The Hunger Game: We Try Paleta’s 5-Day Cleanse

by Debbie Stoller

You know how they say, “Celebrities, they’re just like us?” Well, they’re wrong. Celebrities aren’t a damn thing like us. For instance, if you’re a celebrity – even one as seemingly down to earth as Kat Dennings – you can afford to do things like have all of your meals cooked for you by someone else and then have them delivered to your house each day as if by elves.

We learned this when the woman behind Los Angeles’ Paleta and her press agent came to visit us here at BUST HQ. Paleta, you see, is a company that specializes in healthy, delicious, farm-to-table cooking. And when they say farm-to-table, they mean it: they make the meals from fresh local sources and then and bring them to the table IN YOUR HOUSE. For something like $60 a day, they will deliver breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and all you have to do is eat it (okay, sometimes you might have to heat it up in the microwave). Unfortunately, the goodies from Paleta are out of reach to us BUSTies because, a) it is a service that is only available in Los Angeles and we’re here in NYC and 2) our daily food budget is closer to $6 than $60. Kat Dennings, on the other hand, is a regular client.

But now Paleta is starting up a new service that is available to anyone, anywhere. It’s called the Paleta Cleanse, and it is 5 days worth of “meals” (more on that later), that are delivered to your house all at once. And because the meals contain no allergens (no wheat, no gluten, no soy, no dairy) and also no meat, the idea is that it is a sort of a cleanse for your body. This is not the poop kind of cleanse; it’s more like a give-your-liver-a-rest kind of cleanse.

Both Molly and I were given the chance to try out the cleanse, and here’s how it went down for each of us.

Debbie’s Story

When I signed up for Paleta’s cleanse, I was pretty excited. After all, it meant I wouldn’t have to worry about making any meals for myself for five days!

So what was it like? Well, for breakfast I was required to make myself a Paleta shake, which comes in a powder form that you mix with water, and also some cocoa or cinnamon if you want it. I didn’t mind the taste of the shake, but filling it was not. Luckily, most days I could have another two for snacks. But still, they  did not satisfy like, say, actual food would.

But as for the actual food…oh boy, was it ever delicious. When I sank my teeth into any of Paleta’s dinners, it tasted like some of the best food I’d ever eaten. From the toasted quinoa, kale & black bean peppers that I had one night for dinner, to lentil rice burger I had on another (recipe below!), all of the dinners were yummy, satisfying, and even memorable.

And so was the lunch. That’s right—lunch, singular. In the 5 days of the plan, there is really only a one lunch, and mine was a cinnamon pear crumble with coconut yogurt and candied walnuts that I STILL have dreams about. It was that good. (And Paleta was gracious enough to share the recipe with us, below). So what did I have on the other 4 days for lunch? Well, one day was fruit salad (not so bad). Another day was spicy mango and jicama salad (also not so bad.) But then there was the lunch that was nothing but a handful of celery sticks and a tablespoon of peanut butter, and another day’s lunch that was just a few carrot sticks and a dollop of humus! SRSLY??!!!

I’m proud to say that I made it through the five days and only cheated with one banana, one apple, and a tablespoon of peanut butter during the week. Oh wait—I also cheated by having coffee every day (hey, I’ve got THINGS to DO!). And I did really, truly enjoy not having to worry about shopping or cooking for 5 straight days. And the meals were really exceptionally good. But unfortunately, until I got to eat dinner, I was quite hungry. Pretty much the entire time.

In the end, did it work? Well, we have a strict “no fat talk” policy around here at BUST, so I’m not going to tell you if I lost weight during the 5 days. In fact, that wasn’t even the point; the point was to detox or purify or levitate your liver or whatever. I don’t know how clean it got. My liver’s pretty clean anyway, being that I don’t drink or anything.

In conclusion, I’ll say this: if I had a celebrity’s money I’d probably love to have Paleta deliver all my meals to me during hectic times of my life. Their food is really extremely delicious. I just wish there was more of it in their 5-day cleanse.


