Frequently Asked Questions about the GreenSmoothieGirl Detox Program
HOW MUCH DOES THE DETOX COST?
One of our beta testers is very frugal, a 32-year-old tennis coach who lives alone. She spent $350 in the 26 days of the detox. She told me many of the ingredients are things she hadn’t ever eaten before—in some cases had never heard of. Many of the things she had to purchase are things that have a life beyond the detox. Salt-free seasoning and other ingredients are far from “used up” and can now be part of your cooking repertoire, saving you money in the future. Another, also a single woman, said she spent $1,000 less on her credit card the month she did the detox. She wrote me, “I know it’s because I wasn’t eating out.”
WHAT IF I’M NOT LOSING WEIGHT?
Every one of our beta testers lost a significant amount of weight in the first phase of the detox. (My daughter and I each lost 7 lbs., despite being already in our “ideal” weight range, and those who had a more significant amount of weight to lose lost 8-20 lbs.) If you did not lose weight in Phase One, you should definitely go to a practitioner in natural (bioidentical) hormone solutions and have a workup. Not just a T3 measurement, but a full blood panel. It is fairly expensive and many insurance companies won’t pay for the blood test, so ask your bioidentical practitioner if she knows any M.D. to write the prescription, if that works for your insurance. But this is a must-have if you are not losing weight on 800 calories a day or less! With severely depressed thyroid function, you cannot lose weight. And this is a problem for a significant portion of the population, particularly women. Along with an inability to regulate metabolism, low thyroid will make you tired and irritable, among other symptoms. If you haven’t lost any weight, or less than you’d like in Phase II and III, see the Changing Your Body’s Weight/Fat Set Point section in the manual on the importance of leveling-off periods. These periods are normal in a sustained effort to change your body’s set point for weight and fat ratio. During these two phases, you must be patient and focus on the detox benefits. Then you should see another weight drop in the last five days of the detox. I personally lost 4 lbs. in the first phase, and another 3 lbs. in the last phase. I lost only 1 lb. in the two middle phases combined, and my weight bounced around during that period. That said, you can control your consumption of any of the dishes in this week’s menu to no more than 1½ cups, to increase the likelihood of weight loss. However, I would prefer you have a healthy helping of Lentil Soup, Hippo Soup, Black Bug Soup, oatmeal, or sweet potato to keep you feeling satisfied. Long periods of hunger are deadly to any diet because we have only so much willpower. Do not exceed quantities of avocado and nuts, if weight loss is a goal for you. In general, do not decrease your amounts of Green Smoothies or other raw food in favor of cooked food. As long as you’re following the recipe, they are not the reason you may not lose weight at some phases. Besides plain veggies, they are the lowest-calorie, highest-micronutrient thing you can eat. And because you can consume a lot of it in a short time, it fills your stomach quickly with nutrient density. So, all the raw food quantities in this program are mandatory. Cooked food is optional, and you can always eat less of it (though I highly recommend eating your full portion of breakfasts).
WHAT IF I’M LOSING TOO MUCH WEIGHT ON THIS PROGRAM?
One of my beta testers on this program was a 30-year-old single woman, already underweight, with severe gut and endocrine issues. I checked in with her daily during the detox, making suggestions, as her weight fell, as it will with anyone. As a new higher-calorie food is added into the diet, it then becomes okay for you to eat extra of that food. People who are underweight in the modern industrialized world (where high-calorie foods are ubiquitous) are generally people with major food-digestion problems who are not utilizing nutrition. They may be diagnosed or undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, leaky gut, etc. All of these are variations on a theme: the gut has become inflamed or even progressively diseased and is not functioning to utilize nutrients to maintain health. If this describes you, of course you need detoxification as much as anyone. You also need to implement as much of Step 8 in 12 Steps to Whole Foods as possible, to begin to rebuild your gut with food. (I have found that dried probiotics do not build a healthy population of microorganisms in the GI tract to heal and rebuild, although they may help support an existing colonization of beneficial flora.) But to achieve as much of the benefit of the detox protocol as possible without losing too much weight, consider increasing calories in the following ways. These ideas are highly nutritious and should not materially affect your detox in a negative way:
- Eat a couple of avocadoes every day.
