Wild Rose Herbal 12-day cleanse: my experience!

Wild Rose Herbal 12-day cleanse: my experience!

My first ever cleanse experience!

I have literally been wanting to do the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox 12-Day cleanse for YEARS. I remember seeing someone on Tumblr recommending it and I kept umm-ing and ahh-ing for a while until a few days into quarantining, I realised I have been eating pretty much exclusively from my own cooking and so it’s the perfect time for a gentle cleanse!

I normally eat at my parents’ home twice a week and once a week at my in-law’s and unfortunately, they do use vegetable oils, white flour and table salt in their cooking, which I don’t mind but for a cleanse it is not ideal. I figured this is a timely opportunity to do a cleanse, especially as Ramadan is around the corner which will bring additional health benefits God willing.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON CLEANSES

Cleanses are not the end all and be all. From my research and understanding my own body, I do believe cleanses can be immensely beneficial, it just depends on the individual and HOW one does it.

Any type of cleanse – whether a juice cleanse, liver cleanse, colon cleanse – is NOT for people who are not used to a whole food diet. If you don’t eat high quantities of vegetables daily, fruit daily, and you eat a lot of processed and packaged foods, buy a lot of takeaway, you are inactive, dependent on coffee for energy, use vegetables oils in cooking, eat refined flours and sugars, don’t manage your stress, and you don’t get enough sleep or are unable to sleep well – cleanses are not for you. I don’t mean to sound harsh; I’m just being totally honest and using my judgement as a student in naturopathic nutritional therapy.

Cleanses are for people who already have and are used to a whole food-based diet and who are relatively healthy. An already healthy functioning liver, colon and gut is super important. My health is not perfect, but used my education and training to make the best decision, I did my research on this specific product, looked at the ingredients and reviews and decided this might be beneficial FOR ME.

Always be critical when it comes to doing something for your health. Don’t just follow the bandwagon. Look at your lifestyle and food habits and honestly ask yourself if something is right for you. Do your research and speak to someone with knowledge if you have any questions or concerns.

If you don’t eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, move daily, drink/eat (from vegetables and fruits) around 2 litres of water per day, have plentiful energy without caffeine etc., you will struggle. I reckon this why many people struggle with Ramadan – it challenges you to eat less, to get comfortable with the discomfort of hunger, deal with hunger pangs and headaches from caffeine withdrawal and lack of water. I believe this is the wisdom in fasting twice a week, all year around, and why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) fasted a lot in the month before Ramadan:

The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid, reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad : “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Shaban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month.” Prophet Muhammad replied: “That (Shaban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.”

Another note I need to emphasise is the deceitful notion that a cleanse will help you lose weight. A cleanse might help shed some water weight, but it is not sustainable and can cause more harm than good. A cleanse does put the body through some degree of stress and therefore, if you are struggling with your weight, the last thing you want to do is a cleanse. Successful weight loss requires a holistic approach, addressing diet, sleep and exercise, and it takes time, consistency and patience.

Generally speaking, individuals that are against cleanses say our liver, colon and kidneys already do a good job of cleanses the system from toxins. Whilst this is true, it does not mean we can fill our bodies with junk food, processed foods, sugar and caffeine, and have poor lifestyle habits, and then expect our organs to cleanse and detoxify optimally. We HAVE to provide our organs with the necessary nutrients and fuel in order for them to do their job.

So, are cleanses bad? The answer isn’t as black and white. If you are healthy, cleanses can be beneficial. What does it mean to be healthy? Essentially, it is to have balanced blood sugar levels, regular monthly periods, be at a healthy weight for your individual body, and to have a good functioning liver, gut and colon. Individuals with health issues such as diabetes, heart/liver/kidney diseases, hormonal conditions (PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids etc.), and overweight or obese individuals, should not do a cleanse.

MY EXPERIENCE

I bought the cleanse late March and read through the instructions in the pamphlet several times over a period of around a week to understand what I am expected to do and to purchase the necessary foods. My husband has been doing occasional grocery runs and so far, all the supermarkets have been fully stocked! I am also super grateful for my bi-monthly Abel and Cole subscription and their amazing fresh foods and pantry selection. All of this preparation will help with a successful and easy cleanse.

