The Unexpected Thing I Learned From Doing a 5-Day Detox

By Kelly Krause

How does that saying go, “You plan, God laughs?” This piece was supposed to be about my wonderful experience with a 5-day detox. And while it’s not too far off, I can’t help but laugh at the fact that I didn’t consider the detox might not go as planned, or the outcome would be much different than expected. You might be wondering, “A 5-day detox? Didn’t she swear off any type of cleanse a while back?” Well, never say never my friends.

After being on a plane and traveling every single month this year, I felt like I needed to completely reset my foundation of healthy habits. Now, I don’t equate travel to being totally unhealthy. Sure, I make time for a spin class or sit in an ancient Himalayan salt room in the middle of NYC to meditate, but the majority of the time I was on the road, I just didn’t prioritize my health. I chose long and lovely European meals with clients, events that carried late into the evening, and getting up earlier than usual to work. Once November rolled around, I felt achy and tired, was experiencing awful digestion and my skin was breaking out from sugar and processed foods. To be totally candid, this was the first time I didn’t feel guilt or shame about my choices even though I didn’t necessarily like the way I felt. I’ll never pretend to have my “wellness” 100% figured out — I’m constantly evolving and rediscovering what works for me.

featured image via The Kitchen McCabe

photo via with food + love

At this point in the year, it would’ve been easy to just say, “Oh well, I’ll start January 1.” But I believe that much like negative thoughts and choices can send you on a downward spiral  — any small improvement or good choice you make has the ability to snowball into success. I wanted to enter the holiday season feeling great and not worse going into the new year. So I decided to embark on Sakara Life’s Level II 5-Day Detox. I was mostly turned onto the program because it’s a plant-based detox designed to eliminate inflammatory foods which reduces chronic stress, replenishes gut bacteria and heals the gut lining. I needed all of this, and figured that 5 days would be a walk in the park. In my mind, if I could ride my bike for 100 miles or run a half marathon, I could lean into 5 days of eating foods I should be eating regularly.

A few days prior to the detox, you’re encouraged to eliminate sugar, caffeine and processed foods to get your body ready, and help alleviate symptoms you may experience from the withdrawals. I decided to get a head start a week earlier and omit sugar completely (yes, even fruit), reduce my sodium intake, eliminate processed foods, and increase the amount of water I was drinking by 100%. Within 2-3 days, I immediately felt better. The water helped flush a ton of water weight and decrease puffiness. I was sleeping like a champ. My sugar cravings were completely gone and most of all, my skin cleared up almost instantly. I had an insane amount of energy and was in a way better mood. I went back to my regular workout schedule, and for lack of a better term, I seriously felt on top of the world. By the time the detox kit arrived at my house, I questioned whether I actually needed it at this point. My inner voice said, “You’re already on the right path, keep going.” But for the sake of this piece and the fact it was already paid for, I still gave it a go.

photo via the healthy chef

The first few days of the detox went as expected. Knowing I was only going to consume vegetables, some legumes, and fat from coconut oil, I was prepared to feel hungry and a little tired — and I was. I lacked any amount of physical energy, felt weak walking up a flight of stairs, and missed coffee — or rather, the ritual of having a morning cup of coffee. But that paled in comparison to the benefits I was experiencing. I started to sleep even better, my skin looked dewey fresh and hydrated, and any residual joint pain was completely gone. I started taking morning and evening supplements and probiotics and suddenly my digestion was back on track. Sure I missed spin classes and working out, but figured 5 days of laying low would be worth it.

But this is where the story takes an interesting turn. Day 4. One day left to go. Arguably one of the hardest days because it’s all liquids. I woke up tired and hungry. Very hungry. Like, the kind of hungry that if you don’t get something in your system soon, a full on meltdown is right around the corner. I immediately cracked open my first meal of the day — a green juice that had the consistency of a gazpacho, but with a bitter aftertaste. I drank 1/4 of it. I wasn’t happy. I felt like I was chewing a lawn. I wanted real food. I kept sipping on it. It took me over an hour to drink 1/2. I was still starving and getting angry. I felt deprived, depleted, and delusional. All things I’ve worked so hard to never feel again. Then that inner voice chimed in, “Hey — you don’t have to do this.” I was right. I was done. I got all I needed out of the detox. I went over to the sink, poured the rest of the juice out and declared the detox over.

photo via wonder juice

I immediately pulled up Instagram stories and told everyone what I just did. I was really proud. It’s quite liberating to have a plan to do something really well, realize it’s not serving you, then have the confidence to stop and move on. As a culture I think we get really hung up on doing things because we think we should, rather than listen to what we really want or need. A year ago, I would’ve probably made it to Day 5 for the sole reason that I shared with friends and on social media. I would’ve glazed over my feelings and pushed through so I could prove that I could make it. Thankfully I now know better. I know that my worth and integrity is not dictated by how far along I make it in a detox or how much I weigh.

I logged off Instagram and sat in silence for a moment. Then just laughed. I had all of the answers all along. I was on the right path before the detox event started. In this moment, I’ve never trusted myself more. Friends: my point is, listen to your gut, know that simple always works, and be flexible. But above all, if something in life doesn’t serve you — move on.

An update from Kelly: It’s worth mentioning that I got a chance to try Sakara Life’s Meal Delivery (not detox) shortly after this piece, and it was exactly the type of food I should’ve started with for this. The food was delicious, filling, and perfect for my busy and active lifestyle. I highly recommend this route as a reset for any active woman out there.

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