Anyone who has ever tried to improve their diet knows that there is an endless amount of information, often conflicting, out there that aims to define what it means to have a wholesome, healthy diet. Do you cut carbs and fat? Do you eat for your blood type? For the moon cycle? Only raw? Or should you eat clean? Avoid gluten? Go vegan? Paleo? On top of simple everyday food choices, add to it the endless options for cleanses and detoxes. It is overwhelming to say the least.
I’ve been on what I call my “food journey” for a while now. When I moved to New York City six years ago, the intensity of life here magnified all of the not-so-great things my body was feeling. I had an inkling I had some kind of food allergy because most nights I ended up in bed with a super painful stomachache. When I was finally tested, a whole myriad of sensitivities came up, with gluten and dairy at the top of the list.
These were likely the cause of what was contributing to many issues I was having related to digestion, mood, sinus problems, and fatigue. I became fearful of food and the hidden things that were making me sick. Food = danger which is a super unhelpful outlook when you need to eat food to survive.
Sakara’s standard program eliminates all animal products, gluten, and refined sugar, but the Level II, created with functional medicine doctor Aviva Romm, MD, takes it up a notch by also cutting out grains, sugar (fruit), nightshades (eggplants, tomatoes, etc.) and nuts. It also includes daily supplements, probiotics, beauty water, digestive tea, and a dry brushing routine. The goal? “Eliminate common inflammation triggers to release years of toxic build-up, reboot your metabolism, heal your gut, and reveal a lighter, brighter, healthier you.”
Here’s how it went.
The Week Before
Today was a real test of will power. I was tired, sluggish, and hungry. Breakfast was an umami-filed mushroom mix.
I looked to Sakara’s detox tips to power through the day. They point out that withdrawal symptoms from things like caffeine and sugar are common, and the supplements are intended to help with these symptoms. They also stress the importance of hydration during the detox: “As your microbiome, tastebuds, and cravings shift, we recommend drinking PLENTY of water and herbal tea to stay hydrated, and try to get some extra sleep during the program if you can.”
I spent most of the day dreaming of tacos and bread. I had to embargo looking at Facebook and Instagram stories because my feeds were basically one giant food trigger. I felt like I spent most of the day negotiating with myself about whether or not to eat the almonds in my desk. Self control prevailed! I enjoyed my cabbage dumplings for lunch instead.
In bed by 9pm again, which basically became my new bedtime for the week. I tried to remind myself that this detox was hard work for my body. Sakara notes that, “It’s helping to eliminate toxic build up and reset your systems. We recommend slowing down, listening to your body and being patient as your body feels into this new shift. Common detox symptoms include bloating, digestive issues, low energy, cold-like symptoms.”
DAY 4 “SOUP DAY”
Today was all liquids: water, green juice, tea, soup, juice, tea, keifer, broth. I definitely felt drained and a bit shaky. I some how made it through the whole day not as cranky as I thought I’d be. I tend to get “hangry” or stressed when I feel hungry and cannot eat for an extended period of time. So really patting myself on the back for not having any outbursts.
I skipped dry brushing in the evening because I developed a breakout on my legs (sign toxins are coming out!). I had trouble falling asleep because I was feeling anxious about keeping my willpower strong.