I don’t know if it is age, or just a little too much socializing in fabulous restaurants where the food tends to be laden with fat, sugar, and salt for maximum flavor, but I simply do not feel my best, and I’ve put on a few pounds. I have also noticed that even though I am exercising more than usual the weight does not seem to want to budge, so I’ve decided it’s time for another detox like the one I did a few years back.
Julie Anne and Nick Rhodes by Norman Parkinson

Okay, so it’s not that kind of cleanse! Photo by Norman Parkinson

The mere thought of giving up sugar (and all artificial and natural sweeteners) for the next three weeks makes me feel like a two year old about to have a massive temper tantrum. Sugar is the last bastion of my addictions, therefore I am feeling great trepidation over starting the detox. I think it’s something you need to be emotionally prepared for, and you need to have your fridge and pantry well stocked. I’m setting a start date for myself of Wednesday April 15th.
In Defense of Food: my idea of a great vacation read

In Defense of Food: my idea of a great vacation read

I’m not a huge believer in fad cleanses, but I think ridding our bodies of toxins every so often with this vegan, hypo-allergenic, anti-inflammatory detox is a healthy way to reset my body and health habits. Last time I did this I was able to eliminate cravings and the swelling I was experiencing from a broken ankle. This detox taught me first hand the power of food to heal (and to harm when we are not careful). 

So here’s what you can eat: Organic is best (since the purpose is to flush toxins out of our systems – not add more in). Stock your fridge full of fresh fruit, fresh raw or lightly steamed vegetables, beans and lentils, some seeds and nuts (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, and raw almonds, walnuts, cashews are all good), and gluten-free whole grains like brown rice, amaranth, millet and quinoa. Basically real, unadulterated whole foods. You can also have a vegan protein shake, rice or almond milk, herbs, spices and healthy oils. Drink tons of filtered or mineral water, green tea, or herbal teas to help eliminate the toxins from your system, and practice yoga breathing, sweat producing exercise and epsom baths to help.
Beets and their greens are great for liver support

Beets and their greens are great for liver support

What you can’t have: is meat, poultry, fish, soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee, black tea, or sodas. Also off limits are peanuts, macadamia nuts, corn, tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper, and all condiments. Week two you can add back in wild fish and organic free-range chicken and turkey, if you choose to.
Jewels working on kicking up the flavor

Jewels working on kicking up the flavor

I’m realistic – I’m not making a commitment to eat quite this healthy all of the time, but it makes sense to give my body a break from all the toxins my liver is probably overwhelmed by. I’m trying to adjust the attitude. Rather than look at it as three weeks of deprivation, I’m telling myself to look forward to knowing I’ll be healthier and feel better at the end of the journey. I’ll try to write a few recipes along the way to kick up the flavor a bit. These will probably not be quick and easy recipes, and may require a trip to the health food store, but many can be made ahead and grazed on all week. Anyone else want to join me? Leave a comment below, and let’s do this together!

This recipe has been altered for the cleanse

Sesame Sautéed Beet Greens
This recipe has been altered for the cleanse

Servings:2

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 bunch of beets greens (saving beets for another use), large stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Directions:

1). Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds.

2). Add greens, and toss to coat. Cover pan, and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until just wilted, about 3-4 minutes.

3). Remove from heat. Serve hot sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds to garnish.

Serving Suggestions:I’m serving this topped with salmon for Valentines Day, but it would also be great with a red quinoa or lentil entree.

PS: Please take note that I am sharing what has worked for me in the past, but I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, so it is prudent to consult one before starting any major dietary changes.

UPDATE: It appears I opened my own big mouth too soon. My doctor has asked me not to do the detox until after I wrap up a medical study I am a part of, so I have to regretfully withdraw from doing this right now, sorry!

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  • August 16, 2010
    4:52 pm

    I've been toying with the idea of doing a cleanse. I can do without meat, soy, sugar, condiments etc…but I break into a cold sweat thinking about 3 weeks without wine and coffee! I'm really curious to see your comments about how you're feeling throughout the process. I'm confident that you'll do fine. After all – You're a woman who lived for years on one leaf of lettuce a day and has already left champagne behind. You're pretty amazing/strong in my eyes! :)Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • August 16, 2010
    5:27 pm

    I thought about giving you a recipe for these fabulous vegan blueberry muffins but then realized they have sugar! Dratz! Maybe I'll brave a call to you this week and see how you're doing. Good luck and let me know how it goes!Laura

  • August 16, 2010
    5:39 pm

    Wow, you really take on a lot! I'm with you in spirit, but my food intake is so limited right now, that eating any food is an accomplishment. I can eat vegetarian meals without soy, but I need yogurt to get my medication down and it helps to coat my stomach as well. I don't use sugar or salt, any tinned chick peas I use are rinsed repeatedly to get rid of some of the salt in them. So, I promise to eat my veggies and fresh fruit for three weeks and I'll even try to eat three meals a day. Right now, I'm living on yogurt, rice cakes, salad greens, fresh fruit & veg, a little brown rice and large quantities of tea and diet cola. I know how bad that is and my doctor would be on my case if he knew what I ate. Maybe if I follow along most of the way with you, I'll be a little healthier. I know you can do it, you are strong, stronger than even you realize. I'll be thinking of you as I nibble on my salads and swigging back the green tea.