After reading the pamphlet I knew this cleanse is right for me because it cuts out all healthy sugars, including my solid daily favourites: bananas, dates, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. The healthy sugars listed above are high in nutrients, antioxidants and an array of healing and immune-protective abilities BUT they still cause the similar spikes in blood glucose as refined sugars do. I have been asked by my nutritional therapist since mid-2019 to cut down on sugar, especially during my luteal phase but I haven’t been able to do so because firstly, I’m a bit lazy and secondly, because I just LOVE the sweet stuff. So, I am thankful that this cleanse will push me to be stricter with my sugar intake.

ABOUT THE CLEANSE

The Garden of Life website states the cleanse is ‘designed to clean the liver, colon, kidneys and lymphatic system body when used in conjunction with the recommended diet.’

It includes 3 different types of supplements and 1 ethanol-based tincture. Here is a very, very short summary of the benefits of each herb from all 4 supplements:

BILIHERB CAPSULES
• Organic radish: antioxidant properties, assists in liver detoxification and stimulates bile synthesis (bile is necessary for digestion and absorption of fats and aids in waste elimination).
• Wild barberry: a bitter herb with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, stimulates the immune system and aids in bile secretion.
• Dandelion root: a bitter herb and diuretic which assists liver detoxification, softens stools and aids in waste elimination from the kidneys.
• Ginger: stimulates digestion, perspiration and blood circulation.
• Wood betony: improves liver function and blood circulation, and aphrodisiac properties.
• Wild marshmallow: mucilage/gut lining and gastrointestinal tract soothing, emollient, anti-inflammatory and carminative properties.
• Parsley: antioxidant properties, immune enhancing, high in vitamins and boosts liver function.

HERBAL EXTRACT
• Liquorice: an adaptogenic herb that nourishes the adrenal glands and protects gastrointestinal tract lining.
• Burdock root: a diaphoretic (induces sweating) which purifies blood, stimulates lymphatic drainage and promotes supple skin.
• Uva ursi: antibacterial and astringent properties
• Corn silk: diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties; strengthens the urinary system and supports kidney health.
• Juniper berry: a diuretic and bitter herb; stimulates bile flow and digestive enzyme production.
• Yarrow: anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties, stimulates blood flow, tones mucus membrane of digestive tract and encourages bile secretion.

CLEANSAHERB
• Red clover: supports female hormonal health and boosts blood circulation.
• Burdock root: see above
• Echinacea: stimulates the immune system, anti-inflammatory properties and increases hyaluronic acid production.
• Parsley: see above
• Marshmallow: see above
• Mullein: anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, supports respiratory health, detoxifies lungs and soothes digestive gut lining.
• Uva ursi: see above.

LAXAHERB
• Yellow dock: a bitter herb; improves liver detoxification and waste elimination, enhances stomach acid quality and supports immune health.
• Buckthorn: promotes bowel movements.
• Rhubarb root: laxative and anti-cancer properties and improves liver health.
• Ginger: see above.
• Fennel: relaxes smooth muscles of digestive tract, relieves PMS symptoms and detoxified the liver.
• Barberry: see above.
• Red raspberry: antioxidant properties, tones the uterus and high in minerals and vitamins.
• Cayenne: stimulates saliva production, boosts gastric juices and improves heart health.

MY MEALS AND DAILY JOURNAL

DAY ONE

I confess, in the morning I had coffee with the oatly barista oat milk. Organic black coffee is allowed on the cleanse so I technically should not have had the oat milk, but I woke up feeling low and I was craving a cup of coffee because it always makes me feel better. It really is a warm hug in a cup. It made me realise coffee gives me great comfort when my mood is glum. It’s weird that I didn’t make this connection before; I thought it’s just because I love the taste of coffee in the morning. I need to find other, arguably healthier means of comfort. Anyway, I don’t regret it. It sure was a loving cup.

