Still looking for food ideas for this Sunday? Beer batter hearts of palm and throw into #fishtacos for a decadent taco!

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First stop in Austin: Bouldin Creek Cafe. Pictured is the bbq tempeh taco with creamy coleslaw and crushed fritos. Too good. Also got the tofu scramble taco which just about killed me with deliciousness. #vegan #food #taco #tacocleanse (at Bouldin Creek Cafe)

How I failed the Taco Cleanse and still ended up a winner

(photo source: thetacocleanse/Facebook)

The Taco Cleanse has been popping up all over the web lately, and for good reason. At last, it seems that someone has designed a cleanse that not only allows you to eat solid foods, but encourages heavy consumption of carbs too!

As someone who has dabbled with cleanses in the past, I was intrigued by this new diet. Not because I felt a need to purge toxins from my body (in fact, I swore off cleanses after attempting the GOOP detox a few years ago), but every review I read about the Taco Cleanse raved about the positive affects. People spoke about how eating tacos three times a day increased their energy and improved their mood, so I thought I’d give it a shot too.

I’m obviously not the only person intrigued by this diet. The book, which was released in December 2015, is already a bestseller on Amazon and the first print run has sold out. The Kindle edition is still available though, if you want to check it out for yourself.  

Day 1 - Sunday

Days after picking up the book on a lark, I read the cover thoroughly for the first time. It looks good until I spot the phrase, “with over 75 vegan recipes.”

(photo source: http://thebluthcompany.tumblr.com/page/3

My favourite tacos include large quantities of meat and cheese, so I’m starting to feel a little disappointed. Some of the recipes do look good though, so I make a list of what I need to cook them and head to the grocery.

I end up driving to two different grocery stores, but eventually find most of what I need to make the tacos. 

I’ll be completely honest with you here: I had no intentions of buying nutritional yeast or soy curls, and wasn’t disappointed when I couldn’t find them at either grocery. I did buy tofu, vegan cheese and a vegan meat substitute though, which shows some effort, right?

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

I decide to cook as many dishes today as I can, as many of the tacos are quite complicated and I know I won’t have time to cook everything during the week.

While I’m going through the recipes, I notice that some of the descriptions are a bit… questionable. For instance, the authors refer to gluten as their “favourite supernutrient [stet]” and uses phrases like “cellular cleansing”. There’s something fishy about this book, but I don’t have time to read it all at once so I chalk it up to clever marketing and start chopping vegetables.

After seven hours of cooking various taco fillers and sauces (and washing dishes), I’m not in the best of moods. I eat the Coconut-Roasted Acorn Squash (which was delicious), with some leftover chicken for dinner. Oops. I guess I’m starting the cleanse properly tomorrow morning. 

Day 2 - Monday

I wake up excited to start eating everything I made yesterday. Breakfast is a flour tortilla with shredded vegan cheese, and the Wake and Shake scrambled tofu that I made last night. The taco also called for tempeh bacon, but I didn’t buy that so I leave it out and add some Living Chipotle Sauce, which is supposed to have “cleansing properties.”

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

The taco is horrifyingly bad. The vegan cheese has a weird aftertaste and nothing can hide the spongy texture of the tofu. My mood has not improved, so I consider drinking one of the tequila “supplements” from the book. Then I remember that I have a deadline to meet later in the day, and make the responsible decision not to imbibe before work.

Later that morning I talk about my failure to a vegan friend, who tells me that the brand of vegan cheese that I bought isn’t very good.

“Try melting it,” she says. “You might like it better that way.”

By lunchtime, I’m starving. I decide to create a taco based on my favourite burrito from a local restaurant. I add Tolerant Bulgur Chorizo (bulgur wheat cooked like ground beef), Ion-Charged Refried Beans, and Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) to a flour tortilla. I top it with a few small spoonfuls of Salsa Roja and a sprinkling of the shredded vegan cheese. After microwaving it for several minutes, the cheese finally melts and I take a bite. 

