Last weekend, my girlfriend and I went ham on some delicious food. On Saturday morning, she picked up some bagels (her: poppyseed; me: sesame), ikura and chive smear to make a variation on bagels and lox; that evening, we split a creamy shrimp pasta and a cheeseburger; and on Sunday, we had steak, potato salad and banana cream pudding at a barbecue to ring in Memorial Day. It was… a lot.
Now, my girlfriend is built for this sort of thing: She’s as into working out and taking care of herself as she is about mixing in a cheat meal or two. I, on the other hand, am just starting to get back in the gym (more on that at a later date), much to my displeasure. Which is to say, I probably don’t have the baseline she does to consume carbs on top of red meat on top of refined sugar. So when Tuesday morning rolled around, I felt tired, bloated and resigned to the fact that I would likely not shit right for at least a day.
This, my friends, is no way to live. I needed to clear my system of all the trash I had fed it the previous 72 hours. And given that I have no willpower to speak of, I opted to outsource it: By purchasing a detox kit called the “3-Day Sugar Flush” from Kreation Juice. In effect, I was choosing to take a guided tour of healthy eating instead of trying to rid my body of all the crap by myself.
Three whole days later, I can proudly say I feel flushed, but it wasn’t fun.
The Problem: I am what I eat, and I ate like a husky boy at a bake sale last weekend.
The Alleged Cure-All: The aforementioned 3-Day Sugar Flush, a cleanse that forgoes the liquids-only approach of other cleanses and instead opts for more balanced fare. As Kreation puts it, the 3-Day Sugar Flush “does not rely solely on fasting or calorie restriction,” and instead focuses on “keeping the body well-fed and hydrated, with plenty of proteins, healthy fats and foods with antioxidants and phytonutrients.”
Sounds totally doable, right? I wasn’t going to have to starve myself; I wasn’t going to have to eat bird food (though that turned out not to be entirely true); and everything was going to be pre-portioned and delivered straight to my door. The menu looked decent, if not cryptic, too:
Some of that is self-explanatory; for other items, like the “Warrior” and the “Flush Down,” I had no idea. Some might find this obnoxious. I found it intriguing. But considering the lack of dietary information, the flush did seem like it might be an especially risky bet for any allergy sufferers, or anyone who isn’t a fan of large amounts of cilantro, like my girlfriend.
But I’ve always been curious about trying a cleanse, and here was one that appeared long enough to do some good for my carb-logged body, but short enough that I wouldn’t need to cheat out of desperation. So I bought it, and scheduled it for delivery.
Cost of the 3-Day Sugar Flush: On sale for $174, down from $207.68, which comes to $7.25 a serving. Sounds like a deal, but considering there’s eight servings a day, you’re spending $58 a day. Not exactly a Costco hot dog.
The Science: The science behind the 3-Day Sugar Flush is the science of removing refined sugars from your diet, and replacing them with healthy fats, antioxidants and nutrients derived from plants. Remember, carbohydrates basically are sugar — and too much sugar, specifically refined sugar, can cause all sorts of health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes, every one of which can kill you if you don’t take care of it.
That’s why it’s important to remove as much refined sugar from your diet as possible, and replace it with the kinds of ingredients that are going to boost your health, not kick it in the balls and throw it down a flight of stairs. “A low refined-sugar diet can help with weight loss, possibly by reducing how much insulin your body produces in response to food and satiety,” says Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “The spikes in blood sugar significantly dampen, and blood sugar is much more regulated, along with appetite.” That’s a good thing, because insulin, the hormone responsible for metabolizing the carbohydrates we consume, can cause our cells to store carbs as fat if too high, and boost our metabolism (and thus, our ability to burn stored fat) when low.
That said, the 3-Day Sugar Flush doesn’t do away with sugar completely. Some of the items on the list above do have sugar in them, only those sugars are either unrefined, like what you find in whole fruit, or they’re combined with a mitigating ingredient that slows the body’s sugar uptake. Take the chia pudding with honey, for example: “Honey is still considered a concentrated sugar. However, what it’s being mixed into, chia seeds, have very healthy omega-3 fats, fiber and can significantly slow down the rate at which you absorb and digest the sugars from the honey,” explains Hunnes. “Similarly, the sugar found in fruits and vegetables are encased within a matrix of fiber, water, antioxidants and other healthy nutrients.” Which, then, is why a cleanse that promises to help you flush the sugar from your system can still have sugar in it. It’s just the good kind of sugar.
The Experience: Day 1 of my 3-Day Sugar Flush began with a phone call at 7:44 a.m. — my delivery had arrived. I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t what was downstairs waiting for me: Three burlap cooler sacks labeled Day 1 to 3, each overflowing with glass bottles of multicolored juices, pre-packaged meals and ice packs. My first mission was determining what was what; the bag labels I got immediately, but each item in the sacks was also scribbled on crudely with a number 1 through 8, really solidifying the “personal touch” Kreation was providing. Mass production, this was not.
Going back and forth between the bags and Kreation’s site, I finally got it all organized and prepared to begin flushing. First up: Lemon water before I left for work (supposedly to neutralize the pH in my body), followed by celery juice on my morning commute (promotes weight loss and detoxification) and chia pudding with honey before lunch. So far so good.
But by the time I finish my Day 1 lunch (a better than expected salmon and quinoa wrap) and start drinking my afternoon chlorophyll (a hydrator and antioxidant), I’m already running for the restroom. Without getting into the gory details, this would become a theme of the next 2.3 days. Strange, at least in my mind, considering I’ve only gotten through a few bottles of liquid and a halfway decent mushed salmon. When you think about it, though, it’s not that surprising: I’ve been backed up since the weekend when I was dining solely on carbs and red meat, and all of a sudden, I’ve introduced foods and liquids high in fiber and water content, two major players in a healthy digestive system.
Besides the pooping, the rest of Day 1 was relatively enjoyable. Hummus in the late afternoon, followed by a chicken, romaine and chard salad for dinner and a Master Cleanse(ish) shot syringe for dessert. The hardest part of the evening was watching my girlfriend make a farro, spinach and soft boiled egg bowl for herself. It looked far more appetizing than what I was eating, and probably around the time I started to get a headache that would last until the following night.
Days 2 and 3 were similar to the first: Lemon water to start, followed by a juice, a mid-morning snack and lunch, followed by some chlorophyll water, a snack and then dinner. For how “healthy” and “cleansing” everything was, over the entire three days I didn’t eat anything I’d consider unpleasant. But by Day 3, I was definitely feeling the effects of having refined carbs stripped from my diet. There was the two-to-three-a-day fire-hosing in the bathroom; there was the headache; and by the third day, the rapidly increasing urge to cheat. Around 3 p.m. on Day 3 I really wanted to eat something delicious and bad. When I got home that night and stared down my final dinner, a veggie “Buddha Bowl” filled with curried quinoa, cashews, cauliflower and zucchini, I asked my girlfriend if we could skip it and go out for dinner. To her credit, she said no. I was pissed, but also appreciative, because she was right — I had to choke down this final bit, and then I’d feel good that I finished without giving in to my baser urges.
The Number of Times I Rode the Porcelain Bowl Over the Three-Day Period: 7.
The Takeaway: All things considered, taking three days off to eat right was a relatively painless experience. Sure, I might have felt somewhat uncomfortable, shit my brains out and been a bit of a cranky dick, but sitting here after getting through it and feeling, for lack of a better description, clean, I think it was worth drinking my weight in veggie water and eating bird food for three days straight. The hardest part of the whole thing was coming home after a long day of work and not looking forward to eating something I wanted to eat. Food excites me, and not having that excitement is depressing.
Would I recommend the 3-Day Sugar Flush for someone looking for help trying to break up with sugar for good? Probably not. For that, you’d probably need a program that lasts far longer than three days. But I would recommend the Flush or a similar cleanse for people in a situation I found myself in, a little bit sick from overindulging in the days prior, and in serious need of a digestive reboot.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make a bagel.
Jeff’s Rating: 7/10