This cleanse was one I found in Whole Living Magazine shortly after the new year. I love this magazine and always look to it for amazing recipes, juicing ideas, lifestyle changes, motivation, inspiration,... I could go on. Jason and I were planning on doing a 3 day detox originally, but decided that this 21 day cleanse looked more appealing. We've been working towards making these changes for awhile,... Jason even gave up coffee over the past few months! After the new year I changed my diet to primarily vegan, meaning I ate vegan for all meals but occasionally let myself slip at dinner. I also started juicing for myself and the whole family every morning. So for almost 3 months now, my kids have all gone to school with a juice in their bellies. There have been some definite changes going on just from that, and I would never go back.
So we started this cleanse on Monday the 18th of February. It was the same day we planned a trip to Bob's Red Mill and the Japanese Garden. I felt it was somewhat symbolic in taking the family to a place where their business thrives on things they grow from the soil, then going to a place promoting peace and surrounding us with calming landscape. It seemed to be the perfect jump start.
First off, here's a link to the plan we're following: Whole Living Action Plan
At this point, I'm going to be copying and pasting status updates from Facebook and Instagram (until day 9, where I will begin posting updates directly to this blog).
Day 1: Creamy broccoli soup with spinach and avocado. Dinner number #1 for our 21 day cleanse. Lunch was lentil salad, breakfast was mango smoothie. (Kids had Bobs Red Mill vegan flap jacks and I was a tad jealous). =)
This cleanse is free of processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy, coffee and alcohol. Will be posting weight, measurements and a diary of sorts through this cleanse that's new to us (all previous cleanses/detoxes were much different than this one).
Day 2: I was obviously hungry at this point because I had no update. Just this: Ingredients for detox/cleanse dinner #2.
(Sidenote: this stir fry with cauliflower rice is amazing!!! It's a definite keeper!)
Day 3: Here's to day 3 of the 21 day cleanse. So far I've lost three pounds. Obviously water weight as I was up peeing every two hours last night. ;). So far feeling great and more energized this morning compared to the last. Blueberry Mint smoothie for breakfast (also has lemon, orange and avocado in it). Yum! Biggest complaint, I'm hungry! Not hungry because I'm actually hungry, hungry for shit foods I know I don't need (sweet, salty, carb loaded, etc). Side note: This is a processed, added sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol and coffee free cleanse. Definitely missing, (or should I say 'withdrawing' from) my sugar and gluten the most but not enough to screw up the progress. Cheers!
(Despite this cheerful message I sent out that morning, I was not that happy all day. I grew increasingly hungry and agitated. It wasn't extreme, but I was definitely feeling the detox happening and I was craving sugar and gluten).
This was the day that I learned that the suggested snacks were absolutely necessary and I made the roasted pumpkin seeds. I LOVE these things and make a new batch every couple days!
Day 4: No update. (Later into day 3 through day 5 were by far my worst days. Do NOT give up, I promise, those days are a blur now. I just made a lot of snacks (the smoothie, granola bars, and roasted seeds and nuts...just do it...you'll need/want them)).
Day 5: Day 5 of cleanse. Mango-tahini smoothie (with fresh lime juice). This was the first breakfast we had to start the cleanse. So good! Lost another half lb. Haven't slipped up at all from the diet. Feeling great! Should be feeling the toxins leavings body at this point (most people have aches, pains, headaches) but I have none. I started preparing for this cleanse on Jan first to be sure it was easier. Was eating vegan for at least two meals, cut back on sugar and gluten and weaned myself off caffeine (having only a cup of tea every couple days). Pretty sure the prep has made this 1000 times easier.
Detox day 5 lunch - Roasted beets on spinach. Pretty good and much tastier than expected. I may like beets after all...could possibly EAT them rather than only juicing them all the time. (I'm starting to feel better at this point.)
Like I said, starting to feel better which is apparent because I'm actually showing off foods rather than hating on them in my head. ;)
Detox day 5 dinner: Red Lentil and Sweet Potato stew. So so good!!!
Day 6: Detox day 6 breakfast - Green Lemonade - cucumber, spinach, lemon, apple. Very refreshing! Feeling great this morning!! Energized and light. (This was the day where I thought, I can TOTALLY do this! It's Saturday, I'm up and busy, motivated, well rested...I can do this!)
Day 7: MEASUREMENT UPDATE!!! Day 7 of cleanse/detox check in: Feeling amazing! Neither of us have cheated! Yay us! ;). Jason has lost 6.5lbs and 3 inches in the waist/belly. I lost 5lbs and a total of 4.75 inches in the waist/belly/hips. Week two introduces more foods (all grains and beans are ok this week) but we're choosing to continue to juice most days and not move to some of the heavier foods because we're feeling so great!
Notes about Week 2 after the fact.
