I have struggled with my weight and feeling good for my entire life. I’ve never been obese – just about 20 pounds overweight – and I’ve definitely eaten horribly and not taken care of myself. I admit it, I haven’t been the best to my body.
I’ve been trying to get healthy for a long time and have struggled to find something that works or helps me stick to a light, clean diet. I finally found a way to get there, and here’s my journey.
First, a short history of my battles with digestive issues and weight loss:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had tummy problems. I won’t go into much more detail than that, because I bet you can guess what I’m talking about. I just didn’t digest food like everyone else. I went to several GI docs who all had me keep food journals and cut out one little thing after another. Losing dairy helped. Ditching sugar helped. Nothing really seemed to WORK.
Then I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease – it’s basically an autoimmune disease where your small intestine is damaged from too much awesome carbohydrate enriched delicious foods. It turns out, most of us have it in some kind of way, some more severe than others. Sigh.
Meanwhile, I’ve always felt at least 15 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. I’ve been an avid exerciser for as long as I can remember, but could never lose weight. I’m not a very fast runner, granted, but at least I try. I try to run at least 2 miles/day with weight training. I’m trying to get to an 8 minute mile. Currently at a 10 minute mile. Ugh!
I’ve completely given up meat and dairy.
It’s that stupid gluten. I love bread. Yes, I admit it. I love cookies, I love cake, I love sugar. I love all things horrible for someone with Celiac Disease. And I do try my absolute best to cut it out, but I crave it. Constantly.
Anxious to finally lose the weight and feel better before the year 2050, I was reading on a Celiac blog and came across the idea of a gluten free detox. Basically you force yourself to go gluten free and vegan for X number of days while still giving your body protein and nutrients. In other words, don’t fast, don’t starve yourself, but force your body to reset and get adjusted to life without animal products or gluten.
There are plenty of you who are like “what the french, toast? what can you possibly eat that is both vegan AND gluten free other than vegetables and rice?” GREAT QUESTION.
A girlfriend told me about a simple detox program she found – you basically go raw vegan for 6 days and she used a meal replacement shake called Kaeng Raeng to help get her through it. It’s just raw fruits and veggies and unsalted nuts for 6 days. Nothing cooked above 118 degrees, no salt, no animal products, no gluten.
Could I do this??!!!
I ordered the Kaeng Raeng 6-day Beginner program to give it a go. I was skeptical at first. I don’t believe in colon cleansing given that my colon takes enough of a beating with all of my freakin’ stomach problems AS IS. The last thing I wanted was to be in worse shape.
I also wanted to be able to keep working out. This same GF had done the master cleanse and almost passed out on a treadmill once. NO THANKS!
When I got the Kaeng Raeng package in the mail I was pretty excited. It comes in a little white box and even had a note from the CEO wishing me good luck. It was a little gimmicky, but I believed her. This was going to be great!
Inside was a product card with basic instructions and helpful tips, including a list of recipes they offer on their web site. You basically drink one pouch per meal time for the entire program. Each pouch looks small, but don’t let that fool you.
I started with my first packet on a Friday morning. I made the mistake of mixing it with tap water (not very cold), stirring it with a straw, and attempting to drink it. Not what I had expected. The product is real fruit chunks with fiber, protein, probiotics (a staple for anyone who suffers from digestive issues), and vitamins. When you add just water, the fruit floats around and it’s hard to get down. The shake wasn’t sweet – more tart and sour, which I actually liked.
I decided to throw the mixture into a blender with some ice and a banana. Ahhh, much better. It tasted like a healthy version of a Jamba Juice. It took me all morning to sip it down – I made nearly 40 oz of it and it was incredibly filling. I had to pee about every 15 minutes – thank goodness I work from home on Fridays! I didn’t know how I was going to be able to do that at work.
Within an hour I had my first “you know what” and felt pretty good. I wasn’t hungry at all til around 1 pm when I had shake number 2. The blueberry one. It wasn’t as good as the one before, but I blended it with a little bit of apple juice. The site recommended water over juice, but I liked it a lot this way. Again, a very filling shake, and it took all afternoon to drink it.
I headed to the gym in the afternoon and felt fine. I was getting plenty of protein and carbs from the shakes and I had a little bag of carrots once I finished my workout.
