6-Day Cleanse Recap and Review
I woke up early today, excited to hear my coffeemaker bubbling away on auto-brew for the first time in a week. I even happily posted, “I’m drinking coffee!!!!!” on Facebook.
The truth, though? My coffee tastes too sweet and weak to me this morning. I have been looking forward to this cup for six days and I prepared it the same way I have for years. One Sweet & Low and a little Skim Plus milk. Too sweet and too weak now. After dumping out half of my cup and refilling it with black coffee, I had my beloved beverage back. But, to be honest, I may try skipping the sweetener altogether for my next cup. I actually think I’ll prefer that way.
I guess that means this cleanse really did affect my taste buds.
Now that the cleanse is over, I want to give an honest report on how it felt. Please remember, I am in no way qualified to give nutritional or medical advice. I’m just another mom who heard about this cleanse from a friend, and looked it up online. My review is reflective of my own personal experience, and not a promise of what others will encounter.
I went into this cleanse with realistic expectations, I thought. I knew it wasn’t a magical diet intended for weight-loss or a cure for poor eating habits forever. I hoped this cleanse would:
- Help me reduce the cravings for sweets every night after my kids’ bedtime.
- Help me reduce the cravings for salty junk food in the afternoon.
- Help me over the hurdle of the first week of Lent while I give up all alcohol until Easter.
- Help me stop unconsciously popping bites into my mouth throughout the day.
- Flush my system of some toxins.
- Instill better general eating habits — more fresh fruits and fresh veggies with every meal.
In general, I won’t know the real outcomes of many of those goals until I’ve been off the cleanse and back to eating “real” food for about a week or so. (I will update again later with those results.)
When my girlfriend first told me about this cleanse, I listened wide-eyed to the details and went right home to research what cleanses were out there that sounded closest to what she described. The one I used is this one, from SeasonsIndia.com, simply titled “The Journey Toward a Healthy Life: A Six-Day Diet Regimen.” It is very similar to many others out there. I chose it because I liked the way it was laid out and explained, and it fit on one page I could hang on my fridge for the week. (See? Told you I’m no expert.)
The article with the cleanse also outlined what you can expect to feel throughout the six-day journey. It touched on the fact that yes, this would be hard. You may feel some discomfort in the middle of the cleanse as your bowels start to move. You may even experience headache or nausea. But, the article promised, you will feel great by the end of the experience.
Well, that was what I expected as I went into this cleanse. Now I can look back and reflect upon my own reality for the six days.
(Fair Warning Note: I’m getting into real experience, here, including bodily functions. It’s not all pretty.)
- Day 1 — The novelty of the cleanse made the first day much easier than I had anticipated. I can do anything for one day. I actually looked forward to getting back to eating healthier foods. By noon, I had a raging caffeine-withdrawl headache. I made a note to have a cup of tea each day from there out. Evening was the worst. I cooked a regular meal for my family, including steak and roasted potatoes. Stopping my hand from reaching out to pop a few potatoes into my mouth while plating my kids’ dinner took super-human strength. I may have weeped into my water glass a little, wishing it would turn into wine.
- Day 2 — WOW. That morning lemon water was way more sour today than yesterday.
How did I get through the whole cup without puckering up to freeze my lips into place? I drank my cup of tea. I doctored my tea the same way I always had my coffee and realized I only like hot tea black. Who knew? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my morning cottage cheese and fresh fruit. Even after only one day on the cleanse, I realized how salty the cottage cheese tasted and enjoyed every single bite. Everything else was twice as hard this day as Day 1. I made quesadillas for my family with sauteed chicken and peppers. I allowed myself a few of the sauteed peppers with my steamed broccoli, but still shot daggers across the table at everyone scarfing down chicken, cheese and tortillas. And, despite my tea for my caffeine fix, I still had a pretty big headache all day.
- Day 3 — Kill me now. If you choose to do this cleanse, warn your family that you will not be pleasant to be around on Days 3 and 4. I hated my lemon water. I missed my coffee really badly. I liked my breakfast. I choked while drinking the vegetable broth. I spent a good portion of the day in the bathroom. When the notes say “your bowels will start to move,” they aren’t joking. Your belly will make all sorts of noises for the remainder of the day, too. I expected to have nice, comfortable regularity during this cleanse. I mean, healthy food makes healthy poop, right, Dr. Oz? Nope. Expect some loose stools, bloating and the beginning of some pretty stinky gas. There, I said it. You’ll stink like your Diaper Genie for the next four days and there’s nothing you can do about it. Pleasant, huh? I practically threw the leftover pasta at my children and husband and avoided all eye contact throughout dinner.
- Day 4 — Cranky, cranky, crank-pot day. I’m not sure if I was more on edge from the diet and the boredom of the same food everyday, or the fact that it was Saturday and I knew I couldn’t have even a single cocktail or glass of wine. No take-out food, no snacks in the car, no shared treats. I threw out the ripe bananas instead of making the promised banana bread, to my children’s dismay. Lots more gas (sorry family — open the minivan windows!), dull headache, and bloated stomach. I don’t remember what my family ate for dinner. I’m pretty sure I left it to my husband and ate my veggies in another room.
- Day 5 — Things were becoming habitual. I didn’t have to look at the list to know what I could eat. I made another batch of veggie broth from memory and actually managed to doctor it enough to taste really good. Could it be that my taste buds were getting acclimated to the new diet? The biggest surprise of all was when I went to bed that night and realized that I never ate my slice of whole wheat bread that evening. I didn’t even miss it. I also didn’t have my snack cup of blueberries that replaced my night-time snack, or my wine glass full of juice to replace my wine. I honestly didn’t even think of them.
- Day 6 — I knew this was my last day, so I started off great. I had expected to feel differently, though. I thought I’d have some drastic revelation of “Wow, I feel fantastic!!!!” but that never came. I felt good. I just didn’t feel much different. After my Day 5 success, I was surprised that I wanted my juice and bread that evening. Sure, it was still on the cleanse, but I though I would be past wanting those things. My headache didn’t require any ibuprofen on the last two days, but it was still there in a dull, constant way. Still gassy, but more regular bowels. All I thought about all day was pouring my first cup of coffee the next morning.
So that’s my recap. I didn’t experience any clearer skin as promised (in fact, I broke out around Day 3 or 4). I don’t feel any “highs” or noticeably increased energy. I did, however, find myself more productive. I don’t know if I can attribute this to the cleanse as an increase in energy or to a coping mechanism. I stayed busy to avoid snacking.
I did rediscover my absolute LOVE for berries. Popping blueberries into my mouth whenever I wanted was really a satisfying snack. I loved mixing strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries into my cottage cheese every morning. That was my favorite meal each day. I might actually continue that one going forward.
Since I’m writing this in the morning, all I can attest to is that my taste buds have changed based on my morning coffee experience. I will say that I woke up happier today than I have in a week. I AM SO GLAD THIS CLEANSE IS OVER. I’m glad I did it and am interested to see what else has changed as I go back to normal, but there is no way I could do this longer than six days. At least I’m back to my Grind, even if I’ll still Whine without my Wine.
I did lose a total of 6 pounds over the six days. That’s a lot and I do not expect it to stay off. I’m sure some of it will return as I go back to having more regular protein and starches again. But I didn’t do this for weight loss. It’s a nice side-effect, but not a reason to do a cleanse. I do think that Lent will be a little easier now, too. Instead of feeling deprived after the first week without alcohol, now I feel like I’m getting something back as I finish the cleanse and start eating real food again.
If you cleansed along with me, please tell me in the comments below what you experienced. I’d love to hear other takes on the same journey.