Kickstarting Change with a Cleanse

Women posing in a field of bluebonnets
This group of awesome women doing awesome things has been meeting for free workouts for over 10 years.

Springtime in Austin means bluebonnets. For my fun workout group, it also means a bluebonnet run. Each spring, one of our founding members always puts together a route from her home followed by a lovely group breakfast.

One of the beautiful things about our group is its athletic diversity–younger/older, runner/triathlete/walker, experienced/newbie. You don’t always see the same women at workouts; everybody is training for something different, and meet-ups are fluid and varied.

At this year’s bluebonnet brunch, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while was there, looking fabulous. Fit before, she was significantly leaner. I asked what she’d done differently, and she told me about going to FIT (Fitness Institute of Texas) with a relative who is focusing on improving her health.

My friend, who’s in the health care field, encouraged her relative to start out armed with knowledge by getting a body scan. In support, she got one, too…and was shocked at what the scan revealed about her body fat.

Now, I’m very familiar with FIT. Back in the days when I coached for Rogue Training System, we all got a special deal on VO2max testing. Of course I took advantage of that information (and I still have those results). I’ve written articles about FIT’s public health offerings, and I have two friends who have accomplished great fitness results through their diet and exercise training program. It’s simply an amazing–and underutilized–health resource.

Where That Cleanse Comes In

My friend used her results from that body scan as motivation. She made changes to her diet and upped intensity in her workouts, incorporating the 7-Minute Workout into her weekly routine. In a little over a month, she dropped significant body fat, looks wonderful, and feels better.

She got me thinking…

And then, a few days later, another friend posted a blog, “Random Things on the Web I Dig Right Now.” Included in that post was the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine’s 7-day detoxification program. My friend is a scientist and I respect her analysis; if she thinks it’s sound, I’m convinced. Intrigued, I took a look.

Screen shot of blog page, My Musing Life
My Musing Life is one of the blogs I read regularly.

This cleanse isn’t a weight-loss gimmick. It’s a detoxification program to promote health devised by the university’s School of Medicine and Public Health. The focus is on homeostasis, the bodily process of maintaining physical and emotional balance. The program is designed to get rid of toxins that can throw our physiological systems out of whack.

I had been thinking about doing a cleanse to jump-start my focus on better health. Finding out about this cleanse combined with news of my workout partner’s scan in such a short period seemed a sign. Ever one to follow the universe’s guidance, these coincidences merged in my thoughts to form a plan. I’d do the cleanse to get a fresh start and then follow up with the body scan as my “kick in the ass” dose of reality.

Taking on the Cleanse

Days 1 and 2 involve setting the base for the week. The program calls for cutting out “flesh foods” (meats, fish, etc.), refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, cigarettes, and chocolate (oh, and recreational drugs), and limiting dairy, wheat, and eggs for the duration. This was actually no real change to my regular diet, other than committing to no alcohol for the week, watching out for the rogue piece of chocolate, dropping my Friday morning coffee, and swearing off queso (gasp!). Days 1 and 2 were a breeze.

Day 3 goes a step further, removing grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and mushrooms from the diet. Again, this wasn’t a huge issue. We even took our daughter out to lunch for her birthday, hitting up Counter Culture, a local vegan restaurant. I combined three sides for a filling and delicious plate of food. At the end of the day, I felt alert, energized, and strangely, fabulously happy.

Counter Culture restaurant website
We love to patronize eateries on Austin’s east side, and a nice patio with good, healthy food is a must. Counter Culture satisfies all requirements.

Day 4, where I am right now, involves modified fasting. All solid foods are eliminated; water, tea, juices, and broth will be my nourishment. Surprisingly, I didn’t wake up hungry, and I’ll limit my exercise today. I do feel a little lightheaded, but in a good way. Again, I’m strangely, fabulously happy. And full of can-do energy.

We’ll see how this goes for the rest of the day. I have a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Listen to Your Mother show on April 25. I’m part of the Austin cast, and this is our final run-through at the venue, practicing with the microphones and stage. Eeek. Let’s hope my positive energy carries through the day rather than me crashing and burning, totally out of gas, mid-afternoon.

I’ll post my Days 4 through 7 experience after I’ve finished the cleanse.

Next step: Scheduling my body scan at FIT. 

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Kickstarting Change with a Cleanse

  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog.

    I made it through the detox and I\’ve decided to continue eating mostly like Day 1, because of how I felt during the week – much cleaner and lighter after all meals. Plus, as a result of stretching my cooking repertoire, I have some new yummy vegan meals I made during the week.

    I hope the experience is good for you, too.

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