I Did A Raw Food Diet To Detox. Here’s What Happened
Have you ever been sick and tired of being sick and tired? I was. Everyday I would wake up feeling fatigued, bloated and sluggish. I was moody most of the time. My zest for life was almost gone.
There was only one hope for me. A colon cleanse.
Here’s the thing, I had tried everything: from senna tea to salt water flush. The natural laxatives worked for sure – for a day. But the next day I would be constipated all over again.
The chronic fatigue and brain fog was a sign that my body was full of toxins. After all, the brain and gut are interconnected. And unhappy gut, unhappy mind. So I drank detox teas like milk thistle tea, bamboo tea, and every herbal tea. Still, nothing changed.
I had to do something radical. I had to change my diet.
Now, I have done a raw vegan food diet. Mostly on Thursdays when I attend the TICAH herbal medicine classes due to convenience. Plus some classmates mentioned how beneficial it is. Someone’s aunt used it to heal cancer.
It could surely heal my leaky gut, right?
Over the past 2 years, I’ve developed intolerance to the common allergens: gluten and lactose. But nowadays I also experience digestive issues whenever I eat peanuts, maize and deep fried foods. All signs that my gut is unhealthy.
So in October 2022, I challenged myself to a week-long raw diet colon cleanse. And told my close friends and family about it so that they could keep me accountable. I didn’t trust myself enough to stay away from cooked food.
Here’s how it went…
I started off with a dry fast. No food or water for a whole 24 hours. It was no big deal for me, I do it every week to detox naturally. Plus I was too busy working at home to think about my tummy.
I broke my thirst with a teaspoon of bentonite clay in a glass of water. A daily detox drink I picked up from functional health coach Oriane. A cousin of activated charcoal, bentonite clay is also a fantastic face mask.
For breakfast, I drank passion juice and nibbled on a pineapple piece at an event. For lunch I had a raw carrot salad at home. And for dinner an avocado salad with tomato and milk thistle leaves (which grow wildly in my garden). With 2 glasses of green tea in between meals.
Surprisingly, I slept feeling satisfied.
Since I was still constipated, I did a salt water flush. That is 2 teaspoons of sea salt in 1 litre of warm water. With a squeeze of lemon juice to make it more palatable.
You have to drink it in the shortest time possible. And then lie on your right side for 30 minutes.
I know it sounds a lot, and it is. But it does the job. With all the toilet trips I made that day, thank God I stayed home.
I followed it up with herbal tea, a fruit smoothie, raw carrot salad, and an avocado tomato green salad. Similar to Day 2.
Before bed, I drank 1 tsp of psyllium husk in a glass of water as it helps to regulate bowel movements. I bought the natural fibre the previous day at an Indian shop in Ngara. Thanks again to Oriane for the health tip.
I woke up to my usual herbal tea – which changes every day. Since I was out and about for my herbal medicine class, I carried my raw carrot salad in a glass jar. I shared it with my classmates who loved it.
In the evening, I ate a banana and sugarcane which gave me energy for the Capoeira class in Kibera. After class, I feasted on fresh cherry tomatoes which I picked from the Nairobi Museum forest.
On my way home, I chewed raw pumpkin seeds which I had carried in a brown paper bag. They did not satisfy me.
For the first time in a long time, I slept hungry.
After some research, I decided to take psyllium husk in the morning instead of at night. And followed it up with a glass of water to help relieve constipation.
For breakfast, I made my first banana sea moss smoothie. A fellow herbalist and classmate recommended sea moss for fatigue and detox. And since I had it, I soaked it the night before, blended it with fresh water in the morning, and mixed 2 tablespoons with 2 bananas. I could have eaten it plain but the sea weed taste was too much for my palate.
For lunch I had my usual avocado green salad – this time with leftover cherry tomatoes. But that evening I almost backslid.
While walking into the kitchen, I got tempted to eat the freshly cooked food on the stove. It was an emotional response. What do I mean?
I felt sad that I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to do that day. Plus some friends had not responded to my event invites.
Instead of soothing myself with food and regretting it later, I talked to myself in the matatu in order to understand my feelings. I parented my inner child. And I felt much better.
