This summer was so jam packed with good times, but with that came a lot of beer, a lot of cheeseburgers, and a lot sugar-laced treats. By the time September rolled around I was feeling slow and chunky. A gut flush was necessary.

I went with the Clean Program, which is now commercialized and expensive, but the general principles make sense. I didn't do all of the supplements and mixes, I just stuck to the Elimination Diet for 25 1/2 days. A gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free diet. No oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, or bananas. No corn or nightshade vegetables. No white rice, wheat, or oats. No red meat or shellfish. No alcohol. No caffeine. No sugar. No, no, no for 25 1/2 days. 

It was definitely a challenge, especially being someone so excited and positively emotional about food <3 But I do have to say, the affects are a pretty sweet reward. In just a week I felt lighter, more agile. After three weeks I could definitely see my body transforming; nothing major, but everything felt, and feels, more toned and fresh. 

The cleanse also got me back in the kitchen more. It forced me to create new dishes and cook with unique ingredients. It also helped me improve on my smoothie game. (Which is still really not good! I just can't seem to get the proportions and consistency right.) My biggest recipe success to come out of this thing is Coconut Milk Lentils topped with black beans, sauteed greens and pomegranate seeds.

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The lentils had the texture of mashed potatoes, but with a nutty, curry twist. The greens and beans added fiber and more flavor, and the pomegranate seeds on top added just enough sweetness and a tiny crunch.

I also want give a shout out to the snacks that got me through this: dried mango and Trader Joe's Salt & Pepper Pistachios. The mango for sweet and chewy cravings. The pistachios for salty crunch. And I couldn't have done this without seltzer water for always having my back when adult beverage cravings kicked in. 

I didn't photo document everything I ate, but here's a good smattering of smoothies and lunches. 

And here is a journal of everything I consumed for 25 1/2 days. 

I love food and restaurants too much to stick to this sort of diet full time, but I absolutely want to stick with a variation of the cleanse at least 75% of the time. It'll not only keep me feeling light and active through the dreaded rainy months, but it will also make fun meals out (and in) that much more enjoyable. I think it was Socrates who once said, "If thou treats oneself on the reg, thou shall become a fat, ungrateful man." 

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AuthorMolly Streuli