I have always been dead against detoxes. In my opinion, there’s nothing your liver can’t do for you and detoxes are just a money making fad. However, I’d never tried a detox for myself. When Nosh Detox got in touch to ask if I’d like to try one of their 3 day programmes, my initial reaction was “no way, Jose”. However, once I’d thought about it a bit more I was a little curious. Were detox fanatics really on to something? How would it make me feel? What would be the impact of a detox on my energy levels? My exercise regime? My ability to concentrate at work? If I was going to have an informed opinion then I should probably try one for myself, so I decided to take Nosh up on their offer.
After filling in their online questionnaire about my preferences, activity levels and dietary requirements, I had a chat with Sarah from Nosh about what I hoped to achieve from a detox. I admitted that I struggle with my energy levels and she suggested I try their ABC Detox*, which has two food days (one raw until dinner) and one liquid day (but with solid food for dinner). Sarah told me that it’s designed to improve energy levels, so I signed up! I really appreciated having the chance to chat with someone from Nosh and get their advice on how to approach my first ever detox.
I was pleasantly surprised when my first delivery turned up. Food for Monday and Tuesday arrived on Sunday evening and there was quite a lot of it! Solid portion of proper food. Yessss.
Here’s my menu for Monday:
Breakfast was absolutely delicious and really satisfying, so things were off to a good start. The mid-morning snack was OK, but the taste of the rice cakes was overpowering and the ‘dip’ was tasteless so essentially useless. I like rice cakes though so not all was lost.
I was really disappointed by lunch. I couldn’t taste the cumin in the cauliflower rice and it didn’t taste like it had been sauted at all – it tasted really raw. When I opened the package it smelt like cauliflower to the point where I felt it was anti-social in the office! There was three small pieces of pepper and some chunks of asparagus, but it was mainly just a big pile of cauliflower. I didn’t finish it.
On the flip side, the afternoon snack was delicious – I could eat these beans ever day! So so yummy and flavourful, it made me feel as if lunch was a mistake. I was a little hungry by this point, but I think it’s because I couldn’t finish my lunch.
Dinner was also delicious! I love king prawns and I definitely hadn’t expected to get anything as filling and yummy as brown rice on a detox. I went to bed completely satisfied.
Overall, day one was a huge success!
Here’s my menu for day two:
A liquid day! Until dinner anyway.
The breakfast smoothie was surprisingly filling and took me ages to finish, which was ace. I really missed coffee this morning but stayed strong and sipped at my water. You’re allowed herbal teas (green tea, peppermint tea etc.) but I really hate teas so it was plain old water for me.
Mid-morning ‘snack’ came and went. You can tell the smoothies were mainly vegetables with a touch of fruit, but they were relatively palatable. I felt a little hungry.
Lunch was a soup, which was great because it felt like a solid meal even if it was still a liquid. The butternut squash and coconut milk soup was absolutely delicious – I’m going to try and recreate it at home!
About an hour after lunch I got a dreadful headache – it was awful. I had been feeling ok and wasn’t hungry so I was surprised to be getting a headache, but I put it down to withdrawal of sugar or caffeine. Throughout the afternoon it got progressively worse and made it really hard to concentrate on work, so I slipped off as early as I could. The mid-afternoon smoothie didn’t help and by this point I’d also started to feel really hungry!
I had the earliest dinner of my life (about 6:30pm) in the hope that it would ease my head. The dinner was delicious but I still felt hungry afterwards and my headache just got worse. I tweeted Nosh to see if they could help – they recommended vegetable sticks with salt on. Unfortunately I was at home waiting for my Nosh Delivery so couldn’t pop to the shop to get the vegetables, so I went for a couple of ibuprofen instead!
Nosh say that their deliveries arrive between 6pm and 11pm at the latest. I left work early to be home for 6pm and ended up waiting for ages – it eventually turned up at 11:45pm! I am a night owl and normally this would be fine, but due to the headache and the hunger I would have killed to be in bed early! The delivery driver did contact me at around 10pm to warn me he was running late and apologised. He also offered to leave the food in a safe place, but I wanted to receive the delivery and know it was in the fridge ready to go so I chose to wait up. It would have been good to have been given a more specific delivery time (i.e. “we’ll be in your postcode towards the end of the round”) so that I could have popped to the shop for the salty vegetable sticks.
Day two – a bit of a disaster but I stuck to the programme and was proud of myself for doing so.
Here’s my Wednesday menu:
I was so happy to see solid food again! I woke up without a headache and was surprised to actually feel pretty good. I felt like I’d sailed through a storm and the water had calmed and the sun had come out! Day three was supposedly raw food until dinner, but I don’t think this necessarily held true.
Breakfast was good, but missed coffee (ha!). It was very strongly spiced with ginger, which I didn’t like, but I loved the pomegranate seeds.
Mid-morning snack was delicious – the pesto dip was lovely and flavourful enough to compete with the rice cakes! I didn’t feel hungry or headachey but I did really want a coffee. Energy levels felt good.
Again, I was disappointed by lunch. Compared to the satisfying breakfasts and dinners the lunches seemed very low calories, which didn’t help with my hunger and concentration levels at work. This lunch was tasty enough, but I’d definitely had enough of mushrooms by the end. I didn’t finish this either due to mushroom overload. The mushrooms had definitely been cooked – they weren’t raw.
Afternoon snack was small but really delicious. It was also not raw – those prawns had definitely been cooked, as had the crispy kale! I wasn’t complaining though – it was tasty. I wasn’t hungry and again my energy levels felt great.
As had been the case throughout the week, dinner was delicious. Really generous with the chicken chunks and with lots of lovely vegetables and filling brown rice. It actually felt very similar to the kind of thing I’d cook myself!
So, what did I think?
Overall, I really enjoyed the detox and found it really easy to stick to. Day two was the hardest, which confirmed to me that liquid only diets aren’t good news and that juice cleanses are probably still a really bad idea. I felt terrible!
I did feel that the detox delivered what it had promised. By day three I definitely saw improved energy levels. My body felt good and my digestive system was responding really positively. I was impressed! It definitely made me think of the impact of sugar, dairy and caffeine on my body and has made me consider my food choices differently. Since the detox (almost two weeks now) I’ve had reduced cravings for sweet things – I’m surprised how long lasting those effects have been.
Before the detox I made the decision not to exercise for its duration. I struggle with fuelling my exercise correctly anyway and felt that not only would the reduced calories affect my performance, but it could also jeopardise my chances of sticking to the detox and giving it a fair chance. I can’t comment on the effect on exercise, but my guess would be that performance would be diminished and that the food wouldn’t stand a chance in the face of runger!
Having been through the detox I think it’s something I would do again, but something I could definitely recreate at home. It was hard but I was happy to have stuck to it! I was also very happy to be reunited with coffee again…
A note for any of my readers with disordered eating tendencies: I was worried that the detox would trigger my disordered eating habits. I’m happy to report that it didn’t – generally there was a good supply of food and it helped me feel in control of my food intake. However, I appreciate that I do now have a good handle on these bad habits and am able to recognise and deal with them effectively. If you have disordered eating tendencies and know you don’t have full control over them then I would probably recommend not undergoing a detox and it may trigger starve/binge/purge tendencies (especially any liquid days). Stay safe!
Thanks to Nosh for giving me the chance to try out one of their detox programmes!