame seed crusted tuna / salmon ideas and the subtle flavoring of banana leaves, though. shellfish should be fine, though i've never prepared anything of the mollusk variety, before.

          1. re: cimui
            kobetobiko RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 06:02 PM

            If you can't use smoked salmon, then you can simply make salmon tartare with cucumber and / or avocado.

            Also, you can add these ingredients to your dishes to enhance flavors:
            - scallions, ginger, leeks, onions, kelps (kombu), and of course, various seeds and nuts and herbs and spices.

            - cous cous with olive oil, mint, cilantro, lemon, garlic, etc.
            - raw/grilled scallops! So good, you really don't need anything.

            1. re: kobetobiko
              cimui RE: kobetobiko Jan 20, 2009 06:05 PM

              thank you, kobetobiko. i love your suggestions. (couscous is wheat, but i've done similar things with quinoa.)

              1. re: cimui
                kobetobiko RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 06:22 PM

                Ha ha, cimui, sorry about cous cous. I have no idea if it is wheat, I just assume it is some kind of grain *_*"

                There are also a lot of dried ingredients like dried dates, dried longon, dried sweet potato or even dried apricots that can add sweetness or flavors to your dishes.

                1. re: kobetobiko
                  kobetobiko RE: kobetobiko Jan 20, 2009 09:58 PM

                  Just got an idea. You can make dashi using bonito flakes. It can be served as a base for many other dishes or soups.

                  Shitake mushrooms or combination of different vegetables can also make a good soup base.

                  1. re: kobetobiko
                    cimui RE: kobetobiko Jan 21, 2009 09:01 AM

                    i was thinking about bonito / shiitake based soups, as well. (traditional buddhist fare, i think.) the thing that stopped me, though, is that bonito is generally preserved with salt, i think. maybe there are unsalted kinds? either way, thank you for giving this so much thought.

                  2. re: kobetobiko
                    thew RE: kobetobiko Jan 23, 2009 04:13 AM

                    couscous is pasta

                    1. re: thew
                      Sam Fujisaka RE: thew Jan 23, 2009 05:20 AM

                      Couscous is a cereal processed from semolina into tiny pellets. Semolina is the hard part of Duram wheat sifted out of flour and used for pasta.

                      1. re: thew
                        TampaAurora RE: thew Jan 29, 2009 01:20 PM

                        i think you are thinking of Israeli Couscous.

                        1. re: TampaAurora
                          thew RE: TampaAurora Jan 29, 2009 01:32 PM


                          1. re: TampaAurora
                            maplesugar RE: TampaAurora Jan 29, 2009 06:03 PM


                            No matter how you slice it couscous is derived from wheat. Wheat is not to be consumed in this cleanse, so couscous is off cimui's list for the time being.

                            1. re: maplesugar
                              thew RE: maplesugar Jan 30, 2009 05:59 AM


                          2. re: thew
                            CoryKatherine RE: thew Feb 4, 2009 08:31 AM

                            uhm, even if it is pasta, isn't pasta made from wheat? aka flour? i've never made pasta but I don't think I'm mistaken...

                            1. re: thew
                              lgss RE: thew Jul 18, 2009 11:03 AM

                              Cous cous is wheat. Pasta can be made of lots of different things: wheat, rice, corn, quinoa, etc. but you have to look for the non-wheat kind.

                        2. re: kobetobiko
                          cimui RE: kobetobiko Jan 22, 2009 07:06 PM

                          i definitely don't want to subject the good hounds of chow to a blow by blow account of this cleanse, but i was such a fan of my dinner, tonight, i wanted to report back on it.

                          strongly inspired by kobetobiko's suggestions, i made a timbale of avocado and crab with a little bit of toasted sesame oil mixed in, topped with toasted sesame seeds and strips of toasted nori, all served with a side of brown rice. i didn't add any salt and the flavor was really spectacular. hopefully i didn't cheat, since the crabmeat is naturally a bit salty... in any case, it was delicious. thank you all, again, for the great suggestions!

                          1. re: cimui
                            moh RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 07:41 PM

                            Hoo dang! You have a new career as a cleanse chef! I'd hire you in a heartbeat! That sure sounds great.

                            1. re: moh
                              cimui RE: moh Jan 23, 2009 01:44 PM

                              heck, i'd cook for you *anytime*, moh. (hard not to make tasty food with all these great chowminds advising!)

                            2. re: cimui
                              kobetobiko RE: cimui Jan 24, 2009 08:38 AM

                              Hi cimui,

                              I am so glad it worked out for you! How long does the cleansing last? I think you will do perfectly fine if the cleansing period isn't too long. But you may need more ideas if you have to do it for a month!

                              I agree with others that the "no salt" part is the hardest part. I think natural "salt" from the food should be fine! (and no, don't ask your yoga friend!) ;D

                              1. re: kobetobiko
                                MiriamOttawa RE: kobetobiko Jul 20, 2009 05:57 PM

                                Just wondering why people bother with a "cleanse".
                                Normally unless you have serious kidney or liver problems you do not need to do a cleanse.
                                The kidneys job is to filter toxins-but if you want to know what your kidey function is go to the doctor for a blood test and he will if you have any kidney problems tell you to go on a low pretein diet or renal diet.

                                One of my friends she has kidney problems and has to go the the hospital 4 times a week to have her blood cleaned as it does not happen by itself for her.

                                But enough about that,I did have a few suggestions.

                                I really like roasted nut oils and roasted hazelnut oil on rice noodles with cucumber and carrot would be good.

                                those vietnamese noodle rolls.
                                carrot soup w ginger made hot or cold.

                                Rice dream products and rice milk-they even have "rice cheese" I have seen.

                                1. re: MiriamOttawa
                                  cimui RE: MiriamOttawa Jul 20, 2009 06:07 PM

                                  hey there, miriam. in defense of those who 'cleanse' (i know... such a new agey / eating disordery / bad sounding word!)... it's a practice that's common among serious yoga practioners in order to help you focus your mental and spiritual energies, reset your system, and that sort of thing.

                                  i'd call myself a kind of wishy washy yoga practioner, not a serious one, but i have to say that even for me, the week-long cleanse was great. it helped me kick the worst of my caffeine habit, give up alcohol for long enough that i can tell myself i'm not a real alcoholic ;) and in all honesty, i did feel like i could taste a little more nuance to my food when i reintroduced salt back into my diet, which made me taste with more awareness. of course by now (months later), it's all kind of gone to sh*t, but it was good while it lasted... ;)

                                  is 'cleansing' something i want to do every day? heck no. but i can certainly see why people like to do this once or twice a year -- or even four times a year like my friend. in fact, i'm thrilled to have your additional suggestions. i'll certainly save them for next time. thanks a lot!!!

                                  1. re: cimui
                                    MiriamOttawa RE: cimui Jul 22, 2009 01:40 AM

                                    No prob!
                                    I always have to think of tasty stuff as I can't eat most of what is on your list all the time.
                                    Also added to my list of stuff-I'm allergic to starfruit (really), can't have some weird indian spice that is green (recognize it but don't know name of it),
                                    also can't eat most nuts,grains,any foods with phosphate preservatives.
                                    can't have much dairy either.

                                    So even trying to cook sucks for me,
                                    also I can't have a lot of potassium so not much avocade,banana or citrus-even though I like them,have to be careful....

                                    I'm stuck eating like this the rest of my life...unfortunately.

                      2. j
                        jaykayen RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 04:48 PM

                        Salads with greens, fruits, vinaigrette, and nuts.

                        Rice and peas.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: jaykayen
                          cimui RE: jaykayen Jan 20, 2009 05:55 PM

                          any way to make the rice and peas particularly flavorful?

                          1. re: cimui
                            vvvindaloo RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 08:02 AM

                            sauteed onion (with olive oil) and pepper.

