21-Day Cleanse Access
Welcome! It’s time to fall in love with tasty plant-based snacks, meals and smoothies to help you lose weight, gain energy, and boost your immune system. Now, are you ready to rawk?!
In spring, the days grow longer and the air gets warmer. Plants move out of their winter dormancy, begin to sprout and put forth buds and fresh leaves. Apricots, cherries, peas, squash, strawberries, chard and many herbs are plentiful.
As you go through on this incredible cleanse journey, keep these 3 things in mind:
1. TRUST THE PROCESS
All meals are nutrient-rich and therefore give back to the body, to balance blood sugar and keep your energy at a steady flow. Rather than focus on calories or points, we focus on having good quality protein, healthy fats and loads of vegetables and fruit to get all the goodness that you need.
Think if the cleanse like a plant-based whole food cooking class you’re doing for 21 days. There’s always a learning curve when it comes to doing something new, yet trust the process. You will literally eat your way through a cleanse. By the end you’ll have so much confidence in the kitchen and learn a whole new way of eating that makes you feel amazing!
2. Listen to Your Body
Throughout the cleanse, I want you to really listen to your body. When you’re tired, rest. When you’re hungry, have a snack or tall glass of water (often times, “hunger” is actually dehydration in disguise.) If the meals are too large, eat less. if you don’t need the snack, skip it. Adjust this to work for YOU. For most people, the program works great as is. So start there and adjust only if needed.
3. Embrace Progress over Perfection
There are days when you’re gonna feel stretched thin and sticking with the cleanse plan might be too much. Do the best you can and let the rest go. If all you can do is a cleanse smoothie and snack— that’s okay. Just keep going. You’re still doing great and should be proud of yourself for making progress when it comes to eating better.
Download your weekly nutrition plan below to shop, prep and cleanse with plant-based recipes.
Week 1: Clean your plate
Let’s sweep out all your old ingrained ideas about how your meals should look and most importantly, how it should make you feel.
Week 2: Detox with Love
You’ll be replacing legumes and grains with easy-to-digest plants and detoxifying herbs to ramp up the cleanse.
Week 3: Embrace the Lifestyle
For the last week of the cleanse, we want to drill in the fact that eating plant-based whole foods can help you fuel your passions.
The following articles are here to help you throughout the cleanse. Use them as needed to explain what’s going on, help you shop and also deal with withdrawals.
While cleansing, embrace all the plant-based whole foods below to have an amazing transformation. If you have allergies or unable to get any of these items, refer to the Swap Guide for substitutes.
Coconut Water 🥥 is often considered nature’s Gatorade, providing essential electrolytes to hydrate from the inside out. If you don’t love the taste, feel free to dilute it with water.
Fresh Herbs 🌱 especially cilantro, are know for it’s detoxifying abilities, particularly chelating heavy metals. Mint is wonderful for bloating and relaxation.
Fruit 🫐 is a wonderful natural sweetener and contains fiber, which helps slow down the absorption of the sugar into your bloodstream. Fruit contains essential vitamins, minerals and supports hydration.
Ginger 💛 is an inflammation fighter, brings warmth and energy to the digestive system and calms the stomach.
Gluten-Free Grains 🌾 s (quinoa, rolled oats, brown rice) are rich sources of dietary fiber, which benefits the digestive system and can reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Healthy Fats ⭐️ are used by the body as a source of fuel to stimulate metabolism and also help your body absorb all the awesome nutrients you’re consuming.
Leafy Greens 🥬 contain phytonutrients and fiber that are great for digestion. They also help cleanse your body and keep your liver happy and healthy.
Legumes 🥣 (beans, lentils, etc.) are a great source of plant-based protein and complex carbohydrates. Incorporating legumes into a healthy diet can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate and other heart disease and diabetes risks.
Nuts & Seeds 🥜 are high in protein, healthy fats, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Vegetables 🥕 are packed with fiber, low in sugar and contain essential vitamins and minerals. They taste great seasoned with herbs, spices and sauces.
