A few years ago I was hell-bent finding the culprit to my slow metabolism. After my boyfriend and I broke up, I wanted nothing to do with cooking (I was always cooking for him) and then began a steady diet of ordering-in and downing wine. It took endurance! I gained a lot of weight on my already buxom frame. But I am a pescetarian, and generally eat healthily! Or so I thought.
I went to an Ayurvedic practitioner, which was emotional and enlightening. She figured out that I was a perfectionist (how can I be a perfectionist if I’m so un-perfect?!), that I was retaining tons of water, and that I was slow and strong like an elephant or a cow. If anything, she validated the slow metabolism and made dietary recommendations for the type of ‘dosha” I am, which is Kapha. Much to my sadness this meant cutting down on wheat and dairy, which I did but certainly did not enjoy. Lots of deluded cheating ensued.
Then, for posterity, I went to a naturopath, after meeting someone in naturopath school. I brought my urine sample and my crazy, long questionnaire and went over the details of my lifestyle and medical history. Over $1K worth of supplements later (these were not covered by my health insurance) she had solved the problem of my having-to-pee-all-the-time-even-in-the-middle-of-the-night, but nothing about my weight had changed. She was obsessed with my kidneys and how there was a blockage. Also she was telling me to cut way back on my wine consumption which was preposterous. While this was sound advice from the health community, she was suggesting that I keep it to one glass limit per day. I don’t drink everyday, but I couldn’t even pretend that that was going to happen.
I started doing cleanses because of wine and other potions that I have consumed in varying degrees of excess. I wanted to give back to my body, at least once or twice a year, like a heartfelt apology to my organs. I used to do the Master Cleanser, which I may have been doing partially because of my addiction to the idea of ‘results’ and fantasies of dramatic weight-loss. While a valuable exercise- it’s way hard- I can’t bring myself to do it anymore.
Enter the Crazy Sexy Diet and the Renew Life Kidney Cleanse
After the naturopath healed my kidney blockage, I realized that organ cleaning is likely a good thing. So I bought the Renew Life system from a local health food store. The recommend going in order- starting with the colon, following with the kidneys, then the liver, and ending with a heavy metal cleanse. I skipped the colon one mainly because I feel like I have good digestion and because I felt like the colon part would be covered with the Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD.)
I discovered Kris Carr and the CSD last year on a Hay House interview. She told her story: diagnosed with a rare, incurable, and slow moving cancer; then designed an anti-inflammatory diet so that she could “live” with the cancer. Pretty inspiring stuff.
I wanted to go all the way with the program so I didn’t drink during January. The Renew
Life kidney Cleanse was supported by the natural foods I was eating anyway. If anything it just boosted the cleaning process.
What is the Crazy Sexy Diet?
Basically you drink green juice (light on the fruit and heavy on things like kale and cucumbers) twice a day, so having a juicer is pretty important. The diet is vegan, 80% raw (if possible,) and gluten-free. She suggests sauna-ing, fasting once a week, and mindfulness techniques like meditation and yoga. She also suggests doing a colonic.
The book goes into detail about why certain foods are bad for you (meat, dairy, alcohol, etc.) and it features guest writers and doctors in portions of it. The writing itself is totally aimed at women and displayed in a magazine layout which I found a little annoying. I’m not sure why Kris or her publishers chose to go that route. Writing “you go girl” doesn’t make the book hipper or more relevant. That said, the content itself was covered succinctly which I did appreciate- because who really wants to read a diet book anyway?
I got my best friend/roommate, Nick, to commit to doing it with me, despite how girly the book was. He’s a full on meat eater, and from a French family who eats bread with every meal, but he loved the idea of juicing and lots of salad.
Eating vegan wasn’t a big change for me. I eat fish and seafood but not every day, so some of my meals on any given day could be vegan. I mention this because the change wasn’t hugely drastic, the biggest changes for me were: no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, and the gluten-free thing. The other big change was juicing. I’ve never been big on juice because of its concentration of sugars; I’ve always been told to eat the whole fruit instead.