Ate a scrambled egg with chopped green bell pepper for breakfast and took the six tablets which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was worried I’d struggle swallowing them, but I just needed plenty of water and it was fine. I diluted the tincture in half a glass of water, and it was pleasantly sweet from the liquorice.

For lunch I had a bland smoothie (avocado, blueberries, almond milk, moringa powder, sesame seeds and beetroot powder). It was nothing like the addictively sweet smoothies I’m used to. Probably won’t make it again! I was still a bit hungry, so I made a matcha latte with almond milk (no honey!! Sad times!!1!!) and had a rice cake. This was enough to give me energy to clean the bathroom, mop the kitchen floor, do 30 minutes of yoga and cook dinner 

Dinner was exquisite alhamdulilah. Sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and chicken drumsticks baked in the oven with an array of herbs and spices. So good and satisfying. Plus, a side green salad: leafy greens, tomatoes, onion, avocado and apple cider vinegar as the dressing. Ending the evening with plain ginger tea.

DAY TWO

Started the day with a big glass of water, an almond milk matcha latte, cinnamon and apple oats. Bowels are a-movin’!!!! Thankful that I’m at home while doing this cleanse 😉

Went for a 40 min walk at the local park, got some sunshine in and had leftovers for lunch followed by green tea. I have never gone without some type of sugar for this long and its only day two!

As a late afternoon snack, I ate raspberries, rice cakes and a handful of almonds. Dinner was jacket potato with tuna and mashed avo, peas and stir-fried bell peppers. Yum.

I normally reach for dark chocolate, hot chocolate or booja booja ice cream for dessert and because I can’t have any of that on this cleanse, I noticed i wasn’t really craving anything sweet. Having a sweet treat after dinner is just habitual – not something I necessarily always ‘want’. I’m pleased this cleanse is teaching me more about my personal intuition when it comes to food.

DAY THREE

Drank an overnight herbal infusion first thing today, followed by decaf collagen coffee with a tsp of melted coconut oil and a dash of oat milk – creamy and satisfying. For breakfast I had savoury oats with sauerkraut and an egg on the side. I reduced the Laxaherb tablets from two to one because its affects are a tad too strong!

For dinner, I made bone broth coconut chicken soup with lots of bell peppers and brussels sprouts and brown rice noodles. Nutrient-dense meals, high in good quality protein and healthy fats makes the cleanse manageable and curbs cravings.

DAY FOUR

I am doing at least 20 minutes of yoga every day to keep my joints, limbs and core strong and supple. I can feel it strengthening my arms and legs especially with all the planks, push up movements and warrior twos, plus working up a bit of a sweat is always a good sign. It is important to not get lazy and maintain some agility; it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to just relaaaxxxxx whilst on a cleanse because it does push your body.

For dinner I made a sweet potato and chickpea coconut curry with a dollop of sauerkraut. I am intentionally keeping the meals high in healthy fats as much as possible and using ingredients that will appease my sweet tooth.

DAY FIVE

Today was tough. I had a decent breakfast, leftovers for lunch and snacked on almonds but dinner was a total flop. I had mutton in the freezer and decided to make a curry out of it. While I was cooking the mutton, it was giving off a really weird smell and I thought it will dissipate once the curry is ready. But when I bit into it, it tasted SO BAD!!! 🙁 it was utterly disappointing. The mutton had been in the freezer for a looooong time and I think it went super old and thus, inedible. It breaks my heart to say it, but I had to throw it out. Luckily it was a small amount of curry, just about enough for my husband and me. At this point I was in a very bad mood as I am becoming tired of cooking non-stop. I know, first world problems. My husband offered to order in, and I was in no state to cook again so I agreed. We ordered Afghan food: lamb kebabs, chicken skewers, rice and salad. It was SO BOMB. I didn’t eat too much rice because it is cooked in butter and I am meant to be off dairy. Ah, well. I don’t like to get pedantic about these things when I know I’m doing well keeping off dairy 99% of the time. I will drive myself insane if I became pernickety about every morsel of food that entered my mouth.

