The last month has been nonstop appreciation for all I’ve accomplished over the past 4 years. Finishing 2 Master’s degrees is a big deal, so it was fitting that I celebrate. And boy did I celebrate! It was basically one party after another. Then, I went on vacation and lived it up some more. I got out of my eat-right routine, was drinking more than usual, sleeping less, and the only sweat I burned was while dancing!
Then, last week I was going to meet some friends at a festival, but was feeling sluggish all day. After finally convincing myself to get dressed and get out the house (about 3 in the afternoon), it felt like more of a chore than a fun Saturday. I walked around the festival streets for a moment, but couldn’t decide on anything to eat or drink – nothing was appetizing. I eventually settled on a local bar and had a veggie sandwich without the cheese, two glasses of water and a glass of cranberry juice. Any other time I’d have ordered my favorite high-gravity, because this spot has an awesome selection of beers. But, I sat at the bar, not wanting to link with friends because I felt awful, but wasn’t sure why. For days I’d been telling my friends “I just don’t feel right.” Then a commercial came on for tequila. There was a table full of shots, and at that very moment I wanted to url. I asked for the check. Ordered my Lyft, and made a resolve I was going on a cleanse. I needed to flush out everything or I wouldn’t get back to myself.
I’ve done cleanses before, usually more regularly, but in the past two years I hadn’t really needed to because my diet and drinking choices didn’t call for it – I’d been much more health-conscious and in-tune with my body than before when I’d eat and drink recklessly. I remember (after this past month) how horrible that lifestyle makes me feel. My body feels heavy and drained and weak. My mind is distracted with clutter and doubt and confusion. My motivation is gone; my spirit is negative. We really are what we eat and drink. So, if you consume crap but don’t feel like crap, in my eyes you’re like a super-mortal.
Typically, the quarterly cleanses I’d do would be from 3-5 days, depending on what I need. I honestly can’t tell you what you need – you have to listen to your body. I decided this one would be 6 days. Sure, I could go 7; technically I am if you count the no-alcohol. I’m on day 6 now and I feel absolutely amazing.
Ok. So here’s my ritual.
Mind you, I am not a nutritionist. I also cannot claim this process as my own. Years ago, one of my sista-mommas sent me a very detailed message via FB about her process. So this is my adopted version of it.
I decided to do the 2-day Arden’s Garden detox as my base. It’s a mixture of grapefruit juice, orange juice, and lemon. So, I preface this to say if you hate the taste of grapefruit juice you should probably choose a different detox. The retail price is about $34 for the 2 gallons. You drink 1 gallon per day, as much distilled water as possible, and no food.
I decided on this particular cleanse because I know it’s doable, it’s not harsh, it’s budget-friendly, and I know it works. Sure, the label mentions you will lose weight, but I think this is an automatic effect to drinking only juice for two days – you’re going to urine out some of your weight. I wouldn’t recommend doing this to lose weight, though. So be cognizant of your goals.
I needed a serious cleanse though. Just 2 days was not going to cut it. I am prone to low-sugar headaches, however, so in the past when I’ve tried to do longer juice-only detoxes I was miserable. And I just don’t agree that hurting yourself and benefiting yourself should go hand-in-hand. 2 days on juice-only, my body could take. More than that and my brain is likely to send a trigger “This girl is trying to starve us” and send out the headache patrol. And my headaches are relentless. I can’t suffer through those willingly.
How I Prep
I don’t think you should just jump right into the 2-day cleanse if you want the best results. Unless you’re already on a no-alcohol, plant-based, low-sugar/carb diet, you’ll want to ease yourself into it. Trust me! Even if you aren’t prone to headaches you will be if you just go cold-turkey.
Two days before (or 3 if you really need it, like I did!), and 2 days after are what I call the preparation and re-acclamation phases, respectively. They’re basically there as a buffer to prepare your body for what’s coming, then when it’s over re-adjust your body without jumping in head first. Here is my sequence:
- 2 days prior: Raw fruits/veggies only. No dairy or processed foods. Nuts OK, but should be limited. Reduce salt and sugar – none, if possible. Water, water, water. Tea is ok – plain only. Even natural sweeteners, avoid those too. Avoid caffeine.
