Oprah Winfrey’s Diet Plan
Oprah was inspired by Kathy Freston’s book Quantum Wellness to do a 21-day cleanse, to give herself an “inner makeover.” During the 21 day cleanse you are to eliminate caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products from your diet.
“This 21-day cleanse gives me a chance to think about it differently and see what my attachments are to certain kinds of foods—and what I’m willing to do to change. Don’t know if I’m going to feel better or worse, but I’m willing to try to see if my body at least feels differently.”Want to know if Oprah stuck to her vegan cleanse? Keep reading to find out all about it.
Week One: Sunday
“So this first day wasn’t hard at all. For breakfast, I had steel-cut oatmeal with fresh blueberries, strawberries, chopped walnuts and a splash of soy milk and some agave nectar. For lunch, chunky mushroom soup with wild rice and pecans. As a snack, a handful of roasted almonds. And for dinner, a baked potato drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper with a salad of shredded lettuce, cranberries, pine nuts and tiny orange slices with a vinegar and oil dressing. Very satisfying. Day 1 also started with the meditation mantra that Kathy suggests in her book. I’m ready!”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: Some other great foods to eat are brown rice, quinoa, steamed or sautéed vegetables, chickpeas, yams, rice cakes or flax crackers with peanut butter or almond butter, apples, blueberries, hot whole grain cereal with chopped nuts and fruit with soy milk poured over it.
Week One: Monday
“Well, I feel like I got baptized in Vegan Land today. Kathy Freston sent her chef, Tal Ronnen, to help me and three friends at Harpo who are doing the 21-day cleanse. Wow, wow, wow! I never imagined meatless meals could be so satisfying. I had been focused on what I had to give up—sugar, gluten, alcohol, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese. “What’s left?” I thought. Apparently a lot. I can honestly say every meal was a surprise and a delight, beginning with breakfast—strawberry rhubarb wheat-free crepes.
Week One: Tuesday
“This morning started with an egg-less quiche. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it, but it was actually okay. I’m not rushing to the breakfast table, but the caramelized onions made it almost tasty. Lunch was delicious lentil soup and some lovely lettuce leaves and shredded cucumber. Dinner…mmmmmm good. Asparagus “cream” soup, portobello mushrooms, white beans and spinach and sweet potato chips. A feast! I had three meals and two snacks today. They were so satisfying that so far I’m doing great. My assistant, who’s giving up caffeine for first time, is a bit cranky. That’s expected, right?”
“I stopped by my favorite restaurant to meet a business associate, but I was so full and satisfied after Tal’s meal, I only ordered sparkling water. (That’s a first!) The smell of garlicky, simmering fillets and steak Dianne were wafting all around me, and I had absolutely no problem resisting. I came home and my housekeeper, who sometimes cooks, had made a beautiful turkey meatloaf. I forgot to tell her about my vegan baptism, so my doorman’s now enjoying turkey meatloaf for dinner.”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: To help with caffeine withdrawal, try Teeccino, a coffee substitute made from grains that you brew like coffee. It looks like coffee and is thick and satisfying, especially with soy creamer! You can also try a glass of water with half a lemon squeezed into it first thing in the morning. It’s very energizing. Rooibos tea from South Africa is another option. It has antioxidant properties and is quite delicious. You can get it in lots of flavors, like vanilla.
Week One: Wednesday
“I just cleaned my dinner plate, down to the last grain of brown rice left under my oh-so-deliciously seasoned soy chicken. I can not believe how tasty, spicy and wonderful it all was. I’m ever more surprised at how I don’t miss anything and feel so satisfied at every meal. Bravo to Tal! By Day 4, I’m usually climbing the walls or craving sweets—or ready to throw in the towel on any other diet plan. I’m a little nervous about the weekend. Tal cooks our last meal for the week tomorrow, and I’ve got to go to Las Vegas for Tina and Cher. Vegas and vegan don’t seem to mix.”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: When traveling, order a hearty soup (lentil, minestrone, tomato) from the room service menu and ask if they can prepare something using every vegetable they have in the kitchen. Try oatmeal for breakfast—it’s so easy. It’s also a good idea to travel with some protein powder that you can shake up in a bottle of water to make sure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.
Week One: Thursday
“I hit a wall today. Literally had to stand in my closet and bound the walls, the cabinets, the floor for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. I had done two shows, back-to-back with no break…people standing in the hallway afterward, photos, take my picture, now with my sister, now with the whole group, just one more please, please sign this, turn this way, I met you six years ago, remember? And on and on…circuit overload and no soda or bag of chips to turn to. So I just started hitting the wall in my closet.”
“I then sat down and took some conscious breaths in silence to restore my soul. Drank some lemon water and calmly moved into the next meeting. Afterward, I had the most delicious lunch: quinoa salad and pasta with soy chicken.”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: External “fillers”—like soda and chips—leave you feeling empty and wanting more. Yearning, dissatisfied. To really feel substantially filled and nurtured and cared for, it has to come from something that is not outside of us. If you are pushed against a wall or challenged, try to remind yourself that you need not do and be everything.
