6 years ago by


Erik Melvin

I should start by saying I have never detoxed anything in my life. In fact, until I got strep throat two months ago, I hadn’t even taken an intentional, dedicated time off consuming alcohol since I started drinking when I was 18 21. Though I did spend all of last year as a vegan, prompted by what felt like my duty to alter my diet after realizing my morals were aligned with animal welfare, environmental effects, and (bonus!) the argued health benefits of a plant-based diet. And it worked for me! I realized how much I appreciate filling my body with whole, plant-based food, and enjoyed not participating in the consumption of animal products. But you know how life goes, and earlier this year I found myself post break-up, less of a vegan and more of a person who could likely eat a whole wheel of brie, given the opportunity.

But with the talk of wellness and gut health around the studio, and with G giving up coffee and cutting down on sugar – I could no longer ignore the little voice in my head that nagged gently reminded me that deep down, beneath the comfort of late night ice cream and Chinese takeout, I actually wanted to give myself a chance to reincorporate a plant-based diet back into my lifestyle, I just needed a little push.

Well apparently, ask and you shall receive! A couple weeks ago I received an email from Provenance Meals offering to try a 5 day detox. It wasn’t a juice cleanse (thank god), instead, 5 days of already prepared, whole food meals (you have an option, but I chose vegan). The program is designed to give your body and digestive system a break from common allergens, inflammatory and processed food, sugars, and hard-to-digest proteins, including wheat. No miracle weight loss guarantee, more of a mild wellness retreat for your insides. It was exactly what I was looking for, and it seemed totally reasonable, and actually kind of delicious.

So I committed, and announced to the Studio that I had committed, because like a workout class you sign up for, sometimes you need something other than yourself to hold you accountable for change.

Monday rolled around and I prepared to say sayanara to some of my favorite things – that is, gluten, sugar, and coffee – and welcome what I was hoping would be clear skin, endless energy, and just by principle, a smaller waist. Idealistic? Maybe, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to try.

Day 1:

I wait impatiently for my food to be delivered to the office. I haven’t had breakfast, mainly because I have no idea what I’m supposed to eat. Turns out, the idea of lingering, strict detox is kind of intimidating.

It arrives! I unpack the first two days worth of colorful meals from the cooler-bag, displaying each item to my coworkers who only half care. At 11:58AM, I eat lunch. In fact, I could eat 3 of them. Not because it’s delicious (though, it is) but because the portions feel like they are made for toddlers.

I drink water and detox tea to kill the cravings. This continues through dinner.

Final thought of the day: I’m hungry.

Day 2:

Breakfast is what it will be for the next several days: a cold pressed bottled juice with a smoothie packet and water added.

At lunch I cry laugh at the amount of kale in my salad that requires me no more than 45 seconds to consume. There was no warning of miniature portion size in the welcome packet, but I assume the small portions are in the spirit of giving my digestion a break and not a rule of thumb for how I should continue living after this week. Lunch was delicious though, and I will cherish it until dinner, which I’m desperately convincing myself will not be dollar pizza from the place on the corner.

An afternoon crash viciously reminds me that I’ve likely been consuming ENTIRELY too much sugar for the last 24 years.

Final thought of the day: This better be worth it.

Day 3:

Smoothie, water, a delicious lunch that fills me up for a minute and a half, matcha tea I’m drinking without realizing is caffeinated (oops), and a detox-headache, as I’ve coined it. The cause of said headache I would imagine is an actual withdrawal from sugar and bread – both of which stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain as drugs do, which is insane and utterly cruel but also explains why I’ve never been able to say no to a fresh baguette.

But I’m also just hungry. So I give in to my snack cravings within the guidelines of the detox (which basically consist of: try to avoid them for the sake of your digestion, but if you must, snack on healthy fats, veggies, or proteins) and eat carrots with hummus. I realize I don’t feel guilty eating more food, as long as it’s food that makes me feel good, and right now, carrots make me feel good.

For the sake of this detox, I pretend I don’t see the early Halloween candy Brie just brought into the studio.

Final thought of the day: Filling myself up with with plants first makes it easier to eat everything else in moderation. With my eyes on the prize (I get a prize for this, right?), I decline the glass of wine my friend offers me. After all, it’s only 5 days.

Day 4:

I’m starting to feel the benefit of all of my hard work (to clarify: I have done no hard work – I have done absolutely nothing except complain and tell everyone how hungry I am). I have an extra pep in my step, though it’s hard to tell if it’s legitimate energy or the effects of mild starvation. Either way, I’m embracing it. Am I glowing? I feel like I’m glowing.

