I’m bacckkkkk! Did you forget I had a blog? I almost did, too. I didn’t mean to, but I took a three month hiatus from the blog. We’ll call it the extended Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s vacation. Happy all of those things, to you and yours.
So what year is it? Where are we? Ah yes, the brand new sparkling 2019. I think we all struggle this time of year with writing the old year for the first few weeks; “2018” instead of “2019,” but this time around I have been nailing the year and messing up the month. The other day I wrote November 2019. Nope. November was so two months ago. It’s January, Jenny. January.
You know what else comes around every January? Clean-eating resolutions, diets, and cleanses. While those are all fine and good, oh wait, cleanses are not. Why are they still around? Why are we still doing them? I mean, I’m not doing any cleanses, but I see enough people on social media doing them, touting them, and then encouraging their followers to do them, that it makes me worry. It’s not as much the actual cleanse itself that worries me, but the claims of what they can do. Body-reset, toxin flushing, hormone-balancing goodness. I know, people are gullible. I’m gullible. There is a reason the Bible calls us sheep. (It’s not a compliment, you should either be highly offended or humbled.) We go astray easily, following the crowd or “flock.” Even on silly things like cleanses. And you know what, on the surface they seem to work, which is why people probably want to try them. You feel better, you lose weight, and you think you’re doing great stuff for you bod, right? No. Wrong. Not factual.
Reasons Why a Cleanse is Not Necessary:
Your body has a built in toxin flusher and cleanser. It’s called your liver. (Yay science!)
Any weight you lose will probably be gained back once you start eating normally again. If you do a cleanse for more than a couple of days, especially strict ones like the “Master Cleanse,” your body is not going to be getting the calories and nutrients it needs and you will be losing fat, along with water, muscle and bone. Yum.
There are a lot better ways out there to “feel good” about what you are doing for your body that are real, and not mostly just in your head or temporary. And well, a whole lot easier than starving yourself. Why don’t you try a new kind of exercise, drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies, buying more organic, start budgeting, switching over to natural cleaning products, trying out essential oils, starting to take a prebiotic/probiotic, or a hot bath? Any of these things that maybe you could improve upon, would do you a lot more good in the long run.
Don’t take it from me, however, because I could be leading you astray just as much as the pro-cleanse people. Check out this article from Healthline.com, or this article from webmd, which is narrowing in specifically on the Master Cleanse diet. We all trust Webmd, right? Ah the site that tells us what may be wrong with us, along with 137 other ailments we didn’t know we might be suffering from. You can also just google “are cleanses safe,” and filter through the load of advice from medical websites and personal opinion yourself.
The bottom line is, I want you to be informed and use your critical thinking skills. Is a cleanse all they are hyped up to be? No, I think the real advice from doctors points in the opposite direction. But, even once you see a cleanse for what it is, and are still curious to try it, I think you should feel free to do that. Just be sure not to make a habit of it. ;) Then I hope you feel free to continue to feed your body the nutrition it needs, REAL food. Like this Butternut Squash Risotto recipe I’m about to show you. *Cue transition from Jenny’s soap box to recipe….*
Butternut Squash Risotto
2 Tbsp / 28g oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
10 oz / 300g butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped small (or you could just say half of a small squash)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
7 oz / 200g arborio rice
1 pint / 500ml vegetable broth
about 3 oz / 100g spinach, chopped or whole
In a large pan over medium-low heat, add the oil and garlic and simmer until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the squash, onion, and bell pepper and cook until squash begins to soften.
Add the rice and stir around to toast, about 1-2 minutes.
Add stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. If the rice starts to cook dry, add more water or stock as needed.
Once the rice is cooked, the squash is tender, and the liquid is mostly absorbed (but not all!), add the spinach and stir until wilted.
Risotto is a fairly quick, delicious, and versatile dish, great for colder months. Feel free to add or subtract vegetables to your liking. Any type of squash you like could be used, even pumpkin! (The fresh kind you have to peel and cube, not the puréed and canned kind, silly.)
If you like to ahem, cook with wine, and sometimes add it to your food even, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of red or white wine or dry white vermouth (or more or less depending on how winey you’re feeling.) Add it in between steps 3 and 4, after you’ve toasted the rice and before the stock. Allow the wine to evaporate and absorb into the rice before continuing with stock.
When you’re in a pinch and don’t have risotto or arborio rice, you really could use any kind. Just keep an eye on the cooking instructions for the kind of rice you are using so you will have an idea how long it will take.
If reheating leftovers, I would recommend adding in a touch more water or broth. The longer risotto sits the more liquid it will absorb, and may end up a bit dry.