If I were to title my year so far, it would be called: My Skin & Gut Journey. I’ll try to sum it up in the briefest way possible. Before doing the 21-Day Clean Program, I was living however I pleased (read: not healthy). Then my body started to turn on me. I developed mysterious, impossible to pin down food intolerances that would result in inflamed eczema and seborrhea from head to toe. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was stressed, and learning how to style outfits and makeup around my rashes were taking up a significant part of my life.
RASHES RASHES EVERYWHERE
I started to see every type of doctor under the sun. Dermatologists wanted to attack the problem with oral and topical steroids, which just suppressed the problem temporarily until it returned. Allergists and immunologists gave me skin and blood tests that provided either negative or conflicting results. I was losing it.
What really topped the cake was a few sessions with a holistic doctor who practiced who put me on a major detox & supplement plan but provided no guidance, and all my symptoms suddenly got ten times worse than before. I was so covered in rashes that it hurt to wear clothes and I had to stay home from work for nearly 3 weeks! No amount of makeup or sweaters could help this.
SKIN HEALTH LIVES IN THE GUT
It was when I started going to a colon hydrotherapist and got a series of colonics that I started to see results. My hydrotherapist coached me through this process and it took 5 sessions before a “break through” that cleared out all sorts of intense dark matter that had been living in my gut. It all sounded crazy to me, but in 6 months I had actually started to see my skin clear up! Now that I was starting to get a little bit better, I needed a new plan of attack.
That’s when I met Clean. I loved the idea of it for several reasons: chocolate and vanilla protein shakes sound delicious, the approved food list was actually attainable, and a community of supportive people sounded so helpful for times of weakness. I jumped right in and though it had its down moments, it really was a great 21 days. My skin finished clearing up, my digestion regulated, I started sleeping normally again — everything was truly and deeply better. I genuinely recommend this program for a great body reset. Here are my top 7 tips that will help you achieve your Clean Program #goals.
1. Get Overly Excited In The Frozen Aisle
Since making shakes will be your life now, go wild with flash frozen fruits and veggies. Using pre-frozen food had dual benefit — I never had to worry about anything I bought spoiling, and my shakes all turned out fresh and ice cold. I packed my freezer with frozen spinach, mixed greens, berries, fruits, as well as flax and chia seeds. Mixing and matching these every morning and night made shake life super duper easy.
2. Recruit Your Squad
I am a blabber mouth and tell everyone about everything I’m doing all of the time. This is especially important during Clean because it’s such an altered daily lifestyle (at least for me it was). Having people know what you’re doing not only builds a supportive group of cheerleaders around you, it holds you accountable because you don’t want to feel like a quitter in front of your mom.
3. You Can Literally Eat Anything With Chocolate Flavor On Top
At first, I made my chocolate and vanilla shakes with things that sound like they go into chocolate and vanilla shakes — nut and rice milks, berries, coconut oils and nut butters. The shakes were sweet but I got over them relatively quickly and they were pretty calorie packed. Then I started experimenting with greens — spinach, spirulina, kale, celery, cucumber, seeds, milks, water — and it pretty much tasted the same. Greens taste like nothing! And chocolate tastes like everything.
My favorite shake recipe:
A handful of blueberries
A handful spinach
Chocolate shake packet (or two scoops of Chocolate Daily Shake)
A Tablespoon of bentonite clay
A teaspoon of spirulina
A cup water
Sounds horrific right? It’s not. It’s AMAZING.
4. No Champagne, No Problem
Between client meetings, catch-ups with friends, and being a generally fun person who likes to have fun, I pretty much drink alcohol every day. But abiding Clean’s no alcohol policy, I learned that you can order a ton of yummy non-alcoholic drinks, or you can simply have seltzer water with lime and bitters and no one will know the difference.
5. Poop. Tis Muy Importante.
Daily poops are crucial to a healthy skin healthy gut life. Post-colonic world, I noticed a massive difference in my skin based on whether or not I had had a bowel movement. It’s especially important to go number 2 when you’re detoxing, because all the extra supplements you’re running through your system are rustling up the bad stuff — which either excretes through your bowels or goes right back into your body (ew!). Activity, veggies, and supplements like bentonite clay, flaxseed, or the Clean program Eliminate drink all help get your guts moving.
6. We’re All Weak – It’s Fine!
I cheated … 6 times on Clean. I had some emotional days, I had some best friend birthday parties, and I had some travel fails. But here’s the thing — failing is fine! Unlike other programs and detoxes, Clean doesn’t curse you for a little bump in the road. If you give into temptation one day, it’s ok, just get back on the horse the next morning and keep going. It’s about a gradual build up, and long term life changes, so indulging in your naughty side every once in a while isn’t going to throw the entire detox off balance.
7. Celebrate Slowly
Being a woman in an overly-congested city where work meetings take place in restaurants doesn’t make a sober clean-eating life easy. I loved being on Clean but I was also really excited to get burgers and champagne back in my life. Though, be warned: sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will hit you harder than it ever did before, dairy might upset your tummy if not taken in moderation or taken with digestive enzymes, and gluten could make you a bit groggy. Reintegrate your favorite indulgences slowly to be safe, and hold on to as many of your new Clean habits as you can — especially veggies in the morning. You’ll have a new balanced diet and a fresh new (but still super fun) healthy life!
Written by Sam Lim
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