Category Archives: Master cleanse

Wish me luck on a new quest for a healthier lifestyle

When I started this blog, it was mostly about health – or at least dietary intake (which admittedly was not always healthy) and fitness training. I think I reached the pinnacle of my health in February 2012 – thanks to a stint with Amy Layne on the DAMY bikini body plan, I had developed a very healthy attitude towards my diet and fitness, I loved my body, I was lean and strong, I ate a good amount of both healthy (fruit, veg, whole grains, nuts) and unhealthy (alcohol, cupcakes) things, and I was fit enough to run and complete a tough mudder. Pretty good all around.

Tough Mudder game face

Tough Mudder game face

Then things slid – I moved to Houston, I got pregnant and due to polyhydramnios was taken off all exercise, I finished my 12 week DAMY program and did not sign back up, I had a baby, I accepted I was allergic to fruit, I became a faculty member at an R1 institution at the time of great funding crises, I became a working mother and acquired a stay at home husband, to whom I charged the family cooking. A million and one wonderful excuses that kept me from living a healthy lifestyle.

I don’t think I realized how far things had slid until Amy Layne (my old DAMY coach) facebooked me out of the blue and asked how I was. Good question Amy, good question. Amy works hard with her clients to look after their mental and physical selves. I worked hard with Amy on body acceptance, and healthy (normal?) eating attitudes: how to listen to my body, how to remove guilt, but focus on health, how to relax (I still have my Heavenly accupressure mat that she sent me!). And still I love my body, I have stayed away from my eating demons, I am happy. But. BUT. The physical side? Ummmm…. yeah…. A McDonalds EVERY day (seriously, I did this)? A maximum of 1 serving of fruit or veg a day? Liquid intake consisting of ONLY Diet Coke and coffee? Carbs made up almost exclusively of vanilla goldfish and Cadbury’s Fingers? Seriously, my diet was exactly that: sugary hits of nutrient depleted food. And exercise? Forget it… it was firmly on the ‘to do’ list, never on the ‘done’ list.

What could I tell Amy? That she had spent 12 weeks coaching me, and working with me, emailing me and helping me for no show? That although I attribute recovering so quickly after my hemorrhage to my body fitness she gave me, I had let it slide? Seriously – eeek! You don’t know Amy, she cares so deeply about her clients (hence she still emails them 2 years later), I knew she would be upset and I couldn’t do it.

So, that was my turning point…. my kick up the backside. My ‘I need to do something’. Sadly (or maybe not so sadly) I am no longer in a place (mentally or otherwise) where I feel I want to make sudden drastic overhauls to my lifestyle.  And anyway, working with Amy made me swear off radical quick fixes (I am looking at you Master Cleanse. *shudder*). And my years of living badly and surviving have also made me fearless in the face of cupcakes and fries, so it’s not like I can be motivated to cut them out completely. So, I am making slow, manageable changes. A vegetable smoothie for breakfast in the morning….

1/2 avocado 1/2 cucumber 1/2 bunch fresh spinach 1 c coconut water 3 tsbp Fage 2%

1/2 avocado
1/2 cucumber
1/2 bunch fresh spinach
1 c coconut water
3 tsbp Fage 2%

(anyone who has smoothie recipes that don’t involve fruit – please share!)

And at least 2 veggie snacks a day (carrots, peppers or tomatoes). I don’t care if my other snacks are indeed goldfish, I have to eat veggies twice a day. And I am aiming for one salad a day as well. Considering that my BMI is healthy, I figure that that takes care of my diet fairly well – how badly can I eat around that? (Hey, don’t answer that).

I am drinking a lot more water and a lot less Diet Coke (the jury is pretty out on whether this is good for you or not, but hey, surely it can’t hurt?). And exercise…. hmmmmm… well, I am getting out of the house every night and planning to run three times a week (kinda only making it once a week, but hey…). I have a million excuses reasons why my exercise plan is not going as it should, but I’ll save you from them. Suffice to say that for 40 minutes every evening I am least upright, outside, moving and not on the sofa eating chips.

Sam and Ellie benefit from the walking too

Sam and Ellie benefit from the walking too

Small steps, but please, wish me luck sticking to them! I am amazed at how I have changed from telling people they can do anything health related, to openly struggling to make the very basics of a healthy lifestyle mine. I want to get back to my ‘old self’ now that I am settled into Houston, motherhood, faculty life, home ownership and whatnot. I want to have a healthy lifestyle. I can do this, right?

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The cleanse – not quite so masterly.

