Sunday, September 30, 2012

Detox Experiment - Final Review

It’s actually been a couple of weeks since I officially completed the Metabolic Detoxification by Metagenics. Did you miss me?

So here’s the final down-low:

Days 8 & 9 involve gradually adding back more fruits and vegetables, then rice, then the other grains.

Day 10 just says “Congratulations!” and provides a warning to add only one pre-detox food back at a time so you can see if you have any allergies.  I'd love to know if anyone actually follows that warning.

Potentially good news for you is that it’s more like a nine day detox vs. ten. If you’re already a vegetarian then it’s more like eight days.

The bad news is that even at ten days, I personally don’t think it’s enough to be truly effective. I know that sounds like a bummer since the original appeal is “you can do anything” for a week plus a couple of days.

By the end of the first week I was just starting to feel the great effects.  Knowing what a slippery slope these things can be, I tried to (mostly) stick with it for at least another week. I was traveling so it wasn’t easy!

If I had just gone back on day 10, even gradually, to eating everything I had been eating pre-cleanse (i.e. sugar, processed foods, dairy)  I'm sure I’d have undone any positive results within just a few days.

The awareness and breaking of habits is really the best part of doing a program like this. However, it takes more than a couple of days to make a lasting lifestyle change. I’m told there is a 21-day Metagenics option you can buy (I’m guessing for twice the money) but I couldn’t find it online anywhere.

All that said, there were really no negatives for me in trying it. I can confirm that it won't kill you, so that's a plus.

 Here are some of the other positives:

     * Definite increase in energy (which I needed to get back into a good fitness routine; double bonus)
     * Much more awareness of food choices
     * Much more awareness of actual hunger level
     * Started to lose that “fluffy” feeling
     * Down four lbs (was down six lbs on day 8 but gained two lbs back right away)
     * Staying away from caffeine 

If you’re reading this and deciding whether or not to do the Metagenics program, I’d say save the $84 and get Kathy Freston’s Quantum Wellness Cleanse book. (Okay, that’s $10 so you still save $74.)

Not only will you get the same or better results but you’ll have Kathy’s guidance, encouragement, and empowering information along the way; all things I really missed during the Metagenics program.

Talk to your doctor about it but my personal experience is that if you eat the right "real" food, you don't need the powdered "medical" food.  That said, a good multi-vitamin with extra vitamin D isn't a bad idea, even if you're not doing a cleanse.

If you’re not quite sure if you're ready for anything formal at all, just take Kathy’s (free) advice to “lean into it.”

Don’t worry about fancy books or programs. Just pick one unhealthy or “toxic” thing in your life and free yourself of that. Maybe it’s sugar, maybe it’s caffeine, maybe it’s alcohol or gluten. Maybe it's an unhealthy relationship with someone instead of something.  Decide and try.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Carpe diem!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

"Dreaded Days 5 - 7" of Metabolic Detox

DAYS 5, 6, 7

The plan:  Eat as much as you want of the following in addition to four servings of the "powdered beverage mix":
     - Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts)
     - Raw greens (red and green lettuce, romaine, spinach, endive)
     - Fresh apples and pears
     - Pear and apple juice (no sugar added)
     - All herbs & spices
     - Dijon mustard
     - Vinegars

My experience & some advice:  Pretty much every review I've read or heard about the Metagenics Metabolic Detox includes a fair bit of whining about days "five through seven."   My first advice is to think of it as simply "days five, six, and seven."  That's it.  Three days.  Otherwise it just seems like a much longer stretch of time than it really is.  Personally I didn't find it bad at all and finally noticed a huge increase in energy (plus down four lbs) by the end of this stretch.

Some other tips:

1)  Plan ahead.  Yes, I already said it.  It's worth repeating.  When you can only eat specific things, it kinda sucks not to have any of those things in your house. 

