For the past few years, I suffered from acid reflux that continued to get worse. I also developed regular belly and low back cramping.
I have been taking daily prescriptions, and avoiding most of my favorite food groups – caffeine, dairy and alcohol. But, the problem has not regressed.
After a few conversations with my doctor, and much complaining to my husband, I decided to try a cleanse. I have done cleanses before – some successfully, some not – but they have always been difficult. So, I was not looking forward to the task. But, alas, I had to do something.
A friend and I joined a group of people to learn about a detox cleanse from a nutritionist in our community. The talk lasted about an hour and I left feeling like I could do it. The nutritionist promised no weird pills or drinks and that we wouldn’t be hungry. Everything in her plan would be whole food based and we would enjoy the meals.
We decided to give it a shot.
Pre-Detox (4 Days)
We started the pre-detox regimen on a Thursday, which gave us the weekend to get prepared for the real detox. My friend and I put together our grocery lists and set out for the store. We spent almost two hours at the store while we looked for some of the more obscure ingredients like unsweetened cranberry concentrate and stevia.
During the pre-detox time, we were advised to slowly eliminate caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar, grains, beef, pork and any processed food from our diet. This would give our bodies time to adjust without going into serious withdrawls on day one of the detox. While I had already cut many of those foods, I was definitely not completely off any of them, and I had a major sugar and grain addiction. So, the pre-detox was a challenge, but not impossible. I definitely did not feel horrible.
Detoxing (7 Days)
The detox started on a Monday, which is a notoriously bad day to start a new eating program. But, I was really excited and energetic about it. I made several days’ worth of smoothies for breakfast, put together some trail mix, and whipped up a few batches of soup. I was set for the first few days, and I felt really good.
Our cleanse program came with about a hundred recipes we could choose from. I made a few of those recipes, but mostly just made things I liked that included and avoided the right things. The program recipes that I tried were good, but I didn’t want to risk the meal turning out badly since the cooking was time consuming, I was hungry, and a backup wasn’t going to be easy.
As the week progressed, a few challenges presented themselves:
- Eating with other people is hard. I really wanted to steal everything on my husband’s plate, or punch him in the face for eating something I was avoiding.
- Eating at restaurants is a challenge, but it’s doable. Most restaurants will grill a plain salmon filet and serve with steamed veggies if you ask really nicely. But, you have to be clear about the long list of things you are trying to avoid or you’ll end up with a good-natured marinade that will ruin your work.
- Eating on the go is impossible. You have to plan ahead so that you have time to prepare something. That was difficult for this on-the-run, grab-n-go gal.
- Your feelings (both emotional and physical) are not predictable while on a detox, so be ready to ride an emotional roller-coaster and deal with some sore muscles. I made time for a massage, daily exercise and seeing my friends as a way to work out the kinks.
Besides those issues, I felt great. I mean, really great! No heartburn, no belly pain, my head was clear and I had more energy than I’ve had in a long time. Obviously, something I’ve been eating is bothering me. But, what? I really hope it’s not sugar. 🙂
You may remember that we did this cleanse as part of a group. I did not see or hear from our group during the cleanse, so I don’t know that the group aspect was as powerful as it could have been. We did get a daily email with encouragement from the nutritionist, and I thought that was helpful, but I still could have used a little more engagement. Regardless, I was grateful to know that someone was available to help if I needed it throughout the process. And, the fact that I paid for it made me more accountable, too.
Post-Detox (4+ Days)
The good news is that I made it through the end of the cleanse! I enjoyed everything I ate, I never felt deprived and I really felt amazing. I think there are a few reasons this cleanse was more successful than other times I’ve tried this.
- I really needed to do it.
- I didn’t go hungry, count calories or worry about my food intake – as long as it was a good, healthy food, it didn’t matter how much I ate.
- I ate three meals a day, plus a morning and afternoon snack. No blood sugar spiking made for a big benefit.
- I planned each day’s meals ahead of time so I had ingredients and time to cook.
- I tried to exercise and do something for myself every day. Working out the toxins and stopping to enjoy life may not be part of a food cleanse, but they are a part of a healthy lifestyle and it helped me a lot.
While my main goal of the detox was to get my stomach issues under control, I was also happy to lose a few pounds and tone up my tummy a bit. You’ll never lose a ton of weight in only one week, but dropping a pant size is always nice!
I am now in the process of integrating other foods back into my diet and am hopeful this will help me identify the problem food. My hunch is dairy, which stinks, but is manageable. I am going to work with a dietician to reintegrate the foods I avoided back into my diet so that I can figure out for sure what the problem is.
I would definitely do this again and would also recommend trying a whole food cleanse if you find yourself feeling run down, blah, or sick. The cleanse I did was with Aimee at Beauty Empowered Wellness. She works from a distance with people all over the world. I am sure there are lots of options when it comes to cleansing and detoxing, though, so find the right solution for you!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Here’s to healthy living –