24 July 2021

Blog: New year detox

January 12, 2011

See how Sportsister founder’s Danielle and Louise got on with their first ever New Year detox.

New-year-detoxGetting started

We’re not detox girls, we’ve never even been on diets so I’m not sure how easy we’re going to find this. But the reason that the Chris James Cleanse appealed is that he very clearly states it’s not about weight loss, instead the focus is on mental clarity, feeling more energised and creating long term better eating habits. All of which I’m sure we could do with more of.

The day before we begin the 12 day plan we sit down and read from start to finish the brochure that comes with the cleanse plan. It explains how the 12 days are broken down in to four phases, and exactly what we  should and shouldn’t be eating during those different stages. We then make a shopping list, as it’s clear we’re going to need to be fairly organised in order to stick to the rules.


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The final three days and conclusion – Louise

I was rather sceptical of this before I did it, as I am not a believer in fad dieting or crazy regimes, I’m more of the everything in moderation type. But I would say I am now somewhat converted to the power of the detox, not a true disciple but I certainly get it now!

Starting the year off with a regime like this feels really therapeutic. Not only is it obviously good to remove processed and fatty foods from your diet, but for me I really enjoyed the discipline of it and was amazed at my willpower. I never thought I had the strength to do something like this – maybe that’s half the reason why I have never done it before.

And while I already had a fairly healthy diet there are lessons from the Cleanse that I will try and adopt into my everyday eating habits now it’s over. I was already aware that I didn’t eat enough fruit and this has really hammered that point home.

But there were also things I didn’t like about the Cleanse, taking that many supplements a day just didn’t feel right to me. Not only did lots of them taste foul but it just went against the grain for me to rely on supplements rather than getting what you need through food. And like Danielle said it can be quite a challenge to fit it into your working life so if you have the luxury of taking time off for the Power Phase I do think this is a better option.

The final three days and conclusion – Danielle

I will be honest it was a joy to get back to food and I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a bowl of HOT soup so much! The final three days were a breeze in comparison to the juice only phase and I was quite strict  because I did not want to ruin all the good work. I stuck to vegetables and salads with a few nuts and dates for snacking and fruit for desserts.

On my first day after the detox, I even managed to restrict myself to just one of the lovely chocolates I had been saving for this moment (Pink Champagne truffles from Hotel Chocolat) and spent some time planning some healthy meals to add into my weekly routine. I will definitely eat more lentils and pulses, sweet potatoes and salad as a result of doing this detox. I also now really like ginger, whereas before it made me feel slightly nauseous, and luckily I am not put off carrot juice because I love it!

I don’t look 10 years younger, but I have lost a bit of weight around my face and that can take years off. I definitely had more energy during the detox and was more alert, no doubt I did lose weight generally, but we don’t have scales so I can’t tell how much.

For me the important thing was to re-think what I eat and it certainly helped break the cycle of always reaching for the pasta. I would only do this again if I could dedicate a relaxing week (as they recommend) to the raw and juice only phase as it was hard to manage as well as going to work. But that said it was a useful and educating experience and I would recommend to anyone wanting to kick-start a diet or new regime.

Day 9 – Louise

I wake up thinking today’s going to be easy as I know I only have one more day to go, before I can start introducing foods again. But I was wrong; it actually turns out to be my hardest day yet. Whether this is because I know I am so close to the finish line that I can almost smell the freshly baking bread who knows?!

I don’t feel starving but my stomach doesn’t feel right, just an empty feeling I guess. My concentration is also quite poor today and I find my mind drifting off from work constantly. All in all, I just feel like I need a good meal. ‘Well that’s not rocket science,’ huffs my boyfriend when I complain to him about it.

The juices still taste good, but I’m just feeling a bit sick of them. It’ll all be worth it, I tell myself as I down the night time supplements and head to bed for an early night, dreaming of solid food!

Day 9 – Danielle

Hooray, this is the last day of juice only, I make a bottle of orange and apple as that is all I have left and head to the office. Realising that one bottle is not enough, I cheat and buy a bottle of apple and cherry which claims to be organic and free from additives. I know this is not the same, but it will have to do.

