Saturday, January 19, 2013

Whole Living {detox} Action Plan 2013

This time last year I did my first ever detox diet, following the food-based body cleanse featured in the 2012 January-February Whole Living magazine. Since then, I've done a 24 hour green juice cleanse but that's about as extreme as I'd go. The detox diets presented by Whole Living magazine are food-based plans that restrict your diet to simple, whole foods in spare quantities that are gentle on your digestive system. This gives our detoxifying organ, our liver, a break from being overworked, allowing it to focus on cleansing our body of impurities. The diet is sparse, yet nutrient dense to supply our body what it needs most for a much needed tune up.

The beginning of my first detox last year was challenging, but I muddled through those first really tough days and managed to stick it out for the full 3 weeks. I lost a few pounds, which was great, but the best part was that I broke my addiction to caffeine*, discovered the awesomeness of green juicing and found out I felt lighter, more comfortable and less bloated when not eating gluten foods. It's not even that I thought I felt bloated before, but rather that I could feel the difference when I wasn't eating those foods compared to how I normally felt. I don't otherwise have difficulty with gluten foods, but it did make me mindful of how much wheat is in my diet practically at every meal. I think we, as Americans, unnecessarily consume far too much wheat--a dietary trend that is actually considered harmful in some nutritional circles [See Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD and Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr among others].

[*since breaking my coffee addiction, I no longer get frequent migraines. Whereas I used to get 2-3 per month, I only had 2-3 in all of 2012! Something to think about if you suffer from migraines.]

In any case, my mindfulness of wheat foods in my diet didn't stick the entire year. Eventually I went back to eating at least one wheat-based food per meal whether it be breakfast cereal, bread, power bars, pasta, crackers, cookies and other baked goods. Not the direction I had hoped to take.

Sometime amidst the holiday season of plentiful and delicious foods and treats, I began to look forward to a return to some serious healthy eating, including a jump start to a healthy year by revisiting the Whole Living detox plan. I heard rumors that Whole Living magazine was going to be discontinued, which at this point I think is accurate news. I'm quite sad about this, since I only discovered this magazine a year and a half ago and I thoroughly enjoy it. In any case, I received the January-February 2013 issue of Whole Living magazine in my mailbox last weekend and instantly jumped on this year's detox plan.

The 2013 Whole Living Action Plan is very similar to last year's, so I was already familiar with the strategy and even have a repertoire of recipes to which to turn. This latest issue is also chock full of new recipes to help participants have a successful and enjoyable detox. I've already prepared most of the Week 1 recipes, which were all very good.
Blueberry Mint Smoothie and
The Jan-Feb 2013 issue of Whole Living magazine
I started my 2013 21-Day detox on Monday, January 14 and after a few rough days of hunger, bloating and crankiness, I think the worst is behind me and I'm now feeling good about the detox and how my body is responding.

Here are this year's guidelines:

NO caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten, processed foods or beverages.
All of these tax our liver and digestive systems.

Start every morning with a mug of hot water with a squeeze of lemon. 
There are many benefits to this morning ritual, including the fact that it aids in digestion and detoxification of the body by stimulating the digestive system and helps loosen the toxins in the digestive tract. I love this part of the detox. I know so many people rely on coffee to jump start their day, but why not consider having hot water with lemon upon rising and waiting an hour before reaching for caffeine. I continued this ritual last year for several months, but fell out of habit when the warmer months approached. I hope to make hot water with lemon first thing in the morning a permanent part of my daily ritual starting now.

Why You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon from MindBodyGreen
Drinking Hot Water & Lemon in the Morning from

Drink plenty of water. 
We hear this all the time, right? Drinking plenty of water--aim for 64 oz. a day--to keep hydrated and facilitate your body in flushing out impurities.

Week 1: Eat ONLY vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lentils, plant-based oils and seasonings.

Week 2: Introduce fish [not shellfish], legumes, beans and gluten-free grains such as brown rice, quinoa and oats.

Week 3: Introduce eggs and organic, non-GMO soy 
[specifically, tofu and edamame as these are the most natural, unprocessed forms of soy].

So what do I want to get out of this detox action plan?
First and foremost, I want to jump start my year to healthy eating and I think this cleanse can get me to a great starting point--a cleaner body and some new eating habits. Like hot water and lemon in the morning, more green juices and green smoothies, and eating mostly vegetables throughout the day and fewer daily servings of wheat. I'm not quite in the school of thought that wheat needs to be completely eliminated from our diets, but I would like to generally eat less wheat and wheat products.

