Skip the Cleanse and Detox: Start the New Year Right with a Racing Weight “DQS Clean Streak”

New Year Cleanses and Detoxes Are a Hoax! Instead, Try a Racing Weight “DQS Clean Streak”.

You don’t need to be a rabid fan of The Dr. Oz Show to know that diet “detox” and “cleanse” programs are all the rage. Examples include Dr. Junger’s 5-Day Gut Flush Cleanse and the Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox™. By far and away the most popular day of the year on which to start such a program is January 1, a holiday that has become deeply associated with hitting the reset button on one’s health habits.

Racing Weight Cookbook Greena Colada Smoothie RecipeThe only problem with dietary cleansing and detoxing is that it is a make-believe phenomenon. There are no foods that detoxify the body in any meaningful sense. The body detoxifies itself. I won’t waste any more time here debunking the notion of dietary cleansing and detoxing. It’s already been done very well in articles such as this one (The Guardian) and this one (Lifehacker).

If you’re an endurance athlete, you have a second reason not to engage in this bogus practice, which is that it doesn’t mix very well with training. Consider the Nature’s Secret 5-Day Fast and Cleanse™. How much exercise do you think you’ll feel up to on your fifth day of surviving on Colon Clear™ tablets and Super Nutrition™ mini-tablets?

I don’t mean to be a total party pooper. I recognize the importance of symbolism, renewal, and cleansing the body and soul for a new start each year. I have no quarrel with the general practice of starting off the New Year with some sort of dietary reset. But cleanses and detoxes might hurt you and probably won’t help. As an athlete, you should be sure to choose a program that actually supports your training.

So here’s what I propose as an alternative to the phony detoxes and cleanses:

The 7-Day DQS Clean Streak

“DQS” stands for “Diet Quality Score,” it’s a simple, practical method of rating the overall quality of one’s diet from day to day that is detailed in my book Racing Weight and overviewed in Racing Weight Cookbook.

Put simply, the DQS is a simple way to track how well you’re eating:

  • High-quality food types such as vegetables and whole grains earn positive points.
  • Low-quality food types such as processed meats and fried foods subtract points.

You keep a running tally throughout the day, and after your last meal or snack of the evening you are left with a total that represents your DQS for that day.

The goal is not to aim for perfection but rather to ensure that your diet quality is consistently “good enough” to yield the results you seek.rwc_website_background_2.jpg

At certain times, though, it is sensible to aim a little higher. One of these times is during what I call a Racing Weight Quick Start, which is a 4- to 8-week period immediately preceding the formal beginning of a race-focused training cycle, when you want to shed excess body fat more quickly than it is possible to do when you are eating to support intensive training.

Another of these times is when you want to get back on track after a period of slacking off—like New Year’s Day.

Executing the 7-Day DQS Clean Streak is simple: All it requires is that you go 7 days without consuming anything that subtracts points from your daily Diet Quality Score. Specifically, that means no refined grains, sweets, fatty or processed meats, fried foods, low-quality beverages (e.g. high-calorie coffee drinks), or alcohol beyond the first drink of the day.

It’s not a big ask, but it will do your body good, it will feel good, and oh-by-the-way it will also allow you to train normally, unlike a “cleanse” or “detox”.

For full details on how to track your DQS, check out my free online DQS Calculator. There’s also a smart phone version available for iOS and Android devices for $0.99. Just search “DQS” in your app store.

Healthy New Year!

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

One for the Foodies: Cinnamon-Raisin Wheat Berry Bowl

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

With steamed milk and the nutty aroma of toasted wheat berries, this breakfast cereal is worth the wait. If you have cooked wheat berries on hand, scoop 1½ cups into your pot, and wholesome goodness is just minutes away.

Racing Weight Cookbook Cinnamon-Raisin Wheat Berry Bowl

Serves 2 in 1 hour
Recipe profile: High carb, Vegetarian

½ cup wheat berries, rinsed and drained
1½ cups water
1 cup 1% milk (or whole milk, soy, or almond milk)
¼ cup raisins
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In a dry saucepan over medium heat, toast wheat berries for about 5 minutes, taking care to stir them with a wooden spoon so they brown and don’t burn. Once you start to smell the aroma of the wheat berries, you will know that they are sufficiently toasted.

Add water to wheat berries and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until wheat berries reach the desired texture.

Drain any remaining liquid, then add milk, raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla, if desired. Stir frequently to keep milk from scalding. Continue cooking until milk begins to thicken and raisins become plump, about 5 minutes.

