My Dr. Stephen Cabral Detox Experience
Hi friends! I am writing to you mid-detox, because I wanted this post to act as both of a journal, and reference point for anyone considering the detox I’ve been doing. In case you were wondering, or don’t follow me on Instagram, I have been doing the Dr. Stephen Cabral Detox. My friend Laura, who seems to be my voice of reason/expertise whenever I am facing a health-related issue, suggested I do the detox. However, it had been on my radar since I had heard her rave about it in the past.
Let me be totally honest and say I am not usually a big fan of “detoxes” or “cleanses”. I’ve tried juice cleanses and either failed miserably or didn’t feel like it made a difference. I’ve done the Whole30, which made me feel good, but didn’t solve any major issues, and I wasn’t great at the Low FODMAP diet. Let’s just say, I find detoxes, cleanses and elimination diets to be difficult. But something about the Dr. Stephen Cabral detox felt different. 2 fast days, 5 “eating” days. The detox came with a booklet of foods we could eat, anything that wasn’t on the list, was a no. While the list was minimal, it was manageable…and all foods I could work with. It is recommended to avoid coffee, but if you must drink it stick to 6oz of black coffee in the morning, so I did that. No sparkling water or alcohol was allowed either. Fine (ugh).
Needless to say, while this detox felt like the most difficult dietary challenge I’ve ever given myself, I felt more determined to complete it successfully than I did with any other Whole30, Low FODMAP, etc. Perhaps this time I was ready to feel good. I was ready to solve whatever these digestive issues are that I’ve been having for YEARS.
SPOILER: I set out to do a 21-day detox, and did about a 12-day. THIS. WAS. HARD. for me. I think if you have serious willpower and self-control, you’ll be fine. I wish I had stuck with my gut instinct and started with a 7-day detox. I think that would’ve been far more manageable for me the first time around.
Along with the detox, Laura suggested I complete an Organic Acids Test. I’ll let you read more about that on the Dr. Stephen Cabral site. My results came back and told me what I was anticipating: I have candida and bacterial overgrowth in my gut, so my next steps are to work towards healing those issues. More on that later.
Anyway, let’s get into the details shall we? I hope you find this post helpful, both if you’re considering the detox or are mid-detox yourself.
Days 1-2 were what I were the most nervous about. I knew to expect headaches, tiredness, and serious hanger. However, had I cut coffee out of my diet I know the headaches and tiredness would’ve been worse. On days 1 and 2, the only things you consume are 4 shakes (1/2 a serving than the shakes on days 3-5) and 2 different supplements in the morning and evening. You’re allowed herbal tea and water, but no food is recommended on either day to give your body the time to focus less on digesting your food, and more on detoxification and healing.
Day 1 was really not too bad. I was a little hungry in the afternoon (that 3pm hunger monster), but my shake held me over until dinner. Dinner was when things got tricky. I started to crave chewing! As strange as it sounds! I also was really desperate for fat. There is no fat in the shake mix, which made me realize my body craves fats throughout the day (nuts, olive oil, avocado, etc.). I pushed through and went to bed early.
Day 2 was where things got tough. I woke up moderately hungry, but got CRAZY light headed upon standing from bed. I could hardly make my shake without feeling like I was going to pass out. It is recommended to add 1/2 cup of blueberries to your shake, should you feel, well, shaky. My heart was pounding and my blood sugar had dropped way too low. I experienced a bit of nausea the second day as well. All normal, just uncomfortable. The fat cravings continued into day two, so I cheated a little and let myself have a tablespoon of olive oil (one of my favorite things) and a handful of cashews. I was desperate. Definitely not recommended, but my hanger was out of control (let’s say the cashews were added for my husbands’ sake :) ). Also while this may be TMI for some, I’d like to note I didn’t have a bowel movement the first two days of the detox, which is normal. My pee also smelled like asparagus the first two days, which meant I was detoxing!
Here’s a little tip for you if you’re considering doing the detox….order the chocolate powder. The Cabral team reached out to me on Instagram to see if I wanted to do a 7-day detox and share my experience (the detoxes come in 7, 14, and 21-day options), which was funny since I had already ordered a 21-day detox. I asked them to send me the vanilla powder to try, since I had already ordered the chocolate. Since you’re just drinking the powder with water, I would NOT recommend the vanilla. It has a really strange aftertaste, and isn’t particularly pleasant. I enjoyed the chocolate a lot, and will save the vanilla for smoothies post-detox.
