21 Day Cleanse Diet Wrap Up

by formerchef on February 26, 2010

Many of you have been following along with the 21 Day Cleanse Diet I’ve been doing. You’ve seen the vegan recipes. You’ve heard the highs and lows, the trials and tribulations. Now here’s the recap.

I did it! Three whole weeks and I stuck to the plan without faltering. No sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no gluten and no animal products.

People keep asking me if I feel “better” or “different.” The short answer is yes, but maybe not for the reasons you would think.

First, I feel great because I accomplished something I wasn’t sure I could, so I’m proud of that. Physically, I feel better because I lost a little weight (and I continue to lose).

One of the purposes of this cleanse for me was to re-set  my tastes and cravings and how I think about food. In that respect it was a huge success. I don’t crave as much sugar now. In fact, many things with sugar just taste way too sweet for me. Other tastes have changed as well. I’ve had dairy (cheese and yogurt but no milk), salmon and chicken in the last few days but my body just does not feel ready for red meat or milk yet. My bread cravings are not as stong as they once were nor is my desire for coffee.

I now look in detail at every label and I consider where my food comes from (is it sustainably and humanly raised?). The down side is that this makes me the “Food Police” in my household. I also find I’m more willing to stick to my beliefs; I made an effort to source Wild Salmon instead of farm raised for my first dinner after the cleanse.

In terms of the challenge I wanted as a cook, these past few weeks have not let me down. While at times I was frustrated with the limitations, in the end I made some simply great food, regardless of it being vegan or not. My husband was very happy with all the meals even though he was not doing the cleanse with me. I don’t think he ever felt anything was “missing.”
The only real failures were in trying to create vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free desserts. Some things are just not meant to be and trying to make something good with all of those ingredients missing just does not work. The cheesecake was the first failure, but I also made ginger-lime-coconut milk ice cream which while it tasted good, froze solid as concrete. This is because it did not contain any real sugar (which would have helped with the consistency). Some things are just plain chemistry.
Gluten free bread was another challenge; it never was better than “ok” even when I baked it myself and considering how many special flours I have left, I will continue to work on it.

Finally, I have to say I am a little disappointed in Kathy Freston’s book. I read it day by day, chapter by chapter, throughout the cleanse. I think the concept is sound but I found myself not liking the delivery of the message. She came across as overly self-righteous in the end and no one needs to be bludgeoned over the head with someone else’s beliefs.
In the final chapters she addresses making wise choices in terms of what we eat. I’m all for that. But then she gives examples of the pros and cons and says “Was that cake after dinner worth the consequences? Really, was it? I bet not.”
I’m sorry, but I disagree. If I ate cake every day after dinner then yes, it might be a problem. But not the occasional dessert. No, it’s not the end of the world, nor are there concrete consequences for a single piece of cake.
Later in the book she makes the case for maintaining a vegan diet. That’s certainly a personal choice, and I have no problem with anyone who chooses it, but I have to disagree with the delivery; I really don’t need the graphic slaughterhouse descriptions to persuade me. Find a better way.

In conclusion, am I happy I did this? Absolutely yes. I challenged myself physically and mentally and reached my personal goals. I do feel better. I learned a lot and that will translate into how I eat going forward.
It opened my eyes in so many ways and for that I am thankful.

To see what I’ve been doing, please start with this page;
http://formerchef.com/21-day-cleanse-diet/

For a review of Week 1 and menus, go here:
http://formerchef.com/21-day-cleanse-diet/cleanse-diet-week-1/

For a review of Week 2 and menus, go here:
http://formerchef.com/21-day-cleanse-diet/cleanse-diet-week-2/

Weight Loss: 4 pounds (3 week total)

Since Day 21 I’ve lost another 1.5 lbs by shifting my diet to be less carb intensive and have more lean protein. I’m still watching what I eat but enjoying having more flexibility in my diet.

Menu for week 3:

Day 15:
Breakfast:
Organic Corn Flakes, Soy Milk, Banana
Lunch: Tofu Stir Fry
Dinner: Veggie Burger, Quinoa pilaf
Snacks: Tangerines, trail mix

Day 16:
Breakfast:
Oatmeal with raisins
Lunch: Rice Salad with Borlotti Beans and Eggplant and lemon vinaigrette
Dinner: Roasted Potato Leek Soup (recipe post coming soon)
Snacks: Tangerines, trail Mix, corn chips, popcorn, carrots

Day 17:
Breakfast:
Oatmeal with raisins
Lunch: Rice Salad with Borlotti Beans and Eggplant and lemon vinaigrette
Dinner: Roasted Potato Leek Soup (recipe post coming soon)
Snacks: Tangerines, trail Mix, corn chips, popcorn, carrots