Suprisingly today I am feeling fine, I think I am getting used to it! And in a way I am a little sad that we are nearly at the end. I know this sounds mad, but I love a challenge and have enjoyed the process from a ‘Can I do it? Can I not?  point of view.

So my tummy still rumbles all afternoon, but I can handle it better today. I am now looking forward to eating a salad and some soup tomorrow.

detox-ingredientsDay 8 – Louise

Despite having to get up to go to the loo twice in the night (I’m peeing all the time on this cleanse!) I have a really good night sleep. Often if I wake in the night I find it really hard to get back to sleep again, but since starting this cleanse I am sleeping like a log.

I’m expecting to feel a bit low this morning after finding yesterday so hard, but I spring out of bed despite it still being pitch black outside. After my shower I also realise that both my skin and my hair are both looking really healthy.

I spend the day working from home which means I have easy access to fruit and my juicer, this certainly makes it easier. My kitchen looks like a fruit shop. I’m not sure how practical it would be to do this in an office!

I make a whole variety of different juices, some sweet, some savoury, and they all taste delicious. I get through the day with surprising ease, and break it up with stretching sessions and three 15 minute walks as recommended.

It’s only by 8pm that I start to feel a bit hungry, and really can’t stomach any more juice, so I take my evening supplements earlier than normal hoping that the Super Cleanse ones fill me up. They must work as by bed time I’m not feeling hungry any more and I get another great night’s sleep.

Day 8 – Danielle

Monday morning and I am late for work, juicing and preparing for the days supply takes ages. The morning is fine and I  reach for the carrot juice at around 12 noon, but it goes in a flash and my head is telling me that I actually want to eat something – as in chomp, chew, munch, my mouth wants to do something!

By around 3pm I am really quite hungry and my stomach is rumbling, so I have some more hot water and ginger and try to put it out of my mind. It’s a busy day, so pretty quickly the time passes and I head home around 6pm to make some more juice. This is definitely the hardest stage and although not tempted to break the rules, I am not really comfortable  and find myself slightly distracted by the hunger pangs.

I take a long bath and go to bed early to take my mind off it!

Day 7 – Louise

detox-juiceThe first day of the Power Phase. This is the part I was dreading when I first read about the cleanse as I had no idea how I would survive on a diet of fresh juice only…well now is the time to find out. For the next 3 days its recommended I have around six 300ml juices a day…and that’s it. Except for even more supplements than I’d already been taking, including 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil which makes me gag – not the best start to the day.

I’m told to clear out my diary and make time for doing, well not very much at all, other than juicing! The lovely people at John Lewis have loaned me a flashy new juicer, and it arrived yesterday so I’m all set up to go.

Apparently, the Magimix Le Duo XL juice extractor and citrus press (£149), “pours delicious, nutritious fresh fruit and vegetable juices straight into your glass.” (Readers can call John Lewis on 08456 049 049 or visit www.johnlewis.com). I certainly find it very easy to use, and just as importantly, clean.

My other half puts himself in charge of the first juicing session as he figures the novelty of juicing may last longer for me this way. He comes up with an apple, pear and lime combination – I’m relieved that it comes out tasting a lot better than it looks (a dark greeny colour), and I really enjoy my first juice….maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

As the day goes on I’m surprised by how easy it is to juice, and what great flavours you can easily create. But with all the juicing, cleaning and then drinking it’s almost a full time job. Lucky it’s the weekend.

In the guide it says I won’t be hungry because of the Super Cleanse supplements, but I definitely am! Even though I have a really quiet day (it’s the weekend, so I make no plans and ignore requests from friends to go out!) I still get hungry. It’s recommended that you have 6 x 300ml juices throughout the day but I only manage four, because by the end of the day I just can’t face any more juice.

I go to bed feeling a little dispirited and wonder how on earth I am going to do this for another 2 days.

Day 7 – Danielle

Today is the first day of juice only and not only that but I have to take a total of 11 supplements and two tablespoons of Flaxseed oil. The supplements are proving the biggest challenge for me and it takes me ages to get through them with my two glasses of water and hot water and lemon. I read the instructions for the supplements again and it says take with food…what food?

