For those who know me well, know that I have always struggled with my weight. I am in no means someone that has every been “overweight”, but I always feel as though I have a few pounds to lose. Whenever I eat something indulgent and skip a day of working out, I feel it and it shows. I would kill to have a faster metabolism, but unfortunately there are some things we just can’t change. Enter, cleanse. I’ve always wanted to try a 3 day cleanse before, but I have always worried that it would make me sick, I wouldn’t be able to focus at work, that I would faint, etc. I never thought that I would find a cleanse that was something that fit my needs and my lifestyle. That is, before I had an emailed forwarded to me by one of my favorite running buddies, Kate.
When I think of a cleanse, I immediately think of the Lemonade and cayenne pepper master cleanse. My best friend Kaitlin did this a few summers ago while living at home and unemployed and saw great results. The length of the cleanse scared me, who could go without food for two whole weeks, YIKES! Plus, I had heard multiple stories about how dangerous it is for your body. NO THANK YOU. I’ve looked at other cleanses, but I really never found anything that jumped out at me. Until Kate forwarded me a short email with a document attached that said “I’m planning on doing this next week”, mmm. I opened it and the cleanse looked doable. Maybe I can actually do a “CLEANSE”. Check out the elements of the cleanse below:
What to Shop For
- a grain: preferably brown rice or quinoa b/c higher in protein
- 1-2 proteins: beans, hummus, nut butter and/orwhite fish (no oily fish like tuna)
- A soup: miso soup, diuretic soup or veggie/veggie noodle/veggies bean soup of your choice
- fruit: lemons and tart green apples, plus optional berries
- some greens: salad greens w/normal salad veggies and/or cooked dark leafy greens (any)
- 1-2 fat dissolvers: onion, ginger, red radish, daikon radish. work these in where you can. maybe on salad, maybe cooked in soup or with greens, maybe raw as snack.
- baby carrots: or other raw veg for emergency snacking.
- seasonings: a little sea salt, a little vinegar or fresh herbs are ok in small amounts. avoid spicy/peppery/sweet.
- fat: olive oil, flax oil, nut oil or sesame oil in small amounts. best not to cook in oil – steam or water sautee, then add oil cold. you may really crave fat – feel free to dress your grains with oil and salt, this helps the cravings a lot.
- sweeteners: if you are losing your mind with sugar cravings, add honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave nectar to your tea. if still losing your mind allow yourself to eat spoonfuls of that stuff – you’ll be happier than if you eat a cookie
- liquids – water water water of course. drink hot or room temperature if you need to – avoid chilling yourself, you may tend to be cold because of eating less fat and protein. any herbal tea you like is fine. I like the grassy ones on a cleanse – nettle, raspberry leaf, oatstraw, etc. green tea is best choice for avoiding caffeine headaches. avoid black tea and decaf coffee.
- supplements – whatever is your usual thing. it can be good to add a green drink because it helps keep your blood sugar balanced – helpful while eating less fat and protein. easiest solution is to buy 3 bottles of naked or odwalla green juices, one for each morning
Eat normally but avoid sugar, chocolate, dairy, alcohol, coffee.
It makes Day 1 of the cleanse less of a shock to the system if you already have 24 hours of clean eating before you start the detox.
- AM – water, hot water with lemon, green drink and/or herbal tea
- breakfast – apple w/ squeezed lemon juice and nut butter or hummus. Chew well. If still hungry add fresh berries, small serving of grain or cooked greens.
- midmorning: water and tea. snack on raw veg, fruit and/or greens
- lunch: grain, protein and greens (salad or cooked) of your choice
- midafternoon: water and tea. snack on raw veg, fruit and/or greens
- dinner: soup and grain (best to eat protein midday for energy, then rest from it in the evening before bed; try to eat before 8, see below)
- evening: water and tea. try not to snack after dinner – stopping food well before bedtime makes it easier for your liver to detox overnight. but if you are starving/woozy, eat!!
- Day After
- Eat normally but avoid sugar, chocolate, dairy, alcohol, coffee.
- More protein, fat and seasonings are fine, just don’t over do it, ease back in to normal eating.
