For many reasons, we can fall into patterns and behaviours that are no good for us, even when we know better. These past few weeks, I have slowly started to develop bad habits which tend to flow in circular motions, with one having a knock-on effect for another.
Firstly, both work and my personal life have been a little busier/stressful than normal. This has meant a few sneaky treats from the office charity chocolate box when sugar cravings hit mid afternoon. This is then usually followed by a sugar slump and fatigue in the afternoon which in turn leads to zero motivation for any exercise after work.
Secondly, to add to this, I missed a few gym classes as my instructor was sick, and my Pilates membership expired and I couldn’t decide what plan to renew with (oh, the dilemma! ;) so I put that off a week or so. This combined with the sugar slumps and cooling weather means that I have been exercising less than normal – daily movement is so important for our general health and welbeing, and particularly with our sleep. Which brings me to point three.
We have a mouse in our house.
I first noticed it when I went to fill up my hot water bottle one night and thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I turned around just in time to see it jump from the sink to the table, then onto the floor and under the fridge. When we were first deciding to get a dog, B’s dad advised us to get a Jack Russell terrier – “they’re great ratters!” While initially a “ratter” wasn’t high on my list of qualities to look for in choosing a canine companion, after seeing Maggie sit and watch nonchalantly as the mouse scurried across the kitchen floor, I wondered if I should have taken his advice a little more seriously.
The mouse has since relocated to the storage room next to our bedroom, and each night at about 3am it’s starts scurrying around, and every time, I jump up thinking it’s in the room with us. It’s not – but it makes my skin crawl all the same. Every time I get an image in my bed of that episode of Sex and the City where Carries is in bed with, well – a mouse.
The lack of sleep, lack of exercise, stress, general busy-ness – and throw a birthday into the mix and five meals out in six days(!) – and my normal routine has been thrown waaaay out of whack. As a result I’ve been tired, feeling run down and lethargic and have a stomach ache and bloating for the best part of the last week. All of these symptoms are my bodies way of telling me that I need to slow down, take stock, and give my body what it’s craving – sleep, loads of good food, exercise and more general movement, plus a little relaxing and down time.
So today I started a five day cleanse where I’ll be eating mostly seasonal vegetables and fruit that my body has been craving, plus some wholegrains, homecooked legumes and homemade nutmilk. And looooots of water and green tea. I won’t go too much into the details as it’s quite similar to cleanses I’ve done in the past which you can read about here.
The last cleanse I did was in spring time where it’s a little easier to incorporate fresh vegetables into your diet in the form of quickly thrown together dishes like salads, fruit salads and smoothies. This time around I’ll be looking more to simple seasonal soups and warm winter salads like this one. The base of this salad is cabbage, warm millet and kale, topped with roasted fennel, brussel sprouts and orange segments. The dressing makes use of the fennel fronds and orange juice and the whole thing is topped with a liberal sprinkling of roasted hazelnuts which just yell winter to me.
The vegetables in the salad all play their part in assisting your bodies natural detoxing systems – it’s loaded with four types of crusiferous Brassica’s (green cabbage, red cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale) which are great at stimulating both enzyme systems in you liver to assist and encourage it’s detoxification process. And fennel is mildly diuretic which can help with the removal of toxins from the body.
Whether or not you choose to take a few days to cleanse when your body starts showing signs of needing a reset, eating food such as this is obviously a fantastic addition to your diet this time of year.
If you’re interested in cleansing recipes for other seasons, be sure to check out my round-up post here.
- 1 large fennel
- 10 Brussel sprouts
- 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt + pepper
- ⅔ cup millet
- 1⅔ cups water
- ¼ chinese cabbage
- ¼ red cabbage
- 4 kale leaves
- ½ an orange, cut into small segments
- ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fennel fronds
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 Thsb raw honey
- Juice of half an orange
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 200 C || 390 F. Cut the fennel into segments, and halve the brussel sprouts. Place on a lined tray and drizzle with a little olive oil and salt + pepper and roast 40 - 50 minutes until golden brown.
- Rinse the millet and add it with the water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and then cook 12 - 15 minutes (check after about 10 and make sure that it's not too dry). Once cooked, fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- To make the salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake well to combine.
- Thinly slice the cabbage and kale and mix with the millet in a large bowl. Arrange the fennel and brussle sprouts on top, then add the orange and hazelnuts. Lastly, drizzle over the salad dressing.
- Best served warm, though it will keep for a few days in the fridge as well.