This cleanse gives you the opportunity to avoid foods that may trigger sensitivities and inflammation. We’ve compiled a list of these items and explained why they are not invited to the cleanse. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to give them up forever. A cup of coffee, glass of wine or occasional cookie can really turn a day around. Yet if we’re being real with ourselves, we probably use them almost daily. During these 21 days, you’ll be able to tap into your body’s deeper needs and tackle cravings, fatigue and stress with healthier options we provide each day.
Alcohol 🍷 can wreak havoc on your body’s natural blood sugar regulation, which stimulates cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. It can also interfere with nutrient absorption and be toxic to the liver.
Bad Fats 🧈 like trans fats, hydrogenated fats and oxidized fats damage our cells, cause inflammation, contribute to cardiovascular damage and create a more acidic environment in the body. Good news, there’s plenty of good fats out there. Our favorites are nuts, seeds, avocados, coconuts, coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil.
Caffeine ☕️ is highly acidic, interferes with sleep, stresses adrenal glands and pillages nutrient stores. On top of all this, it gives us a false sense of energy and can irritate the nervous system and gut. Additionally, sodas contain artificial additives and sweeteners (even the diet varieties) that are toxic to the brain. The phosphoric acid erodes tooth enamel and promotes bone loss.
Dairy 🥛 is highly acidic and can be quite difficult to digest. It can also contribute to excess mucus formation in the body. Replace dairy with unsweetened almond milk, rice milk, oat milk or any other nut or seed milk. Be sure to check the label for sugar, oils and other additives and avoid them.
Gluten 🥐 creates a sticky substance in the gut, taking significantly more energy to digest. The word “gluten” comes from the Latin term for “glue” and is a protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains.
Highly-Processed Soy 🚫 can interfere with nutrient absorption and leach nutrients from your body. Stay away from faux meats that are packed with sodium and variety of chemicals to create a meat substitute. Minimally processed soy, like miso, edamame and tamari, in small amounts, are cleanse-approved and can be used during the cleanse.
Meat 🍗 can take up to four days to get through your digestive system and cause acne. We want fast-moving, easily-digested food for this cleanse! If you’re struggling immensely without meat, you can add a hard-boiled egg or salmon to a meal.
Processed Foods 🍟 offer close to zero nutrients and often contain damaging chemicals and artificial substances. These packaged items also suck nutrients from our bones, our cells and our entire system due to their acidity. They also place a huge burden on our liver and kidneys (which are responsible for breaking down chemicals), making it harder for our bodies to function properly.
Refined Sugar 🍭 is extracted from the sugar cane or sugar beet in a process that leaves you with a nutritionally-void sweetener. Refined sugar is acidic and leaches nutrients from our bodies, highly addictive and can contribute to mood problems, weight gain and tooth decay. It also leads to spikes in our blood sugar, giving us false “highs,” followed by crashes in energy that leave us more tired than we were to begin with. If you decide to reintroduce these items after the cleanse, we suggest doing it in small doses, and one at a time, to see how your body reacts.
We advise following the recipes as close as possible to get the best results. Use this list to swap out ingredient that you’re allergic to, just don’t like or unable to find.