My juice however is nice and I do enjoy the novelty of trying different flavours, mind-you it is Sunday and I have the time. There is not much to say about my food diary today, as it was a simply various combinations of apples, pears, carrots, melon, ginger and oranges. I did sit and sniff my family’s brunch of veggie sausages, baked beans, mushrooms and eggy bread though – not sure if that helped.

In the evening I went to my  daughters two hour ballet show. It only happens every four years as it is such a mammoth task, so I did not want to ruin it by my tummy rumbling at the most poignant moment so I took a large bottle of carrot and ginger. However in the first half I could feel my stomach growling away, luckily during load music – but even so I was struggling to relax.

At the interval I cheated and ate a few grapes – what really is the difference between a whole grape and a squashed one? And drank more carrot juice. I realise I sound like a ridiculous celebrity as I write ‘I ate a few grapes’.  In the normal world I would scoff and laugh at this statement, however I justify it as part of the experiment and definitely only short-term. Two days to go ….this is tough, I go to bed hungry.

detox-breakfastDay 6 – Louise

I wake up after 10 hours of solid sleep. I’ve been sleeping so well since I started this process, a definite plus point for me, and probbably the mian change I have noticed in myself so far.

The hot lemon is starting to go down much easier, and I take my supplements. Even an hour after getting up I’m still not feeling hungry but I mix up a bowl of fruit for breakfast and pick away at it over the course of the next hour. It’s delicious with mixed berries, pear and apple but I don’t really have much of an appetite for it which seems strange.

The rest of day goes much the same way, and I find meals being missed and I’m just grazing instead. Two of my favourite foods, olives and hummus are allowed on this cleanse, and them along with carrot and red pepper sticks, and an avocado make up the rest of my day’s intake. Balanced meals? No. Raw food? Yes. I’m left wondering if it’s normal to have such a lack of appetite? Looking on the bright side at least it should make the next 3 days easier……

I head out in the afternoon for a leisurely walk for about 45 minutes and feel good and full of energy. I’m quite surprised by this given my lack of real meals today.

Day 6 – Danielle

Today is the last day of raw food, which is now feeling like a gourmet feast compared to the  three days of juice only which is looming. I am now starting to feel a bit nervous, but my juicer has arrived from my friend and we test it out to take my mind off things. It’s really easy and I do love juice, my children are enjoying the novelty too and we have fun trying out various combinations. The process is very time consuming though and fine for the weekend, but I am not sure how I will cope on work days.

After various snacks and lunch of rice cakes, salad, more nuts and dates and some juice, I head out for a gentle run. I don’t want to totally lose all the hard work I have put into my barefoot running, so I just do a three mile jog which includes walking up some very steep and muddy hills. It’s lovely though and the windy route gives me lovely views and lots of very fresh air! Back home to a few more dates and nuts and an apple to try to prevent depletion.

My evening meal is another large salad, which is lovely and I am not even tempted by my sons’ beans on toast with grated cheese – well maybe a little bit by the cheese! I round off my meal with another apple and feel fine, but very apprehensive about tomorrow.

Day 5 – Louise

More of the same…..hot lemon water, supplements and fruit for breakfast. Really feeling like I need to break the monotony here, so need to get inspired for lunch and dinner or I can see myself ‘slipping off the wagon’!

Surprisingly by lunch time I’m not even feeling hungry. I’m thinking that my body must be getting more used to this when I read in the notes that the two Supercleanse supplements I took this morning contain a natural fibrous agent that swells up in my stomach to make me feel full. I’m not wholly sure I like the sound of this….

My lack of hunger means good intentions go out with the window and lunch ends up being more a collection of ingredients than an inspired meal, but I enjoy it all the same. I grill some asparagus, but the rest of its all raw – cherry tomatoes, avocado, red pepper and sugar snap peas. Feel surprisingly satisfied at the end of it.

I’m struggling to know what to make that is essentially all raw other than salad, so once again I sit down to eat salad but I cheat on the all raw rule by roasting some butternut squash and add that to it. It’s cold outside and I’m dying for something warm and hearty…and raw food is certainly not that.

