Day 1: I was very optimistic on the first day because I had already lost 2.8 lbs by that morning from the pre-cleanse, so I was pumped to keep going. Plus it was a holiday and rainy, so I got to stay in most of the day and not worry about needing a nap to get rid of the withdrawal headaches. I decided right then and there that all cleanses should be scheduled to start right before 3-day weekends.

We had planned to have “Becky’s Morning Shake” for breakfast, which has the following ingredients:

Becky’s Morning Shake

  • 8 ounces of water 
  • 3-4 ounces of nut or hemp seed or rice milk (unsweetened)
  • ½ of an avocado
  • 2 teaspoons organic almond butter
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 packet Cleanse Shakes Vanilla or Chocolate (or other protein powder)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • optional: sweetener to taste (stevia)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon carob or raw cacao powder

I figured it would be awesome, because of all the righteous fats in there. Michael took one sip and immediately spit it out, declaring it to be inedible. He poured a bunch of Stevia on it to try to salvage the shake, but it was still terrible. Becky, you have bad taste! T_T

So Becky’s Morning Shake fed our garbage can. We flipped through the shake recipes and found something that sounded more like normal food:
Almond Butter and Jelly Shake
  •  1 to 1½ cups almond milk
  • 1 handful of frozen blueberries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond butter (or cashew butter)
  • optional: 1 small handful of cherries, pitted
  • a handful of ice
  • 1 packet Cleanse Shakes Chocolate (or other protein powder)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seed 
This was much better, despite being about a tenth as delicious as a PB&J sandwich. 

Lunch was a fantastic black bean and quinoa bowl with peach salsa. I made it myself since I was basically just bumming around all day watching TV and playing videogames. (Don’t feel bad for me, it is the best!) Michael and I loved the dish so much (which is amazing because it’s completely vegan), so I’d like to share the full recipe:

Black Bean and Quinoa Bowl with Peach Salsa

  • 2 cups quinoa 
  • 1 recipe peach salsa (see below) 
  • 2 cans black beans 
  • 6 to 8 green onions (one bunch) 
  • ½ teaspoon cumin 
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder 
  • Kosher salt 
  • fresh ground pepper

Directions for the quinoa: Rinse the 2 cups quinoa and drain completely. Place quinoa in a saucepan with 3 cups water and a few pinches kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the water has evaporated. Turn of the heat and let sit covered to cool for about 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa with a fork, and add some salt and pepper to taste. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the peach salsa.  

Directions for the beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Chop the green onions. Mix the beans and onions with ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon chili powder, about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. When the quinoa is finished, dish the quinoa into bowls, and top with the black bean mixture and peach salsa.


  • 4 ripe peaches  
  • ½ large red onion (or more to taste) 
  • dash or two cayenne to taste
  • 1 lime 
  • handful fresh cilantro 
  • Kosher salt

Directions: Peel and core the peaches; cut them into small chunks. Finely dice the red onion. Remove the stem, seeds, and ribs of the jalapeño pepper and finely dice half of it (or less or more to taste). Chop the cilantro. Mix all ingredients together, and add the juice of 1 lime. Add a bit of kosher salt to taste. If you can wait, let sit for a few minutes to let the flavors meld. If not, dig right in!

This was a fantastic recipe. Simple, flavorful (the cumin and cilantro make it a very Mexican dish), and can be eaten cold like a salad, so it’s perfect for summer.  I should note that if divided into 4 servings, this recipe is 562 calories, so I usually had half a serving.

So far we were doing great, but Michael started to get a headache late afternoon so we both had the usual snack of apples with almond peanut butter. That seemed to fix his headache. I felt great all day and didn’t have any headaches at all.

Dinner was a very simple broccoli soup made with olive oil and onions. It was surprisingly creamy! Michael added some Herbamare (a fantastic sea salt and organic herb seasoning), black pepper, paprika, and chili to it. Soo tasty and comforting, and it’s only about 160 calories per serving.

Overall, I thought day 1 went as well as can be hoped for. I think the pre-cleanse definitely helped with this.

Day 2:  I was in a terrible mood on the morning of the second day due to two reasons: 1) I had really bad allergies (sneezing, itchy eyes and face) the night before and early that morning, and I’m technically not allowed to take meds on this diet, so no Claritin, and 2) I had gained back about a pound of the weight I’d lost for no apparent reason. The weight gain was sort of expected. The book mentions that some people may gain weight the first few days, and I’m definitely the sort to gain water weight at random. The allergies made me miserable, but luckily went away after a few hours of sitting around blinking at the TV.

For breakfast we had “Malted ‘Milk’ Shake”, which is really made out of coconut, almond butter, and dates. It was my favorite shake from the diet so far, but it’s also a whopping 551 calories per serving. Luckily, we were having broccoli soup again that night, which is (again) only 160 calories.

