Cardiologist on National Taco Day: Eating Only Tacos is Good For You

Jennifer Aniston is reportedly a fan of the vegan-based Taco Cleanse. Noam Galai/Getty Images

Today is not Taco Tuesday but National Taco Day, which means it's a good day to revisit the Taco cleanse. Created by four friends over a round of margaritas and talk about their heavy consumption of the popular food, the diet is so enticing that Jennifer Aniston ordered the Taco Cleanse book mid-interview after the reporter mentioned it in passing.

It's a spoof on typical restrictive-eating plans, and co-creator and author Molly Frisinger stresses that it's meant to be taken as a joke, saying it's a "cleanse for the soul."

Related: Why do hipsters mock vegans?

"So many people tell me that they felt so much happier doing the Taco cleanse," Frisinger tells Newsweek. "I don't think many people mention their weight to us one way or another."

The premise is simple: Eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can eat whatever you want as snacks, and supplementing the tacos with tequila is strongly advised, says Frisinger. And while most cleanses are drawn-out, like the month-long Whole30, people can follow this plan for one, three, seven or 30 days.

There is one additional caveat. The cleanse is vegan, which may change things if you love filling tortillas with carne asada instead of kale and sweet potatoes. But if that hasn't deterred you, an all-taco diet actually has a lot of health benefits, despite being a semi-joke.

"I think the idea of it is pretty great," says Eugenia Gianos, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health. "The fact that it's promoting a vegan diet is a benefit."

Gianos explains that when it comes to eating for your health, research shows that the Mediterranean and vegan diets are the best for reducing cancer and heart-disease risk—as long as they're done properly.

"Simply eating vegan is not going to automatically help you have a healthier diet," says Liz Sanders of the International Food Information Council Foundation. "A plant-based diet could actually be unhealthy if it is lacking key nutrients."

To ensure your cleanse nourishes more than just your soul (as it was originally intended), Gianos offers up three tips:

Avoid Highly Processed Shells

The cardiologist cautions against eating highly processed corn tortillas for every single taco. Instead, opt for a variety of whole-grain "shells," like pitas or flour tortillas.

Experiment With Fillings

One of the diet's best attributes is that the taco shell is really just a conduit for delivering healthy foods like kale, butternut squash and plantains. Gianos recommends prepping a variety of vegetables, fruits, good fats, avocados and nuts so you can easily assemble the filling at mealtime.

Limit Your Margaritas

Gianos says one of her concerns is the book's liberal attitude about alcohol. If you actually want to follow the plan for health reasons, it's best to steer clear of the "supplements" chapter featuring margarita recipes.

For anyone considering going vegan, adopting the Taco cleanse could be a healthy (and more bearable) way to give up animal products.

"I think this whole idea with the tacos is actually pretty interesting because it does suggest that it can be done in a fast, fun, easy manner," Gianos says.

Happy National Taco Day—go forth and cleanse.