                            1. re: cimui
                              hannaone RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 08:39 AM

                              Cook the rice in a fish or vegetable broth instead of water.

                              1. re: cimui
                                jaykayen RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 09:38 AM

                                If you use a fragrant rice such as basmati or jasmine, you don't need to add too much. With some Indian style spices, you could kick it up.

                                Also, you could use vegetable stock and go for a risotto like thing.

                                1. re: cimui
                                  tariqata RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 04:59 PM

                                  Sesame oil or coconut milk? If coconut milk is out, you could also try adding some unsweetened dried coconut. Toss the rice with some sauteed greens or cabbage and thinly sliced carrots, green onions, and perhaps some sesame seeds?

                                  1. re: cimui
                                    HillJ RE: cimui Jan 27, 2009 06:52 AM

                                    Try fresh mint with peas. Super combo.

                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      lcool RE: HillJ Jan 28, 2009 03:19 AM

                                      add feta and you have a meal

                                      1. re: lcool
                                        Caralien RE: lcool Jan 28, 2009 03:45 AM

                                        feta is a milk product and stored in brine, aka salt water

                                        1. re: Caralien
                                          lcool RE: Caralien Jan 28, 2009 03:53 AM

                                          and milk ,both a no-no in this instance

                                        2. re: lcool
                                          lgss RE: lcool Jul 18, 2009 11:07 AM

                                          feta is dairy

                                      2. re: cimui
                                        lgss RE: cimui Jul 18, 2009 11:06 AM

                                        I ate brown rice or millet with peas, and avocado for many meals for a while.

                                    2. v
                                      Val RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 05:17 PM

                                      Balsamic vinegar is a great flavor enhancer with those portobellos, or anything else, without adding salt! Lime juice is also your friend and goes well with fish. Have you tried any Mrs. Dash products? They have some good recipes with ratings at their website that you might look into.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Val
                                        cimui RE: Val Jan 20, 2009 05:54 PM

                                        i haven't tried mrs. dash products, but balsamic vinegar is a wonderful standard. i'll use it liberally, thank you.

                                        1. re: cimui
                                          Val RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 06:07 PM

                                          Fresh herbs are wonderful natural enhancers, too--thyme goes very nicely with those balsamic portobellos, I've also done them with fresh rosemary.

                                      2. goodhealthgourmet RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 05:19 PM

                                        by "sweeteners" do you mean artificial, or real sugars? and if it's a restriction on real sugar, is it a diabetic issue?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                          cimui RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 20, 2009 05:43 PM

                                          the restriction is on all sweeteners, real and imagined. er, artificial. fruit, dried fruit and juice are fine.

                                          1. re: cimui
                                            CoryKatherine RE: cimui Feb 4, 2009 08:34 AM

                                            does honey count as a sweetener?

                                            1. re: CoryKatherine
                                              cleopatra999 RE: CoryKatherine Feb 4, 2009 04:41 PM

                                              yes, it does. as does maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, most things ending in ose, such as fructrose, sucrose etc. and fruit juice sweetened.

                                        2. Sam Fujisaka RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 05:25 PM

                                          What does this person usually eat?

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                            cimui RE: Sam Fujisaka Jan 20, 2009 05:50 PM

                                            usually, she eats normal food.

                                            ok, i'll fess up. a friend of mine is doing a yoga-related 'cleanse' and i'm evaluating how realistic it would be for me to join her in light of the fact that it matters to me that what i put in my mouth tastes good and that i love salt, alcohol and caffeine very much. a 'cleanse' sounds like a good idea in theory. if i come up with a really great menu i might actually have a chance of sticking to it.

                                            1. re: cimui
                                              Sam Fujisaka RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 06:35 PM

                                              So your friend now follows BugJuanSwamiGee
                                              Who some say used to be just a campus geek
                                              But who now sports new accent, bald head
                                              Big beard and patchouli reek

                                              Cleansing diet or maybe she's just constipated and needs
                                              Some "cleansing" foods of lots of greens and lots of beans
                                              Fresh fruits and berries, jugs of water, and an Ex-Lax or two

                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                cimui RE: Sam Fujisaka Jan 20, 2009 06:53 PM

                                                yes, the cleanse does involve a lot of poop
                                                to flush out all the stuff that makes you droop.
                                                now tell me the secret of how you exalt
                                                the food you make without any salt?

                                                1. re: cimui
                                                  vvvindaloo RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 08:04 AM

                                                  this is why i love chowhound

                                                  1. re: cimui
                                                    Caralien RE: cimui Jan 23, 2009 05:47 AM


                                                2. re: cimui
                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 07:24 PM

                                                  i'm glad you're not considering doing a liquid cleanse/juice fast, or i'd have to get on my soapbox ;)

                                                  ok, so now that i know what's *really* going on, here are my thoughts on some new ingredients you can add to your repertoire to keep it interestig (i'll try not to repeat too many that have already been suggested):
                                                  - in addition to quinoa, buckwheat groats, amaranth, millet & teff are great wheat alternatives (and don't forget cornmeal/polenta!)
                                                  - nutritional yeast - it's the vegan answer to Parmesan, and adds a savory umami boost to everything from grains to veggies.
                                                  - seaweed flakes as a salt substitute (you can buy them in a shaker-top jar). speaking of salt, you WILL need *some* sodium to keep your electrolytes in balance. try wheat-free tamari sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos.
                                                  - nut milks (almond, cashew, hemp, hazelnut) are a really good alternative to dairy & soy. it's best to make your own, because even the unsweetened packaged ones contain salt & thickening agents. if you're really motivated, look up some vegan recipes for nut cheese (cashew is most common). oh, and don't forget about coconut milk!
                                                  - sweeteners: stevia, raw agave or honey, yacon syrup
                                                  - take advantage of the season & use lots of fresh citrus zest & juice as an acid component, and in addition to rice & balsamic, try sherry or apple cider vinegar.
                                                  - for adding more punch to earthy, savory dishes, use smoky spices like smoked paprika & ground cumin.
                                                  - roast heads of garlic until the pulp is so soft it's almost liquefied, squeeze into a glass container, and refrigerate. you can stir a spoonful of it into pretty much any savory dish, from soup, to hummus, to stir-fries, and the flavor is so mild & sweet, it even works as a straight condiment or spread.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    cimui RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 20, 2009 07:35 PM

                                                    >> i'm glad you're not considering doing a liquid cleanse/juice fast, or i'd have to get on my soapbox ;)

                                                    i suspect we feel the same way about those. don't worry, i'm in no danger of either fasting or dieting and i don't think she is, either; we're too afraid of losing our hard-earned biceps of steel.

                                                    love the roasted garlic pulp idea. i could probably just eat that stuff straight. and i will experiment with the nutritional yeast. last time i ate it was when i was force fed it as a child. i've never tried cooking with it, as it still evokes vague feelings of terror, but perhaps if the yeast is very well disguised...

                                                    1. re: cimui
                                                      waver RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 07:56 AM

                                                      I've got a great salad dressing using nutritional yeast, but there is soy sauce, ie salt, involved. But I can pass it along if you want.

                                                      1. re: waver
                                                        cimui RE: waver Jan 21, 2009 09:04 AM

                                                        i'd love it for any other time, but yes, i'm pretty sure soy sauce is off limits this time around. (most have wheat in them, too.) thanks, though!

                                                        1. re: cimui
                                                          lgss RE: cimui Jul 18, 2009 11:14 AM

                                                          There's wheat-free tamari San-J (gold label) but it has added salt.

                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      moh RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 21, 2009 09:55 AM

                                                      Goodhealthgourmet, I have a question about the seaweed flakes. I would have guessed there was a lot of salt in these flakes, just because of the processing and the presence of seawater, and I would have assumed they would have been verbotin in this diet. Could you comment?