These are things we noticed that you may want to make note of.
~The broccoli chickpea salad has way too much lemon in it. We all ate it but all would have preferred half the lemon.
~We used sweet potatoes instead of acorn squash for the roasted vegetables with quinoa. My personal opinion, it's better to substitute with a similar organic vegetable to than use one that's not organic (we're trying to detox after all and anything not organic is going to have toxins in it).
Day 8: Day 8 of cleanse: Woke up before my alarm today,... 20 minutes before! That has NEVER happened. Made the whole family the quinoa porridge. Very bland and would be much better with some honey drizzled on it (which is allowed if it's raw, natural honey but we opted to try without). We ended up having a mixed fruit smoothie along side the porridge and ate the pears and almonds that were ON the quinoa more than we ate the quinoa itself. (We eat quinoa regularly, but never as a breakfast food...we eat it more savory and with veggies rather than fruit so it was just different.) But besides all that, did I tell you I woke up BEFORE my alarm!!!! And I'm not a morning person AT ALL. I was up cooking before 6.45. WTF is wrong with me?!?! ;)
Dinner was the salmon and veggies on brown rice. I had just the rice, veggies and coconut broth. Amazing! Jason had the salmon and was stuffed last night just eating a normal portion (of fairly "light" food). I too was very full. This was our first day having rice and we both felt great after, no side effects, just full.
Day 9 of Cleanse: Feeling amazing! I woke up an hour and a half before my alarm today, but was able to fall back asleep for an hour, because honestly, a 5.15 wake up (for me) is just ridiculous! ;) My hunger cravings for crap food are gone, I don't even want it. I crave the meals and juices/smoothies we've already been eating/drinking at this point and have no desire for anything else. Seriously. This is definitely a life style change if you can get past days 3-5 (my absolute worst days, with 2 and 6 following right behind in crappyness). ;)
We chose to have the Week 1 Blueberry Mint smoothie for breakfast because we loved it so much and the quinoa porridge wasn't as appetizing. That's the great thing about week two, you can still incorporate week one into the menu.
Day 9 dinner: Black bean and brown rice patties served with fresh spring greens, avocado, lime and cilantro. Absolutely amazing and a definite keeper. kid tested as well and they all loved it!
Day 10: Every day gets easier and easier. We've been juicing in the morning as the heavier morning meals in week two are just not appealing to Jason or I. We're satisfied with juice. I'm feeling excellent, energized and happy!
Here was our dinner last night...Roasted Veggies on Quinoa. So very good! I couldn't get fresh, organic acorn squash so we did sweet potatoes instead. Everyone loved it! Yes, my kids loved it, brussel sprouts and all!! Great recipe and definitely a keeper! (Excuse the crappy image...iphone images at night makes for horrid yellow casting).
Day 11: We're halfway done after today!!! WOW!!! I can't believe we've first, made it this far, and second, enjoyed this cleanse (and life style change) as much as we have! We juiced again this morning (a green juice, consisting of celery, spinach, mint, lemon, apple and pear) and will be having the leftover bean and rice patties for lunch. Yum!
So this is the big change for today ...
I have been having issues with my teeth for years, ever since having kids (hormones really mess up your mouth). I went back last December for a check up and my gums were so severely "damaged", my numbers for measurements of my gums should be 2's and 3's (for healthy gums) and mine were 5's and 6's (borderline teeth falling out). Now, you can't see these issues in my mouth unless you're a dentist, but my teeth, gums actually, were severely unhealthy. I had some procedures done in January to help the gums, scaling/root planing, etc.
Here's the news...I went back today for a check up to make sure my mouth was healing properly, and get this, ...my mouth has not only healed, but my gums are primarily 2's and 3's. They were amazed! Couldn't believe the measurements. Kept checking, double checking, going back and around again. But, no mistake, my mouth has miraculously healed and then some! My brushing and flossing habits haven't changed (I'm an obsessive brusher/flosser which has cause some of my issues) but my diet has. They wanted to know what changes were made, are documenting the changes and are in shock. Since the new year, I've been cutting most dairy, and cutting back on gluten and sugar. Since starting this cleanse a week and a half ago, I have cut all added sugar, gluten and processed foods. It's my diet that has helped my mouth heal. Not just heal, but over 10 years of issues/disease, suddenly (and finally) correcting itself!!?!?! Amazing!!!
The money I'm going to save on my dental is going to be huge if I keep this up, and that's motivation enough to never go back to the "typical American diet" (even though my diet was already very un-American). Gluten, sugar, processed foods containing so many chemicals - slowing killing our bodies. But our bodies can heal. You just have to give it a chance.