Divide between two bowls and top with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

Per serving: 300 calories, 3 g fat, 59 g total carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 12 g protein
DQS COUNT (per serving): FRUITS ½     WHOLE GRAINS 1     DAIRY 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

An Endurance Classic Made Lean: Turkey Meatballs & Fettucine

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

Spaghetti and Meatballs; it’s a classic endurance sports meal and for good reason. Complex carbs will fuel you up for tomorrow while the protein will help you recover from today. Enjoy with a glass of red!

Racing Weight Cookbook Turkey Meatballs and FettucineServes 8 in 1 Hour
Recipe profile: High Carb, High Protein

2 pounds 99% lean ground turkey breast
1/3 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
cooking spray
4 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce from a jar
1 pinch of salt
1 pound whole-wheat fettucine

Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic, onion flakes, basil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Roll meat mixture into 40 2-inch balls and place a single layer in the skillet. (They usually have to be cooked in two batches.)

Brown over medium heat, using tongs or a wooden spoon to turn the meatballs so the outsides cook evenly.

Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan and pour in the tomato-basil sauce. Cover and simmer over a low flame for 40 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, fill a large saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add fettucine. Cook 12–14 minutes or as directed on the package. Pour into a colander to drain.

Add about ¾ cup cooked fettucine to each plate and top with meatballs and sauce.

Per serving: 400 calories, 5 g fat, 55 g total carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 38 g protein

TIP: You can purchase a commercial brand of wholewheat bread crumbs, such as 4C, or make your own with bread you have on hand.

DQS COUNT (per serving) VEGETABLES 1 WHOLE GRAINS 1 LEAN MEATS & FISH 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:

Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Try a Quick Make-Ahead Breakfast: Banana-Pecan Pancakes

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

These pancakes are a great make-ahead breakfast. Double the batch, and store pancakes in freezer bags to be reheated in the toaster. They are delicious on their own, but you can top them with syrup or additional sliced banana if you like.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Banana Pecan Pancakes recipe

Serves 2 in 15-20 minutes
Recipe profile: Vegetarian, Great for Recovery

1 cup oats
1 cup egg whites
½ cup 1% cottage cheese
1 banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
cooking spray (or ½ tsp. butter)
¼ cup (1 oz.) pecans, chopped

Combine oats, egg whites, cottage cheese, banana, and vanilla in a blender and process until completely smooth. Add baking powder and process for just a second or two to mix in.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray or butter. Pour in about one-quarter of the batter to make a 7-inch pancake, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped pecans.

Cook until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side for a few minutes. Repeat with remaining batter and pecans.

Makes 4 large pancakes.

Per serving: 404 calories, 14 g fat, 44 g total carbohydrate, 7 g dietary fiber, 29 g protein

DQS COUNT (per serving) FRUITS ½ WHOLE GRAINS 1 LEAN MEATS & FISH 1 NUTS & SEEDS 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Winner’s Circle Yogurt

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

No time to cook? That’s no excuse for skipping breakfast. A base of plain yogurt provides protein and calcium. Add whole-grain cereal, an important source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Top it off with fruit for sweetness and flavor and nuts or seeds for minerals, healthy fat, and a good crunch.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes Winner's Circle YogurtWINNER’S CIRCLE YOGURT

Start with a bowl of yogurt and add your favorite things for a high-quality breakfast.

TIP: If you like to mix it all together but want the cereal to stay crunchy, stir the nuts, seeds, and fruit into your yogurt, then add the cereal on top.

PLAIN YOGURT: Try Greek yogurt for higher protein.
WHOLE-GRAIN CEREAL: Original or Multigrain Cheerios, Kashi GOLEAN, Fiber One, Total Whole Grain, or Wheaties
FRUIT: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or peaches
NUTS: Almonds, walnuts, or pecans
SEEDS: Chia, ground flaxseed, or pumpkin seeds

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Garden Minestrone with Kale

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance. Chock-full of vegetables and beans, this soup is a hearty, warming meal, packed with nutrition.

Garden Minestrone with Kale is a Level 1 Racing Weight recipe, which means it will be easy to prepare, even for athletes who don’t cook.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes Garden Minestrone with KaleGARDEN MINESTRONE WITH KALE
Serves 2 in 50 minutes
Recipe profile: High Carb, Vegetarian

4 cups vegetable broth
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 large carrot, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
½ sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups baby kale, loosely packed
1 handful fresh basil, shredded (optional)
salt and black pepper

1 Combine all ingredients except kale, salt, and pepper in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

2 Add kale and cook for 10 more minutes. Season with fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 282 calories, 5 g fat, 55 g total carbohydrate, 17 g dietary fiber, 16 g protein

DQS COUNT (per serving) VEGETABLES 2½ (1 legumes)

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Run Oregon’s Racing Weight Test Kitchen

Beginning in March, a team of runners who blog for Run Oregon began testing recipes from Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes by Matt Fitzgerald.

