Clean Slate – Week 2 and 3

This clean slate diet nearly killed me. I have never longed for fatty foods the way I did on this diet. I think it’s a mental thing for me. Self-deprivation makes me crave to an extreme. Never again. Did it work? Yes. I lost 5 pounds net but gained it all right back the minute I stopped. Was it worth it, not really. If I had decided to commit to this type of eating for the rest of my life, I could see the benefits in terms of being pretty skinny. Healthy? That’s debatable. I literally felt starving most of the time, which also lead me to feel like I had to eat crap and a lot of it for that matter.

Week 2 and 3 introduced whole grains and a decent amount of protein. Long gone were the days of smoothies and I have never been more pleased to chew something.

Sardine and orange salad — Found out immediately that I hate sardines

Baby spinach, shiitake mushrooms and brown rice in parchment – Not satisfying. I repeat, not satisfying. You will want a greasy cheeseburger the minute you are done.

Millet, coconut milk, pineapple, and flaxseed. SO FRIGGIN GOOD!!!

Oh you know, just so veggie packed miso soup for breakfast.

Baked sweet potato, red onion, collards and avocado. Very, very yummy, but this was it for dinner.

Quinoa with pear and almonds. One of the many quinoa dishes I ate in week 2. I think after this whole experience, I have never despised a grain so much.

Ended week 2 with the delicious tropical millet

My good friend, the egg, came back with a zucchini and leek frittata in Week 3.

Sunchoke, celery, and fennel salad. Back to starving for lunch. These lunches are so small, you can finish them in maybe 5 bites top. Not satisfying whatsoever. If I had more unhealthy snacks in my pantry or fridge, I would have binged immediately after work.

Back to quinoa for breakfast. This rendition featured avocado, almonds and honey. I have never been so confused by breakfast, except for maybe the miso soup.

Kale, red cabbages, edamame, brown rice and a boiled egg. Meh, this was ok. I’m not a huge fan of cooked kale. I finally felt full, but didn’t enjoy this one.

Gluten free breakfast – buckwheat apple walnut muffins.

Roasted tofu brown rice “congee”

I felt faint… like someone just dragged my ass across the finish line. The thing I hated the most was that I didn’t really have the energy to work out. I went for a 3 mile run and could hardly make it. I think I’d rather have a healthier balance of eating and feeling satiated with exercise.

These days, I’m back to what I consider my normal meals — a hefty breakfast on the weekends and either hard boiled eggs or a smoothie for breakfast. The smoothies definitely rubbed off on me because they’re so quick to make if I’m in a pinch and I can load up on a tremendous amount of greens that I would otherwise not be eating.

Avocado toast with an over easy egg

Sweet potato hash with a veggie omelet

Lunches and dinners generally consist of salads with some kind of protein like roast chicken sans the skin, tofu, or an egg. If I’m feeling ambitious and have the time for dinner, I’ll make some kind of baked or steamed fish with greens. Weekends are more in line with whatever I’m doing socially, which means I’m eating out one meal Saturday and Sunday. Alcohol is still on the table, but I’m debating giving myself a break. I had stopped drinking once I started dating Mr. E and lost a ton of weight from that alone. That being said, I’m not sure the weight loss in that department is worth it to me.

If I was desperate and knew I wanted to trim down for a tropical vacation, let’s say, I might consider this again. Long term, I think I’m happier eating the way I do normally.

Clean Slate – Week 1

I have been riding on a high after the most amazing family vacation down to Virginia Beach. It’s so special to get the whole gang together, especially those who live whole oceans away! Having my cousins around gives me the warm and fuzzies from my childhood. That is priceless.

Upon my return, I was so ready for a detox. Picture having queso intravenously pumping itself into your system for 7 days straight. That’s a fairly accurate depiction of my eating habits that week. It goes without saying, my body was aching for some greens.

I’m a big fan of Queen Martha. Justin Bieber roast anyone??? I can’t even.

I picked up Clean Slate, which aggregates many existing Martha Stewart Living recipes. The reason I liked that better was because I assumed the recipes would taste good without having the main purpose of being healthy. I got the book last Saturday and kissed my poor eating habits adieu, but not without inhaling a mega-burger topped with maple bacon and an egg at Townsman’s Biggie brunch. I will save that for another post, but it was quite the experience.

Goodbye, gorgeous!

Week 1 has not gone without its challenges — namely, some Labor Day weekend cheating. Can’t deny that last summer splurge!

Week 1 is the cleanse week. DUN DUN DUN!!!! Head straight to your local produce section, ladies and gentlemen, and hunker down with your blender. Smoothies and juices were out in full force as were proteinless salads. Note, the book even references refraining from intense cardio during this time period because you will be weak (**Katie translation – tired and cranky).

