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14 Days: Eliminating Caffeine, Sugar, Gluten

by jenny sansouci on October 16, 2012

Today is my 2nd day of eliminating caffeine, sugar and gluten from my diet. More specifically, I’m doing the Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman cleanse, which I’ll outline in more detail below – but these 3 things (caffeine, sugar and gluten) are the things I’m most interested in experimenting with – kicking them to the curb for a little while.

Why? Well, my diet is pretty clean in general, so Dr. Lipman’s cleanse isn’t a crazy detour for me, but on this cleanse I have to cut out raw chocolate, kombucha and yerba mate – 3 things I’ve been relying on (heavily, it feels) daily. All of these things are fine and healthy, but sometimes I have a tendency to get all super addicty about them. When I say this I mean I can feel myself self-medicating with this stuff – “needing it,” going out of my way to get it, using it to give me a boost. I’ve even begun to dedicate that Lumineers song to my favorite raw chocolate. “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart…” You know the one.

I mean, you’re probably thinking if these are my vices, f*cking big deal, at this point I’m not medicating myself with cocaine, adderall or venti iced coffees packed with splenda. OH GOD, splenda just makes me cringe…But still – even these healthier things do have sweeteners and caffeine and sometimes I can just feel when my body needs a break.

How do I know? For one, I’ve been feeling more tired lately. Granted, I’m living the life of a “transient badass,” as my friend coined it, traveling and staying in different places all the time – that’s gotta lead to fatigue in anybody. But all the caffeine and sweeteners (even most natural sweeteners raise your blood sugar) can definitely lead to fatigue and are probably not helping. So I’m ditching it all for awhile to see how I feel. Just the fact that it absolutely terrifies me to give up raw chocolate and kombucha for even 1 day means I should probably chill out on it for a hot second.

What about gluten? I don’t think I consume much gluten in general, but it’s the kind of thing that just slips in here and there. Eating gluten can also lead to fatigue and general distress of the digestive system, so I’m totally down to see how I feel with none of it in me.

The reason I’m doing the Be Well Cleanse specifically is because I was generously gifted one from Dr. Frank Lipman, and I thought this would be the perfect time to try it. This isn’t a juice cleanse or anything - you can eat real food every day, you just get rid of harmful foods and common irritants, and add in some extra cleansing nutrients and supplements.

Dr. Lipman’s cleanse includes shakes, glutamine (to control sugar cravings) and enzyme/herb supplements in addition to eating a specific diet. It’s a lot, I admit, since I don’t normally take any supplements at all. But I’m trying it, because I like trying stuff, and I respect Dr. Lipman’s work. He’s an MD who has also trained in alternative medicine, and he combines ancient medical wisdom with modern nutritional science, which is pretty awesome. I’m currently reading his book “Revive – it’s all about how to stop feeling “spent.” It’s really good stuff.

The cleanse is formulated to help you gain better energy and mental clarity, remove the crap and load your body with lots of cleansing nutrients so you have a heightened sense of well-being. Who doesn’t want that?

So what foods are being eliminated in the Be Well Cleanse?

Gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, sugar/most sweeteners, alcohol, most animal products (certain fish and a few other organic, free-range meats are allowed), peanuts, nightshade veggies, and certain fruits. See full list here.

What CAN you eat on this cleanse?

Lots of awesome stuff. Green juices galore! Most fruits and veggies (including kale and avocados, my 2 favorite foods) raw nuts & seeds, beans, certain fish and animal protein if you want, almond/rice/hemp/brazil nut milk, non-gluten grains like quinoa and brown rice, all herbs and spices, select oils and vinegars, a few select sweeteners, herbal teas. So no starvation here! This is my kind of cleanse.

At the end of this 14 days I’m hoping to feel more energized, mentally clearer, and less reliant on my favorite caffeinated treats. :)

Someone recently referred to cleansing as “liberating yourself.” I love that and it’s exactly how I feel – so much better than thinking of it as “depriving yourself.” I truly think eliminating things that are harming you is a GIFT to your body and mind and life. I’ve experienced tremendous freedom from eliminating things completely in the past and I know the power of it. Commitment is freedom, in so many cases. It’s all in the way you think about it…which makes me think of one of my favorite quotes:

“You know what your problem is, Shapiro? It’s that you just have this really shitty way of looking at things, ya know? I don’t have that problem. I just look at the dopeness. But you…it’s like you just look at the wackness.” -from The Wackness

That’s how I like to look at this. The dopeness is that I’m getting rid of things that are making me feel like crap, liberating myself from addictive tendencies, and showering my body with vital nutrients so I can wake up every day and be awesome. I know. It’s exciting.

So, if you’re feeling fatigued and want to do your own version of a get-rid-of-fatigue cleanse, try just cutting out caffeine, sugar and gluten for awhile and see how it feels. If you want to try Dr. Lipman’s cleanse you can get it here. I’ll write another recap when I’m done.

If you’re kicking any of these things to the curb, or you’ve tried the Be Well Cleanse, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherrie @ Living Simply Gluten Free October 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Great blog post! I’ve been ‘cleansed’ of gluten for over three years now and I’ve never felt better . . . but, sugar and caffeine {tea + chocolate only} would be a definite challenge.

Gluten is in everything, ugh – so hard to stay away from cross-contamination. I am interested to see how this turns out for you. Thanks for your inspiration!

-Sherrie

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jenny sansouci November 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Thanks for sharing, Sherrie! Congrats on being gluten-free for 3 years. That is so cool. You must feel great. :)

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Carrie Gabriel October 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Jenny,
Way to go! I just finished a cleanse very similar to yours, from a company called blessedherbs.com. The major difference is that you are only supposed to eat for energy, but the foods you can eat are all the same as the ones you are allowed to eat. It is amazing how AMAZING I feel, and it has definitely made me look at food differently. I will be curious to know how you feel once your cleanse is over. :D

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jenny sansouci November 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

So cool to hear how great you feel after your cleanse, Carrie! I’ll definitely look into it, it sounds pretty rad.

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andie October 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Jenny, congrats on the cleanse! I just finished leading + partaking in the Be Renewed: Autumn Balance Cleanse myself and it was divine. It’s such a gift to retreat from these stimulants. Caffeine is my biggest vice and I’ve found it very easy to stay away since the cleanse. I look forward to hearing how you feel on your cleanse. Here’s to green juice + kale galore! :)

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jenny sansouci November 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Awesome, andie — and YES! I feel so much better without all the caffeine. Green juice and kale make everything feel better. :)

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Ansley October 30, 2012 at 11:14 am

Jennyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

I love when you do stuff like this! I can’t wait to read your post when you’re done! I am super busy with working full time and taking 3 grad classes, but I think I’d like to give this a try over my Christmas break. You’re awesome! Keep up the good work! :D

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jenny sansouci November 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Ansley, YOU’RE awesome. Let me know if you do try the cleanse. It’s fun!

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Lara November 21, 2012 at 11:49 am

I am actually very surprised that you eat gluten, I thought this website is about healthy food

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jenny sansouci November 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Hi Lara, I barely really eat gluten, but it’s just not something I’ve ever consciously cut out 100% – so it was a fun experiment. I’m a work in progress just like everyone else. :)

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Blaze January 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm

How did you feel at the end of the cleanse?

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