Helloooo, 2015! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind – for us all. My holiday began with a trip home to Tulsa, Oklahoma to be with my family and my little Niece and sister. I then zipped off to Crested Butte, Colorado with my family to brave the negative temperatures and get my sport on—snowshoeing, skiing and yoga. I spent one night in New York before flying down to warmer weather. Although I am a very health conscious eater, I did indulge in my fair share of deserts, chocolate and let’s not forget the booze. Now, it’s back to reality.
I love January because it’s like my own personal time to start over, to detox and to refresh…to basically try to erase whatever happened at the end of 2014 and begin the New Year with the cleanest mindset possible. My spiritual advisor (yes, I see a spiritual advisor) wrote something once that really resonated with me: “We’ve been searching for happiness outside of us, and it’s actually inside of us. We create a life we love from the inside out; our external landscape is a direct reflection of our internal landscape.” One of the many internal facets that she is referring to is our health, of course. Inspired by the power of my internal health, I knew I needed something to jumpstart and calm my system. Instead of juicing for a few days, like I have done in the past, I wanted to take my health to the next level – with a 21 day Clean Program Cleanse. Yes, I am going there, and with the support of my best friend, I hope it will be that much easier. Need some more inspiration? Look at Vogue’s Supermodel Fitness Selfies. #Killmenow
While I am starting this week, my LA based contributor Marisa Kronenberg already completed her own Clean Program Cleanse (the 7-day version), and I wanted to share her experience with you. Who is with me?
“I’m definitely not one to be too restrictive about my diet. I mean, if I’m at Bestia downtown at home in LA, I’m eating all the pasta that I can fit into my stomach, no questions asked. But there comes a point when my intake of scrumptious breads and fried delights supersede my output of sweat and exercise and I start to feel weighed down, groggy, and just plain grossed out by my excessive gluttony.
Enter: The Refresh Cleanse by Dr. Junger. Thanks to the lovely people over at The Detox Market who convinced me of all the amazing benefits of this 7-Day cleanse, I decided to try it to get my body and mind back in check after a couple weeks of overindulging. The program includes 2 protein shakes and 1 meal per day plus supplements, and you are to stay far away from gluten, dairy, processed sugar, coffee, and alcohol. This is not the cleanse for you if you are looking to lose a substantial amount of weight (see Dr. Junger’s 21 Day Cleanse), but if you’re feeling unusually bloated and tired, and want to shed a couple pounds while getting your body back in balance, then look no further.
While I was doing the cleanse, I started everyday with a delicious smoothie, as outlined in the program. I’d mix their protein shake packet with almond milk, frozen organic wild blueberries and/or peaches, maca powder, and smooth almond butter, and it was totally filling and satisfying. I loved the vanilla flavor and the thick consistency of the protein shake mix.
The first day I tried to forgo caffeine was a complete disaster. It was impossible to focus and I was just soooo tired all day. Thankfully green tea is perfectly okay on this program, so I had a strong cup of matcha green tea with my morning smoothie for the rest of the week. Matcha is the strongest and best alternative to coffee caffeine-wise, so I survived! A few days in, I ended up buying a matcha powder to mix into my morning smoothies and it was not only super energizing, but tasted so good with the vanilla protein!
Lunch is the one food-based meal you are allowed per day. If you had pre-planned dinner arrangements, you could substitute the dinner shake for lunch instead. I’d try to eat my lunch as late as possible—around 2:30-3PM—so I could trick myself into feeling like I was eating an early dinner. Hey, whatever works, right? I basically went to Cafe Gratitude everyday and got a dairy-free soup and salad or the “Fortified Bowl,” which is a mix of seasonal veggies, quinoa, and an oil-free, vegan dressing. It was always enough to hold me over. The program provides you with a “Refresh Boost” that has tons of B vitamins and minerals that you are supposed to take with lunch to give you an energy boost for the rest of the day, but frankly, I didn’t drink them. I thought it tasted like glycerine and I’d rather take them in pill form and my morning matcha was enough energy for the day anyway.
After lunch I’d have a cup of detox tea (see my last post) to enhance the benefits of the cleanse. Around 7PM I’d whip up another shake with similar ingredients and the most surprising thing to me was that I NEVER felt hungry or like I was restricting myself. What it did make me realize is that I almost ALWAYS overeat at dinner when I go out, which is the majority of the week. Then it starts this terrible cycle of not being hungry in the morning but then eating way too much later in the day. It’s really time I grow out of that habit.
I know people struggle with the “no alcohol” aspect of cleanses a lot of the time, but it really wasn’t that difficult for me because I’m not a huge drinker, at least not in LA anyway. The NYC version of me probably would’ve quit after day 3 honestly! But yeah, beverage-wise, no coffee was way more challenging than no alcohol. I still went out to a big birthday bash and had a great time just drinking sparkling water with limes and dancing sober.
I also stuck to my weekly workout regimen of dance class and yoga 4 times a week, which, of course, helps you to see quicker results. But the most important thing I discovered through this cleanse is how much better (and less puffy) I feel when I make a lighter meal at night and eat my biggest meal in the middle of the day. I eat vegan/gluten-free 80% of the time anyway so my problem isn’t WHAT I’m eating, but how much. Going crazy at dinner is still a huge weakness of mine, but after revealing a less bloated face and more toned body after 7 days on the Refresh Cleanse, it’s definitely worth the continued effort. I could see the improvement in my skin, too; The darkness under my eyes got noticeably brighter and my nasolabial folds looked less deep. I don’t weigh myself, but I feel lighter on my feet and my clothes just fit better. And when your clothes fit well and your skin is nice, the world is just a happier place.
Luckily this is one cleanse you can honestly look forward to. It was actually fun concocting the smoothies and seeing a good change in to my body with way less effort than I even expected. You should also check out Dr. Junger’s book CLEAN EATS for a full explanation of his health philosophy and to help you get started on your own cleansing journey. It’s worth it, I promise!”