If I were to tell you I am a vegan, there would probably be certain things you’d assume—right? Well, I have indeed been one of those dreaded vegan types for over a year, and a strict one at that. I don’t consume animal products, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t at least partly for health reasons.
But I’m not, like, a “healthy person.” I smoke, drink, and eat far too much junk food. I haven’t been to the gym in months. I’m a vegan, but I’m not actually that healthy. For a long time I’ve been interested in trying a raw vegan diet out, in quitting cigarettes and alcohol for good, and going for runs… but then Real Life gets in the way, and I enjoy all of my vices too much to quit them.
So you can imagine when I was approached by Kaeng Raeng to try their 3-day cleanse program, I was eager but anxious. I really wanted to try it out, but I also couldn’t imagine three whole days without any of my favorite bad habits. The cleanse—which you can order in 3-day or 6-day varieties—is essentially a raw vegan diet that’s supercharged with shakes made of pea protein and psyllium husk. It’s also gluten-free, soy-free, and made from all-natural ingredients (seriously—just fruit, pea protein, and psyllium husk, that’s it). You can drink as much water and eat as much fresh, raw fruit and veg as you like, and you drink three shakes per day. Each shake contains 15g protein, probiotics and a full serving of fruit (even if you don’t add extra fruit to it). It’s simple, it’s kind, and it ensures you’re not going to turn into a raging hanger-bot. But, ultimately, it does mean three days without caffeine, alcohol and cooked food… so yes, of course I was a little anxious.
I could not have chosen a better time to try this cleanse. My husband was away for the week, and we’d just come down after a pretty intense weekend of drinking and feasting (i.e. the USMC Birthday Ball and subsequent Chipotle hangover binge). So while Husband was out in the field eating MRE’s and shooting guns, I stayed home and spent three days trying to win back my chi… and succeeded. Here’s the lowdown on the first and only cleanse I, the unhealthiest vegan, would ever be willing to try.
Now, after working for a nutrition supplement website a year or so ago, I am totally accustomed to the weird and wonderful tastes of various types of protein powder, but never before had I tried a powder that was made from dried real fruit and pea protein. I’m not going to lie: all it took was a small spoonful of the mixture with the recommended 24oz of water and I was immediately put off. I’m accustomed to drinking delicious green (and red, purple, orange and yellow) smoothies made from fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, but this was an entirely new taste to me. So I blended my first smoothie with some frozen pineapple, banana and berries, and voila! A bucket-sized smoothie for breakfast. After making my way through the entire confection, I was pleasantly full and ready to face the day.
Over the course of the day, I drank the recommended three shakes, and all flavors were delicious after I had added enough fruit and greens to them. I also ate a couple of small apples and a grapefruit for snacks when some friends stopped by—tempting though their candy and Chex mix was to me, I didn’t feel a lull in energy throughout the day and I was more than content to sit and munch on fruit.
Friends who had tried cleanses before warned me that I’d be pooping a lot. Not so with this detox regime; aside from added fibre and probiotics, there were no laxative ingredients in the shakes. What I will say is that I peed a lot, because I made myself drink much more water than usual! My bowel movements were easy and pleasant.
When I headed to bed, I did feel a twinge of hunger and woke up that night feeling insanely hungry… which would normally be a call to head to the kitchen to find some instant satiation. Instead, I forced myself back to sleep, feeling good about my dedication over the previous day.
Day two… oh my. This was the hard day. I woke up feeling ravenous, and the first smoothie was sublime. An hour later, the ugly caffeine withdrawal monster reared its head, and it just did not go away all day long. Splitting caffeine headache + crave-y Amy = not such a pleasant combo.
That said, whilst I spent most of the day gazing longingly at the contents of my cupboards, wishing for coffee and cooked food, I didn’t feel genuinely hungry at all, all day. I appreciated the taste of the smoothies more, and found myself adding less extra fruit to them—just a little ice and pineapple to the 24oz of water and detox powder. After Fruit Bucket #2, I noticed my stomach felt incredibly bloated, which was soon remedied by a trip to the bathroom where—and I’ll try to avoid TMI territory here—I realised just how vital all the extra fiber and water I’d been consuming is for good digestion.
By evening, I found myself still satiated and I got probably the best night’s sleep I’d had in weeks that night. Maybe it was the lack of caffeine I’d been coping with all day long, but I slept like a proverbial log that night. And it was glorious.
I woke up naturally, and for the first time I didn’t actually crave a good mug of coffee. That, my friends, is a huge success! In fact, this morning was wonderful. While washing my face, I noticed that I could feel my jawline more than usual; then I noticed that my whole face just looked less inflamed and puffy. I’d never noticed that my face was puffy until I felt the difference; the same went for my entire body, in fact. I felt “flushed” somehow: pleasantly drained and light. I still weighed the same, but I could feel a change in my body.
Onto the poop status: oh lawd. My poop today was the shit (pun intended, sincere apologies). All I can say is that a diet that entirely consists of fiber, fruit and water works wonders for your digestive system.
That evening, I went to my girlfriend’s house for taco night and felt downright rude, sat there munching on bits of fruit and a jar of apple juice while everyone helped themselves to tortillas and guac and all that good stuff. Being vegan is one thing—I always manage to “eat around” meals and eat what I can, bring dishes, make suggestions and so on—but being a raw vegan is tricky business. A great evening, of course, but I don’t recommend cleansing when you’re expecting company. Especially the company of a Mexican buffet.
While I struggled to contain my crazy food cravings at first, at no point was I actually hungry during this cleanse. Eating three huge bowls of fruity goop every day, plus all the raw fruit and veg I wanted, meant I was always satisfied. I don’t deal well with hunger (my husband will readily vouch for this, complete with horror stories) so part of my reluctance to try a detox was fear of the monster I would become if I found myself in the danger (i.e. hanger) zone. This cleanse won’t make you hungry!
Next time I would try doing it for longer to see better results. Honestly, in an ideal world, I’d love to go “fully raw,” but in the real world it makes existing amongst other people very, very difficult. It seems rude to decline dinner invitations or pick at bits of pineapple while everyone is tucking into delicious home-cooked meals, and as much as I love the way I felt after eating a raw vegan diet for three days, I can’t see this lifestyle being sustainable for me in the long run.
However, I can absolutely vouch for the benefits of doing regular, shorter cleanses like this as a fantastic way to supercharge your diet every once in a while. This isn’t a cleanse I’d recommend for rapid weight loss, but rather as a way to reboot your immune system, get your digestive system in check and boost your overall health every once in a while. The sheer volume of nutrients you take in during this cleanse is mind-boggling, and made me feel fresher and healthier for a long time after I stopped the cleanse itself. In fact, I must admit am going to have to order some more Kaeng Raeng cleanse products and eat one of my “fruit buckets” as a quick, filling power-breakfast in the mornings from now on!
To find out more about Kaeng Raeng and their extensive range of products, visit their website! For LD readers, they are offering a special deal for a limited time: purchase a 3-day or 6-day cleanse program on Amazon.com (already discounted!) and receive a free full-sized Detoxfoliant Body Scrub ($36 value). Also, 3-day and 6-day cleanse programs are both $10 off on Amazon. This offer is only good November 28 – December 7 … so hurry while it lasts!