I ended the evening with dry brushing my body to stimulate my lymphatic system, and a magnesium flakes bath, along with a drizzle of borage seed oil and a few drops of geranium essential oil.

DAY SIX

I really listened to my hunger cues today. I wasn’t hungry at all for most of the day; for breakfast I had a boiled egg, a handful of olives and blueberries in coyo, I had lunch at 5pm (sardines, salad and homemade hummus) and a light dinner (daal and quinoa stew). In the evening I drank a turmeric and cacao latte with almond milk and coconut oil and a quarter teaspoon of raw honey. Today was the first day I had a sweetener since beginning this cleanse. It wasn’t as sweet as I usually prefer but it was still satisfying. I’ve been reading up on the anti-ageing benefits of turmeric and just started craving a haldi doodh! (Turmeric latte in Guajarati). Curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric, induces autophagy, reduces inflammation (which most people have to some degree given our love for sugar and processed foods), boosts mood and regulates blood glucose levels (another underestimated issue that many, in our modern world, are imbalanced in).

DAY SEVEN

I decided not to take the wild rose detox supplements today. I had an aching and abnormal pain in my lower belly area and thought maybe it is best if I give my body a break from all the herbs. I maintained the diet to the best of my ability: organic beef sausage, eggs and olives for breakfast, some daal and quinoa curry leftovers for lunch, and another turmeric and cacao latte.

I went out to the shops today to grab a few essentials and it was seriously one of the most stressful moments in my life. Most shops were closed due to Easter and so I opted for this small Turkish supermarket. None of the staff were wearing gloves or masks which was incredibly worrying. They had put tape on the floor to mark where customers should stand (i.e. two metres apart) but it was so busy in there and a handful of people weren’t following the markings. I genuinely couldn’t believe it. Then there were some people cutting the queues which is a pet peeve of mine and I just had to get out of there. I didn’t even get everything I wanted because it was just too anxiety inducing. I went home, washed my hands and had a little cry. I don’t know how to explain how upsetting it was. A close family member of mine was recently diagnosed with coronavirus and so I simply could not believe how nonchalant people were being. Suffice to say, I am definitely not going to that shop again and will be avoiding all shopping or any other contact as much as possible. I had some dark chocolate to make me feel better, which it did (although I am not ‘allowed’ to eat dark chocolate on the cleanse. I legit don’t care).

For dinner, I made wholesome, comforting food: salmon, sweet potatoes in tahini dressing and Brussels sprouts. I made sure I did my stretches before bed and also had a cup of chamomile tea.

DAY EIGHT

As we are running low on fresh foods, I had a smoothie for breakfast with half of a small banana. Bananas are not allowed on the cleanse, probably because of its high glycaemic index. I had to adapt!!! I also had a decaf collagen coffee with coconut oil, cinnamon and a dash of oat milk – sooo yum. And I am back to taking the supplements again.

I am slowly coming back onto Instagram. I unfollowed a whole bunch of people that were not serving me and I’ve decided to stop watching people’s stories. It just takes up so much time and it rarely adds anything valuable to my life/wellbeing. I’ve also turned off notifications! I thought I’d feel incessant fomo whilst on the IG break, but thankfully I felt FREE. I had so much more free time. I read one and a half books and have just been feeling happier overall. I’ve been bonding with my parents, siblings and niece a lot more (over facetime and zoom), giving my niece nutrition lessons, journaling and watching the classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch – brings back so many memories.

For lunch I had two small jacket potatoes with homemade baked black beans. Almonds and elderberry & echinacea tea as a snack. And dinner was amazing alhamdulilah, if I may say so myself 😉 crispy jerk chicken with coconut rice and black beans, plus a side of steamed green beans. HEAVEN.

I was craving something sweet after dinner and had the best apple ever. It was so sweet, crunchy and crisp.

DAY NINE

Started the day with lots of water and decaf coffee with collagen and coconut milk. I realised this morning that yesterday was my first full day without caffeine after a really long time! I know decaf coffee has trace amounts of caffeine, but I did feel the fatigue and slight headaches yesterday. Nonetheless, it is progress! Breakfast was half an avocado with lemon and chilli flakes and a fried egg. Planning on doing a workout today so I don’t like eating a huge meal beforehand.