Other Optional Helpful Cleansing Things
- setting an intention for your cleanse: can be anything… lose 3 pounds… take 3 days to focus on myself… get rid of old X to make way for new X… whatever…
- tongue scraper every morning
- chew well and slowly
- eat in a quiet, nonstressful place if possible
- gentle exercise only
- limit social engagements and running around
- get enough sleep
- hot water bottle on abdomen at night to help digestion
- journal out any emotions that come up
- send whiny emails to your girlfriends when cravings make you crazy
- do grounding meditations and/or walk outside if you feel like you are getting too spacey
- at end of cleanse, do a salt scrub, take a bath in Epsom salts and/or get a massage – all good for final toxin release
So after looking at my master marathon training, social engagements, work schedule, weekends away etc, I zeroed in on May 17th-19th. I picked these days because it was directly following the Heartbreak Hill Half and it was right before wedding season 2010 officially kicked off. I also felt it was a great way to rejuvenate my current weight loss goals. So why not?
Day one was, I’m not going to lie, tough. The half marathon the day before was difficult, and I proceeded to drown my sorrows and pain in a fatty brunch, chips and guacamole, and not to mention multiple Sam Summers. Not exactly the precleanse routine that was laid out on paper, oops. I was ok until roughly 10:30am, when I started getting very hungry. I had a reserve of strawberries and I allowed myself to have a few, thank GOODNESS this cleanse allows berries! Around noon I ate a salad of mixed greens, sprouts and onion along with a piece of Alvarado Street Bakery Bread (my favorite bread in the entire world, I actually used to have my mom send it to me in college so I could take it to the dining hall and make a sandwich with it. Crazy, I know!) with some humus spread on it. About an hour and a half later I was hungry, so I ate a small serving of carrots. Then, another half hour later I was hungry AGAIN, so I ate a few blackberries. I plowed through my work and left exactly on time so I could run home and make myself dinner, I was FAMISHED! I stood in my kitchen staring at a two pots; one boiling White Bean Tuscan soup, and then another cooking some quinoa. As soon as both were ready I put them in bowls and chowed down in record time. I was still a little hungry so I had a small bowl of greens. I tried not to think about food afterwards, and decided to head to my bedroom around 9pm and read to resist temptation to snack. About a page and a half later, I was out like a light. I made it through day one, yes!
If day one was a mountain, then day two was certainly Mount Kilimanjaro. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling refreshed, getting one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in quite some time. Yet, it was only a matter of minutes until an intense headache took over my brain, ugh. I went to work, drank tea, had my apple with Justin’s almond butter and some berries…still a headache, ick! I went through much of the morning fighting back the headache, but it wasn’t until a lunch meeting (where I snacked on carrots) when I really felt like I was going to pass out. I experienced the same sensation for the next two hours, and I’m not going to lie, it was dreadful. It felt like a combination of caffeine and sugar withdrawal, not fun! However, around 3pm (just in time for another snack of berries) I turned a corner and felt better. Hooray! I went home, ate dinner and went to bed just after 10pm. Another day in the books, maybe I can do this!
Day three, was significantly better than the previous 2 days, I no longer suffered through horrible headaches and felt as if I had more energy throughout the day. I ate my meals and found that my body was coping with the smaller portions better and no longer forced me to find berries to eat. I felt great! Over dinner I thought, why not extend this another day? I feel great! Day Three: I did it, and I’m showing this cleanse who’s the boss!
I felt great the entire day. I went and weighed myself after breakfast and I lost three pounds, awesome! Feeling energized after work, I even went for a short run and did some yoga and core fusion exercises at home! I changed the dinner suggestion by having a salad (no dressing) and some tuna fish on the side. I morphed this meal because I do have a wedding this weekend, and I didn’t want my body to completely freak out with the introduction of non-cleanse friendly foods.
Post Cleanse Thoughts
This cleanse was a GREAT experience. I feel as though the withdrawal symptoms were not as severe as if I had done a juice based cleanse, which was great. I was able to center my nutrition plan and effectively avoid off limits foods, and I feel as though this will lay the ground work for great decisions during my jam packed schedule this summer. An added bonus was the weight loss, I really didn’t set out trying to lose weight, but I’m happy that the end result was a loss vs a gain. All in all, I highly recommend this cleanse. It’s a realistic and healthy take on a full body cleanse that gives you energy and enforces good eating habits.