To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

It’s Day 11 of 30 for me on The Clean Cleanse.  Right about now I’m asking myself “Why did I pick this month to start???”  Reasons why I should have waited: 1) My family was visiting (and they love to eat at new restaurants and old favorites)  2) I’m going skiing with friends for a weekend.  3) St. Patty’s is on a Sunday so that really means it’s St. Patrick’s WEEKEND!

Getting into the St. Patrick's Day mood with my morning shake!

Getting into the St. Patrick’s Day mood with my morning shake!

4) I always love having a huge brunch on Easter Sunday.  4) A good part of the day is spent reading about things like Croissant Bread Pudding.  Hey, thanks a lot, Seaside Baker – Musings of a Mompreneur!

Seriously, check it out:

I mean come on!!!  The truth is that there is never a good time to start this kind of thing.  Something will always pop up.  Also, I have to remember why I decided to do it in the first place.  I’ve been really down, and I wanted to see if all the hype over cleanses had some merit, and I wanted to see if I felt any improvements in my mood.  Other than the first couple of days when I had a headache, it has been relatively simple.  I do have to plan ahead for lunch.  I never want to be in the position where I’m hungry after a workout and decide to grab a foot long sub.  That does sound good though.  On two occasions, I was in a little bind.  This past Sunday, I realized we were out of leftovers from previous meals I made, and there’s no way on God’s green Earth (that’s an expression, right?) I’m going to a supermarket on a Sunday afternoon/evening.  I had some kale, a red pepper, and chicken breasts in the refrigerator.  I seared the chicken with some paprika, and it was served with an impromptu Kale Salad (I chopped some kale, whisked some lemon juice, a small touch of extra virgin olive oil, and red pepper flakes together, added some pine nuts and chopped red pepper.) Voila, dinner was served.  And then on Monday, I didn’t have leftovers from Sunday, and I didn’t have time to make lunch earlier in the day.  I had some hummus and a green pepper which was enough to hold me off until dinner.  I wouldn’t recommend eating so little, but stuff happens.

No more srirach for the rest of the cleanse!

No more srirach for the rest of the cleanse!

I don’t know if it’s in my head, but I do feel like I have more energy.  The biggest difference is that I’m not constantly thinking about running into the kitchen for a piece of chocolate or a bowl of cereal.  In fact, I really haven’t had any cravings.  I did pass a Starbuck’s yesterday inside Target.  As I walked by, the overwhelming smell of mochas, lattes and cappuccinos wafted over me.  I will honestly say that I just purely enjoyed the smell.  Would I have noticed it to the degree I had if I hadn’t stopped drinking coffee 11 days ago?  I don’t think so.  Last night I did get a little hungry.  I opted for some unsweetened coconut flakes and some roasted pumpkin seeds.

The house menu for the week is: Sexy Cilantro Shake, Peach Apple Cobbler Shake, Millet Risotto with Artichoke Hearts, Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Tuna Salad with Mixed Greens, Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce, and Clean Salmon Nicoise.  One day I did the Cilantro Shake with fresh papaya and another day without (my papaya wasn’t ripe enough).  I loved it with the papaya.  With the fruit, I added a tablespoon of Flax Seed Oil and some chopped walnuts.  It has been one of my favorites so far. You can’t have peanuts on this cleanse, but many other nuts seem fair game.  I’ve also been adding cinnamon to all of my shakes.  Why not?  It’s tasty and so healthy.

I would highly recommend the Millet Risotto because it was delicious and hearty.  The Salmon Nicoise is a fantastic meal because it is super quick and easy.  I blanched the green beans for a minute or two, just enough to bring out their color, before plunging them into an ice bath.  I prefer my veggies crunchy.

Millet Risotto was killer!

Millet Risotto was killer!

Just had to add a photo of the BEST shake cup ever!

Just had to add a photo of the BEST shake cup ever!

Not a great photo.  I was very hungry that day!

Not a great photo. I was very hungry that day!

I was very surprised by the tuna salad.  I’m a huge fan, so I was a little skeptical of the recipe.

  1. 1 can tuna fish
  2. 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced (**I just added an amount I felt was enough.)
  3. 2 celery stalks, sliced into 1/4 inch crescents (**I added a half of a stalk and had the leftover stalks on the side.)
  4. 1/4 cup capers (**Again, I just eyeballed this amount and put in what I liked.)
  5. 2 heaping tbsp dijon mustard (I did about 1 tbsp.)
  6. 1 heaping tbsp miso
  7. 1/4 cup almond milk (maybe a little less, depending on the consistency you want) (**I did less.)
  8. Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  9. A handful of fresh dill (or a tablespoon of dried dill)
  10. Butter lettuce leaves


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well-combined. Keep in the fridge, covered, until ready to serve. Serve in lettuce leaves. (**I squirted a Meyer lemon over the salad.)

