The Value of a Cleanse: An Interview with Keltie Munro

I am frequently asked my opinion of cleanses and whether or not I would recommend one. I have never engaged in a cleanse because I question the long-term value of short-term deprivation. That said, a number of my friends who have tried cleanses like how they jumpstart better eating habits. This is whether I think a cleanse or detox could be particularly beneficial — whether you are trying to lose weight or develop healthier habits.

As proof in the pudding, today I am interviewing Keltie Munro, a friend and former business colleague. She and her family recently completed the Wild Rose Cleanse and were pleased with the results. Read the how, when and whys of her experience, and be sure to share yours, too!

What sparked your interested in a cleanse?

For people who know me, and know that I’ve never met a potato chip I didn’t love, I am one of the last people who you would expect to sign up for a cleanse. I had never done one, or any type of diet for that matter (other than watching my sugar intake from time to time), as I’ve never had to watch my weight.  My girlfriends have been doing cleanses at least once a year for the past several years, and I was feeling the pressure to try one. Their reasons reasons varied greatly – -weight loss, tired of having sugar highs and lows, wanting a sharper mind, quitting drinking — and someone I knew was always on a cleanse. I’m turning 40 this year and decided to see if doing a cleanse for the first time would make me feel any different.  I “volun-told” my husband to do it with me.

How did you select the Wild Rose Cleanse? Did you consider others?

The Wild Rose cleanse allows you to eat so many different foods, and I’d heard good things about it from others. I never considered any of the hard-core cleanses. I could never last on a lemon water and paprika diet and plus, I didn’t need to lose weight or shock my system! I also liked the idea that 90% of the world eats this way, so you really shouldn’t feel deprived. It’s a healthy detox, which allows your body to re balance while you eat only fresh and natural ingredients. I don’t drink coffee and rarely have alcohol, so I assumed that the cleanse wouldn’t be too challenging since I didn’t have many of the common eating vices.

Tell me about the program? What could you eat? What could you not eat? How long did it last?

The cleanse is 12 days.  There are daily supplements you take as well as food restrictions.You cannot eat flour, dairy, processed sugars, and for some reason no fermented items (vinegar, grapes) either. Some fruits and vegetables are out, as is shellfish, but most meats are okay.  You can eat whole grains, brown/white rice, unlimited fish, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, eggs, soy, some nuts, root vegetables, etc.  To season your food, you can use all oils (exc. peanut oil), butter, fresh seasonings, garlic, tahini, and other fresh and flavorful herbs and spices. The key to the diet is that you can eat as much as you want, but certain foods fit into the 20% of total daily intake column, and others fall into the 80% of daily intake column.  So as an example, for dinner you could have lamb with mint sauce (20%), brown rice and fresh sautéed vegetables (80%).  For breakfast you can make your own granola, topped with fresh berries.  Or a cinnamon baked apple with almonds and tahini.

How did you feel at the end of the program?

I learned midway through that the first time you do a cleanse, it’s the most challenging physically and mentally.  For the first 4-5 days, I had a constant dull headache from the sugar and flour withdrawal. I was cranky too (or so I was told)!  And no matter how much I ate from the approved list,  I was always hungry. I didn’t realize how much sugar and flour I had been eating, and my body definitely reacted strongly to that sudden deprivation.  I wasn’t sure I could last the entire 12 days and I didn’t understand how something so good for you can feel so bad! Around day 6, I started to feel pretty good.  By Day 8, I felt fantastic.  My tummy was flatter than it has been since having kids, and I had more energy (no more 2pm lulls) and didn’t need to exercise as hard since I was eating healthier and my metabolism was burning off all the good fats.  By Day 12, my mind was clearer and my body fat had gone down 2% pts. There is no doubt that eating this way made me feel considerably better.

It might be worth mentioning that my husband did  not feel or look different after the cleanse.

Did you find it challenging to do? Especially since you have children who might not want to eat what you and your husband were eating?

The hardest part was planning the meals at the beginning. I would highly recommed Dr Gott’s No Sugar-No Flour cookbooks, though you need to watch the sugar substitutes he sometimes uses. I found myself using unique items like Natural Pear Syrup and Arrowroot flour. I missed bread, but found some muffin recipes which are decent and my kids will eat them. I made my own cereals and used as much butter as possible for frying fish, chicken, etc.  My husband ate everything I fed him and my kids tried almost everything, too — though sometimes I had to make lasagna or a sandwich for them. There is no doubt that it was much more work, but once we ironed out the kinks (and bad recipes), it got easier. The key for me was to remove most the items from the house that weren’t on the list.  We switched to brown rice pasta, and we now all eat flourless bread. My kids didn’t love everything at first,  but they adjusted quicker than we did to the dietary changes. Also, eating out is nearly impossible. You can have sushi but no soy sauce. You can eat a burger but no bun. It’s best to eat at home whenever you can.

Would you do it again?

I will be doing the cleanse every six months from now on. I am still adhering to much of it (more veggies, less starch) and I read all labels and try to reduce my sugars,  but the only way to stay on track is by adhering to the strict version of the cleanse at least twice a year.

Melinda Hinson