Looking (and feeling!) OztasticEvery Friday Shine editors road-test unusual products and unbelievable promises to find out what lives up to the hype and what doesn't. Warning: don't try any of this at home until we do.
It's never a good sign when the stretchy waistband of your lounge pants starts to pinch. I recently returned from vacation feeling a little bloated and stepped on the scale to discover I had gained ten pounds. Huh!? A couple of pounds, I can cope with. But 10 pounds is a bobsled ride down a slippery dulce de leche slope. My doctor once admonished me, "You can't keep gaining three pounds every year. That means in a decade you will have put on…." Well, you can do the math.
Yes, I admit I see vacation as a free pass to corn chips and girlie cocktails. However, I should have thought twice about my daily double scoop when I mused to my family that whoever coined the phrase "muffin top" was a genius and my younger daughter replied with utter sincerity, "Mommy, you don't have one of those, yours doesn't go all the way around."
Going on a diet is boring, so I procrastinated. Flipping through a People Magazine, I saw the answer. Like some golden sign shimmering in the clouds, there it was, Dr. Oz's Two-Day Cleanse. I've done a three day juice fast a couple of times and okay, it kick starts your weight loss and helps shake out the bad habits, but despite what the juice fanatics promise about "boundless energy" and "mental clarity" I was a hungry, shaky, moody wreck. I'm also concerned that all that juice without any fiber could mess with blood sugar levels and fasting can wreck your metabolism. Dr. Oz's detox consists of three light meals a day with green juice in between. It seemed doable and healthy.
Shine tries: Gluten Free Dominoes Pizza
The basic plan is to eat cooked grains with apple or pear for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch, and vegetable soup for dinner with juice and raw veggies a few times a day as a snack. No food is allowed after 7 pm. I gathered all my ingredients on a Friday-I didn't want to risk doing the plan on a weekday when I had a family to cook for and a busy work schedule.
There are a few variations of the cleanse online, so I tweaked People's program to make it as easy as possible. For instance, rather than make my own juice, I bought it from a local juice bar. Oz doesn't mention anything about coffee or tea on the plan, but I decided I wasn't prepared to jettison caffeine so I substituted green tea for my usual morning and afternoon latte. On my second day, I went for a run in the morning and drank my smoothie afterward so I wouldn't freak out. I added a salad for lunch. I also "cheated" with a couple of extra pieces of fruit.
What was it like? There is enough food, just. Going to bed before 10 pm on a Saturday night because you are a little bit hungry and have a caffeine withdrawal headache isn't the most fun, but waking up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning clear headed and ready for a jog made me feel superior to most of the human race. The soup, which is basically a bunch of chopped vegetables, including cabbage, thrown in a pot with water seemed like it would be revolting, but it was actually tasty. It's so simple and light would make it again even if I weren't watching my calories. Although I did take a nap on Saturday afternoon, I had plenty of energy throughout the weekend.
You know those people who shriek that they "feel amazing" after some eccentric eating program and you want to punch them in the face? Well, sorry, but I feel amazing! The morning after the cleanse, I woke up feeling less sluggish and puffy. I drank a coffee (which tasted incredibly delicious) but decided to stick with green tea in the afternoon. My taste buds and appetite had reset and I no longer craved junk food or processed sugar. When I stepped on the scale, I was two and a half pounds lighter. Shedding the other seven and a half pounds will take weeks, if not months, but it's an encouraging start.
Two-Day Cleanse (adapted from Dr. Oz)
Do not eat after 7 pm and drink plenty of water.
Breakfast: ¾ cup cooked millet or quinoa with chopped pears or apples and rice milk.
Lunch: Fruit smoothie. Blend one cup frozen mixed frozen berries and cherries with a banana and ½ cup (or more if too thick) rice milk. Sprinkle with one ounce of chopped walnuts.
Dinner (4 servings): Vegetable soup. Put one cup chopped onion, five cups chopped vegetables (choose from a mix of cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, artichoke hearts, carrots, swiss chard, kale, celery, and fennel), two teaspoons cumin seed, two teaspoons fennel seed, two or three cloves crushed garlic, a pinch of sea salt, and eight sprigs parsley in a pot with six cups water. Bring to a low boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove one cup of broth. Stir in three tablespoons of miso to dissolve and add back to soup. When reheating, do not boil (this kills beneficial bacteria in the miso).
Snacks: green juices, raw vegetables with lemon and sea salt, one or two pieces of fruit.
More Shine Tries It:The Neater Feeder