Almonds: cashews, walnuts, pecans
Almond butter: cashew butter, sunflower butter
Almond milk: cashew, coconut, or oat milk
Apricot: nectarine, peach
Asparagus: green beans, snow peas
Avocado: coconut oil (smoothies), nuts (salads)
Banana: avocado, peach, mango
Basil: mint, parsley, cilantro
Blueberries: cherries, raspberries, strawberries
Brown rice: white rice, quinoa, rice cauliflower
Brussels sprouts: broccoli
Cashews: macadamia nuts
Chia seeds: hemp hearts, flaxseeds
Cilantro: parsley, basil, mint
Coconut oil: avocado oil, olive oil
Coconut water: filtered water
Coconut flakes: shredded coconut
Fennel: celery (texture), fennel seeds (flavor)
Garlic: powdered garlic (½ teaspoon = 1 clove)
Ginger root: ground ginger (1 teaspoon round= 1 tablespoon fresh)
Green apple: pears
Green bell pepper: yellow or red bell pepper
Green lentils: yellow or red lentils
Hemp hearts: cashews
Leafy greens: spinach, chard, kale
Lemon: lime, grapefruit, orange
Lime: lemon, grapefruit, orange
Mango: peach, pineapple, banana
Maple syrup: honey, blackstrap molasses
Mushrooms: potatoes, tempeh, eggplant
Nectarine: peach, apricot
Olive oil: avocado oil
Orange: lemon, lime, grapefruit
Peach: nectarine, apricots, cherries
Pineapple: mango, orange
Quinoa: brown rice, riced cauliflower
Raspberries: blueberries, cherries, strawberries
Red bell pepper: yellow or green bell pepper
Red curry paste: curry powder
Rolled oats: quinoa, brown rice crisp cereal
Snow peas: asparagus, green beans
Strawberries: blueberries, cherries, raspberries
Sweet potato: gold potato
Tahini: cashew butter
Tamari: coconut aminos, soy sauce
Tomato: cherry, grape, roma
Zucchini: spaghetti squash, butternut squash
Hit the grocery store two days before you plan to start each week of the cleanse. This gives you time to find all ingredients and allows certain produce to ripen. Each week’s grocery list is calculated for one person doing the cleanse. You’ll need to modify the amounts if doing this with loved ones.
We suggest using as many organic produce items as possible while cleansing. Yet we also know how price affects our choices, too. Use the list below, compiled with the help of the Environmental Working Group’s annual report, to help you prioritize what to buy organic, when possible.
Recommend Buying Organic: Strawberries, Spinach, Kale, Peaches, Blueberries, Nectarines, Apples, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Celery, and Green Beans.
Okay to Buy Conventional: Avocado, Carrots, Pineapple, Asparagus, Onions, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Mangoes, and Sweet Potatoes.
Cutting out sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods from your day-to-day can be difficult, yet the benefits are well worth it. Over time, your body becomes reliant on these items to wake up, power through the 3pm slump or unwind at the end of the day. When you remove stimulants from your diet, you may experience some of the following symptoms.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Change In Bowel Frequency
These symptoms are completely normal and can vary in intensity. They will most likely happen around the second or third day of cleansing. When you’ve been relying on artificial energy and high processed flavors, your body isn’t going to give it up easily. To help, I recommend slowly cutting out the items on the Foods to Avoid list a few days before you start the cleanse and replace them with items on the Foods to Embrace list.
Strategies to Help the Withdrawals
Take a power nap
Use lavender oil
Eat a snack
Stretch + meditate
Sip on herbal tea
Get a massage
Symptoms should resolve themselves by day 5. Giving your body a break from stimulants allows your organs to heal and your body to recharge fully. Remember, these symptoms are proof that the cleanse is working and your body is getting the care it needs. You’ve got this!
My #1 kitchen appliance during a cleanse is my Vitamix. It makes my smoothies so creamy, their blending bowls make the best cashew cream and I can chop my onions and carrots in the food processor attachment.
Check-ins + Support
If you crave a community of like-minded women to support you on this cleanse journey and beyond, upgrade to our 90-Day Maintenance Plan in Rawk the Year.
Organic Groceries Delivered
My favorite place to shop for groceries online is ThriveMarket.com. Save 30% off your first order and discover some great healthy products, too.
There are two types of headaches that you may experience. One is from the reduction and elimination of caffeine and sugars and the other is due to the body processing the toxins that are being released by this cleanse. If you reduce and eliminate your caffeine and sugar before you begin the cleanse, the headaches will be less severe and should only last a relatively short time. Bump up your intake of anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric and ginger to see you through.
For a headache caused by the temporarily increased toxin load your body is trying to handle, help your liver flush them out by drinking plenty of water. Eat lots of vegetables and sip on herbal teas. Rest, take a walk and treat yourself with an activity you love. You’ll feel better in a day or two.