                                                      Cimui, I agree that the salt is the toughest part of this diet. Salt is everywhere, and it is hard to get rid of it. I would comment that simple preparations of good quality ingredients will be key. You will miss the salt at first, but very quickly, you get used to the level of lack of salt, and you will start to appreciate the flavours of the ingredients themselves.

                                                      Sofrito is useful, the combination of onions, carrots and celery as a base for vegetable soups. And I agree with the chile flakes, and using spice as a salt replacement.

                                                      Good luck!

                                                      1. re: moh
                                                        goodhealthgourmet RE: moh Jan 21, 2009 12:12 PM

                                                        moh, depending on the variety (dulse, kelp, etc), one teaspoon of seaweed flakes only contains 15-30 mg of sodium.

                                                        as for your comment that it's "hard to get rid" of salt, the body still requires *some* sodium for proper function. while i agree the typical American diet is much too high in sodium from packaged & processed foods, in a situation such as cimui's where she won't be consuming any of those things and will be exercising and losing sodium (& other electrolytes) through perspiration, it can actually be dangerous to reduce sodium intake too much. it'll throw her electrolytes out of balance, and can potentially lead to symptoms such as muscle spasms & low blood pressure.

                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                        lgss RE: goodhealthgourmet Jul 18, 2009 11:11 AM

                                                        Celery is a good source of sodium.

                                                  2. a
                                                    amedemonet RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 06:10 PM

                                                    Provencal fish soup! It's wonderful and filling, tomatoes, stock, and fish. Also, tab into fresh herbs, they are great to substitute salt.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: amedemonet
                                                      cimui RE: amedemonet Jan 20, 2009 06:25 PM

                                                      i like the way that sounds, amedemonet. have a recipe to share?

                                                      1. re: cimui
                                                        amedemonet RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 09:08 AM

                                                        Provencal Fish Soup Recipe:
                                                        Use equal amounts of vegetables of your choice, any combination of leek, onion, carrot, celery, are some of my personal choice. Dice everything and saute till soft in olive oil (butter doesn't make it better in this rare case.) Then add seafood stock(or veggie) to cover the veggies and then triple the amount in a pot. Add canned tomatoes (twice the amt as any one vegetable) and simmer for at least 20 mins. Then add the fish, this is really your choice, any fish with a med fat content or higher will be great, like salmon, bass, tilapia, snapper etc. Some scallops are wonderful. Don't add the fish till you're ready to serve so they don't dry out and become flaky. The fish will cook in about 3 mins. If you want to splurge, add saffron as that is the traditional way, otherwise, salt and pepper is good. Sprinkle some parsley or chives on top when serving. Enjoy!

                                                        Seafood stock is important to get a seafood flavor. Or after you add the fish, turn off heat, let it sit overnight so the soup will absorb the flavor without drying the fish.

                                                        1. re: amedemonet
                                                          cimui RE: amedemonet Jan 21, 2009 09:36 AM

                                                          mmm, this sounds good. thanks for posting your recipe. i should get a head start on that seafood broth, tonight. sounds like this and a lot of what i could make would be better for it.

                                                          1. re: cimui
                                                            amedemonet RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 01:33 PM

                                                            Most gourmet sections in a market has seafood stock now such as Trader Joe's or Wholefoods. If you cant' find it, you can use veggie stock and add store bought clam juice. Clam juice is already salted so don't add any salt if you do and do not add the whole bottle.

                                                            1. re: amedemonet
                                                              amedemonet RE: amedemonet Jan 21, 2009 01:43 PM

                                                              oops forgot to mention if you let the soup steep overnight to absorb the flavor, let it come to a boil before turning off the heat. then cover. =)

                                                    2. enbell RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 06:36 PM

                                                      Don't forget quinoa!

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: enbell
                                                        Val RE: enbell Jan 20, 2009 06:52 PM

                                                        and hulled barley...and lentils...and polenta (you can make it without salt!)...and black beans, kidney beans...you have tons of options! Curried lentils over brown rice with spinach on the side is a fabulous meal!

                                                        1. re: Val
                                                          cimui RE: Val Jan 20, 2009 07:42 PM

                                                          hey, thanks for the suggestions, val and enbell. i do make all of the above regularly, but without salt or broth (and my customary quarter stick of butter in the polenta), i just can't think of a way to prepare them deliciously.

                                                          if you have any recipes, i'd really welcome them!

                                                          1. re: cimui
                                                            enbell RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 07:50 PM

                                                            I can't due to allergies, but my friend mixes peanut butter in his quinoa and sweard by it. The regular stuff will have too much sugar for your cleanse, but if you ground your own and added a bit of honey, it may be a nice addition to your limited options. Oatmeal will be good for breakfast, as well as cornmeal muffins. Hummus for protein. Black bean tacos, endless fish options, and the sky is the limit for fruits and veggies...decaf just may be the hardest part :)

                                                            1. re: cimui
                                                              Val RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                              Here's a very nice lentil curry with ginger...just leave out the salt.(recipe only calls for a pinch of sea salt)..if you are very used to heavily salted foods, it is masking the true taste of the food you are eating...eventually, you will start tasting what you are really eating without that salt--it's an adjustment to be sure, but it's a good one...Americans eat waaaay too much salt. Good luck!!!


                                                              1. re: Val
                                                                cimui RE: Val Jan 21, 2009 11:59 AM

                                                                thanks a bunch, val!

                                                                and enbell, thanks for the pb in quinoa idea. i add almond and nut butters to my breakfast porridge all the time, so it's right up my alley.

                                                                1. re: Val
                                                                  jaykayen RE: Val Jan 21, 2009 01:43 PM

                                                                  You're just getting used to the taste of blander food. Salt doesn't mask flavors, it brings it flavors out. If you taste salt, then there is too much salt.

                                                          2. d
                                                            dmd_kc RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 07:32 PM

                                                            I'd investigate non-soy versions of Thai and Vietnamese dishes -- remembering that salt is even more important to the Asian diet than the Western one and you're going to be miles off from the tastes we expect out of these things. But they'll be really good.

                                                            Green papaya salad, with fresh instead of dried shrimp (which are heavily salted). Dress with lime and top with crushed peanuts. I could eat this every day.

                                                            Spaghetti squash "pad thai," again with shrimp and peanuts. Add lots of onions and garlic to make up for the missing soy and fermented products. I think most hot-pepper sauces are pretty salty, too, aren't they? If so, just use chilis in the stir-fry. You might use rice noodles, but most cleanse plans I know frown on those.

                                                            Vietnamese bun with an approximation of nuac cham made with lime juice, garlic, shredded carrot and crushed black and red pepper.

                                                            Vegetarian borscht is one of the healthiest foods imaginable. Do one of the traditional ones with vinegar and garlic. It's nothing at all like diet food.

                                                            Lastly, cook fish en papillote with tons of vegetables. That's the No. 1 way to make awesome food that fits perfectly into a "cleanse." (It's also the best way to accommodate dinner-party guests with various weight-loss plans, without making your friends who eat normally suffer.)

                                                            Just don't take it too far! One of my best friends cleanses often, and I swear it drives her back even heavier to the "bad side" after a couple of weeks of drinking nothing but this disgusting puree of every vegetable at the market. It looks and smells like swamp.

                                                            Still, there's nothing wrong with eating very lightly for a while. After the holidays, I'm in something of that mode right now myself.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: dmd_kc
                                                              cimui RE: dmd_kc Jan 21, 2009 12:21 PM

                                                              rice noodles are ok, i think. don't know if a pad thai would be quite the same without all the salty deliciousness and sugar that goes into it, but i like / will play with the modified nuoc cham idea. if we can figure out a good variation, summer rolls and that bun you spoke of would very much be in order.

                                                            2. amyzan RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 08:11 PM

                                                              You could make fish tacos if you're willing to source tortillas that meet your standards. I'd serve them with lots of avocado, fresh lime juice, and shredded red cabbage, and spice up the fish with a marinade.

