A Bunch of Hype?

After a 21 day intense cleanse, its time for the Reintroduction Process.  According to the Clean Program, now that my body is detoxified, I should be able to notice how things really effect me.  The first thing that they recommend trying is gluten.

I was pretty strict during my cleanse, only cheating once, when I had the opportunity to go to game 6 of the NBA finals.  How could I pass up having a few beers at an event like that?  I didn’t notice any major differences, besides a little buzz, from the gluten in the beer.  With that in mind, I didn’t really expect to notice any difference when I actually ate gluten again.  They recommend eating three meals a day containing foods that are on the clean diet.  The exception is adding back in one food that you are evaluating.  A brown rice bowl from Chipotle, with organic chicken, guacamole, and lettuce was something that I had eaten during the cleanse.  I decided to get the exact same meal, but with a flour tortilla this time.  After finishing the meal, I immediately felt sluggish.  I quickly noticed that my body had a strange tingling feeling and that I couldn’t stop yawning. I was beat.  In fact, I ended up taking a nap for the first time since I had started the cleanse.  I was amazed at the effect that this meal had on me.  However, I wasn’t convinced that gluten was responsible for this.  Maybe all of the travel had just caught up to me.

For dinner that evening, we had another meal that fit into the Clean diet, but I added whole wheat pasta.  This time, I didn’t instantly feel exhausted, but I did notice a heavy weight in my lower gut and suddenly had gas.  This hadn’t happened the entire cleanse.  That night I also noticed that I had a stuffed nose.  However, the next day, was the real issue.  Mood swings and irritability best describe the day.  This is something that is often associated with gluten sensitivity.  I’m know Melanie, my wife, wanted to kill me!

The reintroduction phase is supposed to be a two day trial period. To be honest, I’m not going to put myself or anyone else through another day like that.  I thought this whole gluten free movement was a bunch of hype, but gluten obviously doesn’t work well with me.  I doubt I’m allergic, but probably have a sensitivity to it and am going to do my best to keep it out of my diet moving forward.  Luckily, through some quick online research and self experimentation, it seems like most beers (excluding wheats) have a much smaller amount of gluten than foods like bread, pasta, etc.  They haven’t had the same effect on me so far.  At least I don’t have to give up ALL of the good stuff!

The next test is dairy.

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Pressing Reset

While on vacation with my family and friends in Aruba, I started feeling overly tired and was visibly bloated.  Since completing an Ironman back in the fall, I have been pretty lazy and haven’t really altered my diet much.  I knew I needed to take action somehow and decided to try a cleanse.

My only previous experience with a cleanse was doing a 3 day, all juice cleanse with my wife.  It was definitely tough, but I didn’t have any noticeable results.  While a member of Empact Sphere, I was exposed to The Clean Program.  It sounded great, but I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to try it for free at that time.  The timing wasn’t right.  However, when I think about it, the timing is never right.  I decided that now was as good a time as any.  I bought the cleanse while on vacation, paid express shipping, and started as soon as we got back to Chicago.

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The program is tough…and long.  21 days long.  During that time, we had a concert that we were going to, multiple lunch and dinner meetings, and a week long trip back to Ohio planned. These were all great opportunities to break my commitment and excuses.  However, at this point, I had spent the money and was committed, so I had to figure out a way to make it work.  It wasn’t until the Clean Program box arrived and that I realized just how strict the program was.  A smoothie along with a packet of pills for both breakfast and dinner along with a strict lunch meal each day.  No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no gluten, no dairy.  There was even a list of fruits and vegetables that were off limits.

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Basically, eating out was going to be next to impossible.  To make it even more difficult, you’re instructed to leave 12 hours between your last meal (smoothie) at night and your first meal (smoothie) of the day.  8 hours to digest the meal and another 4 hours to allow your body to start to cleanse itself.

The first two days weren’t bad.  It took awhile to get used to not eating food at every meal, but I wasn’t really experiencing hunger.  However, on the third day, it set in.  I was getting headaches, felt hungry, and started to get pretty irritable.  They warn you that this is likely to happen, but I’m not sure the warning made it any easier on my wife.  After the first week, the irritability went away, but not before I reached out to the Clean Support staff (a cool feature of the program) for advice.  They recommended adding a few snacks to my diet to make sure I wasn’t under eating.

By the second week, I noticed that I felt great.  Not only was I thinking clearer, I had more energy.  As an added bonus, I quickly lost 15 pounds and got multiple compliments.  One negative I noticed during that time was an occasional sore throat or stuffed nose.  It seemed like the start of a cold.  The program warns you that this may happen as a result of the body ridding itself of stored toxins.

My workouts dramatically decreased during the entire cleanse.  When I did get a workout in, I noticed that my sweat was completely different than usual.  No salt, no odor, just water….lots of it.  It was crazy and a little scary.  What was my body sweating out before?

Now, at the end of the third week, I feel phenomenal and honestly don’t want to go back.  I still have the urge to stop at Starbucks for a mocha or grab a slice of pizza.  I don’t have delusions of never eating that kind of food again, but do want to limit my intake.  Now that my body has been cleansed of most toxins (according to the program), the last step is to do a reintroduction phase that tests my reaction to two of the most common food intolerances, gluten and dairy.  I’ll give an update of how that goes.