Malted “Milk” Shake

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ cup coconut meat (either from a young Thai coconut or organic shredded dried coconut flakes and an additional ½ cup water)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 3 dates, pitted OR a few drops of stevia to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 packet Cleanse Shakes Vanilla or Chocolate (or other protein powder)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seed 
I’m not sure this shake was close in taste to a malted milk shake at all, but I liked that it was thick and it was definitely very tasty.

Lunch was the black bean and quinoa bowl again, which was still delicious. We went out for a few hours after lunch and I surprisingly didn’t get hungry at all.

For my snack I wanted to try the “Green Juice” recipe, since we’d been eating apples and almond butter all week. I thought it would be a healthier option, since I was a little upset about my weight gain that morning.

Green Juice

  • 1 green apple
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • ½ cucumber
  • knob of ginger
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • A bunch of greens: kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, parsley are all good options

Since I didn’t have a juicer, I ran everything through a blender with a half cup of coconut juice to add to the liquid, and then strained it over a fine mesh strainer. It turned out pretty well, and tasted like one of those raw juices you buy from health food stores.

Dinner was broccoli soup again. This time Michael made it with a bit of curry, and it tasted like dal to me (an Indian stew typically made with lentils, if you’re not familiar with it). Mike thought it tasted like mashed potatoes mixed with pepper sauce. Either way, it was even more delicious than the night before.

The second day went great, and though my weight had gone up, we both felt more energized than ever.

Day 3: Day 3 started with allergies again, and I had a pretty bad craving for coffee. Instead of having Teccino, I tried having iced pomegranate green tea with coconut nectar. It was ok, but not the best. The coconut nectar tasted like a milder form of the Filipino “Coco Jam”, which I thought was interesting.

I gave up on it once Michael finished making breakfast, which was a smoothie called “Cinnamon Rolls for Breakfast”. This one was aptly named, since it tasted like liquefied cinnamon rolls. I imagine this is what one of those drinks on the human ship in the movie “Wall-E” would taste like.

Cinnamon Rolls for Breakfast

  • ½ cup almonds and 1 cup water OR 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or powder
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon pecans
  • stevia to taste
  • 1 packet Cleanse Shakes Vanilla or Chocolate (or other protein powder)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seed 

I decided I would make a different thing for lunch, since we’d had the black bean and quinoa two days in a row, and I was hanging out at home anyway. I initially planned to have stir fried veggies with buckwheat noodles. Alas, when we checked the ingredients for the noodles I had bought a while back, it had wheat flour in it. Since I’d already brought out the chicken, carrots, and bok choy, I quickly looked for a chicken recipe that would work with those ingredients.

I decided to go for the mango chicken with wild rice, and used brown rice instead. I added the carrots and bok choy for bulk, but I would probably cut the carrots smaller and cook it before everything else next time, since it takes a lot of time to cook and so I ended up overcooking the bok choy. I also added a splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos (a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce). Despite the issues with additional ingredients, the dish was delicious, and I would eat it even if I wasn’t on a cleanse.

Mango and Chicken with Wild Rice

  • 1/3 cup wild rice
  • ½ cup brown basmati rice
  • coconut oil
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ mango, diced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut nectar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • generous pinch hot pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions: Soak the wild rice in cold water for an hour prior to cooking. Rinse wild rice and basmati rice, add to saucepan with 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes or until all water has evaporated. Meanwhile, coat a skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium-high heat.
When pan is hot, add chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, then turn each piece to cook the other side. Add onion, cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden, then add mango, lemon juice, vinegar, hot pepper flakes and coconut nectar. Toss in rice and parsley. Stir and serve immediately.

Snack was, as per usual, an apple and almond butter.

Dinner was a rather strange shake called “Classic Green Shake”.

Classic Green Shake

  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 2 handfuls spinach, kale, or swiss chard
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons mint-flavored liquid chlorophyll (available at any health food store)
  • optional: stevia or brown rice syrup, to taste (I should say at this point that I got a tad confused that brown rice syrup is included in the recipes, when it’s actually on the list of food not to have. I decided that since it’s included in so many of the shake recipes, it’s probably allowed in moderation.)

The spinach definitely sounds like something a classic green shake would call for. But… mint liquid chlorophyll? That just sounds to me like I’ve gone past trying to become a vegetarian and am now trying to morph into a plant. But according to several online sources, which I cannot verify as factual of course, chlorophyll helps with the quality and quantity of red blood cells, is an antioxidant, and helps prevent cancer (it binds with carcinogens and helps eliminate them from the body).

Macadamia nuts did not sound like a normal ingredient for a classic green shake either, but I love them so I did not have any problems with that. In fact, the shake was surprisingly delicious and refreshing. Another recipe that’s perfect for a summer night, and something I wouldn’t mind drinking normally.

