Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Taco Cleanse Review and Giveaway

I'm hungry! I'm often hungry, at least three or four times a day, and when I'm not hungry I could always eat. I'm munching on onigiri as I write this. When everyone's rolling around clutching their bellies after a big lunch and talking about how there's no way they'll have room for dinner I know that an afternoon snack is probably in my future. In our fucked up society this is something that, as a woman, I'm meant to feel ashamed of and it's bullshit. Diets, cleanses, detoxing and clean eating are shoved in our faces at every turn especially at this time of year and more and more of my peers seem to be jumping on the bandwagon. It makes me sad. Why are we made to feel guilty for needing, no, wanting, to eat? Why are we made to feel like we need to "cleanse" ourselves after a food based celebration? Why is eating associated with guilt and "being naughty"? I'll tell you why, it's because as women we're meant to make ourselves as small as possible, to take up the least space and to conform to societal beauty ideals so that we don't offend anyone with our fat or body hair or perceived ugliness. I don't want to see food as "a treat", as something to reward myself for "being good all week" or because it's my god damned birthday and I don't want to try to diet & exercise my body down to a certain size or weight because that's what society deems acceptable. I've been there and done that and I don't want to do it again. Food is a necessity damnit! We need to eat at least three times a day if not more and I want that food to be filled with nourishing and tasty carbs, proteins, fats and sugars and I want it to be delicious. I'm not suggesting that health is unimportant, I try to get my 10,000 steps in most days whilst I'm exploring the world and I actually enjoy going to the gym but that's because these things are good for my mental health as well as my physical health. The way most people seem to be approaching cleanses, detoxing and "new year new you" diets seem far from okay from a mental health perspective.


That's why I decided to embark upon a New Year Taco Cleanse! I think that regular me is pretty rad, belly fat and all, but life can always be improved by more tacos. I want to show people that cleansing can be about fun rather than about restricting fun.
In 2016 I also intend to continue being relentlessly body positive as I explore the world - even when visiting countries where I can't fit into 99.9% of the clothes and even on days when my brain is trying to sabotage my radical self love ideals.

As I'm travelling right now I just did a mild cleanse that lasted a day. I knew that any of the levels above that one would be too ambitious and Thailand is (sadly) not a land full of abundant taco opportunities. I managed to get Nick on board with my plans too, I promised him delicious food not glowing skin. I know what he likes! It didn't take a whole lot of convincing although there was one big hurdle. The moment that we found out that pizza cannot be a taco sent us reeling. A day where you rule out the possibility of pizza sounded awful. We wondered if this was really the cleanse for us? Thankfully we soon realised that pizza cannot be the taco but it can go inside the taco - these are the kind of rules that I'm so glad the Taco Scientists are around to explain to me. Eventually Nick agreed to come on board saying "I trust them. They've done science".

The first thing on the agenda was to make a taco shopping list, we knew that finding tortillas would be challenging and the closest we came were Old El Paso wraps that are available in almost every supermarket in Bangkok that sells imported goods - think Gourmet Market not 7/eleven. For each recipe our first step was to cut them into appropriate taco sizes. A taco needs to be something that can be eaten with one hand and we didn't want to accidentally stray into burrito territory so we cut around a bowl to make our wraps taco sized.

Next we took a look over the recipes together and decided that whilst they looked both delicious and simple that they were, for the most part, not going to be realistic, we're saying in a place with a kitchen with no herbs, no spices and minimal equipment after all. Thankfully Jessica, one of the esteemed Taco Scientists, has tips scattered throughout the book for those of us who do not love to or do not have the ability to cook. Thanks Jessica!

One recipe that we were easily able to get on board with was the Accelerated Breakfast Taco. It's a simple but totally genius combo of Peanut Butter, cereal and fruit. I went with smooth PB, Krispies and a banana and hot damn was this a great start to my day. It contains all of the great food groups, carbs, protein, fat and sugar all in one handy, easy to eat, tortilla. Breakfast perfection.


Another thing I realised whilst reading The Taco Cleanse is that as someone who fully believes in the mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" the taco is the perfect food. A tortilla is essentially an edible napkin! Who needs a plate when a tortilla exists? This book hits all of the right notes! Ever since I was a young kid I always appreciated ice cream cones and not just because ice cream is delicious but because the cone is edible and just like ice cream in a cone tacos are a zero waste food!

