Having just completed the Designs for Health Paleo Cleanse Plus, this week I am going to write about my experience on the program. For me, I was doing the cleanse to help with digestive issues that meant I was not processing food properly, my body wasn't doing it's natural detoxing efficiently and this was resulting in bad breakouts and cystic acne as well as abdominal discomfort, acid reflux, bloating and food sensitivities. 

Half way through the detox plan I did a Fraxel laser treatment on my face to try and improve old acne scars. As I was healing from this I broke out quite badly so I don't feel I can comment much on whether the cleanse improved my skin but I can share my diary with how my body felt during the cleanse and afterward.  

Day 1- Two smoothies, two pill packets. One meal of salmon, steamed chard and jasmine rice. Lemon vinaigrette.

Body didn't really notice much until the afternoon where it got extremely hungry and a bit spacey which improved after dinner. Guess this is just a kick start as to what is about to happen. I did some light, gentle yoga to get my body flowing which helped ease some of the initial feelings of panic that I couldn't eat all day!

Day 2- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of beef stew with bone broth, carrots, zucchini onions and potatoes.

Today I experienced a lot of brain fog and lack of focus. I went for a gentle swim to try help get the endorphins flowing but I did feel very wiped afterward and as I was working, my thinking process was extremely slow and spaced.

Day 3- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of left over beef stew with brown rice and pea shoots. (lunch)

I felt so very tired today, my body just wanted to rest, I think that day three is the worst when going through any detox as your body is adjusting, but the amount of brain fog and total lack of focus made me a bit useless to do anything of value. I decided to take my meal for lunch today which helped boost a little energy through day but got a bit of nausea in the evening before my evening smoothie. I took a detox bath and have a massage which definitely helped relieve some of the worst symptoms.

Day 4- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of grilled filet mignon, grilled yams and arugula.

Felt like I had a cloud filter on my brain again, and felt extremely fatigued. As it was a weekend I lay on the beach to get some vitamin D and breathe in the fresh air. 

Day 5- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of left over filet mignon, yams, arugula and hummus.

I'm getting a little more energy and focus but still an overall sensation of fatigue, I had a meeting in the evening and felt adrenalin kicking in to get me through. But now my head has started feeling little congested and slightly woozy.

Day 6- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of turkey burger with kale and quinoa.

A little more energy is coming back to me now, I went on a walk to try and get my blood pumping but was a little light headed. There's still a feeling of wooziness and I get a little shortness of breath but I think my adrenalin has spiked because it helps me feel more energetic even though I'm tired and now I'm finding it hard to sleep and keep waking in the night. This is the day before the Fraxel treatment and my skin is looking much clearer. 

Day 7- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Grilled lemon swordfish fish with baby kale and squash.

I'm so happy to be half way through, I am now more energetic and my focus is slowly coming back to me. I'm starting to see through the fog and my mood has improved, but I do have a bit of a dull headache.

Day 8- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Collard green wrap with adzuki beans, quinoa, artichoke and beets.

I feel much more adjusted on the cleanse now, my body isn't really craving the food routine I used to have, instead the smoothies, snacks and meals are satisfying me. I actually like the smoothies and feel healthier after drinking them. It's like my body enjoys smacking up all their nutrients.

Day 9- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of mixed vegetable soup and rice.

Even though I'm not so hungry I am craving food a bit and because I am feeling tired and week I want to snack more. Trying to ignore my cravings for tortilla chips and a margarita! 

Day 10- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Pure mince Beef burgers with baby lettuce and yam.

Oh dear, feeling weak and tired again so as it's a weekend I went to an afternoon movie then stayed home and watched documentaries. I have a dull headache again and my mood is a little off, also I think the lack of action and stimulation is affecting my sleep in the evening, but I don't have the energy to do much in the day. I hope this balances out! 

Day 11- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Grilled filet mignon with arugala and arichoke salad and sweet potato

Urghh! This was THE HARDEST day, I lost alllllll my energy and had the worst headache, so was unable to do much activity, thankfully it's a Sunday! This cleanse is really taking a toll, feeling a little flu-like with an awful headache I've been unable to shake off. Just wanted to curl up the entire day and nurse my aching head!

Day 12- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Vegetable salad with tuna

I managed to recover enough for an all day meeting, adrenalin kicked in and even felt like I was seeing through a filter and a hazy head I managed to be pretty focused. Still finding it hard to sleep.

Day 13- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Chicken kebab with roasted peppers and onions, rice and spinach

Tomorrow is the last day, had a little headache but generally feeling much more energy. Taking hot and cold showers to help assist the detox. 

Day 14- Two smoothies, two pill packets, One meal of Two smoothies, salmon, root vegetables, steamed kale

Last day! I am not feeling too hungry or weak any more. The headache seems to have gone too but I am ready to eat properly again and treat myself to some chips and a glass of wine! I have a lot more energy, but also I think that it is because I know this is over tomorrow!! I do think I'll actually miss these shakes though, they taste good!!


After the cleanse I realized that a lot of the time we eat and fill ourselves up with food out of habit and pleasure rather than actually needing what we are feeding ourselves with. I have become a lot more mindful to food that actually supports the body nutritionally and makes it feel good rather than food which is processed, unhealthy or empty calories. On this diet I had no sugar aside from blueberries, and found the even eating a sweet potato felt so sweet to me, once I adjusted I really began to taste food more, it became more flavorful. I will try to keep up my food choices with natural whole foods and fresh, organic foods.

My stomach problems subsided on the cleanse. Aside from one night when I ate broccoli and got bloated immediately, the rest of the meals felt very gentle on my digestion and I didn't have any acid reflux, indigestion, cramps or pains. Most of my symptoms were in fatigue and brain fog, I didn't have any bad symptoms connected to my stomach. I did expect that I would be going to the bathroom a few times each day but I only went once. I think if I would do it again I would take something that would help flush the colon a little each day so that would perhaps reduce some of the brain fog from parasite die-off in the cleanse.

Finally, whilst I feel like I helped reset my stomach in terms of digestion and comfort, reframed my relationship to food, and became inspired to follow a healthier, whole food diet. I think the real problem I have going on in my gut is a parasitic bacteria that has over colonized and is knocking out the good bacteria. Moving forward I am now going to tackle the parasite and then replenish the bacteria levels! So this is just phase one!