Kind of like going to your very first yoga class, doing a cleanse for the first time can be intimidating. BUT, while it may feel daunting at first, you’ll be amazed by what you learn…and you’ll be surprised by how doable it actually is!
Meet Kristin Hong, foodie and lifestyle gal behind my favorite food blog, The Fresh Find! She recently participated in my 8-day cleanse program, and guess what? It was a major success! Here’s what she has to say about her experience…
By Kristin Hong
The Fresh Find
I did an 8 day cleanse and while it was challenging at times, I absolutely love how I feel now.
I would classify myself as a pretty healthy person. I cook most of my meals, use minimal salt and sauces, workout 6-7 days a week, eat whole grains, plenty of veggies and protein, and have regular bowel movements. However, I still found it extremely beneficial to go on this cleanse. I came away with a better understanding of my body and it’s hunger, cravings and needs.
Emily leads a cleanse program that helps you recharge and reset with food. There was no starvation involved and I still gave my body nutrients that it needs. The 8 day cleanse has three phases:
- Clean eating phase
- Broth phase
The Clean Eating Phase
“Clean eating”– one of the most overused phrases these days and it can mean a variety of things.
On this particular cleanse, clean eating meant whole foods (some restrictions apply) and eliminating common allergens (like eggs, dairy and beans–just to name a few).
Let’s start with the mornings.
The first two mornings were difficult without coffee. I usually only have about 1/2 cup of coffee so I didn’t think I would miss it too much. I definitely felt groggy without that morning kick. However, by the third day on, I felt totally fine without coffee.
I started each morning with the “Cleanse Shake”. This is a detoxifying protein powder formula that comes with the cleanse– it provides protein and crucial vitamins and minerals to help detox your body. I blended it with 3-4 frozen strawberries to add a bit of flavor and texture. The cleanse shake wasn’t bad at all! Because it is liquid, it would only hold me over for about 1 hour.
Next, I would have my breakfast– Chia pudding with FULL FAT coconut milk. Oh this is goooooood. I used to make chia pudding with almond milk, but with coconut milk it is MUCH more delicious.
Post breakfast I would feel satisfied, not hungry, quite content, and not overly full. I felt really good! But not soon after, I wanted to snack…
I LOVE to snack.
I don’t allow chips in my house because it’s just too dangerous. I can’t tell you how many internal battles I have had while staring at my pantry, knowing that I’m not hungry, but I just want to crunch on something! My craving to snack seemed even stronger because I was all of sudden NOT allowed to have certain items. We all know that by “taboo-ing” items/activities, people want those even more.
On the cleanse, you can have a few snacks throughout the day, but you can’t just sit there with a bowl of popcorn and grapes like my brain wanted to. I struggled a lot to refrain from over snacking.
For lunch and dinner I made cleanse-friendly meals. I made Emily’s recipe for Curry Chicken and made up my own turkey burgers.
For dinner, I either baked salmon or steamed cod. Because I couldn’t use salt, I did my best to season with spices, garlic, onions, and lemon. Without the flavors of sauces or salt, I naturally stopped eating earlier than I normally would. I didn’t receive as much satisfaction as normal, so I would stop when I was no longer hungry.
Minus the fact that my food wasn’t as flavorful, I felt great! I was eating appropriate portions and with a more mindful approach.
The Broth Phase
Dun, dun dunnnnnn. Broth. For THREE DAYS. I knew this was going to be a challenge because I love to chew and I love to eat.
The broth isn’t exactly a true broth– it’s more of a pureed soup. The recipe calls for many alkaline green veggies blended up. This was MUCH better than drinking pure broth, or doing just juice, like I did on a previous juice cleanse.
Day 1 Broth: Surprisingly, I didn’t really struggle at all! When I was hungry, I ate the broth, and didn’t mind the taste. I also mixed in the cleanse shake and master cleanse drinks throughout the day. First day, success.
Day 2 Broth: The second day of broth started out good. Around 3pm, I was at Lowe’s (trying to keep myself busy), and got incredibly fatigued. I left the house feeling energized, but the energy waned quickly and I realized I should have packed a shake to-go. I felt dizzy and very weak– I held onto my boyfriend’s arm out the store and he dragged me back home. I immediately had some broth and laid on the couch. The food kicked in and I felt myself coming back to life! We spent the rest of the night relaxing on the couch and watching college football.
Day 3 Broth: This day was a complete mental struggle. I made it half way through my lunch broth, slumped on the couch, and yelled, “I GIVE UP! I’M EATING TONIGHT!” My boyfriend was like, “No!! You can’t! We’re there! You’re on mile 24 of the marathon and you can’t give up now”.
I laid there with my eyes closed and didn’t respond. I was lost in thought of what I was going to eat. Day dreams of oatmeal, and noodles, and potstickers, and ramen noodles filled my mind. I was very serious about eating that evening and I was going to give up.
Luckily, we left the house to play volleyball, which cheered me up immensely and took my mind off food (for the first time all day). I came home in much better spirits and told myself that I wasn’t going to cheat. I was going to make it and wasn’t giving up.
I made it to the next morning and my first thought was, “FOOD!!! I CAN EAT TODAY!!” I was up early and roasted some sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. Yes, a strange breakfast for the first day post-broth phase, but I was super pumped.
Overall, the broth phase was challenging both mentally and physically. I didn’t love how I felt because I felt skinny and weak. I think people love this phase because they feel so thin. Yes, I felt very thin and not bloated, but I also felt weak. I prefer to feel lean and strong, which I ended up feeling 2 whole weeks after the cleanse.
After the cleanse I did some food testing and reintegration. I tested for gluten and dairy but didn’t have any major symptoms. However, when I ate my first meal out, I was unbelievably bloated. I ate more than I should have– I got a little over-excited about food, after eating cleanse-approved food for awhile.
Over the next week, any food I ate out seemed so rich and SO salty. The salt content was really killing me! I realized my pallet had been set back to neutral.
The week post cleanse I felt like crap, due to my own missteps. I was bored during the day and pre-period hormonal, which led to over-snacking and eating large meals. And boy, did my body feel it. I felt unbearably bloated and my bowel movements were off — this is the perfect recipe for a cranky Kristin. It was awful. I was working out, drinking apple cider vinegar and trying to shove all that crap out of my body (literally and physically).
I refocused and took steps to eat well the next few days. It took about 2-3 days to get back to having regular bowel movements and to de-bloat. During those days, I applied what I learned on the cleanse. I ate regular portions, listened to my body, drank plenty of water and avoided eating out and drinking. That third morning, I felt so much relief and thought, THIS is how I should feel. I feel healthy, I feel lean and I feel strong.
- I don’t feel as good when I eat out or eat too much. It took me screwing up after the cleanse to really learn.
- My portion sizes have decreased. I realized that I don’t need as much food as I was previously eating.
- Be mindful! It is too easy to be on our electronics and finish our meal without realizing it. Being present during a meal is helpful to monitor my portions.
- I DO have self control. It’s easy to cave on my cravings, but knowing that I survived the 8 day cleanse, helps me resist the temptation for chips!
- This cleanse helped refine healthy habits that have continued post-cleanse. It has a much longer effect than a 3-day juice cleanse. I feel this wellness cleanse teaches you valuable lessons about food and your body that you can apply for the rest of your life.
If you have any questions about this cleanse, or are interested in participating in one, please reach out me or Emily! She leads a great wellness cleanse and other nutrition programs– join her online tribe for more info!