Last month, I decided it was time for a much-needed health overhaul. Five years of taking anti-inflammatories and painkillers for various ailments had wreaked havoc on my digestive system. Debilitating bouts of pain meant long periods of inactivity. Long hours working at my computer and lack of sleep led to relying on caffeine or sweets for a quick pick me up. On top of that, I live in Paris, where delicious food is synonymous with a good life, and a glass of champagne, cheese or a warm pain au chocolat are never far out of reach. As a result, I’d often feel exhausted, bloated, and moody — not to mention the extra kilos I’d piled on. My body was in dire need of a reset.
Friends in the health and wellness industry suggested that changing to a gluten-free or vegan diet for a while may help combat the chronic inflammation in my body. Fed up with taking drugs, I liked the idea. But, how was I going to incorporate eliminating so many things from my diet with a busy schedule and feeding my meat-bread-and-cheese-loving husband and kids? I decided it was time to outsource.
After researching different options, I zeroed in on Pure Delight, because they offer not only a variety of fruit and vegetable juice detoxes but also soups, clean food, and healthy snacks. And here’s the clincher — they deliver the products fresh to your home. No meal planning, shopping or calorie counting! After a relaxing summer holiday in Chicago (eating and drinking way too much with family and friends) I had stopped taking anti-inflammatories—it was time for that cleanse.
Delicious and nutritious fresh meals delivered to my home
“Eating Clean” means that you eat 100% natural, 100% vegan and 100% gluten-free foods, which are untreated and unprocessed and as close to their original state as possible. This ticked many of the boxes I was looking for, so I signed up for a 5-day Eat Clean program, which includes 3 balanced meals, 1 juice, and a snack (totalling 1,000 to 1,400 kcal) per day.
On Day One, a courier delivered two bags, each containing one bottle of juice and three chic mason jars labeled Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner to feed me for two days. On Day 3, I received the remaining three days of meals. This was not what you would imagine to be “detox” or “diet” food. They were light, but rich in flavor, with unexpected blends of spices, seasonings, and textures to tantalize the taste buds.
For example, a daily menu could include Chia Pudding with Plum Puree spiced with cinnamon and ginger for breakfast, a Mexican Salad (carrots, mango, radish, coriander, onions, peas, avocados, pineapple, lemon juice, agave syrup, and cayenne pepper) or a Smoked Veggie and Lentil Bowl with beets and smoked tofu for lunch. Dinner would be an Oriental Lentil Stew with lentils, carrots, celery, pomegranate, and cashews or — my favorite — an Ayurvedic Vegetable Curry with sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, carrots, and red onions.
Each day I also had a colorful and nutritious bottle of cold-pressed juice, such as Pink (with beetroot, carrot, apple, orange, pear, lemon, and ginger), or Pure Veggie Green (cucumber, fennel, spinach, lemon, celery, and parsley). The juices — which you’re encouraged to sip slowly, even “chew” — made a perfect afternoon snack.
The experience of eating clean
The first two days were not tough. But, by the third day, I started feeling very hungry in between meals. I found that drinking lots of water (it’s recommended to drink two liters a day during the cleanse) helped to quell the hunger. Making a jug of fruit or veggie-infused water each day provided a delicious alternative to drinking plain water.
One of the hardest things was cooking for my kids and husband, then opening my little mason jars of food to feed myself. Sharing meals are also about being social and spending time with family. That’s why I planned to embark on this during a week when I had no parties, work events, travel, lunch or dinner appointments.
So, did it work? Yes, because I (mostly) stuck to the program. This included cutting out caffeine, alcohol (not difficult, as I’m not a big drinker), drinking lots of water and scheduling in light exercise. I did sneak in a few carrot sticks when I felt super hungry!
After five days of eating clean, I felt more energetic, my bloating had disappeared, my skin was glowing, and I had lost 3 kilograms.
I wasn’t interested in a quick-fix yo-yo diet. Rather, I was looking for a way to introduce healthier eating habits with results that could last. And that’s exactly what I found — this cleanse was a way to “reset” my body and try a new way of eating that might eventually help remedy my different ailments from the inside out.
The cost for this 5-day cleanse was 211 Euros, or roughly 42 Euros a day, which I think is a good value considering it includes all your meals prepared for the week, conveniently delivered to your doorstep. And you even keep the nice glass jars to store food in after.
Is it sustainable?
Let’s be honest: this type of cleanse gets you results without feeling miserable, but there is a reason that people do these for a limited period of time. As with any cleanse, detox or diet program, the results and how long they will last depend on your goals, as well as your regular eating habits and lifestyle. If you go on a cleanse and then go back to a sedentary lifestyle and a regular regime of alcohol, fast food, and buttery pastries, the results won’t last very long.
One month later, I’m still down 3 kgs and my metabolism is humming along, because I’ve committed to exercising more regularly and I’m trying to follow the principles of clean eating as much as I can.
The cleanse was exactly what I needed to get rid of some toxins, boost my metabolism, and drop a few stubborn kilos without starving myself. In fact, I find myself craving some of the delicious clean meals I tried during the cleanse, so I’m cooking variations of them at home for my family — chia puddings, quinoa salads, and more vegetarian dishes like tofu and veggie curry and lentil stew.
But, I am an American-born Chinese woman living in France with two growing boys to feed. I enjoy my occasional steak, dim sum and stir-fries, a glass (or two) of champagne, the occasional French macaron, and eating out with family and friends. So, I figure I’ll follow the rule I learned years ago from a nutritionist to strike a balance: be good during the week, and I can afford to splurge a little on the weekends or when going out. And, when I feel the need to hit the “reset” button on my body again, I’ll be happy to try another cleanse.