Is it a good idea to do a 3 day cleanse immediately after an 8 day binge? Discuss.
On reflection, having done just that, part of me would say, perhaps not, but the other would say, perhaps yes.
The part of me that suffered dazed light-headedness on day one, migraines on day 2, vomiting and tension headaches on day 3 which continued into the day after, would answer ‘hell no!’.
But the part of me that is sitting here now, writing this blog about the experience, smug from having clear skin again, energy, focus, a flatter tummy and a beaming smile would say a whole-hearted affirming ‘yes!’.
When it comes to food and anything dietary related, I am always curious and go with the thought that I’ll try anything once and if it works, do it again. And as a health coach, how can I recommend something or anything, if I haven’t at least tried it out on my body first? I had never done a pure juice and plant only cleanse before, or at least not for longer than a single day and I wanted to know what it was like – understand the pitfalls and the benefits so that I could share those with others.
It seemed like the perfect time to do it – my body feeling bloated, lethargic and ‘toxic’ after an 8 day indulgent holiday with 9 course suppers, beautiful wines for each course, après ski cocktails, boozy lunches, hot chocolate ‘avec chantilly’ stops and starting the day with big breakfasts and buckets of coffee. Plus my husband was going away for 3 days and he couldn’t dissuade, discourage or lead me astray and off my plan. My sons, having just come back off a school trip would be tired and wouldn’t mind chilling out while I focussed on work.
In hindsight, how wrong I was.
To fill my body up with toxins from food and drink at a level it wasn’t used to and then suddenly deprive it of everything except plants, sent it in to shock. If my husband hadn’t been away, he would have seen it coming, or if not, would have been able to help me with my poor children, who were desperate for love, affection and attention after a week of parental separation.
And yet, it wasn’t all a disaster.
Despite the headaches and vomiting, I still managed to drink my juice, eat my snacks and my evening meals and function on some level to look after my children. The juices and smoothies were delicious, varied and surprisingly regular enough to keep me full, along with the allowed crudités and nuts. In the evening I ate generous portions of vegetables and legumes and I didn’t miss meat or caffeine or sugar or bread or alcohol at all (perhaps because I had over-indulged? Or perhaps not).
And now, on the 5th day, I woke clear headed, spritely and delighted to see my skin clear, hydrated and my eyes bright. My body feels ‘lighter’, although I am not sure I lost weight (I don’t weigh myself), my clothes feel loose again.
Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely. Would I do it again immediately after a binge fest or holiday? No.
So if you fancy a detox now or in the future, please learn from my mistakes and take heed of my top tips and lessons learnt.
My top tips & lessons learnt:
- Follow a tried and tested reputable and recommended cleanse programme to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. I followed Kris Carr’s 3 day cleanse from her book ‘Crazy Sexy Juice’ which focussed on restoration and cleanse without feeling starved.
- Drink lots (I really mean it!) of water and herbal teas in addition to the juice / smoothie to flush out the toxins.
- Headaches are typical for any cleanse as the hormones and blood sugars rebalance. The key is to drink lots of water, but if that isn’t enough, then heat packs, warm baths, gentle exercise and meditation can all help. But I would also add, there is no need to suffer, and when all the alternatives have been exhausted – paracetamol is ok to take to relieve the tension or toxic pain.
- Go easy on yourself if you slip up. Going from one extreme to the other can test even the strongest of wills. I am pretty determined, but the Toblerone the boys brought home for me tested me and I succumbed to a triangle or two.
- Following a holiday / binge, have one or 2 normal days before going ‘cold turkey’ or your body could go in to shock (like mine).
- Find 3 days when you don’t have big commitments or decisions to make, or anyone else to care for but yourself. In fact, you may need someone to look after you!
- Juicing can be expensive – it is a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and can cost more if you buy all organic. And that doesn’t even include the cost of the juicer. Alternative cleanses and detox programmes can just be to eat whole foods, sticking to fresh fruits and vegetables with lots of water, cutting out caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten and animal sources of protein.
- Be prepared. Juicing can take time and effort if you do it yourself. I found it easier to prepare and make all my juices for the day in the morning or the night before and freeze anything left over to use at a later date.
- Stick with it; as hard and as dark as it may get, the results are so WORTH it!
In summary, all my intentions and goals for a detox and body cleanse and reset were met; however, such with anything in life, if it is worth doing and you want fabulous results, the journey can be interesting and not what you expect at all!