The Cleanse: Spring Detox

The Cleanse: Spring Detox


Kale is not a traditional breakfast food. There’s a good reason for that—when you set up a breakfast buffet with eggs benedict, bacon, waffles, and kale, you can probably guess which thing won’t end up on someone’s plate.
So the first day of the cleanse, when I put the smoothie (and I use that term loosely, because this was not the type of smoothie you order in a café) in front of my husband, he looked at me in dismay. “It’s green,” he stated.
“Yup. It has kale in it,” I told him.

On and on it went like that, for three weeks. No crackers, no cheese, no milk, no bread, no pasta, no tomatoes, no potatoes, no chocolate, no sugar, no honey, no peanut butter, no beer or wine—but all the kale your heart desired. (Which was not much.) We were trying the detox program created by Dr. Alejandro Junger in his bestselling book “Clean.” It is the same cleanse that Gwyneth Paltrow called “amazing,” and which apparently keeps her looking like a 20-year-old. Other advocates of “Clean” write that removing the toxins made their bodies better able to heal from disease, that they lost weight, felt better, slept better and had more energy. All of this sounded great, and on the off chance I might end up looking like Gwyneth Paltrow, I decided three weeks of a spring detox was worth it.

I do believe it is important to think about what you eat, but the thing about a cleanse is that eating is all you think about. I had dreams about pizza and I fantasized about the package of herbed goat cheese in my refrigerator, obsessively checking its freshness date to make sure that I’d be able to eat it once I was done with the cleanse. I downloaded recipes for Nutella muffins and other treats. The thing I missed the most, though, was coffee. Coffee and I have been friends for a long, long time, and I had a headache for three straight days when I stopped drinking it.

During those three weeks, there were birthday parties with cake, keg parties with my favorite Telluride Brewing beer on tap, invitations to dine out with friends, and all sorts of temptations. I still had to cook regular meals for the kids, food that had never seemed quite so good until I had to prepare it, serve it, and clean up afterward without taking a bite. For my husband and me, dinner was another green “smoothie.”

We both fell off the wagon, so to speak, a few times. But for the most part we stayed clean for three weeks, and it did feel pretty good. We even mastered the art of making kale chips, which are the closest thing to junk food you can eat on the program. The cleanse did not have a Gwyneth Paltrow effect on me, but it did leave me with a clean colon and the most joyful reunion with coffee and a Nutella muffin you could ever imagine.

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