I am totally grooving on how good I feel with no sugar or sweeteners other than fresh fruit. Apart from the odd detox headache, and a little passing brain fog, I’m already seeing enormous benefits. Before you shout “not another health oriented post”, it’s only going to be on Thursdays for the next three weeks, Mondays will be my normal banter, so come back then if you want to tune out now.

Playing in my kitchen (age five) with friend Wendy
Day one, one sip of the vegan protein shake, and I knew I would be eating crow soon. I did my best to mask the flavor with berries, but it was still a little too reminiscent of 1970’s hippy food for my palate. Shame, because it did really fill me up. I will have it again, but I just couldn’t fathom three weeks of that every morning. Slightly panicky, I tried to persuade Chef Tal Ronnen to come play in the kitchen with me, but unfortunately he is out of town. He suggested I look at the recipes he wrote for Kathy Freston’s 21-Day Quantum Wellness Cleanse. I know people that have done Kathy’s cleanse. After the 21 days they felt so good, and loved the recipes so much – they never went back to eating as they did before the cleanse!

However, the cleanse we are on with @aGoddessinLA has more restrictions. No soy or soy products, no margarine, no sweeteners other than fresh fruit (including honey or stevia), and no mayonnaise, vegan or otherwise. I took a few deep yoga breaths, reminded myself how much I had learned doing The Conscious Cook Challenge, and set about getting creative on my own.

Banana-Cinnamon Cream of Buckwheat with Strawberries

Then I found a little bit of heaven. I made some cream of buckwheat according to the package instructions (using water, not milk), mashed a large banana with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and stirred that into the buckwheat with 1/4 cup of almond milk. I added sliced strawberries and decided I could look forward to breakfast every day now by just applying the same principal to other grains and fruit.

Crudite and Hummus

Lunch and/or snacks I decided to keep simple. A sliced apple with raw cashew butter, or crudite with hummus, and a bowl full of my balsamic marinated vegetables to graze on. So far I haven’t really wanted any snacks, because the whole foods keep me satiated so much longer. I have had a few sugar cravings, but a handful of cherries soon dealt with that.

Fresh Artichoke Hearts & Portobello Mushrooms on Red & Golden Beets, with Red Quinoa Pilaf

Dinner the first night was a fresh artichoke, portobello mushroom, and beet salad with red quinoa pilaf. The chopped celery leaves added a nice freshness to the Mediterranean flavor; but it was the raw yellow squash and zucchini “angel hair” pesto that my friend Jimmy gave the major thumbs up to. It really does help with any pasta cravings you may be having.

Still playing in my kitchen many years later

Oh, and if you are used to dessert after dinner? Lara Coker Hayes shared an interesting article, 10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar Addiction, on my facebook page. It mentioned how satisfying frozen fruit can be in place of ice cream. I froze some grapes to try it, and I have to agree, it does help.

So what little gems have you come up with so far, and how are you feeling since starting the cleanse?

Yellow Squash & Zucchini “Angel Hair” Pesto

This fast and easy recipe may require a mandolin and a food processor, but not only does it taste like summer – it’s a no cooking necessary recipe. Perfect for sweltering summer days and nights.

Servings: 4


Pesto Sauce
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra – virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, optional
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes , optional
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped raw almonds for texture and garnish
“Angel Hair” Zucchini & Yellow Squash
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 large yellow squash

1). Into a food processor, add garlic, raw almonds, and 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse until it comes together as a paste. Add basil, yeast flakes and (if using) sea salt, then pulse until well mixed in. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until it forms the consistency you would like.

2). Put the 7mm blade into your mandolin to cut the “angel hair”. Using the hand guard, run the yellow squash and three zucchini back and forth, placing each one into a large bowl after it is cut. Toss with the pesto sauce and chopped almonds. Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes if desired.