Day 18:
Breakfast:
Organic Corn Flakes, Soy Milk
Lunch: Salad with vegetable and a side of rice pilaf
Dinner: Tofu Taco a la Kogi BBQ
Snacks: Tangerines, popcorn, banana

Day 19:
Breakfast:
Irish Steel Cut Oats with Raisins, vegan butter and agave syrup
Lunch: Baked Potato with olive tapenade and vegan butter
Dinner: Veggie Burger.
Snacks: Tangerines, popcorn, raisins

Day 20:
Breakfast:
Soy Protein shake
Lunch: Baked Potato with olive tapenade and vegan butter
Dinner: Creamy Polenta topped with Marinara sauce with mushrooms, red and yellow peppers. Three bean salad.
Snacks: Tangerines, popcorn, rice chips and hummus

Day 21:
Breakfast:
Irish Steel Cut Oats with blueberries
Lunch: Protein Shake with berries
Dinner: Tofu Taco a la Kogi BBQ
Snacks: Tangerines, popcorn, raisins

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Noelle February 26, 2010 at 7:13 am

Way to go! I need to do a cleanse soon! Thanks for being so truthful of your experience!

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2 Noelle February 26, 2010 at 7:13 am

Way to go! I need to do a cleanse soon! Thanks for being so truthful of your experience!

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3 Myra February 26, 2010 at 7:22 am

You nailed it when you said this cleanse re-sets tastes and cravings — I had the same experience. I also feel a sense of accomplishment and I was happy to go on this food journey with you.

And thanks for the honest review of the book. I agree, a piece of cake once in a while is a good thing. ;-)

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4 formerchef February 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

Myra, I can’t thank you enough for doing this with me and being such a great support. Thanks for listening to me whine too!

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5 Myra February 26, 2010 at 7:22 am

You nailed it when you said this cleanse re-sets tastes and cravings — I had the same experience. I also feel a sense of accomplishment and I was happy to go on this food journey with you.

And thanks for the honest review of the book. I agree, a piece of cake once in a while is a good thing. ;-)

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6 formerchef February 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

Myra, I can’t thank you enough for doing this with me and being such a great support. Thanks for listening to me whine too!

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7 Carrie Oliver February 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

Good for you for setting a clear goal and making it all the way through! It is interesting how easy it is to recalibrate one’s taste buds and particularly your experience with sugar. There’s so much chatter about how we’re biologically (hard-wired) to seek sugar in our diet. Maybe not? Anyways, this particular cleanse wouldn’t be for me but this does inspire me to be more diligent about avoiding “white things” in my diet, which are the killers for me in terms of energy and weight. Thanks for the motivation.

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8 formerchef February 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Carrie- I don’t know about being biologically hard wired to like sugar. I think that’s true only in so far as sugar gives us energy so maybe it’s in our DNA to like it. The problem I think that that we are conditioned from birth to like the taste. It’s a stealth ingredient in everything and it’s really hard to break the cycle.

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9 Carrie Oliver February 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

Good for you for setting a clear goal and making it all the way through! It is interesting how easy it is to recalibrate one’s taste buds and particularly your experience with sugar. There’s so much chatter about how we’re biologically (hard-wired) to seek sugar in our diet. Maybe not? Anyways, this particular cleanse wouldn’t be for me but this does inspire me to be more diligent about avoiding “white things” in my diet, which are the killers for me in terms of energy and weight. Thanks for the motivation.

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10 formerchef February 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Carrie- I don’t know about being biologically hard wired to like sugar. I think that’s true only in so far as sugar gives us energy so maybe it’s in our DNA to like it. The problem I think that that we are conditioned from birth to like the taste. It’s a stealth ingredient in everything and it’s really hard to break the cycle.

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11 Mom February 26, 2010 at 8:22 am

Well said. Really well said.

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12 Mom February 26, 2010 at 8:22 am

Well said. Really well said.

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13 heathergill February 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

Good for you for finishing! I would have to agree about the delivery of the message. I think that’s why I have a hard time with most people that are vegan as a lifestyle. I think thats the message that I’ve taken from it as well, to be more cognizant of what I put into my body.

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14 heathergill February 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

Good for you for finishing! I would have to agree about the delivery of the message. I think that’s why I have a hard time with most people that are vegan as a lifestyle. I think thats the message that I’ve taken from it as well, to be more cognizant of what I put into my body.

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15 Chef Gwen February 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

Congratulations! And thanks for sharing it with all of us. I really appreciate the honesty and admire the effort you put into this challenge. You deserve to eat whatever you feel like eating, even if that’s a bite of cake.