What did they think of the recipes? Take a look!

Tomato & Beef Florentine Soup
Cauliflower, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup
Pumpkin and Maple-Nut Oatmeal
Pork & Pepper Sauce over Rotini
White Bean, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

rwc_website_background_2.jpg

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Flaxseed & Herb-Crusted Chicken

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

This is a Level 2 recipe, meaning it will take a little bit more time (30 minutes) and is intended for athletes who have some cooking experience in the kitchen. But the effort will pay off! The crisp flaxseed crust keeps the chicken wonderfully moist inside. You can use golden or brown flaxseed; the only difference is color.Racing Weight Cookbook: Flaxseed & Herb-Crusted Chicken

3 SERVINGS // 30 MINUTES
Recipe profile: High Protein

cooking spray
¼ cup ground golden flaxseed
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon each dried dill, dried oregano, garlic powder, and salt
¹/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons egg substitute or 1 egg, beaten
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place wire rack on top of it. Mist rack lightly with cooking spray.

2 In a shallow, wide bowl combine flaxseed, onion flakes, dill, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place egg substitute or beaten egg in a separate bowl.

3 Dip one chicken breast into egg, allow excess to drip off, and press each side into flaxseed mixture to coat. Place on wire rack on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with each chicken breast.

4 Bake for 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken reads 160 degrees F.

Per serving: 203 calories, 5 g fat, 6 g total carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 37 g protein

TIP: If you don’t have a wire rack, you can cook the chicken on a baking sheet alone.

DQS COUNT (per serving)
LEAN MEATS & FISH 1
NUTS & SEEDS 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Greena Colada Smoothie

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

Racing Weight Cookbook Greena Colada Smoothie Recipe

Racing Weight Cookbook: Greena Colada Smoothie – so green!

Try out this easy-to-make recipe for as a pre-workout fuel-up snack or a light post-workout recovery snack.

1 SERVING // 5 MINUTES
Recipe profile: High Carb, Vegetarian

1 14-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice (unsweetened)
¼ cup canned coconut milk
1 cup baby spinach, loosely packed
1 serving protein powder (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Makes one 16-ounce smoothie.

Per serving: 400 calories, 11 g fat, 66 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 2 g protein

WHY USE PROTEIN POWDER?

Protein powder can be a convenient way to meet your protein needs, whether you are making hot cereal for a preworkout breakfast, blending a recovery smoothie, or baking for postworkout snacks. We recommend buying a whey protein powder that is low in fat and sugar and is free of additional anabolic ingredients (e.g., creatine monohydrate) that are unnecessary for endurance athletes. Look for a basic whey protein powder with 20 or more grams of protein and fewer than 175 calories per serving (typically 30 g). If you have an allergy or intolerance to whey or dairy protein, soy protein is a generally tasty alternative. As for flavors, vanilla is the most versatile and complements all other tastes.

Feel free to omit protein powder from your smoothies. In baked goods, you can simply add the equivalent amount of flour.

DQS COUNT (per serving):
FRUITS 1
VEGETABLES 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.

Racing Weight Cookbook: Chipotle Chicken Avocado Wrap

Racing Weight Cookbook delivers more than 100 flavorful, easy recipes for athletes that will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance.

Try out this easy-to-make Level 1 recipe for lunch.

1 SERVING // 20 MINUTES
Recipe profile: High protein

Racing Weight Cookbook Chipotle Chicken Avocado Wrap8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ red onion (grill before slicing)
2 10-inch whole-grain tortillas
½ cup (5½ oz.) roasted red peppers from a jar
½ avocado, sliced

1 Preheat indoor or outdoor grill. Season chicken on both sides with chipotle powder and salt.

2 Place chicken and onion on grill and cook for 8–10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and onion is soft. Slice grilled onion when it’s cool enough to handle.

3 Place a tortilla on each plate and top each with half the roasted red peppers and avocado. Divide cooked chicken and onions evenly and fold or wrap to close.

Per serving: 410 calories, 13 g fat, 43 g total carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber, 33 g protein

DQS COUNT (per serving)
VEGETABLES 1
WHOLE GRAINS 1
LEAN MEATS & FISH 1

The Racing Weight Series™ is the proven weight-loss program for endurance athletes. Find Racing Weight, Racing Weight Cookbook, or Racing Weight Quick Start Guide in your local bookstore; bike, tri, or running shop; or from these online retailers:Racing Weight Cookbook Lean Light Recipes for AthletesRacing Weight 2nd Ed. RW2 96dpi 400x600p strokeRWQSG 72dpi_400x600_stroke Racing Weight Quick Start Guide

The Racing Weight Series™ is published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports.