NO ALCOHOL, BREAD, CAFFEINE, CHEESE OR CHOCOLATE for one week. That may sound like a small slice of hell, but it’s standard protocol on many celebrity-inspired diets and cleanse regimens being touted as today’s fountain of youth. Rigorous detox methods—from colonics and juice fasts to oil pulling—have also infiltrated Madtown. And so, for seven days, I cleansed like crazy to discover if there is actually any sanity behind the hype. Here’s how to, and how I did.
Prep: Find a reputable practitioner to guide you through the process. I turned to Puja Wellness owner David Lincecum. His clinic offers several individual and group cleanse options using multiple detoxification methods to encourage the body to shed toxins. “It’s about giving the digestive system a break. And, slowing down enough to become more in tune with your body’s natural rhythm,” Lincecum explains. Translation: I’m also supposed to exercise less and get to bed earlier over the next week.
Day 1: What the heck is triphala? It turns out it’s a fusion of three ancient botanicals quite effective in helping the body to “gently eliminate waste,” or in layman’s terms, start pooping— and in larger amounts. I had to take one to two of these earthy, green tablets a day. Note to self: Don’t get too far away from a restroom.
Day 2: No snacking allowed.That is, aside from dates with a dollop of almond or sunflower butter. I consume an obscene number of dates this day.
Day 3: Starting to feel slightly murderous. After two days of no coffee, wine or any cold beverage and mainly subsisting off stewed apples, hot oats, rice and mung beans, I somewhat hate life and almost everyone around me.
Day 4: Here comes the poop! Enough said.
Day 5: Feeling more. I become acutely aware that I now have more energy midday sans coffee than with it. My skin also looks brighter and less grainy. Could it be that all the prescribed oil pulling (where I slosh around melted coconut oil in my mouth for 10 minutes), dry brushing and oiling of my skin I’ve been doing has real aesthetic and purifying benefits?
Day 6: More poop. But also of note: Cravings for any prohibited foods or liquids have almost completely subsided. Interesting how quickly my mind and body have acclimated to all this.
Day 7: No solids. As required, I spend the whole day only ingesting liquids or pureed foods. This day I dreaded from the beginning actually ends up being quite easy to execute. Maybe because tomorrow can be a mini-Mardi Gras post-cleanse—or because I realize I actually have more mental clarity and raw energy than I have in weeks.
Verdict: A little self-denial can go a long way. Another cleanse devotee and advocate affirms my experience. “Think of a cleanse as a jump off point to a different lifestyle or way of eating. It gives the person a new beginning,” says Jamie Lenz, a local chiropractor who personally enjoys the benefits of a good, deep cleanse. And, indeed it has. pujawellness.com.