                                                              The other thought I have is that if you're allowed a traditionally brewed fish sauce, you can make a vietnamese style bouillabaise. Can you have baguette with it? Is it that you can't have any soy or that it needs to be minimally processed? Are edamame okay?

                                                              I had a friend on a similarly restrictive diet stay overnight, and we served him brown rice with grilled fish and vegetables, and he was happy with his smoky, tasty dinner. We had brown rice congee with currants and walnuts for breakfast, made overnight in the rice cooker. He brought nut milk for a beverage and mixed it with some cocoa powder I had to make hot cocoa. Before he left, he made several nut butter roll ups on corn tortillas to pack for the road, and cut up a lot of fresh fruit for a cooler. Maybe some of that will appeal?

                                                              I do think these sorts of diets are more difficult this time of year if you live where winter is cold. I'd consider waiting until spring to follow such a diet, myself. It just seems taking on the body if you're already trying to stay warm and well.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: amyzan
                                                                goodhealthgourmet RE: amyzan Jan 21, 2009 09:13 AM

                                                                "if you're willing to source tortillas that meet your standards"
                                                                easy to do. Food for Life makes corn tortillas & brown rice tortillas, both of which are 100% wheat & gluten-free.

                                                                1. re: amyzan
                                                                  cimui RE: amyzan Jan 21, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                  i think fish sauce might be pretty heavily salted, no? and edamame is soy. i love the congee idea, though -- good comfort food in this cold weather and tasty with some good mix ins. never tried making it in the rice cooker. do you just add way more water than usual?

                                                                  i don't think it'll be *too* bad from a caloric perspective given that i can use lots of olive oil in my cooking and i can eat lots of nuts, hummus, and other energy dense foods. it's really the taste of things and my addiction to caffeine and salt that are most likely to do me, in.

                                                                  1. re: cimui
                                                                    amyzan RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                    My recipe for the bouillabaise is remarkably similar to the Prvencal fish stew above, albeit with some different spices and herbs. You can make it without the fish sauce to get a much more subtle product. Yeah, sounds like fish sauce wouldn't be allowed. Cooking without some kind of salt, you'll really need to rely on herbs and spices. If it's any consolation, you'll probably use less when you go back to salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, and the like, because you'll taste them more, for a while at least.

                                                                2. h
                                                                  hankstramm RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 08:33 PM

                                                                  I'd turn and run away. I've had the unfortunate exprerience of coming across people like this and usually they're the worst hypchondriacs imaginable. Unless you're already stuck with this person (i.e. you're raising a hypochondriac child with allergies to everything or have a high-maintenence girlfriend/boyfriend that's so hot you can't give her/him up), get out while you can. They'll drain every energy you have and nag and whine at whatever you make.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: hankstramm
                                                                    enbell RE: hankstramm Jan 20, 2009 08:41 PM

                                                                    OP is planning on a personal menu as part of a cleanse.

                                                                    1. re: hankstramm
                                                                      jlafler RE: hankstramm Jan 20, 2009 08:42 PM

                                                                      Children usually aren't hypochondriacs, though sometimes their parents are. It's interesting that you equate having allergies with hypochondria.

                                                                      1. re: hankstramm
                                                                        cimui RE: hankstramm Jan 21, 2009 08:41 AM


                                                                        actually, my initial sentiments exactly.
                                                                        but this is a very short term thing to clean out the pipes.
                                                                        and yeah, i am unfortunately stuck with this person for life. ;)

                                                                        1. re: cimui
                                                                          hankstramm RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 09:38 AM

                                                                          I'm glad you took my response as the tongue in cheek comment it was. I'm in SF and surrounded by overbearing mothers/fathers. The more overbearing the mother/father, it seems the more allergies the kids have. There are also hoards of holistic healers that will tell you that you have an allergy to salt if you sneeze after shaking pepper on a hamburger...

                                                                          1. re: hankstramm
                                                                            enbell RE: hankstramm Jan 21, 2009 11:10 AM

                                                                            Oops, I didn't see the tongue bulging from your cheek. I should have looked closer; I *will* next time...promise.

                                                                      2. j
                                                                        jlafler RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 08:54 PM

                                                                        -- Barley soup with mushrooms and dill.
                                                                        -- Pureed vegetable soups can be made nice and creamy with no added dairy, using potatoes and a mirepoix as a base. Butternut squash soup is good in cold weather.
                                                                        -- Hummus or baba ganouj make good snacks, served with raw vegetables since pita is out of bounds. You can probably get no-salt canned chick peas (IMO cooking from scratch is not worth it with chick peas), and I think tahini is generally unsalted. You can probably make up for the lack of salt with some added spices -- I like cumin and a little cayenne in my hummus. Or throw in some roasted red peppers for sweetness.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jlafler
                                                                          maplesugar RE: jlafler Jan 20, 2009 09:38 PM

                                                                          I dunno how widely available they are but I make hummus with Eden canned chickpeas, they're salt-free. :) http://www.edenfoods.com/store/

                                                                          1. re: jlafler
                                                                            cimui RE: jlafler Jan 21, 2009 09:10 AM

                                                                            i like the way you're thinking, esp. wrt the hummus. it would be great to have around, perhaps spread on a corn tortilla as amyzan suggested, rolled with cooked veggies (easier to digest and warmer than raw).

                                                                            i often add fresh herbs to mine for the flavor variation and should just up the ante on the salt free version. i'll have to make a batch this weekend--thanks!

                                                                            1. re: cimui
                                                                              amedemonet RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 01:34 PM

                                                                              why not use roasted vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini to dip the hummus in? Healthier.

                                                                          2. porker RE: cimui Jan 20, 2009 09:17 PM

                                                                            Another question, how long is this cleanse supposed to last?
                                                                            I mean if it takes 6 months to reach your goal, it might be very difficult (I'd certainly fail). If its a few days, just put your mind to it. You could probably do bark and water for 3 days, let alone all these suggestions ;-}
                                                                            How about vegetarian chili.
                                                                            Maybe instead of salt, spice EVERYTHING up (crushed chili flakes, mild to hot to very hot fresh peppers, etc. but not pepper sauces with lotsa salt).
                                                                            Also beware of salt substitutes with potassium - not sure, but may not be any better for you than sodium.
                                                                            Grill anything you can, adding plenty of flavor.
                                                                            And the day after the cleanse, have a breakfast of bacon and eggs with toast, coffee with cream/sugar/cognac, and a leftover eggroll with spicy soy {;-/)

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                              enbell RE: porker Jan 20, 2009 09:22 PM

                                                                              Good idea about chili...simmering over time will help with flavor, and man with no or little salt one must get creative. I thought OPsaid a week or so. Kinda makes me want to give it a go, but I am addicted to NaCl!

                                                                              1. re: enbell
                                                                                porker RE: enbell Jan 21, 2009 07:03 AM

                                                                                Yeah, tell me about it. Seems salt is a dirty word these days (I know, I know with epidemic obesity and high blood pressure etc etc).
                                                                                Sometimes people look at me funny when I shake the salt. With a straight face, I say "my doctor says I don't get enough salt"
                                                                                "Ahhh, oh, OK" they reply, puzzled, but accepting my lame explanation quite happily...

                                                                                1. re: enbell
                                                                                  cimui RE: enbell Jan 21, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                                                  honestly, i'll be very lucky if i can last a week. i love my NaCl, too.

                                                                                  porker, thanks for the ideas! i'll grill / roast everything i can.

                                                                                  1. re: cimui
                                                                                    JungMann RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 10:24 AM

                                                                                    I am also a salt fiend, but I made a conscious decision a year or two ago to cut my sodium intake and have found that the transition was made a lot easier with the generous use of spices and chilies. Soups that once would get a tablespoon of salt before serving instead got a sprinkling of aleppo pepper and sambal to finish. Bistec is no longer marinated in soy sauce, but rather a concoction of sesame oil and aromatics. Roast potatoes get a shake of vinegar rather than seasoning salt. I still have my occasional indulgence, but on the whole I don't miss the salt too much.

