Cleanse This: 3 Days of Raw Food and Juice With One Lucky Duck

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Various shakes and salads from One Lucky Duck. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Various shakes and salads from One Lucky Duck. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

I don’t cleanse.

I don’t fast.

I don’t even skip breakfast.

I have a healthy diet and a healthy appetite, and I enjoy food and eating.

But, ever since I dined at Sarma Melngailis’ raw, organic, vegan restaurant, Pure Food and Wine (a must), and the adjacent juice bar, One Lucky Duck, in New York City, I’ve been curious about raw food and juice cleanses.

As luck would have it, Noah Melngailis, Sarma’s brother, chose the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio to open One Lucky Duck Texas, and my curiosity would soon be satisfied.

But would my appetite?

After a recent 8-day vacation that while physically active, was also fit for foodies and wine lovers, I decide there’s no better time to press the “reset” button and hit One Lucky Duck. Plus, my “just one glass (of wine)” saboteur of a husband will still be out of town, so I won’t have any temptations or side cooking to do.

I decide to stick just one toe in the water with a “not just juice” cleanse. For three days, I’ll fill up (I hope) on juices or shakes and two raw food meals a day. I call in my order while still on vacation and head straight from the airport to One Lucky Duck.

“This one’s easy,” Noah assures me while I’m picking up my order. Okay, but I’m staring at the totality of the food and drinks I’ll be limited to for three days, and it doesn’t look to add up to much.

Three days worth of food for for the One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Three days worth of food for for the One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Later, over the phone, I tell my sister about the cleanse, and she tells it like it is. “With the way you workout? You can’t do it. You”ll staaaaaaarve,” she says, and I swear I hear an echo.

I don’t want to starve, even for three days, and for my last meal, I roast some Brussels sprouts and carrots, toast some pine nuts and toss together with couscous.  I’m full, but there’s still a nervous pit in my stomach when I go to bed.

Day 1:

7:30 a.m. You know those days where you wake up ravenous? Yeah, well, as luck would have it…

I’d love to reach for my green tea and sprouted grains toast with almond butter, but my meal plan says I’m starting the day with water with lemon. I do love starting the day with hydration and think this is a habit I can sustain for the long haul.

8:30 a.m. With a  busy morning, I take my breakfast to go and drink it on the way to spin class. On the Lucky Duck menu: Sarma’s shake, a combination of grapefruit, cucumber, chard, kale, cilantro, parsley. At first sip, it tastes a bit like my cilantro and tomatillo salsa. It’s pretty good in a cleansing kind of way though, and I enjoy every last sip.

Sarma's Shake from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Sarma’s Shake from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

1 p.m. Lunch: zucchini and heirloom tomato lasagna and Beet the Rabbit juice. I’ll save the beet juice for later. The lasagna (served below on a salad plate) is layered with a pistachio basil pesto and pumpkin seed macadamia pesto, and it’s delicious. I love these flavors and can see myself ordering this for takeaway often. And yet, I’m pretty sure I’ll be hungry in an hour or two…

Zucchini and heirloom tomato lasagna from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Zucchini and heirloom tomato lasagna from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

3:30 p.m. What lunch? I’m ravenous. I wish I hadn’t confessed to doing this on Facebook. Damn you, accountability.

4:30 p.m. Lunch, part 2 is Beet the Rabbit juice: carrots, beet, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger. Oh boy. This. has. lots. of. ginger.

Beet the Rabbit Juice from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Beet the Rabbit Juice from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

5:30 p.m. Not so patiently waiting for dinner. Just spoke to Sean who described in detail his unusually delicious room service at his hotel in Portland: salmon, seared greens, and grits. He describes the seared greens in detail. “These are the best greens I’ve ever tasted. Let me send you a picture,” he offers.

“Are you kidding?” I wonder.

“CRAN-KY. Need a Snickers bar?” he jokes. Honestly, I’d settle for a couple of peanuts.

6:30 p.m. I think I’ll be taking an Instagram fast during my cleanse. It’s clear I follow way too many foodies.

7 p.m. Dinner’s ready! It’s time for S & M salad: greens, avocado, hemp seeds, dulse, rosemary crackers and olive oil lime lemon dressing. Yay for a little avocado and hemp seeds! And a few crackers! Dulse, however, is an acquired taste that I have yet to get, so I skip it.

S & M Salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

S & M Salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

9 p.m. Still hungry, I tear into the bag of chocolate crispies that came with my cleanse: a yummy combo of buckwheat flavored with maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. I’m so happy to have a snack, until I read the menu carefully and discover I just ate a big part of Friday’s breakfast. Sad face. I also find out there are daily optional snacks that I didn’t purchase. Tears.

Chocolate Crispies from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Chocolate Crispies from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

11 p.m. Still awake watching the Spurs play on the west coast and so very hungry. Is this a cleanse or a fast? I clearly need more calories. Having a chamomile tea and calling it a night, dreaming of my banana shake in the morning and wishing I’d just sleep until Saturday.

Day 2:

8:00 a.m. Woke up just as famished as I did yesterday. “You’ll get used to the feeling,” said a friend. But why would I want to? And yet, there’s something about this room temp water and lemon that is kind of satiating. Can’t decide if I should have my banana shake before or after my workout. Feel a need to stretch out my meals as long as I can.

8:45 a.m. Had half the banana shake: banana, cashew milk, vanilla and cinnamon before my workout – it’s interval day. The shake is incredible, and if I lived near One Lucky Duck, this would be a staple.

