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March 20, 2017 by Payton Shiver
The Taco Cleanse focuses on vegan-friendly recipes. First things first: I think “fake meat” is disgusting. Fake cheese is basically cardboard and sugar. I’ve cooked tofu ten different ways and it still tastes terrible. So the very first thing I did after reading the book was create my own recipes and adapt my needs while still maintaining the tacos-only rule.
I have been low-carb for months. It helped me lose about 12 pounds without any exercise, but I plateaued recently. I wanted to see if I could lose a little bit more weight without having to workout during winter (especially last week where the high in South Carolina barely made it out of the 50’s!) My biggest concern going into this was my eating habits. I hate eating the minute I get out of bed, so I usually have a meal bar or morning shake around 10:00am at my desk. Since a messy desk taco mid-morning at work didn’t seem viable, I ate one small taco breakfast concoction Tuesday morning and went on my way.
My office is small and we eat in shifts. I am usually the 1pm – 2pm slot, so I barely made it without my stomach protesting profusely. I didn’t want a soggy taco for lunch, so I packed my tortillas and food in separate containers and made them in the office. My delicious lunch attracted coworkers, however, and I knew warm lunch tacos might not be my best option.
I had a rough day Tuesday, so I came home and overstuffed my chicken fajita tacos. My favorite part about this cleanse is the encouragement to drink tequila with your tacos (including breakfast). I didn’t have tequila, but I drank a beer and was asleep by 8pm. Carbs don’t matter when you’re having an early-to-mid-week crisis.
I woke up Wednesday morning and discovered why I was in such a wretched mood on Tuesday. Bloated and dealing with the aftermath of PMS, I made two breakfast tacos and added pinto beans in hopes to stay fuller for longer. I also packed a cold taco concoction for lunch…And this is where it gets weird.
Another great part of this cleanse is the authors remind you how creative tacos can be. But they have to be tacos: a wrap isn’t a taco, a burrito isn’t a taco, etc. So I had a homemade chicken Caesar taco on the Ides of March. It was fitting and surprisingly pleasant. I met some friends for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant for Dollar Taco Night, where I had a beef soft-shell to end the evening.
I woke up late on Thursday, which is the worst thing that’s happened to me in weeks. I didn’t have time for a two taco breakfast – in fact, I could only manage a few bites of my pre-made chicken fajita mix before rushing out the door. In two short days, my body had adjusted to the large, early breakfasts and I was ravenous before 9am. I broke down and ate a handful of almonds, trying not to focus on the rumbling in my stomach. It was going to be a very, very long day.
I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, much less pack a lunch. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, it depends who you ask) I had to travel to Taco Bell for lunch. Direct deposit wouldn’t hit until midnight, and I needed to put gas in my vehicle (and my body) on a strict budget. The Taco Cleanse actually recommends Taco Bell by name, as you can build your own vegan-friendly tacos at the chain easily. I grabbed three beef/lettuce/cheese and skipped the sauce packets. My body was already being ravaged by its monthly visitor – I had a strong desire to survive the week in one piece.
I returned home after work and decided to get fancy…This is where we get weird again. I made spaghetti squash Monday evening and it was pretty good, but I only had another day or two before it went bad. Turns out that spaghetti squash tacos with a garlic and butter toasted low-carb tortilla topped with mozzarella is a beautiful, messy, surprisingly delicious dinner option.
I thankfully woke up on time Friday, but there was no way I could bring myself to eat another taco. I wanted to vomit. You could blame it on my cycle or simply the fact that I had only eaten tacos (and a handful of almonds) for the past 3 days straight. I suppose this is where the cleanse/weight loss comes in. I made double the amount of coffee I usually do, and drank a ton of water to get through the morning. I went to a Mexican restaurant and ordered two beef tacos for lunch, which I barely gulped down. This was not boding well for someone who had committed a full month to a tortilla-based diet.
I decided to try something different again for dinner: sweet potatoes and BBQ chicken tacos. I love the healthier combination alone, so I figured the tacos would be great, too. Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.
Saturday and Sundays are my “recuperate and prepare to go back into the real world with people” days. I woke up later on Saturday and just skipped to chicken fajitas for brunch and beef tacos for supper. Sundays are my meal prep days, so I decided to do some soul searching with taco recipes, and I tossed together a few things for the next couple of days. I had a healthy-ish version of my own cheesy rice and bean tacos for brunch and dinner; watched my weekly installment of The Walking Dead, and went to sleep.
Monday morning dawned and I was back to the grind, but this week I decided to incorporate meat into my morning tacos. The past six days had seen eggs and beans as my protein source, but I was curious as to how much more filling meat could be. I had two beef tacos (and etc.) and went to work. Since I was changing things up with breakfast, I decided to do the same with lunch and headed to Chick-Fil-A. I ordered grilled nuggets and yes, you guessed it – stuffed them into a tortilla shell and went to town. It was a great way to satisfy my Chick-Fil-A cravings while still maintaining my Taco Cleanse diet.
I finished the first full week of my cleanse with steak fajitas and homemade tortilla chips. They were again, healthy-ish.
It’s Monday evening and I’m feeling really unhealthy. The tacos were reminding me of bad decisions, and I was worried I was going to end up 20 pounds heavier after three more weeks of this. I was tired and bored, but I hadn’t gained any weight (or lost it, either). So far, the only “life changing” the Taco Cleanse had provided was the importance of meal prep and tequila…Which isn’t all together terrible advice.
Stay tuned for Week Two – hopefully it’ll be shorter and more interesting!
Be sure to check out my recipe page – I’ll be updating it as the Cleanse continues for another three weeks!