10 Day Detox


I believe that what we eat has a direct impact on our health. What we put in our bodies can give us energy or wipe us out. Food has the power to weaken our immune system or reverse disease.

While I have made a bunch of big food changes over the years, I still lapse into eating ice cream, cheese and other junky food. It starts out harmlessly with just one scoop, and then it seems like I’m meeting up with Ben & Jerry several times a week.

Why 10 Days

It seems the beginning of most diet changes last 2 weeks, and I think that’s too long for this much change. 10 days should be long enough to see the benefits and decide if you want to make any of your changes permanent, but not so long that you can’t see an end in sight.

What to dump

  • all animal products
  • sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • processed foods like cookies, chips, crackers

what to eat

  • all fruits and veggies
  • green juice (let me know if you want my favorite recipe)
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole wheat pasta
  • brown rice
  • sprouted bread
  • beans
  • quinoa
  • meat substitutes
  • non dairy milk (soy, rice, hemp, almond)

I’m sure I left a few things out but as long as it doesn’t fall into the “what to dump” category, eat it.

Some of these changes may leave you with less energy at first so don’t plan heavy exercise. Walk and stretch everyday.

Sometimes dropping caffeine or sugar can leave you with headaches. Don’t throw in the towel if this happens to you. Try drinking green juice with a little lemon and rest. If your headaches are unbearable, try green tea instead of coffee.

I highly recommend keeping a journal during these 10 days. Write down what you really miss and when you have your cravings. Keep note of when those cravings start to disappear.

Disclaimer: I know you are smart enough that I don’t need to include this, but just for the record. I am not a medical professional and you should do this 10 day detox at your own risk. Warning: eating healthy food for 10 days may make you feel better than you have ever felt before. You might want to eat this way for longer than 10 days and that is just fine with me. I think your doctor will approve too, but if you have any doubts, check and see.




  1. says

    I did a ten day detox a few months ago under the supervision of my acupuncturist and I felt great afterwards. She provided me with certain supplements to help get the nasties out of my system. It is certainly worth doing, despite some of the unpleasantness (of which I, thankfully, had very little). Good luck!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Evy, Maybe “detox” is a strong word for what I’m proposing here, but I think it’s nice to give our bodies a break from inflammatory foods with harsh side effects. We get so used to feeling like we do that we usually don’t notice how bad we actually feel.

      I’d love to know more about why you are being treated by an acupuncturist and if you find it helpful. I’ve considered it myself but have never had a treatment.

      Glad your detox wasn’t too uncomfortable.

    • Courtney Carver says

      When you first start juicing, this is a great recipe to start getting used to the taste of juiced greens. If you continue to juice, back off on the apple or other sweet things you might add.

      1 head of celery (yep the whole thing)
      1/2 cucumber
      bunch of kale
      2 bunches of rainbow chard
      1 carrot
      1 apple
      1 lemon (with rind)
      Optional: add a little ginger root

      Give it a try and let me know what you think.

  2. says

    This is pretty much how my family eats every day. We switched to a Whole Foods Plant Based diet 10 months ago and haven’t looked back. We do have some processed food of course (crackers especially) and I really love black tea but I did switch to decaf black tea for a long time (because of nursing a baby though). Most meat alternatives are highly processed though so while they are probably better for you that eating animal protein they still fall into the “processed food” category.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Melanie, I agree with you on the processed meats but they are so helpful in making a transition from a meat based to plant based diet. I think if you are vegetarian or vegan full time, they should only be used occasionally.

      Congrats on making such a big switch. I am 100% Vegetarian now and dabble with a vegan diet. A few years ago I did a 30 day raw diet and made crackers with a dehydrator. Now there are so many online sites, and local stores (especially at farmer’s markets) that make great cracker alternatives. If you are looking for an “unprocessed” version, they are out there.

  3. says

    I want to do join but when I saw your list, i think this will be the hardest thing I’ll do (if ever). Like I am going to drink my green tea right now but I usually use splenda, without it i don’t think it will taste better. I can have my tea without sugar or sweetener though, but it’s what I am used to is hard to break.

    For my health, I got to sit with myself and induced her to take care of our body. Good luck to me.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Annalyn, Instead of having your tea without sweetener, it might be easier not to have the tea at all for the 10 days and see how you feel. It may be a challenging 10 days, but it will be a great time to see what your body is dependent on and how you feel without it. Trust me when I say that how you feel after the first 3 days will be much different than how you feel after 10 days or longer without it.