2) Don't waste your money on frozen Brussels sprouts.  They are absolutely disgusting.  You can use frozen cauliflower and broccoli in soups and stuff, but something went horribly wrong in the freezing of those little green bulbs.  Conversely, fresh Brussels sprouts are simply divine.  My favorite discovery of this entire cleanse is this one simple recipe.   Super easy and melt-in-your-mouth yummy:

     * Preheat oven to 400*
     * Cut off brown ends of the sprouts, remove any yellow leaves, cut bulbs in half lengthwise and throw them into a gallon baggie (or bowl).  It's okay, even preferable, if some of the individual leaves flake off.  Pull off some intentionally.  You'll know why later.
     * Add just a touch of olive oil (it's not technically allowed on days 5,6,7 but I'm a rebel), plus some coarse salt and pepper. 
     * Shake it all about to mix.
     * Spread out into a single layer on a foil covered sheet pan.
     * Roast for 30 minutes or so, giving it a shake every now for even cooking.  It's one of those things you have to watch.  You want the leaves to be really dark brown, almost black.  I actually pulled out the individual leaves and snacked on them while I was waiting for the fuller sprouts to cook.    Beyond good.

3) Make soup.  It turns out that when you blend cauliflower, it gets the consistency of cream.  (Note to self for future vegan recipes that call for cream).   Roasting the veggies first also gives a really delicious flavor. 

4) Use spices.  There's no need to suffer through three days of eating mounds of raw, plain veggies.  Yuck.  Open some of those jars that have been sitting on your spice rack since goodness knows when.

5) Allrecipes has a handy recipe search where you can put in specific ingredients you want or don't want.  Or, you can simply search for something like "vegan cauliflower soup".   Each recipe has a star rating and reviews with tips on how to make it even yummier.

Bon Appetite!

 Photo Credits: Sprouts -; Soup -

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Metabolic Mindfulness

Here's what we call an "ah-ha" moment.  Rather, it's a "oh yeah" moment:

One of the main reasons cleanses are so great isn't about the diet or our bodies at all.  It's about our minds.  It's about becoming more mindful.

Clearly I needed to do this.

I've had little reminders over the past couple of days.  Having to fight the urge to polish off the plain noodles that my son left in his dish.  Grabbing a potato chip from the bowl in front of me as I chatted with friends (then dropping it like it was covered in ants once I realized I had it!)  So many moments where I would have put food in my mouth out of habit or not really paying attention; certainly not based out of hunger or desire for flavor.  Each time though, I became more and more aware.

That awareness and transition from mindless to mindful has been energizing.  For the first time since I started this cleanse (and well before) I am feeling more... awake.

Today, I volunteered at an Easter Seals event where they had a delicious and beautiful continental breakfast.  (I wish I had taken a picture.  Darn.)   With this new sense of mindfulness, there was something almost empowering about not popping a whole mini-muffin (or four) into my mouth.  I thought about how good just one taste of that cream cheese would taste without even wanting an entire bagel slathered with it.

Mindfulness and gratitude will be my lessons for the day.  It will make the next five days so much more pleasant to focus on those things vs. just thinking about "eliminating" food.  


The plan:  Eat all the vegetables, beans, legumes and fruit you want plus four servings of the protein smoothie.

My day:  Much better!  I made a fabulous roasted cauliflower with garlic and lemon juice; 500* for 15 min.  Olive oil is also allowed on earlier days.  So yummy!!  Finally getting some energy back.

Tip:  Lemon and lime juice make everything taste better.  Technically days 5 - 7 don't include fruits or fruit juices except apples or pears but personally I'm inclined to add the one cheat of a few squeezes of lemon juice here and there.   That bit of acidity completely changes the flavor of the veggies and makes it so much yummier.  Even if you stay strictly to plan, you can use the citrus juices on the other days.

Remember to remember!


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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Metabolic Detoxification Anyone?

Once a year I like to do a "cleanse."  Usually it's at the end of August or September after too many summer cookouts and too much lounging on the lake with various adult beverage concoctions.

I'm a major fan of Kathy Freston's 21-Day Quantum Wellness Cleanse and have written a lot about my experience with it.