                                                                              2. l
                                                                                lcool RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 08:06 AM

                                                                                Some componets,ingredients to add maybe.SESAME OIL,GINGER,COCONUT MILK,
                                                                                KAFFIR LIME LEAVES,LIME,CURRY LEAVES,CURRY POWDER Work on less is more,don't load up all the flavors just because you are eliminating salt.Balance is easy on a TEMPORARY restrictive diet with practice.
                                                                                ROASTED GALIC,TOASTED ROSEMARY,THAI BASIL,NUTMEG,PEPPER/PEPPERS,
                                                                                HORSERADISH,BAY LEAVES

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: lcool
                                                                                  cimui RE: lcool Jan 21, 2009 09:30 AM

                                                                                  oh -- sesame oil is perfect, thanks! that'll be great drizzled over kobetobiko's tuna + cucumber or avocado tartare... topped with roasted sesame seeds... i could look forward to that. :)

                                                                                2. Chocolatechipkt RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 08:50 AM

                                                                                  Roasted vegetables drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

                                                                                  Grilled fattoush (although minus the pita and feta ... essentially a grilled veg. salad, but very good): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                                                                                    cimui RE: Chocolatechipkt Jan 21, 2009 12:32 PM

                                                                                    thanks for the suggestion! roasted veggies are definitely on the list.

                                                                                  2. hannaone RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 09:24 AM

                                                                                    Noodles in fish or vegetable broth
                                                                                    -sweet potato starch
                                                                                    -rice noodles

                                                                                    Bi Bim Bap
                                                                                    Rice cooked in fish or vegetable broth (or seasoned with toasted sesame oil)
                                                                                    - -toppings --
                                                                                    -bean sprouts
                                                                                    -shredded carrots (lightly steamed or sauteed in sesame oil)
                                                                                    -shredded daikon radish
                                                                                    -shredded potato with onion (lightly steamed or sauteed in sesame oil)
                                                                                    - shredded cucumber lightly dressed in vinegar and sprinkled with toasted sesame seed
                                                                                    - sliced fish portions dredged in rice flour and lightly fried to a golden brown
                                                                                    - kelp (kombu) fried to a light crisp
                                                                                    -- Seasoning paste
                                                                                    --fine ground red pepper powder
                                                                                    --minced garlic
                                                                                    --crushed toasted sesame seed
                                                                                    --rice vinegar

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: hannaone
                                                                                      cimui RE: hannaone Jan 21, 2009 11:22 AM

                                                                                      this is a wonderful idea / set of ideas, hannaone. i'm not sure the honey is kosher (these delineations are sometimes kind of arbitrary, since evidently fruit juice is), but everything else sounds great -- like a healthy, well balanced and flavorful meal. thank you.

                                                                                      1. re: cimui
                                                                                        hannaone RE: cimui Jan 23, 2009 11:05 AM

                                                                                        You can use fruit instead of honey -
                                                                                        kiwi (might be too sweet/strong flavored)
                                                                                        asian pear
                                                                                        sweet apple

                                                                                        1. re: hannaone
                                                                                          cimui RE: hannaone Jan 23, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                                                          ah, y'know, some of these distinctions don't make any sense to me. i'm just going to use honey and be done with it. :) planning on this for dinner tomorrow night when i have some more time to julienne, shred and grate to my heart's content.

                                                                                    2. JungMann RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 10:12 AM

                                                                                      Roast brook trout with braised cabbage and apples
                                                                                      Spicy seared scallops with coriander chutney
                                                                                      Kippers and sesame toasted rice
                                                                                      Roast brussel sprouts and apples
                                                                                      Seasame-crusted tuna with wasabi whipped cauliflower
                                                                                      Rajma, aloo gobi and rice pulao
                                                                                      Vinegar-braised mackerel with vegetarian bibimbop
                                                                                      Red curry shrimp

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: JungMann
                                                                                        cimui RE: JungMann Jan 21, 2009 11:58 AM

                                                                                        wasabi whipped cauliflower sounds intriguing. maybe add some potato for a creamier consistency?

                                                                                        aloo gobi is a fixture in my diet -- i'm making it tonight, actually. i'll see if i can handle it salt free. thanks for the suggestions, jm!

                                                                                      2. l
                                                                                        lcool RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 10:19 AM

                                                                                        various mustards ?

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: lcool
                                                                                          cimui RE: lcool Jan 21, 2009 11:59 AM

                                                                                          yes, a homemade one might be great to have around. the store-bought ones i have on hand are all made delicious through the addition of salt and sugar, alas.

                                                                                          1. re: cimui
                                                                                            lcool RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 01:52 PM

                                                                                            snoop the shelves some,I have several in my frig that have no salt or sugar.The first one I would menu around is,MUSTARD SEED black and yellow,garlic,balsamic and
                                                                                            honey or trade the honey for fig.You can do some interesting things with mustard powders,Chinese an English

                                                                                        2. l
                                                                                          link_930 RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                                                          That's funny. For the past few days I've been having kimchee, seaplant soup, rice, and broiled fish. I didn't know I was doing a cleanse.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: link_930
                                                                                            moh RE: link_930 Jan 21, 2009 10:39 AM

                                                                                            I hate to say, kimchee has a lot of salt in it. It would be a major no-no in this diet. I would also be suspicious about the seaplant soup. Salt is pretty ubiquitous.

                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                            jillybean38 RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 11:37 AM

                                                                                            I did a very similar cleanse last year. I didn't have the same salt restriction but everything else seems similar. Breakfast was toasted millet cooked with water and chopped apple or brown rice "pudding" cooked with soy milk - but you could use almond milk. Snack was Ryvita crackers (no wheat) and almond butter. homemade applesauce with ground flax seeds mixed in. Dinner usually was roasted veg or stirfry veg and some protein. There are also crackers called "Nut-Thins" made by Blue Diamond. Can you have tofu? Make a hot and sour soup using homemade veg broth.

                                                                                            Good luck - I'm going to be starting my cleanse again soon

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: jillybean38
                                                                                              cimui RE: jillybean38 Jan 21, 2009 12:16 PM

                                                                                              nope, no tofu, but all of these sound like great suggestions. thanks. i have a feeling, i'll be making frequent use of nut butters.

                                                                                              oh, i should add: i made a plantain porridge this morning with plantain flour, sweet spices and water, but left out the sugar since i keep forgetting to pick up more from the store and couldn't find my honey bear (last house guests must've put it somewhere strange). the porridge was surprisingly pleasant to eat, even prior to my addition of butter and whole milk yogurt, if you're looking for additional options. your rice 'pudding' suggestion reminded me.

                                                                                            2. s
                                                                                              soupkitten RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 11:37 AM

                                                                                              for some reason when i saw the title, i thought of a gujarati fish/shrimp curry. if Cimui could enjoy the curry w/o added salt, that is. check out hindu recipes and vegan recipes. if it were me, the no-salt thing would be the greatest hurdle. i could probably do a short-term thing if i really had to-- i'd make lots of fruit smoothies. then at the end of the cleanse i'd cut a big line of sea salt, roll up a hundred dollar bill, and snort it up my nose :-P

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                cimui RE: soupkitten Jan 21, 2009 12:15 PM

                                                                                                >>then at the end of the cleanse i'd cut a big line of sea salt, roll up a hundred dollar bill, and snort it up my nose :-P

                                                                                                =D clearly, we're going to have to start a separate thread on the after-cleanse party.

                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                  yamalam RE: soupkitten Jan 23, 2009 10:12 AM

                                                                                                  That's an interesting variation on the Neti Pot...