Day 3 felt like my birthday, but better! I could finally EAT! OMG! I had my shake for breakfast (but with 2 scoops of powder finally), and spent the early afternoon meal prepping! Lunch was the most delicious salad I had EVER had. I likely went overboard with the number of veggies that was “allowed” but I felt great afterwards, and didn’t experience the crash that many people said they did after lunch on day 3. 3pm came and we are allowed another shake, and dinner was another veggie-based meal with some chicken…which I devoured (mindfully!).
Day 4 I felt amazing. No dizziness, complete bowl movements. I will spare you many of the overlapping details (the schedule/mealtimes), but did notice on day 4 some breakouts on my forehead and in between my eyebrows. I went straight over to Dr. Google and looked up “Skin Mapping Acne”. Lo and behold, what do I find? These areas are representative of the intestines and liver! AKA! Detoxification was happening! Our skin, urine and stool tells us so much about our bodies during the detoxification process. I find this stuff fascinating. I will say, I got pretty grumpy on the evening of day 4. It was a Friday night, I was itching for a glass of wine, and honestly, I was pretty bored. This cleanse has helped me see that I definitely turn to alcohol to relax and unwind, which I hope to change in the future.
Day 5 was a Saturday, and I definitely cheated a little. I probably had a few snacks when I wasn’t “supposed” to. I don’t feel too bad about it, since the snacks were all healthy, but I was snacking when I was meant to be just having my shakes. This definitely caused some bloat. I’ve also realized that while I am not intolerant to either, both chickpeas and sweet potatoes cause MAJOR bloat for me. I made purple sweet potato rounds for dinner, which are absolutely delicious and sweet. However, they make my stomach crazy bloated. Something I knew before, but doing this detox solidified the fact that they make my tummy hurt.
Day 6 was tricky because I had a baby shower mid-day. I had my normal shake in the morning (added a handful of blueberries to keep my blood sugar levels higher), and it was pretty easy to make myself a detox-compliant lunch at the baby shower. But what I didn’t anticipate was how HANGRY I’d get post-shower. The shower went on about an hour longer than I anticipated, so I came home afterwards and was absolutely starving. I downed my shake, which made my stomach hurt, and didn’t give myself enough time to feel full afterwards, so I ate some crispy chickpeas, and a few pieces of my purple sweet potato. This was a recipe for a horrible stomach ache, and actually made me super lethargic. I was proud of myself for being good at the shower, but let my hanger takeover afterwards which left me feeling frustrated, and exhausted.
Day 7 I pretty much had things down to a routine. I am really enjoying the shakes in the morning, they are so easy, taste pretty good (the chocolate…not the vanilla), and doesn’t require any thought on my end.
Week 1 Recap: I am feeling pretty good after my first week. All in all, while I’m not feeling too much less bloated than normal, I feel lighter and more energized. For week 2 I am going to cut back on chickpeas and purple sweet potatoes, as I feel they contribute to some of the bloat I’m having. I also need to be better about sticking with the 3-3.5 hour time gaps between meals. This is easier on shake days, when I’ve blocked off my day to enable my body to rest. The only major cravings I’m having are for fats (cashews, walnuts, avocado, olive oil), which I’ve let my body have some, and sugar. If anything, I think this cleanse will help re-train my body to rely less on packaged goods (even if they are healthy), and turn to real food first.
Day 8 was tough for me. I’m not going to lie, I cheated on the fast today. The first day of the fast is more difficult for me, because there feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I was STARVING even after the shakes, and needed something to get my blood sugar levels up. I “allowed” myself to have 1/2 an apple and a handful of cashews. Neither are not allowed on the detox, but berries weren’t giving me a sugar boost I felt my body needed. Definitely a bummer, but what can you do? My liver is still benefitting from the detox, but it wasn’t worth feeling lightheaded all day.
You’ll see my journey ended here. I wasn’t up for documenting the final few days, because not much changed in my opinion. However, if you’re considering the detox, I would definitely recommend it. After my first week I felt lighter, less bloated, and more energized. I personally wished I had started with a 7-day detox to get a feel for how the program worked and made me feel, but you live and you learn. I really did enjoy the experience, and do think I’ll do it again in the future.