If you follow along on Instagram, you may know I recently completed a 4-day Purium cleanse. “Cleansing” in this way is neither something I have ever done, nor something I typically advocate. It has always been my belief that the human body is a smart machine with its own built in detoxification systems; when one eats a real, whole foods diet, there is no need to take draconian measures to “reset” so to speak. However, while I eat “clean” 90% of the time, certain habits had creeped into my lifestyle over the past year that needed checking and resetting.
Why I wanted to do a cleanse.
Before COVID quarantine, I was not someone who drank alcohol every day. It was always reserved for the weekend. Perhaps I would have a glass of wine or two if we went out to eat mid-week, but besides that, I usually abstained on school nights. My relationship with alcohol has been…complicated (which I explain more about in my Counting Colors online course), and I had no desire to incorporate it when just hanging out at home.
During the pandemic, I probably don’t need to explain how this changed. The highlight of my evening was sharing a bottle of wine with my husband on our front porch. Getting pregnant in the fall of 2020 obviously brought this pastime to a halt, but then motherhood hit. I found myself craving that glass of wine or two at the end of the day. A glass of wine almost always meant two, and it was a slippery slope into three some nights. Spring and early summer of this year (2022) only opened up more opportunities for socializing, especially with things opening back up and events occurring more regularly.
We recently attended a concert with some friends. It was our first overnight away from the baby, and my husband and I let loose. I woke up not feeling my best, and my friend told me how she had recently done a Purium cleanse. I immediately wanted to feel what she felt. She raved about the increase in mental clarity, energy and mood. She sent me all of the information and I ordered it that day. I made sure to look at the list of ingredients in the shakes and supplements and I was pleasantly surprised to find all of the products were pretty clean.
However, I think my hangover was steering the ship because after I ordered, I felt a twinge of buyer’s remorse. I also doubted my ability to follow through. My only experience with a “cleanse” was five years prior and I was not successful. Let’s just say I made it 12 hours of feeling like I had the flu before my husband came home and grilled chicken I couldn’t resist. I don’t think grilled chicken has ever tasted so good.
I kept reminding myself that to rewire my habits, I needed something like this cleanse to create change. Because that is the thing – I was aware that these behaviors had become habits. I had complete consciousness for the fact that when 5pm rolled around, I wanted a glass of wine. I could witness myself reaching for the sweet treat after dinner because that is what I did. Whether I actually wanted wine or sugar physically was a different story (and yes, these two foods are connected). I felt like one of Pavlov’s dogs. I say this because when it comes to habits, many people are stuck in auto-pilot mode. Without awareness, a behavior becomes habitual and controls our decisions. One might not necessarily know the phenomenon is taking place, which only makes change that much more challenging. When awareness comes into play, that is when you can make a conscious choice whether you want to keep driving down that path and deepen the neural pathways. For a while there, I was happily in my metaphorical driver’s seat with my wine and sugar, and when the voice in my head told me to take a habit check, I would just turn the music up a little louder (disclaimer: I would never actually drive and drink wine at the same time).
The cleanse also came recommended to me by a trusted friend. I knew she didn’t fall prey to gimmicks, and when it comes to health and wellness, we share the same values.
Planning for the cleanse.
When I initially ordered it, I thought I would do the cleanse in a 4-day stint right after my birthday, but it didn’t get delivered in time. It actually worked out better because for three of the four days I did it, my husband was out of town. I really don’t know if I would have been as successful if he was in town. That is not to say I wouldn’t have still tried. Sharing a glass of wine and cooking dinner together is one of my favorite activities, so he simply would have been a trigger. The FOMO of a real food meal at the end of the day would have been stronger. Even as I type that, again I am completely aware of the power of pure habit, but still, it would have been “a thing.” Now having completed four days, I now know I could still be successful with him around.
Once I received my order from Purium, I made sure to read the schedule carefully. There were certain solid foods allowed (called “Flex Foods) and I made sure to stock up: cucumbers, celery, avocado, berries, watermelon, etc. I committed to a Monday through Thursday, and I found myself looking forward to it! The weekend before was another fun-filled few days, so I was craving the feeling I knew this cleanse would provide.
