As I mentioned, Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet book is pretty hardcore, and even a bit grim. Given that she expects you to pack a cooler full of "clean" food to take to work with you (or even out to run errands), her "diet" plans are organized into Cooler Plans 1, 2, and 3.
Cooler Plan 1 is definitely spartan. It's designed for: breaking plateaus, that last 10-5 lbs., contest preparation (as if!), photo shoots (as if!), showing increased muscle definition, and quick weight loss.
On this plan, you are not allowed to have dairy, juice, bread, salad dressing, butter, margarine, mayo or other spreads, or high-sodium food.
You may have 1 apple or pear per day. That's if for fruit. The main source of "complex carbs" on this plan comes from high-water content, non-starchy, low-glycemic index veggies (cucumbers, radishes, greens, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, celery, bok choy, etc.) You're supposed to eat "2 cupped handfuls" of this stuff 5 times per day, or at each meal. This plan only allows 5 meals per day.
For grains, you get 1 serving per day of cooked whole grains (e.g, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, millet or Cream of Wheat), eaten as hot cereal in the morning (no sweeteners); also, 1 sweet potato per day, half in the morning and half in the evening. The grains are to be eaten with a tablespoon each of ground flaxseed, wheatgerm, and bee pollen. (Bee pollen? Seriously?)
For protein, 1 "palm-sized portion" (4-5 oz.) of chicken, tuna, egg whites, turkey, bison, elk, or non-oily white fish, 5 times per day, or at each meal. You can also substitute sugar, chemical-free protein powder for any of the protein servings.
To drink, 1 gallon of distilled water, no-sodium water, or clear, unsweetened herbal tea.
Sounds boring AND not fun!
Cooler Plan 2 is for steady weight loss or maintenance once your goal weight is reached. This plan is much more do-able.
You get 6 portions of fruits/veggies per day, a fruit portion being "1 cupped handful" or piece of fruit; recommended fruits are berries, grapefruit, melon, apples, and mangoes. A veggie portion is "2 cupped handfuls" 0f veggies, including broth-based/veggie puree soups. (I'll pass on using my hands to measure soup.)
You get 2-4 servings of grains, this time besides cooked whole grains you can also have high-protein sugar-free cereal, whole grain bread or wraps (7 in. size on the wrap). Also included in this group is sweet potato, yam, banana, corn, carrots, or winter squash.
5-6 portions of lean protein, including low-fat soy, almond, hemp, rice or lactose-free milk, cottage cheese, kefir, yogurt cheese, plain fat-free, sugar-free yogurt. Also included are raw unsalted nuts, 2 T of all-natural nut butters, the same meats and protein powders as in Cooler 1.
For beverages, 2-3 liters of no-sodium water, clear, unsweetened herbal tea, black coffee (in moderation) and green or black tea.
The following sweeteners can be used in moderation: honey, agave nectar, stevia, sucanat, rapidura sugar.
Healthy fats are allowed in moderation: olive, pumpkin, safflower, and flaxseed oil; olive-oil based spreads, fish and fish oils.
Not allowed: Juice, commercial salad dressings or sauces, or fried, refined or processed foods.
Cooler 3 is supposed to ease you into the Clean-Eating lifestyle, but she's not very specific about what you can eat, though she does allow low-fat cheese and fruit juice diluted with water.
There are guidelines for vegetarian substitutes for the protein portions, but I didn't find them very helpful, especially as I am aiming to get at least 20 g. of protein at each "meal."
After looking carefully at Cooler Plans 1 and 2, I decided to go for the all-out sugar detox of Cooler Plan 1. Thankfully, she doesn't allow you to use it for more than 2 weeks at a time. I figure I can probably make it through 1 week of dietary hell. I want to see if cutting out all this stuff does make a difference in how I feel.
Helpfully, she includes a menu plan for the cooler plans. I am pretty much following the menu plan as written, with a few modifications. One of the things this plan is severely lacking in, in my opinion, is healthy fat. My particular body needs at least SOME fat daily (in addition to what's in the food). I am therefore eating 1-3 t. of olive oil per day with my food. I am also putting unsweetened almond milk on my cooked cereal, as I am concerned about not getting enough calcium. At only 40 cals. per cup, I don't think the almond milk is adding significantly to my caloric intake. I am also eating 1 egg yolk per day. A LITTLE far helps me to feel satisfied longer and is beneficial to my own personal blood sugar levels.
I survived Day 1 on Cooler Plan 1 and actually only had time to squeeze in 4 meals of the 5 meals. It's not so bad, for just one week. The primary issue with it is that it is awfully boring. I'm determined to figure out how to make delicious, clean, dairy and sugar free food.
For dinner, I gave the guys leftover white chili, with cheddar cheese and sour cream if they wanted, and also made them some corn muffins to go with it. DS hadn't had the chili yet and really enjoyed his. DC was in heaven since I piled his bowl with sour cream and shredded cheese, and he ate 2 corn muffins. My own dinner consisted of scrambled egg whites with chopped tomatoes and some spinach leaves throw in.
I also squeezed in a workout, my first in months! I have noticed my energy level is better. Curses!! This plan may actually be working.