I got to bed, after my final lot of supplements, slightly dreading the thought of more raw food tomorrow….

Day 5 – Danielle

Again it is a rush to get out of the door and to school in between prepping everything I  need for the day. But I manage and I feel fine, breakfast in the office is rice cakes and hazelnut butter again (not sure if rice cakes are strictly raw) and follow-up with an apple and some herbal tea. Lunch is early in order to fit in a game of badminton with my mum friends.  I do enjoy the salad, but it does take an age to eat the copious amount of spinach leaves I have piled onto my plate.

Badminton is fine, I am not flagging at all, but the next part is the challenge – post game latte and cake…I eat an apple on the way to the cafe and then order an orange juice. My fellow team members, just have the one brownine between them, which is very restrained and gallant of them. Suprisingly, I am not even tempted and the coffee and milk does not appeal at all.

Back to work and I do a quick search for more raw recipes –  I need some inspiration, but it’s not that easy to find a good supply even though I am pretty adept at scouring the internet. Evening meal therefore consists of more salad, seeds and half an avocado, which I think is pretty impressive considering I am also cooking pizza and chips for my childrens friday night treat.

Normally on a friday evening I am snoring on the sofa by around 7pm, but this friday I am alarmingly alert and wide awake…

…it is starting to freak my family out!

Day 4 – Louise

As today is the start of the Pre-Purification Phase it means I have a different combination of supplements to take – nine tablets in total plus flaxseed oil. The flaxseed oil makes me gag, and I wonder what on earth I am doing this for!

As someone who was always taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day I can’t help feeling that a cocktail of supplements and another bowl of fruit is just not hearty enough to start the day off.

The Pre-Purification Phase means trying to only eat raw foods. So once again it’s salad for lunch…and I am starting to get bored after four days in a row. I haven’t been exercising whilst on the Cleanse as I’ve also been battling a cold, but right now I don’t feel like I would have the energy to run very far anyway.

By dinner time I’m realizing that the challenge for me is coming up with raw foods that I want to eat….so it’s yet more salad and I cheat a little by roasting some butternut squash to have with it. I sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds, add a homemade lemon and basil dressing and it’s not too bad. For the first time I fully realise that this may be quite tough…. I fear I am already bored of the foods on the ‘yes’ list and must get more creative to make it through the 12 days.

I finish the day, a little hungry, and in a hot bath to do some skin brushing which is also recommended during the cleanse. Just before bed I take the final set of supplements – which include 2 of the Supercleanse tablets – each of which its recommended you take with 200ml of water – not ideal just before bed – I’m woken an hour later needing to pee!

Day 4 – Danielle

My day to do the school run, so no time to relax into this stage. It’s in at the deep end with my hot water and lemon, nine tablets and two glasses of water. I can’t get the lid off the bottle of flaxseed oil so I put it in my bag with all my other snacks and lunch and fly out the door. On the walk we meet up with some friends and the mum tells me that I am looking glowing – I am not sure if she is just being kind!

At my desk I tuck into the  flaxseed oil, It’s not as bad as I had expected, quite nutty in fact, and wash it down with a mint tea, some ricecakes and hazelnut spread and an apple. Mid morning and I have the munchies…so I eat a Bear blueberry yoyo (all fruit) which has just arrived from Taste PR, it is delicious but maybe not quite enough to satisfy so I have a few almonds as well. To be honest I am not actually hungry, I am just in the habit of snacking – lesson one!

Lunch is a whole avocado, because I want to go for a jog later, with a large plate of salad and mange tous sprinkled with garlic olive oil. It’s nice, but takes me ages to eat. I realise this really does require you to have the sort of lifestyle where you are not constantly flat-out.

Back on the school run and home, I have some juice and dates and then head out for my jog around six thirty. All is fine, I take it pretty easy and just do half an hour. This is followed by yet more salad but I do sneak in some brown rice just to re-fuel.

