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Kale chips offer healthy, flavorful snack alternative

January 29, 2013

By MATT CRANE
life@starkvilledailynews.com

Last week, I endured a three-day detox cleanse and — thankfully — dear readers, I have lived to tell the tale.

First, I must say that I consider the cleanse to be a success. I had so much more energy even after that first day and it only increased as my fruit-and-veggie regimen continued. Researchers have called the stomach a “second brain” of sorts, and this cleanse provided a three-day spa vacation for my weary, digestive mind. Since the cleanse ended, I have made better choices when eating out at restaurants, cooking at home and attending appetizer-filled events and parties. I decided to do the cleanse for that reason — jumpstarting a better dietary routine when it came to the foods I put into my body. While the occasional “cheat days” are fine, eating healthier is a goal I hope to continue pursuing. However, my three-day all natural food workout was not without its trying times.

The drinks featured in this cleanse were, by and large, pretty tasty. The breakfast drink I started each morning with after my detox green tea was very good and loaded with fruits, grains and a small serving of spinach. It is my intention to continue using this drink as a breakfast supplement in the future. The lunch drink? That was a higher wall to climb. It was green. So, so very green. And it tasted green. Not disgusting, but definitely not the slice of pizza I longed for, the lunch drink consisted of celery, cucumber, kale and a couple of fruits among other ingredients. I forged through, however, and felt full after it was over. Like the breakfast drink, the dinner drink was full of fruits and veggies and was satisfying. The addition of the cayenne pepper in this drink gave it a savory contrast to the morning’s fruity deliciousness.

While the cleanse worked for me, I must admit that I missed solid food for those three days. After the initial excitement of starting the detox, my enthusiasm began to wane on the second day. I googled pictures of food Wednesday afternoon in a moment of weakness, staring at plates of pasta and protein for which I longed. I never really had any moment of feeling hungry, I just wanted a Baconator and I knew that was not an option. It is good that this cleanse only lasted three days, because I don’t know if I could have made it through the weekend on farm-to-blender health shakes.

My suggestions for anyone wanting to go on this detox cleanse or any other is to first and foremost evaluate why you want to do it. This is certainly no quick-fix, weight-loss solution, and as always, talk to a doctor or dietician before going forward with anything when it comes to such a drastic — even though brief — dietary change. The ingredients this cleanse calls for are all natural and fresh, but I would save yourself a pretty penny by buying frozen fruits instead of shelling out unnecessary cash for the freshest berries The Pig (Piggly Wiggly) has to offer. Other than using a real lemon for slices in your morning tea, I would buy the convenient bottle of lemon and lime juice used for the drink recipes. Do not go overboard on your budget for this thing. There are ways to improvise and break the bank if you choose to go down this path.

The best part of the whole thing was the recommended detox bath at the end of the day. Not a bath person? Well get over it, because this thing changed by life. Accompanied by Epsom salts and lavender bath oil, these baths were a relaxing way to end the day and it helped get me to sleep at a reasonable hour. Also, I smelled awesome thanks to that lavender.

Going through the refrigerator this weekend, I realized there was still kale to be eaten. Always a trend-follower, never a trend-setter, I looked up recipes for something to do with this leftover greenery. Kale chips are making a big splash right now thanks to the leafy green’s healthy properties and relatively good taste. The process and ingredients are simple and it makes for a wonderful, healthy snack. The one featured today contains cheese in the recipe because I am only human, and no matter what happens in my life or what dietary choices I continue to make — there will be cheese. Try out the recipe for yourself and add your own twist to this smart snack.

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