Recently I did something I said I would never do, complete a “detox” program.
I’m normally very skeptical of anything that claims to “detox” you, I just don’t think they work, nor do I think our bodies need them most of the time. In my opinion, the best way to support your detoxification systems is by making smart eating and lifestyle choices overall. You can’t outsmart an unhealthy lifestyle by drinking only juice for 3 days in a row. Sure you might drop some water weight and feel good for a short time after, but those changes don’t have lasting results.
Being the “detox” skeptic that I am, why then would I go so far to complete a program that was 21 days long?
Let me explain. When I was completing my Level 2 RWP certification (Mastering the Art and Science of Optimizing Hormones) one of the recommendations for someone dealing with hormonal imbalances (especially too much of a hormone) was to kick-start healing by completing Standard Process’s 21-day Purification Program. Here’s a short summary of what the program entails:
The idea of the program is to spend a good chunk of time (21 days) avoiding things that can be aggravating to our systems. This is obviously great for inflammation reduction but it also has the added benefit of lightening the load on our livers. The liver is one of the primary organs in charge of filtering and removing toxins/chemicals/waste from the body, it’s especially important when dealing with estrogen imbalances.
Removing aggravating foods is only half of the program however, the other is about nutrients and flooding your system with as many real food based vitamins and minerals as you can. Again, the idea being that all the nutrients in the veggies you eat and supplements you take will support our liver health, thus supporting our detoxification processes (and hormone balance!).
Okay, so with that summary out of the way, let’s get back to why I did it. Here’s what spurred me into action:
So with that, I ordered my products, started at the beginning of June, and wrapped up 21 days later. In no particular order, here are my thoughts:
Like with any food challenge or strict eating plan, I found preparation to be key. If I didn’t think ahead and have food ready to go in the fridge then I got stuck eating canned lentil soup from the pantry. The other complication, and part I found to be hardest, is that I still had to prepare “normal” food for my kids and my husband. There is nothing worse than watching your spouse bite into a juicy hamburger on a bun that YOU MADE while you dig into a salad dressed with vinegar and olive oil. I am so much more empathetic to clients whose families are unsupportive of their health journeys, it’s tough going at it alone!
I also found the first 10 days of super strict eating to be incredibly hard. I had to eat constantly, otherwise my energy tanked. Without animal protein it was hard to feel satisfied. I never thought I could enjoy bland chicken breast more than that first bite after 10 days of no meat. Once meat was back on the menu things got a little easier. Though those last 3-4 days were a little torturous, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could just cheat a little bit and eat some oatmeal.
And the smoothies, oh my goodness. I’ve never been able to figure out how to make a good one until I did this cleanse. When you have to make them twice per day, every day, you end up cracking the code (my secret = frozen avocado & cauliflower). I’m so glad I did because now I’ve realized that I LOVE smoothies, they’re going to be an almost daily staple from now on.
Let’s just say I did it, but I didn’t like it. I thought about caffeine every. single. day.
Here’s what I found to be surprising, even though I had to eat more often (every 2-3 hours) I felt like my energy was “cleaner” in a way. For the first time ever, I was waking up and exercising without having coffee AND with a clear head. After the first 5 days or so I started to feel really amazing and it stayed that way throughout the cleanse.
Benefits on my hormones remain to be seen, it typically takes 2-3 cycles for lifestyle changes to actually impact your cycle health. I can tell you that the period I had while on the program was awesome – 28 days, no PMS, no acne. In fact, my acne completely cleared up for the whole program, my skin was practically glowing! The picture to the left is my face with minimal makeup and no filter. I have no doubt that the program was beneficial to my hormone health, I just don’t have the lab results to prove it.
Okay, so here’s where things took a turn for the worse for me. There are 2 different food based supplements you take during the program split across the 2 halves (no meat vs meat). The pills I took in that second half did NOT agree with me. The ingredients are mostly cruciferous veggie based but I think it was just too much for my digestive system. I’ve never had that much gas in my life, like NEVER. I was absolutely miserable for about 3 days before I decided to kick the supplements to the curb altogether. Maybe I should’ve stuck it out, but I would never tell a client to keep going with something that felt bad. I took my own advice and continued on without them.
Okay, so what do all those thoughts add up to? Am I glad I did it? Will I recommend it to clients?
The answer is yes and yes.
Although it was hard, I do believe it was worth it. I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it and pushing through, especially without caffeine. It cleared up my skin, gifted me an amazing 28 day cycle, showed me I could workout without coffee, improved my energy levels, and made my skin GLOW. I believe this program, or another one like it (you could do this without the fancy supplements) is super supportive of hormone health overall.
You may now be thinking: “But wait, you didn’t mention weight???”. Yeah, that’s because weight loss is NOT a goal of this type of program – hormone balance and general well-being is. I didn’t lose a single pound of weight and I wasn’t trying to. I can tell you that I felt “smaller” in a sense, my clothes fit better and I felt more confident overall. If anything I confirmed that my body is already at its “happy weight”, basically where I feel the most alive and healthy.
So, in conclusion, yes it was worth it. No I don’t think everyone needs to do it, and yes I will be recommending this to clients when the situation calls for it.
Got questions? Hit me up on Instagram in my DMs.