The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Lessons Learned from The Cleanse

It’s been two weeks since I finished The Cleanse and, although it did get challenging at times, I don’t regret it at all.   Although I definitely had some health benefits, the best part of it was the sense of accomplishment.  See, I’m not one of those people with a bucket list that includes stuff like jumping out of an airplane or running an Iron Man.  For me, a major triumph is if I can remember my computer password.  So actually planning out and finishing the cleanse was a terrific way to start out the new year.

So the question I’ve answered the most since finishing is “how much weight did you lose?”   I simply showed them my “before” picture –


The actual answer – not as much as last time, but definitely a lot.  When I first did this 4-5 years ago, I lost 25 pounds in 10 days, then gained back about 10 over the following few weeks. This time around, I “only“ lost 14 or so.  I didn’t cheat on it nor did I drink too much of the lemonade and I’m sure I burned more calories than I did that first time, it’s just that the weight loss wasn’t there.  I think what happened is that the first cleanse was cleaning out decades of abuse.  Since it’s only been a few years, there was less “debris” in my gastrointestinal system to clear out. 

On the plus side, I haven’t gained any of it back yet.  My metabolism definitely went up and I’m still feeling it.  So this was the kick start I was looking for.  Plus I learned the every important lesson of portion size – since finishing, I’ve cut portions by at least half and realized I wouldn’t die.

Here are ten other things I learned –

10 – A key to my success is telling everyone that I was doing it.  I did the same when I ran the Chicago marathon years ago.  Once you tell everyone, you can’t back out.

9 – The first time I did it, I recall having a ton of energy throughout the process.  This time, it took about 6 days before I started feeling it.  Here’s how much energy I had – there were times that I couldn’t concentrate on work because I was too amped up.

8 – And that energy was there the moment I woke up in the morning to the point where I didn’t need coffee to get my day started.  Even now I still have more energy when I wake up. Because of this I’ve returned to appreciating coffee for the aroma and flavors, as opposed to chugging it for the caffeine.

7 – That increased metabolism wasn’t due to excess calories – in fact I was only consuming about 1100 calories a day.  It came from taking in small amounts of calories through out the day.  There were a couple days where only had bigger quantities (about 300-400 calories) every few hours – closer to my regular schedule of bigger meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Those days where I DIDN’T spread out calories throughout the day were the days I was hungriest.

6 – The flavor of the lemonade was better than I remember, but the monotony of consuming the same stuff all day/every day was tough.  I found out near the end that I could use fresh lime juice instead.  It’s not terribly different, but any variety was welcomed.  Another way to change things up is to make a big batch of the juice in the morning. You can add the cayenne then or as you go.  If you add it in the morning, it steeps in the lemonade so it gets spicier as the day progresses.  Little victories.

5 – Cooking for other people while you’re doing this really sucks ass.

4 – Water is your weight loss friend.  When ever I started to get hungry, I’d down a glass of water. In addition to filling you up, it’s like fighting fire with fire.  You feel hunger before thirst, so often when you’re thirsty your body is tricking you to think you’re hungry.  Drinking water fights that trick by fooling your body you just ate food.

3 – The recommendation is to take three days to ease back into food.  I did it in a day and a half.  Mistake.  For a day or two it’s like I gulped down a box of Ex-Lax with a Mexican tap water chaser.  While fighting a stomach bug. On a Royal Caribbean cruise.

2 – The first time I did it, I didn’t exercise because I thought I’d get too hungry and fail at the cleanse.  This time I exercised 3-4 times each week.  The actual exercise was tougher, but I didn’t feel any hungrier.  And when the energy boost kicked in at day 6, I was flying.


But the #1 lesson I learned while doing the cleanse – and if you end up doing one, I hope you heed this warning –






About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

14 comments on “Lessons Learned from The Cleanse

  1. wanderingglutton
    January 28, 2014

    Your #1 lesson means that you are already prepared for when your doctor tells you it is time for your first colonoscopy.

  2. Go Jules Go
    January 28, 2014

    HA! I laughed as soon as I saw this blog post title in my inbox. But I’m laughing with you, I swear. I just thought the whole list was going to read like #3 did.

    Congratulations!! It’s tempting to try it, based on what you said about your energy after Day 6, and the boost to your metabolism, but I wouldn’t even make it to Day 6.

  3. ksbeth
    January 28, 2014

    hahahahaha – excellent post and that is called, ‘sharting’ fyi )

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 28, 2014

      OH believe me, we are well aware of that term. One person in my family is Queen of Sharting.

  4. a2sicilian
    January 28, 2014

    I clicked this link with much trepidation, worried it would all be toilet references. Congrats on your cleanse success! I couldn’t do it. I think when I looked at my kids I’d see them glazed in hoisin sauce.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 28, 2014

      That was the dog. But then, I’m Asian. And WHAT’S WRONG WTIH TOILET REFERENCES? Without them my blog would be all civilized and shit

  5. Yinzerella
    January 28, 2014

    OK, I guffawed at the end.
    Congrats on doing the cleanse—I don’t think I could ever do it. I tip my hat to you.

  6. the winegetter
    January 28, 2014

    You’re a hero, man…glad I shared parts of the first day with real food with you. I have to say, you didn’t strike me as deprived at all. Cool.

  7. PinotNinja
    January 29, 2014

    Those sharts are sneaky m*therf*ckers, aren’t they?

    Congrats on surviving the cleanse and the health kickstart to the year — I am incredibly impressed. I couldn’t make it through the first two weeks of the year without a wine and a cupcake, and I was under strict doctor’s orders not to consume either item. Maybe next year your discipline will rub off on me?

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 30, 2014

      Thanks! They are sneaky, and they’re never around when you need them. I tried to purposefully shart in college to get out of a test, but ended up just gassing my classmates.

      What the heck kind of quack is it that says you can’t have wine or a cupcake? Wine I get because of the alcohol.. But a cupcake?

  8. Pingback: The Butter Coffee Biohack | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2014 by in Cooking, Stuff and tagged , , , , .
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