14 Day Raw Food Cleanse

This past summer has been a triumph for my health journey. After years of small steps in the right direction, I finally felt ready to commit to a 14-day raw food cleanse. While challenging, completing this cleanse marks a new level of progress for me.

In my excitement, I’ve been chatting up anyone who will listen about my experience! For those who I’ve only briefly mentioned it to during our acupuncture sessions, I wanted to provide more details.

This blog post shares my motivation for cleansing, how I worked up to two weeks of only raw foods, and the impact it’s had on my wellbeing. My health used to hold me back, but now I feel empowered by how far I’ve come.

I hope my story can inspire others pursuing better health to keep persevering even when progress feels slow. Know that small, consistent changes do culminate over time. Setbacks are temporary if you believe in your ability to grow stronger. I’m living proof that health goals, once seeming impossible, can eventually be achieved through commitment and self-compassion. Wherever you’re at in your journey, keep your eyes on the bright horizons ahead!

Raw food cleanse

The start of my health journey

It’s 2023, and I’m 42 years young. I’m a licensed acupuncturist and recently certified in functional medicine. Here’s my story.

I was diagnosed with PCOS in my mid 20’s after suffering from irregular cycles, a spare tire hugging my waistline, and extreme fatigue. I didn’t exercise. Was in a toxic marriage, highly stressed, and unhealthy physically and mentally. When I was diagnosed with PCOS, I had never heard of it. My doctor gave me this title of being abnormal without an explanation, I had to research it myself. Upon learning that it was linked to high sugar intake with a potential diagnosis of diabetes in the future, I abruptly changed my eating habits.

I stopped eating an entire row of Oreo cookies while lying in the bed watching TV. I stopped eating Doritos topped with ground beef, melted cheese and sour cream. I also stopped eating smothered pork chops with rice and gravy. When I tell you I can eat, I really can do just that. I love food. A diagnosis of PCOS and not wanting to be a diabetic was enough for me to change.

I started eating mainly seafood and vegetables and I also started going to the gym, but had no idea what to do. However, even with that simple change, I was starting to lose weight. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. I stayed away from beef and pork, but started to consume chicken again, pasta, etc. I was going back and forth between eating healthy and unhealthy, exercising and then stopping for about 10 years. It took awhile to find my flow, but I finally found it.

My health today

Over the past three years, I’ve adopted a strict approach to the foods I consume. My focus is on nourishing myself physically rather than emotionally. This commitment to mindful eating has been reinforced by my consistent exercise routine. It’s hard for me to imagine investing hours at the gym and then undermining my efforts by consuming processed and unhealthy foods that would leave me feeling sluggish.

I choose to do a 14 day raw food cleanse to reset my digestive system. I’ve done this in the past, but only over the course of a weekend. This time, I really wanted to challenge myself and this is how I did it.

Preparing for a cleanse

In April 2023, I removed a lot of foods including rice, beans, pasta, bread, taco shells, wraps, etc. I did continue to eat steel cut oats in the morning with peanut butter, cinnamon, and a banana, but the rest of my food intake for the day was vegetables, fruit, and protein – chicken, turkey or seafood.

I did this until mid-June 2023. In the middle of June, I took time off work and went vacationing. This, of course, made eating healthy slightly difficult. However, I continued to eat fresh produce because my body craves it. Heavy foods causes me to feel sluggish and bloated.

While relaxing by the pool at the resort, I noticed most people around me were out of shape and overweight. I began thinking about my parents, who were not overweight, but very unhealthy and eventually leaving life prematurely. My mother was 55 and my father 62. My mom had lung cancer, and my father had colon cancer. Their deaths were just two years apart and it changed my life drastically.

Thinking about my parents and people watching, I decided a cleanse was the next step in my health journey. I wasn’t aiming for just a weekend cleanse; I sought one that would truly test my limits. Upon returning to New York, I didn’t dive in right away; I first had to prepare myself mentally before embarking on the physical aspect. During this transition, I continued to consume fruits, vegetables, and protein.