      I think you will surprise yourself when you see how good you feel.

        • Courtney Carver says

          Kathleen, While honey is an animal product, I think it’s a better alternative than sugar or artificial sweetener. Even better – Maple Syrup.

          I know someone mentioned Stevia too. While I don’t know much about that, you can buy the actual plant and use the leaves to sweeten tea or bake with the powder.

    • says

      If you want to drink the tea try stevia powder for sweetener. It is an all-natural herb and many times sweeter than sugar. I suggest switching to it whether you are detoxing or not. Much healthier than splenda!

        • Alyssa says

          Broccoli, and many other vegetables, actually have more calcium per serving than milk, cheese, etc.

          I love cheese and that will be the hardest thing to give up during this detox. However, I know that I will still get all my vitamins, proteins, amino acids, etc (probably more than I would with my current diet).

    • Lily (from Italy) says

      It’s not junk but it’s rich in fats. And ice cream isn’t junk either if it’s homemade/made on the premises.

  4. says

    this sounds like a wonderful way to get back on track. unfortunately, i am getting ready to go on vacation for a couple weeks but plan to join you when i return.

  5. says

    Interesting, Courtney. You say that ten days is enough to realize noticeable benefit, yet you also caution of a lack of energy at first. How long does that last?

    Is the intent to play decaf vegan for ten days and then return to one’s omnivorous ways once the system is cleaned out? Or more as a “trial period” to see if one likes the benefits of a vegan diet enough to want to continue?

    • Courtney Carver says

      Not everyone will experience a lack of energy, but if the diet changes are significant, they might.

      I am a vegetarian, so for me the 10 days is to bring my focus back to leafy greens, fresh fruit and whole grains and dump the cheese and ice cream.

      I think everyone will have different goals, but if nothing else, we can give our bodies a break from caffeine, sugar, meat or dairy.

  6. says

    I think i could do with a ‘cut back’ or even a ‘cut out’ of some of the junk i eat. I go from being very good to being very slovenly – not good. One more thing, i’m allergic to soya. It gives me migraines and kicks off my IBS if im not careful. It’s also a manmade product, i mean how do you milk a soya bean :)

    • Courtney Carver says

      Bev, the milk is made by soaking and grinding the soy beans. While I do not make my own soy milk, it can be done. If Soy doesn’t agree with you but you want to dump dairy, there are other milk substitutes.

    • Kristie says

      soy is really not great for us anyway – it is a oestrogen mimic and has been linked to thyroid problems aswell. Not to mention rainforest is cut down to grow soy… Sadly it can be hard to exclude entirely from our diets :(

  7. Debs says

    I find it interesting that you say to note when the cravings start to disappear. I have been on an extremely strict diet right now for ulcerative colitis and after 2 weeks my cravings for salt, spicy foods, crunchy foods, & salsa haven’t gone away. unfortunately it looks like I will have to eat this way for quite some time. The good news is that I’ve lost 11 extra pounds. Good luck with your detox!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Wow Debs! Congrats on your 11 lb weight loss. Like everything, I think everyone will experience different results. In my experience that craving for salty, sweet or crunchy foods passes when I take it out of my diet after a few days.

      Some may not miss it at all and for others it will take longer.

      Are you feeling better with your diet changes aside from the cravings?

  8. says

    Thanks for the 10 day detox…like your recipe for green tea…it is very very good….I am going to join your 10 day detox NOW!…luv and xoxo

  9. Tammie says

    I’ve completed a 7 day detox before and I felt AMAZING!!!
    Count me in…in my opinion, the hardest part about eating clean is affording the clean foods and eating every couple of hours.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Tammie, I know what you mean about clean eating being expensive, but thinking about medical bills and other expenses of a poor diet makes me think I can’t afford not to eat a cleaner diet.

      In terms of eating frequently there are different opinions on that. Some say eat smaller meals every few hours, and others say eat 3X a day.

      For the purposes of the next 10 days, my recommendation is to eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full.