Serving Suggestions: with a white bean or mixed bean salad, and follow it up with some frozen fruit for dessert, and still be cleanse friendly.
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  • August 19, 2010
    6:00 pm

    I didn't start until yesterday and so I don't feel any real change by now… I went back to my old morning routine, doing yoga before breakfast and then having something for breakfast that is called "Morning Glory". You can buy it over here, it is made of millet, quinoa, amaranth, sweet almonds, pineapple and sunflower seeds…you cook it with water and it's basically mash after that. You can add fresh fruit if you want to or anything you can think of. It's the perfect breakfast…And I'm back to loads of green tea…

  • August 19, 2010
    7:44 pm

    Sounds yummy! Be sure to check package labeling to be sure there are no sweeteners, no animal products, no soy, and no gluten. I found a few cereals at whole Foods, but they had honey, cain juice, agave, or stevia in them.

  • August 19, 2010
    8:03 pm

    So far the hardest part of this cleanse has been "no tomatoes" as we have loads of 'em in the garden right now, and also because salsa is a major food group in our house. :-)The favorite thing I've come up with so far has been to toss black beans, red beans, cooked brown rice or bulgar, and mix with a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, hot peppers, garlic, fresh thyme, grated carrot, celery, and some shredded lettuce. I tossed with with a touch of lemon juice & olive oil, and salt to taste. I also have been drinking KyoGreen with carrot and apple juice (fresh juiced). I've come to realize that this gives me far more pep than coffee first thing in the morning, but I do have some brain fog by mid afternoon. I've cheated on the coffee thing while finishing a programming project for someone. I've not found the hemp drink, but we live here in red neck land.Sugar's never been a problem for me but fat sure is. I love fried everything, so for me, I've had to get used cutting way back on oil/grease/fried stuff. Dear daughter made a good curry lentil soup over leftover bulgar, and that was very awesome, but that had a little bit of tomato paste in it, which is on the avoid list. I still ate it though cuz it was amazing. (recipe is on my blog)Going to have to try your angel hair pesto recipe with all this summer squash in the garden!

  • August 19, 2010
    10:25 pm

    That's the idea of it: no sweeteners, no animal products, no soy, and no gluten I completely forgot about it… and thankfully remembered when thinking about what to eat for breakfast. You can mix it with veggies as well.

  • August 19, 2010
    10:35 pm

    I'm calling Tatjana to send me some first thing tomorrow!

  • August 19, 2010
    10:45 pm

    Hey Soon To Be Thin Girl – Your daughter's soup looks AMAZINGLY good, and I will be making it once I have finished the cleanse (I'm not eating tomato or potato at this point)! I also LOVE your blog. I gained fifty pounds when I had to take high doses of steroids for a few years (I have Crohn's disease), so I know what a struggle it is, and how overwhelming it feels when you are faced with losing a lot of weight. You are so wise and brave, and I know you will reach your goal. Hope the cleanse helps.

  • August 20, 2010
    12:27 am

    I had that same kitchen set as a kid…I loved itMariah Monesmith-Kreider

  • August 20, 2010
    12:27 am

    Jewels, you were such a cutie! :-)Lisa Van Ore Thompson

  • August 20, 2010
    12:28 am

    yes you were, what big eyes,awwMariah Monesmith-Kreider

  • August 20, 2010
    12:30 am

    Actually that was my childhood friend, Wendy Barmish. I don't have a pic of me in the kitchen for some reason. My parents were not into photos as much as I am.

  • August 20, 2010
    4:35 am

    Thanks, Jewels! Sometimes I wonder if the obesity epidemic is partly caused by pharmaceuticals. After experiences like that, I'm so leery of prescriptions now…Glad you liked my blog! You are a big encouragement, and I appreciate it. We've used the tomatoes and potatoes anyway (despite being on the avoid list) because they're hard to resist fresh from the back yard!Mari

  • August 20, 2010
    5:07 am

    Your protein shake looks so beautiful and delicious. I'm not on a diet or cleanse, but your food is amazing all by itself. I have enjoyed reading your blog very much.