Starting a 14 day raw food cleanse

I started my raw food cleanse on July 21st, incorporating dried fruits and nuts into my plan in addition to raw fruits and vegetables. I deliberately chose to initiate it on a Friday since my weekend workouts are relatively lighter, if at all. During the weekend, I might go for a short run or a quick home workout, I aimed to conserve my energy. Here’s a breakdown of what I consumed throughout the day, without adhering to a specific schedule, mainly whenever hunger struck.

Day 1 of raw cleanse

  • Morning – Banana, avocado, tomatoes
  • Afternoon – Raisins, pecans, cherries
  • Afternoon – Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes
  • Evening – Kale with arugula, beets, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, red pepper
  • Evening – Watermelon, pecans
  • Night – Charcoal capsules

Day 2 of raw food cleanse

  • Morning – Banana, avocado, tomatoes
  • Afternoon – Watermelon
  • Afternoon – Dry mangoes, dry apples
  • Evening – Salad with romaine lettuce and arugula, onions, red peppers, cucumber, tomatoes
  • Evening – Watermelon, pecans
  • Night – Charcoal capsules

I continued the same foods throughout my 14 day raw food cleanse adding different ingredients into my salad, but sticking with the same fruit. Mainly seeded watermelon I purchased from the watermelon lady near my apartment, and cherries or melons from Whole Foods. I purchased my dry fruit and nuts from Trader Joe’s because it’s fairly cheap and it gave me the energy I needed to continue exercising. I did pay attention to the ingredients on the dried fruit and purchased the option without additives. I did not consume juice or smoothies.

On day 2 of my 14 day raw food cleanse, I started to feel hungry, but at day 3 and beyond I was full of energy. My digestive system was functioning 100%; I was feeling great! Around day 10 or 11, I noticed my sleep pattern was off. I started taking a few of my supplements again including Magnesium Glycinate and B-complex vitamins. This improved my sleep greatly!

Ending my cleanse

After completing my 14-day cleanse on August 4, 2023, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride. As anticipated, I lost weight, but more significantly, my waistline slimmed by 3 inches. This cleanse provided tangible results I could feel good about.

I gradually reintroduced cooked foods. To maintain healthy habits, I continued eating many of the same produce choices as my cleanse, while adding in lean proteins like chicken and fish. Though it took discipline to stick to the two-week cleanse, I found it manageable by pacing myself and planning meals ahead of time.

Now that my body has adjusted, I feel prepared to repeat this 14-day cleanse in a few months as a way to reset and nourish my system. Taking things step-by-step allowed me to ease into this longer cleanse without feeling overwhelmed or deprived.

Is it worth it to do a cleanse?

The body has built-in detoxification systems in the liver and kidneys that work continuously to filter out toxins. While these organs perform natural cleansing functions, taking occasional breaks from eating can provide additional health benefits. Cleansing and short-term fasting can help boost energy, improve blood sugar control and support other aspects of health.

When introducing cleansing protocols, it’s best for beginners to start with a one-day cleanse and build up gradually over time. Dramatic dietary changes can be challenging, so taking it slow allows the body to adapt. I often suggest to patients that they choose one day per week to consume only fresh fruits and vegetables. This provides a gentle cleanse, with plenty of fiber to support intestinal health.

Even individuals having normal bowel movements can accumulate surprising amounts of waste in the colon. A weekly plant-based cleanse day can help clear out this buildup. For longer or more intensive cleanses, it’s better to work up to those, spacing them out every few months as tolerated. There are many different cleanse options, but starting small and increasing duration slowly allows the body to comfortably adjust.

This is a good approach for people with pre-diabetes, chronic constipation, excessive gas, sugar cravings, or someone who consumes a lot of animal products and not enough fresh foods.

Conclusion

As an acupuncturist, I make an effort to relate to your health struggles, because I know firsthand how challenging it can be to adopt healthier habits. The path towards wellness requires commitment and perseverance. Acupuncture is a helpful tool, however, it’s not a cure-all. That’s why, during our sessions, I try to have open discussions about nutrition and lifestyle factors that impact health, even when you’re coming in for symptoms of pain. My goal is to empower you to make incremental changes that improve your overall wellbeing. Small steps in the right direction can lead to big results over time. By sharing my own experiences, I hope to provide both practical support and encouragement along your journey towards health and wholeness.

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