by Risa Green
Not to get all Gwynneth Paltrow Goop-y on you, but as I write this, I am halfway through day one of a twenty day cleanse called Clear the Toxins. I wasn’t going to write about it, but then I thought, well, I’m always so curious about when other people do these stupid cleanses, and so I figured that I might as well share my experience in case there’s anyone else out there who has ever been interested in cleansing and yet slightly terrified of it at the same time.
I will admit, I have tried to cleanse before. Last summer, I attempted the ten-day Master Cleanse, which is pretty much a starvation diet that consists of nothing but lemon juice spiked with maple syrup and paprika. I lasted about thirty-six hours before I ran to the market and inhaled three cans of soup, a loaf of bread and half a wheel of brie. I think I ended up gaining four pounds. Plus, my blood sugar was so low from not eating for nearly two days that I snapped at everyone almost every two seconds, causing my husband to almost divorce me.
Since then, I have sat on the cleansing sidelines, listening to friends discussing their juice cleanses, or reading about celebrities’ nothing-but-fruit cleanses, wishing that I had both the willpower and the lack of appetite to partake in these rituals, and to share in their wondrous side-effects, like increased energy levels, deeper sleep, a colon free of toxic sludge (or whatever it is that accumulates in there over the course of a lifetime), and, yes, a few pounds shed. But I know myself. I can’t not eat for twenty minutes, let alone twenty days, and frankly, it doesn’t sound all that healthy to consume nothing but liquids for an extended period of time. But at the same time, I’ve become a mess in the last few months. My exercise regimen has slipped from four days a week to one, maybe two, I’ve got a house full of Girl Scout cookies that my daughter couldn’t sell, I’ve lost all self-control when it comes to not eating them, my skin is totally broken out, and I feel like crap. Oh, and we leave for Mexico in three weeks, and I had a full-fledged panic attack when I tried to assess the situation by putting on a bikini last weekend and then standing in front of a full-length mirror. Bad, bad idea.
It just so happens, however, that a few days after the bikini debacle, I ran into a friend of mine who looked fantastic. He’d just finished a twenty day cleanse, he told me. Oh, here we go, I thought, but he insisted that this one was different. This one allows for food – starches even – and it’s totally doable. I pried him for a little more info, and I had to agree, it sounded like something I could handle. All the fruits and veggies you want (with a few forbidden exceptions), a cup of quinoa every day, a yam every day, eight “detox capsules” a day, plus two “cleansing smoothies” made with rice, almond or coconut milk and a powder that tastes like vanilla sand. After the first ten days, you’re even allowed to add a few ounces of chicken, fish or turkey. My friend lost sixteen pounds, and his skin was glowing like a sweaty pregnant woman in August. And, the best part was, he hadn’t gained it all back the second he started eating again. Because he’d actually been eating the whole time. Well, say no more. Two hours later, I plunked down two hundred bucks at www.clearthetoxins.com  and ran off to Whole Foods to stock up on organic vegetables and quinoa. (Just FYI, nobody asked me to write about this. This is my own endorsement, and I get no benefit from it whatsoever).
Anyway, here I am, nine hours since my first breakfast sand-smoothie, and I am happy to report that even though both of my children have off from school today and have been fighting with each other since the second they woke up, I have not snapped at them even once. Although I have burped quite a bit, and my stomach has been making some super-scary gurgling noises. But other than that, so far so good.
One day down, nineteen more to go. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.