I’ve always been somewhat skeptical of detox diets. Many of them seem to be based on dubious nutrition claims, and the people I know who’ve gone through these programs were never happy about it. Instead, they were irritable and depressed.
However, after 6 months away from the gym due to a knee injury and an indulgent vacation that included one too many piña coladas, the number on the scale was truly alarming. I weighed almost as much as I did when I was pregnant with my son 5 years ago.
So I started researching cleanses.
While my main goal was definitely to lose weight, I was more interested in discovering a different and healthier approach to food.
Several people recommended a website called For the Glow, which provides health, fitness and nutrition information. My blogger buddy, Jess Estrada, took on For the Glow’s Resolution Challenge a few months ago, and her posts about her experience made me think that a For the Glow program might be a good fit for me.
I checked out the Spring Cleanse, which For the Glow founder Jenn Jordan describes as a “gentle, food-based cleanse.” The phrase “food-based” convinced me to try the plan. I didn’t want to just drink juice. I wanted to eat flavorful, healthy meals.
The 14-day cleanse is based on a raw, vegan and gluten-free diet. This typically does not describe my idea of delicious food, but I wanted to push myself beyond my culinary comfort zone.
Most days of the cleanse start with a green smoothie for breakfast, followed by a salad for lunch and then a veggie-packed dinner. I worried that I would get bored, but the recipes provide plenty of variety.
On the downside, many of the recipes are not very precise. For example, I made the quinoa pancakes twice, but the batter never held together. I wound up with hot quinoa breakfast cereal with a strawberry coconut topping. It was delicious, but definitely not a pancake.
I also was unsure about serving sizes. Was I really supposed to eat all 64 ounces of the cleanse soup? Did I just eat until I was full?
I enjoyed reacquainting myself with many foods that I really like but rarely eat, such as red cabbage and sun-dried tomatoes. I tried new foods such as kombucha and chia seeds and learned more about the benefits of soaking nuts.
I’m happy to say that I successfully completed the 14-day For the Glow Spring Cleanse. I lost 10 pounds, and more importantly, I gained some important insights.
1. The green smoothie is a busy person’s best friend.
My mornings are pretty hectic, and I appreciated that I could make a big batch of green smoothie that would last 2 to 3 days. It saved me a lot of time, and I didn’t have to stress about what I was going to eat for breakfast. Getting all those vitamins first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. You can make any green smoothie that you want, and I chose the Glowing Green Smoothie by Kim Snyder, nutritionist to the stars. (Heh.) True, it’s trendy, but it’s also a great blend of greens and fruit that’s actually pretty tasty.
2. It’s nearly impossible to bolt down a kale salad.
The For the Glow Spring Cleanse requires you to eat large volumes of vegetables. This forced me to slow down, really taste what I was eating, and be more mindful about my food. And chew. A lot.
3. The prep work for a raw, vegan diet can take a lot of effort.
My least favorite part of the Spring Cleanse was processing greens every day. It was often a very time-consuming process to wash, dry and cut all of the produce for my meals. I used pre-packaged greens when I could, but I spent some late nights de-stemming and chopping kale. I also spent a lot of time figuring out my shopping strategy. I had to visit multiple stores to get everything that I needed at a reasonable price. Perhaps this was why I did not miss meat at all. I did not have time to miss it!
Moving forward, my goal is to eat a mostly vegan diet and only occasionally consume meat and dairy. And I’m continuing my For the Glow adventure and signing up for the Bikini Bootcamp, which includes daily video workouts, complete meal plans, grocery lists, and coaching. The fun starts April 26. Join me!