For dinner I busted out the blender yet again and tried the mango flavor. I added some frozen pineapple and sipped it down. Had another “you know what” moment – the second of the day!! – and headed to bed.
I woke up the next morning with a gnarly headache. I am guilty for grabbing a chai soy latte from Starbucks in the mornings and downing it immediately to get that sugar-caffeine rush. No caffeine on this detox. Ouch.
I started with the first shake and went in the same flavor order as the day before, but changing it up in the blender each time. I did miss gluten. I thought about making pancakes but resisted the urge somehow. Must get through this.
I got through the second day with one “you know what” moment and several trips to pee. All that water and vitamins! I stayed full and had plenty of energy.
Day three was difficult, but not because of the shakes or the lack of gluten. I was actually doing great with the raw foods. I was eating strawberries and veggies as snacks and the shakes were going down great. It was being around other people.
I got invited to a girlfriend’s house for a party. The table was covered in all of my favorites – potato chips, pretzels, cupcakes – a Celiac freakin’ nightmare. I had to resist.
Luckily I had planned ahead and brought veggies with me in little bags. I also drank a shake right beforehand so I was actually super full. My mind wanted the food, but my stomach didn’t. So, overall, the party sucked because I watched everyone drink alcohol and eat goodies and I was that overweight girl on a diet. It’s like everyone looks at you with pity – aww, she tries so hard to lose weight yet can’t. Sad.
Day four I woke up feeling better. But the most amazing thing happened. I went to put on my work clothes for a foggy Monday morning and the pants were too big!! I checked the tag to make sure – yup, the same pants I normally wear. Crazy!!! I figured it was probably water weight and colon weight, but still, what a victory!
I happily took my shake with me to work and started sipping away. It didn’t even occur to me that this was my 4th morning without caffeine until I smelled coffee in the office. Ugh, tempting. Not to mention the Monday morning meeting complete with PASTRIES. Are you people trying to give me a freakin heart attack? ARGH!!!!
I couldn’t wait for shake 2 – at this point, I was getting addicted. I think the best part about them is that they’re so natural and healthy tasting. It’s not vanilla or chocolate flavored. It’s not “fruit flavored” with artificial crap. It’s just real stuff from the EARTH. The fruit is sour, not sweet.
Having the variety was key going into day 5. At this point I had had at least one “you know what” moment each day, but by day 5 in the afternoon I was getting a little bored and decided to just drink half of a shake and eat more veggies. Honestly, I forgot to drink water.
I had read on the label and the web site that water was key to the program. If you didn’t drink enough water, be prepared for cramps. And I learned that the hard way. I started to feel a little sick. I emailed the company and the owner actually responded within minutes (this was at 10 pm at night!) telling me to up my water intake and the stomach pain and nausea would go away. She reminded me that I was flushing all of those toxins out of my digestive system – stopping too short was going to get me backed up.
I drank about 4 cups of water before bed (had to get up to pee 3 times) but felt much better by morning.
The most amazing thing happened on day 6 – a woman in the office asked me what I was doing because my skin was GLOWING. I hadn’t noticed it on my own, but when she said it I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I was glowing! My skin had never looked so smooth!
Overall, it was a great program. I weighed myself the morning of day 7 and I had lost 8 pounds. I realize that it’s mostly water weight. It’s impossible to lose 8 pounds of FAT in 6 days. But feeling less bloated and backed up was my main goal, not necessarily to lose fat.
I didn’t even realize it, but on day 7, I didn’t eat any gluten, even though I was off of the program. I didn’t even crave it. There were cupcakes in the break room at work and I didn’t even look twice. A week ago I would have fought off a wild boar to get a hold of a cupcake. But now, I didn’t want one at all.
I won’t lie, a detox did not completely cure my struggle with gluten, but it certainly helped. I did gain a couple of pounds back, but 5 of the 8 have never come back on. I’m eating way more fruits and veggies instead of bread and haven’t turned back to any meat or dairy either.
The program isn’t the cheapest out there – I paid around $99 with shipping because I found a coupon code online, but it’s also a lot less expensive than some of the cleanses that cost $85/day. But it definitely worked and it was easy to do. No having to make your own juice! I felt much better after my detox week and would recommend a gluten free detox to anyone struggling with Celiac or weight loss.
Now, if only I could master that 8 minute mile!