Not only did I feel great after (and during!) the four days, but I had a much more positive experience than expected. Here are my major takeaways:
I felt the initial positive effects almost immediately.
I am not going to sugar coat it (pun intended) – the first day was a bit rough. I did have to hang out on my couch for a good portion of the day, but I expected it. First of all, I had gone to a concert the night before and had a couple of drinks and a dinner I wouldn’t normally eat (I would recommend eating healthy food and avoiding alcohol the day before to set yourself up for success), Additionally, my body was detoxifying, and the lower energy coupled with mental lethargy was probably my body’s way of having me slow down so it could do its thing. But after the first day, it was pretty much smooth sailing. I imagine I am at an advantage since I eat pretty clean the majority of the time. In other words, my starting point was a bit beyond someone who eats the Standard American Diet on a daily basis.
The first night I enjoyed the best night of sleep I had had in a while, and that alone motivated me to keep going. I also had more mental clarity and noticed an improvement in my mood, which only intensified over the next four days. But the benefits were immediate, so much so that I am doing a one-day crash cleanse as we speak! I was on vacation last week, and while I still maintain most of my healthy habits while away (and didn’t feel the need to do another multiple day stint), I wanted to do a one-day reset to start the work week off right.
I didn’t miss solid food or real meals as much as I thought I would.
I think the reason for this is two-fold: (1) the shakes are super filling! I had the Apple Berry flavor and would mix it with full-fat coconut milk and water. I thought it tasted good too, and (2) “Flex Foods” are allowed, so I still was able to chew foods such as cucumber, celery, avocado, berries, sauerkraut, and apples. After the first day, I never felt particularly hungry, and if I did, I knew I could eat food if I wanted to. I did notice the need for the flex foods decreased over the course of the cleanse. For example on day two, I had the allotted three servings. After that, it was one or two servings.
I was able to better witness my relationship with food, meal time, wine and sugar.
To piggy-back off of the above, I didn’t miss solid foods or real meals physically as much as I miss them mentally. I think food relationships are fascinating, and I believe everyone has one. Mine has also been…complicated (I go into depth about food relationships in my Counting Colors online course), but I have majorly healed this aspect of my health over the years. However doing this cleanse brought to light not only how much meals are a part of my day (as they are for everyone) but also how much I plan and prepare for them. I look forward to my meals (especially breakfast!), and even lunch is an opportunity to take a break from whatever I am doing and refuel with delicious food. Dinner is also more of a social event where I/we take time to cook, connect, catch up on our day. It is a way we unwind. Even someone with a very objective relationship with food (i.e. “food as fuel) has some emotional elements attached to it. For the most part, I would categorize mine as positive, but it was interesting to see this side of it when meals aren’t a part of my daily routine.
I did miss movement.
Exercise is such a large part of my life. In fact, it is a non-negotiable most days. That’s not to say I don’t take rest days, because I do, but even on those days I go for walks or do some stretching. Picking up my toddler multiple times a day can also feel like a strength training session.
While doing the cleanse, it is recommended that you don’t workout. This makes sense, since exercise can increase hunger and create stress on the body, two things you don’t necessarily want to happen while cleansing. If needed, walking and/or gentle yoga are the two acceptable forms of movement you can do on the cleanse. There were a couple of mornings when I put Mason in his Ergobaby and walked for thirty minutes, but besides that, I refrained from my usual exercise regime. And I missed it. Long walks, hiking in the woods, lifting weights, going to hot power yoga and barre classes are an integral part of my self-care. It just made me that much more grateful I get to do these things each week!
I had more brain power and time for other things.
