How to make healthy choices every day

A New Year, A New You! Sarah B’s Whole Living Detox Plan


Hey pals! How are you liking like the new digs around here? Not too shabby, eh? I thought the New Year called for a new look, so wonder-husband and I have been hard at work making My New Roots cleaner, smarter and easier to use. Take a few moments to browse the pages at the top and see how organized I am now! I hope you enjoy.

Well, we all knew this was coming, right? The 2013 Whole Living Action Plan is here and I know how many of you have been chomping at the bit to begin the great journey toward greater health!

I felt very lucky when Whole Living asked me back to create some recipes for their Action Plan again. The reason I love this program so much is because it’s a great place to begin even if you have never done a cleanse or a detox before. This is not about gimmicks, starving yourself, eating weird foods you can’t find at the grocery store. This program is based on easy-to-find, plant-based, whole foods and recipes that are delicious, seasonal, and totally health-supportive. True honest-to-goodness food for goodness sake!


The recipes I created for Week 1 include vegetables, fruits, lentils, nuts and seeds, quality oils, herbs and spices. Everything is vegan, and grain-free, with an emphasis on cruciferous veggies (think broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc.). The juices and smoothies include fruits, vegetables and nut butters so they are refreshing, and also filling. They are all so tasty in fact, that I’ll be whizzing them up far beyond the three-week program!

Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen genius was in charge of Week 2, and Louisa Shafia from Lucid Food wrote the recipes for Week 3, so don’t forget to check their wonderful menus too.

If you were a fan of last year’s menu, or you want to expand the options for this time around, feel free to use the recipes from the 2012 Action Plan too. There are so many wonderful options from that program as well, all of them delicious and perfectly appropriate for 2013.

If there is one thing I want to underscore here, it’s the lemon-water first thing in the morning. For those who cannot pick up a copy of the magazine, lemon-water is: water that has been boiled then cooled down to comfortable drinking temperature, with about 1/3 a lemon squeezed in – it should taste lemon-y. Do not add the lemon juice to the water when it is piping hot. This will destroy the delicate vitamin C and the precious enzymes that we most definitely want to consume.
The simple act of drinking lemon-water flushes the kidneys and alkalizes the blood. You can read more about that, here. This is an important step in any cleanse because it really aids the detoxification process, and is the best way to start your day. If you are looking for a simple trick to change your life, this is it! I have been drinking lemon-water every morning for about five years now and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. It just feels so good.


There are plenty of other things you can do while you’re participating in the Action Plan to support and enhance detoxification, such as dry skin brushing (I wrote an article about that here) drinking herbal detox tea (my personal recipe blend here) and going to the sauna. I don’t recommend high-intensity exercise, at least in the first week, but rather yoga, and walking. Remember, this really is a time of rest and renewal so it’s okay to give your body a break. Spending time in nature is always a good idea, as is deep breathing exercises, creative activities like drawing, knitting, and cooking – do things that make you feel happy and relaxed.

We all want to be our best selves and the New Year is always a great time to make positive changes in your life. If you are looking for a way to get back in touch with naturally healthy eating, I can recommend this plan for sure, and not just for one, two, or three weeks, but all year long. Sure, enjoy the things you love now and again that you know aren’t the most beneficial – life is about balance after all – but allow yourself to see just how great you can be when you give your body the fuel it needs to shine its brightest. Who knows how good you’ll feel, how much more energy you’ll have, or even how your mind may open to possibilities outside the kitchen. Only you can discover that one. I am just here to give you a boost. Because you can do this.

For more help with the cleanse, check out Whole Living’s Action Plan’s tips and advice from last year too.

**And don’t forget that I am running TWO cleansing and detox programs in February and March. See my EVENTS page for more info!


105 thoughts on “A New Year, A New You! Sarah B’s Whole Living Detox Plan”

  • Sarah, I am DESPERATE to get my hands on the 2013 Action Plan! If you are able to get it, I would be happy to buy it from you. Please lmk. Ty!! Connie

    • Hi Connie! Watch out for the Whole Living Plans on the coming soon My New Roots Grow platform. Stay tuned on social media and in your email inbox if you’re subscribed to the newsletter!

