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Vital Life Cleanse

November 28, 2011 –

Since October 1, I have been on a whole foods, plant-based diet. After seeing Forks over Knives (Click HERE fo my review) as well as reading alot of other books like “The China Study”, I wanted to give this a go. I wanted to stop reading and watching and try it out myself. How would I feel? How would I be able to get through workouts? Would I lose weight? Could I gain lean muscle?

I wanted to be able to speak from experience, not what I “heard” from others. I knew going to a whole foods, plant-based diet was not to be taken lightly. Fortunately, I have been gradually improving my nutrition since my first day of P90X in December 2009.

To further commit to educating myself, I took on Melissa Costello’s 30 -Day Vital Life Cleanse. She is Tony Horton’s Personal Chef and I have used many of her recipes that she already has posted on her website at I knew a few people who had done the cleanse and they encouraged me stating that I would really enjoy it.

I joined the cleanse with 19 other people. Missy set up a Facebook Group so we were able to interact with each other. She had conference calls with us where we could ask questions and she sent us great materials, including more recipes.

Missy focused us on what she calls a “Slow Poison Smack Down”. These are the things that build up in our body over time and which we will eliminate in this cleanse to provide our body a “rest”. So what are the “Slow Poisons”?

– Caffeine

– Alcohol

– Animal Products (including dairy, eggs & fish)

– Gluten & Whites (including all flour, white potaties, white rice, etc)

– Sugar

– Artificial Sweeteners (including gum, mints, etc)

For many, this list seems extremely daunting.  You are not sure what you would eat because this is all you consume. Well I am happy to report that I ate a ton of phenomenal food. Another focus for me was to get away from tracking my calories and P/C/F Ratio. If there is one thing the P90X Nutrition has pounded into my head is the need to do this. Well, this cleanse introduced me to a different philosophy. Listen to your body and eat appropriately. When you are eating such clean food, you eat until you are 80% full, and then stop. It’s dead simple.



I started using the Vega Sport Pre-Workout, even prior to this cleanse. I really like it since it is all natural, all plant-based, and it gives a nice boost during my workout. I also mix some Maca Root Powder in with it.

Post – Workout

I swapped out the P90X Results & Recovery formula with the Vega Sport Performance Protein which is an all plant-based recovery drink. (More on this in another post.) I used the Acai Berry Flavor.


This is  biggest thing I missed. Because it has whey, which is a diary product, we were to eliminate it for 30 days. The good news is that Tropical Shakeology will be Vegan so in future cleanses, I will not have to eliminate it. Instead of Shakeology, I made my own concoctions (which I admit were nowhere as good as the real thing.) I used Sun Warrior Protein which is a 100% plant-based vegan.

I took 1.5 scoops of Sun Warrior and mixed it with either frozen strawberries or frozen blueberries (bananas and other high sugar fruits were also out of bounds on the cleanse), goji berry powder, camu camu powder, maca root powder, and some unsweetened almond milk.

MultiVitamin/Mineral (MVM)

Prior to my cleanse, I had eliminated my P90X Peak Health Formula MVM. I felt that between Shakeology and the incredible nutrition I was getting from a whole foods, plant-based diet, that I could forego this. However, with Shakeology out of my diet, I reintroduced the P90X Peak Health MVM. I also continued to take my 2000 IU Vitamin D Supplement.

Typical Daily Diet

For those that have no idea what a diet like this consists of, it is really easy. In fact, it is so simple, your 3 year old could understand it. Your goal is to eat things with one ingredient. Red Pepper. Zucchini. Apples. Almonds. Black Beans. You get the idea. You then have these phenomenal recipes that mix them all together. Here is a sample of my eating habits.


This was my new favorite find.

Take “Steel Cut Gluten Free Oats” soaked overnight with Unsweetened Almond Milk.  Then, add a a few drops of pure maple syrup along with Walnuts and Blueberries when you are ready to eat. I also had a side of Cantaloupe

Snack #1

Typically, this is when I have my Shakeology. I substituted this with some Almonds and Raisins.


