Cleanse Diet Week 1

Day 0: Preparation and Vegan Product Review

The day before my cleanse diet began I went shopping, armed with a list of “acceptable” ingredients from the Quantum Wellness Guide book. I shopped primarily at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. This was a trying experience and I had to seriously talk myself down from a panic attack in the middle of Trader Joe’s. Everything has gluten and sugar in it, even if it’s “vegan.” Oh. My. God. Seriously? All I could think was “what the hell am I doing?”

I could not find any real gluten-free bread under $5.99 a loaf so I didn’t buy any. Instead, I bought $20 worth of various gluten-free flours to bake my own. In some weird way that made sense to me. Did you know that most fake meat products are not gluten-free? They are loaded with wheat gluten which is what gives them their “meaty” texture. Soy sauce has gluten in it too. In all, it was frustrating, but fruitful and I came home loaded with enough food to make quite a few meals throughout the next 21 days.

Vegan food products

I did a taste test of some of the vegan items:
Vegannaise- really not bad. I was surprised because I’m picky and I buy only best foods mayonnaise. I will be able to eat this no problem. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can put on a sandwich with it, not to mention the bread “issue.”
Unsweetened Soy milk– not bad, not my first choice.
Almond Milk– tastes faintly of almonds, but not unpleasant. Not unsweetened either; has a little sugar in it.
Tofutti “Better Than Sour Cream”- Ick. I’m not sure I could put that on a baked potato.
Tofutti “Better Than Cream Cheese”- No better than the fake sour cream. I have to find a way to use these as ingredients in something else as they were fairly expensive.
Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread– Not bad. About the same as those other margarine type spreads but without all the hydrogenated junk I think.
Wildwood Soy Yogurt, plain & unsweetened w/ probiotics and fiber-The texture is like yogurt, but eaten alone, ick. It has an odd yeasty back taste. With a little bit of TJ’s berry preserves (no sugar added) it’s palatable but I probably would not buy it again.
Morningstar Vegan “burgers”-These were not the “garden burgers” I was expecting but rather a faux beef patty. Oddly, not bad and pretty tasty.
Soy-Sation Shredded Three Cheese Blend– Not bad, melts ok for a quesadilla
Italian Sausage-Less Sausage Vegan (Trader Joe’s brand)-Ok in a pasta, but on its own the texture is a little pasty.
Soy Protein Powder (whole foods 365 brand)- I prefer whey protein powder, but it’s not vegan. This is a good substitute and does not have a lot of added sugar.

For my “last supper” before the cleanse, I made some wonderful Goat Cheese and Spinach Ravioli and a glass of wine.

Day 1-
Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and Earth Balance Spread. Hibiscus Tea.
Lunch: Brown rice tortilla wrap with hummus, guacamole, cucumber and lettuce. Not bad, but the tortilla is super chewy.
Snacks: trail mix (almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries), baby carrots, corn nuts (from whole foods), rice crisp crackers and a tangerine.
Dinner: Black Bean Soup with Avocado and Tomato Salsa, Corn tortilla quesadilla made with soy cheese.

Observation: I’m hungry all the time and obsessing about what I will eat next. The caffeine withdrawal headaches start.
I’m logging everything I eat on a website . This is a good way to see the caloric value of what I’m eating and to make sure the breakdown of carbs, fat and protein is healthy.
I made a vegan gluten-free bread and it has the texture of stale cake and a funny taste (probably) from the garbanzo bean flour. I end up throwing most of it away.

Day 2-
Breakfast- Oatmeal and an apple.
Lunch-This was tough. I work in restaurants and they are not particularly “vegan-friendly” but I found a good salad for lunch with borlotti beans, white rice, tomatoes, grilled eggplant and a lemon vinaigrette.
Snacks– tangerine, rice crackers from Trader Joes and baby carrots, trail mix.
Dinner- Baby Lettuce salad with tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, artichoke hearts and a pesto vinaigrette. Vegan burgers with vegan mayo and catsup (no bun).

Observations: Today’s headache is worse. I’m cranky, but not as constantly hungry as yesterday.

