Cooking with amaranth; detoxing & what to expect when changing your diet.

September 25, 2010 § 4 Comments

Salut mes belles,

The amaranth experiment was a success! I came up with a tasty dinner option to road-test the comically tiny little seed, and was pleasantly engorged, tumiscient, satisfied as a result.

Still had some leftover red quinoa in the pantry to use; it kept the amaranth in line.

Triple-decker spinach, amaranth & sweet potato stack

(for 2)

1/2 c amaranth

1.5 c water

1 small sweet potato, cut into 1cm cubes

1 can whole/diced tomatoes

1/2-1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 red onion, diced

2 brown mushrooms

1/2 can chickpeas

1 heaped tsp garam masala

1 tbsp tomato paste

extra-virgin coconut oil

english spinach leaves

handful coriander

celtic sea salt & pepper


  • Rinse & drain amaranth & cook in 1.5 c water for around 20 mins, season with salt & pepper (or herbamare).
  • In a pan, sautee garlic & onion until translucent, adding sweet potato & garam masala after a few minutes. Let the flavours sizzzzzzzle & become well-acquainted (Posh Nosh flashbacks anyone?).
  • Add canned tomatoes (I usually swill a couple of cm of water in the bottom of the can & pour in as well, just to add a touch more juice) tomato paste, chopped mushroom, salt & pepper and simmer on low with a lid on until potato is steamed through (probably around 20 mins).
  • Add in chickpeas & coriander & allow to warm for a few minutes.
  • Serve amaranth over bed of spinach leaves, with sweet potato & chickpea mix layered on top, with more coriander for the herb-mad amongst us.

Yes, Garam masala is becoming a definite staple in my daily eats, and much like cinnamon, may find itself in/on/around a multitude of unusual foodstuffs. It is ridiculously delicious, what can I say?

Mah-hoooooving on, I wanted to offer some advice & encouragement to those who are in transitional stages of their diet and lifestyle. Whether it be a conscious and deliberate act of ruthlessly excommunicating meat & dairy, or a more subtle evolution from quite inactive to a-little-more-active-than-inactive, there are numerous hurdles that can serve to dissuade you from your goals.

It is a common misconception that positive lifestyle changes can and should be mirrored instantaneously in the body with increased energy, vibrancy and general superhero status. Sure, some lucky individuals may make the transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet with little to no ‘detox’ symptoms, while others may feel the effects acutely.

Let us consider some facts:

  • If you have suddenly made the switch from processed foods to wholegrains, fruits & veggies, beans, legumes and nuts, HECK YES your digestive system will be in shock. It will not know what to do with this abundance of fiber raining down on it from the gaping esophageal heavens above. You may be bloaty. You may be gassy. You may have to endure your belly raging at you for some time. Of course, you can minimise these effects by adopting a less-abrupt approach; adding fibrous foods slowly but surely into your daily plan and the like. However there will probably come a time when you decide that this bean/lentil/nut does not agree with you, and that’s that. Of course, if you are allergic, by all means desist with the eatin’, but from experience I can say that the cleaner your diet becomes and the more you persevere with foods you may have previously considered ‘off-limits’ and irritating, your digestive system will adapt and change. It may take a few weeks, or a few months, but hang in there. It is for the greater intestinal good!
  • Similarly, you may go nuts upon discovering the vast array of super-charged super-foods and include them, guns blazing, into every meal. Yes, there are fantastic, incredible plants/roots/powders that can give your new diet ‘the edge’, but you should also exercise caution as they can be potent and potentially irritating. Take Spirulina. I share an intimate bond with this algae, and have an unhealthy love for its deep emerald hue and fishy, dishy scent *swoon*, however when I first began taking it, it really upset my stomach; I almost broke up with it as a superfood lover. I needed to cut back on my dosage (as little as 1/2 tsp in my smoothie) and work my way up to avoid the bloat-fest larger amounts could induce. Maca also needs to be incorporated slowly, and should be researched thoroughly prior to consumption. I may include it once or twice a week in a smoothie, but it is again, incredibly potent and may not resonate with me – we shall see. It is also worthwhile trialling these things one at a time in order to assess their effects on your body (& sometimes mind), sans interference.
  • Also, think of the cumulative effects of X years eating junk food, processed food, sugars and trans-fats. Should we expect out body to pull through, detox and ascend to a higher functional plane after just one week? After one month? Even after one year? Funnily enough, no. This has been hard to grasp for me, as I feel like I’ve been doing relatively well in the diet/lifestyle department for long enough to earn me a glowing complexion, level 70 immunity & a bangin’ 0% body-fat figure. I don’t consider these demands unreasonable, I merely wish to inhabit my radiant vegan goddess self, as promised! But truth be told, though the improvements in my health, well-being, weight and happiness have been profound, I am still undeniably detoxing and have a long way to go. Courses of antibiotics as children, a lifetime of exposure to pollutants & chemicals, a metabolism confused and mistreated for decades – the body is unable to recover from these factors & instantaneously assume optimal balance, rather bodily processes are gradually, astoundingly drawn into harmony over time. I still suffer bouts of acne that I curse to high heavens, but acknowledge as part of a larger, ongoing process. Patience is needed when adopting a new lifestyle or eating approach; please don’t be discouraged by setbacks, changes in energy levels or unpleasant physical symptoms. Once you push through this initial stage and get your body into da groooooove, you will be amazed by the ongoing improvements in your health & vitality!

These are but a few tips & considerations for anyone seeking to improve their diet, or those embarking on a profoundly different nutritional plan-of-attack.

Good luck, don’t give up, and steel yourself for more sickly motivational pep-talks regarding the world of nutrition in the future!


§ 4 Responses to Cooking with amaranth; detoxing & what to expect when changing your diet.

  • jjaci says:

    Your blog is made for me, man! Good stuff.

    It’s a bummer to know that it takes time, but hey, if you’ve been eating badly your entire life, it’s gunna take ages to get it straight. I react quite badly to everything, to the point where I don’t actually KNOW what has upset my stomach, just that it’s upset. What can I say, I love food! If I eat something very vitamin packed, my stomach turns, if I eat something unhealthy and greasy, my stomach turns! haha. But, the healthy side seems like a better approach that I can eventually benefit from, reaction or not. Eventually things will improve, my body is just way too confused. I need a detox so badly…i’ve become old, here I am planning detoxes during holidays from work.

    Just need to figure out what foods to introduce first.

    • bonne_santé says:

      You totally sound like me 1 year ago. Bitchiest. Stomach. Ever.
      So demanding and sensitive!
      Honestly, it’s just trial and error – now i’ve learnt most of my problems came from eating processed crapola, dairy & sugar. Sometimes I look at friends with cast-iron constitutions and envy them; they are like human garbage disposals… but really, at least i’m motivated by my awkwardly loud, irritable guts to avoid certain foods!
      That being said, eating whole, unprocessed natural foods has pretty much eliminated my stomach problems. BOOM! Probiotics, hot ginger tea and things like aloe vera are also extremely soothing & aid digestion.
      Ooooh totally found an article for you the other day – you like games right?
      Turns out, you have the sah-weet decision making skillz!

  • jjaci says:

    I’m a garbage disposal and it’s not all that fab. Just habit really. “Awkwardly loud” is a grand example of myself these days, my stomach is always screaming at me, hahah.

    Excellent! Theres hope for me yet! *cheesy grin* My favourite part was that the control group played The Sims. Ah, control others, control group…it works well, I get that they picked it because it’s very, very predictable, but…I giggle like a nerd regardless. Time to master my Halo skills.

  • […] Triple-Decker Spinach, Amaranth & Sweet Potato Stack […]

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