Taco Cleanse: the body detox for Hongkongers who love food, fun and margaritas

Taco Chaca outlets in Sai Ying Pun and Mui Wo are helping you say hasta la vista to our diet-obsessed culture and indulge in appetising vegan fare. PLUS recipe for one of their recreations

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 8:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 11:53am

Maybe you’ve tried a cleanse in an attempt to “detoxify” your body, lose weight and get healthier. You went for days sustained by only juice, or raw vegetables, or a concoction of lemon water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper (made popular by Beyonce), or nothing at all. It’s highly likely that for those days spent dieting, you were hungry and cranky and hated life. And you probably gave up on the diet early.

Well, there’s a new cleanse in town and it claims to be a diet plan that “will have you actually enjoying life” and one that “you will actually be able to stick to”. Say hello to the Taco Cleanse.

For 30 days, dieters on the plan may eat only vegan tacos, though you can have as many as you like. “Supplements”, in the form of margaritas, can be added to meals as needed.

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If it sounds like a joke, it partly is: created in 2013 by four self-proclaimed “taco scientists” in Austin, Texas, the Taco Cleanse pokes fun at our current diet-obsessed culture. It has gained quite a following, including celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, and in November 2015 the diet creators published The Taco Cleanse, a cookbook with more than 75 vegan taco recipes that has become a bestseller on Amazon.com.

Recently, local American-Mexican restaurant Taco Chaca launched a Taco Cleanse kit to help Hongkongers who might want to try the diet programme. The HK$225, three-day kit includes six recipes from The Taco Cleanse and some taco ingredients: one bottle of hot sauce, one bottle of Mexican spice mix, one tub of pico de gallo, one tub of salsa verde, 18 flour tortillas and 18 corn tortillas.

At the Taco Chaca outlets in Sai Ying Pun and Mui Wo, three vegan tacos have also been introduced to the menu: Barbacoa mushrooms taco, Tranquillity avocado taco and Enzymatic tofu taco (HK$35 each).

On the website tacocleanse.com, the diet’s creators say the benefits of the cleanse are “too numerous to name”, but they suggest: “Your life will become more fun and you will make more friends while consuming the required margarita supplements on the plan.”

And they pledge that “your sleep will improve as you begin to detox from the negative self-images associated with other diets”.

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In fact, the creators don’t believe in cleanses, calling them “socially acceptable starvation disguised as health”.

“Used largely as a tool to make women feel guilty about consuming real food and repent their eating ‘sins’, they demand you choke down lemon juice swirled with cayenne pepper and your tears so that you can lose those last five pounds,” they write in their book. “Screw those last five pounds; your body clearly wants the extra chub if the only way to get rid of it is drinking juice made of lawn clippings, hot sauce, and your own choked-down vomit.”

With the cookbook recipes suggesting taco fillings such as beer-battered portobellos, mac and cheese and even tater tots, the Taco Cleanse isn’t about weight loss but about feeling your best – if you don’t mind tacos for every meal, of course.

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Here, a recipe from The Taco Cleanse book.

Tranquillity avocado taco (makes four tacos)


1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Mexican spice mix

175 grams corn kernels from a can

85 grams black beans from a can

4 pieces corn tortilla

21 grams romaine lettuce, shredded

½ mango, diced

½ avocado, diced

4 tablespoons pico de gallo


Heat up pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and when it starts smoking, add corn and black beans. Add Mexican spice mix and cook until corn is golden brown. Set aside.

Rehydrate corn tortilla by dipping it in water. Place tortilla on a pan over medium-low heat until soft and warm.

Assemble taco: corn mixture first, then lettuce, mango and avocado. Top with one tablespoon of pico de gallo.