                                                                                                2. c
                                                                                                  cimui RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 12:04 PM

                                                                                                  many, many thanks to all of you for your delicious suggestions, rhymes and words of caution! i'm actually kind of pumped to try some of these ideas and am starting to think i have a fighting chance. :) really appreciate the help!

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: cimui
                                                                                                    enbell RE: cimui Jan 21, 2009 02:30 PM

                                                                                                    Would you mind providing more info on the actual cleanse? You totally piqued my interest...

                                                                                                    ~Good luck
                                                                                                    ~PLEASE, update us :)
                                                                                                    ~But really, good luck, and here's to clean pipes (oh wait, you can't toast...no booze...dang!

                                                                                                    1. re: enbell
                                                                                                      cimui RE: enbell Jan 22, 2009 06:31 AM

                                                                                                      hah, thanks, enbell! happy to share the instructions, though it's not terribly relevant to "home cooking". feel free to e-mail me and i'll forward. :)

                                                                                                  2. l
                                                                                                    lcool RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 06:36 AM

                                                                                                    ? sweet potatoes and yams can really take on some complex flavors without salt,unless you do not like them

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: lcool
                                                                                                      cimui RE: lcool Jan 22, 2009 07:13 PM

                                                                                                      i don't dislike them, but i'm not sure i know how to make them creatively. all i can think of is baked with toasted nuts. or perhaps i could mash and mix in rice or plantain flour, cumin, onion, hot green peppers and pan fry into patties... want to help me brainstorm?

                                                                                                      1. re: cimui
                                                                                                        lcool RE: cimui Jan 23, 2009 09:58 AM

                                                                                                        I got used to many uses.One son,one of twins WOULD NOT EAT any white rice or potatoes,avoided most bread and cereal until in his 20's.Yams were an 80% solution
                                                                                                        cooked and cubed or sliced
                                                                                                        they take to complex acids like lime and fancy vinegars,balsamic and the vinegar mix for sushi rice leap to the front.when we eat raw fish,beef etc I serve both sushi rice and yams,seasoned the same.
                                                                                                        fine mince of shallot or onion - balsamic - yam mix and toss
                                                                                                        sesame oil and wasabi are also a nice balance.
                                                                                                        My hubby makes a "hash" dice of sorts with avacado,yam,sweet onion a sprinkle of wasabi powder and eats it with skim milk cottage cheese.
                                                                                                        You might also want to master cooking yams in the microwave.The result is steamed
                                                                                                        and still easy to handle

                                                                                                        1. re: cimui
                                                                                                          lgss RE: cimui Jul 18, 2009 11:26 AM

                                                                                                          Good with brown rice, black beans and green veggies....

                                                                                                          1. re: lgss
                                                                                                            kubasd RE: lgss Jul 19, 2009 03:11 PM

                                                                                                            i'll saute canned tomatoes, corn, black beans together with some cumin, cayenne, coriander, adding a little liquid smoke if i'm feeling fiesty. Add in some cilantro at the end and top a baked sweet potato with it. One of my fave easy, healthy, and very quick meals

                                                                                                      2. c
                                                                                                        cocktailhour RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 10:33 AM

                                                                                                        I was coming to post that I don't see how food can taste good without salt. You have some great ideas here, though. Still, I agree with the poster who says that salt enhances all the other flavors. I think everything will taste flat without it, even with spices and herbs. Not for your cleanse, but in general, the "too much salt" thing in American diets comes from packages foods. if you cook from fresh ingredients and add salt to your cooking, your are not going to have "excess" salt. And salt doesn't relate to obesity, just high blood pressure in some (but not all) people.

                                                                                                        But as I started to stay, I will put aside skepticism--I am curiour to hear your report on taste!

                                                                                                        1. m
                                                                                                          Mellicita RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 06:40 PM

                                                                                                          Corn tortilla chips dipped in guacamole and pico de gallo.
                                                                                                          (If you can't find low-salt or no-salt version that meets your criteria in health food store, you can toast soft corn tortillas cut into wedges)

                                                                                                          It seems like a number of sushi or sashimi items would fit into the criteria, as long as you dont put soy sauce on them.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Mellicita
                                                                                                            cimui RE: Mellicita Jan 23, 2009 01:51 PM

                                                                                                            thanks, mellicita. i bought a few avocados yesterday and have them ripening in paper bags right now. can't wait to eat them up as a flavorful guac.

                                                                                                          2. lifespan RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 07:17 PM

                                                                                                            There are a number of interesting and hearty soups that would involve none of those ingredients. For instance, I am thinking of a nice chile bean and brown rice soup (you can make it rather spicy), served with a salad. when serving the soup, use parm to "salt" it up - if parm is permitted.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: lifespan
                                                                                                              lifespan RE: lifespan Jan 23, 2009 04:06 AM

                                                                                                              p.s. - when I referred to "spicing" up the soup...I use a garam masala that I mix myself. it integrates an interesting depth of flavor for the soup.

                                                                                                              1. re: lifespan
                                                                                                                soupkitten RE: lifespan Jan 23, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                i think parm would flunk out on both the salt and the "no milk products" fronts.

                                                                                                                to cimui: roasted vegetables, cold or at room temp, and romaine lettuce are really refreshing with a simple squeeze of citrus over the top, no salt. the other day i ate a good kamut salad (i know that kamut is wheat, but you could sub quinoa or something) with red onions, carrot, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds. . . the dressing was unsalted and was just red wine vinegar, evoo & lemon juice

                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                  lifespan RE: soupkitten Jan 23, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                  yes, i agree the parm is off the table (although that's the way i like it). still, the soup is tasty and would work on its own merits. there are many possibilities for a salad to accompany the soup, as you mention.

                                                                                                                  1. re: lifespan
                                                                                                                    cimui RE: lifespan Jan 23, 2009 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                    soupK and lifespan, thanks for these ideas. roasted veggies are among my favorite foods on any occasion. i'm glad i have an excuse to eat a whole lot of 'em!

                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                Mellicita RE: cimui Jan 22, 2009 08:05 PM

                                                                                                                Similar to Lifespan's suggestion: A spicy hearty black bean soup with a squeeze of lime and topped with a crisp salsa of corn, roasted red peppers, cilantro, maybe a side of avocado dressed with lemon juice or red wine vinegar and pepper.

                                                                                                                Seafood paella! You'll have to do without the wine or beer, but I'm sure you can improvise something tasty. Try using clam juice or vegetable broth.

                                                                                                                I dont think you can possibly eliminate every last speck of salt, there is too much naturally occuring sodium in foods (nor would that be healthy)... I'd just limit it by not using super salty ingredients or adding salt.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Mellicita
                                                                                                                  cimui RE: Mellicita Jan 23, 2009 01:59 PM

                                                                                                                  so many good southwestern ideas from you, mellicitia. i really love the idea of a roasted corn salad. when i make corn salsas, i just eat it straight, by the spoonful, anyway, so i might as well call it a salad and be done with it. :)

                                                                                                                2. Caralien RE: cimui Jan 23, 2009 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                  Fresh lemon has been recommended for awhile to curb salt cravings.

                                                                                                                  I've done something similar a few times, but also omitted fermented foods like vinagre, miso, etc. I ate a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, skewers of grilled meats with a lot of fresh pepper, baked potatoes, corn-carrot-pea-dill salads...simply prepared, lightly dressed with oil and citrus. Oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts for breakfast. I found nothing wrong with eating proteins such as eggs, sashimi, or edamame on this detox, as they're all easily digestible and minimally processed. No pasta, bread, chips, tortillas/wraps, flour, cheese, wine, anything from a can or jar (unless home-made, like stock, due to the high sodium and questionable preservative ingredient list). Roasted chicken. Mushrooms have natural MSG and can flavour anything; smash a few mushrooms atop brown rice, heat, add fresh black pepper and a chopped tomato. Yum.

                                                                                                                  Try different oils--avocado, sesame, walnut.

