Kimmy’s inspiration

Thank you Shaina, Arielle, Aviva and KFG for the inspiration!

I agree with you Shaina—it has been much easier to have an “excuse” to avoid eating just anything in my path! Having RULES helps immensely. I think I’ll stick to most of the rules, most of the time after the 10 days (keeping my balance is key). This is my third year attempting the cleanse and I have grown a bit more will power and health-savvy each time.

Arielle’s buckwheat porridge has been the sweetness that has saved me from craving processed goodies & processed gluten. Dates are one of the ingredients I like to use in the recipe. Much to my joy, I discovered choice Medjool dates on sale for two dollars cheaper than usual. When I was checking out, the cashier rang them up at the usual pricey price. If I wasn’t tracking my food expenses so diligently for the cleanse, I may not have caught it and asked the cashier to double check.


I feel strong, clean and I have felt more energized since I’ve been eating clean. I’ve had much more endurance to run 3 mile jogs around my neighborhood, which used to tire me out! I wonder how much of that is mental and how much can be attributed to the nutrient-dense diet! Probably a lot of both🙂


I went over budget about $15 as well.


Below are a couple of simple meals I’ve enjoyed, with photos attached.

Gmar chatima tova and thanks for the inspiration!




Swiss chard (organic, chopped & steamed)

Lentils (pre-cooked)

Sweet potato (organic, baked)

Cost= $2.75


Spaghetti squash (baked in half)

Diced canned tomatoes (organic)

Basil (from the garden)

Drizzle of olive oil

Cost=$1.70 per person per meal; 1 squash could make 3-4 meals

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we did it!


Dear cleansers,

What happened? It’s the last day of the cleanse and it feels like we just started! I feel great. So good that I’m going to continue after Yom Kippur. Who’s with me?
What always surprises me about the cleanse is how relieved I feel to have an excuse NOT to eat everything in front of me. Usually when I walk through the shuk I constantly put things into my mouth. It’s stupid and stressful and not fun. I don’t want a gross sample of coffee flavored halva the miserable Halva King guy pushes, but I can’t not put it in my mouth. Or like…  I know the pile of brownies in front of me isn’t going to make me feel good, but they’re going into my mouth and I can’t stop and I hate myself. On the cleanse, I’m not even tempted to dip my hand into the candy bin or eat the brownies or try to figure out when to stop eating the brownies. I know it’s kind of messed up, but whatever. I have issues and the cleanse helps. Does anyone else experience this?
Another surprise was the how much easier it was for me to stick to the budget this year! Old, rotting vegetables are conveniently sold in bulk right outside my apartment in the Old City at night. My first purchase was  10 shekels (about $2.60) of tangerines… walked away with two full plastic bags. I had to give some to neighbors because I couldn’t carry them up the stairs. I tried to ask the sellers where the produce comes from, but couldn’t get a straight answer. Still working on it.
I’ve been feeding off a big pot of rice/dal mush. Super economical and packs a big nutritional bang for its buck. It’s like a mix of mujadara and kicheree…. basmati rice, mung dal and beluga lentils. Recipe below.
I went over the budget about $15. Because Kitchens for Good is so great, I’m going to donate $50. Thanks for the extra inspiration this year!
Kicheree Mujadara 
  • 1 cup mung dal
  • 1 cup beluga lentils
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 inch ginger finger, finely chopped
  • pinch of turmeric
  • tsp salt
Put into pot, boil, simmer, enjoy!
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Kitchens for Good – why are we donating to them?

Hello Cleansers,

My name is Aviva Paley, and I am the Director of Programs at Kitchens for Good, a social enterprise that works to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger in San Diego. Having participated in the cleanse several times myself, I feel honored and humbled this year to be writing on behalf of Kitchens for Good, and to be the beneficiary of the Food Stamp Challenge.13901588_1078376568917884_3377165445357032009_n-1

The cleanse is a meaningful exercise that pushes participants to reveal the power of food in their lives. By paying acute attention to our diets, we can see how food affects our mental and physical health. The practice hits the restart button on all of our habits and eating practices, and even our mental state.

However, this practice, to carefully decide what nourishing foods to put in our body­,  is of course a privilege. For many facing hunger, the questions are not, is this food good for my body, or does it taste good,  but rather- is there enough?

That is what the Food Stamp Challenge is all about. By trying to stick to a $4.10 a day food budget, we are made aware of how difficult it is to eat a whole foods, nutritious and filling diet with such limited resources.  The challenge inspires gratitude for the current abundance of resources in our lives and makes us reflect on the health of the community.