If I'm honest, I also hope to jump start some weight loss with this detox. I lost 30+ lbs. in 2010 and have kept it off, but would love to lose another 20+ lbs. Or at least lose inches in certain areas of my body. Whether that's 15, 20 or 25 lbs. from where I am now, I know when I'll get there.

How am I doing with Week 1?
Today is Day 5 and I'm feeling pretty good. The first three days were the roughest. I was hungry and cranky.. craving carbohydrates and sugar. I felt bloated and uncomfortable and quite fatigued by the end of the day, but at least I slept well! I maintained some low to moderate workouts throughout the week, which I think my digestive system welcomed as did my mental health! As many of you know, I exercise almost every day, so I needed to get out there and move for my personal sanity. By the middle of the week, I found some relief from the bloating (I'll spare you the details) and I felt as though I put the worst behind me. My body is now comfortable, although I do still fell hungry several times a day. Although.. maybe I'm not hungry but rather just craving sugar in the form of a cookie, muffin or even a bite of good bread! Those habits die hard! But after five straight days of this, I'm not wasting all that hard effort and sacrifice on a cheat so I'm sticking it out. On Monday I'll start Week 2 and be able to eat fish, legumes, and gluten free grains. The addition of protein will provide the liver with amino acids it needs to flush out more toxins.

My favorite recipes from Week 1: All of the green juices are very good, but I think I like the Cucumber-Pear Juice best. For the entrees, it's a toss up between the Creamy Broccoli Soup and the Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew. The latter tastes even better the next day!

Creamy Broccoli Soup
[see recipe link in paragraph above]
Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew
[see recipe link in paragraph above]
For recipes and more information about how the cleanse works, check out the January-February 2013 issue of Whole Living magazine on newsstands or the Whole Living website at

I also highly, highly recommend you visit Sarah Britton at her website My New Roots for tons of information on detoxing your body and living and eating clean and healthy. She offers sound advice and so many wonderful mouthwatering recipes that are super good for you. Here are some links to get you started:

Simple Detox For All from Sarah Britton at My New Roots

A New Year, A New You! Sarah B's Whole Living Detox Plan 2013

A New Year, A New You! Sarah B's Whole Living Detox Plan 2012

Have you ever treated your body to a detox before?

Have you ever given up a food or foods that you absolutely loved for an extended period of time? How did you do?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. Those two soups look really good!

    I've never tried this sort of detox -- I occasionally did a day of yoga and teas and light meals when I used to overeat. But I haven't done that in a long time since I quit engaging in that sort of binging behavior.

    Joy's Book Blog

  2. All the best with the detox Christine!

    I've never done a detox...or given up anything honestly don't think I'd make it throught the day if I did :)

  3. I've been thinking about doing a detox. Not sure I can while nursing, but I love the post and may try making some changes to my diet.

  4. I admire you for doing the detox. You are a much stronger-willed person than I am! I have to have my bit of caffeine every day! *g* Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Good luck with your detox plan -- those soups look great!

  6. This is an awesome post, Christine. I'd seen the whole living detox plan from last year and thought it sounded like a good thing to try, but as I do all the cooking in our house it's quite difficult to manage my meals separately from everyone else's. Someday I'll try this...maybe when the girls are on vacation at the grandparents' house.

    I've read that Whole Living magazine is ending as well; sorry to hear that as I quite liked it.

  7. really enjoyed your post. i agree that most of us probably eat too much of wheat products. i don't think I have a problem with gluten, but my sister does, so I have tried to reduce it a bit in my diet. Having rice or rice pasta occasionally, making a green smoothie for lunch instead of a sandwich etc. Small steps, but I do think they all help. Will be looking for a copy of this issue. Have printed both soup recipes and am looking forward to trying them. Thanks.

  8. This is a really interesting post, you gave me much to ponder. Best of luck with your detox, keep us posted on your progress.

  9. I've never done a detox before. Interesting. Does your husband do it with you?

  10. LOL You made brocoli soup look nice.
    Good luck with this! I know detoxing is hard. :( I wouldn't be able to do it, I'm too much of a picky eater.

  11. i did the same detox last year & LOVED it! i got my copy of the 2013 mag & can not wait to use the recipes this year. good luck w/ your detox.

  12. Those soups look delicious for any time, not just detox. But on that note, best of luck with that, and may you feel well at the end. Happy 2013!

