MangiaMore: CLEANSE

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Oh hey. It was just a lazy afternoon, with a quick bite and some quality basic television. The Oprah spinoff Dr. Oz was on, gabbing at us with his mild lisp about things that are good for us, that contradict almost every episode. But today, today he was talking about his 3-day detox cleanse. Holy moly, did that inspire my boyfriend. We had to dance around the room and switch seats on the couch about a thousand times to get the reception of the channel to be clear, but once we did, we were mildly intrigued.

This cleanse consists of shakes; three shakes, four times a day: breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Dr. Oz assures us that these recipes are cultivated for maximum vitamin absorption, maximum results, with minimum discomfort (“They taste delicious…” “I did the cleanse and never felt hungry,” “Dinner was good, wasn’t it?”). They all include our natural pharmacy; fruits, veggies, fats and all that good stuff, contrived to keep you full and moving, while helping your body to dispel all the toxins it has accumulated.

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Part of this detox and rejuvenation is taking a few supplements, like omega 3, pro-biotics (“to get the good bacteria in your gut”) and a multivitamin. It was also starting the day with a cup of hot green tea, with nearly a whole lemon sliced in it, you know, “to get things moving.” And the most relaxing thing, Dr. Oz assured us, was the detox bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil… too bad I don’t like baths.

Dr. Oz also claims that this detox cleanse was very affordable and somewhat enjoyable at just under $17 a day. And asking people who have tested out and participated in the cleanse to reveal their excellent and perhaps unlikely results felt like a deal maker.

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We consulted.

Deep deep deep down inside, I have always wanted to try a cleanse, you know, minimize bloat, clear the mind and body, shed that nasty water weight…blah blah blah. But the lack of chewing and amount of deprivation have always been intimidating ( I have minimal discipline, put a jar of candy corn in front of me and I will eat it, even with electric shock punishment). Being that I am a major food consumer, lover, indulger and so forth, the thought of spending 3 whole entire days without this joy, was hard to bear. This time, the prospect was not so bleak, because I would not be wandering the woods of starvation alone, but one of my favorite people ever would be holding my hand in the scarcity, lost and hungry with me.

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After a little back and forth, we decided to dive into the detox.

Dr. Oz so kindly created a little cheat sheet with all the info for the shakes and the routine, along with a giant grocery list at the top. Also during that life-changing episode, the doctor proclaims that all the ingredients could be found in local grocery stores. Unfortunately, this was not true of my local grocery store and that of my boyfriend (and I live in the middle of yuppieville and my local A&P did not have almond butter or kale at the moment). So we had to resort to the fancy organic store to purchase some of the goods needed.  The list is pretty easy, from kale to spinach, to celery to various fruits, but there is also ground flaxseed, coconut oil, and almond butter, which are a little less friendly and recognizable.

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Finally, after several trips to many different stores to get everything we needed, we were able to start. My nerves were all over the place, and doubt was creeping all the way up to my eyeballs, and my stomach was hurting from the mere thought of starvation, but I got my act together. I spent the night before our starting day tossing and turning, reading comments about the cleanse over and over, scanning the internet for more information, and creating questions that remained unanswered by Dr. Oz (Can we drink water? Can we work out?  Can we EAT?!).

 And we started on a Tuesday. We wisely secluded ourselves from the outside world, in an effort to save the other people we love from our terrible hungry dispositions, and the evil delicious temptations that the world has to offer. And like the website and further reading suggested, the morning of the beginning of our adventure I weighed myself and wrote down my measurements (for the first time ever), just to see if there would be any change.

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1 banana
1 cup raspberries
¼ cup spinach
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon flaxseed ground
1 cup water
2 teaspoon lemon

Oh man. I know you know the little saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day… well, in this cleanse case, it most definitely was. This was mainly because it was the only meal of the day that was easy for me to drink, get down and keep down. The texture was chunky and weird because of the many raspberry seeds and the less than smooth consistency of the almond butter, but it was sweet and hearty feeling. Banana and the spinach kind of clash in theory, but when pulverized to a mess there was no way of knowing that your pretty fruits were mixed with a leafy green. I felt full and energized after this morning mélange…enough to make it to the gym and not pass out.

Because all the goodies for these drinks were in one location, every night we would prep two breakfast shakes for the next day, so we could “eat” (hahhaa…) breakfast in our respective places.

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4 celery stalks
1 cup pineapple
1 cucumber
1 cup kale
½ green apple
½ lime
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup almond milk

Unfortunately, lunch did not have the same “swallowability” that breakfast did. Like many of the complaints and comments I read in my preparation for this deprivation, lunch was my least favorite. I really did not mind the flavor of the drink at all, it was a little fruity, a little tangy, and a little tropical, but it was very green and chewy. I can’t honestly say I am severely fond celery; there is something not natural about its stringy and crunchy texture and the bitterness that comes with it. Perhaps it was the 3 (not 4) stalks we put in our lunch drink that poisoned it for me. The drink was much thicker and slower moving than the breakfast feast, we almost had to chew it. It was long and drawn out and probably would take me at least an hour to drink almost the prescribed amount.

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½ cup of mango
1 cup blueberries
1 cup kale
¼ avocado
1 tablespoon flaxseed ground
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon
1 ½ cup coconut water

Well dinner was quite refreshing after the chunky disaster that was lunch. It was much easier for me to inhale from starvation than lunch, but at the end of the day, after drinking what felt like my weight in highly nutritious shakes, drinking anything was difficult. This dinnertime wonder was hot and spicy from the little bit of cayenne, but also sweet and thick caused by tropical mango. The super food kale was hardly perceptible in taste, but morphed the color of the shake to something evil. It did not feel as fulfilling as breakfast, or as filling (in a “I can’t really force myself to eat any more of this” kind of way) as lunch, because by the end of the day, true starvation was setting in, along with the doubts and blurry lapses of discipline. But I would drink this dinner mix again… like the breakfast drink, almost voluntarily.

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All in all, it was an experience… one that I don’t think I need anytime soon (not even the suggested every three to four months). Not gonna lie, it was difficult. It is much harder not to chew or missing chewing than you think.

The visitors on the tv show made it sound like it was easy and extremely rewarding for the body and soul. I, on the other hand, did not encounter that. They mentioned feeling light and refreshed, focused and renewed. I just felt tired and hungry. I was severely uncomfortable most of the time with bellyaches and disrupted routines. There was nothing light feeling with me, other than light headed. I think my boyfriend had a similar reaction to me. We both had a hard time. Cool, we were focused for like 30 minutes after consuming a shake, but after that there was a steep plummet into un-productivity and overwhelming lethargy. It was naptime all day and strenuous headaches frequented from lack of sugar and caffeine, things that I didn’t really think my body was so reliant on. It was deffo not as easy as they made it seem, on the body and the mind.

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Good news is, I temporary lost weight and inch (yes one). I would like to emphasize temporarily. Dr. Oz and his friends kept talking about this weight loss and eliminating, but they never mentioned what would happen once you started eating again. Some of the weight has come back and my belly still hurt for a few days after this rejuvenation.  Yes, it was harder to eat more, and my body was less excited about the greasy, heavy, and sugary things that it once used to be, but that lasted about five minutes (enter Easter candy).

It took very strong will and desire to see it through to really get through it. I was really lucky that I had the full support (though sometimes grumpy) of my boyfriend who suffered through the dissatisfaction with me. This cleanse really ended up being a bonding experience, and different kind of way of exploring food and what it does for our bodies and minds…. But I really did miss solid food, like a lot.
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