Above all, for me, the Food Stamp Challenge points out that health and wellness is not a guaranteed right to all, but a freedom only given with financial security.

img_7582This idea is core to the ethos of Kitchens for Good and what inspires my work everyday: hunger isn’t just about food, but rather hunger is a symptom of poverty and lack of economic opportunity.  To truly alleviate hunger, we must help people reach self-sufficiency, employment, and independence.

Here at Kitchens for Good, we insist on looking at food not just as fuel for the body or a resource to feed the hungry, but rather- as a tool to empower, uplift, educate and employ.  We do this through a culinary job training program that prepares hard to employ populations like formerly incarcerated individuals, youth aging out of foster care and individuals leaving rehab, to launch their careers in the culinary and hospitality industry.  During the training, the students practice their culinary skills by preparing surplus food that might otherwise go to waste into thousands of healthy meals a week for children and seniors experiencing hunger.

I feel blessed everyday at work, to witness students transform their lives, from one of addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and unemployment and food stamps, to lives of stability, good health, employment and a brighter future. For me- this is the real power of food- to uplift and empower. Your support of Kitchens for Good is truly making a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and our community. On behalf of all those whose lives will be changed by our work, I am deeply grateful for your investment in the future of Kitchens for Good.

-Aviva Paley


About Kitchens for Good:

Kitchens for Good’s (KFG) mission is to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger through innovative programs in workforce training, healthy food production, and social enterprise. KFG builds a bridge to close the gap between wasted food and hunger by rescuing and purchasing surplus food from wholesalers and farmers,  and then engaging students in its culinary job training program to transform these ingredients into nutritious meals and products for hungry families. Each week our students prepare 1500 meals for seniors and children suffering from hunger across San Diego county.  This approach not only addresses the most immediate needs of hunger through healthy meals, but also tackles the root cause of hunger- poverty, through a workforce training program that provides individuals who are typically considered difficult to employ the skills to become self-sufficient.
Kitchens for Good ensures its own sustainability by building a profitable food enterprise at the core of every kitchen, including catering, contract meals services, and retail food products. Through this robust enterprise model, KFG creates livable wage jobs for culinary graduates, and generates significant profits to reinvest into its social programs.


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The Cleanse is on!

Thank you for joining the cleanse this year. I can’t wait to hear what you all are cooking, listen to riveting stories about food budgeting, and read about how your body and mind and soul feel during these cleansey days. I’m excited.

This year, the cleanse is coming at the perfect time — I need something to help me reflect, feel gratitude for abundance, and stretch my creativity in the kitchen. I just started grad school and am taking evening classes on top of my full time job. It’s been challenging to say “no” to a lot of what I had been taking for granted a month ago – sunset surfing, leisurely runs and hikes, reading for fun, staring out the window, morning surfing, and so on.

The cleanse awakens me from my stupor and reminds me how much FUN challenges can be. We’ll hear from Kitchens for Good soon, but keep them and the great work they do in mind as you budget.

I did some pre-cleanse shopping, and there were some luxury goods I couldn’t resist. Dried dates, some nuts, fresh herbs. Other than that, I shopped the margins and discounted items. Fresh produce in California grocery stores is cheaper and often more fresh than elsewhere in the US, so I will definitely have a different story to tell than those of you who are elsewhere.

Let us know how you’re doing! Please email recipes, photos, thoughts, excitements, to If you found a great budget strategy, we want to hear it. And we’ll post it for the group too.

We’ll keep sending our ideas and successes around too. I know Shaina posted some epic cleanse cookies below, but I made some matcha date pistachio truffles too. Here’s a pic of the green truffle on a green spoon. Remember that we have an amazing RECIPES page! You can check the breakfast I made for myself this morning here.



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Seedy Berry Oats

Yet another pink go-to bfast.

In addition to making at home, you can also throw the ingredients into a container and add water+microwave when you get to work or wherever you go in the mornings. The recipe below is for one serving, prepped on the stovetop.

-1/2 c rolled oats $0.10

-1.25 c water

-1 tbsp poppy seeds $0.05

-1/4 cup berries (more or less, to taste) – I used some strawberries that I had pureed and frozen into ice cubes [free for me since I got the strawberries from a friend]

-pinch of salt $0.03

-pinch of cinnamon $0.03

-sprinkle of pepitas $0.30

-dollop Stonyfield organic plain yogurt $0.50


Method: Combine all ingredients in a small pan besides the yogurt. Heat over medium heat until well combined and the berries break down (~5 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in the yogurt, and enjoy.


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Getting started + cleanse cookies


Good morning 5777!

Today in Jerusalem I’m seeing a lot of white robes. It’s also the Islamic new year, year 1437.

Each year, we cleansers keep an open email thread with all of the participants and spectators. The first one just went out. We’re sharing stories, challenges, inspirations, questions, recipes. If you want to join please let us know. 