Refreshing tuna salad with my lemons from my tree.

Refreshing tuna salad with my lemons from my tree.

If your tuna is heavy on the mayo, give this a try.  I was surprised at how much I liked it. It was light and refreshing, and the miso gave it something I’ve never had before in a tuna salad.  I’ll make this one again.

Since I’ve started, I went out to eat twice.  I was a little nervous because I really have been trying to adhere to the rules.  One lunch outing was at Pita Jungle in Hillcrest.  I ordered the Wood-Fired Salmon Salad, and I skipped the dressing.  In lieu of the dressing, I squirted lemon juice over the salad.  I added some sriracha, but I now realize that there’s sugar in it, so I’m refraining from that as well now.  That is a tough one!!!  My friend ordered the Chipotle Black Bean Burger. I’ve had that before, and I loved it.  Pita Jungle is such a great spot.  If you haven’t been there, check it out.  They have a Garlic Dip to die for!!! You might kill someone later with your breath, but oh well.  The food is very fresh, it’s always delicious, and the staff is really friendly.

Pita Jungle's Wood-Fired Salmon Salad

Pita Jungle’s Wood-Fired Salmon Salad

Chipotle Black Bean Burger at Pita Jungle

Chipotle Black Bean Burger at Pita Jungle

My second meal (lunch) out was Point Loma Seafood.  You can order some of the freshest fish and bring your tray upstairs to large open air deck with great views of the Point Loma Marina and downtown San Diego.  Franz opted for sushi, and he couldn’t stop raving about the California Rolls.  He ordered it because he couldn’t recall ever having it with real crab.  He told me the Spicy Tuna Rolls were great, too.  I had to take his word.  It was a bummer not being able to try some, but I’ll be back.  I’ll be back.  My Grilled Ono on a bed of greens was just what I needed.  I like Ono because it is a little heartier, like a cross between halibut and swordfish.  Every single person around me had a fried fish sandwich with fries.  I’m not kidding.  It looked really good.  One child had a Happy Meal from McDonald’s.  Ugh.  I was perfectly happy with my yummy fresh tasting Ono.  Once again, I asked them to hold the dressing, and I grabbed some lemon wedges to use as the dressing.

Not a bad way to cleanse! Point Loma Seafood's Grilled Ono

Not a bad way to cleanse! Point Loma Seafood’s Grilled Ono

I’m not sure if my eyes are whiter or if my skin is more radiant (yet), but I like the way I feel.  I’m surprised that I’ve lost about 8 pounds.  So far, I’m happy I’m giving this a try and I’m looking forward to the next 19 days! Oh God, 19???  haha

All of the Clean Cleanse recipes by Dr. Junger can be found at

If I could cleanse like this everyday, I'd be one very lucky lady! Great views from Point Loma Seafood.

If I could cleanse like this everyday, I’d be one very lucky lady! Great views from Point Loma Seafood.

Take Care and Happy Eating!

Pita Jungle on Urbanspoon

Point Loma Seafoods on Urbanspoon

Mr. Clean Meet Mrs. Cleanse

Hello!  I’ve been gone from my blog for a bit.  I had some difficult weeks, and it felt appropriate to just take a break.  However, I found that I was nearing March, and I was still in a blah mood.  And I don’t mean blah in a good way like Blind Lady Ale House (, but blah in a sad rut kind of way.  I needed to figure a way out of it.

A couple of months ago, I saw a commercial for a Dr. Oz show about a 30 day cleanse.  I don’t believe in cleanses.  I think the body, if you have a proper diet, naturally cleanses itself.   Yeah liver!  The ad was intriguing to me due to the number of days.  I  watch Dr. Oz every so often and he doesn’t seem to push fad diets, so I was curious how someone could, in a healthy way, cleanse for a month.  The cleanse was created by Dr. Alejandro Junger, who attended medical school in Uruguay and completed 6 years of post-graduate training in NYC. His program removes certain things from one’s diet: dairy/eggs, gluten, processed sugar, soy, coffee/soda/alcohol, beef/pork, creamed vegetables, and peanuts.  By removing these items, Junger claims you remove the products that feed bad bacteria in the body.