I too am doing some dry skin brushing before showers and baths, tonight I enjoy a Tisserand ginger, lemongrass and rosemary bath oil that I am testing. It is lovely. More suplements and copious amounts of water and then to bed, only to be woken up at 1am desperate for a wee.

Day 3 – Louise

It’s the final day of the preparation phase today and I wake feeling good. I’m reassured that this first section has really not been much of a struggle at all. Perhaps if you are used to eating lots of processed foods, or pre made meals, it would be a different story.

My breakfast once again is half a melon and an apple (creature of habit? me?) but I find that I am getting hungry much earlier than with my usual bowl of muesli, so lunch gets brought forward to 12 which is early for me.

I whizz up a salad with bean sprouts, beetroot, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and hummus – it’s tasty, but I am starting to really miss my dairy products and look through the list of allowed foods and wished I bought an avocado to pad it out a bit more.

In the afternoon I spend half an hour doing some yoga as this is encouraged throughout the cleanse, and also head outside for a walk as the rest of the day is just spent at my desk.

By dinner I’m starving and I make one of the suggested recipes form the Chris James Cleanse website –  Smoked paprika Cannelini cassoulet – described as “a delicious vegan variation on the traditional cassoulet. The hearty texture & smokiness of the paprika ensure this is a very satisfying dish.” I have to say I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this but was pleasantly surprised when I tucked in as it was quite tasty, but I still didn’t finish feeling satisfied. I was craving something else…but the only things on offer – pumpkin seeds, fruit, dates – just weren’t hitting the mark.

By the time bed time came round I had my final supplement and went to bed feeling hungry and a little nervous for the next phase.


Day 3 – Danielle

Today I am out and about at meetings so it will be interesting to see if I can resist the temptations at the train station! I start the day with porridge and rice milk followed by an apple. On the train I munch on nuts and dates and a satsuma. All is fine, I don’t feel lacking in energy and I am not tempted as I breeze through Paddington station and negotiate the underground.

At my first meeting there are chips, sandwiches and tea and coffee on offer – how mean! I mingle with the other journo’s and laugh about my predicament. Luckily we are in a smart hotel and there are apples displayed beautifully in the foyer, so I help myself to one. Meeting over and just as I am about to leave, delicious cupcakes are brought out….time to leg it I think!

Next meeting is in a cafe, again not ideal, but I plump for courgette and sweetcorn soup. I realise it probably has salt in it, but it is warm and satisfying and as good as I can realistically manage. Final meeting is also in a cafe, well, actually a smart bar/restaurant. I study the menu, trying to avoid eye contact with the yummy delights on offer…grilled seabass with lemon butter and garlic mash – this is the first time I have realised what I am missing. However  I then spot fresh carrot and ginger juice, perfect – I have two of these and they are delicious – thank-you Canteen at the South Bank.

Back to the train station, my train is delayed. This is testing my resolve. I have another apple, finally get on the train home and eat three rice cakes with hummus that I brought with me. Home late at around 9.30, so I warm up a bit of the left over carrot and lentil soup and have another satsuma  – phase one complete.

Day 2 – Louise

Again the day starts with hot lemon water, and I’m still not loving this part! It has taken me almost half an hour to get through the large mug. Sounds ridiculous i know, but I’m just not used to hot drinks. I take the 6 different kinds of supplements required, some double doses, and then tuck into fruit for breakfast. Again it’s half a melon and an apple.

By lunch I’m dying for something warm. The cleanse notes say that stir frying is a good option because even though the heat is high the veg is only cooked for a very short time so it retains the nutrients. So I stir fry some vegetables – mushroom, corn, asparagus, onion, carrot, peppers – it’s ok but is crying out for some soy sauce or sweet chilli – neither of which are allowed!

I’m in on my own tonight, and as I still have some leftovers from last night’s bean stew it’s more of the same for dinner. It’s tasty but I’m really craving something sweet afterwards. I’ve got a real sweet tooth and love chocolate and biscuits, and am starting to really miss not just being able to pick at a treat after a savoury meal. Perhaps this is one of the bad habits the cleanse will break me from?