We want to hear from you.

My cleanse experience is totally different every year. During the first one, I worked hard and carefully to examine labels. I always carried around a baggie of nuts. I wasn’t well versed in cleanse-friendly desserts and have a vivid memory of tastebud-shock after a post-cleanse brownie (Arielle do you remember?). I was a pro by the 3rd year. I didn’t even have to think about planning meals and mastered luxurious dried fruit/nut butter/cocoa treats. Last year putting the cleanse in the context of the American experience with a budget was a new challenge. I quickly figured out what I had to do: buy in bulk, get produce from the seconds bin at Berkeley Bowl, make my own soy milk (never again) — and what I’d have to nix from my cleanse favs: cashews, avocados, cacao nibs. Adhering to the SNAP budget of $4.10 a day kept me in check.

This year is the most unprepared I’ve ever gone into the cleanse. I’ve been seriously nomadic, under stress (the normal kind) and in constant company of junk food. I eat bamba and nutella on bread when it’s in front of me. I splurge on 50 shekel (about 13 USD) take-away salads when I’m on the go. It’s irresponsible.

I finally moved into an apartment though. I’m longing for routine and boundaries. I hope the cleanse will push me to be more careful about my spending habits… I feel it’s important to be thoughtful about how my purchases are impacting people around me here. Where will my explorations for best-price-produce lead me? Who do I want to buy from?  I think I’ll hang around ladies combing through boxes of cucumbers on the floor in the markets.

Shana tova! Below is a cookie recipe to keep things sweet.



ps. we’ll soon have info for a donation page + a statement from our new partner Kitchens for Good 


Dark Chocolate Salty Oat CLEANSE Cookies

  • 1/2 c roasted almond butter
  • 4 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbs unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 2 dried mission figs
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash (or 2) of cinnamon
  • 1/3 c water
  • sea salt
  • 1/3 c walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 c oats

Combine roasted almond butter, cocoa powder, coconut shreds, dates, figs, vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt and water in food processor and blend until chunky paste forms (no need to run processor until all the lumps are out). Then, stir in oats and chopped walnuts. Form into cookie patties and let set in fridge for a few hours before serving.





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5777 welcome


Dear cleansers,

Year 5777 is around the corner! Time for the 5th annual Esrei Yamim cleanse — a mind/body/spirit reflection during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

This is the second year we’re asking participants to join in on an additional challenge: spend no more than the national average food stamp benefit – $4.10 daily – on food for each of the ten days of the cleanse.

We expect that nourishing our bodies with a whole foods, vegan diet (see rules) will be nearly impossible on this budget. So, we’re asking people to match the amount spent over the allotted budget in a charitable donation to an amazing org, Kitchens for Good (  We’ll have a guest post from the founder of KFG in a few days.

Last year, we (10yamim-ers live all over the world!) raised over $500 for global food justice via American Jewish World Service. We’re competitive … let’s beat that!

Access to healthy food in the US is a challenge that can be easy to ignore. It’s important to feed ourselves with nourishing foods, and we feel it’s  important to remember how difficult it can be for others to do the same. We hope that this cleanse will not only spark reflection on our own, personal health, but also on how we can contribute to the health of others. We think that this challenge will inspire gratitude for the current abundance of resources in our lives.

We will continue to post recipes and send resources that we find related to food justice — we encourage you to do the same. Shoot us an email with a reflection, recipe or question, and we’ll throw it up on the blog. We’ll give you credit unless you specify otherwise. When you send recipes, please include a cost breakdown or rough estimate of cost.  Even if it’s not exact, give it a try! We want to see what you can do. Here’s an example.  Also, send us your beautiful food photos to share!

This website can help to calculate recipe costs: And while this process can be time-consuming and tedious, it’s a part of budgeting that some people have to do everyday. Try it out, and let us know how you feel.

If you’re interested in joining the Cleanse this year, please let us know so we can include you on the list with updates and inspirations. It only lasts ten days: shortest newsletter ever. Even if you’re planning to challenge yourself for one of those days, we want you along for the ride. 
Thank you for coming along on this adventure with us.


Arielle and Shaina



For the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we will undertake an intensive reflection of the mind/body/spirit connection. We will only consume:

Vegan foods – no products derived from animals (no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.)

Gluten-free foods – nothing made with wheat

Unprocessed foods – nothing packaged with more than three ingredients

Unsweetened foods – no added sugar, honey, agave, etc.

Alcohol-free beverages 

An exception to the above rules above is the inclusion of organic eggs and/or yogurt that is organic, plain, stabilizer- and additive-free. This is a personal choice.


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