I realized how much mental energy and time I take for scheduling movement, meal planning, and prep. When these things got taken off of my plate, I had more of both to focus on other things. As a mom, entrepreneur, and straight up organizer of all the things, I don’t have a lot of time, and am always planning my day around efficiency and optimization. Because I prioritize eating well and exercising, mapping out how I can fit in mindful, nutritious meals, as well as movement into my day, while still getting things done and taking care of my son, occupies a lot of my mental space. I don’t think I realized how much until I did this cleanse. I will also be completely honest – over the past year I was under a lot of stress, both with my business and becoming a new mom. When I feel out of control in some aspects of life, I know it is my habit to try to gain control in the realm of the physical (food, exercise, my body. I talk about this more in my Counting Colors online course). I was also trying to lose the baby weight, and it has been a while (years!) since I have been in a weight loss state of mind. As a result, it created a compound effect for more mental energy to be spent on eating and exercise. While I have come a long way from the days of disordered eating and over-exercise, I don’t think certain thought patterns ever fully go away. I was able to see more clearly how some anxieties in this area had crept back in.
After the cleanse was over, it motivated me to try to carve more mental space around these areas of my life. First of all, I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight (see below), so those efforts and anxieties went away. I also asked myself how I could better navigate my meals so I don’t have to think about them as much. For breakfast and lunch, I can pretty much enjoy the same foods every day: breakfast almost always consists of an Empower Bar, smoothie/smoothie bowl or yogurt with Gratisfied Granola Clusters; lunch is either a simple salad or Wrawp with hummus, avocado, greens, and chicken. When it comes to dinner, I’m trying the “theme” method: Buddha bowl Sundays, Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Wild-caught (fish) Wednesdays, etc. Tips and tricks such as these will help to lessen some of the brain power, while still maintaining healthy habits around meal time.
I was still able to carry out my weekly responsibilities.
Because I had felt so bad during my aforementioned juice cleanse attempt years prior, I was a little nervous about being able to carry out my weekly responsibilities. I had pre-booked conference calls, podcast recordings, and two barre classes to teach. Would I have the physical and mental energy to do these things? I am happy to report that not only did I survive my work week, I felt like I thrived in my work week!
I still drank coffee.
I am pretty sure caffeine is a big “no-no” when it comes to a cleanse. In the past I have gone days without coffee, and the caffeine withdrawal alone is enough to know you off of your feet for the first few days. As I mentioned, my husband was out of town, which meant I was alone with an 11-month old for four days. There was no way I was going to give up coffee. I made mine bulletproof, knowing that it would have a negligible effect on on my insulin levels, while having the added benefit of mitigating hunger and cravings later on in the day. Even with a cup of coffee in the morning, I still felt all of the positive benefits of the cleanse.
My cravings completely subsided.
At the end of a long day, and especially when my husband is out of town, it is such a treat to unwind with a glass of wine, fix a nutritious and delicious dinner, kick back on the couch with some Bravo reality television, and end the night with a Healthified sweet treat. Physically, my wine and sugar cravings subsided after a day or two; mentally, they lingered a little longer (and never fully went away). But I know that now. It’s more of a mental craving than a physical one. Since the cleanse, I have reverted back to some of these little pleasures, but that is okay, and at least I am aware of the habitual tendencies around them.
I lost about five pounds and got back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
I am completely aware that much of those five pounds was water weight. I am also completely aware that five pounds is not a lot to someone trying to lose twenty pounds, fifty pounds after having a baby. These final five pounds marks a total of forty pounds I lost postpartum, and I am not ashamed to say I am damn proud of myself. I am running the risk of receiving some eye rolls behind readers’ computer screens, but hear me out – it was what those last five pounds represented. Quite frankly, I felt inflamed and uncomfortable in my skin, maybe even merely for the fact that I knew my wine and sugar habits were contributing. Inflammation not only plays a major role in weight and metabolism, but also overall health and disease prevention, so decreasing it is one of my wellness priorities. Doing this cleanse helped bring me back to balance, and I felt so good as a result.
I now always have this tool in my toolkit
Having this cleanse as a tool in my health toolkit is so liberating. If I ever feel like I need a reset, or a jumpstart to a more balanced state of being, I can always turn to it. Whether it is a one-day reset, another four-day stint, or the full ten days (probably won’t happen, but at least it’s an option!), it is there if I need it. I even got my own code in case you are interested as well! Use HEALTHIFIED25 to save on your order. I got the Ten Day Transformation, which comes with all you need no matter how many days you do. Want to be health coached through it? Contact me!