Cleansing 101

by - 11:34 AM

So after my fabulous spin class at SoulCycle last week, I proceeded to eat and drink my face off for the next five days. While I have no problem indulging in a Sprinkles cupcake from time to time, this was excessive. I was exhausted, lethargic, crabby - it was time for a cleanse.

I try to do a cleanse 2-3 times a year just to get out all of the bad stuff and detox - it's like pushing a big red RESET button for my body.

Full disclosure, the cleanse I am talking about is not a juice or water + cayenne pepper + maple syrup only for 5 days (where you start hallucinating about bread and donuts or lose your will to live) - this cleanse combines supplements with 7 days of "clean eating".

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating focuses on organic foods, lean meats and non-processed foods (i.e. anything that comes in a package or a box). Many people who want to do a cleanse or detox plan end up cutting out important nutrients by cutting out too many foods. This cleanse still allows you to eat, while taking supplements to aid in healthy digestion.

What Cleanse Do You Recommend?

For the past few years, I've been doing the GNC "Be Cleansed" detox. I love this cleanse because it is gentle, straightforward and doesn't cost $300. I've recommended it to multiple friends, so you can imagine my despair when I walked into GNC on Monday and found out they had discontinued it.

Not. Cool.

The consultant there recommended going with the GNC Complete Body Cleansing Program.

GNC Complete Body Cleanse

We even pulled out a list of the supplements in both to compare (thanks Shane!) They were virtually identical except for this one had AM and PM packets, and no premixed drink in the morning. I decided to give it a shot.

Guide to a Cleanse

Timing is key with a cleanse. It is really important to try and stick to the clean eating program, so if your upcoming week schedule is full with dinners, parties or travel, it will be much harder to incorporate. That said, you will almost always have SOMETHING planned. Just try to make smart decisions  - if you tell your friends you are on a cleanse, they may even be nice enough to go to a raw or vegan restaurant with you (love you girls!)

Yes, I made this someecard

Again, clean eating is key. If you "cheat", it's like pouring yourself a glass of filtered water and then topping it off with tap. What was the point of that?

I eat pretty "clean" to begin with, but the hardest part for me is cutting out snacking, cheese, and bread. I love crackers, pretzels, cheeses and big, fat, sandwiches. However, rice is allowed and there are plenty of rice cereals, rice wraps and rice crackers to get your "crunch" fix.

Sample Detox Meal Plan

I'm going to be real with you and share what I ate this week.
Shopping tip: go to the grocery store and shop only on the outside aisles.


Breakfast: Banana smoothie with almond milk
Lunch: Green Dream Juice (Apple, ginger, celery, kale) with small salad (spinach, chickpeas, red pepper)
Dinner: Asparagus and Salmon stir fry over Trader Joe's Rice Noodles


Breakfast: soy yogurt with fresh raspberries
Lunch: Protein Bar Veggie Quinoa Chili Bowl (add avocado)
Snack: Raw Almonds
Dinner: IdiotProof Salmon and sauteed garlic spinach (made by my fabulous friend Scoops!)


Breakfast: Protein Bar Fruit Loop'd smoothie - vanilla protein, almond milk, blueberries, banana
Lunch: Winter Veggie Quinoa Salad from Pret
Dinner: Lettuce Taco wraps with ground turkey, avocado, tomatoes and greek yogurt


Breakfast: Fresh squeezed blood orange juice and rice cereal with almond milk
Lunch: Awesome Avocado Salad (see recipe below)
Snack: Sesamark rice thins and hummus
Dinner: Seared whitefish (I used monkfish) with sauteed mushrooms and watercress

Breakfast: soy yogurt with fresh blueberries
Lunch: Bean burrito (black beans, onion, tomato, cilantro, soy cheese)
Dinner: Baked chicken (marinated in balsamic and herbs de province), brown rice and steamed asparagus

Awesome Avocado Salad

This was one of my favorite meals of the week and was so quick and easy! If you are making it at work, make the dressing at home and mix everything else there so nothing gets soggy.

Butter Lettuce
Alfalfa Sprouts
1/2 an avocado
Marinated Cooked Shrimp (I got mine from the seafood bar at Whole Foods)

Fresh Lime Juice
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix equal parts lime juice, olive oil and balsamic. Whisk together. (I actually use lime infused olive oil from Oro Di Oliva but this works just as well).

Combine lettuces and sliced avocado in a bowl. Top with sprouts.

Drizzle dressing and mix well with tongs. Top with marinated shrimp.

Awesome avocado salad

The lime flavor with the avocado is sooo good, and sprouts add the desired crunch.

Final Thoughts...

This is a very gentle, inexpensive cleanse that can easily be done multiple times a year to reset your body. It gets easier every time to cut out processed foods and always inspires me eat cleaner after I am done.

Many of the recipes on this site are cleanse-friendly (my spaghetti squash is the result of a cleanse recipe and is great to make in the summer or fall when it is in season!)

It is also important to drink at least 8oz of water with each meal on your cleanse to flush everything out. I supplement tea for coffee in the morning. If you have any questions or want more detailed recipes, let me know!

Happy cleansing!

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