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

This one is a winner! I happily finish the taco and my mood has finally begun to improve. 

Dinner ends up being a bust, because I had already made plans to try a new fish and chips shop with a friend. The book does say that you can wrap fries into a taco, but I really don’t want to walk in with my own tortilla, so I just enjoy my greasy dinner as-is.

Day 3 – Tuesday

After throwing out the leftover tofu, I decide to try a sweet breakfast taco recipe. The Accelerated Breakfast Taco is a flour tortilla topped with peanut butter, breakfast cereal and a ripe banana.

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

These are all things that I eat on a regular basis, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed this taco. My morning is off to a good start! 

At lunch, I eat the same taco that I had the day before. I have enough bulgur chorizo to feed a family of four for a month (or two), so I decide that this combination will be my lunch for the rest of the week.

I’m way too excited for dinner tonight, because I’m making Tater Tot-Cho Tacos, which are supposed to be like nachos made with Tater Tots, stuffed into tacos.

The recipe calls for a flour tortilla, more of that bulgur chorizo, chopped vegetables and three sauces that I didn’t have time to make. 

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

I end up using shredded vegan cheese instead of the nacho cheese made with nutritional yeast, and swap a piece of avocado for the guacamole. The end result is sad and bland, and I realize that I’m fed up with eating the bulgur chorizo. I miss ground beef!

Day 4 – Wednesday

I still haven’t tried any of the tequila “supplements”, which look like they are crucial to the cleansing process. 

The book says “the alcohol creates a toxic aura in your spleen that collects other toxins for elimination,” and while I’m pretty sure that’s not accurate at all, I want to commit to this diet as much as I can.

I start my morning with The Minor Cleanse. Unlike the popular (and equally ridiculous) Master Cleanse, there are no lemons required for this drink. I mix a shot of tequila with a pinch of cayenne pepper and a little agave nectar. 

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

As I throw back the mixture, my body involuntarily shudders from the taste. I hastily shove a lime wedge into my mouth and question my sanity, before making a peanut butter breakfast taco.

Lunch is the same as yesterday. Have store-bought flour tortillas always tasted so bad?

For dinner, I make a batch of Deeply Roasted Chipotle Butternut Squash because the book says to add butternut squash to your tacos “if you are feeling unfulfilled.” 

The dish also has chickpeas and walnuts, which seems very filling, so I spoon it all into a tortilla and top with some creamy chipotle sauce.

(photo credit: Shareba Abdul)

The taco isn’t bad, but I still don’t feel fulfilled so I cook the Rewarding Esquites as a side dish. The description says, “bright yellow corn contains the most bioavailable sunlight”.

After four days of working through this book, I’m beginning to understand the authors’ particular brand of humour. I laugh and grab a jar of Veganaise from the fridge (which I keep on hand), because there is no way that I’m going to make mayo from scratch for this recipe. I mix this together with the roasted corn kernels, and then realized the recipe called for nutritional yeast. I decide to substitute non-vegan Parmesan cheese, and the result is outstanding.

Day 5 – Thursday 

I’ve officially given up on the Taco Cleanse. Mostly because I don’t have enough filler ingredients and sauces left to make a decent taco, and also because I finally finished reading the book.

The further you get into it, the more you realize what the book really is: a vegan taco cookbook that pokes fun at actual cleanses.

Yes, they do actually encourage you to eat tacos for up to an entire month, but the tone of the book is unapologetically sarcastic in regards to all of the health benefits that these tacos can provide.

My suspicions were confirmed on the second last page of the book, in the copyright section. There, it is clearly states “this book contains the opinions and ideas of its authors, plus large quantities of total BS. Although the recipes are intended to be accurate and tasty, all other content is solely intended to be hilarious.”

So in the end, it really didn’t matter that I didn’t stick to the cleanse. By reading the book I found some new yummy recipes, and discovered that a vegan diet is definitely not for me. I also ate more servings of vegetables over the past few days than I usually would. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to blend up a margarita and drink to my health.