Less tasty juices and smoothies

Coconut, cherry, and lime smoothie – felt like I was cheating!

I was extremely apprehensive. I am all about those eggs for breakfast and the thought of eating berries only made me fear oversnacking at work. This did not happen. In fact, I was so full from some of these smoothies, I had trouble drinking the whole thing. They ranged from OH MAH GAHHHH DELICIOUS to hold your nose and throw the damn thing back. The green machine was particularly challenging for me, with an overwhelming blend of kale, romaine lettuce, flat leaf parsley, and a whisper of pineapple and mango. When I say whisper, I mean you cannot taste it. The parsley killed me. That was Day 1 and I was not looking forward to meeting the Green Machine later in the week. Of course, that was until Day 2 when I was confronted with its equally nasty juice cousin, Cucumber Pear juice. Don’t let the name fool you, there is also celery and ginger. So much ginger, you will clear your sinuses for the next 3 years. I also made a rookie assumption that blending this mix rather than juicing would result in great things. I was oh so wrong.

The beacon of hope occurred on Day 3 with the Coconut-Cherry smoothie. I would attribute its success to having to purchase coconut water from a less than reputable source which may have included added sugar. Holy Lord, this was incredible. I could have cried. Day 4, I got creative because I had run out of pineapple and forgot to buy spinach. I forewent my Pineapple-Spinach Juice and made some swaps. Instead, I used the 5 cups of romaine, subbed spinach for kale, and threw in some blueberries for good measure. Though not terrible, I did not enjoy it, so I knew I was right on the mark with that one. Day 5 through 7 was a rematch with my green friends, rounded out by another Coconut-Cherry smoothie.

Lunches and dinners were not bad, but nothing to write home about. In general, most were a little too ugly to take pictures.

Pureed Cauliflower Soup

Red Lentil Soup with Turnip and Parsley — like I said, not the most photogenic

Beet slaw for my Beat,Avocado, and Arugula Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Cauliflower “Rice” Stir-Fry with Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite lunch and dinner meals from Week 1 included the Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds (not pictured) and the Cauliflower “Rice” Stir-Fry. The portions are not big, so I did feel rather hangry toward the afternoons. I ended up bringing carrots and hummus or strawberries as an afternoon snack to curb my hunger pangs.

I started Week 2 today. Fish and whole grains are being re-introduced so I anticipate feeling more satisfied. I will report back next week!

Barley Swine

Earlier this month, I traveled to Austin, TX with my sister and friend for a fun extended girls weekend. My first dream night included eating at Franks, where the hot dogs roam free, followed by singing my heart out and doing my best Michael Jackson dance moves at a dueling piano bar.

A more appropriate blog meal soon followed at Barley Swine. Described as a “foodie hot spot” in Austin, Bryce Gilmore’s fine dining fixed menu restaurant is situated in the South Lamar District. I ate at Chef Gilmore’s Odd Duck restaurant last year with Mr. E and recalled there being a lot of very cerebral dishes. Based on that experience, I was so looking forward to this meal.

The space was more cozy than I was expecting. However, the kitchen was very open, giving me the feeling that we were a part of the action. Our waiter was friendly and engaged, offering wonderful glasses of wines before our meal.

Wine choices galore!
Amuse bouche – crab, canteloupe, sorbet

Mango shrimp

Octopus terrine, watermelon, yogurt

Spicy eggplant

Cured squash, feta, seeds

Wagyu beef, green papaya, green garlic, avocado
Extra dish courtesy of the kitchen — Crab XLB

Shishito, fermented mushroom glaze

Snapper, hoja santa, corn

Pig Bun

Roasted duck, plum, potato

Vinegar pie, dried fruit, streusel

Candy bar

Thai lime, mango

Peach, waffle

Extra treats – caramel, jelly, and sesame cracker

The meal was really quite tremendous. The creativity, in particular those pig buns, was on point. What wasn’t quite so on point was the general generosity of salt. There was no plate that was inedible, but there was a certain intensity to the finishing salt on some of the dishes.

I did have one mishap, which was a fly fried onto my shrimp in plate numero uno. Skeeved by that experience, I quietly called over the waiter and pointed out my uninvited friend. The reception was overwhelming. The waitstaff and the GM were all profusely apologetic, assuring me this has never happened before. I believed them, FYI. They sent over complimentary xiao long bao and even went so far as to comp my entire meal. WOW.

Normally, I would be completely turned off by this entire ordeal, but the front of the house saw their opportunity and they took it. Hats off to you.

Barley Swine
2024 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

I’ve been recently notified that it will be moving from this space in November and will move into a larger location with a la carte menu items.


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