M(mmmmm) Cafe de Chaya

So I was having that conversation that I’m sure some of you can relate to with a friend.  It went something like this.  Ugh, I feel so gross (probably threw fat in there too). I’ve been traveling for work, eating like crap, and drinking too much. Friend chimes in, me too. She says, I just saw this 5 day cleanse on Gilt City and went ahead and bought it. I had unsubscribed from Gilt City a few months prior.  I love Gilt City but I was trying to reduce the number of unnecessary expenditures as well as emails. I immediately logged on to Gilt City to find the offer she was talking about (5 day reset cleanse from M Cafe de Chaya).  After reading the description (this is not a juice cleanse) I knew I had to buy it. Yes it was a lot of money but this could be the start I needed and if we are talking about something to make me feel better about myself (food, exercise, etc) then those are expenses I can justify to myself.  Oh, I’d dined at the M Cafe in Culver City when I worked on the Sony Pictures Lot and thought it was fantastic.  If this reset did any one of the things it claimed it would do – reset your metabolism, strengthens your immune system, eliminates sugar and carb cravings and transforms your mood to expose the most beautiful version of yourself – then this would be money well spent. (I promise I’ll devote a blog post or 10 to my trials and tribulations with food, diet, body image, etc.)

The next challenge was figuring out a Mon – Friday when I’d be in town every day and not have any scheduled dinners or lunches.  I finally found a week to do it and was really excited. I emailed the restaurant to set it up and learned the food had to be picked up daily. Oh, and the Culver City location was no longer open thus leaving only BH or West Hollywood. Yikes. I live in Pacific Palisades and work in Santa Monica.  (Good news west siders, there is now a M Cafe in Brentwood).  Luckily my husband is smart and suggested I ask our manny (topic for a later blog) to pick the food up for me. Problem solved.

Monday I started the day with tea followed by a green juice at 10am. While coffee is not part of the cleanse there was no way I was going to forgo my morning coffee and in addition to hunger pains face throbbing headaches.  Besides, I learned to drink coffee black about a year ago when I did my first “detox”.  I know I should start this blog from the beginning but this is my forum so I’ll continue to bob and weave talking about what I like when I like.  I was so excited for my first lunch meal – Baja-Style Chopped Salad w/ Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette (greens, avocado, cucumber, spicy black beans, roasted corn, tomato, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chipotle spices). It looked incredible and tasted even better. In fact everything was delicious. There were some things I enjoyed more than others but there was never anything I didn’t like.   Oh and before you start you can tell them if there is something you don’t eat.  If you are used to consuming a lot of animal protein beware that on two of the days you can have fish – salmon or cod but for the majority of the cleanse you are eating a plant based macrobiotic diet. Check out the menu to see what a typical 5 day meal plan looks like.

It was so nice not to think about what I was going to eat. I find dinners to be especially challenging.   When I get home from work I’m tired and I have to get dinner ready for my son.  In the past I found myself eating his dinner and then eating mine.  For these 5 days I had something already prepared so when we sat down to eat together I could enjoy my scrumptious and healthy fare.  And after dinner I didn’t have to be done eating for the night. Each night I enjoyed a wonderfully spiced homemade almond milk. I chose to warm mine up and it was fantastic. I have yet to try making my own almond milk from scratch but I do love Califia Farms almond milk and will throw some cinnamon in a glass and warm it up on evenings when I’m not feeling satiated. I’ll also eat dark chocolate. I could never give up dark chocolate.

I’m not going to lie there were a couple of times during the week when I felt a little hungry. The first day is easy, the second day was hard, the third day harder and by days 4 and 5 I was in the groove.  All that being said, I did have plenty to eat, I could still exercise and I felt good – mentally and physically.  I did lose a few pounds but more than that I felt lighter, lost any bloating feelings and my sugar cravings dissipated.  (The sugar cravings going away is a big deal for me as I’m a self-diagnosed sugar addict).  Moreover, I was introduced to a plant based diet and vegan dishes.

A few of my friends and colleagues were interested in the reset cleanse and 5 of us did it again before the holidays.  Some enjoyed it more than others but all agree the food is fantastic.  Since finishing I’ve become a self proclaimed ambassador and another 4-5 friends have tried it as well.  I don’t know that I will do the full 5 days again. After all it isn’t cheap and I feel like I’ve learned a lot and can incorporate those learnings into my daily life.

For one thing, I tweeted Elissa Goodman, the amazing Holistic Nutritionist and creator of the reset. She tweeted me back. From there I emailed with her and had the privilege to chat with her via phone. She recently launched a 21 day program where she provides recipe booklets, grocery lists, cleanse notes and daily email support. The price is $195.  If you are the DIY type I would suggest this. I have not done it yet but I plan to.  I read her blog and follow her religiously on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve made a number of the recipes on her website. A go to favorite of mine is her Roasted Veggie Bowl with Lemon Tahini Dressing.  Elissa has been in the press quite a bit and for good reason, she is talented.  She has a cleanse at Cafe Gratitude and custom drinks sold at Erewhon.

Bottom line is that there was no maple syrup cayenne involved and as the title states what I did was Mmmmmm good.