You may have read my recent entry about beginning a gentle cleanse to get back on track after too much unhealthy eating. The intention behind this five-day project was to give my body a rest–and thank it for all the amazing things it does for me!–by feeding it only the most nutritious, easy-to-digest foods. That meant avoiding:
meat
fish
dairy
soy
wheat/gluten
caffeine
alcohol
processed foods
all chemicals, including preservatives

…and enjoying plenty of:
fresh and dried fruits
veggies
beans and legumes
nuts
eggs
gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice
caffeine-free, all-natural teas
kombucha! (an expensive delight I allowed myself to splurge on during my cleanse)

Though a little higher in fat than the diet I normally try to eat, my cleanse diet consisted of heart-healthy, easy-to-process fats (like the unsaturated kinds found in nuts, which are thought to lower cholesterol.) I feel the need to mention that the elimination of gluten is completely unrelated to the carb phobia that has plagued our culture in recent years; I simply avoided this natural element during my cleanse because it takes more work for our bodies to process.

What follows is a five-day meal plan that you can use (and tweak to your needs, mind you) if you’d like to embark on the Healthy Girl Cleanse! Please remember that I’m not a medical professional, so you may want to check with your physician to make sure that this cleanse is right for you. Also, please don’t feel that anything about this cleanse supports starvation as a means of toxin-flushing; I’m skeptical that such claims hold any merit, and would never encourage you to go hungry. My meal plan is designed around eating smallish amounts every 3 hours or so in order to feel satiated and energized at all times. If you find that the portions I list below are filling you up too much or leaving you really hungry, listen to your body and give it what it needs–every body requires a slightly different amount of fuel!

Finally, don’t be discouraged if you feel that a gentle cleanse is not right for you. Perhaps just integrating a few snack or meal ideas into your repertoire would be fun! My meal plan includes many recipes that you can find on Healthy Girl, along with others that are self-explanatory (I hope.) Please see the shopping list for an easy grocery store guide; keep in mind that I’ve tried to include a lot of variety in this meal plan, but by remaking a few recipes you’re really into, like I did, you can make this cleanse more budget-friendly. As always, feel free to comment publicly or email your questions, comments and criticisms to healthygirlcooking@gmail.com. I hope to hear from you…happy cleansing!

Day 1

Breakfast

Apple-Spinach juice
Hard-boiled egg with freshly ground pepper and kosher salt

Snack 1
Sliced banana with chopped red apple, 2 TBSP walnut pieces and a squeeze of honey

Lunch
Egg in a Quinoa Nest

Snack 2
Handful of almonds with 5 pieces dried apricot

Dinner

Mexican-style baked potato with black beans, roasted corn, steamed broccoli, and salsa

Snack 3
Fresh pineapple slices

Day 2

Breakfast

Creamsicle juice (juice oranges first along with one extra orange, setting aside the extra orange juice to use in a smoothie later)
Handful of almonds

Snack 1
1/4 cup hummus with carrot and cucumber slices
Lunch
Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Salad, dressed with 1 tsp olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice

Snack 2

Smoothie with fresh orange juice, banana, and pineapple

Dinner

1 cup cooked red lentils with roasted broccoli, zucchini and squash (make extra for snack tomorrow)

Snack 3

Baked sweet potato topped with honey and cinnamon

Day 3

Breakfast
4 egg whites scrambled with sauteed mushrooms and sliced tomato
Banana

Snack 1

Leftover lentils with veggies

Lunch
Mixed greens with sliced avocado, shredded carrots, black beans and salsa

Snack 2

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Brussles Sprouts

Dinner

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers (omit veggie sausage and add extra beans; make extras for lunch tomorrow!)

Snack 3

Peach and/or pear slices

Day 4

Breakfast

Egg in a Quinoa Nest

Snack 1

Creamsicle Juice

Lunch
Leftover Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Snack 2
Roasted sweet potato with brussles sprouts

Dinner
Lentil Burgers

Snack 3
Peach or pear slices


Day 5


Breakfast

4 scrambled egg whites with sauteed mushrooms and tomato slices
Peach or pear

Snack 1
Sliced banana with chopped fuji apple, 2 TBSP walnut pieces and a squeeze of honey

Lunch

Hummus and Veggie plate with carrot and cucumber slices, raw broccoli florets, mixed greens drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and 1/2 cup hummus

Snack 2

Handful of almonds with 5 dried apricots

Dinner
Bowl-o-Burrito

Snack 3

Pineapple slices

Other additions you may enjoy:

*Peppermint, ginger, chamomile, or any of your favourite caffine-free teas (iced or hot)

*Kombucha, a refreshing, cleansing drink made from mushroom-like cultures

*Hot water with lemon and any combination of the following: cayenne pepper, honey, cinnamon, ginger root (as suggested by a very helpful reader!)

*Popcorn–but only the homemade kind, involving nothing but corn kernels and a little olive or canola oil!

P.S. If you’re a coffee freak like me, it may be less torturous to ween yourself from The Sauce prior to beginning your cleanse. You can do this by cutting down and/or switching to green tea. I wouldn’t wish going cold turkey on my worst enemy.