      • Tammie says

        In my clean eating experience, I have to eat smaller meals often. If not, I get the shakes, disoriented, weak, BUT I’m a Type II Diabetic (no meds, just diet and exercise). My doctor advises against any type of fasting/detoxing; however, I completed Dr. Ian’s Fat Smash diet and felt amazing so I’ve gone against my doctor’s orders. I know we were created to eat better than we currently are. I am determined to live a healthy life.

        Please provide us with more recipes. Thanks for the challenge!

        • Courtney Carver says

          Tammie, It is so great that you can control your diabetes by eating and moving. I know it must be hard work, but so worth it.

        • Carolyn says

          Tammie, I too am a Type 2 Diabetic and just lost ten pounds in 10 days on a juice fast.I have not had a single craving.I snacked on pistachios, drank lemon water and feel fantastic. I have normal bs readings and was worried about being too low, but the small amount of fruit I use seems to keep me from going too low.I haven’t had any high readings like I usually get after eating even rye or whole wheat toast.I feel great, have energy and am going to continue until I lose 10 more pounds and lower my A1C even more.Green juice is beat for us Diabetics, but I have even used carrot and beet juice as well, which is higher in sugar…

  10. says

    Hey Courtney … this is how I eat all the time, and I love it! It’s a great way to eat, and can be incredibly delicious. I would suggest that you keep open the possibility of eating this way beyond the 10 days, because it’s such a nourishing, wonderful way to eat.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Leo, I’ve eaten like this too for periods of time and am excited to get back to it. For me an occasional sugary treat, or taste of cheese, over time, always turns into a habit.

      It’s funny how it doesn’t take much effort to make a bad habit stick.

      • says

        Bad habits are easy to form because they have built in positive feedback (pleasure) and built-in negative feedback for *not* doing the habit (withdrawal of pleasure). For many people, exercise and eating healthy have the reverse setup built-in — negative feedback (pain or lack of taste) for doing the habit, positive feedback (comfort of not working out) for not doing the habit.

        What I do is reverse it. Make it a negative experience to eat junk food, and a positive experience to eat healthy food (nourishing, delicious).

  11. Vivian says

    Courtney, thank you very much for the challenge! I’m going to join you on the 20th. This is fruit and veggi season so we’ll have some great options on the “what to eat” list.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Vivian, I was thinking the same thing. It’s a really great time for juicing too because leafy greens are so inexpensive at local farmer’s market. Yesterday I bought a big bunch of Kale and 3 bunches of chard for only $4.00 total!

  12. Debs says

    With the flare of UC right now, I can’t have much fiber, so a lot of fruits, vegetables & whole grains are out unless they’re cooked or canned & even then the list is limited. I feel great with a lot less inflammation when I don’t accidentally eat something that doesn’t agree with the condition (like strawberries & anything with seeds). My biggest challenge is during the work day due to no raw fruits & vegetables (except bananas) & only white starches (bread or rice). Tuna & egg salad are getting old haha

    • Courtney Carver says

      That sounds challenging! Keep experimenting and find what works best for your body.

  13. says

    I’ll definately give it a go! Wanted to for a while now! I’m a veggie anyway though so at least that helps!!

    Any tips for doing this in a shared house?

    • Courtney Carver says

      Amy, I am in the same boat. I’ll be cooking meals for the family that fit the parameters of the challenge and if my husband or daughter want something else with it, they are welcome to make it.

      P.S. They did take a stand and say no way on the green juice. 😉

  14. Carolyn says

    Count me in…I am usually a veggie, but lately have given in to temptation…(wine,cheese,ice cream, ect.)I will be 50 on August 6th, and wanted to be feeling hot and healthy on that day(and beyond) Good luck all(it’s more fun when we are in it together)
    !!!,Love, Carolyn

    • Courtney Carver says

      Here’s to hot and healthy! I’m glad we are doing this together. Let me know if I can help along the way.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Kris, I agree that both coffee and tea have health benefits, but I also think it’s nice to give your body a break from caffeine and see how you feel.