Week One: Friday
“Just arrived in Vegas…staying in a four-bedroom (high-rolling) villa with a waterfall in the foyer—and full complimentary bar. I’ve had a long day that started in Telluride interviewing Tom Cruise. Tom’s chef prepared ribs and chicken for lunch. I had salad and corn on the cob with no butter and a kale salad, which was also offered. There were also home made chocolate brownies with marshmallow filling made by Tom’s mom, which I also turned down. I feel like I let Tom’s mom down, but I explained that I had agreed to do this cleanse for 21 days—and was only on my sixth day.”
“Then I walk into this suite that’s so fancy there’s an electronic device to flush the toilet, and the first thing I notice is the bar with the cosmo glasses. My assistant who’s on the cleanse with me says, “Boy, wouldn’t a cosmo be great right now?” “Yes, it would,” I say…and I made us an alcohol-free one. So we sit here with our alcohol-free sparkling water with a dash of cranberry and fresh-squeezed lime thinking about our consciousness. On our way now to see Tina and Cher rehearse. Any other time I would be hangin’ with Tina afterward, drinking champagne. Going to come back and get a massage instead.”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: Remember, if you slip, it’s okay. You are leaning into a clean and conscious diet; no need to force yourself into something that is terribly uncomfortable. Do the best you can, taking baby steps until you feel comfortable and ready to embrace it wholeheartedly.
Week One: Saturday
“Tal has Fed-Exed food to Vegas, so we have egg-less omelets for breakfast and lasagna for the plane ride home. In Vegas without a drop of wine or champagne—this is a first for me. I’m doing better with that idea than the rest of my cleanse team, who last night were begging for a reprieve. “Just a glass of wine after rehearsal,” they said. I told them to go ahead and have it, and don’t worry about it. Lean into it. But nobody crashed. We’re moving onward! I can’t guarantee there won’t be a champagne glass lifted after this show is over.”
Week Two: Sunday
“Yep…this was a perfect Sunday. I only took off my pj’s to take a hot bubble bath and get a 90-minute massage. Then returned to bed to read the paper and reread the final chapters of A New Earth. I had originally planned for a Sunday brunch with my fellow VCTs (Vegan Cleanse Team), but we were all so tired from the Tina and Cher extravaganza that we opted for rest. Tal dropped off some delicious gluten- and wheat-free waffles he picked up at Whole Foods. I had two along with a fruit smoothie and some lentils and sweet potato salad. My housekeeper made some lentil soup. So I did a double-lentil whammy! Gee, it feels good to rest. It was much needed—I was running on empty.”
Week Two: Monday
“I don’t know how Tal is doing it, but today I had a fake Tuna sandwich on rice bread and a salad with multi vegetables. It filled me up and was so satisfying. I’ve had no cravings or food issues—I’m in harmony with life. The rest of the group is doing better, no headaches this week from caffeine or sugar withdrawal. Donald Trump sent a dozen key lime pies from Mar-a-Lago. When I was there for Maya’s party, I was raving about it being the best key lime pie ever, and now it’s here to tempt me. I’ll share it with the audience instead.”
Week Two: Thursday
“It’s the end of the season. We just taped our 140th show, with Tom Cruise. The producers and I are joining Tom, Katie and their families [for dinner]…for goodness sakes, we need a glass of wine!!!!!!!! A crisp, chilled, woodsy Chardonnay would certainly hit the spot…and heaven knows we deserve it! I know deserve is a subjective term. But it’s true, WE DESERVE IT!”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: It’s okay to have a glass of wine and enjoy it. It hurts no one. This is not about deprivation, so feel no guilt. Leaning in sometimes means you have to stop, take a rest and look at the view.
Week Two: Saturday
“Tal left…the void is immense. I’m in New York trying to make do. First of all, he had one of the nicest, calmest, sweetest spirits I’ve ever encountered in a man. His loving energy came through his food. I think that’s why we were all so soothed and nurtured by it and looked forward to every meal. I had CEO search interviews all day yesterday and had food brought in from a local favorite vegan restaurant. It was very good—lots of choices, but not the same energy as Tal. Interesting that we all felt the loving energy of his food and all commented on that in different ways.”
“Yesterday, I had a black bean burger with the fixin’s for lunch and some kind of dairy-free yogurt and gluten-free granola for breakfast. Well, the black bean burger—while delicious—is still with me. I didn’t eat dinner. I felt, and still feel a day later, like a black bean balloon. Soooo bloated. And today I have a photo shoot all day for the magazine!”
Week Three: Tuesday
“We’re on our own…no Tal this week. Today, I’m ordering out from a vegan restaurant here and bringing some things from home, like gluten-free waffles for breakfast. I sure will be happy to return to gluten. The Morningstar veggie sausages are a keeper—nice flavor and no pig had to sacrifice its life. Feeling great. Lots of energy, and the season’s almost over, so I can get some much-needed rest.”
Kathy Freston’s Comments: You may have to drink a protein shake during the day just to make sure you get your full nutrients (not everyone has beans and nuts on hand!). Another tip is to bring a sandwich to work rather than depend on the diner around the corner to have something you like.
