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In effort to feel (and be) a bit healthier, I have embarked on a cleanse. It’s a three week cleanse and it’s based on the anti-inflammatory diet (an elimination diet that requires you leave inflammatory foods like dairy, wheat, sugar, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, red meat, processed foods and rice by the wayside.) In addition, I drink a nutritional supplement powder recommended by my Naturopath, called ClearVite. (It works to help your liver detox while feeding your body vitamins, minerals, fiber and good gut bacteria.)

You should know — I’m NOT a diet girl. Never have been, never will be. I don’t believe in diets because they set you up for failure and because I love food. Not in an overeater kind of way but in an appreciation for life, sharing meals with friends and family and discovering new flavors kind of way. Food, of course, is a passion of mine.  I write about it, I review it, I cook it, explore it, share it and obviously eat it. I can remember meals that shifted my world: the first bowl of Pho; the first bite of Kitfo; noshing on baquette, cheese and grapes in the shade of the Eiffel Tower in Paris; the orgasmically satisfying chevre marinated in herbs d’ provence I had for dessert in a Bistro in Avignon that was so startlingly flavorful it flushed my cheeks and left me unable to finish more than two bites and gnocchi in Sienna that melted like butter in my mouth found in a tiny mom and pop joint. These were unforgettable meals and unforgettable times.

So, while I am excited about having more energy and improved digestion (and a revved up metabolism to boot) as a result of this cleanse, I must tell you that hell on earth for any foodie worth their Fleur de Sel, is a cleanse. Just the idea that ANY food is off limits to your discerning palate can instantly throw one headlong into panicked cravings. I am proud to say, I am no exception.

But I am resolved to see this cleanse through to the end and in a show of support, my hubby has joined me in the deprivation. But of course, if you have to be deprived, you know you have to do it in style. I’m looking at this cleanse as a challenge of my culinary skills. Working to consistently design meal combinations that provide the nutritional heft (read veggie and fiber rich), exquisitely delicious and filling, sans the carbs is a bit more difficult than you might think. Especially when chocolate is your ultimate weakness. But onward and upward.

The first three days were extremely difficult. As with most cleanses, we battled mood swings, cravings, constant hung pangs and various aches and pains. Today, I am on the first day of Week 2, getting the hang of my new food routine and how to manage all the other issues that are a result of toxins being released and working their way out of my system.

Here in photos, is a sampling of the what we’ve been eating at Groo-V household:

It’s gonna be alright — we have figs!

Salmon in broth with fennel tops and french green beans,
topped with spring pea, watercress and mint puree.

Sauteing mirepoix for 17 bean stew

Swordfish with walnut pesto and ribollita

Homemade mayo (red wine vinegar instead of lemon) for tuna salad, salad

Broiled chicken with mushrooms, smashed yam topped with

walnuts and spinach in olive oil and garlic