      • Hello Ruby! These recipes / many new ones will be available on the much-anticipated My New Roots Grow — coming in the next few weeks! Stay tuned on IG / in the email newsletter where I will announce the launch!

      • Hi! I’m working on re-photographing the recipes and making a few fresh edits — they should be up on Grow throughout the next few months! I love how excited people are about these recipes — can’t wait to re-release 🙂

  • Hi there,

    I loved these detox diet plans that were shared on Martha Stewart Whole Living ‘s site. Unfortunately, the site is no longer active. Do you have these plans anywhere else? Or a similar action plan?

    • Hello Jedina! Unfortunately they are no longer available and we are working on putting the plan back together as many people have asked. Do stay tuned! Thanks for your support, be well!

      • Yes, please! I had the site bookmarked and it’s down. Thank you for putting it back out there for us all.

      • Hi Sarah – I also absolutely loved the recipes from Whole Living Action Plan 2013, and was disappointed they are no longer available. I never felt better than when I was eating those meals, and wish I’d never stopped. I would be happy to pay for the collection, if it is available – will you please keep me posted if that would be possible? Thanks very much! – Ida

      • Hello Ida!
        We are working on gathering them up and will be including the recipes on an exciting project launching late this fall–stay tuned here and on social media 🙂
        Thanks for your interest, take good care!

    • I too am seeking the recipes from the 2013 detox, especially the beet salad. It is the best salad!! Please share the recipe again. Thank you.

  • I would love a copy of this detox meal plan. I did it a few years ago and am sad to see it is no longer available online. Any chance I can get a copy emailed to me?

    • Hi Janell! Hoping we are able to get that plan back out to my followers–so many people are missing it. Stay tuned 🙂 thanks for your support!

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  • Hi there! Starting the cleanse today! Wondering the same question as many: is it OK to drink black tea, green tea, or decaf coffee? The magazine is a little unclear about that (I’ve held onto the magazine since January). Thanks!

  • This is a bit strange but your recipes and juices of week 1 are no longer on the Wholeliving website 🙁

  • I’m on day 5 right now. My normal diet is the same as cleanse but with grains, occasional fish and cheese/Greek yogurt. The recipes are amazing! I can’t even tell what is my fav, but I thought right away that beets will work great with portobellos and seems like they do!
    I do add chia seeds to some smoothies along with bee pollen and hemp hearts, eat a couple cups of fresh fruits and green salad and I do miss quinoa a lot, but I’m a nursing mom and practice yoga daily, so I hope it’s ok.
    my resolution so far: take a brake from my morning oat still cuts from time to time and have smoothie instead, make different meals more often (all the recipes don’t take more than 20-30 min to make).
    my husband has started eating healthier a year or so ago he us meat lover, but he loved all the recipes a loooot!

  • So far I’m on Week 2 of the cleanse and feeling AMAZING. I already know that I’ll be eating much less gluten, dairy, and meat well after the cleanse is done. Thanks for contributing delicious and healthful recipes!

  • Hi, I am on the second week of this plan. I just have to tell you that I’m a meat lover, but all your recipes were so delicious; I felt I would become a vegetarian. Thank you so much. My friend has the magazine and asked 5 of us to join her on this cleanse and I am so grateful she did. I am loving this website.
    Thanks again.

  • My husband & I just completed the entire 2013 Whole Living cleanse and in doing so have fallen in love with your blog. We’ve been inspired in many ways and better educated about our bodies and our food. Thank you…from Pasadena, CA! 🙂

  • Hey Sarah,
    My husband and I are eager to give the Action Plan a try. The recipes look amazing, but I’m afraid I have to ask a really dumb question. I see an ingredient listed as “Cleansing Broth” but no explanation of that is given anywhere that I can find. Is it just a vegetable broth? Is there a specific recipe?