- Eat a few tablespoons of good fats, including coconut oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil. Add these to your salads, Green Smoothies, or on top of sweet potatoes or oatmeal.
- Eat extra bananas and other fruits.
- Eat extra nuts and seeds, or nut and seed butter (salt free).
- Eat more of anything and everything—larger serving sizes.
WHAT IF I KNOW I HAVE SEVERE FOOD SENSITIVITIES OR ALLERGIES?
If you have digestive problems, skin problems, mood disorders, or known gluten or other allergies, I highly recommend you repeat Phase 1 on the detox. This will give you a longer period of time to rest the digestive system from all but a few nonallergenic foods. I also recommend you add another week at the end, to add in more specific foods, one per day (or at least one per meal). Document what your reactions are. Eliminating foods that are causing your problems for several months or longer as your gut heals will be critical to regaining your health.
MY DOCTOR MAKES FUN OF DETOXING—IS THIS JUST A SILLY HOAX?
Academically and visually, in my opinion, the best way to verify that colon cleansing has powerful results is to read one of Bernard Jensen’s old texts such as Dr. Jensen’s Guide to Better Bowel Care: A Complete Program for Tissue Cleansing through Bowel Management. Dr. Jensen examined over 10,000 colons in his career. He didn’t use high-tech equipment such as modern doctors use almost exclusively, but rather he put patients through a protocol that caused them to eliminate many pounds of hardened “catarrhal mucoid plaque.” That is, a buildup of materials in the lining of the small intestines and colon due to many years of eating inappropriate, heavy, difficult-to-digest, and gluey/fiber-free foods. It stands to reason that long periods of poor eating habits will cause organs of elimination to become tired and malfunction. If Dr. Jensen’s books aren’t available to you—or aren’t enough visual, obvious evidence for you—you can certainly search on the Internet and find hundreds of photos of eliminations from people who stopped eating heavy proteins and used fasting or cleanses, usually with clays and herbs, to bring long-accumulated residues out of the body. And, finally, seeing photos is one thing, but experiential learning is the most powerful. I had my doubts, too, frankly, until I underwent a serious 21-day cleanse myself nearly 20 years ago. The results shocked me and made me a believer. (It also committed and motivated me to healthier eating habits like almost nothing else could.) They were consistent with the results that had been described in Dr. Jensen’s books. (Also Richard Anderson, N.D., whose books Cleanse and Purify Thyself, Book 1 and 2, were helpful as I began to learn about detoxification some 20 years ago.) When I did a major 21-day detox, twice, years later after eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, those shocking things (cattarhal mucoid plaque) did not come out of me. Now, these suggestions to put your mind at ease about whether cleansing is actually (a) valid and (b) necessary have focused only on colon cleansing. In fact, we want you to experience purification of other body organs and systems, such as blood and lymph, liver and kidneys, lungs and skin. Crystalline buildup in kidneys and gall bladder, through flushing and eating nourishing alkaline foods, can be naturally broken down. That way you’ll never even know that eventually they would have put you through the very painful experience of passing “stones.” Fiber will bind to bile and remove a much higher amount of the byproducts of your own cells’ breakdown and sloughing off, but will also carry away chemicals that may have had residual effect for many years trapped in various organs. It makes sense that residues remain, since the body was not designed to digest, assimilate, or eliminate a heavy chemical load. Part of that will be in resting from the usual onslaught of bad foods most people subject their body to. But for the most effective elimination through all of those organs, you are highly encouraged to participate in all of the parts of the detox, including skin brushing, deep breathing, and drinking an appropriate amount of water.
WHAT IF I MESS UP?