Here is Dr. Junger explaining how the detoxification process works:

Click here: Dr. Junger Discusses Good and Bad Bacteria

Here are the 10 Detox foods recommended:

1) Green leafy and cruciferous vegetables (a.k.a. the gassy veggies)

2) Fish, cold water preferred

3) Chicken, free range preferred

4) Berries

5) Apple cider vinegar

6) Lemon water

7) Herbal teas

Yerba Mate tea

8) Unsweetened coconut milk

9) Coconut oil

10) Plant based protein powder

Of course he has a book, and he has a program ( you can buy for a whopping $425 where you get nutritional pills, online support, shake packets, etc.  What interested me was the potential results: feeling better overall and more vibrant skin and hair.  He claims that in 1 month you can lose up to 10 pounds and even your eyes will be whiter!  I didn’t see any downside to his program.  You can eat as much as you want on the program as long as it’s on the “approved”  list.  Why not give it a try?  He has so many recipes listed on Dr. Oz’s site for each meal of the day.  Super easy.  I’m opting to forgo his $4oo+ system and do it on my own with his on-line suggestions and recipes.

My parents and brother were coming for a visit at the very end of February, so I decided I would eat out with them and go crazy for 3 days, and then on Monday, March 4th, begin the 30 day cleanse.  I was very worried that going to places like Hodad’s (arguably the best hambugers in San Diego – not to mention amazing onion rings) and Extraordinary Desserts (hands down some of the best desserts you’ve ever had) would be hard.  Also, I was nervous that giving up simple things, like having a cup of coffee with a piece of toast in the morning, might foil my detox plans, but I was willing to give it a try!

Not on the Clean Cleanse - Cheesecake and Coffee at Extraordinary Desserts

Not on the Clean Cleanse – Cheesecake and Coffee at Extraordinary Desserts

The detox plan suggested on Dr. Oz’s site has a different meal for every single day.  I opted to pick a few recipes and make larger quantities, as opposed to making something different to eat every single time. Each week I will create a different set of meals.

Here was what I made for the first week:

Breakfasts: Switched between Berries and Green Shake and Favorite Green Shake

Lunch: Hummus Chicken with Brown Rice Pilaf (In addition, certain days I had leftovers from dinners I prepared.)

Dinners: Shepherd’s Pie, Quinoa Salad with Roasted Veggies, and Black Bean and Chipotle Bisque (and will make Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps for dinner tonight)

Snacks: Hummus with Veggies, Trader Joe’s Kale Chips, almonds, and Yerba Mate tea

Kale Chips

The first 2-3 days were interesting.  I thought I would be craving certain things, but I barely had an appetite.  That’s very odd for me!  I would eat, but I was eating much smaller amounts than normal.  I’m not sure why.  Also, I had a slight headache during this period.  Dr. Junger suggests not to exercise for the first few days, and to slowly build up your exercise regimen.  Well, I had boot camp on the third day, and I didn’t want to miss it.  My head was pounding during that hour!

A lot of people are asking me how the cleanse is going.  So far I really like it.  I have lost 5 pounds since Monday, but I highly doubt that will continue.  What I like is that I’m not thinking about food all the time.  I think that’s why I wanted to take a break from writing as well.  Don’t get me wrong! I love eating food, thinking about food and cooking – I really felt like I needed a time out.  I can’t wait until April so I can go out and have a beer with my husband or a cocktail and dinner with friends.  Again, I never believed in cleanses or diets, but so far The Clean Cleanse has been very interesting.  I will continue, and I will keep all of you posted along the way.  If you are on Instagram or Facebook, you can follow my daily journey that way, too!

Below are the recipes I’ve made suggested by Dr. Junger and his crew.

Berries + Greens Shakes

1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
1 to 2 loosely-packed cups of spinach
2 cups coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 heaping tbsp plant-based protein powder

Blend until smooth.

Shake - Blender

I'm Putting My Drinks in Different Glasses Every Morning to Spice It Up!

I’m Putting My Drinks in Different Glasses Every Morning to Spice It Up!

Favorite Green Shake

  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or raspberries, blackberries, mangoes, papaya, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp flax oil
  • 1 tbsp maca powder**
  • 1 tbsp spirulina**
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 heaping tbsp plant-based protein powder**
  • 2 dates or a few drops of stevia to taste (I didn’t have either on hand, so I skipped this ingredient.)

Blend until smooth. (**I couldn’t find these ingredients on their own, so I opted for a dietary supplement that combined the two with other ingredients.  I found Amazing Grass, Green Superfood, Raw Reserve at GNC. I use 1 Tablespoon in my shakes.)

Hummus Chicken Serves 2-3

  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (local and free-range)
  • 2 lemons (1 sliced into rounds and 1 juiced) (**I just used the juice from the lemons, and did not slice into rounds to use as a topper.)
  • 1/2 cup hummus (recipe below)
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs or 2 tablespoons dried
  • Generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat to 450°F. Blend all the hummus ingredients together in a food processor.

