Throughout all of the creation & promotion of The 21day Detox Challenge, I have become a little nostalgic about my own personal history with detoxing. It has made me appreciate the process - and the 21day Detox Challenge in particular - so much that I created a list of the
Did you read that yet? Go ahead, I'll wait..................
I have done many detoxes myself - guided by my ND, myself, or a done-for-you online program (just like the 21day Detox) - and each one brought about a different experience:
- The first one I ever did was in my first year as a Naturopathic student, and there was a L-O-T of resistance. I couldn’t eat or drink or do the things I wanted, and I was GRUMPY! The bad mood only lasted a week or so, and then I came around and surrendered to feeling generally well, which felt great.
- The next couple detoxes I did were pretty unremarkable, usually after an excruciating exam period - a welcome break from rather un-naturopathic grab-n-go food, late nights & studyingstudyingstudying. I enjoyed really basking in taking care of myself for a change.
- This one time, I tried a veggie juice detox and almost fainted at school. That was a pretty big wakeup call: it was way too one-dimensional and there were certain detox requirements that were just not being met there.
- Of course, there’s also the countless detoxes I have led for my patients - some successful (made it all the way through with minimal grumbling & cheating), some not so successful. But all still learning experiences for me.
The most recent detox I did was with the lovely Meghan Telpner, and it was extraordinary. Beyond the beyond. And it is what sealed the deal for me about using a detox as the most incredibly powerful healing tool going.
It was the detox I did after being at my lowest with Crohn's disease. I was at my personal all-time, absolute sickest. I was struggling to hover around 90lbs. The weight was just melting off of me.
People were saying things like "You're so lucky to be thin" or "I'm jealous that you don't have to worry about getting fat!" or "You look so awesome these days!". But I was I-L-L and in an uncontrollable downward spiral! In this picture, I was about 30lbs below my ideal weight. I hated the way I looked and I'm pretty sure that was the only time I was in a bathing suit all summer. I didn't feel lucky, or thin, or beautiful. I felt scared, like a stick figure, and as my husband referred to me once: like a shell of myself.
Being so unwell is terrifying. If you've never been unwell, then just trust me on that. I had a son to take care of! I had a clinical practice to run! I had a life to live! And it just. wasn't. happening. By December my energy was so low I couldn't do much of anything, and I was getting worse before everyone's eyes. I couldn't take care of myself, my family or my patients.
Then in early 2014 I got a little crazy - or so it probably seemed to friends & family:
- I told my doctor I was going off the prescription anti-inflammatory steroid medication, against his recommendation.
- I told my patients I was closing my practice, much to their dismay.
- I joined an online business school and created NDtv and started blogging - getting my story of health & healing out there.
My life was not just going in the direction I wanted it to, so I made the biggest, craziest, scariest life-overhaul decisions I could ever imagine in the interest of my health.
And I kicked it all off with a detox.
I decided a new year's detox was just what I needed to make 2014 different. Better. Healthier. And this detox was intense! Not for the faint of heart. Sixteen days of the most restrictive plant-based diet I have ever had, ev-ery-thing hand-made from scratch. Educational? For sure. Time consuming? Oh yes. Tasty? Mmmostly. Challenging with a child and husband who weren’t necessarily on board? Abso-frickin-lutely. But I got through it (*because you can do anything for 16 [or 21] days*) and something remarkable happened...
I had energy again. Like, effortless & abundant energy; like I was suddenly "plugged in", as though each of my cells got a volt of electricity. I had normal bowel movements again - sorry, full disclosure! :) My weightloss stopped in its tracks - and slowly & steadily reversed. My skin improved. I felt stronger and healthier every day. I saw colors more vividly and felt energy more acutely. All within 16days. I was hyper about my health, I would rattle on about it to anyone who would listen! I couldn't help it - it was a phenomenon I had never quite experienced, and one I still can’t really put my finger on. The best I can come up with is that I was going through an intense healing process - my health was being powerfully restored.
My next MRI revealed that my section of inflamed bowel had reduced by half, I had no more symptoms, and I gained back all of my weight within 3-4 months. I have had very few, very minor Crohn's symptoms since that last flareup, and I attribute it all to the healing that occurred throughout the detox.