Apparently I'm also a sucker for pharmaceutical marketing. I kept seeing a giant poster at my chiropractor’s office for the Metabolic Detoxification System by Metagenics. Brien Shamp has a pretty good marketing description of what it’s supposed to do if you want to read the fabulous claims.  
With rave reviews from the folks in the chiro office and the doc's assurance that it wouldn’t hurt me, I thought I’d give the program a shot. I paid $84 (a bargain really) and took home the following:

        • UltraClear Renew Rice Protein Powder (aka “medical food”)

        • Advaclear Liver Support Capsules (aka “mega multi-vitamin”)

        • Cool shaker cup

        • Program guide

        • Handy tote bag

I’ll keep a diary and post my notes every few days. It won't be literature but we’ll see how it goes.


The plan: Eliminate all refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, packaged/processed foods, meat, poultry, fish

My day: Since I'm already vegetarian, this wasn’t so bad. The hardest part was not being able to rely on convenience foods (such as crackers, fake meat foods, etc).   Day one of no caffeine or alcohol; no biggie. I can do this.

The instructions on the vitamin supplement say to “take two capsules one to three times daily.” I kinda wish they were a little more specific but decide to just take two and made a note to call the chiro for clarification. He did say, "Call me anytime."  (Bahwhahahaha.)

Tip:  Bring the program guide to the grocery store or make a photo copy at 75% reduction and stick it in your wallet.


The plan: Also eliminate dairy and eggs. Do one scoop of the “medical food” protein drink twice during the day.

My day: I feel this odd sense of regret that I didn’t eat eggs or milk yesterday. Even though it didn’t occur to me to crave those things before, I want them now that I can’t have them. It’s a mystery.

Ended up eating a lot of fruit since I was at a conference and it was the only option. They had a yummy "berry bar" -- like a salad bar but with berries. Cool, right?

I mixed the protein powder with some outrageously expensive pure berry juice. Later I had some veggie stew I had already prepared and some rice.

Headache mid-day which I’m guessing is caffeine withdrawal. A glass of wine would have been good at the end of a crazy day. Settled for mineral seltzer in my favorite wine glass instead. It kinda worked actually.

Tip:  Fill the shaker most of the way with juice or other liquid before adding the powdered mix.  That way you avoid having big clumps of mix stuck to the bottom of the shaker.


The plan: Also eliminate most grains except rice and a few other things I wouldn’t eat anyway. If you happen to like amaranth or millet, you are free to enjoy them on day three. Do one scoop of the “medical food” protein drink twice during the day.

My day: Somehow I’m upset that I haven’t lost a single pound yet. I know this isn't a diet and the food changes have actually been fairly minor (plus all that fruit) but I am still disappointed. Not rational, I know. I only admit it because I'm sure I am not alone. Don't judge me.

Very tired today. Went out to eat at a Japanese hibachi restaurant; ordered rice and grilled vegetables (plain; no soy sauce). Realized too late they used butter on the grill but decided to eat the food anyway.   Drank herbal decaf tea and bubble water.  Still not missing the booze which shouldn't be a surprise but kinda is. 
Tip: Plan, shop, and prepare for days 5 - 7 now since they will be the most restrictive. Google "metabolic detox recipes" for some great ideas.

Late note: The “cleanse” part of the detox kicks in. Need I say more?


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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Hot Air Balloons

 Yeah, I know.  I always break the rules for these meme things. Like I could be "wordless."

That said, I do want to share some pictures of the balloons that drift by my house on most warm days. 

They are extra special to me because they remind me of my dad.  We once went in search of a hot air balloon festival, got comedically lost on the way, and then arrived only to find out that we were too late and the balloons were all packed up for the night. 

After my father moved to Florida, I would call him every time I saw a hot air balloon and we would laugh about the time we drove all over God's green earth looking for that festival. 

Right around the time Daddy passed away, a balloon company set up shop in my town.   Now the balloons come by so often, you'd think the novelty would have worn off.    I'm pretty sure it has for my Facebook friends who get the irritation joy of seeing my pictures day after day. 

For me, each puff of air and heat gives a little tug at my heart. When I hear that familiar burst, I can't help but stop whatever I am doing and run outside.

As the balloons go by I hear my dad saying, "Hey there little kid. Remember that time...."


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