Final thought of the day: I could get used to this – just with bigger portions.

Day 5:

I am ENERGIZED which is crazy because I didn’t realize energy existed without coffee. I do miss coffee (the smell, taste, and ritual) but it’s nice to see how my stomach operates without its unpredictable stimulants. Regardless, I’m sure this energy is a result of my immaculate diet and my abundance of sleep since detoxing is just another way of saying “I can’t go out tonight.” To my surprise, I don’t hit the afternoon slump. This must be what proper health and sufficient hydration feels like.

Final thought of the day: Yes, I’ll have a glass of wine, thank you.

The takeaway:

For me, eating an abundance of plants and whole foods is worth the hype. For 5 days, everything in my body felt like it was working as it should. What I lacked in tummy bloat I made up for in energy and clear headedness. But that’s not to say it’s easy. In fact, I would be lying if I said I didn’t completely relapse within 3 days of the detox ending.

But for the first time in my life, I’ve felt the actual effects food has on my body and overall well being (dairy and gluten aren’t as good of friends to me as I once thought). While I’m still going to enjoy coffee on most days, and wood oven pizza on special days, my desire to consume excessive processed food and sugar has significantly declined. But on the days when I feel like eating chocolate cake that was left over from a shoot, or having a glass of wine (who am I kidding, 2 glasses) I’m going to!

That’s the thing about balanced eating, it’s about balance – and it makes the indulgences that much sweeter. Plus, that Friday, Erik said my skin looked good. And if Erik says it, you know it’s true.

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  • Couldn’t agree with you more. It is a ride and mindful devotion to oneself. with more and more regularity the body’s innate wisdom and cravings are more balanced. Our bodies are more inclined to want to be in that sweet spot, our minds not so much. I struggle with this all the time, still dancing with myself :)

  • Such a perfect detox diary, and I LOVED your writing! It was a perfect voice and reminded me much of Garance’s best writing–real, authentic, a little cheeky, honest, and self-depreciating in the best way.

  • What a compliment!! Thank you so much for the kind words x

  • Very well said, and I totally agree! I thought this back when I read Natalie’s first post. Always happy to read more from her!!

  • Seriously making my day, thank you Cara! x

  • Thank you! I think I may be inspired enough after reading your post to finally do a detox which is long overdue. Would love some hints on where to look for some guidance or a meal plan like you did for those of us who are not living in NYC. Did you still have energy to exercise or just last through a work day? I smiled many times through out your post :)

  • Hi Surin,

    Thank you for your kind comment! Glad I could inspire you to try a detox on your own. As a first time detox-er, I unfortunately don’t have any tips outside of NYC! But I will keep my eyes peeled. In terms of energy levels, I definitely felt higher in energy, however a few carrots or a handful of nuts were needed pre-workout, but I do that when I’m not detoxing as well.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!

    x Natalie

  • I’m confused aren’t detoxes unhealthy?

    And isn’t gluten only unhealthy if you have a gluten allergy? What good does cutting gluten out do unless you’re perceiving it as a placebo?

    A must see documentary that exposes clean eating regimens, detoxes, etc. for anyone that has the time:

  • Hi Jasmine,

    I can’t speak about all detoxes but my takeaway from this one was that it was a short period of reset for my digestion – I also was able to feel the effects of eliminating all processed food which I had never done before. I also think I may have a slight gluten intolerance – that or I just feel better / less bloated without it! Thanks for the documentary recommendation – will definitely check it out! x

  • I, too loved this post, but my first reaction was that everyone needs an Erik in their life.

  • Hahaha, it’s so true! We are lucky to have him x

  • Moi,le jour ou je passerai une journee sans sucre,je considererai que j’ai fait la detox de ma vie!
    Je suis admirative car c’est largement au dessus de mes je ne mange pas,je tremble,impossible de travailler et surtout,de dormir.

  • Bonjour Isa.
    c’est peut être le signe d’un problème de santé de trembler par manque de sucre. ça m’inquiète un peu de lire votre commentaire.

  • Je suis assez contre ce type de détox même si je pense que ça fait du bien au corps. Je trouve qu’il vaut mieux tout au long de l’année apporter les “bons” aliments à son corps.

  • I agree! I think the detox kind of showed me that it would be beneficial to make this sort of thing more part of my lifestyle as a whole! x

  • So well written Nathalie!
    Loved the post !
    Wish there was something like that in London though, if you hear anything let me know!


  • Thank you Sidney! I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for anything in The Big Smoke x

  • Great style of writing, agree with the comment above!

  • Merci Taja! xx

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