How I'm doing on my cleanse, Part 3

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wow! Two weeks has gone by since my last post talking about The Clean Program vs other cleanses. For those of you who missed it, I decided to go on a cleanse, and I was planning opt out of paying the extra $350 for supplements and vitamins and just stick to what's called the book version of the cleanse. 

The Rules of being "Clean"

My cleanse basically consisted of having 2 liquid meals a day for breakfast and dinner, and then solids for lunch. My main constraint was that I can only eat foods that are listed in the Elimination Diet, which basically eliminates a lot of common allergens that cause inflammation in your body as well as eliminate some of the foods that takes your body a lot energy to digest. Theoretically, if you're freeing up that energy from basic digestion, then your body should be able to use that energy to help restore itself. I liked the idea of give my body a break.

24 Hours Before the Cleanse

So, supposedly before hopping right into the cleanse, you're supposed to ease in by eating 3 meals a day consisting of foods from the elimination diet, and cutting out all the "bad" foods for you. 

My 24 hours before the cleanse

However, let's just set the record straight that I couldn't really do that. The day before my cleanse, I actually took a day trip to visit friends in Boston. As we all know, visiting friends usually means binging on good food and drinks and binge we did. So over the course of 24 hours in Boston on Saturday, March 24th, I ended up eating a McDonald's Premium Crispy Chicken Classic Sandwich after taking a 4.5 hour bus ride from Manhattan, then going straight to a night of beer and fishbowls. We continued off to brunch with drinks, happy hour, amazing pasta in North End and finally had a few bites of the infamous Mike's cannolis.

Day 1: Sunday, March 25, 2012

So, after I took my last bite of cannoli at around 10PM on Saturday night, I started my cleanse. My friend and I ended up taking the midnight bus back from Boston, which means we didn't get back to the city until about 4-5AM. From there, I slept until about noon. On the cleanse, you're supposed to try to space out your three meals, which makes it pretty impossible if you're waking up at noon. Good thing I was still pretty stuffed from my adventures in Boston, so I really wasn't missing food all that much anyways.

Did my usual routine and went to Equinox for a quick workout (it's recommended that you exercise during the cleanse, the sweat helps clear out your toxins, and working out is healthy, haha, no duh). After that, I took my handy elimination diet shopping list and went to Whole Foods to start buying some of my food for the next 21 days.

During my grocery trip, I grabbed a bunch of frozen fruits, coconut water and almond milk to make my liquid meals. Luckily, I did some pre-work prior to the cleanse and bought myself the most awesome (and super cheap - only $15!) smoothie maker ever - the Hamilton Beach Personal Blender with Travel Lid


So for lunch, I whipped up a quick smoothie made up of coconut water, mango, raspberry, and almond butter. This took me less than 3 minutes to conjure up and with my wonderful blender, it was blended together within a matter of seconds.

For dinner, I ended up eating a solid meal. So under the rules of the cleanse, if you really had to for social obligations or what have you, you can swap out a solid lunch with liquids and eat food for dinner, however you're not supposed to do it often. However, since this seemed kind of like an off day for me to begin with, I figured it was fine.


I made a miso glazed salmon (made in the toaster oven, recipe here) with stir-fry vegetables and brown rice. Looks like a normal meal right? So with Day 1 under my belt, I was ready to concur the next 5 days: Weekdays.

Day 2-6: Cleansing while working

So it's time for some full disclosure here. Whenever I try to encourage friends to do this cleanse with me, I get a bit of backlash because the toughest question that I get asked is, "So what do you eat for lunch?" And quite honestly I don't have a good answer to that. I always feel like a bit of a cheater when I answer them with my default answer of "I eat at work".

So here's the thing guys, I'll let you in on a secret: I'm happily employed at Google, aka "The King of Perks", as CNN Money recently called us. And it's true, one of these perks is the largest variety of healthy lunch options that I can possibly dream of.

However, this also means they have the largest variety of unhealthy lunch options you can dream of and I have to avoid day after day. There's even some posters all over the office about gaining The Google 15. I know, cry me a river right?

With that little bit of information out of the way, I can tell you how my week passed. In the morning, I would make myself a smoothie. I normally just eat breakfast at work, however, since I'm trying to avoid our cafes at all cost, I wake up about 10 minutes earlier than I normally do, and make myself a quick shake. More on that later.

For lunch, my meals mainly consisted of brown rice, roasted salmon or grilled chicken, some veges cooked in olive oil and my most recent favorite: quinoa, avocado and kale salad. Without these cafes, I'd probably have to end up prepping for meals the night before and bringing it in because I find it nearly impossible to figure out good takeout food options besides salad.

After work every day, I usually go work out for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then, I go home and make another shake or some soup. I kept a few Amy's Butternut Squash Soups on hand for when I felt particularly lazy.

Surprisingly, week 1 went pretty well. Even with my workouts, I didn't ever feel too hungry. Besides realizing that I craved snacks during boring client calls - I'm still trying to learn the difference between craving food because of hunger and craving food because of boredom - I rarely felt like I needed snacks either.

Biggest Challenges so far

1. Can't find places to eat. It continues to baffle me that I can't figure out a decent place to go eat out. Sure, I'm sure I can go to Chop't or some other salad joint to grab a simple lettuce and grilled chicken salad, however, I can't legitimately find a sit down place that I would want to go eat at. I don't know if it's because of a lack of imagination on my part, but I find it nearly impossible. Okay, so there are some vegan places around, but what if I wanted my roasted salmon with a simple side of brown rice? I guess that wouldn't be too profitable or popular in the city.

2. Change in lifestyle. It's difficult to want to make plans with people because on the weekends, all I really want to do is relax, have some good eats and drinks with friends and relax. Well, this cleanse pretty much makes that impossible. Since I know it's only for three weeks, I know that I can hold out, but there has definitely been some considerable change in my behavior. I feel like I'm pretty much confined to work, gym, home, repeat.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading this post. I'm guessing that you're probably either on a cleanse yourself or thinking about doing the Clean Program in the near future. Either way, in my next posts, I'll share a few recipes that I've found to be amazing during the cleanse, and talk about some benefits that I've seen from doing this for two weeks now.


This is Part 3 of my 2012 Clean Cleanse Series. See my progress here...

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