If you had to travel and didn’t plan ahead, or you went to a work party and succumbed to a temptation, all is not lost. (Although you’ll be happier with yourself, and with the outcomes, if you are a purist on the cleanse. It is worth it!) Do not quit on the process just because you made a mistake. Go right back to the program and pick up where you left off. A 95 percent detox is about 95 percent better than 0 percent detox. So forgive yourself, pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and soldier on. What will happen? Well, now the body has to spend a bit of time recovering from the insult, just as it was getting some momentum in the focused “house cleaning” and “rebuilding” tasks it was working on. It will need to contain and clean up after the invaders, and that diverts attention away from the process we had begun. If you find yourself bored by the prescribed diet and wanting something different, eat a plate of fruit or put some unsalted butter on your baked potato or yam. Or put a pinch of stevia or maple syrup, some coconut milk or coconut cream, and a shake of cinnamon in your oatmeal. These ideas will give you a treat without dramatically sabotaging your cleanse program.
WHY NOT 100% RAW? WHY POTATOES, YAMS, & OATMEAL (COOKED FOOD)?
In early 2011, I traveled to speak in the Pacific Northwest with my friend, author, nutritionist, and raw-food celebrity David Wolfe. He said in one of our lectures, “If I were going to eat cooked food, I would eat sweet potatoes and oatmeal.” Later that year, I was reading all of the materials produced by the Gerson Institute (and Dr. Max Gerson). The Gerson Therapy, whose track record against cancer far exceeds the success of modern oncology, features 13 glasses daily of raw vegetable and fruit and green juices. This did not surprise me. But it also has featured, for 70 years now, lots of well-cooked potatoes, oatmeal, cooked Hippo soup, and occasional brown rice and sweet potato. Why? Gerson points out that, baked or boiled in its jacket, a potato is good food. It and oatmeal are high in vitamins and minerals. But more than that, for immune-compromised people, it provides lots of bulk and fiber, for good digestion, for a feeling of fullness, and for a soft cushion in the 30+ feet of gastrointestinal tract. This slows absorption of the fresh juices and many vegetables called for in the Gerson protocol. Only Level II participants in this detox will be juicing vegetables and fruits. However, for many people suffering from chronic health problems, a buffer from the natural-but-strong power of many raw vegetables and pure juices can be soothing and easier to digest than just raw food alone. Also, for an extended period of time, cleansing can be accomplished more comfortably if there is bulk in the stomach from these simple, nutritious, but soft and cooked foods. My own family is deeply indebted to the Gerson Therapy, as my grandmother followed the diet to the letter in the early 1980s. She consequently beat metastatic melanoma cancer, which her M.D. in Houston told her was 99 percent fatal without chemotherapy and radiation. The Gerson Therapy, which I have researched (and read hundreds of its detailed case studies of cured cancer patients), and the Dr. Ann Wigmore Institute, the Budwig Institute, and the Hippocrates Institute, all of which I have studied at, have heavily influenced my thoughts about good orthomolecular medication and nutrition. The principles and practices that underpin it have left a major imprint on this detox program. I am grateful for the work of Dr. Max Gerson, Dr. Ann Wigmore, Dr. Johanna Budwig, Dr. Brian Clement, and others who have advanced the true principles that when the body is provided optimal living and plant-based food and juices, its natural, powerful immune function is stimulated and supported to eradicate many chronic degenerative diseases of the modern age.
WHAT IF MY SYMPTOMS CONTINUE EVEN AFTER PHASE I?
In Phase I, we’ve eliminated meat, dairy, all processed foods, and also nutritious foods that include fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. These are classes of foods that have the most reactions. Foods with the highest numbers of reactions are dairy products, nuts, and grains. If you still have symptoms even in the first week, one of a couple of things may be the case:
- You have a pervasive food sensitivity (more likely a stronger reaction than just a “sensitivity,” possibly a true allergy) to a food whose presence still is having an effect. To test this, you may want to repeat Phase I and take an extra week on the elimination program to see if symptoms abate with a bit more time. You are reacting to other things in your environment besides food.
- You have some degenerative gut issues that will take time to heal.You unfortunately may have to take a longer time and develop more patience to heal from a very entrenched problem in your body. Don’t give up—just get very scientific about tracking what causes your symptoms and what gives you relief, and be very rigorous about avoiding the forbidden classes of foods.
