Friday, April 3, 2015

I Survived a Food Detox—Here's Why You Should Try One

"So, how did you feel?" my coworkers asked on a Monday, after I had just completed a five-day organic, plant-based food detox. "I've never felt so many emotions in one week," I replied. I had started Deliver Lean's DLRevamp food program the Wednesday before and took notes after each meal. Some gems from my food diary:

"Am I supposed to be this hungry???"

"I liked the dates, berries and apples—obviously addicted to sugar."

"Cakes sent to the office. AHHH!! Looking at pics of food. AHHH!!"

"Why is my family trying to sabotage me?"

"Grapefruit refresher is great. I love the texture, feeling really satisfied and realizing it doesn't take much to get full."
As you can see, it was quite the challenge but also one of the most enlightening experiences I've had while trying a new food regimen and, trust me, I've experimented with plenty.

Long story short: I lost five pounds in five days, confronted my sugar addiction and am now actively trying to make changes and learned exactly what proper portions look and feel like.

Before I jump into the experience itself, let's start with why I subjected myself to a food detox in the first place. Everyone in my office knows I'm obsessed with Beyoncé, so when she announced she'd be offering a vegan meal delivery service, I paid attention. The singer is actually jumping on board a hot trend in the wellness world. From Sakara Life to Provenance Meals, new companies are fulfilling a demand for convenient, pre-made healthy meals.

DeliverLean, based in south Florida but shipping all over the US, is one such service that launched in 2011. It has multiple plans accommodating every diet—paleo, vegan, vegetarian, you name it—and also offers nutritional guidance along the way. One of the programs is the DLRevamp, a five-day organic, plant-based food detox meant to expel toxins in the body that cause weight gain ($125/day). You consume a mix of juices and portion-controlled food nine times a day—if you count calories, it adds up to 1,200. It is completely vegan, non-gmo, nut free, dairy free, gluten free and wheat free. No easy feat for the average person. If you're unsure as to what a "detox" is, take it from DLRevamp's nutritionist and detox specialist Alina Z.

"Your body detoxes naturally via its lymph system to carry out cellular waste that is naturally created with the process of metabolism, and chemicals and toxins that we ingest and inhale," she says. "The body uses its key detox organs—skin, liver, kidneys and colon to do so. Think of it as deep-cleaning for the body." The inherent process gets an assist if you eat the right kind of food and avoid dairy, gluten, grains, nuts and nightshade plants (bell peppers, for example) because they are hard to digest and the body spends more energy on digestion versus cleansing. "We want to save the energy and use it for detoxing," says Alina.

On day one of the detox, I was miserable. It didn't help that I had a dinner event in the evening with my family, where I begrudgingly sipped soup from the DLRevamp menu, and a team lunch during the day, which I had to opt out of. After two days of eating the detox menu—which, by the way, had delicious options such as a cacao breakfast crunch cereal with coconut milk, a soba noodle lunch bowl, a berry smoothie and a curry soup—I was acclimated to following the program. The challenge never really stopped, however, considering how hungry I constantly was. I asked Alina why the hunger pangs occurred even if I was consuming something every two hours or so.

"It all depends on your metabolism and activity level. It is normal to feel hungry if you are used to eating heavier meals. We did create this detox to provide you with key nutrients, but limited the calories to help with weightloss," she explains, adding that some clients mention there is too much food while others, like me, felt there was too little. I should mention I was sticking to my regular workout regimen of almost daily exercise which could account for my hunger.  
Most of the detox consists of raw food, which Alina explained is "full of vitamins that support our immune systems. Because raw foods have enzymes, they are easier to digest than cooked foods, giving us more energy for cleaning house."

While I did miss hot food occasionally, eating a completely fresh plant-based diet had me feeling lighter all around. I felt clarity in my mind, rested better at night and didn't have the mid-afternoon sugar craving or energy slump. This could also be attributed to eating less more often. "We want to keep your energy up without weighing you down with too much quantity to digest," says Alina. "Eating too much food takes our energy away and makes us gain weight."

One of the side effects I felt during the five-day cleanse was irritability. I was complaining more and restless. I inquired about this too. "That is normal if you eat heavy foods, especially animal protein," the nutritionist told me. "The body is now switching gears to cleansing from digestion and that can have such side-effects." Thankfully, after day three, I was feeling much better. It helps that the DLRevamp comes with an at-home spa kit with goodies like a dry brush to help you wind down.

At the end of the five days, I did my best to resist binging on donuts. DeliverLean helped with a Post Detox Guide that made me understand how to make the benefits of the detox last. Some of the suggested changes I've adapted for good is sticking to small meals, four to five times a day, including greens with every meal and making dinner my lightest meal of the day. I'm not perfect by any means (you can blame my sweet tooth and the steady stream of pastries that get sent to our office) and still have a tough time giving up dairy for good, but this detox definitely helped me experience the difference in my body when I eliminate common inflammatory foods.

"What we find with DLRevamp is that people start learning how to eat better," notes Alina. "They see what portions can look like and how clean food can taste good." You can definitely count me as a detox convert.

Order DLRevamp here.

article via StyleBistro

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