Clean: Week 1

We've made it through a whole week of cleansing! They say the first week is the hardest; maybe like the first trimester of pregnancy? Actually I have no idea; that was probably the worst analogy ever. Now all the moms are upset with me and will never read this blog again.

So for all the non-mom readers that are still with me, I'll give you a few observations from our first seven days (actually 12, if you count our fives days of the Elimination diet) of no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, etc. etc. etc.

The change initially was the amount of time I spent preparing food this week. I made a breakfast smoothie every morning, a solid meal the night before for our lunch (solid meals are best eaten mid-day on the cleanse), and then a soup in the blender for dinner. Sometimes I also had to make the soup the night before if one or both of us had plans over the next day's dinner hour.

I enjoyed spending more time being domestic, but the number of dishes we went through! For goodness sake. I don't know how my mom fed six people three times a day for all those years. I guess that's why she enlisted us as her kitchen clean-up crew.

To give you an idea of what we ate and what we liked, I put together a spreadsheet to lay it all out for you (and for me. There is no way I'd have remembered this plan by mid-week. My fridge was packed to the gills with produce. NS said it looked like a farm in there.)

Notes on the recipes listed above:
(1) See full recipe on the Clean Program website here.
(2) See full recipe on the Clean Program website here.
(3) Recipe taken from Clean, Alejandro Junger, M.D. (2009)
(4) See full recipe on the Clean Blog here.
(5) See full recipe on the Me, Redone blog here.
(6) See full recipe on the Me, Redone blog here.
(7) See full recipe on the Iowa Girl Eats blog here.

I've color coded the chart as follows:
  • Dark green cells are the ones he raved about
  • Light green cells are the ones he liked
  • Light blue cells are the ones he felt neutral about
  • Yellow cells are the ones he tolerated
  • Red cells are the ones he ranted about
  • I liked basically everything
The goal was to makes things in the green category as much as possible. It didn't help my case that I led off the week with a red category food. But I quickly improved from there.

Here's a rave review recipe: We ate the Pineapple & Avocado Gazpacho twice, and we're about to eat it again this week. Who can argue with pineapple, avocado, lime, and sea salt? (I left out the cayenne pepper because I originally got this recipe from the book noted above, and they excluded it.)

The remnants. So much chopping and slicing this week.

The "soup" before half of it got tossed into the blender.

The end result. It looks a little goopy, but this detox is about liquefying as much as possible.

 One of my fun experiments this week was making my own almond butter.

I wasn't all that pleased with the almond butter I found on island. The $6 jar had unrefined cane sugar and palm oil as two of its ingredients, both of which aren't recommended on the cleanse. The $12 jar was clean, but twice as expensive.

So I queried Pinterest on whether or not making almond butter at home was even possible, and, thanks to the Two Tarts blog, I found out that it's as easy as roasting raw almonds and putting them in your food processor!

Based on the time stamps on these photos, it took nearly 20 minutes in the food processor from start to finish.

It just takes some patience before the nuts to go from solid to crumbly to chunky to...


I much prefer the pure flavor of this homemade almond butter to the store-bought stuff. No added sugars, no added oils, just nuts in semi-liquid form.

Speaking of liquids, we've had plenty of those this week; at least two a day, to be exact. We don't have a juicer, but we had the option of buying all of our liquid meals from local resources like Drink Fresh Juice, Jessie's Juice Bar, or Roots Delight. NS did sign up for DFJ's juice delivery service (they come to the office!) once every working day for 4 weeks, just for some added calories, since he's still keeping up with his workout regimine. But at an average of $6 a pop, I felt that three weeks of two juices a day for two people would add up very quickly. (Not that my grocery bill is much lighter. More on that in another post.)  For the most part, we stuck to shakes, smoothies, and soups prepared in our blender.

                           photo credit: NS
Green Coco Shake, by Frank Giglio
coconut water, avocado, baby spinach (I used local callaloo), and cashews
The mango and coconut shake was pretty good, except it's hard to find coconut milk without a lot of additives. The book recommends that you make your own using a raw coconut, but honestly, there are only so many hours in the day. Sometimes, you just gotta succumb to the can.

I must have been in a daze when I bought the first round of canned coconut milk, because I ended up buying the lite variety, and I could definitely taste that something was off. I returned the rest of those cans and just found something full-fat that seemed to have as few ingredients as possible.

Mango and Coconut Milk Shake
mango, pineapple, and coconut milk

However, in defense of raw coconut, I'm tempted to collect a coconut from one of the trees around here and try my hand at shredding the meat. I made the Creamy Blueberry Shake noted above using unsweetened dried coconut. The shake had decent flavor, but there was nothing "creamy" about it. N thought it had the consistency of cement. The recipe didn't make very much, and he didn't even finish his portion. I guess that's one way to lose weight; make stuff you can't even get down. 

Speaking of losing weight, he's slimmed down by 10 pounds over the past 12 days, back to his pre-Cayman weight. Someone's feeling spiffy. Not that this is a weight-loss scheme. But still. He's quite happy that he was able to eat irresponsibly for two years, and reverse all of it in 12 days. Boys.

That's our week in a nutshell. There are more observations worth making, but I'll save them for the next two weekly reviews.

I think there are going to be a number of take-aways or life adjustments as a result of this cleanse. Or at least I hope so. I'm already dreaming up our first few post-cleanse meals, but to be honest, I'm trying to find ones that provide a high level of nutritional value rather than reverting right back to white flour and processed sugar all the time. It's helpful that there are so many resources on the internet these days to provide plenty of healthy-but-tasty inspiration, like the Minimalist Baker's free e-cookbook, which features healthy recipes that require 7 ingredients or less. 

Here's to beneficial lifestyle changes!

I guess this means I'm not getting out of the kitchen any time soon.


  1. Brilliant!!! Really love your commitment, even though I enjoy playing the bad cop part, (there must be always someone making fun to give you even more strengt!!! ) Keep it up, but please don't shrink to oblivion!!! :)

  2. Im glad i'm not visiting Cayman this month...I'd never make it past the Elimination diet. ;)

  3. so cool! I'm really interested to compare the difference between clean eating and doing the daniel that case, yes, that first week was brutal! and i'm a mom ;) I'm excited to hear about the differences you feel/see when it's through, I didn't see a whole lot of changes, except that I ate a lot smaller portions when we were through. Getting back to post-cleanse recipes and things actually took longer than I thought; it wasn't all crazy--you just aren't as interested or hungry. i guess :)Anyway, great job and keep it up!!

  4. I'll have to look up the details of the Daniel fast to see how it compares. Probably some similar eating habits. Half-way done now; I have more photos and recipes to share!

  5. I love you for that spreadsheet. Seriously. And here I thought I was the only geeky-spreadsheeting blogger out there. It's so wonderful to know that one isn't alone in this big, wide world...

  6. First of all, your spreadsheet and detail is TOTALLY Parks' style, all the way. I think you should print it out and hang it in the kitchen, David Parks' style :) Secondly, your almond butter looks DELICIOUS! I love almond butter! And props to you for being so busy AND doing all this food prep AND eating it all! It all looks yum to me!

    1. Haha hanging it up would be HYSTERICAL. And typical :)

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