Whether it is for spiritual purposes, for cleansing, for treating illness or simply to explore a more sattvic diet, a dieta is beneficial for both body and mind. 

I do this diet regularly for both spiritual purposes and cleansing and I find the restrictive nature of the diet only adds to my creativity. Giving up salt is the hardest one for me, but I know that my body is able to cleanse much better without it due to it's water retaining properties so it is very important to try to stick with it. 

Giving up coffee for me is hard initially, but over time I am satisfied with matcha lattes and herbal teas. For others it may be the sugar that is hard to give up or perhaps cheese. Giving up foods for a certain amount of time is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn about our food addictions and emotional attachments to what we eat.

The diet is restricted as follows:

  • No red meat
  • No dairy
  • No alcohol
  • No non-prescription or prescription drugs
  • No caffeine (coffee, black tea and kombucha included)
  • No cacao
  • No fermented foods (including no vinegar)
  • No wheat or gluten
  • No sugar
  • No spices (except for a little bit of cinnamon)
  • No salt
  • No oil for cooking
  • No fried food
  • No processed or ready made foods

Wait, what can we eat? Let's look at the YES-list instead!
Yes to... 

  • Herbs
  • Ginger, turmeric, garlic and onions
  • All vegetables and fruits
  • Whole grains such as oats, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa
  • Split yellow and green lentils; red, black, brown and puy lentils
  • Chic peas
  • Black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, mung beans
  • Brown, wild, basmati or black rice
  • Unroasted and unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Sprouts
  • Dehydrated foods
  • Unheated, cold pressed organic vegetable oils 
  • Fish, eggs, turkey and chicken if you wish

One can of course live on simple salads and steamed vegetables throughout the diet, but as I am as addicted to cooking as I am to salt I want to be a little more creative with my meal choices over the course of a dieta.  

Over the course of the next few weeks I will share a few meal ideas for a dieta in order to inspire and to help. From breakfast to late night snack, from sweet to savoury, we will take a look at what we can make on a dieta.
Let's begin with the main course...

Vegetable stock and soups

Most vegetable soups can be adapted to fit the dieta, but the simpler the better. Of course you must omit sautéing onions in oil, eliminate spices and salty dried vegetable stock. The best way to achieve a flavourful soup without these things is by making your own vegetable stock (makes about 1,5 litres):

  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Bay leaves and/or thyme sprigs 
  • A few cloves of garlic, crushed with the back of a knife
  • Some parsley stalks (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a pot and add 1,75 litres of boiling water. Let cook for 1-2 hours and strain.
You can keep this stock in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze it in batches.

I use all sorts of vegetable trimmings from farmer's market vegetables in my vegetable stock and the tops of leeks, the leaves of cauliflowers, fennel tops, celeriac and other flavourful vegetables and their trimmings can go in the stock pot in addition to, or as a replacement of, the ingredients listed above.

In order to make an easy and dieta friendly vegetable soup, simply chop whatever vegetables you would like in the soup, add them to hot stock and boil them until tender before mixing it all with a hand mixer or in a blender.
Feel free to top the soups with pepitas, sesame seeds, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds or other crunchy options.
Here are some suggestions for the winter season. All recipes serves 2 generously.

Parsnip soup with ginger

700 ml stock, 3-4 parsnips (depending on size), half an onion, 2 cloves garlic, 5 cm ginger. Option to replace some of the stock with nut milk for a creamier soup

Sweet potato and tomato soup

300 ml stock, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes, half an onion, 2 cloves garlic, basil to garnish

Butternut squash soup

600 ml stock, 1 medium butternut squash (skin and seeds removed), half an onion, 2 cloves garlic, thyme and/or rosemary

Simple noodle soup

Lastly, something a little different: a simple noodle soup with a little more complex recipe.

  • 1 litre vegetable stock or chicken bone broth
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 cm ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped to bite-size
  • Shiitake mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 broccoli flower, bite sized pieces
  • Optional: other exotic mushrooms of your choice
  • Spring onions, finely chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 packet of soba noodles (enough for 2 persons)

Bring the stock to a simmer and add the cinnamon, ginger and garlic and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add the carrots to the stock, seven minutes later add the broccoli and boil until the carrots are just tender.
Meanwhile, boil the soba noodles following packet instructions and toast the sesame seeds in a clean pan – careful so they don't burn!
Once the carrots are tender, add the mushrooms to the soup. 
To serve, place noodles in bowls and pout hot soup over, followed by raw spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Hot dishes

It is possible to make many "normal" hot dished on the dieta if you just modify the recipes a little bit! 
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired...