I was also very pleased to hear that the Taco Scientists believe in microwaving plant foods (never yourself or an animal!) because the humble microwave was one of the few tools at my disposal. I'm currently in a Bangkok Air B&B and only have two electric burners, one pan, a tiny toaster oven and a microwave to play with. Don't feel sorry for me though there's also a rooftop pool, a gym and movie theatres, shops and pizza by the slice within walking distance. Pizza by the slice is seriously one of my favourite things ever! One of things I found at a grocery store nearby was the inspiration for this next taco, Amy's rice macaroni and cheese! It's made with Daiya, cooks in 5 minutes, is almost unbelievably delicious and contains enough mac and cheese to adequately fill two tortillas.


Mac and cheese tacos are a beautiful thing and after eating them I didn't feel hungry any more! I felt happy and ready to power through the afternoon.

Quite often my hunger appears in the form of cravings - I find that it's best to listen to my body in these situations and to give it whatever the hell it wants. Fries for dessert? Sure! Hummus for breakfast? Go for it! That night I fancied my favourite salad from May Veggie Home in Bangkok. It's full of layers of crunchy veggies like carrots, cabbage and beetroot, and topped with deep fried vegan shrimp. It's also served with an amazing thousand island dressing which I could slather on pretty much anything and call it dinner. Nick was in the market for the Duck Teriyaki from their menu so a plan was born, we'd get takeout and then taco it up whilst watching a movie. 


You'll have to excuse the terrible photo - I was hungry and in no mood for messing around. We piled one taco high with crisp salad, faux fish and thousand island dressing and the other with steamed rice, mock duck and teriyaki sauce. This was fusion food as it's (lazy) best.

Despite not actually making many of the recipes from the book I know that they'll be amazing, partly because they sound delicious and partly because taco scientist Stephanie has cooked for me in the past and it was indeed amazing. The Taco Cleanse team were happy for me to share one of the recipes from the book with y'all and I chose the Inspiring Churro-Waffle Tacos because it's up there with one of the first recipes I'd have made from the book if I was settled somewhere and also because I know that I have at least one reader who likes to waffle unusual things and who will probably enjoy this recipe!

Inspiring Churro-Waffle Tacos

  • Makes 3 churro-waffle tacos

We at Taco Headquarters have a fondness for churros, but there are inherent issues preventing churro consumption on a Taco Cleanse. Deep-fryer temperatures can be finicky and splattering oil can be painful. Most relevant to our concerns, a churro is not a taco. The crunchy fritters emerge from the hot oil as a star-shaped extrusion, void of taco benefits. We have reformulated the batter to work in a waffle iron, allowing the finished churro to be folded in half. Fill your cinnamon-kissed churro taco with a banana and agave nectar to maintain peak levels.

Tortillas: 
  • ½ cup (106 g) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) agave nectar

Fillings
  • 3 bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Agave nectar
  1. On a shallow plate, whisk together ¼ cup (53 g) sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and set aside. Whisk together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, salt, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the water and oil to the bowl and stir until just combined. Follow your waffle iron’s directions to cook the waffles, using 2/3 cup (160 ml) of the batter for each. Press one side of each waffle into the plate of cinnamon sugar while still warm. With the sugar side up, lay 2 banana halves side by side on one half of the waffle. Drizzle with agave nectar and fold waffle in half to cradle the bananas.
The Taco Cleanse team have also been generous enough to let me run a giveaway today! Can I get a hell yeah?! If you live in the UK or Ireland you can get your paws on a copy of The Taco Cleanse cookbook and lifestyle guide by leaving a comment below telling me what you'd put in a taco if I was passing you a warm flour tortilla right now. Make sure you leave some contact info in your comment, it can be your blog, E-mail address, Twitter or Instagram, whatever's most likely to grab your attention so that I can get in touch, get your deet's and pass them on to the publishers so that you can get on with making epic tacos and improving your life ASAP. The giveaway will close on Tuesday January 12th at 8am GMT and the winner will be selected at random. If I don't hear from my chosen winner within 24 hours I'll select a new one so pay attention! The competition is now closed. The winner is Joey! Yay!