Place the chicken breasts in a small roasting pan, covering all exposed meat with the hummus (use a spoon or your hands, just make sure it’s layered quite thick, about 1/4”). Scrunch each lemon half in your hand and then loosely arrange them over the chicken with the rosemary sprigs, broken into smaller pieces. Serve with Brown Rice Pilaf**.  (**I bought Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley.  It’s a blend of Long Grain Brown Rice, Black Barley and Daikon Radish Seeds.  It’s delicious.)

Hummus Chicken

Hummus Chicken

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wrap Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 2 tbsp wheat-free Tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar (******I haven’t found this ingredient anywhere!!  If you know where I can buy it, please let me know!!  Thanks!)
  • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 head Boston, bibb lettuce or endive
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Melt coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Add carrots and saute for several minutes.

Add garlic, ginger, turkey and Chinese 5 spice to the pan and saute until turkey is cooked through – about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add water chestnuts and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in tamari, vinegar and nectar. Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring well to thoroughly combine.

Put one scoop of turkey mixture into lettuce leaves. Top with green onions and cilantro.

Dr. Oz Shepherd’s Pie Serves 2 (****This was a favorite!  I served it to my family while they were visiting, and it got great lots of thumbs up!)

  • 10 cups cauliflower florets, steamed soft
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unrefined virgin coconut oil, divided (more or less if needed)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 small bok choy, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 8 oz poached chicken, diced
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Purée the cauliflower, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a blender until very smooth. set aside. In a medium pan sauté the broccoli for 2 minutes in 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, until lightly browned and starting to soften a bit. Transfer to a bowl and cook the bok choy for 2 minutes, in the same pan, adding a little more of the coconut oil if necessary, until starting to brown. Transfer bok choy to the bowl with the broccoli. Add the diced chicken, 2 cups of cauliflower purée, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper and gently toss. Transfer mixture to a 4 cup baking dish, top with the remaining cauliflower purée and bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubble. If you like to brown the top a bit, broil for a few minutes after baking.

Shepherds Pie - Big Hit

Shepherds Pie – Big Hit

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables Serves 1-2

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (Oops, I didn’t add this.  Ran out of space on the baking sheet!)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Enough oil to lightly cover vegetables
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 small yellow (summer) squash, chopped
  • juice of one fresh lemon

Roast chopped vegetables in the oven at 300°F until tender. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium pot and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 10-12 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Toss everything together in a large serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh lemon juice and sea salt to taste.

Quinoa Salad With Roasted Veggies

Quinoa Salad With Roasted Veggies

Black Bean and Chipotle Bisque Serves 4 (**I LOVE this recipe.  Creamy and delicious!)

  • 2 cups black beans, canned or dried (Note: If using non-canned beans, there is overnight soaking prep time. See directions below for both options)
  • **I added a quart of Organic Chicken Stock instead of water to cook the beans.  I opted for canned beans to save time.)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 large carrot, chopped roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (**I didn’t use this. I didn’t feel like it was necessary.)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • A few tbsp (possibly up to 1/4 cup, depending on taste) apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 scallions, minced (for garnish)
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Soaking Directions (if using non-canned beans)

To lessen the cooking time and to make the beans more digestable, it is ideal to soak the beans overnight in water with a strip of kelp. After about 8-12 hours, strain and rinse the beans. Drain well. If using canned beans, skip this step and proceed to cooking directions.

Cooking Directions

Make sure carrots and onions are chopped. In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and carrots for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and keep stirring frequently, until fragrant. Stir in the dried spices and beans, allowing everything to cook for a few more minutes, continuing to stir often. Before the beans start to dry out, add enough water to completely cover them, and allow the water to come to a boil (**Here is where I used chicken stock.  I used a quart.  If you want it thinner, just add more stock or water.). Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow beans to simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir every so often. After 30 minutes check the beans for doneness (should be very tender). If the liquid is getting very low and the beans are not yet tender, add a bit more water to the pot, and continue to cook until the beans are soft. When they’re done, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the tender beans (and whatever water is left), a little at a time, into a blender with the lime juice. Purée until you have a thick and creamy soup. Experiment with the flavor, adding a touch of apple cider vinegar to help balance out the flavors. Season with sea salt. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and scallions (optional).

Black Bean Bisque

Black Bean Bisque

Have you ever done this cleanse or another one?  I’m curious to hear people’s thoughts and stories!  I’ll keep you posted throughout the month on my progress! Recipes for the Clean Cleanse can be found at

Take Care and Happy Eating!