What is the Renew Life Kidney Cleanse?
It cost me about $32 and contains 2 herbal pills to take with food. The first you take with breakfast and the 2nd you take with dinner.
How was it?
Week 1 was awful. I didn’t get coffee headaches, but I found it impossible to wake up. I drank green tea continuously to get as much caffeine in me as possible. I had bags under my eyes and felt like I had a hangover all week. I was kind of depressed. There were night sweats where I woke up quite wet. Being single was definitely a godsend during this period. My skin was red, shiny, and blotchy. Not so sexy after all.
For those of you who don’t know- this is a completely normal (but crappy) stage of cleansing. They call this the toxic load- proof positive that you needed a cleanse to begin with. If it happens to you, take comfort in the fact that this garbage is leaving your body. It just feels like getting sick when it’s in your bloodstream.
A lot of our meals featured quinoa and brown rice because we are both busy and don’t have hours to cook after work, the gym, etc. We bought A LOT of produce. Nick was still eating tuna sandwiches and wasn’t able to give up bread. He maintained the juicing and no drinking.
By week 2 I felt better. As the polar vortex ripped through Montreal I started to chicken-out on the fast day. Work was just getting tolerable again. I was starting to feel good about my choice to do the CSD instead of being on the verge or quitting. I was getting some quality sleep- a major benefit of the CSD/cleaning out your kidneys.
The quinoa and brown rice were getting a bit old, so I threw in some rice noodles one day, some gluten-free toast too. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of the gluten free breads/ pastas, etc. I understand that some people have an allergy so they need it, but I’m pretty sure these products would rank high on the glycemic index. Flavor-wise gluten-free bread sucks. I’m used to the chewy fibrousness of Ezekiel bread, not this tasteless white stuff. I learned that if your diet is heavy on wheat products like mine is (crackers!) you might have a hard time adjusting to more unprocessed forms of carbs. Breakfast was really the meal that hurt the most- I love toast in the morning.
By week 3 I had a massive, itchy rash on my face. It was hot to the touch. I’m assuming I can thank Renew Life for this, but who knows how these programs ended up working in tandem? For those of you that have never cleansed before- this is also normal, and again, proof that the cleanse is working. But it doesn’t make you look pretty- until it’s gone. By this week I was working on the colonic and phoned a place to make an appointment. When Nick found out he researched the clinic and I guess it had awful reviews- something that you try to avoid when dealing with tubes and your ass and all that. He managed to convince me to cancel the appointment and I never got around to scheduling another one. Of the 4 places that do it, the only reputable-seeming one won’t do it on weekends or evenings. So I have to miss work to do it.
By week 4 I was sleeping like a baby, had TONS of energy, and felt better than I had in years! I am sold- hook-line and sinker. All this and I never managed to get the colonic sorted or the fast days in. My skin looked radiant. I definitely plan to do this again but I’ll skip the gluten-free portion and focus more on getting my carbs in different forms. In the same way that Nick couldn’t quit bread, I realized that it is a huge staple for me- and probably not the best way to get my carbs- whether it’s gluten-free or not. I like doing challenges like this because of what it exposes. I made polenta one night and it was delicious, but not something that I normally would have attempted.
I took away a greater desire to eat vegan meals more often and to focus on raw fruits and veggies in my diet. I did love the shot of greens in the morning, and will look for a way to get that more in my diet. Caffeine, wine, and fish came back into my life pretty quickly, so I can’t say I’m ready to cut any of that out anytime soon. With dairy, however, I’m being a bit more careful. I’m not convinced that it’s good for me. I know now how vital I can feel- and that’s what I’m going for for now on.
I decided to follow the Renew-Life recommendations, and am doing a liver cleanse this month. It does recommend giving up alcohol completely, but says you don’t have to feel the benefits. I’ll let you all know!
Score for Crazy Sexy Diet: 8/10
Score for Renew Life Kidney Cleanse: 9