  • Finally had a enough with post holiday uninspired sugaring and carbing to start anew. The mango-tahini smoothie is a revelation! I added ginger and topped with a little chile powder and blueberries, and I feel like a friggin gourmet. This is all very good; thanks, Sarah B.

  • Hi Sarah!
    I love the plan!
    One question: I LOVE to have a glass of cold water first thing in the morning, can I have it right after the lemon-water?

    • Hi Mariah!

      Yes, that is fine. It’s best if you wait a few minutes for the lemon-water to digest though. Remember that cold water is hard on your system too – room temperature is always best!

      Best, Sarah B

  • Absolutely LOVED your week 1 recipes – the blueberry-mint smoothie and the broccoli soup were probably my favourites, but honestly your tasty dishes made the week so easy!

  • Thank you sooo much for mentioning lemon water! I’ve have it (most) mornings and love it, but I pour boiling water over the lemon – and now I know not too!

  • far I’m loving how this detox is making me feel! So glad I decided to make this plan my first detox to try!

  • I love the new look! And your week of recipes looks great. I’m training for a skating event so I couldn’t eat so lightly, but maybe at another time. The cleansing broth with the sweet potatoes and spinach in it is a great idea, you don’t usually see those ingredients in vegetable broth but it would make it so nutritious as well as pleasantly sweet.

  • This has to be one of my most favorite features in Whole Living, ever! I loved every single one of the recipes. This is really one of my most favorite issues ever. You are right on the spot with all the delicious detox foods. =) I’ve already made some of the recipes and they turned out delicious.

  • I’m on Week 3 of the plan and feel amazing! I’ve lost eight pounds, have kicked caffeine, have embraced healthy oils (that I used to fear!), and am craving whole foods. I’m not exaggerating when I say this plan has helped reinvent this vegan’s whole frame of mind. I cannot thank you enough!

  • This is the second year in a row that I’ve done this, and love it. I’ve been drinking lots of decaf green tea, chai, etc, and was wondering if I could drink decaf coffee….I miss the taste, but surprising not the caffiene.

  • I did the program last year and loved it! Too bad I can’t follow to the letter this time seeing I’m pregnant at the moment (btw, pretty sure doing this detox was one of the reasons I got pregnant so fast last year) but I will be making a lot of those delicious looking recipes! Thank you!

  • I did the detox last year and loved it. My whole family is doing it this year as well. Strangely enough, I have been putting on weight from it. I have put on 6 lbs in the last 4 days. I am following it to the letter and not even really eating snacks. I’m also not doing the juice every morning to avoid too much sugar (candida issues). I drink a ton of water. I eat pretty healthy normally but wanted to try to reduce some inflammation. I also have an InfraRed Sauna I use every day. Any ideas?

  • I have a follow up comment/question–is drinking tea okay during the detox and does it matter what kind? I’ve heard that tea is a diuretic and I’ve been drinking probably 2 cups of green or black tea a day on average. Will that mess up any of the detox’s effects?

  • Haha, so funny I came across your blog today for the first time! And I am super excited to share that I’ll be doing this. I wish the issue would have provided a shopping list though! After this cleanse I will be starting a new fitness regime, so I am excited for the first step of a clean journey 🙂 Great job with the recipes!!


  • Sarah B–I’ve never done a detox before, but when I read that you had created all the recipes for a whole week, I knew it must be good! I’m on day 5 and it is amazing. I’ve never eaten so clean for so long! No cheating whatsoever because all the meals have been fantastic so far (my favs were the cauliflower stir fry and the sweet potato lentil stew). Thank you so much for getting the word out through your blog–I just love what you’re doing here.

  • I run my own siteand I came here by mistake. I read your articles and I found that they’re ok! I would like to use them on my site. I want do that without your agreement, so say that’s ok. I’m greeting warmly.

  • Hi Sarah!