Moments after having the shake, I immediately felt energized and raring to go exercise. This made me into a chlorophyll-believer, and I will definitely try and see if this happens again on Day 4. After dinner, since I was already energized and was also still semi-annoyed about the weight gain, I did about an hour of a dance-type cardio workout by my favorite retro/cheesy (but hot) instructor, Deanne Berry. I found that I could get through it a lot more easily than before, though the downside was that my heart rate was also lower on average, therefore burning a couple hundred calories less. Despite that, I was still a few calories under my goal for each day (1200), so I felt good about Day 3.

Here’s my favorite cheesy dance workout video, in case you’re interested/want to chuckle at the outfits. This is a wholesome version of her popular “Call On Me” video. You might hate on it, but I think it’s fun, and it torches anywhere between 500-800 calories for me.

Day 4: I woke up on day 4 and found that I had lost that pound I gained from the first 3 days of the cleanse, so I told myself I’d try to workout most days of the week to keep the water retention at bay.

Breakfast was pretty uneventful. I had the cinnamon roll shake I’d had the day before, and it was just as delicious. I also found that I now fit into a smaller-than-my-usual-size skirt I had bought about a year ago, but was never able to wear.

For lunch, I had the mango chicken again. About an hour after that, I noticed that I seemed to be having a KP flare-up (I usually notice this because I get itchy where the new bumps appear). I of course immediately blamed the chicken (which I hadn’t had in quite some time due to the Blood Type Diet I tried to implement). I decided not to have chicken and turkey again for the rest of the diet, then add it to the reintroduction process and see how that goes. Guess I won’t be having that roast chicken after all (T_T). I updated our menu for the second week and realized we were basically going to eat as Greeks for the next week: lots of lamb, fish, tahini, chick peas, and olive oil.

I forgot to bring a snack to the office, but had bought a seemingly Clean-friendly snack called “GoMacro Macro Bar” in “Sweet Revival” when I was still preparing for the diet and had left it there, so I had that. It’s made with  (all organic) brown rice syrup, sesame butter, dates, raisins, puffed brown rice, and sesame seeds. It’s a bit high in calories for a snack, but I told myself I would just work out later. It was delicious, and tasted like buchi, which is a Filipino (slash Chinese?) rice ball dessert made with sweet sticky rice, sweet beans, and sesame seeds. I decided it tasted like it had too much brown rice syrup, and also that I wasn’t sure whether raisins are allowed or not (probably not) so I berated myself for having it and vowed not to have it again until after the cleanse.

Dinner was another classic green shake. It was still refreshing, but I found myself dreading my evening workout. Somehow, I was able to lace up and drag myself (and Mike) to the gym for a quick 30 minute run anyway. It was hard to get myself to the gym but when I was finally on the treadmill, I felt a lot better and was more energized than usual, so I guess the classic green shake still did its job.

Day 5: Day 5 did not start well. I was down .1 pound from my pre-cleanse weight, which was sort of a nightmare considering how much work I’d put in the first 4 days. I was feeling a bit anxious and jittery as well, despite taking the “Natural Calm” magnesium supplement the night before (this supposedly soothes anxiety and prevents very vivid dreams due to the cleanse). Granted, the anxiety could have been attributed to other things, but the scale was definitely a problem. I felt as though I’d probably lost some inches, because most things fit better, but I didn’t think it was enough. I decided to stop having snacks altogether (they’re optional), and maybe take it easy on the workouts to alleviate the stress.

It didn’t help that breakfast was absolutely disgusting. It was a “mocha”, made with the teccino herbal coffee, raw cacao, almonds, and stevia. I decided most things with stevia in them were gross. I had only half of it (just enough to push in the supplements). I might try this again with almond milk instead of almonds, and coconut nectar instead of stevia.

This was also the first day since we started the diet that I started craving other food. Mulling over the news that “Crumbs” cupcake stores were all closing, I started thinking about all the other, more delicious cupcakes available in and around the city: Butter Lane, Two Little Red Hens, Sprinkles, Baked by Melissa, and Sweet in Hoboken. I had no doubt my cravings were stress-related, so I tried to calm myself (and my salivary glands) by listening to “Your Favorite Coffeehouse” on Spotify while guzzling water and white chai tea. My sister chatted me up about paleo-friendly cereal, which I appreciated because it put me back in the mindset of eating healthy.

Lunch was the black bean quinoa bowl again. I went to heat it up at exactly 12:00 pm since I was dying of hunger. I immediately felt the fog lifting from my brain and the stress being released. I thought it could just be because of a quick blood sugar jump, but I took the blood sugar balancing supplement, so probably not. Maybe I was just really really hungry from working out the night before, then drinking only half of my breakfast.

I did not have a snack that day to help move the weight loss along. All I can say is, it wasn’t easy.