Day 3:
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/raisins and agave syrup (low on the glycemic index which is why it’s ok)
Lunch:leftover back beans w/avocado and fruit salad (apples, banana, blueberries and tangerine).
Snacks: rice crackers, carrots and snap peas, hummus, trail mix.
Dinner: Two tofu tacos from the Kogi BBQ taco truck. Who knew I’d love tofu tacos? These would be easy to make at home too; soft corn tortillas, tofu cooked with soy sauce, cabbage, salsa verde.

Observations: Feeling ok. Now if I could only get this mutha-f$#%n headache to go away I’d be fabulous! Oh yeah, and I’m already tired of eating beans and feeling like I’m not getting enough protein.

Day 4:
Breakfast: An apple and oatmeal with fresh blueberries.
Lunch: Another one where I try to find something vegan on a restaurant menu. I end up with a spinach salad with peanuts, carrots and snow peas and a spicy dressing.
Snacks: Corn nuts, soy crisp crackers and a tangerine
Dinner: “Baked Ziti” Trader Joe’s brown rice penne, marinara sauce, eggplant, soy mozzarella cheese and vegan italian sausage. Pretty good. My husband even took the leftovers for lunch the next day and he’s not doing this with me.
Dessert: Soy yogurt with no sugar added jam.

Observations: Not having the two sourdough bread rolls I usually have here with my lunch was really hard.
Things are moving faster in the digestive tract if you know what I mean.
I baked another gluten-free loaf, this time from the same authors as my favorite regular bread (usually a staple in my refrigerator). The recipe can be found here. I substituted powdered egg replacer for the whole eggs and agave syrup for the sugar in the recipe. The result was much better than the last one. Great crust.

Day 5:
Breakfast: Shake with soy protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, banana and blueberries
Lunch: (In restaurant) Baby lettuce salad, grilled eggplant and (a little decadence) house-made thick cut french fries.
Snacks: Apple, trail mix, rice crisp crackers, snap peas, baby carrots, and trail mix.
Dinner: Peanut butter and jam on gluten-free bread. Corn tortilla quesadilla with soy cheese.

Observations: Feeling much better today. The headaches are gone. Not really missing meat, but not having eggs is a pain. I am missing the morning ritual of coffee with sugar and coffeemate (horrible stuff but tastes sooo good).
I am proud of myself for turning down my favorite donut today.

Day 6:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh blueberries, a splash of almond milk and 1 tsp. agave syrup
Late Morning Snack: Shake with soy protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, and blueberries
Lunch:Vietnamese Bun (rice noodles) with Tofu
Snack: Eggless (tofu) egg salad from Trader Joe’s and rice crackers.
Dinner: French Green Lentil and Spinach Soup with Cilantro Yogurt

Observations: It’s getting easier. There are a lot of items I bought in last weekend’s shopping frenzy which I haven’t even used yet. I did have to go buy more vegetables and fruit today.
Also, I’ve never been so obsessed with food in my life. I go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. What can I eat? What can’t I eat? This, I think, is not so healthy.

Day 7:
Breakfast: Shake with soy protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, blueberries and 1 tsp agave syrup.
Lunch: Leftover Vietnamese Bun (rice noodles) with Tofu
Snack: Guacamole with organic corn chips.
Dinner: Thai Tofu curry with brown rice. Very similar to my recipe for Red Curry Noodles.

Observations: I feel really good today; not as focused on food all the time, not as hungry. I noticed my tongue looks better too (healthy pink, no coating).

End of week 1 Observation: I proud to say I have made it though the week adhering to the diet “rules” and did not cheat.
Weight loss: 2.5 lbs


  • Lauren

    I have to say, I’m impressed you can do this. I went vegan for a while…5 days, to be exact. It was all I could do.

    I’ve always wondered though, about these diets because it would seem to me that “tofutti,” vegan burgers and vegan spreads are every bit as processed as a regular loaf of homemade whole wheat bread…or much more. Granted, lacking in the gluten and sugar, but I always wonder why it’s not better to just eat a natural diet? I was wondering if you had any insights from the books. Admittedly I should go read them for myself and probably will, but your post just made me think about it.

    • formerchef

      I agree. Many of the faux meat items made with tofu seemed overly processed to me as well. I think people choose them because a vegan diet with just “natural” foods is not only boring, but hard to get sufficient protein if you don’t eat tofu. Ok, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack for saying that. 😉
      I talk for about the book in my week 3 wrap up post if you are interested.

