Pre- Cleanse Day 1: I started the pre-cleanse in high spirits. Woke up at 5:30 am and headed over to the gym in our building to do 30 minutes on the elliptical in hopes that it would give me a boost of energy without too much stress (coffee isn’t allowed on this diet). It felt pretty great. I slogged along to a playlist of songs from The Mindy Project” on Spotify (which is a great mix of hip hop, R&B, pop, and randos like R.E.M., The Cars, CCR and The Black Keys), while two other girls to my right ran on the treadmills. Normally I would’ve felt bad that I wasn’t hard-core enough to do the same (or for losing my cellphone running case), but I was enjoying the light workout and music so much I didn’t really care.

I took the probiotic capsule before showering to allow the good bacteria to hang out in my belly for a bit before eating. Michael was working on almond butter pancakes with blueberries when I got back (he prefers to workout in the afternoon), so it was ready by the time I got dressed. Cooking the pancakes was a bit of a challenge, since the recipe is basically made entirely of almonds (almond milk, almond meal, almond butter). As you can imagine, it’s quite different in texture from real pancakes. His first attempt (and all future attempts) ended up broken in pieces, but I thought it was still decent enough after adding the blueberries.

Lunch was gingered salmon stir-fry with vegetables, prepared again by Michael (in fact he’s the official chef for this diet). It was really good for supposedly “diet” food, but I love anything with sesame oil in it, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise. To save on groceries we used organic frozen vegetables (with carrots and green beans) from Costco, and removed all the corn from it. The salmon has to be wild-caught, so we had to balance that out with the cheapo veggies.

I had expected all the pills to give me some stomach problems but so far I wasn’t experiencing any more issues than usual. In fact, my stomach seemed more stable and I wasn’t experiencing any hunger pangs. So far, so good!

Dinner was a “pumpkin pie smoothie”. The pre-cleanse meals are supposed to be all solid food, but our wallets were still recovering from the purchase of supplements, so we went with a smoothie instead. This one was phenomenal, and definitely tasted like the inside of a pumpkin pie. A lot of the smoothies are sweetened with Medjool dates, which I’d serendipitously bought an entire package of from Costco a month ago. I love the taste and texture of dates, so I wasn’t missing  processed sugar at all.

The first day turned out fine, but I knew from other diets (South Beach, Bob Harper’s Jumpstart, vegetarian), that the withdrawal symptoms (headaches, hunger pangs, tiredness) would be at their peak during day 2 and day 3, so I knew I still had the worst to look forward to.

Pre-Cleanse Day 2: I started day 2 of the cleanse with some vanilla nut Teccino herbal “coffee”. I thought I needed to at least pretend I was having coffee, since I was definitely not as upbeat and excited that morning. In fact I had a bit of a headache from not being able to sleep well, though I couldn’t tell if it was due to withdrawal symptoms, or my cat’s nighttime frolicking.

Teccino is made of the following ingredients:

The only reason I went for this fake coffee was because all these ingredients sounded delicious to me. It’s not bad actually. It tastes like mediocre office coffee, but at least it’s not terrible? Though of course it’s not nearly as delicious as say, Starbucks’ CaffĂ© Verona. With a splash of almond milk, you can kind of pretend you really are having coffee.

We had all the same dishes for day 2 of the pre-cleanse. I drank quite a bit of green and white tea that day, hoping to prevent caffeine withdrawal, but I still had a headache after lunch. It subsided after snacking on an apple and almond butter (snacking once between meals is actually allowed, and this is one of the more satisfying options).

After work, we went to an acupuncturist (thanks to Groupon) to see if they could help with some ailments and maybe some withdrawal symptoms. Dr. Junger actually suggests doing this to help with the headaches. However, my headache had subsided at that point, so I’m not sure if the visit actually did anything (aside from finally proving to myself that acupuncture is not painful at all).  I certainly felt more relaxed after the session, at least. We’re planning on another visit next week, so maybe that could help keep the first week of the actual cleanse stress-free.

Pre-Cleanse Day 3:  By the morning of day 3, I was 2.2 pounds lighter than when I started. This gave me a much needed push to continue with the cleanse, since day 3 was a bit hellish for me. But thankfully it was my work from home day, so I didn’t have to deal with being on the subway. I had a terrible headache for half the day, which again was only soothed when I had a snack (2 dates).

We had the same breakfast and lunch, but were both craving something else for dinner (you can only have so much pumpkin pie before getting sick of it). Michael made a simple baked chicken breast with a few common spices (cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper) for himself, while I had a “chocolate covered blueberries” smoothie. It’s made with the following ingredients:

  • frozen blueberries
  • spinach
  • cinnamon
  • raw cacao
  • almond butter
  • coconut milk
  • coconut water
  • stevia
  • ground flax seed
*Edit: I should note that before this cleanse, I had convinced myself that ANY “artificial sweetener” including stevia, gives me an upset stomach. But having this smoothie with stevia did not. SO. Either my previous theory was wrong, or something about the diet, either the lack of food allergens or taking probiotics/digestive enzymes, is allowing me to have stevia without any issues.
I really was craving something chocolatey, and the fact that this smoothie had blueberries and spinach in it as well made me feel good about having it.
Overall the pre-cleanse days were not bad at all. I felt full the entire time, wasn’t tempted to cheat at all, and lost some weight. Michael seemed a bit hungrier than usual, though I encouraged him to double up on breakfasts and dinners (as the cleanse manual suggests for people who aren’t interested in losing weight). He did not get any headaches or withdrawal symptoms however, so I would say he probably was a tad more comfortable with it.
Hopefully this great start will keep us going for 21 more days!
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