Day 2 – Danielle

The hardest thing about this detox so far is downing all the tablets before breakfast, I rarely even take pain killers so to attempt 8 capsules and tablets first thing is a challenge. I sit at the breakfast table with my large glass of water and work my way through them whilst my children scoff Weetabix and eat bananas. Then I sip my lemon water as we all rush around trying to get out of the house on time. No time for breakfast, so I take my porridge, cranberries and rice milk in a flask to eat at my desk.

Lunch is my left over bean stew and chopped up sweet potato with some fresh spinach. I confess though, I did heat it up in the microwave because the prospect of this cold is too much to bear. After lunch I cycle over to my appointment with Caroline Peppercorn the Foot Health Professional who is assessing my feet for the barefoot running blog. She gives me a warm cup of oatmilk and malted barley syrup – delicious and I hope it is in the rules. After my treatment, Caroline gives me a Nak’d raw bar to sustain me on my cycle back to the office.

In the evening I make lentil and carrot soup…a bit too thick really but very filling and follow-up with a satsuma and some dates and nuts. All fine, and it’s good to be considering healthier options for supper as normally it would be a quick bowl of pasta or noodles which can get very dull! The evening is rounded off by a call from my mum, she is calling to check I am ok and is worried that I am a) not eating much, b) working to hard, c) running with no food in me. She doesn’t sound totally convinced by my answers, so if you are reading this mum – honestly I am fine!

Day 1 – Louise

For the first 3 days the main rules are no meat, fish, dairy or carb loaded foods like pasta, bread and noodles. Plus you need to eliminate tea, coffee and alcohol. Doing this in January is a good time, because after all the excessive eating and drinking over Christmas I’m more than happy to ditch the booze, and as I don’t drink tea or coffee anyway at least that’s one rule I shouldn’t find too hard to stick too!

I don’t eat meat, but removing fish, dairy and pasta is going to be tough. I usually eat pasta at least a couple of times a week, and I eat dairy more than once a day, every day.

So I start the day with hot lemon water, this is meant to kick start the cleanse. I’m not used to hot drinks and actually find this quite hard to drink.

After this I take a cocktail of supplements, provided as part of the cleanse pack, which will ensure I am not missing out on any vitamins that I would normally get through my regular diet. They have been specifically selected to maximise the efficiency of the cleanse.

I follow this with breakfast. I usually have a large bowl of shop bought muesli, with semi skimmed milk but this has to be replaced with half a melon. Tasty but not so filing! Mid morning I have an apple too.


For lunch I have a rocket salad with sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber and beetroot. I made a dressing from extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. I often have salad for lunch so this is fine for me, but I would usually have some cheese or maybe a bread roll with it too.

I’m starving by dinner! I try one of the recipes suggested on the Chris James Cleanse website – borlotti bean stew with jacket sweet potato. It’s actually really yum, and even my boyfriend tucks into it happily – although I did add some sausages into his!

All in all day one has been really simple, hopefully it’s a good sign of things to come.

Danielle – Day one

I don’t eat meat, only occasionally eat fish and rarely drink alcohol, so like Louise this stage is not too stressful. I started with hot lemon and water and added a little honey. Then took the supplements and waited for an hour or so before having some muesli with rice milk. The rice milk was actually rather nice, and I would be happy to use it more often if it were not so much more expensive than cows milk.

For lunch I had some left over tomato risotto, in the rules its states brown rice only so strictly speaking this is breaking the rules a little bit – so to balance it out I don’t heat it  up in the office microwave but instead have it cold which is just about ok.

Unlike Louise, I have been shopping for a few snacks! So I have some nuts and dates mid afternoon and an apple. All is fine, I even have a herbal tea mid afternoon and feel perfectly satisfied that I have eaten enough. In fact I am probably eating too much. Having been a fairly serious athlete in the past I am paranoid about not having enough fuel in the tank, but the truth is I am no longer a serious athlete and don’t need to eat so much!

For supper I have the same as louise, sweet potato and tomato and bean stew with mushrooms – It’s so good my family all want some too. So so far so good – plenty of water and cups of warm water instead of tea and I feel fine.

We’ll be posting every day throughout the cleanse so keep checking back to see how we are doing!

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