So the paleo thing didn’t work out so well—at least not the one that I tried. So before detailing my raw food experiment, I report that, in response, Katie over at Athletic Muscle sent me this link. She’s collected 121 recipes that I’m mostly mostly interested to try. (I’ll skip the ones with mammal meat.) Once you’re over at Katie’s site, check out the rest of her offerings, which are plentiful.

Before commencing, allow me to confirm that I don’t have affiliate programs with anyone. No one’s paying me to write about a particular company (I wish). This all happened. So, onward.

I’ve noted before that I cleanse about once a season. Up til now, as you’ll see at this link, I’ve chosen the Conscious Cleanse;  I still recommend it as a good way to get your feet wet in the detox process.

But this time, I decided I’d go for the Ultimate 7-Day Cleanse by Tess Masters and Karen Kipp—really about 12-14 days by the time you factor in prep and post days. I found it through Daily Om, a favorite destination, with absolutely tons of classes that are ridiculously affordable.

I bought the Ultimate Cleanse, gave it a once-over, and thought, well, that looks virtuous. Count me out! Ok, not quite that dismissive. But we were headed out of the country, and it just seemed like a production I didn’t quite feel I could pull off. Tessa and Karen completely spell out the UC for you: what you’ll eat for every meal of the day, as well as suggested bodywork. So where other programs say, do this and don’t eat that but basically make your own choices, UC says, you will eat this today in the morning, and then this, and then this. In situations that could easily induce whining, I like clear direction.

BTW, I offer no recipes in this post; they’re all available in the Ultimate Cleanse if you’re interested.

Here’s how it went.

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing juice

My Raw Food Experiment: The Run-up

The cleanse instructions begin with a big old long list of stuff you’re supposed to cut a minimum of 3 days before you embark on Day 1. It’s basically everything fun. I mean, veggies are definitely my thing, and I like fruit. But…yowza. That said, I was used to this from Conscious Cleanse. I knew I would feel really great after a day or two of whining and being sad that I could no longer scarf down a half a bag of jelly beans when no one’s looking. Yes, beans. Not Jelly Bellies, but super crappy jelly beans where you eat one and you can pretty much feel the dye entering your bloodstream and making you radioactive. I like those. Buh-bye.

I cut sugar about 5 days ahead, then wine, coffee, gluten—always the hard one—soy, eggs, dairy—actually, that may be harder—a day or so later. I will confess, I got a breakfast burrito at Whole Foods the day before I began. It didn’t even sound good. But I dunno, I was feeling like a big baby who wanted a breakfast burrito. I did not like it. I took it as a sign that I was ready to go.

My Raw Food Experiment: The Raw Food Part

I’ve done raw food days before, and I always feel kind of weird about them. It’s just so much damn….chewing. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Are we there yet? No? Chomp, chomp, chomp. I feel like a camel or a horse or something with big flat teeth. Maybe a hippo.

The very first smoothie that I had, following the provided recipe, was ridiculous. It deserved its creamsicle designation. (With one exception, I didn’t photograph the smoothies. I mean, a green smoothie looks like a green smoothie.) Here’s a red one. See? Pretty, but….not a lot of variety.

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing smoothie

But this chia pudding, breakfast on another day, kind of converted me to chia. The trick is to blend it with a big mass of strawberries.

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing chia pudding

For lunch, which I couldn’t eat nearly as much as the recipe  provided. It tasted good, though I won’t be putting it in regular rotation. But look at all those healthy ingredients. I mean, you feel lighter just seeing the picture, right?

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing salad Now dinner definitely, goes into the rotation. Even a fake taco is still a taco, and the raw nuts, seeds, and veggies worked great as a meat substitute. And seriously, how can you not love eating half an avocado?

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing raw meal

The very fine part of all this, beyond the fact that the food tasted good and was completely planned out in advance, was that I didn’t feel hungry. Better yet, I experienced zero cravings. That’s in large part because I did the pre-cleanse getting-ready period. Honestly, if you can’t commit to that, don’t bother, because I’m going to bet you’ll be on the miserable side.

And now we come to…..

My Raw Food Experiment: The Colonic

(In case you’re nervous, there are no pictures for this section. You’re welcome.)

Look. A colonic enema counts as one of those things where you’re completely freaked out by it and yet weirdly intrigued at the same time. I’ve had 2 in my life. The first went pretty well, the second didn’t, and that’s why there haven’t been any more.

On the UC, you can choose to just add juice to the raw food diet or you can do what’s called the Deep Dive, which is only juice for a number of days. Right up to the night before I began the cleanse, I waffled. But then I thought, why not?

Well, in order for the fast to proceed swimmingly—oh dear, the puns may fly fast and…UGH. I’m suddenly terrified of metaphor—Tess and Karen recommend a colonic. I mean, the home enema option also exists, but….well, that’s not a part of my usual routine. So I figured I’d let a pro literally clean out my shit.

A colonic is about the weirdest feeling in the world. I can now verify that any mild titillation I felt at the mention of a butt plug has officially ended. Water flows up your ass for probably 40 minutes, and the therapists presses on your belly. When things start moving, it’s not excruciating, but it’s pretty uncomfortable. Also, it’s just so strange to feel like you desperately have to run to the bathroom and then have to tell yourself that you actually don’t because this thing in your butt kind of IS your bathroom for the next 40 minutes.

And then we came to the end, followed by even more expulsion on a good old regular toilet. This is the poop description part, so either skip to the next paragraph if that grosses you out, or read and learn. I experienced zero diarrhea, which was a thing the last time I had a colonic. That, I know, was due to excellent preparation, including the run-up time eliminating un-cleanse-worthy food and the raw food days. Just this immense amount of waste ended up in the toilet; no straining, just long, smooth cylinders filling up the bowl. I mean, I looked at it and thought, Damn. All that in li’l old me?

My Raw Food Experiment: The Juice Fast

Well, glory hallelujah, I survived the colonic. Afterward, I naturally felt lighter and tremendously clear-headed. And creative! That was a surprise. It probably shouldn’t have been. After all, I basically completely decluttered my gut.

Juice for 3 days was a treat. It helped that I didn’t have to work, and indeed it’s recommended that you block off time so you can rest, due to the hard work of the body as it cleans its own house. The juice was plenty, and knowing I didn’t have to concentrate on anything but healing felt pretty damn luxurious.

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing juice

Oh, and there were juice popsicles and they were seriously genius.

My Raw Food Experiment: Finishing Up and Afterward

Here’s the truly great thing about the Ultimate Cleanse: Tessa and Karen tell you EXACTLY how to gracefully exit. The two days following the all-juice portion introduced food back in very gently and gradually.

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing raw meal

And I found that when it came to eating, I’d had a dramatic reset as far as simply being able to listen to my body. 7 days completed, I’m on my own. Previous cleanse efforts have left me food-righteous for about a week or two. This one has allowed me to truly understand what hunger feels like vs. when my body and mind are tricking me into wanting to eat even though food isn’t the right answer at the time.

5 days out, the pipes are not still figuring out how they’re going to work. But  I don’t feel constipated, just transitioning into the new normal. And by introducing the things I cut slowly, I can feel exactly what’s going on with my body. Cravings are no longer a thing, which amazes me. The primary craving I have is to feel good, which consequently makes fuel choices a lot, lot easier.

my raw diet experiment, a fresh cleansing raw meal

Overall, I feel amazing: high energy, creative, productive, positive. I got rid of a lot more than the literal shit.

Here, once again, is the link to purchase the (extremely reasonably priced) Ultimate Cleanse. Try it if you dare to feel awesome. And also, to get a colonic.

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