    I’m so happy to have found you through Whole Living Magazine. I started the Challenge just under a week ago and I absolutely LOVE every dish of yours that I’ve prepared. I didn’t know vegan/gluten free dishes could taste so good! I have a new appreciation for cooking and my boyfriend simply cannot wait to come home to see what I’ve prepared next. Thank you!

  • Hi Sarah!

    I bought this issue of whole living before you even posted about it on your blog. I am now going to start doing the cleanse and blog about it on my site. Thanks so much, you’re an inspiration!

  • Hi Sarah! I forgot to ask if coffee or green tea is allowed during the Action plan? And if it is allowed to drink coffee or green tea would it still be better not to?

  • Hi Sarah!

    I just started reading the Back in Action plan in Whole Living. It is exactly what I need right now! I have an important question. I’m breastfeeding my 9 month old daughter. Can I follow your plan as a nursing mom? I eat rather healthy already. I don’t eat meat, but occasionally have seafood. One of my issues is sugary drinks. I count on dairy for some of my protein. It is all healthy food, so I am hoping I can do it! I thought maybe the detoxing could be harmful to her?

    Thank you!

  • Sorry Sarah! I just noticed that there is a section for snack info at the Whole Living Action Plan page, so I got the answer for my question about snacks 🙂

  • Hi Sarah! I was wondering if it is ok to eat some healthy snacks between the breakfast, lunch and dinner? And if it is, what should those snacks be? Dried fruits, nuts? I’m studying at the moment and unfortunately I don’t have the possibility to keep my lunch in the fridge at school. Do most of the lunches stay good (edible) if I pack them with me in the morning and eat them some 4 hours later? Or should they be stored in the fridge before eating?
    Thanks for your lovely blog! And greetings from the snowy Finland 🙂

  • Yesss! I am 3 days into the cleanse and already feel fabulous. Thank you so so much. This is just the reboot that I need. Thank you for doing what you do – your cooking is such an inspiration to me! xoxoxoxo

  • Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the shout-out! I’m glad that Whole Living led me to your inspiring food and delicious approach to healthy eating. Congratulations on your new site, it’s absolutely gorgeous, and so are the photos. Give me a shout if you come to New York! Warmly, Louisa

  • I am starting the 2013 action plan tomorrow! My concern is that I am very active- I teach Pilates and participate in strenuous exercise 3 times a week. My diet is a wreck, and I know I am going to feel the detox. I am not willing to give up my exercise. Is there some modification I should have to keep my body fed? Will the plan as-is support high activity? Even though I have already eliminated red meat from my diet, I feel like I may need some animal protein. Any thought here?
    Thank you!

  • Is there any reason not to use the broth from cooking the lentils for the French Lentil Salad? Love the plan and the recipes!

  • I made the lentil salad for lunch and it was delicious but huge! Ill definately not be hungry for dinner. I’m thrilled to try all of your new recipes for the cleanse this year.

  • I absolutely love the Blueberry Mint smoothie, despite my initial reluctance (I’m a bit wary around mint). While my diet is relatively healthy, this is the first time I’ve buckled down and followed a cleanse plan. And I can’t believe the difference! Thank you!

  • I’ve been a fan of your site for some time and I have to write that I LOVE the new layout. The recipe search is great and I like that the results are in a simple photo format. The entire site seems easier to jump around in and play in! I’m making the quinoa corn muffins recipe tonight to accompany a pot of chili. It’s a recipe I keep coming back to – so delicious! 🙂

  • Hi Sarah, thank you for your great website! Do you know how to get a copy of WL in Germany? I would love to start the detox and I’m wondering if I’m missing anything of the plan without a printed copy?

  • Thanks for posting on my site and recommending that I check out your post here. It is very informative and might be a great way to start.

    I’ve been considering a plant based diet (bought “Forks Over Knives” cookbook from Amazon a few weeks ago). I want to find something that will help me shed 80+ pounds.

    By the way, since I’ve never been on your site before, I have nothing to compare it to, but it looks nice! Good job 🙂

  • Very nice website. This is my first visit here encouraged by Green Living Ideas. I plan to visit more frequently.

