MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH…so what better time to clear your mind by doing a healthy cleanse?

My friend, Denise Livoni, who I met at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, is a raw food chef and came for a five day visit.  We decided to do our own cleanse.  So, she prepared our delicious green drinks, smoothies and raw salads, and I took us through our morning workout and afternoon yoga and stretch routines.  It was the perfect combination and really wonderful to be able to support each other through the detox and cleanse.

We started off drinking room temperature lemon water.  I like to use alkaline water, which is more expensive but well worth it.  Then, we waited 20 minutes and she made us our green drink.  The base was made with kale or spinach or both.  Then she added celery, cucumber, lemon, 1 cup of water.  Optional items were:  Fresh Ginger, Tumeric, Parsley, Basil, Tomato, ½ Granny Smith Apple.  After drinking that all up, I would take us through our cardio/resistance training workout.  When we finished, she made us our delicious smoothie with Vega Sport Performance Protein Powder in Vanilla with either Frozen strawberries, banana or mango, and 1 tsp. of Raw Rezerve (from Whole Foods).

After 2-3 hours, we had a wonderful raw salad with mixed greens, celery, radishes, orange, red, or yellow peppers, ½ avacado, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, and carrots.  I used  flaxseed oil and mixed with a balsamic for my dressing and she mixed up her own salad dressing:

Denise’s Salad Dressing:

1 cup olive oil

½ cup tahini or sesame seeds (raw)

½ cup Braggs Amino Acids or Nama Shoyu, raw organic Soy Sauce (Whole Foods)

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

4 cloves garlic (or less to taste)

1 Tbsp. Oregano

1 Tbsp. Basil

We shot a webisode while she was here where she showed me how to make one of her favorite salads, Soaked Collard Greens.  It was absolutely declicious!

Denise’s Soaked Collard Greens Salad:

1 bunch of collard greens (8 leaves)

1 handful of walnuts

¼ Cup Nutritional yeast

1 handful of raisins

1 bunch (no stems) of Parlsey

2 handfuls of fresh mint

1 avacado


Denise’s Salad Dressing for her Collard Greens Salad:

¾ cup Lemon Juice

1 cup Olive Oil and Flax Oil – Total

2 Pitted Dates chopped up

1 bunch of Italian Parsley

4 Tbps. Of Nama Shoyu or Bragg’s Amino Acids

3 cloves or less garlic

2 Tbsp. Water

Cracked Pepper

In the afternoon, we tried to do something outside to commune with nature, as that it so important when going through a cleanse to gain mental clarity.  So, we took a few nice long walks with my dog, Barney, in Washington Park.

Later in the day, the stretch and yoga routine was crucial.  That is the time you really feel tired, sluggish and even may experience headaches.  So, putting on the meditational type music and going through deep stretches and yoga poses while focusing on our breath, not only relieved tension, but brought that much needed oxygen into our muscles and joints.

In the evening, we would either have another green juice or some cut up raw vegetables.  One night she made me another delicious healthy snack with grape leaves.  Here is that recipe:

Grape leaf (Doimas) Recipe:

½ 16 ounce Jar of grape leaves.

½ cup Pine Nuts

4 green onions chopped

2 Tbps. Fresh Mint

2 cups Sunflower Seeds (Raw)

¾ cup fresh squeezed lemon rind

2 tsp. onion powder

1 cup garlic, minced

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

¾ cup cold-pressed Olive Oil divided in half

2 Tbsps. Bragg’s Aminos

(Once blended, wrap inside the grape leaves and drizzle with a little more olive oil).

In a blender, process the sunflower seeds, green onions, fresh mint and pine nuts until smooth.  Pat dry and stack on a plate.  Place 1 leaf at a time, vein side up, on a flat, clean work surface.  Cut off and discard the tough stem end.  Spoon about 1 Tbsp. of the seed mixture in the center near the base of the leaf.  Fold the stem end over the filling, fold both sides inward lengthwise and then tightly roll leaf toward point tip end to form a compact packet.  Place in a 8”x13” glass baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Mix together the remaining lemon and oil and pour it over the doimas so they are evenly coated.

Cover dish with foil and place in refrigerator or dehydrator if you have one.  Allow at least 3 hours.

Did you know that Collard Greens lowers cholesterol, has cancer preventing qualities, supports the detox and has anti-inflammatory systems, fiber, anti bacterial and anti viral properties, is rich in Vitamin C and high in Vitamin K and Vitamin B, as well as being an anti oxidant??

After 5 whole days of being on this cleanse, I had more energy, increased mental clarity, my skin was clearer, and all water retention and bloating was gone!  I slept like a baby and woke up earlier than usual.  I also felt an overall feeling of happiness.

I would highly recommend you try to do a detox/cleanse at least one or twice a year.  It is even better if you can do just a green juice cleanse at least once a week to clean out your system and give yourself a re-boot!

I am adding a grocery list for you to take to the store if you want to do the same cleanse that I just did.

Wishing you health and happiness!!!



Vega – Vegan Protein Powder

Alkaline or Purified Water




Mixed Lettuces





Yellow/Orange/Red Peppers





Brussel Sprouts

Sunflower Sprouts


Flaxseed Oil (refrigerated section)


Olive Oil

Braggs Amino Acids or Nama Shaya Organic Raw Soy Sauce

Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw Rezerve

Italian Parsley



Cracked Pepper

Pitted Dates

Fresh Tumeric

Fresh Ginger



Frozen Mango/Strawberries

Bananas (peel/cut/freeze them)

Granny Smith Apples