Cleanse or be cleansed: A local guide to healthier eating in 2016

If detoxing is your thing, there’s a local way to do that.

Rainbow Salad with Wild Tuna from Daily Jars. Photo by Frederick Turko, Fred and Elliott Photography.

Well, we did it all right. We nogged. We gratined. We stuffed ourselves like Christmas stockings, busting at the seams with cookies and cheese balls and glazed ham. And now is the customary time when we repent for our culinary sins. So, how can the formerly gluttonous make good on those New Year’s resolutions? Five local businesses want to help us, and lord knows, we need all the help we can get.


For Eat Smart founder Abbie Toner, good health doesn’t necessarily mean making a dramatic change. It’s about making smaller, manageable changes that can stay with us all year.

Toner wants to make it easy for anyone to make these changes. She’s come up with an Eat Smart 30-Day Challenge, from January 11th to February 1st, during which time subscribers will receive seven prepared meals each week, selected from Eat Smart’s weekly menus. The idea is simple: eat one healthy meal each day, and add one healthy activity to your routine. In solidarity, Toner will give up her beloved diet soda. Godspeed, Abbie, diet soda withdrawals are REAL.

“I hope lots of people will join and post their progress on social media along the way,” says Toner. And to encourage this, she’ll be giving away some prizes. For every day that her challengers post a picture of their meal or healthy habit on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag Eat Smart (@EatSmartRVA on Instagram & Twitter), she’ll enter them into a drawing for a week of Eat Smart meals.

If you’re not quite ready to commit to a month of mindful eating, you can take your baby steps with Eat Smart’s weekly subscription model with menu items like Chicken Shawarma with Tahini Sauce, Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Cauliflower, No Noodle Lasagna, and Barbecue Chicken with Root Vegetable Hash. You choose your personal or family meal plan and your pick-up or delivery preference, and then sit back and let Abbie do the rest.


Starting this very evening at 6:30 PM, Ginger Juice will launch its first annual New Years Nutrition Workshop under the guidance of Certified Nutrition Specialist Emma Moyer. It’s more than just a juice cleanse, which we all know are easier to cheat on than a long-distance boyfriend. This is a cleanse with support–support from someone who actually knows what she’s doing and not just your friend who’s drinking maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper every day because Beyoncé does it.

There are two cleanses available–one for juice newbies and one for veteran detoxers. Both options come with six juices per day, and the latter adds wellness shots (wheat grass, ginger, turmeric) to the mix. The Graduate, the more advanced track, includes the following:

  • Juice 1: Goodness II: kale, celery, apple, mint, chia seeds
  • Juice 2: Goose: matcha tea, carrot, orange, lemon, honey
  • Juice 3: Goatocado: apple, lime, kale, celery, romaine, cucumber, cilantro, mint
  • Juice 4: Glitzy: apple, pineapple, pear, alkaline water
  • Turmeric shot
  • Juice 5: Giving II: beet, pear, cabbage, garlic, ginger
  • Juice 6: Glee: almonds, alkaline water, local honey, cinnamon

Cleanse your way to wellness for the next three weeks, and at the end of the program, Moyer will equip those left standing with tips on how to transition back to solid foods, with grocery guides and recipes to make the switch a smooth one.


Ashley Mannell is a psychiatric/mental health Nurse Practitioner whose expertise is in nutrition and functional medicine. That means she treats the whole patient, not just the symptom. Her practice, Richmond Integrative Psychiatric and Nutrition Services offers a Food Elimination and Detox Challenge, starting January 12th.

This challenge is all about the mind-body connection. By eliminating certain foods, being aware of eating habits, and giving the body a chance to heal, Mannell hopes participants will be able to address the psychiatric issues that affect them most, issues like insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue, in a productive way.

The challenge lasts from January 12th to February 2nd, with weekly meetings and a private Facebook group for additional support. Participants will receive probiotics, protein powder, fish oil, and liver/GI detox supplement to help begin the diet successfully, plus the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Elimination Diet Guide, and exclusive discounts to supportive businesses like Gulp Juicery, Purify Infared Sauna, and Daily Jars (see below!).


In “Free Services I Can’t Believe I Didn’t Already Know About” news, Ellwood Thompson’s offers FREE half-hour screenings with a living, breathing (presumably healthy) health coach every Thursday between 5:00 and 7:00 PM. Lindsay Kluge, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, will spend a half hour of her time getting to know you and a bit about your habits before making recommendations for steps you can take to improve those habbits. I’m going to guess they include buying some ingredients and herbal supplements from Ellwoods, and, lucky you, you’re already there. You can also follow Lindsay’s blog posts for recipes and tips to help you stay on track.

“We can discuss anything from healthier eating, reading nutrition labels, navigating supplements, herbal medicine questions, support for minor health issues, and even store tours of Ellwood Thompsons,” says Kluge. “Ellwood Thompson’s is a wonderful place to begin the journey of healthier eating and living, with a wide variety of local foods, organic sourcing and knowledgable stewards to help you on your way!” To make an appointment, email


Around this time last year, Daily Jars founder Liz Fishman was stressed all the way out. The mother of two young children was tired and anxious and felt as though she was at her wit’s end. A six-week elimination diet program under the guidance of Nurse Practitioner Ashley Mannell of the aforementioned RIPN changed all that. Fishman found the strength and confidence she lacked, and she found a new purpose for herself: making wholesome food to share and eventually sell to the public.

So, what is the diet exactly? According to the Daily Jars website, “We often (but not always) correspond with paleo, vegan, gf/cf, and whole30 diets. We are always free of dairy, gluten, soy, egg, corn, peanuts, and cane sugar. When possible, we use organic ingredients, and we always try to source our ingredients locally!”

To kick off the new year, Daily Jars is offering two specials: Order any five meals, and receive a free snack pack. Or order any 10 meals, and receive a snack pack and five dark chocolate energy bars. All of the meals are $10, which means for $100, you can have ten meals at your fingertips plus snacks for the whole week.

“My goal is to make wholesome eating easy and approachable for everyone, including busy moms like me,” says Liz. “I’ve been surprised to see how many people love the food regardless of whether or not they’re on an elimination diet. People really seem to love the food!”

Interested in cooking up your own Daily Jars? Liz has a class coming up this month at Ellwoods.


Of course, you can always choose to go it alone, although we strongly recommend discussing with a medical professional first (doing a detox or cleanse too aggressively or on top of other health problems can be dangerous). Once you’re given the green light, there are one million cleanses, detoxes, and diets advertising much wellness–there’s the BluePrint Cleanse, Bon Appétit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse, the GOOP Cleanse (which, sadly, does not rid our bodies of Gwyneth Paltrow), and Whole30; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also probably an iceberg cleanse where you just drink melted icebergs all day, but that’s unconfirmed. Good luck, and I’ll see you in Februrary when we’re all back to our old wine-swillin’, chocolate-gobblin’ selves.

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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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