My health had drastically changed over the past year and I was beginning to worry about what was happening and not happening to my body. I’ve made some remarks here and there if you have been following my site for a while but I haven’t been as forthright with the whole picture. I started noticing that my lower belly was beginning to stick out more than normal, which initially didn’t concern me because I just brushed it off to getting a little older and my body shifting. I tend to vacillate between 5-7 lbs. depending on the time of month but I’ve been very good at being able to maintain and not go too crazy. When I stepped on the scale and realized that I had gained a good 15 lbs., I knew what I needed to do. I wasn’t overly concerned because I also always know what I need to do to start feeling better. So I ate a little more potato chips then I should have, big deal. I put the bag down, began to make sure that I wasn’t eating out as much and hit the gym 3-4 times a week. Nothing drastic, just healthier choices.
My first indication that something wasn’t right was the fact that I hadn’t lost 1 lb. in over a month, in fact I was still gaining weight, slowly but I was gaining. None of it made sense to me but I thought maybe it was just because the age factor was slowing down my progress. I pressed on though while also beginning to monitor my stomach pains, which were increasing by the day. I would go to bed with this terribly bloating belly and shooting pains and then wake up to start my day just the same. I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes anymore because the bloating was getting so bad and I was so uncomfortable in anything that wasn’t loose. I found an increase of gas in my system, lethargy was more frequent as I needed coffee mid-day to get me through, and I battled between constipation and diarrhea. I also began to accept that my menstrual cycle was no longer normal despite the fact that I was on the pill and I have never not been consistent. After two months of nothing (and everything) happening, I knew something wasn’t right.
It was at this point that Julie and Jo contacted me from Conscious Cleanse to give it a try. The cleanse itself resembles more like an elimination diet. For 2 weeks you eliminate all of the top allergen and inflammatory foods (gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, nightshades, yeast, peanuts, red meat, and most processed foods) from your diet, having the choice afterward to slowly introduce them back into your diet. The timing could not have been better because I was beginning to believe that something I was eating was making me sick and I thought, “I will give this a try and if after the 2 weeks I still feel poorly, then I will go see a doctor.”
I have heard of other “gimmicky” programs trying to convince me that if I paid x amount then I will receive the secrets to weight loss and cleansing. I just never bought into this idea that our bodies store toxins and possibly need a cleanse in order to dispose of them because I thought our bodies just naturally do that. I also don’t like the idea of deprivation–I’m an advocate for a balanced diet. But I was at a point where moderate healthy eating and exercise wasn’t doing much for me I needed to understand what was happening in my body.
*Please note that I am not a medical professional and neither condone nor condemn the practice of cleansing for every person. This is merely MY experience. Each body behaves and reacts differently and it is possible that there might be something else wrong aside from food intolerances so please consult your doctor before changing your diet.
The picture above says it all. I post this picture solely for the purpose of seeing how bloated I was. I went from very bloated to back to normal by Week 1, I was eliminating correctly within 2 days, my gas issues went away almost immediately, I lost 5 lbs. in 2 weeks, and what struck me in awe was when my cycle came the exact day it was supposed to and lasted as it should. I couldn’t believe it.
What I loved about this cleanse:
- I’m weary about any diet that limits my food significantly but what Julie and Jo do so well is avoid focusing on what you can’t eat for the 2 weeks and focus on the good foods you are eating. They also do not spotlight weight loss, calorie count, or encourage unhealthy food behaviors. This cleanse is about listening to your body and finding a solution to what is making your body function improperly.
- Julie and Jo are some of the most positive, encouraging women. Not only are their stories inspiring but so is their kindness and support to each of the cleansers in the program. You will never hear them punish or be punitive to anyone for not following the cleanse “perfectly” in fact they drive home over and over again that the cleanse really isn’t about the food and they encourage you to get in touch with your emotions through journaling and taking time for yourself.
- You get the support from incredible health coaches who exude the same qualities as the creators of the cleanse. If I had a question or problem, I could email or Facebook any of the coaches and would hear back from them immediately in a nurturing and helpful way.
- The program was easy to follow, especially when within a few days I started to feel like me again. I never felt deprived of food because I was eating every 2 hours and rarely did I have cravings to stray and eat something I knew wasn’t good for me. I did however experience headaches for a good 12 days but that was my own personal experience (I had a lot of detoxing to do apparently). Other bodies react differently and this was just my way of getting rid of the toxins.
- The Conscious Cleanse gave me my health back.
*Please note that I am not getting paid for this review–these are completely my own opinions.
Not only has my body changed back to normal, but my cravings for food has drastically changed. I have even lost another 3 lbs since ending the cleanse 2 weeks ago. Remember how I used to tell you that I would eat potato chips like no other? Well, that is no longer (for now, at least–ha). My taste for food has transitioned to the what is listed below. Please know that I crave these foods not only for their nutrition but because of how my body reacts to them.
Breakfast is either a smoothie, quinoa flake hot cereal with hemp seeds and fresh fruit, or chia seed pudding with fresh fruit and chopped nuts. I haven’t given up coffee though. I still drink a cup in the morning (black, which I have been doing for a couple of years now).
I still eat every 2 hours so I find myself snacking 2-3 times a day. I go for hummus with carrots, a freshly pressed juice, nut butter and celery, fresh fruit (I am loving watermelon and cantaloupe this summer), freshly made guacamole with veggies and rice crackers to dip in, or even I’m a bit in love with rice cakes with nut butter and a drizzle of agave. I know…rice cakes. I swear though, I have ALWAYS loved those things though.
Lunch is a salad, some fresh cooked beans with tons of veggies, collard wraps or spring rolls, or my newest favorite is quinoa pasta (just a little) with tons of vegetables, a drizzle of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and fresh herbs and sea salt. I favor anything easy to assemble, filling, and fresh. I used to eat nachos almost on a daily basis for lunch but have found that it weighs me down and sits in my gut without giving me a lot of energy. I need vegetables now to rev up my digestion.
Dinner is a stuffed veggie of some sort that is filled with beans, cauliflower “rice” and herbs, quinoa cakes, or typically anything that is just a protein mixed with a ton of vegetables. I usually serve a small salad with dinner as well.
If I’m still hungry after dinner and want dessert, I will grab for a Medjool date with nut butter, more fresh fruit, nut butter with dark chocolate, or I might indulge in something decadent–life is too short to say no to dessert!
I actually feel like I kick-started my health back up. I learned that certain food combinations keep my body from functioning properly and now adhere to a diet that looks very similar to the cleanse but more moderate and balanced. If you are interested at all in doing the next cleanse, it begins August 2nd, the last one of the summer. You can sign up here. Have any questions? You can check out their FAQ section here or leave me a comment and I can help in any way.
Here’s to a healthier, happier YOU!
*I was not paid for this review of the Conscious Cleanse. Everything stated in this post is completely my own opinion. I am not a medical professional and highly recommend that if you are to participate in the cleanse, to ask your doctor first.