When you think of a detox or a cleanse, chocolate mousse and spaghetti aren't usually the first dishes that come to mind. But if you're starting off January with a truckload of unpalatable green juices, Food Network star Giada de Laurentiis says there's a better — and tastier — way!
De Laurentiis recently shared the menu for her very own cleanse on her website Giadzy, which she describes as "the tastiest cleanse you’ve ever done." It features chewable foods, like whole wheat pasta, salmon, popcorn for snacking and even a dark chocolate mousse for dessert.
"My whole foods cleanse focuses on real food — not just green juice — that just happen to be good for you," the chef writes on Giadzy. "I stock the week with lots of veggies and fish, moderate amounts of olive oil and other tasty treats (even pasta!), and big, bold flavors."
One recipe is a whole wheat spaghetti dish that's packed with fiber from Swiss chard and includes tomatoes, olives and garlic for a classic Italian flavor. There's also a recipe for a low-calorie, broiled salmon with mustard glaze that's filled with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid and protein, while the lemon chicken soup with spaghetti is designed to be filling and easy to cook, with ingredients like low-sodium chicken broth, store-bought rotisserie chicken and carrots.
And for those with a sweet tooth, De Laurentiis has you covered with a unique twist on chocolate mousse that blends ripe avocados with chocolate chips, agave nectar, almond milk (instead of any dairy) and vanilla all together and serves it with a garnish of fresh berries.
De Laurentiis says she forgoes dairy, alcohol and refined sugar while "cleansing," so skip the cheese on the pasta and just say no to that serving of red wine.
This healthy-eating reset isn't just for fulfilling New Year's resolutions: De Laurentiis says she follows this eating plan several-times-a-year, and she uses it to slim up before photo shoots or to kick bad eating habits.
"After just a few days on a cleanse, I feel and look lighter and find I have more energy during the day," writes De Laurentiis. "But I don't believe it should feel like punishment, or come with a lot of impossible-to-stick-to rules."
But is a cleanse with pasta really a cleanse?
Dr. Michael Mosley, author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Fast Diet,” and “The Clever Gut Diet,” told TODAY Food that starting the year with a “fast" or "cleanse," a few days where you eat only soup or low-calorie meals, is a good idea if those meals are nutrient packed. And De Laurentiis is on the right track with recipes that Dr. Mosley calls “tasty, but also nutrient rich and with adequate protein.”
Liquid-only cleanses can even be harmful, say experts. One problem, explains Dr. Mosley, is that they can be short on protein. “Protein is one of those nutrients you don't store, so even after 24 hours without any protein, your body will start to break down muscle,” he says.
Of course, De Laurentiis doesn't just cook healthy foods when she's looking to reboot and get energized. The Food Network star also swears by the powers of yoga and often speaks its healing praises as another key to a healthy lifestyle.