January is ideal for me to get a little quirky with something health-related, mostly because everyone else is too. It’s a lot easier to pull off a cleanse when no one else is partying.
My usual go-to is the Sakara Level II Detox, which you can read about here and here. This year, however, I decided to try one of the Medical Medium’s cleanses. Anthony Williams (aka the Medical Medium) posted on Instagram that hyperpigmentation could be attributed to a toxic liver. I have hyperpigmentation, I thought. Do I have a toxic liver?
When it comes to Williams’ work, I consider myself a healthy skeptic. Many of his recommendations have merit backed by research and science, as well as my own personal experience. While I wasn’t sure on this one, hyperpigmentation used to be called “liver spots” so I decided not to throw out the baby with the bath water. A quick scan of the comments told me at least some of his followers could vouch…and sold!
I read Cleanse to Heal and tried to find a cleanse I could realistically do. There was either too much in terms of prep or grocery shopping or making separate meals for dinner. Not for me. Then I came across The Morning Cleanse, a 14-day cleanse that was strict until noon. The rest of the time I would be eating how I normally would, with some minor tweaks. The cleanse wasn’t complicated or restrictive at all. There would be no going hungry for this girl. Now this was totally doable.
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What I Ate
Every morning was exactly the same for the 14 days. I drank lemon water, waited 15+ minutes, drank celery juice, waited 15+ minutes and ate a cleanse-approved breakfast. This could be either all fruit, a fruit-smoothie or oatmeal with fruit. Since I love oatmeal for breakfast most days, I ate oatmeal with wild blueberries and banana every morning. If I got hungry again before noon, I ate a piece of fruit, usually an apple, as per Williams’ recommendation.
What I Did Not Eat
While not technically a food, the biggest change was I didn’t have my morning coffee. The second biggest change was limiting my salt intake. If you’ve ever seen me eat at home, you know my Redmond Real Salt is always at hand. I add salt to almost everything, even my oatmeal. My mother-in-law gifted me an automatic salt grinder for no good reason other than to help me avoid carpal tunnel.
Otherwise, I had to stay away from dairy, gluten and soda. I haven’t had soda in a million years, and I avoid dairy already. Gluten was a change, though minor. I usually have sprouted grain toast when I eat lunch at home, so I swapped in Knead Love Bakery’s gluten-free bread. Being that I wanted to target my liver, I also avoided alcohol and dessert.
I’m going to start with the bad, and I’m not going to sugar coat it. I felt like mild crap the entire time. The first week I had a headache and felt like I was coming down with something. By the second week, I traded the headaches for a sore throat and continued to feel like I was fighting a virus. According to the book, the cleanse – the celery juice in particular – could be loosening up old viral cells from my liver. Other theories below.
On the positive side, it was easy. The only time consuming thing was making the celery juice, but I would make them two at a time, and since I was no longer making coffee, it didn’t add much time to my morning. I also slept the best I have in a long time.
About halfway through the cleanse, I got bloodwork done (unrelated to the cleanse), and the only things out of normal range suggested I was too hydrated, too stressed and not getting a lot of protein. None of this was a surprise. Since I rarely eat meat, I usually add protein powder to my oatmeal but stopped during the cleanse. In hindsight, I never modified my water consumption. I was drinking 16oz of celery juice on top of my usual 80oz of water. It’s possible my electrolytes were off balance, especially without all of the high quality salt I was used to consuming. That could have caused the headaches, as could eliminating coffee.
The stress, however, is something I didn’t need bloodwork to identify, and I’ve been actively working towards managing this. Sleep is critical, and the fact that I’ve sleeping better is likely the result of cutting out coffee and chocolate (my usual go-to dessert).
I’m going to keep skipping the coffee for now, while the protein powder is back in my oatmeal. Celery juice will continue to be my go-to after traveling, and while I’ve reunited with my salt shaker, I’ve definitely scaled it back.
My skin looks the same by the way.