  • August 16, 2010
    5:55 pm

    Jewels, count me in!I was surprised after @AGoddessinLA sent me the cleanse instructions…this is almost what I've been eating "normally" to lose weight, so i guess I'm on the cleanse with you. I can't tell you how awesome I've been feeling!! I've got so much energy, and the asthma is nearly gone now. I was advised this by an MD who has an interest in naturopathy, and it took me years to get the mojo to do it.I originally kicked off my lifestyle change of a month and a half ago with a cleanse that was actually more juicing and taking some herbal things, and eating all raw foods. the only thing I do differently now than on the cleanse is I still drink a wee bit of coffee…but I'm a computer programmer and I need my brain firing on all cylinders (I've yet to be able to do what I do without java). It's good to go without occasionally though.So far, I've lost 31 pounds total since my last visit to the doc, and my doc says my cholesterol is down 50 points, and all other blood work looks very good…so obviously this is agreeing with me. It's just harder socially I think. I never realized how much of my "bad" food is eaten when hanging out with friends, going to weddings and grad parties, etc. until I started on this whole foods diet just over a month ago.Mari

  • August 16, 2010
    5:57 pm

    Great idea Jewels, I am sure you will feel great after. I should join you on the cleanse

  • August 16, 2010
    6:01 pm

    I'm tough but I will cleanse with loth of water :)Carly Guerrero

  • August 16, 2010
    6:01 pm

    Started yesterday!!Jodi Silverman Zulueta

  • August 16, 2010
    6:08 pm

    Survived an exquisite Indian dinner by sticking to steamed veggies, a bit of rice, a lot of water, and NO DESSERT!!Jodi Silverman Zulueta

  • August 16, 2010
    6:08 pm

    I watched Food, Inc as well. Frightening stuff. I'm limited in my diet anyway so can't do a cleanse but you have my support and admiration, Jewels!Venice Drowning

  • August 16, 2010
    6:14 pm

    Kim- maybe when you see how revitalized and great I feel, you'll change your mind, and try it. I'll be the guinea pig.Laura you just like to tempt me. Call away girl.Ruthee – I understand about the yogurt, and otherwise it sounds like you are already doing the cleanse! All you haver to do is switch the black tea to green tea, and drink water instead of the sodas. You can do it!Mari – you are my guru! Well done, that will help inspire all of us to stay on track! Do join us Hillary! Maybe you will come play in the kitchen one day to come up with more recipes too!

  • August 16, 2010
    6:16 pm

    Carly – you don't have to do the cleanse if you don't want to, but just know that while drinking lots of water is great, it won't cleanse your organs while your still taking in masses of other toxins.Jodi you rock! I think I will do my anti-social thing for at least the first week. Thank you Venice Drowning!

  • August 16, 2010
    7:14 pm

    You are indeed brave Jewels! What a coincidence-I had planned to start a cleanse tomorrow. I am doing the Master Cleanse, which is a 10-day intensive toxin cleanse where the only thing you consume is a mixture of lemon juice, organic maple syrup, water, and cayenne pepper. It sounds crazy but it has been around for quite some time. This will be my second time I’ve been through it and I was very surprised by the amazing results I saw the first time. Glowing skin, renewed energy! Even my inflamed knee felt better. I truly give it credit for preparing my body for the major surgery I had to undergo a year and a half ago and why I came through it so well. Unfortunately I was on several medications after that for many months. Now that I am fully recovered and off the meds, it just feels time to do it again.I have several friends who have turned Vegan recently and the cleanse you are doing sounds excellent and the way I am slowly trying to eat on a full time basis. Sugar is also a major addiction of mine, so I am definitely feeling your pain! How is a girl supposed to survive without chocolate! When I did the Master Cleanse the first time, all my sugar cravings disappeared. It didn’t take me very long afterwards to get hooked again. This time, I am really going to make the effort to kick the sugar habit! I will be looking forward to reading about your experiences over the next three weeks. Chrissy

  • August 16, 2010
    8:27 pm

    Basically I'm a chicken, lolCarly Guerrero

  • August 16, 2010
    8:27 pm

    I don't blame you!

  • August 16, 2010
    9:10 pm

    Next time I'm out shopping, I'll pick up a Brita water container to keep filled in the fridge. Do you think it would be okay to put some freshly squeezed lime juice in a water bottle with the water? Plain water tastes horrible to me and I can hardly get it down. So, I guess I had better buy a couple of reusable water bottles to take with me when I'm out. By the way, I did get the George Foreman grill a week ago and have been grilling veggies on it and love them. Thank you for that idea!

  • August 16, 2010
    11:02 pm

    As a medical assistant I remember taking this person's blood and it literally looked like coffee with a lot of cream in it. Thought there was something wrong with the tube filler but the doc said it was because the pt consumed nothing but fast food.

