“You eat. I actually eat much more on this cleanse than I do in my actual life.” That’s how Kelly Ripa explained the seven-day "Get Off Your Acid" alkaline cleanse, created by chiropractor and nutritionist Dr. Daryl Gioffre. A cleanse where you eat more? Safe to say, our ears perked up.
Add in the promise of fewer sugar cravings, a better night's sleep, and more energy and we were very intrigued. "We pump our body with damaging acids every single day," Gioffre says of society's high-acid intake. "And it literally rots our body of its own resources."
Enter his alkaline routine that helps jump start better eating. Gioffre's cleanse eliminates acidic foods (sugar, carbs, and anything processed) and ups the intake of alkaline foods such as spinach, kale, quinoa, avocados, and nuts. Unfortunately, it also cuts out dairy, meat, and caffeine. (The horror!) But, as the Live! With Kelly and Michael host noted, you can eat as much as you want!
With all this in mind, Us Weekly assistant editor Jamie Blynn ditched her beloved bagel and cream cheese for an acid-free week. For seven days, she drank smoothies for breakfast, snacked on apricots and almonds, and whipped up some gourmet quality dinners. Here, the pros and cons:
PRO: I LEARNED TO COOK
No, really, I'm now Julia Child. I wasn't much of a cook before the cleanse (read: sometimes I would store non-kitchen items in the oven). But Gioffre sends over fabulously delicious recipes that a kindergartener could mix together. (Okay, they'd have to be a pretty skilled 5-year-old, but you get the point.) Plus, they're low-maintenance and not time consuming, perfect for anyone on-the-go. There are breakfast smoothies (my favorite: spinach, almond milk, almond butter, chia, blueberries, and banana), quinoa bowls, and chocolate mousse recipes to whip up. I couldn't praise these recipes enough. Not only did they teach me how to sautee spinach with garlic, but they opened my eyes to how fun cooking can be. Plus, my wallet was thankful. (See below for a full recipe.)
CON: THERE'S A GREEN JUICE YOU HAVE TO DRINK
And it does not taste swell. Every morning before breakfast, I had to mix about 8 to 16 ounces of cold water with Gioffre's daily green powder. One serving is equivalent to five servings of greens, which is totally great. But I'm not a fan of drinking my vegetables. By day three, I decided my gag reflex and I had had enough. We parted ways with the mix and life was much better. On the flip side, there is also a daily minerals powder that I was supposed to drink about 30 minutes before I went to sleep. Now this was something I could get behind. It tastes like lemon and, according to Gioffre, it helps fight sugar and carbohydrate cravings. It's packed with magnesium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate. Gioffre claims the powder helps neutralize acids in the body, which ensures that your bladder won't wake you up in the middle of the night. Which leads to…
PRO: I SLEPT SO WELL — AND HAD SO MUCH ENERGY
In all seriousness, I've never slept through the night. (You can imagine what a delight I was as a child.) So when Gioffre promised me seven nights of sweet dreams, it took all my effort not to laugh. But for the first time in my life I slept like a baby. Gioffre credits this major bonus to the acid leaving my body. When you eat and drink acidic products, your body works overtime to get them out through "urination, defecation, perspiration and respiration," he explains. "And your body is most acidic at 2 a.m.According to Gioffre’s math: No acid = no waking up in the middle of the night! And during the day, I never felt dragged down by my go-to sluggish meals (cough, bagels and chocolate).
CON: MY SOCIAL LIFE WASN'T SO HOT
Talk about FOMO. I couldn't eat much off a restaurant's menu or grab drinks with friends. I tried getting brunch with my brother and basically drooled all over the table watching him eat a mouth-watering omelet while I was stuck with spinach. That's it. PLAIN SPINACH LEAVES. I felt like a farm animal. But, in the grand scheme of things, sitting out on a week of activities didn't kill me. In fact, I lived to tell the tale.
PRO: DR. DARYL WILL BASICALLY HOLD YOUR HAND
He hosts a tutorial before the cleanse to prepare you and another one afterwards that teaches you how to incorporate a pro-alkaline lifestyle into your daily diet. There's also a newsletter sent every morning to cheer you on and offer pointers. Any questions? There's also a private Facebook group where fellow cleansers can chat and share tips.
Artichoke and Caper "Risotto"
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of swiss chard, cut into ribbons
1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons capers
1 handful chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Combine the vegetable broth and rice in a small pot over high heat. When the broth comes to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook until all the liquid has been soaked in the rice about 45 minutes.
While rice cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the saute pan and cook shallots until melted, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and swiss chard and cook for 5 more minutes. Add artichokes and capers and cook for 2 more minutes.
Combine the rice, swiss chard mixture and parsley in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. For added protein, you can add a can of garbanzo beans.
Check out Dr. Daryl's website at www.getoffyouracid.com.
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