Well, my cleanse hit a hiccough. Mainly a strong aversion to maple syrup. I managed to have some for the first day,until lunch, when I couldn’t face it. By the second day, even the smell of the syrup was making me gag. After consuming only salt water, laxative tea and lemon for 28 hours I got pretty sick. When I was dizzy and my hands were white, but my lips blue, it was time to pull the plug.

I still believe in the value of detoxes and cleanses – but this one isn’t for me. I went on The Master Cleanse to break my bad eating habits, break my daily wine habit and sort out the fact that I was perma-tired. I still need to do that, and am considering eating only fruit until dinner time for the 10 days, then for dinner having a healthy meal (little or no animal protein, lots of veg). Either way, I feel way better after a salad plate from our local health food shop and some fresh watermelon.

The Ultimate Cleanse

Impressionable. I am nothing if not impressionable. ~10 years ago I read this article about a reporter who went to a spa in Thailand that demanded 10 days of fasting with twice-daily enemas. The result was apparently years of gunk being washed out (shared in graphic detail). While most [sane] people read this with a strange fascination, a shudder, a decision to maybe think about cutting down on red meat *after* plowing down their Sunday morning fry up and then a continuation of their previous life with nary a thought about it again – that is not what happened to me. Take a naive, gullible girl with a penchant for crazy diets, a touch of an eating disorder and a healthy helping of the ADHD-related impulsivity /novelty seeking and a lifelong obsession with getting rid of the gunk in her colon was born.

Initially I was going to do it in the summer holidays when I was a teacher… but while the spa was affordable, the flights were prohibitively expensive (apparently I don’t want a shiny new colon as much as I want shiny new shoes). Same went for the PhD, although I *promised* myself it would be my post-PhD treat. Until I realised I was broke as fuck and moving the US after said academic adventure. So, two more years of thinking about this article, sending it to people, reading about it – even devouring the 5 year follow up (which only fueled my zeal) and I learned that you don’t have to go all the way to Thailand to do it. People do ‘The Master Cleanse’. 10 days of you, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemons. Oh, and daily colonics. Self administered. But wait! Some people do ‘The Ultimate Cleanse’ – throw in the bentonite and pysillium shakes (thanks Whole Foods) and you too can have muciod plaque (go on – google it – I dare ya) pouring out of your derriere like you’ve woken up still drunk and found last night’s kebab warming on the radiator and decided to give it a whirl.

When put like that – who wouldn’t want to do it?

Of course, a 10 day ‘lemon and maple’ fast is not going to be easy. To be honest, I am not sure I can complete it. I can gag down the salt water flush. I can suffer the indignity of self administered enemas. But 10 days with no wine? No Greek yogurt? No tea? No so much So, I took the bold step of publicly announcing that I was going to do this, to force my hand, so to speak. It started with telling the new postdoc (yup, literally my first words to poor Curtis were “Hi, my name is Lekki, I am a postdoc in Epi. On Monday, I am going to drink nothing but Lemon juice and maple syrup for 10 days”). Bolstered by success (he cried “The Lemonade Diet! I tried that! I failed after 4 days, I so want to do it again!”), I brought it up at a dinner party (Ya, I am a lovely guest). David (lifelong obesity and health researcher, long suffering surrogate parent to me (whether he chooses to accept the role or not) now I am in The States and general ‘sensible person’) looked horrified. “But… 10 days? You can’t… why.. it’ll be awful.. you won’t be able to”, he spluttered as he called upon years of nutrition training to figure out what the heck was going to happen to my body. To nay sayers, I say Yay.

So, of course, I announced it at my 30th on Saturday night. When people asked why, I explained the horrors of muciod plaque (seriously.. google it…). ‘That’s going to come out of you?” people yelled. And Michelle uttered the fateful words “Of course you’ll blog about it… with pictures”.

Of course I will. So, I got through the wedding. I got through 2 weeks of fast food and slamming wine with 12 am bedtimes to get the grant in. I had the birthday celebrations. And here I am, The Ultimate Cleanse T-1. I skipped the ‘ease-in’ of 3 days of organic fruit and veg and opted instead for pizza and cookies tonight, followed by a late night sundae (OK, TWO late night sundaes) and a glass of red wine. I mean – what is the point in detoxing if there isn’t a lot of tox, right? I had my herbal laxative tea. ‘Smooth move’ if you must know. I had my 8oz of warm water. The lemons, cayenne, bentonite and assorted supplements are all waiting. And now, now I wait.

See you on the other side.