We Made Up Our Own 'Burger Cleanse' Diet For the Good of All Humanity
One PEOPLE staffer tried out a DIY almost-vegan burger cleanse. Here's what went down.
What Is It? The Burger Cleanse, a totally made-up, but totally delicious detox inspired by The Taco Cleanse.
Who’s Trying It Out? Grace Gavilanes, features writer-reporter
What’s the Point? Why even question it? Where there are burgers, there is life. Also, I refused to leave my house during the blizzard and wanted to make my time indoors as fulfilling as possible. Enter: burger-inspired meals.
My name is Grace Gavilanes and I’m a recovering burgerholic.
I’m also a pretty avid homebody that lives for nights of Netflix, knitting and baking Ecuadorian desserts. Basically, I’m a 75-year-old woman in a 24-year-old girl’s body.
Why divulge such personal information? Well, my hope is to educate you as to why I decided to take on such a random cleanse, which I admittedly made up to combat cabin fever during #WinterStormJonas — a time I was sure I would not be leaving my home, much less make delivery people venture out to bring me my precious soup dumplings and chicken parmigiana hero.
For the past three months, I’ve been trying really hard to limit my beef burger intake, which if you know me, has been an incredibly difficult feat (fun fact: my photo is on the wall of a burger joint in Queens, N.Y. for eating a one-pounder — twice).
But after making a promise to myself that I would eat healthier (i.e. limiting my greasy bacon cheeseburger consumption to once every two months) and being inspired by PEOPLE staffer Maria Yagoda to take on a detox that involved zero green juice, I decided to attempt making eating vegan (or almost vegan) fun by incorporating more fruits and veggies into each burger-inspired meal.
It’s happening. The snow began to fall late last night, signaling the start of a delayed winter on the east coast, as well as the beginning of my highly anticipated (to me) burger cleanse. For breakfast, I whipped up two mini pancakes, which I made with two bananas, grated oats and one egg — to make the batter more manageable when it came time to flip ’em. These served as the “burger buns” that would hold together two tablespoons of nut butter and one sliced apple.
I felt on top of the world, lighter and more energetic — probably due to the fact that I was jumping at the chance to tell everyone about this new healthy lifestyle. I feel like Gwyneth Paltrow for the duration of the day.
I make salmon burgers for lunch and dinner, which I serve with sliced raw carrots (seasoned with olive oil and salt) and a salad that was comprised of avocado, lettuce, pomegranate seeds, apples, cucumbers and kidney beans.
It stops snowing, but I still refuse to go outside, mostly because I’m watching Chelsea Handler’s new docuseries on Netflix. This is becoming more difficult than I expected it to be.
For breakfast, I make two banana pancakes, swapping the PB & A for blended strawberries. I sprinkle dried cranberries for a sesame seed feel.
I message Maria for advice (“Surround yourself with family and friends because you will start to feel very, very alone when you’re just eating one food.”) as well as her overall feelings about undergoing an unconventional detox.
“I found that nonstop taco consumption made me very lethargic. Just eating one food can really get you down,” Maria tells me of her all-too-relatable experience with The Taco Cleanse. “The monotony of the diet reminds you of the monotony of life.” Wise words.
There seems to be a trend in my home-cooked meals that I’ve finally come to terms with. I make really ugly looking food that tastes GREAT. Case in point: this black bean and chickpea burger I make for lunch and dinner.
I hesitantly send a picture of the finished product to my boyfriend — the most intense foodie I’ve ever come across — who excitedly cheered me on the entire weekend and practically begs to see this infamous black bean burger, which I immediately preface as “gross looking.”
“As long as it’s delicious and nutritious,” my once-vegan boyfriend messages, pausing while giving me hope that maybe — just maybe — my black bean burger looked the tiniest bit appetizing. “And you’re not selling it to anyone.” THANKS, BAE. THANKS.
Regardless, it did taste pretty good. So good, in fact, that I had leftovers for dinner, which I served with the salad from last night. (And no, it wasn’t just because I was running out of ingredients to make burgers with. How dare you think such a thing?)
Blizzard’s over. Why take on a third day, you ask? Because I’m a masochist. JK … but not really since I’m starting to grow bored of these “burgers.” They keep me full, sure, but I find myself craving a carnitas burrito. Instead of giving into the temptation, I get up, make myself another strawberry-banana “burger” for breakfast and pack a leftover bean burger for lunch. (Note to self: understand portions when cooking.)
Since this is my last day on the cleanse, which I will most definitely be scoring a book deal for (who doesn’t want to eat only salmon, bean and strawberry-banana burgers??), I decide to go all out for dinner and purchase an Ahi Tuna burger from Umami Burger that comes with — gasp! — bread buns, which I’ve been purposely avoiding up to this point. I figure I’ve been compliant the past two days, so I rightfully deserve a little TLC a.k.a. bread. Hey, it works for Oprah.
Aside from finding pleasure in forcibly recounting my burger cleanse tale to unsuspecting people, I can’t 100 percent say this experience brought me the joy I hoped for. Instead, I found myself looking through Papa John’s two-for-one pizza coupons. Yep, I kind of grew sick of burger-shaped things, which explains why I’m holding off on eating any type of burgers for a few more weeks — unless waffle fries are involved.