What They Don't Tell You About Doing a Raw Food Cleanse: The Good, The Bad & The Broccoli
As many of you know by now, two weeks ago, I decided I needed to detox. I was dealing with daily headaches, fatigue, and just overall sluggishness and malaise. I hadn't been eating right, because my schedule got so hectic I could barely find time to cook. My face was breaking out and my left knee, which never before even experienced soreness, was suddenly so painful, I had to wear a knee brace. My body was speaking and I had to listen. After all, health and wellness are my job, my passion...my life!
So I decided to cleanse my body the natural way last week, with fruits and vegetables. For seven days, I ate only raw foods:
> Breakfast - Fruit and veggie smoothie
> Snack - Fruits
> Lunch - Salad
> Snack - Yogurt with probiotics
> Dinner - Salad or fruits
> Water - 3L (or as close as possible)
You can take a look on IG @coachktt to see what my smoothies and salads consisted of.
So here's the truth about my experience:
1. Better mornings - I am NOT a morning person; never have been. However, for the week of the cleanse, I woke up at around 5 a.m. to start my day with a smoothie. By literally the second day, I found myself waking up naturally (before my alarm) and ready to go.
2. Increased energy - Usually, if I woke up early (before 8 a.m.) on any given day, I would need a nap by mid-day. For the duration of the cleanse, I didn't need any mid-day naps. I had sustained energy throughout the day, with no dips. I even felt more energised before and during my workouts.
3. Mental clarity - I can honestly say I felt less "foggy" up there, and remembered more without the help of my planners.
4. Decreased bloating - Now this only lasted the first 3 days or so (see point #3 in "The Bad")
5. Cleansing - Duh, right?! Haha I definitely knew my body was cleaning itself. Okay, let's be adults here - I had more frequently bowel movements. I was running to the bathroom every couple of hours for the first few days. I've always had healthy plumbing, but the daily increase in fibre really stepped up the process, and I felt "lighter" by the end of the 3rd or 4th day.
6. Clearer skin - Now this one I didn't really see for myself, but others pointed it out to me. After the initial breakout (see point #5 in "The Bad") the pimples got smaller and less inflamed, and by Sunday, I was told my skin had a "glow".
7. Decreased pain - As I mentioned above, my left knee had become extremely painful, and though I can't say for sure that the cleanse is the reason it subsided, I know that poor diet can cause inflammation which leads to pain. So, I'd like to think that the cleanse helped heal whatever was going on there.
8. Decreased cravings - Because my diet wasn't as it should be for a few weeks before this cleanse, I had been experiencing intense sugar cravings. Those are all gone!
Doing a raw food cleanse can feel like rehab (not that I know what that's like lol), but your body reacts similarly - think withdrawal. After weeks, months, years of eating one way, suddenly switching your diet makes your body react like it would to weaning off drugs.
That said, here are some of the cons:
1. Hunger! - For the first 3 days, I was sooooo hungry. Thank God I prepared well so I had fruits in abundance to munch on when it got really bad. I also made my salads really wholesome so they kept me satisfied for long - to the point that I didn't even need the dinner salad. By day 4 though, hunger was no longer an issue.
2. Headaches - As with the hunger, I had headaches for the first 3 days, but drinking more water helped them subside.
3. Increased gas - This post is called "What They Don't Tell You..." and let's face it, we don't like to talk about gas. I experienced increased gas build-up but less flatulence... which led to bloating around day 5, all the way to day 8 or so.
4. Nausea - Due to the gas, I'm guessing, I had upset stomach on and off for about 2 days of the week.
5. Acne - Your body is flushing out toxins, so it does so via your urine, faeces, sweat, and skin. I got about five huge pimples on my face that were unusually painful and inflamed. They cleared up though (as I stated above).
6. I lost my booty - Yes, you read that right. For those looking to jumpstart weight loss with a cleanse, you're likely to see significant results in just 7 days. Unfortunately, for those like me who don't want to lose weight...well, it happened anyway. Because my protein intake significantly decreased (added to the fact that I lose muscle mass very quickly AND I jogged a mile on days 3, 4, and 5), by the time the cleanse was over, I found myself sitting on extended back (okay, it's not that bad haha). Seriously though, I lost fat and muscle mass, and so my glutes aren't as tight and round.
What? Do I need to repeat the title of this blog?
I'm squatting as I type this #MissionGetMyBootyBack
Now here comes...
So technically, this section should be called "The Kale" but "The Good, The Bad and The Kale" just doesn't have a ring to it lol...and well, broccoli does have the same effect that I'm gonna talk about...
1. Do not eat an abundance of kale, especially raw.
When kale "came on the scene" a few years ago as this "new" (read, "popular") superfood, I'll admit, I jumped on the bandwagon. I started eating kale almost religiously, and only once ever cooked it. I hate cooked kale - it gets slimy. So I usually massage the raw greens with some coconut oil to make it less tough and bring out the flavour, and 'nom nom nom'. I've done this for years, with no side effects.
However, research has started coming out about the possible dangers of eating too much raw kale, and I never felt the effects until this cleanse. I ate (or drank) kale everyday this past week, and by day 5, I stopped having bowel movements. The culprit - kale.
Kale contains too much fibre and high amounts of indigestible short-chain carbohydrates for the average digestive system to effectively break down. Thus, it causes gas, bloating and constipation...all of which I experienced around day 5...and none of which you want when the point is to get stuff OUT.
* The same effects come from broccoli and cabbage (the cruciferous family).
2. Do not immediately resume your regular diet.
After a cleanse, you may be tempted to pig out and treat yourself to your favourite foods. DON'T!
Your body needs to ease back in to cooked/processed foods, let alone large meals. Begin with something easily digestible like soup or steamed vegetables, and gradually (over the course of about 3 to 5 days, work your way back up to full meals. Do not eat anything fried, overly sweet or fatty, and be careful with re-introducing meat (if at all).
This raw food cleanse was pretty amazing. I see and feel the effects, and I will definitely do it again the next time my body tells me it needs it. I walk away from this with a greater knowledge of how my body reacts to different things, and an even greater awareness of what I put into God's temple.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a message at email@example.com or WhatsApp 1.868.749.6716.
Follow my health and fitness journey on Instagram @coachktt, and when you're ready, sign up for CORE, and let's TRAIN Hard, EAT Right & LIVE Well.