- 1 day prior: Juice day. Juice veggies and fruits. Smoothies with no added sugars or flavorings. No caffeine boosters. Water like crazy. The more liquids the better. Tea is ok, but limit to 2 cups for the entire day; decaf only.
- Night-before: Smooth Move (it’s a Peppermint flavored tea, so it’s easy to drink). It’s best to drink this right before bedtime.
- Morning of: Sea salt flush (recipe below)
- Day of: To get that salt water taste out your mouth, go ahead and have a half-cup of water with lemon then your first 8 ounces of the detox juice.
- Day 2 detox juice
- 1 day after: Juice day. A repeat of the day prior, but light food ok in the evening. Raw-only if possible.
- 2 days after: Time to eat again. But be easy. Your body just flushed; don’t blow its hard work. Cooked food ok. Try to limit the intake of oils – you might feel like crap!
I started Day 1 on Sunday – the easy, breezy, no-fuss day. I was still in a funk and feeling like there was no way I could get anything to stay down anyway, so not eating wasn’t a challenge for me. All I had the whole day was water and peppermint tea. The peppermint tea eased my nausea. I attempted to eat some bread that night but it just felt like I was chewing a cotton ball. I’m telling you, I was messed up y’all!
Day 2, Monday I still felt sluggish but not heavy. I think it helped that I was completely empty. I picked up an Everything juice from a local spot downtown – Buenos Dias Cafe. It includes beets, carrots, mango, banana, apple, ginger… I mean I literally cannot list everything but if it’s a fruit or vegetable it’s probably in there, and it tastes so dern good! No juice or dairy added. I had a cup of detox tea (pictured) and stored the juice to have about noon. I drank 2 cups of the detox tea in the morning, then had the juice about noon, followed by more water and tea in the afternoon. My body finally wanted something to eat so I grabbed an apple, tangerine, watermelon, carrots and fresh almonds from the produce store next door, which hit the spot. That evening I had more detox tea, some guacamole on celery – a first; not my favorite. I don’t recommend. But it was something.
Day 3 was very much like Monday, except I had no food. I also made sure not to exert too much of my energy. I knew I needed to keep my stress level down if I didn’t want to find myself with a headache. It went well. More detox tea and water. I picked up another Everything juice, but it seems my body was already prepping for the cleanse. I didn’t want much. My energy level was great. I started to actually feel like a person again. That evening I picked up my 2 gallons of the detox juice from Arden’s Garden. That night, before bed, I had a cup of Smooth Move and was in bed by 9.
Day 4, I documented everything that morning. It started with a trip to the bathroom and a sea salt flush. I highly recommend doing the flush, if nothing else. My friend likened doing a detox without doing a flush to mopping without sweeping – you gotta get all that gook out first! Smooth Move is a tasty tea that works overnight. You’ll have a great bowel movement first thing in the morning. Then the sea salt flush helps clean out the colon. If you’ve ever done a colon hydrotherapy session, it’s similar to that process. Some do a flush every morning of their detox; it’s up to you. Because I clean my system by prepping 2-3 days in advance I don’t feel the need to. But if you have a diet heavy in salt, meat (especially red meat), or sugar, you might want to flush more than once. I’d been getting messages from friends about my detox and felt it would be a perfect place to start. Here’s my FB post from that morning:
4:13 Bowel movement. That Smooth Move was Workin through the night!
4:45 Realize I won’t go back to sleep. Time to flush
5:27 Sea salt flush mixture ready – time to drink. Goal: drink all by 5:33
5:35 back in bed, laying on side. Massaging tummy. Gurgling sounds start
6:04 time to release! Mostly liquid
6:12 gonna close my eyes. Alarm set for 20 minutes
6:20 still no sleep. Tummy gurgling a little. Switch to lying on my tummy – that feels great
6:35 No sleep. Just meditative rest lol
6:41 Release two. Mainly liquid. Easy breezy.
6:50 light yoga flow
7:12 take Champ out. It’s raining so he doesn’t want to walk.
