Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Doable Detox

Over the summer, Carolyn and I were comparing notes on cleanses and detox programs.  As long as it’s safe, I’m someone who loves to test out a food, regime or workout. Carolyn, and I can see why, felt there was something gimmicky about cleanses and wasn’t sold. Shortly after our initial discussion Carolyn was on a yoga retreat in Colorado that happened to have a juicing component. Let’s just say it had an impact on her. I’ll let her tell you more.  Here’s cleansed Carolyn (kidding):

So yes, detoxes and cleanses have long been on my list of nutrition pet peeves. “Detox” is thrown around without much if any evidence. Does a spinal twist in yoga “detox” you? It feels damn good but despite many a PubMed search I just don’t know if my toxins evaporate like every teacher I’ve had says. Then there are cleanses. Some have been around forever and are still unhealthy (Master Cleanse I’m looking at you) and others are recently popular. Of course barely consuming anything for days will cause immediate water weight loss and lightheadedness. Is this enlightenment? At the end of the road more often than not is binge eating and unchanged habits.

That being said, I totally understand the need to cut out the crap as a personal challenge, prior to a big event or after a little too much fun AKA summer. Lauren asked me what my vision of a Foodtrainers’ detox would be? I answered it would have to be restaurant and fork friendly (liquids have their limits). It would be strict but manageable without a personal chef or daily deliveries. And it would result in weight loss beyond water and a true “cleansing” of less than healthy habits. We had a powwow and came up with a 4-week Dine and Detox program that we just launched on Monday. Without giving it all away, here are three of our holy rules of detox:
  1. Tea is the new coffee.
  2. Say bye bye to sugar and fake sugar too.
  3. Whenever possible (and anything is possible): organic, local, wild colorful.
Rules are great but we would never have clients do anything we wouldn’t do so yours truly gave it a try. I would love to say “it was so easy” but that would be a lie. However, the issues were different than I expected and I’ll admit it was freaking hard to turn down a glass of wine. The best parts? Sugar cravings were short lived and I have several new food obsessions.

Mung Beans- sprouted mung beans are an Ayurvedic detox food and you know our love for all things sprouted. They are high in fiber, B vitamins and very versatile. Try them in soups or stir fries. The don’t require soaking and are easier to digest (ahem) than other beans.

Fennel: never been a fan of the licorice-flavor but maybe my taste buds have grown up because I'm digging fennel, especially with salmon, thinly sliced in a salad or in my juices.

SoCal Organic Detox Protein- I was skeptical about this one but hemp protein, dandelion greens, it’s our dream detox powder. 

Artisana Raw Walnut Butter- Artisana makes the best products; their tahini is heaven. These single packs in interesting flavors such as walnut, macadamia and pecan were worth cleansing for.

We put together a few of our detox discoveries in our Fall Detox Bundle in the Foodtrainers online store (we’re very excited to have a store, sorry for the plug)

Drinks: Kombucha and Coconut water are nothing new but have you explored outside of the big name brands? There are some delicious and detox-friendly drinks. I'm into: raw coconut water by Harmless Harvest and  -- Lauren adores Turmeric Elixir of Life
So not only did I survive, I have continued most of my habits post detox. I haven’t checked on the numbers but I know my jeans are happy with me. So here’s my challenge to you. Pick a start date and try a one-week mini-detox free from wheat, meat or sweets. See how you feel. If you’re ready for our 4 weeks let us know.
 Are you pro or anti cleanse? Have you ever done a cleanse or detox program? Any lasting benefit? What would be more difficult for you giving up meat, wheat or sweets?
*One lucky commenter will receive the Artisana nut butter packs


  1. Really? Walnut butter?! I thought I was the only brilliant one who could come up with that one! I make walnut butter all the time.

    Ok, I'll admit, I'm definitely not pro detox. I just think anything that is this strict (no sugar, what so ever?!) seems too unrealistic. If I had read any actual valid and reliable research on the benefits of a detox (that indicated that it was better than what my kidneys and liver are doing) it may be worth such a strict regimen, but I haven't. So...I'm detoxing from any detox! :) Either way, out of all the detox programs I've seen, this one seems to be one of the "Better" ones. Mung beans are something I have GOT to try.

  2. I am vehemently opposed to "detoxes", however, yours sounds sensible!

    From what I understand, the liver is pretty darn good at doing it's job and thus your typical "cleanse" is mostly quackery. I think most detoxes are starvation diets, some of which just overload you with juices so all you are putting in your body is SUGAR! No matter how natural, sugar is sugar is I right?

    I'd love to include your detox in my next "Let's Talk Diets" post...let me know!

    As for the giving up, for me it would be most difficult to give up meat. And wine.

  3. Love the early Gina comments. I guess great minds make walnut butter. We see detox and putting the best things in your body with a rule system. some people like rules, others find too strict. Either way we'll agree on mung beans (try them) and walnut butter, deal?