Dinner was a really, really good butternut squash bisque. It’s almost as simple as the broccoli soup, and the ingredients are just squash, olive oil, almond milk, and seasoning. I think my stomach had decided to close up shop for the day though after I skipped the snack, because I only had half of the soup as well. I couldn’t even have the rest of the soup later, because I had to stop eating at 7:30 pm to be able to eat at 7:30 am the following morning (there needs to be a 12-hour window between dinner and breakfast for the body to do cleansing “activities”). I felt full though, and decided working out after not having too many calories for the day would kick my body into survival mode, so I decided to take a break from working out.

Day 6: I was down .4 lb more (for a total of 3.3) on day 6. This does not seem like a lot, but I broke through one of the plateau numbers I usually have a lot of trouble with. If you’re not sure what I mean, I’ll explain it with this quote from Matthew McConaughey talking about his weight loss for “Dallas Buyers Club”:

“Overall, probably got 35 percent less energy, but there’s been plateaus, like getting past 170 was really hard, but then once you get [to] 167 the next seven come off easy. Getting past 160, really hard. But then you fly down to 150. Getting past 150 was really hard and then, bam! Got down to 143 and that’s where I want to be. So, once you get past the plateau, your body seems to understand, ‘O.K., this is where we’re living now, this is where we are’ and so the energy rises.”

So, yes, it sounds dumb, but that’s what it’s like for me. Luckily I don’t have to lose as much weight as he did. Here’s the rest of the interview.

Michael, on the other hand, had lost a total of 9 lbs by then, and was already fitting into all his pants and shorts that he’d set aside earlier in the year due to a slightly expanding waistline. I wasn’t surprised, since men generally lose weight a lot faster than women. I urged him to take in more calories so he doesn’t lose muscle mass, but he wanted to lose his “love handles” before bulking up again, so I gave up on that argument.

I did not have any allergies that morning.

For breakfast, I had the cinnamon rolls shake again, though Michael informed me we were out of almond milk and he substituted it with raw almonds as noted in the recipe. It was delicious, but so thick that I could only drink half of it. I despaired over the fact that I would probably be starving at around 11:00 am again, and since I had banned snacking, I’ll have to make do with water or tea.

Getting through the morning without a snack wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined. Maybe my stomach had shrunk, or gotten used to it, either way, I found myself flying through the hours before lunch as I worked.

Lunch was, again, the black bean and quinoa bowl. Since one serving is around 600 calories, we were able to milk a lot of meals from the dish (I had half a serving each time). I tossed in a few pistachios since I only had half my shake for breakfast. Chatting over lunch, Michael raved about the diet, noting that he doesn’t get into a “food coma” after lunch anymore.

Dinner was going to be tricky. I was hosting a meeting of our book club at our rooftop, and of course nobody else in my group was doing the same “cleanse” I was doing, though we were all dieting in different ways. I decided to make Michael volunteered to make some egg salad on top of boston lettuce for my guests, and I decided I would make myself  Michael volunteered to make me a coconut chai shake because I was dying to have a “dessert”. I thought it went well in the end. My guests were satisfied, and I felt full from my dessert shake.

I was a bit over 1200 calories that day, though I didn’t think it would matter since I had a lot less the day before.

Day 7: Clearly I was right about the day before, because I lost another .8 lb (totaling 4.1) by the morning of day 7. I was feeling rather sprightly on day 7 too. My allergies were very minimal (I hadn’t taken any medication for it since starting the pre-cleanse), my hair and nails were growing at an amazing rate (which prompted me to make a hair appointment for a cut and color), and my skin seemed clearer and able to bounce back from scars faster.

I had the morning mocha for breakfast, but substituted the almonds with rice milk, and the flax seeds with brown rice syrup. It tasted a lot closer to a normal mocha, sans sugar. It was fine, though a lot less filling than the other shakes that I’d tried.

Lunch was a delicious buckwheat noodle with stir-fried vegetables dish. I had baked salmon with it, while Mike just had more of the noodles. We had to go through all the buckwheat noodle brands at our neighborhood Japanese grocery, since most of them had wheat flour as well. Only one brand contained pure buckwheat, but it was worth it, since this dish was delicious.

For dinner, I had the pumpkin pie smoothie that we were having during the pre-cleanse. It was just as delicious as when I first had it.

Overall Impressions for Days 1-7:

I thought the first week went really well overall. There were a few very challenging days, but I felt more energized  and if I drank all the shakes and ate all the meals properly, I barely felt any hunger pangs. Even my allergic reactions had lessened. I didn’t lose as much weight as I would have wanted, but I attributed that to the workouts I’d been doing, since was still definitely fitting a lot better into my clothes.

‘Til next week! 🙂

The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Preparation
The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Pre-cleanse
The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Week 2
The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Week 3

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