  • Hey Sarah,
    the new website looks great, congrats! However, I have bookmarked a lot of your recipes over the past few years and all the links seem to be invalid now. Well, whatever, still looking forward to your new culinary creations 🙂
    all the best from Amsterdam!

  • I’m currently doing the cleanse from Whole Living’s 2012 issue, and I feel amazing!!! I’m on Day 4, and I love the Kale Slaw, the Beetroot Soup and all the smoothies!! This is the first cleanse I’ve done that hasn’t made me feel tired, hungry and sick. Thank you!!

  • I am already detoxing for few weeks alraedy, but I started with the plan from last year- there you don’t eat lentils during the first week. Would it be okay, to start the 2013 plan as my second week?

  • Hi Sarah – I was a lemon & water first thing girl for several years, then was warned by somebody of the damaging effect it has on tooth enamel :'( Booo! After a break; and discovering your beautiful site; I’ve decided to pick up this good habit again, though make sure to rinse my mouth with water after drinking it (Some people even suggest drinking through a straw to reduce potentially eroding effect of citric acid?) What are your views on this..? Amber

  • I’m a Whole Living subscriber and was so excited to see this issue in my mailbox! I’m actually just about to sit down and read through it. The new look of your website is fantastic!

  • Hi Sarah, is it possible to substitute coconut water or coconut milk for the 1/2 cup water in your mango-tahini smoothie?

  • Hi Sarah, I was wondering about food options to eat (snacks) or is it just the 3 meals a day allowed? (I know I’ll be hungry btw!)

  • Sarah, I was so happy to see a new detox plan in W, although I wish it had come out sooner, as I swear I had begun last year’s on Jan. 1 and I had really wanted to start a new one this Jan. 1, too. Oh well, no worries, I began last year’s, so I will look forward to bringing those recipes in to this year’s (BTW–the cabbage/kale salad from last year Week 1 is my husband’s *absolute favorite* salad to eat!).
    I am also SUPER bummed that WL will not be continuing on. So glad your blog is still here, though, Sarah. Thanks for your work!

  • I LOVE this so much! Just bought all the goodies for Week 1! I read about it in my WL magazine and was so excited to try it! We eat really healthy in our home, but I feel we rely too much on rices, pasta, and breads which in spite of being 100% whole grain and non-processed, is still too heavy on our bodies…..Thanks for such an inspiring post!

  • The new site looks fantastic!! I’m excited to look into this detox — although I wanted to know why you need to boil the water before adding lemon. (instead of just adding it to cold water). I’m assuming there is a reason! Thanks for sharing your wealth of information!! It has helped in so many ways!! – Anne

  • So far the recipes are a huge hit with the family. Made the portabello mushroom with kale and the cauliflower and broccoli stir fry. Amazing – cant wait for tonite’s sweet potato stew.

  • The new site looks wonderful!

    Something I have had a question about for a while: often I see apple cider vinegar diluted in water cited as an example of a way to detox and cleanse the system in the morning, much as you discuss lemon water in today’s post. Are they equivalent? Do they do different things? Is one a better method?

    Going to go brew a batch of your detox tea…

  • Great! I’ve been meaning to start a cleanse anyway, this will be it.
    Is it ok to bring some of last years recipes into the 2013 cleanse? A wider range of recipes may make it easier to deal with ingredients I can’t find over at my side of the globe.
    Also, is it ok to drink any herbal cafeine free teas over the cleanse?
    And about the cruciferous veggies, I have low tyreoid funcion and many sources say that cruciferous when raw are not good for low tyreoid people. But the cleanse is so short, and those foods are so important for detoxification… should I avoid them or they won’t have an impact over this short period?
    Thanks you!

  • SO beautifully written my lovely! I have sent Fabian to get a copy so I’ll have my hot hands on it tonight! Can’t wait!!

    While the snow is falling and fire cracking my heart is ever expanding for YOU <3

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