Sharp developed the program after a particularly, um, festive holiday party season, when she couldn’t find a cleanse program that didn’t involve a liquid diet. “Juicing can be a great way to supplement to your diet; however it’s essentially starvation to the body when you skip meals,” argues the former model, who spent her fair share of time around unhealthy diets. “It is also not something you can do long-term…And juice cleanses don’t teach you about how to eat properly post-juicing.”
The only other option she could find was raw food, which, she says, “can be hard for some people to digest, leaving them feeling bloated.”
With that in mind, Sharp teamed up with nutritionist Jill Swyers and clinical dietician Helen Phadnis to create five days of recipes, all of which incorporate ingredients specifically chosen for their cleansing properties (think high-fiber nuts and seeds, veggies packed with detoxifying phytonutrients, and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices). She also took portion control and meal timing into consideration. “On my plan, you will have raw food at lunchtime when your digestive system is best, and you’ll eat cooked foods at night when your digestion is not as strong,” she says.
And although these may not look so different from other healthy recipes—save for a quarter-teaspoon of lymph-stimulating cayenne pepper here, or a tablespoon of alkalizing apple cider vinegar there—Sharp insists that the specific combinations of ingredients are designed expressly to support the body’s natural detoxification and repair processes.
“The plan is based around removing foods that cause inflammation in the body, but more importantly, adding in foods that are nourishing and create positive effects in a short amount of time,” she says. (Including tons of these.)
At the end of the day, Sharp says everyone can benefit from five days of virtue—even those of us who already subscribe to a healthy diet. “All the aspects of this plan will give you more energy, help you to feel leaner, and have more clarity, no matter how you usually eat,” she says. “I personally recommend people do it at the first five days of each month. This way, you set yourself up to feel amazing for the entire month.”
Keep reading for a full day of recipes from Nikki Sharp’s 5-Day Real Food Detox—yes, those pancakes included.
Breakfast: Love Pancakes
1/4 cup uncooked oats
1 cup berries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 whole egg
1/4 tsp turmeric
Small handful chopped mint
To prepare the batter, mix oats, egg, cinnamon, turmeric and 2 tablespoons water (add more as necessary) in a blender until smooth. The consistency should be slightly thick, yet pourable.
Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into a nonstick pan, or a normal pan coated with 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil.
Cook the pancakes on medium-low heat for 3 minutes each side.
Microwave the berries in a bowl for 1 minute so that they release their juices, or cook on medium heat in a small pan.
Top pancakes with the berries and their juices, almonds, and extra cinnamon if desired, and garnish with chopped mint.
Tip: If you want to keep this vegan, soak 1 tablespoon chia seeds in 3 tablespoons water for 10 minutes to replace the egg. Combine the pancake ingredients as normal.
Between breakfast and lunch, have a snack of hummus with 1 cup of cucumber slices. Then…
Lunch: Spiralized Noodles
1 large carrot
1 small beet, peeled
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1 tomato, sliced, or small handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 to 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp tahini
1 small handful fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
Using a spiralizer, create noodles from the zucchini, carrot, and beet. If you don’t have one, use a vegetable peeler to create long, thin strips. Add to a bowl with the tomatoes. (Note: The beets in this salad will tint the whole dish pink. If you don’t like beets or want it to stay green, swap out for additional zucchini or the carrot.)
Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. If you do not have either piece of equipment, finely chop the garlic and cilantro and mix by hand.
Mix the dressing with the “noodles.” Allow the mixture to chill in your refrigerator for 10 minutes in order to soften the vegetables.
Between lunch and dinner, have a snack of 8 brazil nuts and 1 cup of berries of your choice, mixed with cinnamon. Then…
Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper
1 red pepper
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 zucchini, shredded
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup cauliflower rice, warmed
Apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cooked quinoa, warmed
1/5 of a 14-ounce package tofu, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 avocado, chopped
Small handful cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the top of the pepper off, or slice it into halves. Remove the seeds and white part from inside.
Cook the carrot, zucchini, onion, and garlic in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until tender; alternatively, cook in a pan over medium heat for 2 minutes with 1/4 cup water, until vegetables are tender and water has evaporated. Add the cauliflower rice. Combine a small dash of apple cider vinegar, pinch of turmeric, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and mix well into the vegetables. Mix in the quinoa and tofu.
Stuff the vegetable mixture into the pepper, drizzle with the olive oil, and roast for 8 to 10 minutes on a lined baking sheet. You want the pepper’s skin to slightly bubble and be tender to the touch, but not burned.
Remove the stuffed pepper from the oven and let it cool. Top with avocado and cilantro.
While you’re at it, why not do a digital detox alongside your whole food cleanse? Here’s how it’s done. And if you can’t bear to part with your iPhone, you could always detox your skin or home instead.
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