28 comments:

  1. Hmmm....how about avocado, tomato, skillet chickpeas, and tofu-ranch :)

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  2. Oh yum, this book sounds great and I love your descriptions! If you were passing me a warm tortilla right this second? I think fried plantains, crisp red cabbage and grated carrot, chipotle sauce...maybe some peanuts? Aw man.

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  3. haha this book sounds awesome.

    I have been dreaming of lasagne for about a week now, so that's what I'd put in a taco and I think it'd be awesome!

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  4. I am really interested if you heard to Couch surfing? https://www.couchsurfing.com/ Of course you do not always want to be around some one (why we love our tent) but its a great way to meet locals and experience a place from non tourist side plus with being vegan you can often use it to meet local vegans too!

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    1. I totally know about couch surfing! I haven't met anyone through there yet but I'm sure I will one day.

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  5. OO Quorn mince chilli,yum! @mellysocks

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  6. I'd make it a gyros taco, smothered in hummus, caramelised onions, lettuce, tomates, garlic sauce....ohhh yeah.

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  7. Chip taco? The chips from the Chinese takeaway down the road from me, with tomato ketchup, yum!
    email = secondhandsusie@outlook.com

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  8. Omg amazing! You guys are so resourceful!

    Right now I want tacos with jackfruit and cabbage and sweet potato and creamy spicy sauce and seitan and kale and squash and...

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  9. I would love tofu scramble, baked beans, avocado and houmous on a warm tortilla ><

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  10. avocado, black beans, diced tomatoes, and tofu cream cheese.

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  11. Banana, melted chocolate, crushed lotus biscuits for crunch!

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  12. Omg omg omg so, since hastalavegan.com and me are planning a taco night in a week or so and since he just suggested we fill them with yorkshire puddings, we would totally do this in honour of winning a copy :D (And provide photographic evidence)

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    1. My email is jennyg2207@gmail.com :)

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    2. You didn't win but please post jealousy inducing taco pic's anyway! A Yorkshire pudding taco sounds brilliant.

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  13. Bean chili, lettuce, avocado, grated Sheese.

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  14. Uuuuh, guacamole and roasted cauliflower and pinaapple! Now I don't know if it's gonna be good, but it's a craving.

    lene.lundgaard@gmail.com

    (Danish, but I'm visiting a London-based friend soon.)

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  15. I haven't made nearly enough tacos and should totally make more. I think right now I would like a sweet taco. Some chocolate ganache, honeycomb toffee (which I learnt to make recently and can't get enough of!) and maybe some spiced apple bits to lighten it up a little. Crunchy, gooey, sweet and a little tart from the apple, mmm!

    I love your resourcefulness and dedication to the cleanse despite being in a un-taco-friendly situation. Shows real commitment!

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  16. I can't enter on account of being in the wrong country, but just wanted to say I love love love your first paragraph. It is perfect! Also love your inventive taco-ing! It is like the Put A Bird On It sketch from Portlandia, except Put It In A Taco.

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  17. I'd have to have something chilli flakes, as thats all i seem to be using right now when cooking lol
    http://pinkys-guilty-pleasures.blogspot.co.uk/

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  18. ha ha, such an excellent post - i love your taco ingenuity!! If you can taco cleanse in Thailand, then anyone can do it! I love that you cut your wraps into proper taco shapes. ha ha ha. love!

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    1. Thanks Amey... I had to otherwise we could have ended up in a disastrous burrito situation!!

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  19. I already have the book so feel free to take me out of the running (though I'd pass it on if you keep me in), but I have to tell you how much you need to make the Living Chipotle Sauce as soon as you possibly can. It will give you LIFE. I had it on the Wake and Shake scramble tacos as suggested, as well as regular old trad tacos, and it's probably the best sauce ever.

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    1. I wish I could do this but alas I am allergic to peppers and chipotle sauce would make my body incredibly unhappy! If people ask for recipe rec's though I'll be passing that one along.

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  20. ooh yum!
    I'd go for tofu scramble with cut up sausages, guacamole and created vegusto!

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  21. The more I think about it, the more I think a satay tofu stir fry in a taco would be awesome!!

    Totally gonna put this into action!

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  22. I'm not really into whole cleanse thing. But I'm always up for tacos anytime - those are some pretty interesting versions. :-)

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