I did 15 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of a HIIT workout today – I was totally out of breath by the end of it! Followed it up with a collagen smoothie, dry brushing and a hot shower. For lunch, I had yesterday’s jerk chicken and rice leftovers. For dinner, my husband and I ate a lamb keema and steamed cabbage curry. And for dessert, I ate an apple, a small piece of dark chocolate and chamomile tea.

DAY TEN

My Abel and Cole delivery woke me up quite bright and early today and I started craving coffee, so I made a little cup and saved the rest for my husband. For breakfast I had steamed/sautéed kale, a boiled egg and organic smoked salmon. Followed by a smoothie and leftovers for lunch. My bowel movements were quite frequent today (is that TMI?? Haha!! It is what it is) which makes me even more hungry! I ate a lot more today than I normally do. I ate two rice cakes with almond butter and blueberries. For dinner, I ate white rice, liver and shallots stir-fry and green beans coconut curry.

As per most days, I wanted something sweet, so I got some organic strawberries from Abel and Cole, chopped them into quarters, alongside some blueberries, coconut yogurt, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. I normally add a drizzle of raw honey for more sweetness, but it was actually flavoursome without it.

DAY ELEVEN

In the pursuit to cut out caffeine, I had a turmeric hot chocolate this morning. There is something homey, comforting and hygge about drinking something hot and creamy in the mornings. It is my most cherished ritual right now.

I wasn’t super hungry today – I had a rice cake with almond butter and a boiled egg topped with olive oil for additional healthy fats, followed by a smoothie for lunch, then almonds and green tea. By 6pm I was starving. I made a hearty dinner of roast organic chicken drumsticks, with onions and carrots, roast potatoes (this is the best recipe EVER!), sautéed kale (I sadly and accidentally overdid the sea salt on the kale), and a bit of organic vegetable gravy.

In the evening, my siblings and I did a fun trivia quiz via Zoom, while drinking chamomile tea and eating coconut yogurt with blueberries.

DAY TWELVE

Technically, today was supposed to be the last day of the cleanse, however as I missed one day of taking supplements, I finish tomorrow!! I’m not going to change my diet much – I want to continue with lowered sugar intake, even if they are healthy sugars (it all adds up!!) as well as and be more mindful about how much fibre I eat in order to sustain regular bowel movements. It is currently 12.39pm and I have so far had coffee with oat milk (don’t ask – I fell asleep at 3am last night wahhhh!!) and smoked salmon avocado toast – HEAVENNNN.
There were some leftovers which I had for lunch, followed by an apple and a decaf collagen coffee shortly afterwards. I am making coconut dhal, asparagus and some rice for dinner 🙂

DAY THIRTEEN

Its finally the last day of the cleanse! I am still waiting to see benefits from the cleanse, especially during my luteal phase. I am hoping my PMS symptoms will have calmed down a bit after cleaning up my diet (reducing sugars) and having more regular bowel movements.

I had decaf collagen coffee and avocado toast with a boiled egg for breakfast. For lunch, I ate more sourdough bread, dipped in olive oil and vinegar, plus pomegranate juice with supplemental magnesium powder. Suffice to say, that is a lot of sugar for one day!

For dinner, I had leftover coconut dhal, rice and tabbouleh!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Alhamdulilah, I am proud of myself for completing my first ever cleanse. I don’t expect the 12 days to transform my life! I don’t expect to see or feel any major changes but that is not the purpose of any cleanse in my opinion. For me, the purpose of a cleanse is to reset my diet by removing certain foods, to gain control of cravings and boost energy overall.

Any type of cleanse you do is a type of fast – this is something most people don’t understand. Our primitive genetics are not designed to have food available 24-7. Major religions have periods of fasting because there is something deeply beneficial about it for our spiritual and physical body – it is a type of cleanse!

All in all, it was a success and I’d definitely do it again next year! 🙂

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