To say I was a skeptic about doing detoxes and cleanses would be an understatement. As a self-proclaimed foodie, who believes in eating “real food,” the thought of depriving myself of regular meals for over a week wasn’t appealing to me at all. But, after some prodding from friends who were passionate about their program, I decided to try it out and committed to following every step for 9 days to see how I’d feel afterward. To cut to the chase, I lost 7 lbs in 9 days and am still losing weight.
The detox program
I have a page on my site that will give you more detailed information about the detox I did. You can view it here. It was designed by an Italian doctor who is partnered with a multi-level company called Forever Living. (Don’t worry, I’m not trying to recruit you.) The team I joined diverts somewhat from Forever Living’s C9 F.I.T. program in that the detox is completely plant-based.
The first thing I was told to do on day one was to throw away the step by step instructions that came in the C9 dietary supplement kit. Instead, we were told to create a WhatsApp account where we’d receive daily instructions, motivation, and tips throughout the 9-day process.
The next step was to record my weight, measurements, and take 3 photos of myself. (front, side, and back) I was to remeasure and take new photos on day 10 to see the difference.
What I ate
For the first 2 days, before breakfast and lunch, I drank a small glass of aloe juice, (not particularly tasty) swallowed 2 soft gel caps of garcinia Cambogia and a therm (metabolism-boosting) tablet. Before dinner, I also drank aloe juice and took 2 garcinia Cambogia soft gel caps. At mid-afternoon, I mixed fiber powder with water and drank it. Lunch was a Forever Lite Ultra shake and dinner a plate of raw veggies or salad with a squeeze of lemon juice. Throughout the day I drank Forever Aloe Blossom Tea (which I liked) and late afternoon drank Forever Aloe Berry Nectar. (slightly better tasting than pure aloe)
We were told to avoid coffee, animal protein, sugars, bread, pasta, tobacco (no biggie), alcohol, nightshade vegetables, and fruit for the entire 9 days.
I was surprised to make it through the first 2 days without starving to death but the next 7 days seemed like an eternity.
On days 3-9 I only drank the aloe juice before breakfast and dinner. Breakfast and lunch I took the 3 supplements, drank an additional shake, and the mid-morning fiber drink. Dinner was the garcinia cambogia and then a plate of raw or steamed vegetables with a serving of whole grain like brown rice, millet, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, or oats. Instead of grains, I could have legumes like lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, broad beans or tofu, but couldn’t mix grains with legumes. It had to be one or the other. I was also allowed 1 tbsp of olive oil to mix with the veggies.
On day 10, in addition to losing 7 lbs of weight, I also lost 3.5 inches.
How I felt
There were times during the detox, especially the first 2 days where I felt pretty blah. Some people sweat, feel nauseous, and have other reactions in response to cleansing out toxins. After about day 4, I started feeling somewhat normal.
I made some adjustments
Midway through my detox, I went to visit a holistic doctor who did an electrodermal screening on me. She discovered during her scan that I should avoid wheat, soy, bananas, and peanuts. Forever Lite Ultra is soy-based protein so I switched it out for a Sunwarrior pea-based protein powder that’s organic and non-GMO. When I told my coach what I did on day 10, she chewed me out insisting that Forever Lite Ultra is scientifically formulated and does not cause allergies. I don’t think it made any difference in my results. Both protein powders do the trick.
I was blending my shake with unsweetened almond milk but at my doctor’s visit, she told me substitute milk (like almond, oat, and soy) are highly concentrated. You get too much of a good thing. It’s much better to mix with water instead.
The Therm tablet made me feel speedy so instead of taking a whole tablet, I cut it in half.
I’m still losing weight and here’s why
The detox taught me that I can survive a full day without having a snack attack. Before I did it, I had no problem going from breakfast to lunch without a snack but by the afternoon I was ravenous. Now, if I get hungry, I nibble on cucumber slices with hummus, blueberries with walnuts, or just munch on a raw vegetable.
Drinking the shakes was fine during my detox but I was happy to get back to real food. A dentist friend once told me it’s healthier to chew your food rather than drink it and its way better for your teeth.
I could have continued on the Forever maintenance program but decided not too. For now, I’m committing to going vegetarian for breakfast and lunch and then for dinner I add a lean protein like chicken breast, fish or shrimp along with grains and vegetables.
Contrary to what many diet pundits say, eating whole grains is good for you. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet, currently heralded as the best diet/lifestyle out there. If you follow it correctly, you’ll get most of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need without having to supplement.
I now enjoy a breakfast of mashed avocado on whole-grain toast or oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries, sometimes with a poached egg. My lunch is usually steamed vegetables, raw salad or vegetable soup, (depending on the season) with a 1/2 cup of rice or another whole grain.
For dinner, I’ll bake a small portion of salmon, shrimp, chicken breast, or other lean protein and serve it with whole grains or sweet potatoes and lots of vegetables.
The pros and cons of doing a detox
To be completely honest, I’m still not completely convinced detoxes or cleanses actually clean out your system. I’m a firm believer that your body detoxifies itself naturally if you eat smart and avoid processed and packaged food. But, I agree they’re good for a reboot, especially if you’ve indulged too much or are stuck in a weight battle.
Focusing on a plant-based diet is always a good choice if it’s balanced and you’re getting enough vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Suddenly going vegan or vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become a model of health if you’re still eating junk food. (i.e. meat substitutes, packaged foods, salty or sugary snacks)
I sat with 104- year old actor Norman Lloyd at two 4th of July parties while he sunk his teeth into a roasted chicken leg, nibbled on corn on the cob, and drank Sangria. He’s still walking around and is in excellent shape.
Detoxes are NOT for everyone. Check with your doctor before starting one especially if you’re older and have health issues.
Focusing on the Mediterranean diet and eating mindfully is more enjoyable to me as someone who adores eating good food. It’s also much easier to deal with if you live with someone who eats meat or when you go out to a restaurant and don’t want to be the “picky one” at the table.
My detox got me on the right track losing weight and I’m glad I did it. I feel like I can conquer the world now and am determined to slough off my stubborn post menopause pounds.
For ideas on how to eat smart without deprivation, please visit my page “A Foodie’s Guide to Eating for Vibrant Health and Longevity.”
If you’d like to try the 9-day EasyDetox that I did, you can find out more about it here.