Carrot and coconut stew

  • 1 tin coconut milk, refrigerated for 15 minutes
  • 500 ml carrot juice
  • 7 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 cm ginger, grated 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, gently bashed and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 courgettes, chopped 
  • 2 handfuls sugar snap peas, finely chopped
  • Spring onions, finely chopped
  • Coriander
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 lime
  • Optional: flaked coconut

Using a spoon, remove the coconut cream from the coconut milk tin and heat it slowly in a pan. Add the lime leaves, ginger, and garlic and let simmer for 8 minutes.
Add the lemongrass, coconut water and carrot juice and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds. 
Add the carrots and red pepper. When the carrots are almost tender, add the courgette and when the courgette is tender add the sugar snap peas and cook for another 2 minutes before turning the heat off. 
Serve with rice, sprinkle with spring onions, coriander, toasted sesame seeds , flaked coconut and a squeeze of lime.

Black rice congee with salmon

One of the very few meat recipes you will ever find here on the blog. Make sure to buy wild caught salmon.

It is also important to soak the black rice in lukewarm water with an acidic medium such as lemon juice or vinegar overnight as this will help break down the complex and hard to digest starches of the rice and make its nutrients more available. 
Serves 2-3.

  • 200 g black rice
  • 1.7 litres vegetable stock or chicken bone broth
  • 5 cm ginger, grated,
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Spring onions,  finely chopped
  • Half a broccoli floret, chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds and coriander (optional).

Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Boil the rice until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the salmon fillets in aluminium foil and rub them with the crushed garlic and ginger.
Add a few tablespoons of stock to the aluminium parcel, close the parcel and place it on a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
Steam broccoli in a steamer or over a pot of boiling water until tender.
Once the rice and fish is done (the rice and stock should have a soupy consistency), place the rice in  bowls, place the fish fillets on top and garnish with spring onions, sesame seeds and coriander.

Spaghetti bolognaise 

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 ladle(s) vegetable stock or chicken bone broth
  • Half an onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250 g button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • A few thyme sprigs 
  • Optional: basil to garnish
  • Gluten free spaghetti such as Dove's Farm gluten free spaghetti

Serves 2.
Bring the tomatoes and the broth to a boil and add the vegetables and the thyme sprigs, the reduce to a low simmer for 20-30 minutes or longer – the longer the better!
Let the sauce rest while you boil the spaghetti according to package instructions.
Serve with basil to garnish.

Stuffed winter squashes with buckwheat

"This tastes like stuffing" was the reaction from my man. It sure does! I served this with some left over lunch salad on the side. Serves 2.

  • 100 grams roasted buckwheat, soaked overnight
  • 2 medium sized red squashes such as hokkaido, turban squash or sugar pumpkin
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • A handful of kale or cavolo nero, stalks removed and finely chopped

Soak the buckwheat overnight with an acidic medium such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Open the top of the squashes and remove the seeds.
Roast cut sides down for 30-40 minutes until tender, then remove from the oven and let cool.
Scoop out the flesh from the squashes and add to a bowl with the drained buckwheat and the other ingredients, then stuff it all back into the squash.
Roast for 10-15 minutes then serve.

Savoury porridge

A savoury breakfast dish that works just as well as lunch or even a last minute dinner. You be the judge of ratios here depending on how many you are feeding and how hungry you are.

  • Porridge oats
  • Vegetable stock or chicken bone broth
  • Carrots, grated
  • Garlic clove(s), crushed
  • Kale, spinach or cavolo nero, finely chopped
  • Optional: poached egg(s)

Cook the oats in the stock together with the carrot, greens and garlic until the oats have reached the desired consistency. Top with a poached egg if you wish.

Dieta makes me feel like ...

Dieta makes me feel like ...

I hope this has provided some inspiration on how to go about a dieta.

I will continue to post dieta friendly recipes over the next couple of weeks and cover topics such as breakfasts, snacks, salads, bread alternatives and treats as well as recommend some spots for eating out in London on the dieta.
Stay tuned!