I did a detox.
Technically, today is the start of the final week of said detox, but ultimately, I did a detox.
I tried to do a detox once before. It was a 21-Day healthy eating plan by a local fitness guru that I ado, and I did pretty well at for about 5 days. Except I ignored the part where I wasn’t supposed to have coffee, and by the time the weekend rolled around, I was over it and went back to my “old ways.”
February and March weren’t my best for food choices. It was cold and snowy, so I spent a lot of time indoors, eating heavy comfort food and, on snow days, inevitably snacking out of boredom. I also ate a lot of popcorn or cheese and crackers and called it dinner. While I didn’t gain weight, thanks to my barre and gym schedule, I felt crummy and knew it was food-related. I wasn’t avoiding gluten and my dairy intake, which I try to limit, was steadily creeping up.
I tried paleo for a week or two, but found that too limiting. I happen to like peanut butter and brown rice. The idea of eating clean was something I could get behind, however, so I started doing some research.
A couple of my Junior League friends are Arbonne reps. Another Junior League friend recently did their 28-day detox and raved about it on Facebook. I talked to her at length, did a ton of research, and decided “why not?” Here’s how it works:
– For 28 days, you eliminate gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, coffee (!!!), pork, fruit (with a few exceptions), and a few other foods. You include foods like almond milk, brown rice, almond butter, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, berries, green apples, sweet potatoes, avocados, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef.
– Each morning, start the day with a protein shake. Y’all, this protein powder is GOOD. I have had an almond milk/chocolate protein powder/almond butter/fiber supplement protein shake every single day since April 6 and I’m not tired of it. It’s like drinking a milkshake – for breakfast.
– At lunch, either have another shake or eat something clean.
– For dinner, choose once of the recipes provided in the meal plan, or find you own clean recipes. Again, these recipes are fantastic. Think chicken fajitas, turkey chili, meatballs, kale and white bean soup, salmon with a veggie stir fry… There is also a vegan meal plan available. Try to eat dinner before 7PM.
– Snacking is encouraged between meals! My go-to snacks have been green apples, berries, rice cakes, rice crackers with guacamole, and veggies with hummus.
– Each morning, you also take a digestive supplement and during the 3rd week, you drink the ‘7 Day Cleanse.’ The cleanse sounds terrifying and I didn’t want to do it. I had nightmares about being in the middle of teaching a barre class or in a meeting and having to, shall we say, leave abruptly. Rest assured, however, that was definitely not the case.
– Drink a detox tea in the mornings and use Arbonne’s energy fizz sticks as needed.
I was worried about the no coffee business. I was drinking far too much coffee – think 2-3 cups in the morning, another 1-2 cups in the afternoon, and either coffee or black tea at night – and knew I needed to cut back, especially as I like my coffee with sugar and cream. Fortunately, I had a couple of weeks between deciding to do the detox and the start of the detox to ween my coffee intake back substantially so it wasn’t as big of a shock to the system.
The first day wasn’t so bad. The second day, I started getting a few of those detox symptoms – headache, no energy, even a little crabby. The third day, which happened to be my birthday, was the worst. My head was throbbing, my stomach ached, I was in a less than cheerful mood, and I really wanted a cup of coffee and a cupcake, dammit.
But, that was the worst of it. By day 4, my energy was coming back and by week’s end, I felt fantastic.
I have admittedly “cheated” a few times. I had a couple of drinks on my birthday, a Bold Rock at lunch with a friend, and sangria at book club. On Saturday, after waking up at 6:15 to teach and running errands in the cold rain, I couldn’t take it anymore and broke down and ordered a flat white from Starbucks. Worth it. So. So. Worth it.
Food wise, there was only one real “cheat” day. At book club, which fell on the last day of the first week, I had some cheese and crackers and a cookie right along with that sangria. Within the hour, my stomach hurt. I find that to be my reaction to gluten – severe stomach pain. Two other times, I had blue cheese sprinkled on an otherwise clean salad and had the same reaction. It looks like gluten and dairy are not my friends.
That’s the point of this detox – to find the foods that work for your body.
I found it easy to eat out on this detox. Of course, Charlottesville has an abundance of farm-to-table restaurants which definitely helps the eating clean process. The best part? It’s really easy to eat at Chipotle – just avoid things like cheese and sour cream! It’s even easier now that Chipotle has stopped serving GMO ingredients.
Another thing I learned from this detox is that I don’t eat enough. I’ve been at a sort of plateau for a while now, and while I was technically on a detox, I actually don’t eat all that differently when not on a detox. Unless, of course, I get lazy and/or its snowing, as I mentioned above.
We were encouraged in the second week to track calories. When I started keeping track, as well as entering the amount of calories I burn from exercise, I found that a lot of days, I barely crack the 1,000 mark in net calories. Since calories are energy for your body, you need to replace some of what you burn. It makes sense – if you aren’t taking enough energy in, your body goes into starvation mode and holds on to what you aren’t burning.
My struggle this month has been finding creative, healthy ways to add calories. I’m generally not hungry, and don’t want to eat for the sake of eating. Adding a little more avocado or a scoop of almond butter are great ways, as well as snacking on a handful of almonds or a serving size of rice crackers with guacamole. I typically burn over 400 calories when I teach a barre class – all that doing the workout and talking, too – and if I workout that same day, I can burn a ton of calories. When I both teach and take a class or go to the gym in the same day, I make sure I eat food for lunch instead of a shake, which also helps boost my calorie intake.
Who doesn’t like to hear “eat more?” I’ve been focusing on getting to at least 1200 net calories, every day. It’s harder than it looks.
I’m not being paid or bribed or compensated in any way to say all these great things about the Arbonne detox. I’m not an Arbonne rep and have no intentions of being an Arbonne rep. I just believe in sharing products that I love. And of course, Arbonne has been great for me and I’m happy to share my experience, but it may not be for everyone.
Sunday is the last day of the detox. I plan to have coffee on Monday, but not the amount I was once consuming. I’m also going to stay gluten and (mostly) dairy free. It’s just not worth it. Those stomach pains are almost crippling.
But, to say it again, I get to have coffee again on Monday!
Have you ever tried a detox?