There’s no shame in admitting you want to hit the reset button. But with so many detoxes and diets out there, which one is right for you? Sakara Life , a go-to for celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Chrissy Teigen, Lily Aldridge, Adriana Lima, Lena Dunham, and Hilary Duff, makes the process easy on you with a meal-delivery service (goodbye, grocery, for now!). I had the opportunity to try its newest five-day Level II Detox ($400), which is offered once a month (you can sign up now for the next one on June 4).
I’m not going to lie; it was pretty challenging. I hated it most of the time. I wanted to give in and drink a cup of coffee or glass of wine (both no-nos on the plan). But toward the end, I felt like superwoman, in a way caffeine and alcohol have never made me feel. Journey with me as I give you the low-down on the diet’s rules, what an average day of eating looks like, and whether or not it’s worth your money.
Level II Detox Rules
During the five-day cleanse, you stick to a high-fiber, low-sugar diet that eliminates meat, dairy, gluten, all sugar (including fruit), grains, nuts, nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes), soy, pesticides, chemicals, toxins, alcohol, and caffeine. What the heck is left? Well, a diet rich in veggies, legumes, seeds, herbs, adaptogens, spices, probiotics, minerals, and chlorophyll.
If you’re skeptical of the no coffee and no alcohol rules, co-founder Danielle DuBoise explains, “While studies have shown that coffee is good in moderation, it also depletes minerals in the body, stripping away a lot of what your body wants and needs. Alcohol is a sugar that feeds a type of bacteria in your gut that prevents your stomach’s good bacteria from flourishing.”
The Level II Detox program, developed in partnership with Dr. Aviva Romm, aims to reduce inflammation, improve digestion and metabolism, balance hormones, and boost all of the body’s cleansing systems (liver, colon, and kidneys). In addition to the rules, you’re also not supposed to work out on the plan, but you can do some gentle stretches. Sakara Life found that more than 95 percent of past Level II Detox clients saw immediate results, including improved digestion, decreased cravings, and weight loss.
If you’re curious how you’ll feel day-to-day on the Level II Detox, allow me to share my experience. I found that day one was pretty easy, as my body was getting used to its new diet. I had a decent amount of energy through the day but felt like a complete zombie at night.
Day two was hands down the hardest (be forewarned). I felt hungover, even though I didn’t have anything to drink. I was also incredibly tired and took a lot of naps throughout the day (one of the perks of working at home). While I felt a little guilty about my 1 pm and then 4pm daily snoozes, I tried not to beat myself up, as I was advised to be kind to my body during these five days.
By day three, I felt much better. My body started getting used to the detox. I noticed my cravings for unhealthy food and drinks went away, my energy was back, and overall I was calm. Day four switches everything up as you don’t eat any solid foods, kind of like a juice cleanse. This is when I started seeing changes in my body, skin, and energy. My complexion was clearer and dewy almost, and my stomach was flatter. I also had intense waves of energy that made me feel like superwoman. Day five was really exciting, because I got to eat solid foods again, which made it easier to slowly transition back into eating normally.
A Day on the plan
Alright, ready for the nitty-gritty? Here’s what a typical day on Level II Detox looks like:
1. Upon Waking: Kick off each day by drinking a cup of water with five drops of Sakara Life’s Beauty Water Concentrate, which tastes like rose water. According to DuBoise, this “will change the way you hydrate.” It’s made up of 72 trace minerals that help alkalize your system, replenish hydration, and detoxify the body. The Beauty Water Concentrate contains the mineral silica, which is important for healthy hair, skin, bones, and nails. It also contains rose, an anti-inflammatory.
2. Morning: Every morning and evening, detoxers use a dry brush to brush the entire body in long circular motions in the shower without the water on. You start at your feet and work your way up to your heart. Then you rinse off the dead skin. The point? Since your skin is your largest detoxification organ, dry brushing helps eliminate toxins from your body by unclogging pores and releasing toxins that are trapped in your skin. Dry brushing was somewhat painful the first time, especially on sensitive areas, but it actually does help wake up the body. You’ll need it on this caffeine-free diet.
3. Breakfast: At first glance, you may think the meals look like rabbit food, but they’re actually full of flavor and are filling. Breakfasts consist of a vegetable medley like Sakara Life’s Sunshine Squash Protein Frittata. The dishes also have an extremely tasty dipping sauce plus a Daily Morning Pack of supplements. This includes B complex for energy and mental clarity, an adaptogen for stress relief and hormone help, an antioxidant booster for your kidneys, taurine for anti-aging, and a vitamin for digestive and immune support. The only exception is that day four breakfast is a thick green detox juice that will leave you feeling satiated.
4. Mid-Morning: In the middle of the morning, sip on two cups of caffeine-free digestive tea that contains herbs to help settle the stomach, activate your liver, and reduce bloat. It encourages you to drink a lot of water too.
5. Lunch: Lunch is another tasty plant-based meal like rainbow kitchari with gut-healing sauerkraut and mouth-watering chia seed crackers. Other examples include zucchini jicama noodles with a lemon herb dressing, cabbage dumplings in a ginger broth, and a cleansing kale salad. Day four lunch is an alkalizing ginger-carrot soup.
6. Afternoon: After lunch, you drink another two cups of the digestive tea, which really works as a nice afternoon pick-me-up despite not having any caffeine. On day four, you get another green detox blend with your tea.
7. Before Dinner: All days include this yummy pre-dinner snack. Kefir is best described as a chewy coconut water (there are little pieces of coconut meat in the beverage). It’s rich in electrolytes and has probiotic powder mixed in. The kefir helps boost your metabolism and hydrates your cells. It also has 20 billion bacterial cells in the probiotic blend for a “balanced microbe.”
8. Dinner: Days one through four calls for a medicinal broth that you blend and heat up. The broth has 20 medicinal mushrooms (no, not those kind of mushrooms), spices, omegas, and ancient herbs. The broth activates the liver to aid in digestion. In addition, it balances the body’s acidity, heals the gut lining, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. You’ll feel calm after drinking it. You also take four magnesium supplements with dinner to speed up digestion and remove toxins. On day five, you’ll end with another plant-based meal, which will feel like a treat.
9. Evening: You end every night of the detox with another dry brush scrub and a nightcap of Detox Water Concentrate, a blend of chlorophyll with 72 trace minerals. Chlorophyll is cleansing and oxygenating for the blood and also has magnesium.
Life After the Detox
I’ve done a lot of detoxes before and often find myself going back to my vices immediately, but Sakara Life Level II Detox made it easier to go back to the real world with its transition guide that includes a ton of recipes and tips. I even found myself drinking less coffee and alcohol after the detox. Instead of that second cup of coffee or third glass of wine before bed, I found myself going for a cup of herbal tea or Sakara Life’s Detox Water Concentrate instead. The best part is you have a lot of leftover beauty and detox concentrates, which I find myself still using in the morning and at night. I would recommend this detox wholeheartedly even though the cost is pretty steep. I find myself eating healthier and feeling better thanks to it.
Have you ever had luck on a detox? Tell us about it on Twitter @BritandCo !
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(Photos via Sakara Life and Gabi Conti / Brit + Co)