Week Three: Thursday
“Only a few more days till a crisp chardonnay. Wine…yes, I’ve missed it the most. It’s amazing how many things I have to toast in life. We did a champagne toast with the crew today as we finished last show of the season. Neither I nor the Veganista Cleanse Team took a sip. That wasn’t as hard as it would have been last week—that same team was at dinner with T.C. (Tom Cruise), where we did have wine. So we felt okay today. This cleanse has provided discipline and restraint. Only once have I craved chicken. Too many lentils that day.”
“This week was harder without Tal, but we’ve managed to do okay. Yesterday, I prepared breakfast for the VCT before doing the show. I brought gluten-free waffles and Morningstar vegetable sausage that Tal had left in my freezer from his shopping at Whole Foods. Delicious and easy breezy to prepare. Eating more consciously now feels like a way of being. I actually think about how my food got to my plate. That was the whole point, right?”
“Doesn’t mean I’m committed to veganism…but I am thinking about what I eat and why. And from that I can never turn back.”
Week Three: Saturday
“My first official day off from work…no meetings or commitments. No distractions. Just a day to completely relax. The first one I’ve had in the past month. And, can you believe, also the first day I’m truly grumpy about what I CAN’T eat. I so wanted to eat some pasta or pizza or a panini…boy, was I craving a panini with melted cheese after making one for an unexpected guest.”
“I didn’t prepare this house in Santa Barbara with gluten-free products. I got in the car and went to Vons, but couldn’t find enough gluten-free products to satisfy me, so I came back home and made some quinoa with mushrooms, herbs and garlic. One more day.”
Week Four: Sunday
“Day 21…yes, I want some wine. Bordeaux 82. Just one glass at sunset, almost broke down and had a glass. I didn’t, mostly because of my commitment to fellow VCTers. Tomorrow, Scarlet…tomorrow is another day. That’s my mantra for now. Main meal was a large baked potato with sautéed onions, herbs and olive oil. And fresh green salad with avocado and tomato, lemon, garlic and olive oil.”
“All ingredients except the olive oil came from my garden. Yes, I’m growing potatoes this year, as well as beets and corn. I got a real kick out of that. I was raised by a grandmother who grew and harvested everything. Going to the garden was something I took for granted…now it thrills me to see the baskets of lettuce, fava beans, and herbs, fresh picked.”
“I very much enjoyed my homegrown potato, but I did think some grilled sea bass would have been great along with. That’s progress—when the thought of fish is wishful thinking. What I know for sure is I’ve reached a new level of awareness about food, eating and the whole process of how it gets to my table. I used to say thanks before a meal out of perfunctory habit. Now I consider it true grace to be able to eat anything in a world of increasing food shortages and starving people.”
“This has been exactly what we intended: enlightening. I will forever be a more cautious and conscious eater. That’s my commitment for now. To stay awakened. Thank you for escorting us along the journey to wellness. We’re not quantum quality yet, but “leaning in.”
Start your cleanse today! Buy Quantum Wellness
Here are some Meal Plans from Chef Tal Ronnen who created these menus to help Oprah on her cleanse, and to give you some ideas of what you can eat if you decide to do a vegan cleanse.
Menu Plan 1
Breakfast: Tofu Scramble
Lunch: Tempeh tuna salad over field greens
Dinner: Kale avocado salad and King oyster mushrooms with pistachio purée
Menu Plan 2
Breakfast: Wheat-free pancakes (made with Bob’s Red Mill mix) and Gardenburger soy sausage
Lunch: Buddha bowl (made with oven-baked tofu, kale and brown rice)
Dinner: Caesar salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing and Tempeh Scallopini with Madeira Peppercorn Sauce
Menu Plan 3
Breakfast: “Cheesy” corn grits with tomato compote
Lunch: Scampi-style Tofu Wrap
Dinner: Artichoke and Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller with side salad and corn chowder
Menu Plan 4
Breakfast: Steel-cut oatmeal with cranberries and almonds
Lunch: Zucchini “fettuccini” with Raw Alfredo Sauce
Dinner: Quinoa salad with roasted corn, sweet potatoes, avocado and roasted tomatillo dressing
Menu Plan 5
Breakfast: Strawberry-rhubarb wheat-free crepes
Lunch: Mezze plate (white-bean hummus, millet tabouli, balsamic fig compote, marinated olives and almond-rosemary crackers)
Dinner: Celery root soup and Tempeh Creole over grilled corn cakes
Menu Plan 6
Breakfast: Egg-less quiche, arugula and artichoke hearts
Lunch: Beetroot ravioli with fresh cucumber and fennel salad
Dinner: Spring asparagus soup and Cajun-Seared Portobello Fillets with Avocado Cream
Menu Plan 7
Breakfast: Fruit and Soy Yogurt Parfait
Lunch: Roasted tomato, grilled onion and sweet garlic aioli quesadillas with jicama slaw
Dinner: Vegetable strata with cilantro-lemon pesto and Black Bean Cakes with Lime-Peppered “Mayo”
Menu Plan 8
Breakfast: Steel-cut oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and agave nectar
Lunch: Assorted vegetable sushi plate
Dinner: Tempeh marsala with a spring salad
Start your cleanse today! Buy Quantum Wellness