Day 15: I can't believe it's day 15. So sorry for slacking on updates. Over all, I've been feeling great every single day, more energized, eating less and snacking less. Still trucking along with the smoothies or juices for breakfast. Today we were supposed to have a frittata for breakfast as well but I wasn't able to get moving in time to get the peppers roasted, so we switched and had tomorrows breakfast instead, Muesli. Not bad at all. Considering I don't like cereal, this was actually a better breakfast for me than if they would have told me to have some cherrios. I love the oatmeal, nuts and seeds, in the mix. It was quite bland so I did drizzle a little raw honey over it. It was actually very filling and enjoyable. Lunch today is supposed to be the shaved carrot salad with baked tofu but we still had leftover broccoli chickpea salad so we're going to finish that up first. One thing Jason and I have both noticed, our portion needs are much less. I keep serving us up our normal portions and it's too much. This cleanse has definitely been very helpful with portion control.
Week 2 seemed to be a breeze compared to Week 1 and I'm thinking Week 3 will be even more simple. Biggest complaint I have today, I started my cycle so I have my notorious hormonal migraine. Not being able to take meds for it is making me miserable but putting a toxin in my body to help a migraine just seems stupid. So I will try some natural remedies, to include roasted pumpkin seeds. One awesome thing though, PMS was not even remotely close to as horrible as it's been my whole adult life, AND I have a perfect 28 day cycle happening right now, which has NEVER happened for me (I'm one of those 23 days one month, then 35 the next, then 21, then 30, etc). I'm hoping it's not just a fluke and I'm actually self-regulating, for the first time in my life.
I'm not weighing myself until the end of the week, for obvious, (period) reasons. But Jason lost another 2 lbs this week. We'll do final measurements and weigh-in's on Sunday. =)
*** (Note: This is an update to the remainder of day 15, written now, on day 17)
I had a hard time eating all day as I felt I was going to vomit because of the headache, but I did manage breakfast and even mustered up the strength to make an amazing dinner that evening (then went to bed right after). I made the cauliflower "rice" stir fry (which is a Week 1 recipe) for the fam as well as the stuffed sweet potatoes. I wasn't going to venture into making a new recipe but we hadn't tried the stuffed sweet potatoes the week prior (they're actually a week 2 food) because we had so many leftovers from our other meals. Both of the foods were incredibly delish and both are definite keepers for the fam (although next time I will serve a much smaller portion for the sweet potatoes).
Here's the Cauliflower "Rice" Stir Fry (which is a "cauliflower rice" served with stir fried veggies on top, then a little cilantro and pumpkin seeds...SOOO GOOD!):
And here is the whole meal...look at how incredibly pretty this meal is! This is what "REAL" food is all about and I promise you, it tastes so much better than any store/restaurant meal. After you're done eating, you feel satisfied and great! Nothing bogging you down.
The sweet potato is stuffed with a chard, veggie mix and topped with a bit of cayenne, salt, lime and avocado. So, so good!
Day 16: Yesterday was a major recovery day for me as I had a horrid migraine the day before (hormone induced, something I've suffered from since the time I got pregnant with my first). I made Frittata's and smoothies for the family for breakfast. I ended up putting the pepper needed for the frittata in the oven when I was roasting the sweet potatoes the night before, and after they finished, just stored them so they were ready for the next morning. I have very little time in the morning so it helped not having to roast some veggies before starting the meal. For the morning juice I made a mixed fruit smoothie. First I juiced some spinach and carrots, then put the spinach/carrot juice in the blender with the mixed frozen grapes, strawberries, mango, etc. The smoothie was very good and filling...I didn't need anything else for breakfast.
For the Frittata's, I had roasted green pepper as I was out of red. I sauteed up some onion and kale, then added the previously roasted pepper to the mix to warm. I then poured cage free, vegetarian fed whisked eggs over the top and baked it in the oven (in the same frying pan). It would have only taken about 5 minutes to bake had I only done two eggs like the recipes states, but I had done seven eggs so that the 5 people who eat eggs in the family could have some for breakfast, and then there was also leftover for Jason for another morning. Everyone loved the breakfast and a couple of them had second servings. I would say it's a keeper recipe for them. =)
For lunch Jason and I both had the leftover cauliflower rice stir fry. As you can tell, at this point we are just making up our own schedule for the recipes and just doing our best to make sure we're getting adequate proteins and different nutrients that we know we need. This week has been a real test as to how much we've learned over the previous weeks and so far, we're doing pretty well.
For dinner last night I made the absolute favorite recipe thus far in this cleanse. The Avocado Black Bean Tacos. Anything Mexican is hands down going to win for me but everyone in the family LOVED this meal so much, we'll for sure be keeping this around for every "Taco Tuesday"!!!
The meal is avocado, black beans and kale inside a grilled all natural, organic corn tortilla. Oh My...gahhh, amazing! Amazing!!! Can you tell I liked it?!?!
