The Cleanse

Two (plus) weeks of no dairy, refined sugar, gluten, beef, eggs, caffeine along with an assortment of other “trigger” foods. That’s what I was preparing for, even looking forward to, in mid-January. Part whim, part curiosity, part exercise in self-discipline (or so I thought headed in) and part “maybe I’ll learn something new about my body,” I jumped on board with about 40 other women and one man for a whole foods cleanse. We met together via phone conferencing and shared regularly in a facebook group. Led by the Synergy3 team of professionals in the nutritional / holistic / healthy eating space, we were supported with recipes, guidance and advice for the two weeks of the cleanse plus an additional week of “reintroducing” foods back into our diet.

But don’t call this a diet. In reality, it’s a food lifestyle that people have very successfully used to rid themselves of a variety of ailments. The proposition being: what goes on in your body is a function of what you consume. We were also made aware of which foods we should be eating organically: bananas – don’t have to; apples – you must. (You can check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen to find out.)

On a group call, at the end of two weeks, we shared our success stories. One woman who’d actually been on the program for a year had lost 100 pounds and come off of her insulin. Another, with multiple sclerosis, no longer had joint pain. And yet another was headache-free after years of regular pain.

For me, the results may not be quite as dramatic, but still worthy. I am waking up every day with energy – without the coffee. And it lasts all day long! The dark circles and puffiness under my eyes are gone. My mood is even and optimistic – even with the stock market craziness! And without the specific intention to do so, I’ve lost about five pounds.

But the real story is that it’s coming on four weeks now and I am still energized and focused on this new food lifestyle, simply because I feel great. How long will I stick to it? Not sure. I do know that I ate a piece of chocolate and within minutes had a headache from the sugar. Am I swearing off sugar. No. But I’m “consciously sugaring” at no more than 4 grams a day. That’s not very much, but my dark chocolate chips do the trick. I ate eggs and woke up fuzzy and low energy the next morning. My body is definitely sending me messages. What will it say when I eat gluten or dairy. I’m curious to find out – those are up next. We removed all these foods per the program so we could identify which ones our own body doesn’t like. I’ve taken on “food detective” status as I sort through the early results: was it the yolks or the egg whites? I’d like to find out. I’m a meat eater so, eventually, I will make myself a burger and pay attention to what my body is telling me.

And I will share one of the wisdoms that has stuck with me from the first call we were on with the group, a new awareness that’s enabled me to succeed during this experiment turned routine, when someone asked, “Won’t we be hungry?” The response: we often eat, thinking we feel hungry, because our body is not getting the nutrients it needs. But, if you feed your body what it really wants/needs and avoid the foods (as best we can) that wreak havoc on us, then you won’t feel hungry. Pretty basic logic that’s working for me.

Susan Ross

Susan Ross

Susan is founder/curator/blogger of, a site devoted to women approaching their 60s and beyond who are interested in benefiting from a community of women sharing their lives, experiences, learnings, and wisdom. Now is our time and we rock!
Susan Ross

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