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.