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Max your mojo, min your muffin top!

Can a new 14-day detox help Muddy sleep better, ache less and shift half a stone of blubber? And can we stay off the gin long enough to find out?

THE LOWDOWN

A healthy body blast and maybe the shifting of a few stubborn pounds, eh? Muddy’s ears pricked up when we heard about Cleanse for Living, especially as this detox program is only 14 days long. I mean, how hard can it be? *gulps*.

It’s run by Naturopathy for Living’s Allison Sheppard (above) who’s based on the south Devon coast, a registered naturopath and nutritional therapist who divides her time between Devon, London and rather glamorously, a health retreat in Malta.

Allison wasn’t always the glowy, energetic 46 year-old she is now, with, let me say, the bod and face of someone 10 years younger. As a child, she was a sickly, eczema-suffering child who, thanks to a persistent mother who bypassed doctors unable to find a solution, had her life turned around at a young age by naturopathy, the theory diseases can be successfully treated or prevented through diet and lifestyle changes with less reliance on the medical community.

In case you’re not sure about alternative medicine or are prejudiced against gorgeous, skinny people with seemingly endless willpower (I know I am), there’s nothing airy-fairy about Allison: she’s down-to-earth, wittily open-eyed about her industry and no stranger to a glass of wine.

Allison has loads of experience, having worked with well over a thousand clients on one-to-one consultations, supported detox programmes and foreign retreats, Plus, she’s a walking-talking ad for her detox.

THE LOCATION

Everything you need is accessible online and via a closed Facebook group so you can do it from home, work, your Swiss mountain hideaway…

THE CLEANSE

The aim of the program is to give your liver a break which in turn ramps up your va-va-voom, and reduces the inflammation responsible for a surprisingly diverse array of niggles – from IBS to dark circles under your eyes, food cravings, mood swings, raging hormones, skin problems, achey joints, TATT (the feeling of being tired all the time) and many more. Losing weight is just the icing on the cake.

So it’s bye bye to this…

and hello to this…

but only for 14 days, or 336 hours – a mere 20,160 minutes until a glass of fizz.

The week before we’re sent a password for an online treasure trove of information, all the do’s and don’ts of what you can eat, recipes and meal planners,  a shopping list and advice. If you’re mad keen on coffee *hands up* she advises you cut down now so you won’t be too grumpy on day one. 

It’s split into three phases – days 1-6 of prescribed recipes (or your own versions), 7-10 liquid only (optional) and days 11 – 14 similar to the first 6 days. I followed a mix of my own menus and some of Allison’s recipes, including easy breakasts like gluten-free oats with berries and almond milk and not-so-easy Buckwheat Pancakes with Summer Berries (fifth attempt, above).

You needn’t go hungry, as calories aren’t counted, with recipes for hearty meals like Roast Cod with Spiced Puy Lentils (above), meat, fish, pulses, spicy bean burgers, filling soups and always heaps of veggies. But it’s no dairy, no gluten, no refined sugar and definitely no booze, so that when you gradually re-introduce everything at the end of the 14 days, it’s easier to see what triggers what.

You can access Allison for advice (and the other cleansers) at any time via the FB group and there are two live Q and A sessions during the 14 days with Allison, plus 180 minutes of on-line educational content, self-care techniques.

Allison supplies a list of recommended supplements, such as Ultraclear Plus (above, which tastes a bit like cold Horlicks and not a patch on what comes out of my coffee machine) potentially ramping up the cost but they aren’t essential and you can get a discount via her recommended supplier.

You’re also encouraged to up your self care with daily exercise, drinking water, plus lots of other things, like dry skin brushing and hot and cold showers (my cowardly hand hovering over the shower dial was as close as I got.) I also skipped the supported fast – I know, but I had a dinner date (and a glass of wine.)

THE MUDDY VERDICT

It wasn’t a doddle but neither was it a rollercoaster ride. Knowing in only 14 days I could eat what I liked made it so much easier than a conventional diet and because you’re not calorie counting I never felt that extreme hunger or exhaustion you can get with a conventional diet.

I did feel very achey after a few days which according to Allison is your body metabolising all the rubbish and I did have a coffee-withdrawal headache on day 2. But because you’re allowed berries and couple of pieces of fruit a day, I didn’t miss sugar. (Interestingly, Allison maintains the gut flora caused by eating sugary things creates the need for more.)

And I really enjoyed the food! So, even with a few slips ups (okay, it was two glasses of wine), by day 14, my skin looked glowier, my hair bouncier, my runner’s knee less niggly, my wellbeing was through the roof and whoop… I lost half a stone.

The best bit was where I lost the weight – from around my middle, something that being ‘a woman in my prime’ I struggle to shift. I generally felt less puffy all over and because I adopted Allison’s advice about the 80:20 rule (be good 80% of the time and naughty 20%) I actually lost a couple more pounds after.

A couple of my friends were sufficiently impressed to copy me but without the same success showing you do need the whole picture from Allison.

Finally, you might do this as way to lose weight like *I confess* I did but you will come out the other side, really thinking about the value of what you’re eating, and whether it’s good for you – a much more sustainable way to be healthy, and keep your weight from creeping up. More importantly, I feel I have a new exciting tool at my disposal – at a time in my life when weight is easier than ever to gain – and I will definitely be doing this cleanse again.

Good for: every taste and food politics from carnivores to vegans; better skin, sleep energy and mood; identifying foods causing health problems; learning new healthy dishes; stopping food cravings; a pre-holiday, wedding or partaaay boost without leaving you tired and pasty.

Not for: anyone who is pregnant; Type I diabetics and Type II diabetics on insulin; and anyone going through cancer treatment; those on medication can still join but it they are on multiple meds they might not be able to take the supplements (rare cases); extreme coffee addicts; anyone with very conservative eating habits, say if you’d rather eat your socks than cannelloni beans and hate herb tea; mums who do all the kids’ cooking might struggle with the temptation; people who travel a lot for work – eating out is tricky, unless you’re in a city with more urban options.

The damage: £49 (plus £52 for the optional Ultra Clear supplement). A steal when you consider if you did this at a foreign retreat it would set you back three figures.

Fancy giving it a go? The next Cleanse for Living runs Mon 10 – Sun 23 Jan and costs £49.

Find more ideas here

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