  15. tammy says

    thanks so much for the “beginners” green juice recipe. i don’t have a juicer tho. so am hoping against hope that cut in small enuf pieces, it might work? oh well! if it doesn’t, i’ll just use all the mangles in a delicious soup!
    i’ve been vegan for close to 9 months now, due to a heart condition and the need for open heart surgery. have lost 12 lbs and no longer need the surgery according to the cardiologist!! yaaayyy!!! he doubted that i could turn it around… my numbers were so high on the triglycerides and bad cholesterol. i was a cheese LOVER!!
    i easily gave up meat because of 2 documentaries i saw on the unspeakable torture-raising and slaughter of the animals. there’s a saying… once you know, you can choose to ignore it. but you’ll never again be able to use the excuse that you didn’t know. they have no voice. they have no choice.
    i still have trouble with loving salt. i’ll be working on that in your detox!
    thanks for the continuing inspiration of your whole site.

    • Courtney Carver says

      HI Tammy,

      Congrats on such a huge accomplishment. If just by changing your diet, you avoided open heart surgery, imagine what else you can do for your overall health by sticking with your new and improved diet.

      I don’t think you will be able to make juice without a juicer. Check into buying a used one on craigs list or local classifieds to see if you like it before investing in a brand new one.

      If you decide not too, you can always make green smoothies in a blender, or eat the fruits and veggies.

      Good luck and please keep me posted on your progress. You are an inspiration!

      • Jessica says

        You can make juice without a juicer, and fairly easily, too! Bonzai Aphrodite has a great tutorial on it, but I’m too lazy to put in a link. Just Google “Bonzai Aphrodite juice without a juicer” and it should pop up. But, basically, you stick all your veggies in a food processor or blender, and then strain/squeeze them through cheesecloth. I don’t know if it’s as efficient, juice-wise, but I’ve tried it and it does work.

  16. Kerry Fisher says

    I’m going for it. I got a double whammy to deal with going on vacation this weekend in of all places Mackinaw City, MI (home of the famous Mac fudge Yikes!) I eat simply already, but if I plan ahead, and brings something with me, when I know I might get into a bind at location that doesn’t have what I need to eat that will help. I don’t have juicer, but might try the blender.

    Love your blogs, it keeps me in check with the important things in life….like my family!

  17. Kristie says

    Don’t cut the meat out, just reduce the portion size and only eat meat from animals that have been essentially living wild and have been eating a proper diet. Most meat substitutes contain soy which is really not great for our bodies! My motto when shopping at the supermarket is if it wasn’t available for me to eat 200 years or more ago, it goes back on the shelf :)

    • Courtney Carver says


      In terms of overall health and reversing/preventing disease, I think cutting animal products is the best thing you can do to your diet. Soy is just fine and doesn’t even have to be part of the equation if you are more comfortable without it.

      For more information, I highly recommend reading: Finally, The Truth About Soy http://zenhabits.net/soy/

      Also check out the book The China Study, if you want to know more about how animal protein works in the body and is related to everything from high cholesterol and high blood pressure to cancer and autoimmune diseases.

      • says

        There are many products out there we can eat which are good for us but we have forgotten what they are; i also agree that we don’t need to eat soya. In it’s natural state it’s inedible and indigestible to humans and most manufactured products contain it, including chocolate, because it’s cheaper then putting in milk products, which they would of contained originally. As for animal products providing we keep these to a minimum there is no reason why we cant eat them as for most of us our bodies have evolved to digest them. Also if governments can make something cheaper and charge you the same amount and make you believe that what you are doing is good for you, they will and sadly they do. Also, if we actually took any notice of the hype or negativity for one type of food or another we would of given up eating all together. Medically speaking they are now saying that soya is not good for you and that it hasn’t been around long enough to enable them to know what the long term affects are on the body. However rather then face starvation we will adapt. I like what this guy is saying about the government and food but is he any more right then anyone else, who knows?


        We should go back to the hunter-gathering stage, which was meat and vegetables and fruit, that’s probably the best diet going. Will i be doing so, erm if i’m honest probably not but cutting out cake and chocolate and refined sugars, would be a good thing and i already don’t drink tea or coffee.

        Good post Courtney, you get people talking and that’s what it’s about.

    • kerry Fisher says

      I do agree with portion control. I’m trying this detox, but I know after the 10 days, I probably will go back to eat chicken. I could give up the other meats, but not chicken.

      • Courtney Carver says

        Kerry, When I stopped eating meat, I did it in phases. First went the red meat and pork. When I was used to that, I dropped poultry and then seafood. Overall it took more than a year to become a complete vegetarian.

        While compassion was not my reason for becoming a vegetarian, it is the reason I’ve stayed a vegetarian. The movie Food Inc. completely ruined chicken for me.

