A juice cleanse has never been at the top of my priority list, especially since becoming a mom. Depriving myself of food and energy for 3, 5, or 10 days means I’ll be a horrible parent with no patience, have cravings that are hard to ignore and in no way be my best self (which, FYI, takes a lot of work, self-talk, intermittent yoga breaks and feel-good YouTube vids).
When Sara Celik, a naturopathic doctor and spokesperson for Renew Life, suggested I try one, I was truly meh about it. After talking me through the process and serving up sensible answers to my long list of questions, I was still skeptical—but willing. After all, I was about to go on a beach getaway, and one of the potential rewards was looking slimmer and feeling less bloated (because I’m still convinced my weight gain is water weight only). She suggested I try the brand’s First Cleanse made just for newbies because it’s gentle formula doesn’t bring on common cleansing reactions like mild headache, nausea and flu-like symptoms.
The verdict? After 15 days, I came out on the other side without being hangry and I discovered a cleanse doesn’t have to be straight up miserable to show me it’s hard at work. Here are the myths I busted for myself without becoming a raging lunatic along the way.
Myth No. 1: I’m going to be unhappy and oh-so-hungry
Sara says: “The word cleanse is used to describe different types of programs. Some people will do a water or juice fast and they will call it a cleanse. You can also do an herbal cleanse where you combine a healthy diet with fibre, protein, amino acids, fruits and vegetables and a combination of herbs that detoxes your liver and gut of toxins that build up from our North American diets. Your liver naturally does a good job of cleansing out your body, however I suggest doing an herbal cleanse at least twice a year. It’s like going behind the stove and getting rid of the build-up of dirt and grime. I find a cleanse that requires depravation generally doesn’t work for my patients because it’s hard to maintain.”
P.S. I was never starving or grumpy because this cleanse allows for a daily consumption of healthy calories. Cue sigh of relief.
Myth No. 2: As seen on TV, I will shed a mad amount of weight
Sara says: “I have seen people lose up to 20lbs while others feel less bloated and have more energy but haven’t moved the scale at all. The liver is the number one fat-burning organ, so for those who have struggled to lose weight, it could be an indication that their liver is not functioning at its best. By undergoing a cleanse to improve their liver health, they could see weight loss results they’ve been having a hard time to achieve. Weight loss isn’t the only reason to do a cleanse, though. It flushes out toxins, excess hormones, and cholesterol while helping to ease or prevent inflammatory symptoms like eczema and other skin irritations, irritable bowel syndrome, excess gas and bloating, allergies and fatigue.”
P.S. I didn’t shed any pounds but I happened to be doing the cleanse during PMS and my usual symptoms (bloating, tiredness, crankiness and cravings) were on the DL. Sara later explained to me the liver also breaks down hormones and if it’s overwhelmed with breaking down other chemicals, we can have higher levels of estrogen, which can lead to bad PMS. In other words, the cleanse was helping my body flush away the excess estrogens that cause my monthly uproar.
Myth No. 3: My bowel movements will completely freak me out
Sara says: “This cleanse will help you have better bowel movements. Many health conditions like IBS and food intolerances are linked to poor gut health and 1 to 3 bowel movements a day are key when looking to lead a healthy life. Stool helps us eliminate the breakdown of what we eat, along with toxins that can slow down metabolism and the absorption of nutrients. If you are not having regular bowel movements, you are not eliminating fully.”
P.S. I had one extra bowel movement a day and whenever I had to go, it never felt urgent or painful. The quality of my BM’s leaned towards the good-for-you side of this poop guide (professionally known as the Bristol stool scale).
Myth No. 4: Breaking bad and noshing on fries will make my cleanse a complete failure
Sara says: “I would prefer you didn’t eat junk food, follow the diet recommendations in the kit and try healthier alternatives like these cleanse-friendly recipes. Having said that, French fries will not ruin your cleanse. The action of the herbs is not dependent on what you are eating. They’re going to do what they need to do regardless of diet. The question you have to ask yourself is: Are you going to feel better after eating a fibre and protein rich salad or those fries?”
P.S. I did fall off the wagon a couple of times because I was busy getting ahead of work before I went away on vacation and a healthy snack or meal wasn’t always handy. What I should’ve done was order a clean menu plan while I was on the cleanse. I’ll definitely do that next time.
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