VeganMoFo: The Great American Detox Diet

Alex Jamieson, author of The Great American Detox Diet, was Morgan Spurlock’s girlfriend at the time he filmed Super Size Me (now his wife).  She allowed him to eat nothing but McDonald’s for thirty days straight on the condition that she could put him on a detox afterward, and this was the basis for her book.

I bought The Great American Detox Diet hoping that it would have lots of healthy recipes to try, and it partially delivered.  The first two thirds of the book explain why we need to detox and how to do it, and the last hundred pages are full of recipes.  The how is broken down into an eight week plan, each week focusing on something like swapping out healthy sweeteners for sugar, kicking the caffeine habit, or choosing healthy fats.  I read the plan with interest, but I think everything in moderation is okay, so I’m not planning on cutting out sugar or coffee completely any time soon.

The first recipe I tried was Spicy Red Beans and Savory Rice.  You start by simmering cooked kidney beans with kombu, then cook them again in a spicy broth.  Cooking the already cooked beans for an hour made them pretty soft, and while I like spicy food, I thought the spice in the beans wasn’t balanced by anything; it was just spice for spice’s sake.  The rice, on the other hand, was great.  I loved the crunchy veggies interspersed with the rice.  I was surprised that a recipe which was supposed to be for a detox called for four Tablespoons of oil; I reduced that amount greatly.

These are Sang Choy Bow, or Chinese Mushroom Rice “Burritos”.  This recipe was great; the combination of rice, finely chopped mushrooms, garlic, bell pepper, celery and ginger was really tasty.  You’re supposed to put the filling in lettuce leaves to make “burritos”, but honestly I liked the mixture more just on its own.  For a side dish, I sauteed green beans and broccoli in peanut oil and topped it with chopped walnuts.

Next, I tried the Sweet and Sour Sauce with buckwheat, veggies, tempeh and microgreens.  I didn’t love the sauce.  The sweet and sour flavors come from maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and I don’t know if it was the ingredients or the ratios, but I just didn’t like it very much.

Lastly, this is Milanese Tomato Soup, which I really liked.  It’s a chunky tomato soup with other fun stuff like shredded carrot and chopped spinach.  I’m not a big fan of creamy tomato soup, so this was perfect for me.  The only change I would make next time would be to add the carrot and spinach a little earlier, since they were still a little raw at the end of cooking time.  And because tomato soup loves grilled cheese, I made the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which is always a winner.

I’m not sure what I think of The Great American Detox Diet overall.  I like the idea of cleaning up our food, and I like the idea of a detox versus a diet, but I don’t feel like the recipes were always the cleanest they could have been.  For instance, some call for canned items or use more oil than I would expect a “healthy” recipe to.  Some recipes were great, while some just weren’t my cup of tea.  Maybe it’s just a different cooking style than I’m used to.


  1. Carrie said

    Thanks for this review! I had no idea she even had a cookbook out.

  2. Kelly said

    Maple mixed with vinegar sounds nasty! Those lettuce cups look really good though 🙂

  3. allysiak said

    It kind of perplexes me too, when you have all of these “healthy” recipes that really aren’t that great. It’s especially funny flipping through old cookbooks where a healthy dessert is one where there’s a teensy bit of fruit in it, even if there’s a pound of butter and sugar. Makes me laugh.

    That gooey grilled cheese looks fabulous though, and I even have that cookbook! Grilled cheese is my fave comfort food ever, but I’m usually lazy and just use daiya.

  4. Mandee said

    I would love to try the Sang Choy Bow, it looks delicious.

    It’s a shame when a cookbook doesn’t turn out to be as good as you’d hoped, maybe some of the other recipes will work out better.

  5. chow vegan said

    Interesting, I haven’t heard of the cookbook before. It seems like a detox cookbook should have done a little bit more homework on the nutrition for the recipes. The Sang Choy Bow does look good. 🙂

  6. jessy said

    that’s kinda disappointing on the sweet ‘n sour sauce and also on a recipe which called for 4 tablespoons of oil. i would have reduced it as well, that’s too much oil for me. the tomato soup looks awesome and i’m digg’n the rice! i don’t know that i’d buy her book, but i might see if she has some recipes posted somewhere and give them a whirl.

  7. Mo said

    That soup!

  8. Thomas said

    I think you might want to read the chapter on oils again. Natural, cold pressed oils are vital to normal human health, and most people don’t get enough of the proper oils in their diet. Omega 3, 6, & 9 are found in varying proportions in all vegetable oils, with 3 contributing to cellular immune function and 6 & 9 contributing to histamine immune function.

  9. Jazz said

    The Veggie Loaf is great. Takes awhile to prepare, so make enough for two and freeze one for a later date. Sliced leftovers can be used to make Loaf Sammiches. 🙂

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