  4. I've never done a cleanse/detox program but I'm not anti-cleanse either. I try to keep my diet as "clean" as possible... I don't eat meat and keep sweets to a minimum. For me it hasn't been difficult giving up meat at all. Your new program sounds awesome!!

  5. Neat. Nom nom nut butter. = D

  6. Last year after I tried a "cleanse/detox" thing. It was pretty awful. the protein/fiber powder drink was not palatable at all. Im all for crunchy freaky stuff, but it was just not good.
    Cleansing is good. but i agree "detox" please... i've never had any results with "detox" whatever.
    currently on a pre-wedding holy crap im a brides maid bender with cleaner eating and working it out so i dont look like a snausage in photo's.
    Wondering if this would be a good idea for next week after the bachlorette party. aka. Fun.

  7. I've never beena "detox" believer either this THIS type of detox is different. I go through spurts, particularly after a holiday weekend that I just feel like I need to cut out all the crap. I get a little more strict with the sugar and add lots more juices. By the end of the week, I'm feeling rejuventated. I plan to do this again soon, as I have eaten a few too many brownies in the past week (they have been haunting me at home)! Anyway, I like your guidelines; healthy WHOLE, organic, REAL foods! That's really all it takes!

  8. I have been living like this for over four weeks now except I really can't (and don't want to) give up my morning coffee. I just live without the sugar and it isn't that hard to do. These are great ideas! We make a couple kinds of soups and chilis on the weekend and those get us through the week for lunches, smoothies for breakfast, larabar snacks and chicken with veg for dinner or salads. Not so hard at all! I LOVE living without bread and have no desire to add it back, never thought I would say that! Have hit a plateau with the weightloss though which is a bummer and I am trying to figure out why.... I have a feeling I have to work harder at they gym (which I was trying to avoid.) Thanks for these tips--I am going to buy all of this stuff!

  9. 3rd time trying to reply carrie. so I love coffee too but the more great tea I drink, I do crave coffee less particularly in the afternoon. Sounds as though you're making good changes and open to make more tweaks and adjustments which I think is key.

  10. I don't do detox, either. But I do know when to cut back and cut down. I don't eat a lot of meat, so my cutbacks usually involve portion size. But I think I eat pretty well overall. It's sustainable, at any rate.

  11. Lauren or Carolyn, can you speak a little bit more about the benefits of not drinking coffee? It seems that for every article out there that says to go without coffee, there is another article praising the advantages of some caffeine. I don't go overboard, but I really do enjoy a small or medium cup of coffee every single morning. That is where it ends... please tell me what I would gain from giving this up (believe me, it is a point of contention in my household at the moment) Thanks!

  12. I am totally pro-detox. I think I mentioned I did the Fat Flush Plan once and it worked miracles on my entire body. I felt like a million bucks afterwards and I continue to eat that way today.

    I will only do a detox that involves a fork though! Glad that yours does too.

  13. I'm not a huge "detox" fan either, but some of this sounds pretty good to me. I've been wanting to try hemp protein.

  14. I'm really looking forward to starting your detox plan when I return from my week in New Orleans. Some will be easy for me--I drink a ton of unsweetened green tea, never use fake sugar--and some will be hard. But after this week of enjoying all that NOLA has to offer, this detox will be necessary. And because it's Foodtrainers, I know that it will be doable. Thanks!

  15. Thanks Marie, we can't wait for you to start and yes, we only do doable.

  16. Great post! So many people are quick to jump on the detox bandwagon. I do think it'd helpful to cut out foods like sugar, etc to give you a jump start on healthy eating but you have to be realistIc. Some cleanses out there aren't even healthy to begin with..

  17. We don't need detox- just de-crap, right?

  18. I'm not a fan of crazy liquids only detox plans, but your's sounds quite sensible. I love that walnut butter too!!! And, if I've had a night of too much imbibing, coconut water is my go to drink. I'd have to say giving up sugar would be the hardest for me of the three, since I've already given up wheat and really don't eat that much meat, but I do like to have a little something sweet every day. I'd love to try the "Elixer of Life"-sounds quite intriguing!

  19. I've never done a detox, but I do believe in "cleaning things up" a bit once in a while. :)

    A few summers ago, I made a lot of veggie juices for a few weeks in the summer. I started every day with veggie juice, and it just set up the day for "cleaner" eating.

    I don't like doing anything extreme as I know it won't work. But I'm still working on cutting back more on sugar so that's probably something I should work on...

  20. Cleaning up your diet is fine but like Cameo, I too am very opposed to the juice cleanses that have become increasingly fashionable of late.
    I love fennel! It's often used in South Asia as an after-dinner treat to aid with digestion.

  21. Sam- it's generally the seeds used for digestion, right? I love fennel too. I think you either do or you don't. Fennel tea is actually a great anti-gas remedy. Just saying.

  22. Yup, the seeds. You can actually buy little snack packs of fennel seeds in South Asia which people distribute after dinner!