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Week One of a Detox Cleanse

The Detox Diaries: Hungry Hungry Headaches

Senior Editor Annie is embarking on Dr. Frank Lipman's two-week Cleanse to detox her system. No caffeine, sugar, bread, or booze allowed. Here's how it's going.

Day one of the cleanse started out beautifully. I was motivated! I was taking control of my health! I was . . . hungry. Normally, I eat fruit and a hard-boiled egg before going to the office. On the detox, however, I was allowed only two shakes before lunch. When noon rolled around, I bolted to the local salad place and looked forward to ordering a healthy salad. Unfortunately, that proved harder to do than I'd imagined. Here's why.

Dr. Lipman's detox allows for light meals that can include certain fishes and organic chicken as protein sources. But I've been a vegetarian for 16 years; eggs and soy foods like tofu are verboten on the plan. At the salad bar, all I could eat for protein was black beans. Still, after a morning without solid food, I ate the hell out of that salad. Later in the afternoon, I guzzled a shake (almond milk proved a tastier mixer than water). That night: black beans, brown rice, and avocado.


The next day, after the farting subsided, I developed a crippling headache. I'd heard about caffeine-related withdrawal, but never would I have imagined my three-lattes-a-week habit could cause such pain. Or maybe it was the sugar cravings that threw me into a tailspin. Either way, I could have clawed someone's eyes out for one measly sip of a mocha. Instead, I munched raw cashews and hoped Dr. Lipman's cleanse would ultimately be worth enduring the jackhammer that seemed to be pounding in my brain. I daydreamed of beignets as my stomach growled, and that night, I nearly cried of joy when my boyfriend cooked a Cleanse-approved meal of lentils, brown rice, and cauliflower. I say I nearly cried, but if we're going to be honest, I really just farted a lot afterward.

I was breaking new ground in what I ate. I was also breaking a lot of wind, thanks to a new diet that revolved around beans, rice, and fresh vegetables. Ironically, cutting the cheese out of my diet was turning me into Gasmaster Flash. Rendered powerless against the evil flatulence that lurked within, I spent more than a few moments irrationally hoping that nobody would pull my finger. It would have been dangerous for them. Once, I farted with such seismic intensity that I woke myself up at 3 a.m. It was all very embarrassing, especially because I'd never passed gas before all of this.

On the brighter side, the headaches disappeared after day two. Overall, I was struck by how much of my day was usually driven by cravings. Usually, if I wanted chocolate, I'd eat it. While doing this detox, I couldn't. Instead, I needed to plan my meals and be more conscious about what I ate. And the truth is, I just thought I was a healthy eater because I don't eat things like high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated fats. In reality, along with a considerable amount of vegetables, I had been devouring too much cheese, bread, and chocolate — basically, feeding my body lots of fat and sugar. Not good.

Energy-wise, the first three days were tough. I felt weak, probably due to the crazed-maniac cravings for sugar. By the end of the week, though, I felt more energetic and perky than usual. I began waking up at 6 a.m., which allowed me to go photograph a sunrise and get other things done before going to work. That was one of the best surprises: having lots of energy and absolutely no desire (much less need) for coffee.

As for my skin, I'd started the detox in an attempt to combat the nodular acne that seemed to be linked to dairy consumption. When I began, more than a dozen stubborn cysts dotted my jawline. By the end of the first week, only two remained. Coincidence? I had one more week of detox to figure that out. In the meantime, though, there was more farting to do. And I was just the woman to do it.

Will our detoxing editor stay the course? Will her complexion get the talked-about detox glow? And will the farting ever end? Check back soon for the scoop on week two.