7:22 shower and dress for work. And my tummy feels great
7:45 I’m dressed. Time for a nap. Because I’m not a robot
8:23 I pop up and see the time. Crap! I overslept. Because I’m human. But energy-wise I feel incredible. That nap was just what I needed!
8:25 I popped up too soon. A lil dizzy. Last release. Barely nothing – All clear!
8:42 Walk into work. Ah, Tuesday. Let’s do some thangs, yea?
I think that pretty much sums up that first day. A quick note, though, I think I should mention. This does look like a jam-packed morning, and I guess it was pretty eventful. Prepare your mind to prepare your body. Give yourself some time. Allow yourself a few hours before leaving for work to complete this process, unless you can do it on the weekend. Some folks say they can’t do it in the morning because they can’t get up. I think sacrificing one day of rising early for your body is a good reason to wake up, but that’s me… do what makes it possible for You. But the last thing you want is to be sitting in traffic and have your colon tapping on your insides that it’s time to release again. Just my assumption.
I packed my bag with the jug, grabbed my glass container and a straw (because I prefer to sip it from a straw) and went on with the day. I would encourage you to drink every hour at the same time. I didn’t do this on the first day, which means I had a lot of juice left over in the evening. Drinking that much before bed is not a good idea if you want to sleep well. I was pottying all through the night until about 2, because I was adamant about finishing the juice. Day 2 went much better. I spread it out, and decided I’d have juice on the :30 of every hour, which, incidentally, really helped the day go by pretty quickly! Before I knew it, it was 3:30 and time to drink again.
The evening of the 2nd day of the juice detox is usually the hardest for me because I’ve made it through the hardest part of the cleanse, but I’m anticipating eating again. I needed to meal prep and the biggest challenge was to not taste the food as I prepped. I decided the next day could be a half-juice/half-raw day. Again, listen to your body. I’d been off “real food” since Sunday, so my body was sending me hints it was OK with intaking solid food again. That’s how I knew the cleanse worked!
The two days following have been great. I had some guacamole with unsalted chips last night, and another cup of peppermint tea. Yesterday I made a delicious acai bowl with hemp hearts, sliced banana and strawberries, and coconut flakes; then a black bean, avocado and mango salad for lunch. This morning I made a smoothie with protein powder, juice, and bananas. I could jump into something heavier now so last night I whipped up a chickpea and potato curry stew to top over long-grain brown rice that I’ll have for lunch. I’m still drinking hella water, but that’s typical for me.
Before I close I’d like to also mention my activity during the fast/detox/cleanse. This, in addition to a physical transformation, takes on a spiritual purpose for me as well. I generally don’t go out or socialize much during this time. Not only because it’s annoying to carry my juice everywhere and have to urinate like clockwork, but it’s a great time to just be still and be quiet. While my body’s working on repairing, I’m giving it proper rest and peace. If you can afford me-time, I suggest it. If there are others in your household, I’d encourage you to emphasize the importance of this cleanse for you and how for a few days you just need some ultra-me-time. I find meditation, prayer, yoga, and walking are awesome complements to this period. If you’re active, like me, you may need to cancel your gym or workout classes during this time. Conserve your energy. You are consuming only juice, by the way. Yes, it’s full of nutrients but it’s not necessarily a fuel-pumping mixture.
I’ve left the recipe to the sea salt flush below.
Let me know if you have any questions about anything above or left out.
Peace, y’all. Be kind to yourselves, and others.
Sea Salt Flush
1 liter (32 ounces) of warm water (salt will not dissolve properly if cold, but you don’t want it scalding)
2 teaspoons of sea salt (not iodized salt; pink Himalyan salt works and gray Celtic salt)
2 squeezes of fresh lemon (will help tone down the salt taste)
Place all ingredients in a large glass container with lid, and shake until contents are one. Drink the entire mixture; try to get it all down in 5 minutes. This process produces optimal results when done first thing in the morning, and on an empty stomach. Once you finish the water, lie down on your side for 30 minutes. Massage your sides – this helps to get everything moving, and is definitely more comfortable. Try if you can to allow the full 30 minutes before releasing, to give your body time to absorb the salt. If you go to the bathroom immediately, it’s only passed through your systems and won’t fully do its work. In about 30 minutes you’ll be good and ready to release!