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Back-To-School Cleaning: Paleta Food-Delivery Cleanse

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We Did It For Science is our semi-regular feature in which we offer ourselves up as retail guinea pigs. All for your benefit.

We first got to explore Paleta's offerings at a lovely summer luncheon at the home of chef and founder Kelly Boyer. Tasty, healthy dishes abounded - a combination of pescetarian, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. (This is LA, after all.) But equally impressive as the delectable edibles was Kelly's own remarkable story: after having beaten a rare form of cancer more than 20 years ago, partly through a move towards more conscious eating and living, she eventually turned her cooking hobby into a farm-to-table food-delivery business that has both a conscience and a heart. Tapping into all the right buzz words - organic, sustainable, green, seasonal - Paleta has quickly found fans among discerning Angelenos. And, as we acknowledged, the food we tasted was yummy. But the big questions we had were about the cleanses: is that food as good? And - most importantly - do the cleanses work??

Not only did we get to be a guinea pig for you, dear Racked readers, but we also got to be a guinea pig of sorts for Paleta. They were in the process of developing their 5-day cleanse (an alternative to the bigger-commitment 10-day version) and needed folks to try it out. The 10-day cleanse boasted a potential 10 lb weight loss - so could the 5-day deliver comparable a-pound-a-day results? We'd been enjoying our summer barbecues and happy hours a little too much this year, so it was a no brainer: sign us up! We had one last GNO of margaritas and chips and guac and then prepared our systems for the (potential) shock of reduced calories and protein shakes.

The result? We lost almost 6 1/2 pounds. And weeks later, we haven't gained it back! (Another Paleta promise.) Our metabolism must have gotten a generous jump-start, because we haven't eaten a perfectly Spartan diet ever since, nor have we gotten to the gym as much as we should. But we have definitely noticed that we've naturally cut back on portion sizes and are doing that grazing thing throughout the day. If you're as impressed as we were, here's what you need to know:

--Take their advice about the rice protein shakes. You drink 4 of them a day, and they recommend using lots of ice and adding some cinnamon and/or cocoa (that they provide) to make them more, well, palatable. Truth be told, with no ice and no added flavorings, they taste a bit like unsweetened vanilla chalk. And adding too much cocoa makes them cloyingly sweet. So our perfect mixture was a scant baby spoonful each of cinnamon and cocoa, and suddenly chalkboard city was transformed into an indulgent Coffee Bean kind of drink. But beware opening the shaker-bottle top! The pop-top seals pretty tightly, and we did manage to wrestle with it so much one day that we spilled shake all over our work desk as we yanked it open. Super drag when you're on limited food intake (and near a computer) - but using a rag or paper towel to open it thereafter helped.

--There is no day without solid food. On some cleanses, you may spend days at a time or the entire cleanse without being allowed to chew. Not so on Paleta, Now, not every meal was as complex as what was served at the luncheon - there was a sad lunch of celery and peanut butter one day - but a lot of the dishes were extremely satisfying: grilled vegetables with quinoa and toasted almonds, a Mediterranean plate of dolmas and hummus with vegetables, three bean chili with spicy mango and jicama salad, and blueberry peach crisp with toasted walnuts. And the genius part was we never had the shakes or felt starving - we were definitely aware that we were on a restrictive plan (no morning lattes or family-style lunches with coworkers), but we didn't feel like we were being tortured, and we had enough mental clarity and energy to make it through every day, as well as a general sense of well-being.

--The rate, though not cheap, is lower than comparable services (that probably don't even taste or make you feel as good). Local delivery of the 5-day cleanse comes out to $69 a day - which is a steal next to $80+ a day for strict juice cleanses. It's totally worth it to feel satisfied, healthy, and shed weight quickly - and for good.

Overall, we definitely recommend the Paleta cleanse, and would venture to say we'll be trying the 10-day version when we next feel we can make the investment. With results this lasting, it might be worth forgoing some clothes shopping trips, if not just to make sure we can fit into those new outfits better!
· Paleta [Official Site]
· All We Did It for Science content [Racked LA]