I never thought I would be writing about a “cleanse”. I’m not a fan. I think the reason I don’t particularly like the whole “cleanse” idea is because people use it for weight loss. What a horrible thing to do to yourself.
Most of the cleanses that I’ve heard about require you to completely change your eating habits/style. Actually, they eliminate most food and require some sort of drink/shake. Of course you will lose weight, you aren’t eating anything! You will then gain weight as soon as you start to eat the way you did before the cleanse. This causes two problems, you have yo-yoed and gained back the weight you lost and what’s worse you also feel badly about yourself. Ugh, not good.
We’ve been spending a lot of time discussing the liver, kidneys and detoxification in my classes lately. This got me thinking that a “detox” might not be a bad idea (that was the conclusion that we came to in class and it actually sounded good to me). I started to investigate detox programs to see if there was anything out there that sounded good to me. Something that hopefully I could try and like and then recommend to friends and future clients. I wanted something short, two weeks tops.
As it turns out a “detox” is basically a “cleanse”. I think they are one in the same. The goal of the detox program I was looking for was a liver type “cleanse”. The liver is the primary detoxification center/organ in the body. Just like a landfill, if it gets over burdened with junk/toxins it won’t function optimally. I’m 45 years old. I’m sure my liver has worked hard over the past 45 years. My guess is it would love a little help, a little new years clean out.
The detox/cleanse program that I decided to try is from Designs for Health. It’s a 14 day program. The one thing that sold me on this particular cleanse was the statement:
“This is not a calorie-restrictive program. Do not starve yourself. If you must eat between meals, you can snack (in moderation)”.
Followed by a list of snack suggestions. LOVE THAT! They listed hard boiled eggs, nut butters, nuts, fruit, hummus (if you eat legumes), avocado, meat (only 1 oz.), and veggies as snack ideas. SOLD.
Now, there are things you CAN’T eat, a foods to avoid list. None of this will surprise you.
- No sugar, all forms (includes honey & maple syrup)
- No artificial sweeteners
- Gluten containing grains (I dropped all grains, easier for me and what I do normally)
- No dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, and surprise – ice cream)
- No Alcohol
- No caffeine (coffee, tea, soda)
- No Soy
- Surprise again, No Desserts
- No Processed or Packaged Foods
- Fried Foods, Hydrogenated Oils, Margarine
- Peanuts/Peanut Butter (High Allergen Legumes)
Basically, you follow the food recommendations and snack list along with two shakes (I know, can you believe it, shakes! I’m actually doing this – but remember I think of this as a detox not a cleanse) and some supplements to help through the detoxification. I understand that detox programs can make you feel really lousy. The supplements are to help the liver detoxify while avoiding toxic overload and/or reabsorption of those toxins, therefore, hopefully helping you to avoid feeling lousy. There is also a digestive enzyme to help with the high protein intake – I guess from the shakes. I normally eat a lot more protein in any given day than I get in the shakes so I don’t expect to have “high protein intake” problems but I’m taking the pills anyway because I’m supposed to. I like to follow the rules.
My husband and I started the “detox” on Saturday. So far so good. Actually, I’m a bit stunned. My husband is a coffee addict. He LOVES his coffee. He can’t function without his coffee. He was unsure about the detox because he couldn’t have coffee. I suggested he do it and just drink his coffee. That’s what I thought he was going to do but NO. He hasn’t had coffee since last Friday, that’s 3 whole days without caffeine!!! This is serious. We trekked through the mountains in Peru for three weeks and he had coffee every morning, out in the middle of no where! If he were ever going to give up coffee I thought for sure it would be during the trek, not in normal, everyday land. Anyway, it appears to be going well. I did read some caffeine comments about this detox that said in some way, some part of this program really helped with caffeine cravings. Hmmm, I didn’t really think much of it but now I do. Perhaps the supplements are doing the trick?
So, as I mentioned, it’s day 3 of 14 and I do feel good. I don’t have any food cravings. I do get hungry but then I eat a hard boiled egg and a carrot stick (or two) and I’m good. We have also had some really nice dinners with good protein and lots of veggie sides.
Jeff, my husband, is at work today. First day he has had to function in public without caffeine, I’m looking forward to hearing how that went. He seemed very much himself when he left for work this morning. So awesome and crazy.
I’ll post more information about this process as we work through the rest of the 14 days.
Eat Well, Feel Good, Have Fun!
Amy White MS HNC
I am a holistic nutrition counselor and believe real food is the true path to wellness. If you are interested in learning more about me and how I can help you, please see my story.
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