by Holly on February 11, 2013

in detoxing,gluten-free,recipes,reviews,vegan

We all know what happened last time I tried to complete a cleanse.


Let’s just say it was quickly interrupted with a buffet of reuben egg rolls, a vegetable antipasto platter and several beers (photo evidence here). Cleanses and myself…well, we really don’t get along with one another too well. I like to eat. I like to eat well. And I like to eat what I want.

However, I am also a total sucker. Sometimes the promises made by cleanses are just too damn alluring for me to ignore. Brighter skin! Improved mood! Better digestion! Increased energy! Higher libido (hubba, hubba)! More mental alertness! Yes to (d) all of the above – I want to be a glowing, optimistic, flat-abbed, energetic, sexual goddess of the WORLD! Give it to me cleanse!!!!

So I agree to a cleanse, and the reuben egg roll syndrome starts all over again. Wah wah.


However, this time was different.

When Jo and Jules, the creators of The Conscious Cleanse, reached out to me to help them promote their program, I was skeptical at first. Another cleanse? Geez, I don’t know about that. But once I discovered that this is a 100% REAL food cleanse, I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed. ¬†Their mission is to help you find your personal best – in mind, body AND spirit – using the power of real foods, and that seemed like a mission I could get on board with. So another cleanse it was!

For about two full weeks, here is what I had to do:

  • Eliminate certain foods¬†including chocolate, corn, dairy, eggs, grapefruit + oranges, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers), peanuts, shellfish, soy, squash + sweet potatoes, strawberries, sugar, wheat + gluten products and yeast.
  • Eliminate certain beverages including alcohol and caffeine (<- yes, including coffee!).
  • Follow food combining rules, which essentially suggested eating vegetables with protein or grains but not protein and grains together. Also, fruit is to be eaten in a smoothie or by itself on an empty stomach.
  • Complete daily exercise, which focused on self-care and included activities like decluttering my space, journaling and waking up early to take extra “me” time.

If you are freaked out by that ^^ above list ^^, it’s okay. I was too.


But those two weeks were really eye-opening!

I ate a lot of beans and brown rice. I made more smoothies in those two weeks than I had made in the past year. I bought obnoxious amounts of kale, which made even the hippies at my local co-op give me strange looks. I felt lethargic at time. I felt good at times. I suffered from major headaches as I weaned off coffee. I exercised modestly (mostly yoga). I didn’t follow the food combining rules perfectly + slipped up several days. I happily consumed lots of warm lemon water.

Honestly, I didn’t get the euphoric goddess of the world effects as I had hoped. However, I did notice my bloating go down significantly (like, really significantly) and saw abdominal muscles that I hadn’t seen since most likely elementary school. I prepared all my own food at home, saving me time and money (which would have gone to eating out), and just generally making me feel better.

The best part of the cleanse is that Jo + Jules encourage you to slowly reintroduce foods to gauge your food sensitivities. What I had never taken the time to notice is that my body does fine with gluten, dairy, corn and coffee but does not like sugar or soy. When I reintroduced sugar (via a slice of zucchini bread from a co-worker), my stomach immediately started churning and didn’t stop for eight hours later. The same thing happened after a handful of gummy bears too.

Will I still eat these things? Of course.

But will I be more cognizant of how much and how often I eat these things? Absolutely.

And that for me, is the perfect level of food consciousness.


Conscious Cleanse Kale Salad with Avocado, Cherries and Pecans
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 head lacinato or curly kale
1/3 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sugar-free dried cherries (or make them yourself using this method)
1 avocado, diced

Lemon Tahini Dressing
1 heaping T tahini
2 T lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 t dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt + pepper, to taste

Tear kale into bite-sized pieces, removing stem. Place in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over the kale, and mix well. I suggest, if you don’t mind getting messy, tossing and massaging the salad with your hands, ensuring the dressing is well-coated onto each leaf. Add pecans, cherries and avocado, and toss gently.

Makes 1 Everythingtarian-sized serving, 2 generous servings or 4 small appetizer servings


The Conscious Cleanse is offering Everythingtarian readers 20% off using the code RFCC912. The next cleanse starts April 14th, so mark your calendars!

[I received the Conscious Cleanse free of charge to review. All opinions are my own.]


Andrea@WellnessNotes February 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Great review, Holly!

I’m really glad I did the Conscious Cleanse and am actually still pretty much following it. My stomach feels so much better, and the cleanse made pay attention to what I put into my body and how it makes me feel.

I was actually laughing when I read the list of things we couldn’t eat – it sounds so much harder than it actually is!

Amber@Sleep.Eat.Heal February 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Good for you for sticking to it. That is the hardest part as you body starts to detox then people jump off the wagon so to speak.

Teri [a foodie stays fit] February 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

that salad looks awesome!

i like that the program allows people to discover food sensitivities!

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance February 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m definitely one that looks at everything I’d have to give up, and say never mind. lol. You make it sound so easy! I do think it’s fantastic that by re-introducing foods in a certain way, you can figure out intolerances. And the kale salad recipe looks delicious! Did you exercise (like strength train, run, etc.) while on the cleanse? Or were you instructed not to, and just do the self-care exercises that you mentioned?

Hillary February 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

No chocolate, dairy, eggs, peanuts, or sweet potatoes? Or coffee? Those are, like, my major food groups. (Kidding! Kind of…)

I’ve wanted to at least start cutting sugar out, or at least cut DOWN on my sugar intake. I had a lot of sugar last week (birthdays for everyone!), and I felt like CRAP by the weekend. I am fully aware of how sugar (in excess) affects my body, but sometimes you just gotta eat the homemade carrot cake, you know?

Props to you for getting through this. I don’t know if I have the will power!

Clair February 12, 2013 at 6:56 am

I did a program like this and only lasted about a week. I just generally eat so heathily that I couldn’t give up my pet indulgences, like coffee. And I don’t really drink a lot, but it just felt like such a bummer when social events coincided with the cleanse.

I think what I like about the sound of this though, is getting in touch with what you react to. I know for a fact that dairy is a problem for me, but maybe I should cycle in-and-out some of those other foods as well to test my response.

Alex February 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

Dangit Holly. I just bought the book…. you had to mention abs.

Abby February 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Great review! I tip toe on the edge of wanting to do a cleanse, I think I could manage this one for few days.

Mackenzie February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm

the thought of a world without eggs and bagels is enough to make me weep, but this looks like a really nice, non-psychotic way of cleansing. you might have convinced the queen of egg sammiches over here….for now ;)

Julie / Bound February 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

The de-puffing is what draws me in…and the kale/avocado combination. That’s a powerful one-two punch of amazingness. Congrats to you for sticking with this.

Caroline L. February 12, 2013 at 11:35 pm

I definitely need this in my life – I’ve been way too much crap into my body lately and it’s not cutting it. Changes, changes!!

Also, really off topic – but I’ve been browsing through your archives & really love a lot of the fonts that you use. Do you recommend any specific website to find them or are they all totally random and collected over time?

Mary Anne February 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

Don’t you think that you felt lethargic because of the lack of caffeine? I started the Conscious Cleanse already ahead of the curve ball as I don’t drink any caffeine and consume only small amounts of sugar. A crazy schedule played havoc with meals, so I didn’t get as far as I would have liked too. So, I’m starting again in April. Hopefully, I’ll get thru it this time.

Jill February 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Hi Holly, I have the ebook and am reading the entire book first. I really like this because I have a huge issue of out of control late night eating + eating same things daily. Issue is that I’m kinda underweight and I’m also NOT a fan of grains and beans…thoughts? Did you follow the meal plans? I’d like STRUCTURE so I was going to follow them…but the smoothies intimidate me…like ONE smoothie has a LOT of fruit and …4 cups in one serving…yipes..seems like so much. But if I cut it in half, then I lose cals…confused. Hope to hear from ya thanks…
(I really need to cleanse my body…but not lose weight…but fix this constipation).

Joelle (on a pink typewriter) February 15, 2013 at 8:05 am

I think that’s really interesting about the good combining. I’ve heard about that before, but always brushed it off as a bunch of baloney. I eat fruit with EVERYTHING, but maybe I should pay more attention now.

Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) February 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I gave up caffeine for 26 days in January. I felt horrible, awful, and sick for the first 7 days and felt wonderful, energetic, and rearing to go for the following 19. And then I decided that I love coffee too much and am now back to my coffee drinking (normal) ways. ;) That being said, I do think it’s interesting to find what the body likes and doesn’t like. Being aware (ahem…conscious!) is such an eye opening experience. :D

Nicole February 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I’ve been buying the big bag of Kale at Costco and can easily go through 1-2 a week. As I was trying to exit last weekend and had to stop to have my purchase inspected, the employee asked, “Do you own a guinea pig or can one person really eat that much kale?” I was not really amused.

janetha February 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I want to do this!

Claire February 20, 2013 at 8:36 am

Holly! Can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Your photography is amazing! Do you have any posts related to photography i.e. tips, what you use, etc… If not you should totally consider it whenever you find the time! Have a kick ass Wednesday! :D

Sylvie Flores February 23, 2013 at 9:54 am

So glad that I stumbled across your blog, thanks to your avocado salad dressing posted on the Ladies’ Home Journal.
I love your honesty and attitude, and the humour in your writing, it’s so refreshing! I’m sending this to several friends and my daughter who has an all or nothing approach to everything, which is not working out so well for her.
I haven’t heard anyone talk about food combining for years. I was a very strict vegetarian food combiner back in the late eighty’s. It was a difficult lifestyle to maintain ALL the time. They say that when the pendulum swings far in one direction, on it’s return trip it will swing just as far in the opposite direction. So over the years, It has been a challenge to find a balance in the world of exercise and eating. I am very inspired to check out this cleanse.
Thank you!
P.S. when I was a vegetarian food combiner I did not need to use deodorant. With no one around me saying any different, I’m sticking to my story! :-)
P.S.S. the bit about my daughter, I have NO idea who she gets that from! :-D

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