  • Joy

    Thank you for posting this, and with such detail! Wow, you really went to such lengths to take on this cleanse. Kudos to you!

    After seeing your first week, I remember now why my attempt at anything like this stopped at the grocery — buying boxed, squared, or weird-named food just doesn’t sit well with me. The sausages and burgers I’ve tried left a lot to be desired! I’d rather eat the real thing in moderation.

    • formerchef

      The only “burgers” I liked were the veggie burgers, ie the ones made from vegetables and beans rather than the ones pretending to be fake meat. I’m still eating the veggie ones just because I like the way they taste!

  • jen

    That Soy Sensation cheese isn’t vegan, it has Casein in it, which is the stomach lining of a cow, I believe. It’s a milk protein, so if you’re tryingn to stay away from dairy, you’ve got to stay away from casein too. Also, in some gluten-free diets, people also exclude casein since it has a similar structure to gluten.

    There are a few vegan cheeses out on the market. Dr. Cow, Daiya, Teese, Scheese, Galaxy, there’s nutritional yeast or you can make your own cheese, very easily, with almonds or cashews. The Daiya cheese is soy free as well. You can make mayo spread and sour cream with nuts too and you don’t have to have the bulk of you diet being soy, which isn’t that great for you anyhow and MOST people can’t digest soy unless it’s been fermented, like tempeh. Only a very small percentage of humans can actually process unfermented soy properly. Not to mention, you have to watch out where your soy is coming from. Some people know about how the meat industry in South America is devistating the rain forests, but what those people don’t know is that soy is also grown there and has a connection to deforestation. Check the packaging, if you’re going with soy, try to source from the US. & try for as much of your food, as possible, to be organically grown. (See for gluten-free vegan soy recipes)

    I used to drink Edensoy’s soy/rice blend milk in their aseptic container. It’s easier on your stomach. Currently, I LOVE Living Harvest’s Tempt Hemp Milk. They used to only have brown rice syrup as a sweetener, but now they have a bit of cane sugar in there. The Edensoy soy/rice blend is sweetened with brown rice syrup.

    And, all those processed soy patties aren’t that great for you. You’re better off making your own patties, like or bean or nut patties made from scratch.


  • The Cleanser

    All the above “food” are processed. They are made at fairly large facilities. Just because an ingredient says “organic” or “natural” does not necessarily mean it is clean of all things bad. For example, just what is “natural flavors?”

    You want a cleanse? Three days should give you a nice jump start. Eat as many apples as you want (pesticide free of course) and drink plenty of lukewarm water from the cleanest source you can find (no tap..stick to reverse osmosis or distilled). Eat the apples whenever you are hungry, for three days. On the third night, chug about 1.5 cups of extra virgin olive oil…the best you can find. On the fourth day, Ill bet you will feel pretty damn good…I know I did.

    Note: You might go through mild hell during the three days. Not because of cravings, but because of the intense detox.

    In my experience, a RAW pesticide free veggie lifestyle is the only way to keep the body in tip top shape for longevity and a youthfulness outlook towards everything.

    a processed food, is processed. Are the containers of all that packaging BP free? Isn’t soy a neurotoxin?

    • formerchef

      Mary- This post is well over a year old. Yes, some of the foods I bought were processed, many were not. If you took the time to check out the rest of my blog you would discover that first of all, most of my recipes are totally from scratch, using whole, unprocessed foods. Second, I’m not looking for another cleanse diet. And third, I would never, ever, ever do a raw vegan diet.

  • Rudolfo

    I went to see my Dr. for what I thought was pink eye. He said that I had popped a vessel. He checked my blood pressure which he thought may have contributed to my eye. it was slightly high. He checked the results of my last blood test which was 11/2 months ago. To my surprise, I was border line pre diabetic.
    I’m filipino and I’m not used to having any meal without rice or some sort of bread.

    My question is: how to substitute what for what?

    • formerchef

      It sounds like your dr is telling you not to eat simple carbs like white rice and bread when can effect your blood sugar levels. You should talk to your dr about what you can eat to keep your blood sugar under control.

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