Cleanse Diet Week 3 and Wrap Up

Week 3 Recap and Cleanse Diet Review:

Wow, 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 how I think about food and my tastes and cravings. 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 turned down buying farm raised Atlantic Salmon in favor of sourcing Wild Salmon 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.

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