In chapter 3 of Crazy Sexy Diet, Kris Carr talks a bit about sugar. She explains that sugar makes us feel good because it releases dopamine in our brains. I did a little research of my own to learn that dopamine is a neurotransmitter which provides feelings of enjoyment and plays a major role in addiction. Since sugar releases dopamine it makes us feel good so we crave more of it which can then lead to addiction. In Crazy Sexy Diet I read “…the cravings, withdrawal and relapse symptoms of sugar addicts are similar to those of cocaine and heroin abusers. ” I’ve always known sugar was bad for me but I had no idea it was that bad. When I thought about the negative side affects of sugar, I thought about cavities and weight gain, not addiction. I knew I had to cut sugar out of my diet quick!
Now I’m not saying I’ll never have any sugar ever again but I needed to cut myself off from it long enough to get past the withdrawal phase. I decided the best way to do this was to follow the 21 day cleanse found at the end Crazy Sexy Diet. Because I don’t have a juicer and my free time is limited I couldn’t follow the cleanse 100% but I did my best; tweaking it here and there as I went along. The first two things I did to start off my cleanse was to cut out coffee and sugar from my diet. I switched my morning and afternoon cups of coffee with green tea and fresh and dried fruit for my sweet treats. The first 4 or 5 days I had a slight headaches by late afternoon, but nothing severe. The no sugar thing was easy until day 5 while I was at work. Thank goodness I was there and not at home when the craving hit otherwise I would probably have gone rummaging through my cupboards to find something sweet. By the second week I was getting a little out of control eating dried fruit, which is loaded with sugar, so I finally cut that out as well. No more raisins or dried mango for me.
The next step in my cleanse was to start eating mostly raw foods. If I had to guess, I would say my diet is now about 70-80% raw. The other 20-30% is mostly cooked beans, quinoa, hemp and Vega protein powder, sweet potatoes, etc. I’ve fallen in love with salads and making fresh, healthy salad dressings. Today I made a roasted tomato vinaigrette from Crazy Sexy Diet to go with my giant salad for lunch. Here’s the recipe (one of my new favorites):
Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette
4 Roma tomatoes, halved (I used 5)
1 1/4 cups plus t tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (I only used 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced (I only used 1)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I ran out and only had about 1 tbsp so I added a bit of dried basil and a sprinkle of dried oregano)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the tomatoes with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, along with the salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast for 20-25 mins, until the skin blisters. Set aside to cool.
Transfer the tomatoes, remaining 1 1/4 cups (1/2 cup) olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic and cilantro (and basil and oregano) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taset and adjust seasonings. The vinaigrette will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.
For my salad I used:
Organic mixed baby greens
raw pumpkin seeds
raw sunflower seeds
nutritional yeast (sprinkled on top)
Dressing: roasted tomato vinaigrette