        • kerry Fisher says


          I think in moderation like you said over a year, it would be workable and more resasonable. I don’t want to crash and burn like many that try and drop everything at once. That is too much shock on your body I think. I was almost a complete vegetarian when I was single, because by golly I couldn’t afford meat and only the fruit/vegetable market and made stir-fry’s almost every night. Thanks for the excellent insight.

  18. Diane says

    Just catching up on the 10 day detox (it’s 21 June here in Australia) so I’ll start a day late – but better late than never. I’ve been vegetarian for 17 years but have far too much dairy and processed foods in my diet so this will be a good kick start to clean up my act. Unfortunately it’s winter here so completely different fruit & veg to what you can buy at the moment – but thankfully it’s a mild winter and lots of greens available. Courtney I was wondering what type of juicer you use?

    Thanks for the motivation.

  19. says

    I’m also going to join in from Australia – a day late. This is amazing timing. Over the weekend I started trying out vegan recipes for a lunch I’m holding next weekend. No meat or dairy for three days now and I don’t miss it at all! Just have to cut out the other nasties… caffeine is going to be the challenge for me…

    Looking forward to hearing everyone’s progress via twitter!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Go Melissa,

      I thought I might be a little headachy today with no caffeine for two days, but it hasn’t been a problem at all.

  20. Lynn says

    Powdered Stevia has too much maltose or dextrose. I like Whole Foods 365 liquid Stevia. 4 drops makes my Yerba Mate delish!!
    I’ll be joining behind you in a few days…I need to have 3 days to kick the caffiene and not work at the same time—my patients and co-workers would be happier!!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Lynn, ready when you are! I am sure your co-workers appreciate you detoxing on your own time.

  21. Susan says

    Wow…just what I needed..a reminder of how great I feel when I eat cleaner! Just returned from a four-day EATING and FAMILY fest in Seattle and I felt bloated and horrid when we returned. Frankly, diet coke and green tea will be the things I miss most.

    Good luck to all!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Susan, A good binge is always a great reminder of how good it feels not to feel full. Green tea is so good for you, but diet coke and other soda is so not good for you. I know you already knew that. 😉

      • Susan says

        Courtney, any thoughts on whether loose leaf green tea has any additional benefits more than buying teabags of green tea?

        • Courtney Carver says

          Susan, Great question, looking into it now. Just asked my advisory board (twitter).

  22. says

    I know I’m late, but I’m still going to join the detox!

    I usually start the summer out this way! (But doing it as a team will only make it easier!) My greatest challenge is saying goodbye to my morning cup of coffee. :-(

    I’m going to go find you on twitter now! If any one else from “Team Detox” wants to connect on twitter, my name is @EnchantingSeeds

    Many thanks!! Yay team!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Welcome Emmy, I was only drinking coffee once a day at the most, so I didn’t experience any caffeine headaches. I really miss the coffee drinking experience more than coffee. You might notice something similar. Keep me posted!

      • says

        I did a gradual goodbye with the morning coffee in order to cut down on the headaches.

        Surprisingly, my biggest challenge was staying away from meat alternatives (Morning Star and Quorn are my favorites). As a vegetarian, I admittedly eat those processed products too often because they are easy. During the detox, I did some investigating and I did not like the ingredients and chemicals that the products contained. Feeling more energetic during my ten days on fresher alternatives showed me was that these products should be more of a special treat than a staple in my diet.

        Since I’m just now starting to experience the benefits of ridding sugar, caffeine, dairy and processed foods from my diet, I’m going to continue this for the month of July!! Anyone else want to join? :-)

  23. Heather says

    Courtney- I very much want to do a detox. I have tried other times, but failed. One question. I just to give up my coffee and after (2) days I had such a bad headache that I couldn’t function. Granted I gave it up cold turkey, so maybe a gradual reduction?


    • Courtney Carver says

      Heather, I think we all experience the effects of coffee and no coffee differently. You might need to experiment a little. How much coffee do you drink a day now?

  24. Rowan says

    meat substitutes = processed foods.

    A bit simplistic but mostly true. If someone wants to go vegan or vegetarian for moral issues more power to them. We are omnivores, if people mindfully eat small amounts of meat with lots of fruits and veggies they will be more healthy then people eating fake meat replacements.

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