  • August 20, 2010
    5:41 am

    Mari – there is no doubt that pharmaceuticals add to the problem, but the biggest issue is all the things we are eating that are not real food masquerading as food, and how sinister so many of those words you can't pronounce on the labels really are.Lynne – thank you for the kind words. The recipes I'm writing for the cleanse have not been tested more than once, so please feel free to chime in with any advice or comments. Usually I will make a recipe many times before publishing it, but there is only so much food a single gal can consume in one week, and I'm having fun winging it.

  • August 20, 2010
    10:54 am

    I am not sure that you can buy it in the UK but I'll check for you… I'll ask them if they'll send it to the US and if not I can if you want..

  • August 20, 2010
    11:53 am

    Where I live, fresh fruit and good wholesome food is grossly overpriced. I try to eat as fresh as I can but its hard. I was confined to a gluten, wheat and dairy free diet some years ago and you know what, I gained weight! It was awful:( I should have a cleanse but its so very expensive. I agree with pharmaceuticals tamper with food, I actually believe its why there are so many cancers around these days. My Nan (who is almost 89) said there was never as much when she was younger as you didn't have all the stuff added to the food. She often complains that food doesn't taste as it should, I agree, I have tasted some things recently and it doens't taste like it should. I went to buy some ham and found that some of its contents listed dairy! What on earth! Ham should be ham, how on earth can you stick dairy in it.Good luck with your cleanse, I only wish I could join you

  • August 20, 2010
    7:11 pm

    Hi Jewels!Here's where you can order it: http://www.youinfocusproducts.com/It is called `"Morgenstund" look for it in Alkaline Food Products.Ricarda

  • August 21, 2010
    10:48 pm

    Where do I find the instructions on this cleanse? I have been following your posts and I think I need to try thisSheranne Dampier

  • August 22, 2010
    5:25 pm

    OMG, I got a shout out in your blog! I'm honored! Seriously, glad that article gave you some ideas. I couldn't help but think of you when I read it.And I love frozen grapes! Just not sure I could give up my ice cream. I have switched to the Skinny Cow single servings though.Lara Coker Hayes

  • August 22, 2010
    11:38 pm

    It's been a difficult week, but I've pretty much stayed on course. I'm on so many meds that I'm sure they affect how food tastes and I know that they affect the appetite. I've eaten a lot of green salads minus tomatoes, but I confess, I need that one can of diet cola a day to make it to bedtime. But, on the bright side, that one can is a far cry from the dozen or more I drank each day a few years ago. I am drinking green tea that has bergamot added to it and love it. My weight is still dropping bit by bit, which is okay for a while yet, but if I lose another 20 lb. I might be in trouble with my dear doctor. LOL I'll hang in as best I can, but may have to substitute some items that my grocery store doesn't carry. Many thanks for looking out for us! I think we all need a guardian angel these days. 🙂

  • August 24, 2010
    1:13 am

    Hey Jewels, your hummus looks delicious… do you have a recipe you can share for that? i have been wanting to make hummus for ages but never get too excited about the recipes i've found…thanks so muchlaura

  • August 24, 2010
    1:29 am

    Thank you for the link Ricarda! Laura – I'll be publishing some recipes for the hummus and other things on Thursday.

  • August 24, 2010
    11:14 am

    Hey Jewels,I tried a 10 day detox a few years ago and found it extremely hard. So much so, that by the end of it I vowed NEVER to do it again. Your detox/cleansing diet however sounds better than the one I was on though. Makes me re-think to perhaps try it again.Aussie Mum

  • August 24, 2010
    4:05 pm

    Hey Aussie Mum – I think a lot of it was I mentally prepared myself for having a tough time before I started, and then was pleasantly surprised when I liked it. I am never hungry, fruit takes care of my sweet cravings, and I feel so much better that I am most content. You should try it.