Here are suggestions to help with the headaches:
Drink at least 16 ounces of water upon rising
Place peppermint oil on your temples, wrists or under your nose (food grade organic)
Drink some ginger tea and take a power nap
Nothing relieves a caffeine headache except caffeine, so you just need to try to sleep it off when you can. This is why it’s best to cut down the caffeine gradually prior to the cleanse. Other detox headaches will come and go. When it comes down to it, you may just have to tough it out.
This cleanse is not designed to starve you and you’re not limited in the number of times you eat, or the amount you eat – only in what you eat. Use the meal plan for structure, yet eat more if needed! If you do get hunger pangs, make sure that you’re really hungry and not just bored or thirsty. If it’s a case of real hunger, go for one of the snack recipes, a piece of fruit, or a small handful of nuts or seeds. One tip to avoid hunger is to chew your green smoothie. This may sound silly, but the chewing action signals your body that food is on the way and triggers the digestive processes.
Bloating may be expected as part of the detox program, but should only last a short time. Our digestive systems these days are not in wonderful shape a lot of the time, so cleansing can certainly highlight issues that have been going on but haven’t been as noticeable until now due to a prolonged diet of processed foods. Detoxing has a lovely way of bringing all this to the surface.
Bloating is caused by a host of reasons. You may be intolerant to a particular food, you may not be used to so much fiber, you may have low stomach acid, or another underlying digestive disorder. If you consume a lot of coffee, then the caffeine has been stimulating your bowel movements rather than natural peristalsis. If you’re experiencing bloating (and by bloating I mean a physically larger stomach that feels distended and tight along with possible discomfort), consult with your doctor.
Here are some general suggestions:
Turmeric Tea helps to increase the release of stomach acid which aids digestion. Sip on this 10–15 minutes before a meal.
Dandelion Root Tea, or the combination of Chamomile Tea (from actual flowers not tea bags) and ginger root slices make a powerful detoxifying tea that aids your liver.
Probiotics can also assist with bloating. Talk to your health care provider about which ones are best.
If there’s no movement at the station, stay hydrated. Water is the liquid gold that this train runs on! Make sure that you’re eating lots of fiber, including vegetables and fruit, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados and almonds. And exercise! Physical movement may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re “plugged up,” but it will help to stimulate the peristaltic action of the colon. Yoga and tai chi are especially good activities in this case.
If you experience loose stools, it’s really important to keep your fluids up. Add a pinch of good quality sea salt and a slice of orange/lemon/lime to your drinking water to help your body absorb the minerals and electrolytes. The main thing is to keep your bowels moving and the toxins leaving.
Don’t beat yourself up about it, but get straight back on the horse. Think about what you struggled with and try to work on that area of weakness. I want you to get the most benefit from the cleanse, so try to commit as much as you can.
The meal plan and shopping list has been designed for one person. You’ll need to double the ingredients on your shopping list if a second person in your household will be joining you on the cleanse.
You can move meals around as much as you like. For example, if your avocado or pear isn’t ripe when you need it, pick a different cleanse recipe to have in it’s place.
If you want the full benefit of cleansing your body, then follow this plan to the letter. I really want you to stick with the meal plan because it’s been created by our holistic nutritionist for optimal cleansing. This is not a vacation, it’s a cleanse. So I’m showing you some tough love. Still not budging with cilantro? Can’t stand the taste of ginger? Swap it for something you do enjoy, or choose another meal.
The short answer is “no,” but the more organic foods you can include in your diet the better. Clean foods reduce the chemical and pesticide load your body is exposed to, which means that it doesn’t have to work as hard to detoxify.
Feel free to use carton coconut milk and canned coconut milk interchangeably. Make sure the coconut milk is free of carrageenan and other additives like sugars and gums, if possible.
Stevia is a plant but the product is highly refined. I’d also rather you not use agave. It’s highly refined and is not a great substitute. Honey or pure maple syrup is best.
Yes, you can definitely blend the night before. Just make sure to use an airtight lid to limit oxidation. I do this all the time! You can also make smoothie freezer packs for every smoothie in the cleanse. See the prep guide for more time saving tips.
