Book Review: Clean in 14 Detox by Melissa Costello + Recipe!

June 19, 2014

Typically I don’t gravitate toward diet or detox books–so imagine how pleasantly surprised I was by Melissa Costello’s new book, The Clean in 14 Detox. Costello is a nutritionist and health guru to the stars (past clients include trainer Tony Horton), but her voice has nothing snarky or condescending about it. What really sold me was her gentle and holistic approach, which posits that the goal of detox is to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit, rather than to quickly lose weight. So Peaceful Dumpling! 🙂

Book Review: The Clean in 14 Detox by Melissa Costello + Recipe!The book begins with an overview of why a detox is beneficial for most of us. If you consider yourself a healthy eater, much of the beginning chapters will be familiar. Costello’s detox eliminates 4 toxins for 14 days, which she calls CRAP: Caffeine; refined sugars; alcohol; processed foods and fats. And Costello’s plan is vegan, although she chooses to focus on whole, plant-based diet over other implications of veganism. In short, this is a sensible plan based on nourishing, wholesome vegan foods, and without any gimmicks, Spartan exercise regime, or deprivation.

“Basic” as though this sounds, it is probably challenging for most of us (including me) to completely give up all 4 of those things for 2 weeks. For instance, my downfall would probably be one or two drinks I have on weekends, and gluten (no more pasta!). Her anti-gluten stance is a bit more difficult to accept–that it is a “sticky protein” isn’t, at least for me, solid enough evidence against it. But as long as we are attempting to give the body best fuel for a limited amount of time and lose some weight in the process, I can understand how removing gluten can bring beneficial results for most people, especially those who are very dependent on bread and pasta.

But the best part of this book is the plan itself. Costello includes complete recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even includes directions for post-lunch detoxifier and pre-sleep elixir (oh la la!). Think Mediterranean Veggie Scramble for breakfast; Creamy Kale and Avocado Caesar with “Cheese” Sprinkles for lunch; Sweet and Savory Tempeh Tacos for dinner. Each of the recipes look and sound delicious enough that I could forget to gripe about missing gluten.

This detailed food plan is accompanied by daily instructions, which begins with an inspirational quote, morning ritual including meditation and affirmation, journaling assignments, and bedtime rituals and suggested self-care routines. At the end of each day’s assignment, there is a little pep talk from Melissa to keep you going strong in your self-care and self-discovery. Basically, this sounds a lot like a DIY yoga retreat and Peaceful Dumpling newsletter rolled into one. Sign me up!

Book Review: The Clean in 14 Detox by Melissa Costello + Recipe!

Here is Melissa’s Coconut Basil Stir Fry recipe to give you a taste of the delicious detox menu:

4 servings

Coconut Sauce:

1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 cup regular coconut milk

2 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 tbs rice vinegar

1 tsp arrowroot powder

1 tbsp maple syrup


Stir Fry:

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

4 medium carrots, halved and cut into 1/4″ diagonal slices

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup thinly sliced bok choi or cabbage

2 cups cooked quinoa


1. Put the coconut sauce ingredients in a blender and blend to combine. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large wok or a saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the ginger and saute for another minute. Add the carrots, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and bok choy, and stir to combine.

3. Pour the sauce over the veggies. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce heat to medium, and let the veggies steam for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir occasionally. Do not overcook! Serve over quinoa.


To find out more about Melissa, check out her website at Karma Chow

What do you think? Would you try The Clean in 14 Detox?

Related book reviews: Eat Pretty – Nutrition for Beauty by Jolene Hart

Clear Skin Detox Diet by Lauren Talbot


Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Costello

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