So, it’s Friday and a new year and I’ve had a lot going on in my life the past few months, which got me to thinking. I need a New Year ‘Real Food’ Cleanse. Now, this is not some crazy juice cleanse or other weird cleanse.  It’s simply to remind myself that although I eat all pure, natural foods, somehow little snippets of processed foods and additives seem to creep into my day.

It’s time to reset those taste buds.

What do I mean by this? Well, the piece of sugar free gum, a sugar free mint, the sip of sugar free lemonade, the Stevia in my tea, etc.  And what have I been noticing? Well, for one, I’ve been experiencing incredible leg swelling the past three years and never understood why.  So, I did a little experiment and decided to cut out Stevia from my lifestyle.  It’s not necessary nor important, but I loved the sweetness in my beverages, food, desserts.  Well, guess what happened when I cut out stevia a week ago?

No more swelling.  Yes, it’s amazing, isn’t it? How certain people cannot consume certain ‘ingredients’ or processed foods.  So, this got me to thinking…what else do I consume that may be hurting my body and health? My tiny Manhattan apartment is filled to the brim with samples and foods and beverages and this and that.  Overwhelming? I think so.  So, I’ve decided to get back to basics.  Enough of trying all the new foods and beverages and sticking to what my body wants and needs most. Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, tofu, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and Greek yogurt as well as vegetables which I could endlessly eat…Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, squash.  No more adding in this n’ that with additives.  I’m cleansing my body with these real foods, which I already eat each and everyday, but simply taking note of how I feel, how they make me feel and how much ‘cleaner’ I feel drinking water with lemon and cucumbers instead of a sugar free beverage.

So, that’s my goal. That’s what I’m setting out to do. And I’m excited.  So, who’s with me? Any takers? I’d love to hear how you plan to clean up your lifestyle and any changes you’ve made to create a better life for you and your body.

What will I be enjoying? Well, I’ve already been busy in my kitchen whipping up some delicious recipes.  Let’s just say I’m still in love with my new food processor and I’m creating many of my meals and snacks with it…it’s so much fun!

I’ve been making green soups for breakfast with kale, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, Greek yogurt, almonds and cinnamon. Afternoon snacks of gluten-free crackers with nut butter and a drizzle of honey.  Lunch has been fun with black bean and kale falafel balls over a bed of spinach and rainbow Swiss chard and dinner has been a mixture of turkey and chicken stuffed with ricotta cheese, garlic and broccoli rabe served with cashews and tomato sauce as well as bison balls with beet and squash soup.  Dessert is a must in my apartment. I’m always nibbling on dark chocolate and have recently been creating a banana and blackberry pudding in my food processor mixed with macadamia nuts, fresh cilantro and sea salt.  And as we all know, I’m a snacker….just couldn’t do without it.  I need my mouth chompin’ every few hours, so I’ll enjoy some homemade trail mix with hot tea, a cooling kale smoothie with pistachios, a mug of hot coco and almond butter bananas.

Are you hungry yet?

Clean?  I think so. And I’m loving it.

You can easily jump on the bandwagon and start by adding in natural sweeteners such as dates, sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, zest from fruits and vegetable purees such as canned pumpkin.  There’s no need for the processed, artificial flavorings, so why do so many of us reach for them and eat them? It’s about convenience and time.  Living in Manhattan everyone is all about a quick, fast meal for cheap. But, is that really what life is all about? Why are so many people rushing around all day ‘working to live’ and shoveling processed, packaged foods into their bodies day after day after day.  Until, something happens and inflammation strikes and our bodies are saying no.

Call my little experiment with Stevia crazy, but it was a true lesson that I learned. My body is sensitive and even though I take such good care of myself, there is more that I need to do.

More yoga. More relaxation. More focus. On food. On life. On living. On my family.

…my parents who are incredible and my best friends…my sister who is half way across the world and my best friend even though we’re Skype buddies via video and sending hugs and kisses over the computer instead of in person.  Without them, well life just wouldn’t be the same. They’re my backbone. My support. My life. It’s true.

So, why the more, more, more.


Because we only have this one life…and who knows where it will bring us? So, let’s start fresh.  Fresh food, fresh life, fresh air.  No matter where you are, whether you’re out in Portland or down in Austin, you can do this. And you can do this now.  Wake up tomorrow and feel better. Wow, doesn’t that just sound amazing?

So, I’ll be continuing my tasty, fabulous whole food recipes that you all love, but just note that a little part of me is changing… It’s cleaning up. Because it’s time and if the leg swelling was a sign, well this is an even bigger sign.  Think, ‘big red stop sign’ hehe…But I aint stoppin’.

I’m just starting.  And so can you.

Not much is changing from my lifestyle on this cleanse as this is always how I have eaten.  Instead I am taking out the bad and adding in more good.  More nuts, more seeds, more lean proteins, more dark chocolate, hehe…

And so far. I’m going strong.  And my taste buds, well…they’re resetting by the minute.

Now, I’m not telling any of you to not use Stevia due to my findings, however, I’m just letting you know that I will no longer be using stevia on my blog or in my recipes due to this reaction that I experienced.  Plus, my gluten-free eats are going to be even better without the Stevia.

Have any of you faced any weird side effects from Stevia?

Now, time for some fun stuff.

Be sure to check out my latest work on Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread Blog.

Also, I’m am so excited to announce my monthly column on the Musselman’s Apple Sauce facebook page.  Be sure to check out my monthly column, “Amie’s Tips”.

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    1. Aww; thanks so much Erica. I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed this post. Gotta love the dark chocolate…it’s become a staple in my everyday life…and I’m lovin’ it. Have a great day.

  1. Hey Amie!

    I love your site and this article especially! In this post, you mentioned green soup for breakfast with kale, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, Greek yogurt, almonds and cinnamon. Can you please share the receipe? I tried searching it, but couldn’t find it.

    Thank you very much and I look forward to tasting your lovely receipe soon!


    1. Thanks so much, Ella. Great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words and I will be sure to share this recipe with you this week. Keep an eye out for it…I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Have a great day and thank you again.

  2. I am so glad I found your site. I grew up eating clean foods, and got away from it all … until the recent years of having a craving for fruits and veggies. I am gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, have rice, wheat and some other grain allergies… Your blog encourages me to go back and just do it. I have 100 lbs to lose and know that by eating clean foods the pounds will come off. Why do we destroy ourselves like that??? I just don’t understand it. Thanks for writing here. 🙂

  3. My husband and I went on a cleanse this past summer, and I had never felt better. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog – I’m GF too and definitely adding you to my blog reader.
    I’m thinking of doing a cleanse again in the spring. Glad you feel better, and that you made your discovery about stevia! The xyletol in some stevia isn’t super great for you.
    Enjoy the clean feeling!