Create a natural meal replacement smoothie by adding 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, flaxseeds, or hemp seeds. If you really feel you need a protein powder, you can use one. We suggest a plant-based powder that’s organic, very simple and clean.
Kombucha has so many health benefits and we’re huge fans, however, store bought varieties contain a fair amount of caffeine and sugar even after fermenting. For the purpose of this cleanse, we prefer you stick with natural soda water or mineral water and call it good.
Cacao powder contains caffeine, which is why isn’t not included on the cleanse. It’s an absolutely amazing superfood and as soon as you’ve completed the cleanse, it’s totally fine to include it.
Calories are deceiving and not the basis for determining what’s healthy. Our meals are nutrient-rich and give back to the body. They’ll balance blood sugar, keeping your energy at a steady flow. Rather than focus on calories, it’s much more important to focus on having good quality protein, healthy fats and loads of vegetables and fruit to get all the goodness that you need.
If you’re craving certain foods, you’re often actually craving nutrients. Fill the gap with one of the snacks recommended in the recipe section and choose one with a lovely amount of protein and good fat — nuts and seeds, avocado, one of the dips, a green smoothie and nut butter with apple slices are all great choices. Make sure you hydrate yourself with water, herbal tea or fruit-infused water coolers. Keep yourself busy and it’ll soon be time for the next meal!
You may find that you have more energy than normal — and more motivation! Why waste it? Get moving! Light exercise is great during the cleanse. It pushes toxins through the lymphatic system, promotes bowel movements and encourages sweat—which purifies our skin and gives us a sexy glow. Stick with walks, hikes, biking, weights and slow runs.
Weight loss doesn’t happen in the same way for everyone. It’s dependent on an individual’s genetics, hormonal balance, past history, metabolism, fluid balance and exercise regime. Weight can also be tied up in emotions. It’s a complex one. If you don’t happen to lose weight during the cleanse, there may be a number of factors involved. Remember that this program is about a fresh start for your body. You’re working towards the best version of you possible and this cleanse is about more than weight loss. Any long lasting change takes time to establish and healthy eating is no exception. If you stick with it, you’ll eventually see results.
The cleanse gives you a wonderful opportunity to really listen to your body. It’s an individual experience that differs for everyone. Depending on the level of toxicity in your body, there may be some less-than amazing symptoms in the first 3–5 days, such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, skin irritations, etc. Once you hit day five, these should only be distant memories and you’ll be well on your way to greatness. But some people sail through the entire cleansing period with no side effects at all. You may feel amazing throughout the entire cleanse, or your energy may wax and wane a little.
A cleanse can also bring emotional feelings to the table, so remember to be kind to yourself during this time and understand that you may be more sensitive than normal. After the cleanse, you’ll often feel so good that you’ll be inspired to continue eating in this way to varying degrees. Typical upgrades include better sleep, a clearer mind, more energy, glowing skin and improved digestion. The happy side effects of cleansing make us jump for joy!
If you’re taking medication or supplements for a health condition, keep taking them! I also advise you consult with your doctor before cleansing to determine if a whole foods cleanse is right for you.
A healthy gut is the center of health and the importance of having the good gut bacteria outweighing the bad can’t be overstated. Many foods and lifestyle choices can damage our gut bacteria . Stress, alcohol, prescription drugs, oral contraceptive pill and antibiotics are just a few. Taking on the dietary practices of the cleanse is a great kick-start to great gut health. Other important factors are including fermented foods and drinks into your diet and managing your stress.
It’s not essential to take a probiotic supplement if you’re not suffering from any digestive disorders or distress. However, if you’ve taken a recent course of antibiotics, it’s worthwhile consulting your doctor to see what they would recommend.
Once you complete the cleanse and feel amazing, we recommend entering into “maintenance mode” with Rawk the Year, where we give you plant-based meal plans each week with 3 smoothies, 3 snacks, and 3 meals.. This helps you maintain or supercharge the results you’ve started to see the past seven days.