                                                                                                                  To sweeten, soak dried fruits in warm water.

                                                                                                                  I made a no-sugar custard with eggs, older bananas, and cinnamon.

                                                                                                                  No affect on my digestive tract, skin, outlook on life, etc. (either it did nothing, or there was little it needed to do). It did wean me off of my decades-long coffee addiction and my tastebuds were sharpened a bit. I took a lot of long evening baths with lavender because I wasn't meeting friends for drinks.

                                                                                                                  After 6 weeks, I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. :)

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Caralien
                                                                                                                    cimui RE: Caralien Jan 23, 2009 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                    very interesting. i didn't know about the lemon. i'd be willing to bet that's why part of the cleanse involves drinking lots of water with lemon squeezed into it.

                                                                                                                    thanks, caralien!

                                                                                                                    1. re: cimui
                                                                                                                      Caralien RE: cimui Jan 26, 2009 02:28 PM

                                                                                                                      There are also the Emergen-C fizzy drink packets. Highly recommended to maintain energy (both from the C and B Vitamins). The berry one has a lot of calcium too.

                                                                                                                      Considering my current state of sluggishness from the Weyerbacher indulgences of the weekend, I too may have to take a break from overly rich food. So much for celebrating Chinese New Year!

                                                                                                                  2. a
                                                                                                                    aravenel RE: cimui Jan 27, 2009 06:30 AM

                                                                                                                    Everything from that list can be done without except salt. A bit of salt is necessary to bring out the taste of the food--it tastes dull and flat without it, no matter what other "masking" agents you put in to try to make up for it (garlic, spices, herbs, etc).

                                                                                                                    Is the salt a hard restriction? If you're not eating processed or prepared foods and are salting things you cook yourself, the amount salt you are taking in is actually quite small.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: aravenel
                                                                                                                      Caralien RE: aravenel Jan 27, 2009 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                      When you're doing a cleanse/detox/purification that doesn't involve drinking copious amounts of salt water to induce a flush--aka diarrhea--salt is completely omitted (unless, as stated earlier, it's naturally present in the food you're consuming, ie mushrooms and celery). It's also easier to make blanket omissions than to list all of the exceptions, which can be confusing. By omitting salt in all of its forms, you become aware of how much sodium is actually added unnecessarily.

                                                                                                                      The cheat some people use would be dulse (dried sea vegetable flakes), which is salty, but adds trace minerals without having to add table or sea salt.

                                                                                                                      Part of the point of a cleanse--which is often omitted--is retraining one's tastebuds to prefer less-salty food, thereby reducing the tendency to bloat. It's not about masking the flavours with herbs & spices, but about tasting the food as it is (some say as intended by nature, but that's a bit too granola even for me).

                                                                                                                      Bland to me are a lot of foods I've tried at the local restaurants--cooked, boiled, then boiled some more, and served with salt to try to enhance the flavour which was boiled away and poured down the sink.

                                                                                                                      This morning's eggs were cooked in olive oil with shallots and baby bell peppers, a good crush of black pepper. There's enough sodium in the yolks and they were divine.

                                                                                                                      I've been experimenting with sea salts over the past few years and do like them. But when I'm doing a cleanse, salt is completely omitted (my normal sodium intake is well under the 2400mg limitation set by the RDA).

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caralien
                                                                                                                        cleopatra999 RE: Caralien Jan 27, 2009 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                        I have done numerous cleanses like this, and certainly found the first time the most difficult. The only difference is that I did not eliminate all salt.

                                                                                                                        one of my favorite dishes is a stuffed salmon, it is stuffed with a millet/egg/parsley/onion/dill/lemon zest & juice. It is fantastic, in fact I eat this when not cleansing. let me know if you would like the exact recipe.

                                                                                                                        I have to admit I did not get thru all the posts, so forgive me if I am repeating something. There are alternative grains to wheat that may be acceptable depending on the cleanse. They are ancient grains by the name of Kamut and Spelt. A good organic bakery would probably carry breads with these grains.

                                                                                                                        I also make a great tahini dressing that can be used on almost anything to boost it up. and I found another great sauce that I use on quinoa and fish....here is the link
                                                                                                                        I use Bragg's Seasoning instead of the soy sauce (in any recipe)

                                                                                                                        1. re: cleopatra999
                                                                                                                          Caralien RE: cleopatra999 Jan 27, 2009 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                          I've decided to start a cleanse, so I'll have to let the pate cure a bit longer. If I allowed salt, it would almost be fine--liver, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, gin (my cleanse is more defined a few posts up, but I won't consume bread, flour, pasta, tortillas, etc.).

                                                                                                                          I've tried white "less bitter" quinoa, and eventually made and consumed the bag, but didn't like it--I won't be wasteful, but it's not for me. Husband completely refused, as he had had too many Braggs+Quinoa meals in Santa Cruz during college.

                                                                                                                          For me it's retraining my tastebuds and eating things with as few single-item ingredients as possible while experimenting with what does and doesn't work for me. Can I do it? I honestly don't know if it really does anything or not for me, but I enjoy the challenge. It's the slow season, so it's perfect timewise.

                                                                                                                          As you mentioned, the first time is the hardest, and the first few days are always difficult.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caralien
                                                                                                                            cleopatra999 RE: Caralien Jan 27, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                            Good for you! I found my first cleanse the hardest. After that it got much easier.
                                                                                                                            if you ever use epicurious you can do recipe searches and use the omit function, this has worked well for me. IMHO I would not have liver on a cleanse unless you know the source (ie. organic). The liver cleanses the body of toxins, they can build up in there, you could be consuming a lot of unwanted hormones/antibiotics/pesticides, not what you want on a cleanse.

                                                                                                                            are you cutting sugar too? that is an important (and tough one) in my mind.

                                                                                                                    2. p
                                                                                                                      plumtart RE: cimui Feb 13, 2009 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                      Have you tried Braggs yet?

                                                                                                                      1. p
                                                                                                                        plumtart RE: cimui Feb 13, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                        also using rice milk while making oatmeal adds amazing texture.

                                                                                                                        steamed carrots, purreed with sage, curry powder, rice milk or veg broth, and pine nuts is a life saver.

                                                                                                                        in fact pine nuts in general are tremendous for adding texture, flavor, and creaminess or crunchiness depending on if you blend them or leave them whole.

                                                                                                                        1. m
                                                                                                                          MarbleFallsParadise RE: cimui Feb 13, 2009 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                          I had to eat a very similar diet while nursing a baby with food allergies, but I could have all the sugar and salt I wanted (no citrus or melon, though, or nuts of any kind except for sunflower seeds. And I ate beef. Copious amounts of beef).

                                                                                                                          I skimmed everyone's replies but just wanted to say that what was fun was that my palate really "woke up" and I found that even things like plain vegetables dressed with a little olive oil could taste heavenly after my palate kind of detoxed.

                                                                                                                          I had avocados and bananas every day. I put olive oil on everything to keep up sufficient calories and energy. Loved rice vinegar too (but that may be sweetened??).

                                                                                                                          I caramelized all my vegetables when cooking, and then even enjoyed them the next day cold out of the fridge. I'd find myself snacking on cold roasted Brussels sprouts, thinking they were delicious, and go "whoa" - times sure changed.

                                                                                                                          What about hot water cornbread? That doesn't require egg or milk. I will say we use almond milk for everything now, and you can buy it unsweetened.

                                                                                                                          I used a cookbook for food allergies - I can't remember the name of it - but there was a good recipe in there for fried cakes made with a type of flour made from beans - it's called "garfava" flour and is a mix of garbonzo and fava bean flour. There's a line of specialty flours called Bob's Redmill (??) or some such that carries it. The bean cakes were great - they had the consistency of potato pancakes and gave me a sort of bread fix.