  13. The soups look awesome! I'm not sure about doing the detox, but I can see that it'd be a great experiment.

  14. Best of luck and success with this, Christine. I just made baked potatoes from that nice magazine you gave me (Everyday Foods) and I don't think that was (likely) the healthiest...but it was sure good!
    I admire you eating the way you do and hope the detox goes well.

  15. Joy, The soups were really delicious. I plan to make both of them regularly.

    orannia, Thanks, it's going well. :)
    Haven't you given up Coca Cola before?

    Christina, I don't think it would be advised to do a detox while you're nursing. The idea is to eat sparse amounts of foods.. and there's very little protein and carbohydrates in the first week. I don't think it would be good for the energy you need to sustain your energy levels AND produce milk. I would wait until the baby is at least a year old or weaned. But like you said, just making some changes to your diet along the lines of this clean eating plan can make a positive difference in helping your body function more healthfully and efficiently!

    Brandy, Those first several days were tough! I don't know where I found the will power to resist my regular foods. I almost cried when my husband brewed some coffee shortly after my daughter baked brownies. It was torture!

    jamaThanks! It's going really well so far!

    Too Fond Thanks, Beth. I'm in the same boat. I do all the food shopping, prep and cooking in my house, too, so it was really difficult come dinner time to be making yummy chicken and pasta or steak and potatoes for them and then broccoli soup for me. But I managed to get through it. I munched on some nuts while I cooked their food, which helped keep me from sampling their food.

    Heather Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post. I was afraid I was rambling and there was too much me, me, me but I didn't know how else to share this plan without sharing why and how I was doing it. Anyway, I'm the same as you.. no obvious problems with gluten but trying to reduce it in my diet. I'm going to try very hard to limit my servings of wheat to two a day when I'm finished with this plan. Two servings doesn't go far, either.. one slice of bread and 1/2 cup pasta and you're done! I hope you like the soups! :)

    (Diane) bookchickdi Thanks! I hope to post an update on Saturday with a recipe or two. :)

    Angela My husband does not do the detox with me. I don't think he buys into the science of it or its benefit to the body as much as I do. Regardless, he's very supportive and encouraging me to stick it out the full 21 days. But If he ever did do this plan, he'd make it look SO easy because he has the most incredible will power of anyone I know!

    Alex Broccoli soup IS nice! :P

    Cindy Liebel Hi! Thanks so much for visiting over here from Instagram! :) Last year was my first time doing a detox plan like this. The magazine does a really great job with the plan and the recipes. I'm sad this is the last one they'll be doing! Unless MS Living magazine picks up the tradition and does it for 2014. Should be interesting to see where they go with it.

    Cecelia Exactly! The soups are definitely keeper recipes. Thanks for the good luck wishes. Happy 2013 to you, too! :)

    Beth F The soups are indeed awesome! Great to have in your repertoire if you have vegan friends. They'd love them.

    PierceThank you! I'm so happy you're enjoying the magazine. So sorry they've cancelled the magazine. Did you get the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of Living? You should have. Let me know if you haven't.

  16. Hi! thanks for chronicling your progress with the 2013 Action Plan. This is my first detox ever, but saw the need for it in my life, and found the food-based detox appealing and (what I thought) relatively easy. I'm learning a lot about the foods that I eat everyday, including Tabolui which i never knew was made with Bulger wheat. So, needless to say, I ate wheat on my 3rd into the first week. Not sure how this will affect my overall detox, but i don't plan on eating any more- any tips to maybe make-up for my bulgur slip?

  17. Rita Miller Hi! Thanks so much for visiting!
    As challenging as this eating plan is, I think it is one of the easiest ones out there because it is food based. I really like the progression of the plan.. restricting foods to only the most nutritious and gentle to your body and then gradually adding other equally nutritious foods back into your diet as your body adjusts to the super clean eating. In the end, we're left with a diet that should be consistent with every day healthy eating. It just makes so much sense.

    As far as your slip on day 3 eating Bulger wheat, I suggest you don't fret about it and just keep going with the detox plan. If you had already been following all the other rules for the first two days and then all the days subsequently, it's really just a minor blip in the radar. If you feel really guilty about it, maybe extend your week one restrictions one more day. If it were me, I'd just keep going.

    You may also want visit Sarah Britton's website My New Roots (she helped devise the plan and most of the recipes for Week 1) and read her post from last year's detox for a lot of great information that wasn't clearly outlined in the magazine. Be sure to read through the comments--a lot of people asked questions about the first week of the detox and Sarah answered most of them. I'm pretty sure someone asked the same question you did about accidentally slipping one day.

    Good luck! :)


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