A little over a week ago, I decided to commit to a 30-day “clean food” detox. For a self-declared foodie, food columnist and marketing agency owner who only specializes in restaurant clients, this decision is tantamount to declaring martial law of a most tortuous kind.

Thankfully, the system I’ve chosen is not entirely crazy – one protein drink, a few add-in powders, plenty of vitamins, detox tea and, then, two “clean food” meals and healthy snacks. No caffeine, no wine, no tequila.

In the first week, I whittled nearly 4 inches from my body, so it’s certainly working. The key, though, is to remain true to the program for an entire month (for cryin’ out loud). So, in this 30-day process of trying to keep it fun and true to my love-of-food roots, I’ve decided to seek out chefs who serve up clean food meal options.

Clean Eating with Michelin-Starred French Flair

On Thursday, I drove to Las Vegas for a large photo shoot for one of my restaurant clients, Andre’s Bistro + Bar. These folks produce the finest French food imaginable, and for three hours, I was directing a photo shoot of more than 12 incredible sandwiches with accompanying duck fat French fries for their new lunch roll out.


As I sat down to dinner with my client, the Sous Chef, Chris, trotted out to inform me that he would be happy to make me a “clean food” meal as he had just created a 30-day menu of the same for his sister-in-law. A few minutes later, he emerged with a most beautiful plate of lightly seared salmon and freshly made ratatouille.

It was heaven on earth.

A Mocktail That Beats the Real Thing

On Friday, I was back at one of my favorite restaurants in Laguna Beach, Starfish. The resident bartender, Neil Skewes, was immediately sympathetic to my plight. Instead of serving my usual (and amazing) Lagniappe Margarita, he came up with a healthy mocktail alternative: Muddled mandarin oranges and mint, sparkling Perrier water, big squeezes of fresh lemon and lime and a float of Pomegranate juice to top it all. It was delightful and refreshing, and a whopping 20 calories.

For dinner, I ordered Starfish’s gluten-free chicken lettuce wrap and took half of the hefty serving home with me.

Which Laguna Chefs Offer Clean Food?

After two delightful restaurant events, I’ve decided to seek out more chefs in town who want to feature their “clean food” options with me.

Clearly, many of our chefs are already cooking along these lines. While Zinc’s and The Stand are obvious for offering several clean food options, many residents don’t know which restaurants offer heathier alternatives on a regular basis.

As an example, Chef Lindsay entwines her French culinary roots with all-organic staples at Nirvana Grille. Her regular menu starts as a vegetarian menu, and then offers protein add-ins such as herb-crusted prawns, blackened chicken breast and Steelhead salmon.

And, while Chef Arthur’s decadent ribs and one-of-a-kind burger at Skyloft might be a no-no for my 30-day detox, they are both entirely gluten free dishes. In fact, only two or three items on his entire menu are not gluten free, and he, too, offers a variety clean food options.

Help Me Find Laguna’s Best “Clean Food”

Now, I’m officially on the hunt for clean food menu items, and I want your input. Official rules are as follows:

  1. Only restaurants and chefs in Laguna Beach qualify.
  2. These are entrée options beyond the salad section of the menu. (But if you want to point me toward a particularly amazing salad, I’m all ears.)
  3. While the entrée might require substitutions in sides, the entrée itself must be readily available on the menu and something the Chef can easily serve, even on the busiest night.
  4. Vegetarian entrées are great, but I also want fish, poultry, lamb and meat suggestions for all the carnivores out there.


Send your suggestions to Diane@Armitageinc.com and I’ll give you weekly updates here on my magical findings.



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