Happy Monday friends! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely seen pictures of my 4-day cleanse that I completed last week! The idea to do this cleanse came up a couple months ago when I picked up the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti because I decided to stop taking birth control pills.
Many people have asked why I made this choice because I am only 23 and I do not want babies any time soon. I had been on hormonal birth control pills on and off since I was 17 and I experienced many of the classical symptoms including weight gain, mood swings, acne, increased appetite, and I lost my menstrual cycle for over a year.
For awhile, I was honestly relieved that I didn’t have to deal with a period. However, I’ve been studying health from a holistic approach and I have learned that the absence of a menstrual cycle can cause various health problems (discussion for another post).
I will never forget the first time I met my new acupuncturist; I remember telling her that I haven’t had a period in over a year and she looked at me in complete disbelief and said, “we need to get you off those pills!”
By no means am I suggesting that everyone should get off birth control, or that if you don’t have a menstrual cycle you’re in poor health – those are delicate topics that should be discussed with a medical professional.
But for me and my body, I decided I was ready to quit the pill and attempt to balance my hormones naturally.
If you’re a woman or know a woman dealing with hormonal issues, I would highly suggest the book Woman Code – you can find more information about the book and the program here.
As a part of the lifestyle/diet protocol, there is a 4-day hormone detox involved. Many people expressed interest in this specific detox, and Alisa Vitti has made the content free for everyone, you can access the full plan here. Basically, the plan focuses on real, whole foods with lots of fiber and nutrients and excludes foods such as gluten, dairy, soy, and added sugar.
I have been wanting to do this for months, but I kept putting it off because of time and other excuses. You see, I have never ever done a cleanse because I don’t like restricting myself…I hate feeling deprived when it comes to food. But knowing that clear skin and PMS-free periods could possibly come from starting this process really kept me motivated.
So I finally started on July 10, 2017, which was the perfect time because Issac is out of the country for a work training, so I only had to cook for myself. Before starting, I was feeling a bit nervous about adhering to a strict diet for 4 days, especially since it didn’t include any gluten or added sugar, which I will admit I am pretty attached to.
Once I went shopping the day before, I felt a sense of relief. As you can see in the photo below, starvation is not a part of this cleanse; it is full of tasty, fresh food.
Another aspect of this cleanse I really enjoyed is the wide variety to choose from. The detox has a general breakdown for each meal and day, but there is tons of flexibility.
For example, a cup of fruit is suggested for breakfast, but different fruits can be swapped in and out. Alisa Vitti also provides several recipes for different types of greens and soups, so if desired, something different could be eaten for every meal.
I decided to make a large batch of everything the day before I started because I didn’t want to think about meals each day and I wanted to focus on my first week of summer classes. The following photos are what I chose to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all four days.
-Green juice (I chose store-bought but easily could be homemade)
-Apples, strawberries, and grapes (I added some nectarines the next couple days) with 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
-8 oz. water
-Fiber supplement (I take Integrative Therapeutics Blue Heron blend)
-Brown rice with homemade salsa and 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
-Kidney beans sautéed in avocado oil with onion and spices
-“Liver cleansing medley” made with bok choy, green apple, zucchini, sprouts, onion, lemon juice, and olive oil
-Quick veggie soup with steamed kale, onion, carrot, tomatoes, veggie broth, zucchini, and cooked red lentils
I wanted to note that white fish and salmon can be a part of this cleanse for people who choose to eat meat. Overall, the food was delicious and satisfying! After each meal I felt nourished without any bloating or lethargy. But because the meals are smaller, I was finding myself feeling hangry at around 3 or 4 pm every day. Luckily snacks are built into the cleanse so I chose to have extra fruit or an extra serving of lunch and then I was able to function until dinner time.
For the first two days, I felt amazing! I had tons of energy and I felt really light with no discomfort. By day 3 I was feeling a bit weak with a minor headache and a sore throat. These symptoms are extremely common during times of detoxification because the body is finally able to release stored toxins, which can manifest as headaches, acne, sore throat, constipation, anxiety, and more. So although I felt kinda crappy, I was excited that my body was doing what I wanted it to!
Towards the end of the detox, I noticed that my skin was bright and felt softer than ever. My sleep schedule was completely normal and I was able to function off of 7-8 hours, when normally I need 9 to be anything but a zombie. My digestion has been good (it’s really important to flush out all of the toxins so they don’t sit in the intestines) and I am still taking the fiber supplements to keep regular.
Although these changes might seem small, I am so excited to see even minor improvements after just four days!
I find this cleanse unique because it is not just about cleansing the body with diet; Alisa Vitti also includes daily activities to improve digestion (did you know we should all be chewing our food at least 20 times?!), thrive during the experience, and clean house.
So over the course of the four days, I practiced mindful eating by avoiding the TV during meal times, journaled about ways to add self-care to my routine, cleaned out my spice cabinet and cleaning/beauty supplies, and wrote down my biggest goals for the next year! While cleansing the body is amazing on its own, I felt refreshed to reset my mind and create a non-toxic environment by de-cluttering and throwing out chemical-laden products.
So, now what? I am finished with the cleanse and I am back to my normal eating habits, but with more intention this time. I am listening to my body and paying attention to any reactions I might have to food. Achieving hormonal balance and clear skin is definitely an ongoing process, which is why I plan to follow the Woman Code protocol and continue seed cycling.
Starting this cleanse was my way of getting the ball rolling; as I’ve mentioned I struggle with any sort of “diet” that feels restrictive because I don’t want to feel deprived. But now that I have completed the first step, I am willing to experiment with my diet to see if certain foods are causing my skin issues.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Several women expressed interest in this cleanse and I would be happy to chat about it/answer any questions so please feel free to comment below, send me an email, or a message on Instagram!