Join The Conversation
socabebe1o socabebe1o 5 years
Wonderful! I can't wait to read about your second week. Feel better.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
I'm on the case! I've been pretty sick lately, but I'm working on the follow-up. Should be up within the week!
socabebe1o socabebe1o 5 years
This was so funny. But what happened in week two?
XenaXander XenaXander 5 years
Gasmaster Flash is genius!!! I can't stop laughing! Thanks for the post. It made my day.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
Milo is, as always, the best part of anything. Tiny-legged animals = love.
venjen venjen 5 years
"I ate the hell out of that salad"....haha! Milo protesting is also hilarious. This detox sounds tough. Good luck.
Advah Advah 5 years
(Hehe, 'goat-y') It doesn't really to me, but it might be a bit of an aquired taste I guess. I also hate the taste of cow's milk and grew up on goat's cheese (my parents used to make some when I was a kid) so it doesn't bother me at all, but avid cow's milk drinkers might have a different opinion.. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
But does it taste goat-y?
Advah Advah 5 years
@Annie: my mum suggested I tried goat's milk. :) She always said that cow's milk is especially difficult to digest and goat's milk is a lot easier on our stomach. Guess she was right! Some supermarkets have it here I think, but most of the time you can get it in heath food stores or halal shops.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
@advah, totally agree. One of the best ways to feel sluggish and "off" is to indulge in junk food. It's interesting to see how our bodies respond to different foods. You know, I haven't had goat's milk since I was a kid. My grandfather used to drink it because it reminded him of the Old Country, but I didn't care for the taste. I tend to have fewer problems with sheep's milk cheese. How did you figure out that goat's milk was OK? And is it easy for you to find? Here, it's a specialty-store sort of thing for sure.
Advah Advah 5 years
@Annie: my friends talk about "junk food hungovers"! And they're right that if you eat well for a while and suddenly indulge in commercial dips/candies/processed food, the next day you're likely to feel slow, foggy and just physically pretty gross. Or at least that's what I get! Can I ask if you get the same reactions to goat's milk and cow's milk? Just wondering if, although the dairy element seems to be the issue, one is easier on you than the other (cow's milk makes me nauseous but I'm ok with goat's milk, go figure). I love reading all those comments, this is such an interesting thread! I can't wait to read the results of week 2!
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
@faux, thanks for the comment. Y'know, I honestly can't tell if the dairy sensitivity is a recent thing. I just started figuring out the connection about a year or so ago. I've fought acne since I was a teenager, but the nodular stuff popped up after age 27 or so. I figured out that it was linked to dairy — same symptoms as yours. Eat dairy, break out within 24 hours, live with nodule for months. It's very frustrating to see how even a tiny amount of a food can have that effect. Thanks for the Claritin tip, although honestly, I'll probably follow your lead and stay away from animal milk altogether. It just isn't worth the trouble for me. What kind of "milk" do you drink? Almond, soy, rice, none...?
fauxcat fauxcat 5 years
Hi Annie! Thanks for the great article. Is your dairy sensitivity a recent thing? I had the same happen just after I turned 28 - whenever I eat milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. now, I'll get one or two nodular acne bumps later that night or the next day - like clockwork. They take forever to go away, too. Apparently allergies appear/change in 7-year cycles. I've found that popping an OTC Claritin before indulging in something super-dairy (ice cream, pizza) works to keep the acne at bay, although I stay away from drinking animal milk altogether now. Maybe that will be helpful to you too, post-detox :)
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
@thanks, Diamond. If you promise not to tell anyone, I had already had some gas issues before this. The detox just, uh, amplified it. (Months ago, my usual doctor said that it was probably because I'd increased my raw vegetable intake.) But the detox definitely turned it up to 11. As far as vitamins and minerals go, the shakes are loaded with herbs and vitamins, so I'm good on that. (Part of the reason I went with Dr. Lipman's cleanse is that he's a doctor, and he's all about nutrition.) And the plan includes pre- and pro-biotics to eat with the lunch and dinner. Stay tuned for more.
Diamonds720 Diamonds720 5 years
are you supplementing with vitamins and minerals during your cleanse? I would be interested to see what your strategy is there!
Diamonds720 Diamonds720 5 years
Annie, When doing a detox, that gas you were passing is due to the increased fiber consumption. Odds are you were not eating enough fiber to begin with. I am currently studying holistic nutrition, and am in a course that deals with detoxification. Detoxing take a great amount of resolve! Way to go in not giving into your cravings. It sounds like you have a sensitivity to dairy, as nodular acne is usually a reflection of that. I would stay away from milk products after the detox is over. The headache you experienced could have been from caffeine withdrawal; however, when you fast, your body is burning fat, which is where the body stores its toxic load. As these toxins enter the system, to eventually be processed the liver, headache, fatigue, and moodiness are normal. When coming off the detox, make sure that you don't immediately return to your normal eating habits. Introduce one food at a time, every two days. This will allow you to determine what foods you are sensitive to. Sensitivities can manifest themselves in many ways, not just digestive upset. Keep an eye out for mental fogginess, acne, other bumps that appear on the body, dark under eye circles, basically anything that doesn't exude health. Good luck with week 2! I look forward to reading your follow up posts!
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
@renee The shake has a slight berry-vanilla flavor in my book, but it isn't anything distinctly identifiable. I definitely preferred it with almond milk than water, since it created a nice texture and smoother flavor. The gas is definitely the one thing that I wasn't expecting. The worst part is that my boyfriend and I have a long-running joke — some might say it's the thing that keeps us laughing the most — about gas. Very juvenile: we'll just accuse the other one of farting. Well, he's had a field day with all of this. @advah, thanks for your note. Oof, I couldn't do just a fruit cleanse, but good on you. Isn't it interesting to see how little we think about what we generally eat?! I never realized how much I snacked before this experience. And like you said, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it. Dr. Lipman says that people are addicted to sugar, and I think he's right.
Advah Advah 5 years
Hahaha brilliant article (and cat fact)! I did a diet/cleanse/whatever you want to call that a couple of weeks ago, eating just fruit for a couple of days. I lasted for a day and half and gave up because I'd have killed myself than eat more sweet stuff, but as you said I was stunned when I realised I wasn't eating as well as I thought. Bits of cookies left and right, snacking all day or before dinner and eating large portions - you name it! Also makes you realise that eating sugar makes you crave sugar, weirdly enough..
andrennabird andrennabird 5 years
Oh my!! Poor dear! That gas sounds just terrible! I'm looking forward to next week's recap!
lindabalac lindabalac 5 years
OMG, thanks for keeping it real, about the farting! haha
Renees3 Renees3 5 years
How does the shake taste? I saw it's made with peas or something?
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
Milo started sleeping on my roommate's bed. I wish I were joking.
bingbingboom bingbingboom 5 years
Annie, how were Milo and Minou during your Gasmaster Flash?
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
Thanks! In doing the detox, I was motivated partly by a desire for clearer skin. Seriously, I've tried everything short of Accutane to get my cystic acne in order, and while some things help treat it, I want to stop it from happening in the first place. A little gas is a small price to pay, especially because — more on this to come — I've definitely realized that I wasn't eating as well as I could be. I've finished the cleanse, and while I'm eating tomatoes and tofu again, I have no cravings for bread or cheese anymore, and I feel much more energetic. Like I said, more to come.
Marian55 Marian55 5 years
Very funny article! I'm laughing myself silly. What we endure for beauty.......
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