It’s not just about food sensitivities. It’s about eliminating foods that take longer to digest, in the interest of giving many systems a much-deserved rest. So don’t “cheat” and set back your cleanse by introducing a food we are eliminating for a good reason.
DO I HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING ON THE MENU PLAN?
No, you don’t. As your metabolic needs decline and you adjust to cleansing over three phases, you will likely find yourself needing less food. The raw food is the most important, although it’s okay to have less of it, as long as you aren’t eating other foods disallowed on the program. The cooked food is the least important, so eliminate those foods first if the menu plan calls for more than you want to eat. The cooked food is there for three reasons. The least important one is that some people feel they need hot, cooked food for their sense of well-being, simply because of lifelong habit. The second one is to provide enough calories to keep you comfortable while not slowing down your cleanse significantly like other refined or low-fiber foods would. And the most important reason: the cooked food is included to provide lots of fiber,the bulk that drags and cleans the digestive tract, while the raw, fresh juices are “cleaning house” with phytonutrients and rebuilding tired organs. You can eliminate any of the cooked foods, and if you want to replace it, more Green Smoothies and/or more vegetable juices are always allowed.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME TO COOK?
There are a few main dishes in Phase IV that involve 30 minutes of food prep/cooking. The rest of the food on the menu is very simple to prepare. If you don’t want to do ANY food prep, consider these two ideas:
- If you have more money than time, hire someone. I have help at $12/hour who juices for me and makes Green Smoothies and salads. I made my own everything for 43 years, so I did my time. Nothing to feel guilty about—think of a health-conscious homemaker who might be happy to have a job working several hours a week for you, where she can bring a little one along.
- Choose a “buddy” to do the detox program with you, who maybe struggles for cash paycheck to paycheck, and see if she will do the food prep if you pay for all the groceries. I have seen several symbiotic relationships with this arrangement, where everyone gets what they want most! Some people have more time, and some people have more money. Matching up one person from each of those categories can be a match made in heaven. Or share food-prep tasks with your buddy, as I describe in Phase I, and it’s easy! It’s best if your detox buddy is someone you live with, or who lives very close to you, or is a coworker. Then you can plan together and exchange food.
Another thing to consider, though, is that the most important thing in the menu plan is also one of the easiest. That’s the Green Smoothie. If you did nothing but Green Smoothies, you’d have a tremendously effective detox. (Most people prefer to chew some food, though!) Doing as much Green Smoothie, and as little other food as possible (or only the easiest things, like baked potatoes and oatmeal), is a brilliant way to rest your organs and give your body time and space to rebuild.
WHAT DO I DO IF I IDENTIFY A FOOD SENSITIVITY?
When you complete the detox, you should have a list of foods you eliminated and then added back in. For 8 hours after you eat a food you’ve added in Phase II or III, note any gastric disturbances (bloating, gas, discomfort, constipation, diarrhea) or other symptoms, like headache, fatigue, skin reactions, etc. Some foods that are very good for you can cause a reaction. For instance, my experience working with thousands of people on whole-foods habits is that highly detoxifying foods—especially greens, vegetables, coconut oil, homemade granola, etc.—will cause people’s digestion to change, sometimes radically. The obvious conclusion, for people who have not studied nutrition and for whom nutrition has not been a priority, is that this is a food that does not agree with them. It would be premature to make that conclusion. If all green foods cause detox reactions, it would be a tragedy to eliminate the most important class of foods there is. It is, then, worth it to complete an extensive cleansing process and see if digestive disturbance caused by those foods calm down. Grains causing sensitivities are another matter. You can eliminate them without causing significant deficits in your nutrition, since grains are nutritious but their properties are found in other foods. Probably due in part to genetically modified grains, most people have anywhere from a mild to a severe degenerative gut issue. Unfortunately I cannot give you a definitive chart of answers related to specific foods and their reactions. People are highly individual. This will require the analysis of a naturopathic doctor, or another physician trained in diet/nutrition, food sensitivities, and holistic health. However, the food sensitivities chart in Appendix A is a good starting place for you to explore what foods to eat more or less of.