Day 17: I can't stop thinking about those tacos. =)
I made a juice for breakfast...an apple, orange, carrot, spinach juice. Such a good basic go-to juice and a great way to get proteins and different vitamins needed to start off your day. Lunch will be leftovers again, either stuffed sweet potatoes or tacos (who am I kidding, we all know I'm eating tacos).
For dinner I went ahead and took care of the roasting part for the Stuffed Acorn Squash. I'm looking forward to trying this meal as it has white beans in it as well, and I love white beans (all beans for that matter). I'll take more photos of the actual meal tonight, but for now, here's the acorn squash, all prepped and pretty.
I can not begin to tell you how amazing this whole cleanse has been. I know many of you are still in the first week, and it seems like you have so far to go, but looking back, this has been the most amazing lifestyle change my family has been through and it's gone by really fast. My kids are reading labels, thinking twice about what they're packing in their lunches, and the help I'm getting in the kitchen has been awesome. I have curious, involved cooks now helping me and enjoying everything we're doing (of course they have their moments of being a little difficult, but overall, they're all being awesome). I know it's a lot of work to cook your own meals, from scratch, every day, but the benefits outweigh it all, and really, I think it's a lot of fun. Not to mention, I know exactly what goes into every single thing we're eating, and THAT alone erases any moments I've resented this cleanse.
Keep it up everyone! I'm still here, cheering you on!!! xox
Days 18-21: At this point the cleanse was no longer a cleanse...just a normal part of our day/meals. We continued to juice in the morning and tried a couple more of the recipes that we hadn't tried previously. We did the Stuffed Acorn Squash the night of the 17th day and it was delish. It was a huge portion and very filling. The kids enjoyed it as did Jason and I and it's something we will definitely make in the future. We served the Shaved Carrot Salad with Baked Tofu (Baked Tofu recipe) along side the stuffed acorn squash. At first I thought we would all hate the salad, based on the smell and what was in it, but it was awesome and every one loved it! Both recipes are definite keepers!
The morning of Day 18 we tried the Banana Apple Buckwheat Muffins. They were so moist and very good. I substituted Egg Replacer for the eggs and they still turned out great! (Don't let the price you see on the link for the egg replacer fool you...the 16oz bag is more than enough, it's equal to 64 eggs, for approximately $8. Can't beat that.)
The next evening we did a smoothie for dinner. We have had so many filling meals and feel so great and decided a smoothie sounded really good as opposed to a filling meal. We made a mixed berry with peaches and mango smoothie. So yummy! And pretty!
This weekend we tried out the Spinach, Tofu & Brown Rice Bowl . I was expecting a bowl similar to the "bowls" I make with rice, beans and roasted veggies on top, but this was more of a soup. It was SO incredibly good though and we will keep this on our list of regular meals. It's very filling as well and I feel great after eating it.
The baked tofu really makes the "bowl" and the carrot salad and should not be skipped. Funny enough, the way you prepare the tofu makes it almost like bacon. So you get that feeling of having bacon on your soup and salads. We will most definitely keep this way of cooking tofu on hand and use it often as everyone in the family loved it and the kids were topping various meals with it because they loved the flavor and texture.
So the end of the cleanse has come for Jason and I, but we aren't going back to our regular life-style. This change has been so incredible for our whole family and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. Here are the final stats after all that hard work we put into the three weeks:
Total weight lost for Jason - 9lbs!!!
Total lost for me since the beginning of the cleanse - 6lbs. Total loss for me since the beginning of the year when I switched to juicing every morning and primarily vegan diet - 16lbs.
Jason's total inches lost - 6.5" (from two measurements).
My total inches from the 3 weeks cleanse - 11.5" (from three measurements).
AMAZING!!! I would highly recommend this cleanse to anyone and everyone. It's a bit of work initially but anything worth doing isn't going to be easy. Hope everyone who is in the midst of the cleanse if feeling the change and hoping to continue eating this way for good. It's been an amazing little adventure for our family and I hope it's been the same for yours!!!
To those of you who have messaged or talked to me about doing this cleanse, know I'm cheering you on...you're going through the hardest part right now. I PROMISE you, stay strong and you'll be amazed what next Sunday/Monday brings. It's SO worth it. Find distractions, read, do a craft, something to keep your mind and hands busy. Be prepared for some aches/headaches, etc as well. I had a mild headache for a few days...do your best to not take anything for it though, as medicine is another toxin you're adding to your body. There are alternative ways to help: roasted pumpkin seeds, ginger, olive oil (notice the pattern as these are all things we're putting in the recipes??).
I will continue to post updates each day to this blog. Be sure to check back for more photos and news on how the cleanse is going. =) And to all my fellow cleansers, keep it up! If I can do it, you can do it!!! =)