Molly’s Tale

I’m the child of hippy-dippy parents who didn’t let me consume sugar in any non-fruit form until I was 3 years old. I was intimately familiar with tabbouleh by the time I was 5, and I was the weirdo kid at lunch who tried to trade my unprocessed-jam-on-80-grain-bread for a Twinkie. (There were no takers, surprisingly.) So the first thing I did when I broke free of my parental bonds was to eat like a person who’d just been released from Tempeh Jail: I consumed total garbage. I spent the bulk of my early 20s eating rubbery slices of pizza and cheap canned beer for dinner, and though I’ve changed my ways drastically since then, I’m still a fan of occasional nutrient-free eating. So when Paleta offered us the chance to do a 5-Day Cleanse, which promised to detoxify our guts, I was torn. Sure, I could probably use some “cleansing,” internal-organs-wise, but would I be forced into rinsing my eyeballs with wheatgrass juice and housing spelt smoothies? With a heavy heart and a possibly clogged digestive system, I entered into this five-day journey. And I shall speak of it now.

Luckily, the cleanse involved more than just vegetable juice and bits of tumbleweeds: a big, glamorous-looking package was delivered to my house that included shake mix, tiny snacks, and solid-food lunches and dinners. I was instructed to mix up a rice powder-based shake for breakfast, another for a mid-day snack, eat the included lunch, drink another shake in the afternoon, eat the included dinner, and then have another shake in the evening. I’m not crazy for liquid-only sustenance (I’m super into chewing lately), so this shake-tastic plan gave me some agita. But they tasted reasonably good, and I wasn’t hungry at all after downing one of them.

The lunches were probably my biggest gripe while on the cleanse, as they consisted mainly of some raw fruits/vegetables and little else. On the day I realized my lunch was just celery sticks and a thumb-sized cup of peanut butter, I wanted to shatter a plate-glass window with my rage-scream, a la Run Lola Run, and I probably would’ve, if I hadn’t been so weak from hunger. The dinners were a huge improvement on the lunch crudite–they were actually delicious and amazingly well-made. One night I had a curried cauliflower/apple soup that I would have been jazzed to get in any restaurant and which I’m totally going to replicate at home. I will admit that I did “cheat” a few times while on the cleanse: once when I ate a small piece of leftover honeybaked ham (my ham levels were dangerously low), once when I ate a mini cheesecake in the green room at the Hip-Hop Hollywood Squares taping (seeing Method Man up close sent me into a frenzy), and once when I ate an orange at night. But it was an orange, and oranges don’t count as “cheating” on anything. If you disagree, come at me, bro. I also drank coffee every morning, but without coffee, I am a swamp monster who preys upon all those who approach.

At the end of five days, I absolutely felt cleansed, whatever that means. I’d abstained from booze–no small feat for me–fried food, and all the sugary sugar sweets I love so dearly. I slept the untroubled sleep of a non-drunk person for five nights, and didn’t get heartburn from eating Peeps in bed and then immediately laying down. (Who would do that? I would never.) I don’t know if it was something specific about Paleta’s food formulations, or just the fact that I set the “reset” button on my eating habits, but the cleanse definitely made me feel like I’d done something positive for my poor guts. There’s no way in holy hell I’m eating solely crudite for lunch again, unless I have some kind of medical ailment that can only be solved by raw vegetables, but I proved to myself that I could live without whiskey, mayonnaise, beer, and beef for the better part of a week. I’m a regular Gwyneth Goop Paltrow now.

Paleta was kind enough to send us the recipes for two of our favorite meals from the cleanse–lentil burgers and apple-pear crisp. Give them a try at home, and cleanse the crap outta yourself.

By Executive Chef & PALETA Owner, Kelly Boyer

PALETA CLEANSE Lentil Burgers (Makes 12 2 oz patties)

  • 3 cups water
  • 1.5 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic cook 1 min
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (follow package instructions)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

1.   To prepare burgers, combine water and lentils in a saucepan; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are soft. Drain.

2.   Sautee onion, carrot and garlic until just soft…about 3 minutes.

3.   Place half of lentils in a large bowl, with cooked onions, carrot, garlic and tomato paste.

4.   Place remaining lentils with rice, herbs and spices in a food processor; process until smooth. Add processed lentils to whole lentils in bowl. Thicken with rice flour as needed, form into 2oz patties, chill.

5.   Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat, coat lightly with olive oil.

6.   Cook patties 3 minutes both sides until golden brown and enjoy!


PALETA CLEANSE Apple Pear Crisp (Serves 6)


  • 4 1/2 cups freshly sliced apples, skin on
  • 2 cups freshly sliced pears, skin on
  • juice & zest of 1 whole lemon
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup gluten free uncooked oats
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil

1.   Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand for fifteen minutes.

2.   Combine oats and next 4 ingredients in a second bowl

3.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4.   Spoon mixture into a 13×9- inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, top with oat mixture

5.   Bake at in oven for 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.


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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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