There was no change for me for this mean as I always eat my Veggie Bean Salad for lunch.

Snack #2

I kept my afternoon snack pretty simple. A nice fresh organic apple. If I was still hungry before dinner, I may have had a LaraBar.


This is where I really enjoyed cooking new recipes from Missy Costello. In all honesty, I was getting pretty tired of having a chicken breast, brown rice, and a vegetable. I have learned to start cooking with spices and have the ability to create a phenomenally nutritious and delicious meal in 20 minutes. Some of my favorites recipes are GF Mac & “Cheese” w/ Broccoli, Tony Horton Vegan Burritos (my favorite!), 3-Bean Smoky Chili, Cardamon Coconut Sweet Potatoes, Chick Pea Patties, Fresh Pesto, Tomato & Zucchini Pasta, and Backed Ziti with Cashew Cheese.

Final Thoughts

I can remember numerous times in years past where I had said that I could NEVER not consume meat or diary. (Is that a double negative? Well, I wanted to put “never” in all caps. Oh well.) In fact, I said I could NEVER even be married to someone who ate like that. I loved meat and diary. It was pretty much in every meal of my day. Well as my 5 year old daughter reminds me as she plays a certain artist’s song, “Never Say Never”. LOL.

I feel phenomenal. I have loved not having to track my food and will never go back to that method.  I have actually gained lean muscle mass while going 100% whole foods, plant-based. I believe I was depriving myself when I was calorie counting. Now I am not against counting calories, especially in early stages of making your transformation. But after almost 2 years of P90X Nutrition and with this experience, I know what my body needs.

I feel my energy level is great and I could “Bring It!” better than ever to my workouts. My digestion was phenomenal and ran like clock work. I never had one headache or other ailment.

When you know you are feeding your body the ultimate fuel, you feel like you can take on the world. I have been asked numerous times whether I craved meat or anything else not allowed on the cleanse. Let’s be honest, sometimes the things we want most are the things we are told we cant have. LOL! But I didn’t crave anything. As I said above, the only things I missed were Shakeology and bananas. Outside of that, I felt like I was opened up to a new world of great recipes.

And what about the ultimate test? Thanksgiving. This used to be MY holiday. I loved everything about it. Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Dressing, Gravy, etc. Well, I didn’t crave any of it. I ate steamed veggies and some of the Coconut Cardamon Sweet Potatoes I made and I felt great.

I would highly recommend this cleanse to anyone seeking to improve your nutrition. I say it that generically because I think it applies to everyone and not just those who want to move to a lifestyle of whole foods / plant-based. However, I will warn you. You will feel so good by the end of 30 days, you will not want to fo back to your old habits.

For information on Missy’s Cleanse, click HERE.

So what now? Well, I have committed to doing 90 days of a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet. So I still have until the end of the year. So far, I am loving it and have felt the incredible effects from it. It gives new meaning to the cliche, “you are what you eat.” Stay Tuned for more as I continue this journey.

Here is a picture of me after the cleanse. I built up more muscle mass and feel stronger than ever!

10 Responses to “Vital Life Cleanse”

  1. Cathy says:

    Great Article! Thanks for sharing your journey. Want to be my chef?

  2. lance lyell says:

    looking good my brotha!

  3. Matthew says:

    Pardon my ignorance but I have to ask, what is included in the cleanse? Were you given the food or just the recipes? I know it seems like a dumb question but I’m very interested in this cleanse! Looks amazing! Love your site btw!

    • Coach Mike Coach Mike says:

      I would recommend you chat with her over email “”. From memory, here is what I can recall, but it really is more than this. Let her know you talked to me.
      1) You get 3-4 calls with her to ask her questions
      2) You get a few different packets with her which do contain great info.
      3) She sets up a FB Group for all the cleansers. We had ~20 people and I was one of only two guys. (and I never heard from the other guy at all.)
      4) She does keep the FB Group live (and she still check it) so there is some amount of continued support.

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