Dear Diary: Standard Process 21-Day Cleanse

I just finished a cleanse and I'm here to share my experience with the world, or the two of you reading this. Haha. As you might know from other posts, my mom has a skincare studio in Half Moon Bay. I blog about my mom a lot, don't I? She is a strong believer in the link between food and skin, and every three months a group of her clients do this 21-day cleanse together under the guidance of her doctor.  We have a private Facebook group and a weekly potluck to try other people's food and it's really cool.  Whether or not you "believe" in cleansing for detox purposes, there are other outcomes that you will learn about if you keep reading.

Sauteed brussel sprouts with lentils

The program uses Standard Process shakes and supplements, and for the first 10 days you only eat veggies, and from days 11-21 you can have chicken and fish. The whole time you can have 1/2 cup of lentils or brown or wild rice as well. So this is a very easy program, not especially restrictive. I truly never had a craving or hunger issues.

Spinach, carrot and apple with miso dressing

So here's my cleanse diary, and all the pictures are my favorite foods that I had during the program.  Be sure to read to the end about my results and thoughts after the 21 days!

Roasted broccoli and cauliflower

Day 1-3:  Surprisingly I'm not hungry but feeling tired and napping when I can.  I feel like I'm sweating A LOT, and peeing a lot for that matter. On day 3 I was kinda pissy because after a long day working on my feet I couldn't get a chai or iced coffee on the way home, and I couldn't go out to dinner with my family, or make a yummy dessert. I know this is where my issues lie, but it FEELS like life without treats is pointless and depressing. 

Seaweed salad from Costco

Day 4-7: Feeling a lot more energetc.  No longer feeling resentful about the things I can't have. Roasted kale and sweet potatoes with sriracha are my favorite things these days.  A little discouraged that I have so far to go in the grand scheme of things. Just going to keep plugging away... I am now one of those annoying people that thinks a cup of green tea is a treat, but that is my reality now!

Roasted sweet potatoes, kale, onion and brussel sprouts

Day 8: I'm finding it harder to resist things today. Although I have made some good soups, and my new go-to meal is a green salad with kalamata olives, avocado and sometimes mango!

Greens with balsamic dressing, kalamata olives, avocado and mango

Day 9-11:  I have SO MUCH energy now, especially considering that I had long busy days. And I'm even staying strong when I'm cooking things like homemade pizza crust and lasagne for the rest of the family.

Broccoli and Carrot Ribbons with Peanut Sauce

Day 12-16:  Since I started eating protein again on day 11, I've been having mixed feelings about it. I had been feeling so good without meat that I didn't really want to start. But I also had some tired moments and I know it's because I needed more protein (or because I was fighting of a cold). Then I had this realization on Day 14 that I'm afraid of going back to my old low-carb lifestyle and overeating meat, so my instinct is telling me to steer clear of meat (for now). It helped me make a plan for after the cleanse that  going to eat mostly eggs, fish, beans and cheese for protein - we'll see how that goes!

Pan fried wild cod over vegetable soup puree

Day 17:  Today was noteworthy because my family went to Monterey and I didn't partake in our favorite treats there- clam chowder and Ghiradelli!!  And it wasn't even hard. Normally I would have wanted a coffee drink to take on our beach trail walk and it was easy to skip it. If there was a day that I could really fall off the wagon, today was it - success!  It helps that I have been feeling better, slimmer, the last few days, and looking at skinny pictures from my not-so-distant  past. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Southwest salad with cumin and chili seasoned lentils, cilantro and avocado dressing

Day 18:  I'm super tired today. I'm probably not eating enough but I'm not hungry.

Sweet potato "nachos"

Day 19-21: These last days I'm really slacking on my supplements and only having 1 shake or less a day. I'm kind of unexcited by food and feeling the inconvenience of prepping all my meals (as opposed to just pouring a bowl of cereal or heating up a burrito) and preparing meals separate from the family. But at the same time I'm noticing the positive changes and want to keep my new habits going. And I'm not craving anything so that's great.

Roasted summer squash with warm hard boiled eggs and aioli

Post Cleanse:  Well I lost 14 pounds, but I'm not celebrating too much because I have more to lose. But my husband is very sweet and pointed out that 14 pounds is like picking up a case of water - it's a lot of weight!  Both (older) kids asked me if I can "eat dessert" and "eat whatever" now and the answer was no, I'm still trying to lose weight. I think that's why I'm not excited to have finished the cleanse (but I am proud!), because it's not really over for me. Not much will change, except that I can have some feta or chèvre on my salads and roast veggies!

Pan fried salmon with napa cabbage and miso dressing

The more noteworthy changes I went through is learning not to use food as a treat, and not snack at night.  But my favorite byproduct from the cleanse is something Vicky Cruz, the chiro who runs the program, calls "reset". It comes in many forms but this is how it happened for me:  I have this new appreciation for foods that I used to take for granted. When you strip your diet down to just veggies for 10 days, afterwards you really savor nuts and cheeses and dark chocolate in a way that you hadn't before. I know I will lose it again at some point, hopefully a long ways down the road, when I inevitably numb my taste buds with  processed foods and sugar. You see, I believe in this clean lifestyle, a grain-free or at least gluten-free diet,  easy on the meat and dairy... but I'm a realist and I have 3 kids who like noodles and bread and have busy schedules that sometimes leaves me unprepared and ordering a pizza. And I like love LOVE pizza, so while I'm going to commit to this way of eating 95% of the time, I'm not kidding myself that I'm never going to eat pizza, or French fries or birthday cake again. That's why I think it's important to do a cleanse like this every so often to RESET your tastes and put your habits in check so that you don't get too far off course. So if you don't believe in the need to detox, this whole RESET idea is another reason to do a cleanse like this.

Sweet Potato hash browns with a fried egg

I'd love to hear your experiences or thoughts on cleansing. I have tried the Master Cleanse (lemonade diet) twice and can't get past the headaches from caffeine withdrawl. I've also tried juicing for a week but I didn't know what I was doing (I wasnt taking any fiber supplements to help the toxins out) and had some adrenal fatigue issues.  It helps to be on a legit program, that's for sure!

From the potluck, ground turkey lettuce cups with cabbage, guacamole & nectarine salsa
Zucchini ribbons marinara
Chicken sesame stir fry
Are you hungry yet?



  1. Hi! I am on day 5 of my cleanse, and happened upon your blog via pinterest. I was wondering about some of the stuff in your pictures - I was told no dairy. Is there a lump of sour cream there or is there a way to "fake" it? I WOULD LOVE SOME FAKE SOUR CREAM RIGHT ABOUT NOW. ok sorry. Yesterday was Father's Day so I was surrounded by temptation - beer, banana cream pie, chocolate cake, rice, barbeque, etc.... I didn't break, but I'm determined to find new ways to make stuff... so any tips?

    1. Hi there! It's not fake, that is the real deal - full fat sour cream. But this was in the last days of the cleanse, and that was probably the only time I had dairy. My other cheat was a cup of black coffee each morning. I get severe caffeine withdrawl headaches and I knew I wouldn't make it through. You can do it!! I need to do it again.

  2. Hi there! I too have stumbled upon this post during the Cleanse. I attempted to make lentils and they came out a mushy mess - any suggestions? (Yours look great!)

    1. They are from Trader Joes, pre-cooked and vacuumed sealed in the cold case!

  3. Hi I start the cleanse on Tuesday once our cleanse kit comes in. Where did you get the great recipes? I saw the guide for the kit but there weren't a lot of recipes. Also , did you say that you can have the lentil soup even in the first 10 days? I was told after day 10.

  4. Hi, I start the cleanse on Tuesday once my kit comes in. Where did you get all the great recipes? The guide doesn't have a lot. Also, did you say we can have lentils from the beginning of the cleanse? I was told after 10...


Comments are very much appreciated!