Banana nut shake from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Banana nut shake from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

10:45 a.m. Finished the shake after my workout. Still amazing. And filling!

2 p.m. Busy day, late lunch: Thai lettuce wraps. LOVE these. And I’m feeling so much better, i.e. not starving.

Thai Lettuce wraps from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Thai Lettuce wraps from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

4 p.m. I finish my lunch – a Mean Green juice: kale, chard, celery, cucumber, lemon and parsley. This one is not necessarily my favorite, but I’ll gladly drink and enjoy it.

6 p.m. Wine is juice, right? I kid, I kid. Sorta.

7:30 p.m. Mediterranean salad is even better than expected. I’m not an olive fan, so I use a little avocado instead. Meanwhile, I must find out the recipe for the pumpkin seed macadamia “parmesan.” It’s delicious.

Mediterranean salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Mediterranean salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

8:00 p.m. After dinner, I head to Whole Foods to buy the last few items for a segment I’m doing on sugar in breakfast foods on San Antonio Living tomorrow morning. I spend the evening spooning sugar into mason jars, too busy to think of how hungry I am before bedtime. I can’t help but think that while I’m choosing this, for so many people going to bed hungry is a daily reality.

Day 3:

7:30 a.m. So happy to be chewing something for breakfast. Ate the remainder of the chocolate crispies with the almond milk.

10:00 a.m. I’m ready to eat the food props I’m using on San Antonio Living.

12:30 p.m. I take half of my lunch to a nutrition consult. The Green Apple Juice is a refreshing combo of apple, cucumber, celery, mint, lime, and spinach. I’ll take another, please.

Green Apple Juice from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Green Apple Juice from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

2 p.m. Taco salad: romaine lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, cashew sour cream, cheesy quackers (yes) and cilantro lime dressing. I’m not too enthused about this one, because I’ve never been a taco salad fan, but it is the best taco salad I’ve ever tasted. The cheesy quackers are a great crunch. Definitely another keeper.

Taco Salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Taco Salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

5 p.m. It’s Friday evening, and while I had planned on staying home, I’m so tempted to call it an almost-3-day raw food cleanse and turn on the oven. Didn’t curiosity kill the cat? I think about roasting more veggies and opening a nice Cabernet, but I’m so there, I have to see this through.

6 p.m. Tuscan kale salad: a great mix of kale, radicchio, golden raisins, pine nuts, and that delicious pumpkin seed macadamia parmesan again. I love this combination so much – God I wish I could have a second helping.

Tuscan kale salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

Tuscan kale salad from One Lucky Duck cleanse. Photo by Claudia Zapata.

For an inexplicable reason, I start cleaning out closets while tuning in to the Spurs game. If I stay busy, I might not get hungry…

10:30. What was I thinking? I’m starving. I’m done. Sorta. I eat two oranges. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

Day 4:

8 a.m. The strangest thing happened this morning.  As usual, I woke up hungry, but while I’m happy the fast is over, I’m feeling a little tentative about eating. I brew my organic green tea and toast a piece of sprouted bread that I spread with peanut butter, telling myself I need to fuel before my workout.

11 a.m. I pop into Whole Foods after a vigorous Pilates class and stock up on veggies and some organic chicken to grill this afternoon. The Spurs rodeo road trip is finally over and Sean arrived late last night. We’ve been looking forward to a nice Saturday.

Claudia Zapata's husband, former NBA Spurs player Sean Elliiot, grills up some veggies and organic chicken after her three day cleanse.

Claudia Zapata’s husband, former NBA Spurs player Sean Elliiot, grills up some veggies and organic chicken after her three day cleanse.

3 p.m. Over our late lunch,  I fill Sean in on my post-cleanse thoughts…

  • I love One Lucky Duck’s salads, raw food meals (my favorite was the Thai lettuce wraps), and juices and shakes. We have no idea how lucky – yes, lucky – we are to have a high quality raw, vegan and organic food and drink takeaway in San Antonio, and I plan on being a regular.

  • I loved the food and drink from One Lucky Duck so much,  I wanted more. The not just juice cleanse is just not enough calories – for me, anyway. Note to self: next time buy the optional snacks and ask about adding some veggie proteins to the juices (One Lucky Duck has some great options for add-ins).

  • As much as I enjoy cooking, having all my meals and drinks ready-to-go was such a treat. The cleanse was a nice break from being in the kitchen, and for $99 for 3 days of food and drink, well worth it.

  • I need to juice more. You can’t help but feel good when you drink greens.

  • There’s no question I could only have done this without my husband in town.

  • Will 3 days of raw food cleansing detox my body? Our bodies are pretty darn capable of doing this already. Will it lead to permanent weight loss? Nope. While I did lose a couple of pounds, I’m likely to find them by the weekend.

  • But here’s what I did gain: a sense of awareness about both quality of ingredients and portion sizes – this cleanse has a way of putting things in perspective; also, an appreciation for the great food culture that is growing in San Antonio and has been enhanced by One Lucky Duck.

Want to go raw? Mention this post and receive $10 off a 3-day cleanse . One Lucky Duck San Antonio is located at 303 Pearl Parkway #109. Call them at (210) 223-DUCK (3825).

LocalSprout CEO Mitchell Hagney delivers fresh, hydroponically-grown produce to One Lucky Duck, a juice bar at the Pearl Brewery. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

LocalSprout CEO Mitchell Hagney delivers fresh, hydroponically-grown produce to One Lucky Duck, a juice bar at the Pearl Brewery. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

This article has been republished with permission from Claudia Zapata’s blog. Read more at www.claudiazapata.com.

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