I'm Doing a "Foodie Cleanse," but for Some Reason It Doesn't Involve a Baconoscopy

cleanse_lentils2.jpg
photo and cooking by foodbitch
looks edible, right?
Cleanse. It's a word that strikes fear into the heart of every foodie and non-foodie alike.

A cleanse used to mean a woman named Monica was about to get up close and personal with a big scary tube to literally flush your system. Nowadays a cleanse usually involves juicing (which is so hot right now) and generally starving yourself for three days or more while biting the heads off of everyone you come in contact with, leading up to a drinking and eating binge afterward. Sounds AWESOME.

Not exactly. I stumbled upon Bon Appetit Magazine's Food Lover's Cleanse while clicking through the tweets in the blogosphere. I read through the meals -- five actual solid food meals per day for two weeks -- and they looked pretty good. It's for people who love food, not people who love starving, right? How bad could it be? Famous last words, indeed.

I knew it would be a lot of work, but I'm practically made of fried chicken and tequila at this point, so it was time for a break. So I spent a couple of hours at Central Market spending a couple hundred dollars and came out with a fridge-full of quinoa, bulgur, fennel and kale. Among other things. Two weeks starts now.

pancakes_fridge.jpg
photo by foodbitch
Goodbye, pancakes. Hello, fridge full of hippie food.
Sunday night, after a farewell-to-restaurant-food brunch at Smoke and a nearly weepy sushi dinner, I diligently began prepping some of the more time-intensive dishes for the next week. Over three hours later I went to bed, with about an hour's worth of cooking still to do the next morning before work. But I had my lunch ready for Monday and I felt good.

This plan somehow came to be, as I woke up at 7, made my snack for the day (a pumpkin smoothie), and cooked a big pot of applesauce and then my breakfast. And that's when I heard that screeching tires sound in my brain. Plain oatmeal, stove-cooked, with blueberries and walnuts. I like blueberries and walnuts, but just plain oats with no cinnamon or sugar or anything? I was suddenly worried I'd be looking forward to the taste of my toothpaste pretty soon. Deep breath. I added a teaspoon of maple syrup and choked it down.

Lunch was made up of the lentils I cooked the night before (its camouflage-green color didn't make it disappear as I'd hoped), with a salad that tasted surprisingly great (butter lettuce with avocado, miso-lime dressing and orange segments). Snack was a pumpkin smoothie, which my brilliant ass made into a sweet potato smoothie after I bought the wrong orange can. It was ... interesting. Tasted like those drinkable yogurts you gulp down on your way out the door in the morning. So not great.

Dinner was a vast improvement, however. It was a lot to prepare: a kale salad with balsamic vinegar-soaked currants and toasted pine nuts, black cod (or if you're like me and couldn't find black cod ANYWHERE, sea bass) with caramelized onions and apples, and baked sweet potato slices. Everything came out great.

cleanse_dinner.jpg
photo by foodbitch
sea bass, caramelized onions and apples, sweet potato slices and kale salad

I didn't even have the room the energy for dessert. And just like that, Day 1 was over.

This cleanse/project/challenge/thing is tons of work. Not for the faint of kitchen. So right about now, two weeks feels like forever. I'll catch up with you guys in about a week, if I make it that long. Until then, if you're bored and/or curious, or you just want to watch a train wreck happen, feel free to follow my cleansing adventures over on foodbitch.me.

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Location Info

Smoke

901 Fort Worth Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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13 comments
Mervis
Mervis

Last night I did a cleanse with:

Laguitas PilzHe'Brew Hop MannaBallast Point Sculpin IPAChipotle chicken burrito

primi timpano
primi timpano

I am friends with a couple who have embraced the hunger strike cleanse, limiting themselves to narrow categories of water, tea, and juice, depending upon the advice of their most recent cleanse wisdom.  I wonder why beer, wine and whiskey never make the approved list, even though these liquids are mostly water and if used in sufficient quantities aid the body in cleansing by several degrees of magnitude and with a diversity of exits.

While i have never been hosed out, I did have to drink three quarts of various liquids, none of which were as appealing as cucumber water, in preparation for a colonoscopy.  I don't know what goes on behind the closed doors of a New Age cleanse, but I am certain these light weights do not get anywhere close to cleansed as I got, and it me only took three hours.  At no time during my physician prescribed cleanse did I suffer from hunger pangs.  The 3 hour method leaves you disinterested in all things food, in fact, your conscious attention will be entirely focused on prayers for a quick ending of the cleanse before the ending of the toilet paper supply.

A food-based cleanse?  Very civilized and nutritious, too.  I wish my doctor heard of it. I understand spinach aids in the successive contraction and relaxation of the intestines, a motion that greatly facilitates a quality bowel movement, though the three quart method obviates the need for any other assistance.

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

Kudos to you and good luck! What the hell is in that pot of lentils? FYI the only reason I knew that was a pot of lentils was from going to your blog.

therrick
therrick

Kazy's Gourmet used to have frozen black cod (they still might), but I always thought the quality sucked.

Good luck on your cleanse.

SpeedbumpJoey
SpeedbumpJoey

The Sea Bass dish that you had sounds very good. Did you just throw it into the pan with anything else?

Matt
Matt

lol, so you are calling this a cleanse?  you should have titled this - eating healthy.  try living on juice for 10 days.  thats a cleanse.  clueless

foodbitch
foodbitch

It's a head of garlic, the tops of a fennel bulb and a handful of carrots. "Aromatics," AKA not just plain lentils with vegetable stock. 

foodbitch
foodbitch

Yup -- while the onions were reheating (they were part of Sunday's prep-cook) and apples were browning, the fish went in!

foodbitch
foodbitch

Actually, Bon Appetit Magazine calls it a cleanse. I call juicing starving. To each his own!

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

 Aha! That makes more sense. My guess was octopus suckers-on-their-leg.

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

Juicing (commonly known as "cleansing") IS starvation and totally BOGUS. It's the modern day snake oil. Your body cleanses everyday with the help of two amazing organs known as kidneys (among the other super cleaners).  If your body couldn't get rid of toxins, you'd be in renal failure. It's just another way for companies to make some quick cash of people's desire for a quick fix. Off the soapbox.......

primi timpano
primi timpano

 The March 2012 Harper's has an article titled "Starving Your Way to Vigor."  Didn't read the article but listened to an NPR interview with the author.  My take from the interview is that frequent fasting (e.g., one day per week) can offer numerous health benefits ranging from weight loss/maintenance to a heightened sense of vigor.  My recollection is that many of the conclusions were based on either anecdotal reports (fat guy fasts for a month and feels better) to small data studies.  Nothing compelling from my point of view, but interesting nonetheless.

I think a lot of the new found appeal of fasting is psychological: the faster is doing/not doing something with expected benefits.  You feel better by participating in a program requiring sacrifices, you think your body is like a pile of dirty vegetables that can be cleansed with a thorough rinse etc.  And the three day sacrifice is a lot easier to accomplish than a life long healthy diet accompanied with tedious regular exercise.  The placebo opportunities abound.

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