  • August 16, 2010
    11:03 pm

    been there done that it really does turn your stomach and it has an odor of fast food, it made me give up mcdsMariah Monesmith-Kreider

  • August 16, 2010
    11:03 pm

    I cant because I am hypoglycemic Bad but I always try to eat my fresh veggies from my garden and whaat I dont grow from the farmers market and light on any meat this time of year, so Im o board with you much as I can and its a great idea for all.Mariah Monesmith-Kreider

  • August 17, 2010
    2:08 pm

    Jewels, Beautifully written description of our lives for the next three weeks. I am off to the farmer's market today. Hopefully, I'll make this recipe tonight.I'm so grateful to have you.Cynthia

  • August 17, 2010
    4:15 pm

    YES Ruthee – you can squeeze fresh lemon or lime into it. I like to fill a pitcher of water, add lemon slices and mint. Then by the time I go to pour it, it has a refreshing flavor. Some people like cucumber slices in theirs too.Grateful you invited me Cynthia, and thrilled more of you are going to join us!

  • August 17, 2010
    4:18 pm

    what do beet tops taste like, are they bitter?Cat Lincoln

  • August 17, 2010
    4:19 pm

    No, surprisingly not too bitter at all. I'd say like a cross between spinach and Swiss chard, and really yummy.

  • August 17, 2010
    5:59 pm

    Hallo Jewels!I already said so on FB but I will repeat myself here: I am going to join you. At 1st I thought i wouldn't have "time" to do so but since I just had the worst dinner and now feel sick I have decided to change things and it's good to start a chnage with a cleanse…Ricarda

  • August 18, 2010
    2:04 am

    count me in jewels ! Arghh

  • August 18, 2010
    2:08 am

    Yay Ricarda and Tracey!!! Brilliant.

  • August 18, 2010
    8:38 am

    Wow! Good for you! =) I hope you make it through the three weeks. I use to do a cleanse once a year, every year. My last cleanse was two years ago. I clasped the second day and was rushed to the hospital. I ended up getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I tried many years to hold it at bay. My last cleanse turned into a minor step to my daily food plan. Since, I've been on an organic food plan and my diabetes has dropped to non-diabetic levels (normal human level) for the last six months. YEAH!!! What has amazed me so much about the whole eating healthy thing is now when I eat something with sugar or salt, it is either way to salty or sweet. Luckily, for me I gave up soda as a new year’s resolution on the 2000 roll over. It was the hardest addiction for me to kick. I never liked drinking alcohol. I'm allergic to poultry and I don't like the smell of coffee. I gave up sugar two years ago and since then I have switched to the organic Stevia (not the new stuff in the store). Since it is a plant it helps with my fiber intake. Every little bit helps. =) My mom was recently diagnosed with heart disease. Her blood pressure was at the high stroke levels. She has started on a similar food plan like mine and has dropped her levels down to half of what they were in 8 months. It amazes both of us how food can affect your health in such a deep way. We are both feeling so good and our energy levels are way up now. It’s a wonderful place to be. I admire anyone that tries to change thier eating habits. Its a hard BUT worth while thing to do. I hope your three weeks helps you with energy and health too. =)Happy cleansing everyone!!!! =)Monique

  • August 20, 2010
    4:15 am

    I started a cleanse 2 weeks ago. Had a dessert for the first time 2 days ago and was so sick, that tonight I threw out the rest of it. My energy level has gone up enormously and I have been able to cut down coffee to one a day. It's so strange to me that at around the same time I started to cleanse, and it was a moment's decision, I just felt sick, you guys started and 5 close friends did as well. It's crazy how poorly most of us eat, when we know that if you don't have your health, you'd give up anything to have it back. Have fun cleansing. I heard colonics are good for cleanses too :)

  • August 22, 2010
    11:04 pm

    The photos (and the story) are wonderful … could it be that this is the secret? Delicious, beautiful and satisfying?

  • August 22, 2010
    11:16 pm

    So far, so good. I'm on day six now.

  • April 8, 2015
    11:10 am

    Jewels, I’m in the midst of a 21 day vegan cleanse (Quantum Wellness version). This is the third time I’ve done this one and I’m feeling good but really missing my chicken wings! I forgot how easy it is to eat better and hoping this puts me on the right track to just ease into adding chicken and dairy back into the fold when the 21 days is up.

  • April 9, 2015
    8:43 am

    I’ll be right there with you Dana! I didn’t lose much weight last time I did this detox, but I’m looking forward to ridding myself of crazy midnight cravings and resetting my tastebuds. My main goal here is to rid myself of toxins and NOT add sugar back in once I have finished the detox, then I’m sure the extra weight will drop off eventually.

    I’m convinced the amount of hidden sugars (and chemicals acting like sugar aka artificial sweeteners) are the nasty culprits.

    • April 9, 2015
      11:02 am

      I’m not even stepping on the scale this time. Just judging it all by how I’m feeling rather than pounds. I’m sure it will all balance out as I bring my workout regime back into the mix as well. It will be great to press the “reset” button and train myself into better habits! :)