My First Nutritional Cleanse

In the past, my attitude toward cleanses has typically been some combination of “and how exactly is high dosing cayenne pepper and lemon juice supposed to do anything but destroy your toilet?” and “what the hell is a spiritual cleanse?”  However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence (some real science as well, but it’s not a tremendously well-studied area) that various cleanses and detoxes, when performed correctly with adequate nutritional support, can have a positive impact on health and performance.

I was exposed to Dr. Robert Rakowski’s 7 Day Cleanse a few years ago at my first BioSignature course, when Charles Poliquin explained it as one of the protocols available to practitioners.  Unlike many popular cleanses, this one actually involves more than just a “eat fifty lemons a day for a week” level of simplicity, and has multiple components to support healing of the body.  Here’s a quote I found directly from Charles explaining the cleanse he advocates:

“Before I even get started, I want to be clear in how I define a cleanse. It is the process of improving or increasing the body’s ability to remove toxins from your internal environment. I’m not talking about colonic therapy and I’m not talking about joining Hollywood celebrities at a posh detox center. A cleanse involves reducing the amount of toxins coming into the body and increasing the amount of toxins leaving the body. Another component of a cleanse is to reduce the amount of toxins your body creates which requires adequate nutritional support.”

In essence, here is what is involved:

  • using various forms of medical food powders as the foundation for nutritional support over a 7-day period (best selected based on the individual’s BioSignature results)
  • supplementing with greens and reds “superfoods” and glutamine in between meals to alkalize the body and increase nutritional support of detoxification
  • adding in a limited amount of appropriately selected supplements based on the individual’s needs for the cleanse (examples from the Poliquin line – Yang R-ALA to help chelate heavy metals, P1P2 Balance to support phase II detox through the liver, Magnesium Glycinate and Topical Mag cream to lower cortisol from the stress of detoxing, DIM 2.0 to enhance detoxification of estrogens)
  • various forms of physical activity to increase circulation and help mobilize toxins through the body (strength training, massage, infrared sauna, foam rolling)

I began my first day the day after we returned home from the hospital with our newborn son (because hey, why NOT get it all out of the way at once?) and my daily outline looked something like this:

5am
2tbsp Primal Fiber 2
1tbsp Primal Greens or Reds
1tbsp glutamine
15 BCAA Excellence

7am
2-3 scoops Primal Clear 2.0
1tsp glycine
1 DIM 2.0
1 Calcium D-Glucarate
1 D3 Excellence
2 EPA/DHA 720 Blend
3 Yang R-ALA

10am
2-3 scoops Estrogenomics
1tsp glycine
3 Multi Intense Iron Free
1 Methylator Support
2 P1P2 Balance

12pm
1tbsp Primal Greens or Reds
1tbsp glutamine
1 DIM 2.0
1 Calcium D-Glucarate
1 D3 Excellence
2 EPA/DHA 720 Blend
3 Yang R-ALA
15 BCAA Excellence

2pm
2-3 scoops Primal Clear 2.0
1tsp glycine
3 Multi Intense Iron Free
2 P1P2 Balance

5pm
2-3 scoops Estrogenomics
1tsp glycine
1 DIM 2.0
1 Calcium D-Glucarate
1 D3 Excellence
2 EPA/DHA 720 Blend
4 Magnesium Glycinate

8pm
1tbsp Primal Greens or Reds
1tbsp glutamine
15 BCAA Excellence
4 Magnesium Glycinate

10pm (bedtime)
2tbsp Primal Fiber 3.1
2 ProFlora Excellence
1 pump Topical Mag (applied to the carotid artery)

Each day for 7 days, you also choose 1 green vegetable to eat an unlimited amount of. I shot for at least 3 cups of each veggie per day using the following – broccoli, celery, spinach, zucchini, cucumber, snow pea pods, and asparagus. After the 4th day, roughly 2 cups a day of brown, wild or purple rice are added back in.

For physical activity, you want to do something every day for about 20-30 minutes to work up a sweat and increase circulation, but you do NOT want to increase lactic acid in the bloodstream. I trained 4 days out of 7, picking 2 exercises and doing 10 sets of 3 with short rest intervals. For example,

A1) Heel elevated back squat, 10×3, 40X0, no rest
A2) Romanian deadlift, 10×3, 50X0, 30 seconds rest

I tried to pick weights that I could handily hit at least 6 reps with under normal training conditions. I also did some form of foam rolling every single day for about 10-15 minutes, and did one 30-minute treatment in an infrared sauna to pull out plastics and heavy metals.

I have had a few clients do this before, as well as my wife, and the first few days are typically the hardest (one of my clients once told me she felt like she had been possessed by a demon she was so irritable the first 3 days), but honestly, the entire 7 days was an absolute cakewalk for me. No headaches, no irritability, no cravings, no sprinting for the bathroom to “free the demons,” nothing. When I finished I felt like I could have handled another week of it with no problems. Not everybody tends to be that lucky though, typically 7 days is more than enough time to make changes and see results.

So what results did I see?  During the week my bodyfat dropped from 11.3% to 10.2%, my scale weight dropped from 166 to 158, and promptly rebounded back to 164 within 2 days of eating regular meals, and my training didn’t suffer.  My digestion has also improved and I’ve been able to reduce caffeine intake by about 25% by resting my adrenals for the week.

If you suffer from IBS, extreme fatigue, estrogen management issues, or are likely to have a buildup of toxins circulating in your body (for example, living in a very metropolitan area such as Chicago, Los Angeles or New York), a 7-day cleanse done once or twice a year may be what your body needs to keep progressing.