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16 Chef Gwen February 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

Congratulations! And thanks for sharing it with all of us. I really appreciate the honesty and admire the effort you put into this challenge. You deserve to eat whatever you feel like eating, even if that’s a bite of cake.

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17 Vivian February 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

Congratulations! This is definitely a significant accomplishment. I have done cleanse before, but none lasted for more than two weeks and while they all purged sugar none required me to stay off caffeine. I agree with you on the vegan lifestyle. I have felt pressure from vegan friends from time to time regarding my choices, and I do not hesitate to remind them of the fact that it is my personal decision and not theirs.

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18 Vivian February 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

Congratulations! This is definitely a significant accomplishment. I have done cleanse before, but none lasted for more than two weeks and while they all purged sugar none required me to stay off caffeine. I agree with you on the vegan lifestyle. I have felt pressure from vegan friends from time to time regarding my choices, and I do not hesitate to remind them of the fact that it is my personal decision and not theirs.

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19 formerchef February 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Heather, Gwen and Vivian-Thanks for the comments.
Yes, the delivery of the message is important. I’m sure I’ve been guilty myself at times of being over zealous (hence the “Food Police” title at home). It’s a fine line to walk when you are passionate about something, so I try to be understanding of other’s beliefs. Still, I don’t want to be hit over the head with it or judged for my own.

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20 formerchef February 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Heather, Gwen and Vivian-Thanks for the comments.
Yes, the delivery of the message is important. I’m sure I’ve been guilty myself at times of being over zealous (hence the “Food Police” title at home). It’s a fine line to walk when you are passionate about something, so I try to be understanding of other’s beliefs. Still, I don’t want to be hit over the head with it or judged for my own.

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21 Anise February 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Congrats for sticking with it! Did D. lose any weight from his partial version, ooc? I was just reading part of this post aloud to A. and your older nephew said “But you should have cake everyday, with sprinkles on top!” So that’s the 3.5 year old viewpoint, who, fwiw, eats no store-bought desserts but does get some home-baked good once a week or so. Sigh. Even the 8-month old starts reaching out his hands longingly when I make brownies. There may just be a familial sweet tooth which we just keep in moderation.

When Aunt Redwing made me a family dessert recipe book seven years ago, she included a whole page that summed up to: “I tried making all these recipes with carob and soy and vegan ingredients. It was a disaster. Use real butter and cream and eggs and chocolate for some things.” So I am unsurprised that your own experience bears out the same message.

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22 Anise February 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Congrats for sticking with it! Did D. lose any weight from his partial version, ooc? I was just reading part of this post aloud to A. and your older nephew said “But you should have cake everyday, with sprinkles on top!” So that’s the 3.5 year old viewpoint, who, fwiw, eats no store-bought desserts but does get some home-baked good once a week or so. Sigh. Even the 8-month old starts reaching out his hands longingly when I make brownies. There may just be a familial sweet tooth which we just keep in moderation.

When Aunt Redwing made me a family dessert recipe book seven years ago, she included a whole page that summed up to: “I tried making all these recipes with carob and soy and vegan ingredients. It was a disaster. Use real butter and cream and eggs and chocolate for some things.” So I am unsurprised that your own experience bears out the same message.

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23 Madeline February 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Great job! Wow, 21 days already?! I’ve been following your cleanse on twitter and although I’m sure it didn’t necessarily go by as quickly for you, it seems to have gone by pretty fast which, from an outsiders perspective is rather encouraging in case we want to try something like this.

I remember cutting way back on salt and then finding many things extremely salty where I hadn’t noticed before. What an accomplishment, congratulations :)

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24 Madeline February 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Great job! Wow, 21 days already?! I’ve been following your cleanse on twitter and although I’m sure it didn’t necessarily go by as quickly for you, it seems to have gone by pretty fast which, from an outsiders perspective is rather encouraging in case we want to try something like this.

I remember cutting way back on salt and then finding many things extremely salty where I hadn’t noticed before. What an accomplishment, congratulations :)

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25 lo March 2, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Oh, wow- I can’t believe it’s been three weeks already. Good for you! We’ve done shorter cleanses, but I’ve never done anything quite this comprehensive. It’s great to have your perspective on the effects, benefits, and disappointments. Thanks so much for sharing!

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26 lo March 2, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Oh, wow- I can’t believe it’s been three weeks already. Good for you! We’ve done shorter cleanses, but I’ve never done anything quite this comprehensive. It’s great to have your perspective on the effects, benefits, and disappointments. Thanks so much for sharing!

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