In my quest to strike a middle ground between eating out and eating sprouts, I’ve done GOOP’s liquid harvest (yay!) and I’ve gone gluten free (boo!). GOOP’s veggie-heavy eating made me a ball of energy who came thisclose to grabbing people on the L train and telling them, “TRY THIS! IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!” Conversely, for someone who’s spent 30+ years pretending Yellow #7 is an ingredient, a gluten-free diet proved too extreme against bad, but solid, habits.
But I ain’t no quitter – and thankfully, I’ve got help. This week’s diet try comes from reader Donna (smooches, Donna!): a 7-day detox created by Juliette Kellow, a registered dietician who cooked up a week-long eating plan aimed to restart, refresh and recharge your system. For one week, it’s beans, lentils, veggies, fruit, fish, tofu, potatoes, rice, nuts, and honey. The no-no list includes meat, dairy, coffee, alcohol, wheat, and, unfortunately, my favorite category: condiments. Ketchup! Vinegar! Don’t cry! I’ll only be gone a week!
For those without a lot of kitchen savoir-faire, Juliette outlines an easy plan with options. There’s no same-thing-for-breakfast, lunch, and dinner going on here. And unlike some diets, preparation here is easy. I’ll mostly be eating produce, so I go straight to the source and hit up my local farmer’s market.
The reliance on produce – especially fruit – in this plan is front and center, so I decide to start my days with smoothies. While dairy and soymilk is a detox don’t, Juliette permits natural yogurt, which is so easy to find, even my big box grocers stock it. Two fruits, a handful of ice cubes (another reader tip!), a scoop of yogurt, and WHIIRRR! Open sesame, mouth.
It’s undressed salad for lunch (zzzz), and by dinner, the creativity starts to slide – as does the will to come home from a long day and start cooking. However, canned fish falls under the “eat it” column as long as it’s packed in water, so it’s tuna and a microwaved potato for me. (Tuna? In a detox diet?) I spiff up my tuna with a squeeze of lemon, but am confronted with a dilemma re: the tot. In the absence of butter, cheese, or salt, what’s a girl use to dress her spud?
DAY 2 – 4
My blender hasn’t gotten this much attention since Cinco de Mayo, but I’m thinking for lunch, it’s time to explore the world of commercially-prepped smoothies. These days, even convenience stores are hawking fruit-filled slurps, and finding a convenient blend is a matter of finding a convenience store. But by day 4, I’m detecting a trend: “organic” doesn’t mean “healthy.” And it doesn’t mean sugar-free, either. I’m quickly learning to sniff out sweeteners like evaporated cane juice, agave, and organic brown sugar. Sure, these are better than refined sugar, but sugar is sugar, and I’m surprised at how many brands rely heavily on these – often listing them as the third or fourth ingredient.
Restaurants are another landmine, and I can practically feel the hate radiating from the line behind me as I query the girl at Energy Kitchen: “Sweetened? With what? Where are the apples from?” But it pays to ask, and with a little bit of detective work and creative substitution requests, I’m able to stick to the plan. But I’m considering this a wake-up call. How many other “All Organic!” and “Totally healthy!” labels have I fallen for?
Oh, and I’ve solved the potato issue: Stewed tomatoes and diced onions. No, seriously. Try it. It’s like hash browns … only not.
Smoothies, salads, and canned fish may not be the world’s most titillating diet, but I’ll tell you what is: Not having to lie down on your bed to get your jeans buttoned. The puff has poofed! And by day 5, I am definitely The New Me.
Best of all, this diet is easy to incorporate into real-world eating. Example: Dinner with friends. After all that time spent drilling the local smoothie makers, requesting steamed fish and veggies sans butter, merci, is like stealing candy (that I can’t eat) from a baby. Although I’m about to pole vault over the table to get to the wine selection. No I’m not. Yes I am.
Like the GOOP diet before, this Spartan eating is making me more gassed up than a cross-country jet preparing for takeoff. Hello, energy levels! Are you gonna repair the roof you just ripped off? I don’t need as much sleep. I skip the subway and walk. I actually find myself looking forward to apples and nut butter. Looking forward to apples
Last day of the detox, and I’m celebrating with a smoothie made from three fruits and a drizzle of honey. I won’t miss these canned fish dinners, but I’m loving my new lunch habits. My fruit and veggie blends have me coming back to work and–gasp!–working, not coming back to work like a zombie ready for a major nap.
Plus, just when I thought life couldn’t get better than zipped-up pants that don’t explode when I sit: my skin is glowing. I mean supermodel salt-scrub glowing. Is it the fish? Is it the absence of salt? Is it the organic farmer’s market veggies made with nothing but steam and love? I don’t know. But I’m not looking a poreless, zit-free gift horse in the mouth.
I miss chocolate, wine, and, yes, even meat enough to bid farewell to this diet for now. But did I love it? You bet. It is easy? Couldn’t be simpler – and this is coming from a girl who can’t work a stove. Would I try it again? Absolutely – and like Donna, I’ll be passing this one along.
I can work a takeout menu better than my microwave. And the stove? I kinda needed the storage. Still, I’m a working girl trying to strike a better balance between healthy eating and real life, and there’s got to be middle ground between pretending 4 martinis are a juice diet, and asking for quinoa at Mario Batali’s newest hotspot. From raw food to juice fasts to macrobiotic to gluten-free, my gastrointestinal system will try on a number of different diets to see which one fits the budget, the lifestyle, and most importantly, the girl.