                                                                                                                          Also, I did a lot of cooked fruit with tapioca for desserts. It'll be a little painful without sugar but mixing in some bananas or using sweeter fruits will make that palatable. And I second the suggestions about coconut milk. A little fat just goes a loong ways in helping you feel satisfied and get past those cravings. That's why the avocado was such a part of my routine.

                                                                                                                          Hope it goes well for you! I had no choice when I was on that diet, so willpower wasn't even a question because it was necessary to help my baby, but had it not been for her there is NO WAY IN THE WORLD I could do that. I admire your restraint!

                                                                                                                          1. s
                                                                                                                            synergy RE: cimui Feb 16, 2009 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                            Use fresh herbs as much as possible and orange, lime zest. Mint can add a lot of flavor.

                                                                                                                            Goya products are great with very low sodium added. I steam veggies and add Goya's sofrido sauce. Their salsa (if you don't make your own) is also extremely low in sodium.

                                                                                                                            How about poaching in parchment?

                                                                                                                            Also, I swear by Reynolds Release...roast whole garlie, plum tomatoes, all veggies without any oil and it's great.

                                                                                                                            1. Googs RE: cimui Feb 16, 2009 11:14 AM

                                                                                                                              This has about 5,000 things:

                                                                                                                              1. l
                                                                                                                                lgss RE: cimui Feb 16, 2009 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                                We're vegan so avoid milk, eggs, and all animal products. We don't drink coffee, sodas, or alcohol. I'm gluten-free, so no wheat (oats, barley, rye, or spelt). My husband is sensitive to soy , so tofu maybe twice a year but some things with a little soy in them. We do use a little (sea) salt and some sweeteners (maple syrup, xylitol, and the least processed cane sugar). We make great food. Consider exploring quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, etc. Trader Joe's and WFM have egg-free rice pasta which we like. There's also some good corn pasta. We use vanilla almond or hemp mylk on cereal and for baking. Black beans and brown rice, avocado, salsa and veggie of choice (broc or zuke and/or red bell peppers, etc). Shepherd's salad: English/Armenian cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, red bell pepper. Lentil soup. Masamba: Potatoes and steamed collard greens or kale topped with mixture of peanut butter and salsa. Rice pasta with garbanzos, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and veggie of choice (greens, broc, zuke, etc. Brown rice with sweet potato or butternut squash, hazel nuts, currants and greens. Brown rice with stir fry veggies: onions, carrots, mushrooms, broc, snow peas, etc topped with chickpea miso.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: lgss
                                                                                                                                  lgss RE: lgss Feb 20, 2009 03:57 AM

                                                                                                                                  Had banana muffins from Pure & Simple cookbook this morning. They contain bananas and applesauce but no (other) sweetener.

                                                                                                                                2. l
                                                                                                                                  lgss RE: cimui Jul 18, 2009 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                                  I'm gluten-free (no wheat, otas, barley, rye, spelt, or triticale), and my husband and I are vegans but we use salt (not much) and sweeteners (maple syrup, xylitol, un-bleached sugar, and agave nectar). I'm currently having to avoid high vit. K foods (greens, broccoli, asparagus, etc), and my husband is sensitive to soy, so we understand difficult diets. We don't use alcohol or caffeine.

                                                                                                                                  For recipes which call for eggs we use egg substitute or flaxseed meal & water. For recipes which call for milk we substitute almond mylk. We grind our own gluten-free flours using a small coffee/spice grinder or our VitaMix: garbanzo, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, etc.

                                                                                                                                  In Pure & Simple cookbook by Tami A. Benton there's a Banana Muffin recipe which would work for a breakfast if you leave out the 1/2 tsp salt. Serve with with oj, choclate almond mylk, or fruit-only smoothie (we use oj, frozen banana, and any of the following frozen fruits: blueberry, blackberry, mango, cherry, raspberry, pineapple, mango, etc).

                                                                                                                                  Shepherd's Salad or quinoa with veggies (red bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc.) would make a good lunch, particularly in hot weather. We also like TJ's brown rice pasta and corn pasta from WFM.

                                                                                                                                  1. Caralien RE: cimui Jul 19, 2009 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                    I'm neither a vegan nor a vegetarian, or even a raw foodist, but during the summers, it is so easy so simply eat the great food that we have from our local farms! The better restaurants take advantage of this, and one can do the same in their kitchen.

                                                                                                                                    The farms and markets aren't all at the price point of Union Square's Market or Whole Foods. They're actually about 1/5 the price. Considering organic--that takes at least 3 years and 1-10K to get confirmed. Many of the local places are organic, simply not certified. And if you eat these tomatoes, you'll never go back. Seriously--they're that good.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caralien
                                                                                                                                      cimui RE: Caralien Jul 19, 2009 02:41 PM

                                                                                                                                      I'd be a willing convert. Tell me where!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cimui
                                                                                                                                        Caralien RE: cimui Jul 19, 2009 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                                        I'm in Princeton. 10 minutes out, farmland. I started a post earlier which showcased it:

                                                                                                                                        The blueberries--OMG--we have 10 pints in our freezer because they're huge (1" across) and good (try with milk poured over, sweetener, if needed, afterwards, then break apart).

                                                                                                                                        This is one of the best things about moving to the Garden State--there are gardens. And great food. I plan to grow vegs in my yard, but know that there's great stuff within 10 miles by experts if I fail.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caralien
                                                                                                                                          cimui RE: Caralien Jul 19, 2009 09:10 PM

                                                                                                                                          thanks caralien, the SO and i do make occasional forays to princeton from NYC to visit his mom, so I certainly do appreciate the specific suggestions on the other thread.

                                                                                                                                    2. Sam Fujisaka RE: cimui Jul 19, 2009 09:14 PM

                                                                                                                                      cimui, you do know that the real answer to the question is, "No"? Everyone has been so polite.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                        cimui RE: Sam Fujisaka Jul 20, 2009 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                        *gasp* all this time, i've been living a lie?!?!

                                                                                                                                      2. foxy fairy RE: cimui Jul 22, 2009 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                        3 ideas: (second two are paraphrased from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

                                                                                                                                        A refreshing summer salad of Quinoa packed with mango, nectarines or peaches, scallions, tomatoes, red bell peppers, avocado, and a dressing of lime/cumin/olive oil. I made this to bring to a Fourth of July party and my sister (very restricted diet) wouldn't let me b/c she wanted to eat it all herself. It is quite tasty! The fruit/veggie/quinoa combo is great.

                                                                                                                                        Pinto Beans with Tomatoes and Chiles -- found this one last summer, and it's just delicious. Simple, and the flavors are surprisingly bold.

                                                                                                                                        Start with two cups raw pinto beans (soak overnight and cook yourself in a pot with 2 quarts water and some garlic, onion, and epazote). In a skillet sautee four tomatoes and their juice, 1 to 3 serrano chiles, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, a few minced cloves of garlic. Cook and smush the tomatoes so they break up into a sauce that thickens -- about ten minutes. Then add this sauce to the beans, and simmer it all together for 15 minutes or more. Eat with some corn tortillas (is that allowed?)

                                                                                                                                        (For those who aren't cleansing, I love these beans topped with queso fresco or feta).

                                                                                                                                        Stir-Fried Roasted Eggplant
                                                                                                                                        Roast an eggplant at 400 for 35 mins to an hour, until very soft. Peel the eggplants. You want to pull/cut the flesh into 1-inch strips. Meanwhile, combine chili sauce, a little veggie stock, rice vinegar, tomato paste and make a little sauce (usually contains some sugar and soy sauce) Then sautee some scallions, ginger, garlic for one minute. Add the eggplant and stir-fry two more minutes. Then add a few diced tomatoes and the sauce from above. Simmer a few minutes until it's all hot (five minutes).

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: foxy fairy
                                                                                                                                          lgss RE: foxy fairy Jul 22, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                          The quinoa salad sounds great. I'll have to skip the scallions, but the rest is great!

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