Later that evening, I enjoyed a pawpaw-kiwi-spinach smoothie at Rabuko Restaurant. And ate a carrot salad as a midnight snack at The Mist Westlands. Because I shared it with my curious friends, I didn’t feel satisfied i.e. didn’t belch at the end. But at least they enjoyed it.
At home, I chewed a piece of ginger to heat me up. Then I slept.
Milestone: I had my first morning poo. Proof that I’m healing. Psyllium husk is doing its job.
You know the drill by now. Psyllium husk in water. Herbal tea. And a (mango banana) sea moss smoothie for breakfast.
Later, I went out to host Book Swap in The Park. Since it was a hot Saturday afternoon, I ate watermelon (which should be eaten alone according to Ayurveda). Followed by 2 bananas shared with friends in the forest under bamboo trees.
For dinner, the book swap gang went to Klabu, the popular open air food market near University of Nairobi. They ordered ugali, chicken biryani, chapati and ndengu. Again, I felt tempted to join them. After all, I was feeling much better – less bloating and more belching.
Plus none of them knew I was on a raw food diet.
But I was so close to the finish line. Only one more day, Furaha. So I whispered to my friend, let’s go get fruit juice. Which we did. Tamarind mint orange juice for me, mango juice for him.
Later we drank spicy black tea at Wasanii Restaurant as we sang our hearts out at karaoke night. And again, I chewed ginger before bed to chase away the 2am cold.
I realised I would only crave cooked food if I was hungry – or sad. Once I was satisfied with a smoothie or salad, I stopped thinking about the former.
Even though my stomach felt empty and clean, I was still tired over the weekend. I kept hoping the sea moss would increase my energy like this black YouTube vlogger. It took her 4 days to see results, how long would it take me?
On the last day, I applied sea moss as a face mask, drank a pawpaw sea moss smoothie, and felt something happening in my stomach. I am healing. No doubt about it.
I ate a raw carrot salad for lunch, and an avocado-tomato-coriander salad for dinner. I was still hungry so I tried something new. I cut pieces of extra SCOBY from my homemade kombucha and added honey to neutralize the bitter taste.
Not as filling as I thought.
Then I drank the psyllium husk water mixture since I wasn’t going to drink it the next morning.
And I was done!
All that was left was a dry fast to complete the colon cleanse. But what would happen afterwards? Would I go back to my old ways of eating past 10pm and having second servings? Should I change my diet completely? Have raw salads for dinner to reduce the risk of overeating and waking up fatigued? Maybe one cooked meal a day?
Only one way to find out.
This was the hardest fast I’ve ever done. I usually fast after a heavy meal the previous night so it’s easy, even necessary. But this time I started with an empty stomach. So I was hungry and thirsty from the word go.
I fed my son his first tiny mangoes around noon. As I watched him suck the sweet savoury seed in my hand, I was tempted to lick the leaking juice in my hand. Or help him finish sucking the koko, as we call it in Swahili. Or scrape the yellow fibres off the skin.
Then I reminded myself, just one more day. So I let him have it. Plus it was a joy to watch him do all the above, put the skins in his mouth by himself repeatedly and suck them dry.
But by 6pm, I was so tired all I could do was lie on the couch while working. I dozed off on the couch at 11pm while watching a documentary. Afterwards, I went straight to sleep – I didn’t even write in my journal or read a book as per my evening routine.
The only good news is I had the flattest tummy I’ve had in months. And I went to the loo 3 times.
My stomach felt 90% empty, like there was something small left to fully cleanse my colon.
The Raw Diet Aftermath
I woke up the next day a shell of a person. I had dry lips, a dizzy head and zero energy. At least I wasn’t fatigued.
The bones in my thighs were painful, and I didn’t know why. If I didn’t move slowly and deliberately, I would fall down. The banana sea moss smoothie gave me some semblance of energy.
Lesson learnt: Never dry fast after a raw food diet. I would rather continue the detox diet for a few more days.
After watching one or two videos on YouTube about health enthusiasts who’ve gone on a similar colon cleanse, I keep getting more video suggestions. Many have done 90-day raw vegan detox diets. That’s 3 months long!
Can I do it? Yes, but not now. Not when the festive season is so close. But at least I can do a week, I’ve proved that to myself.
And so the healing journey continues. As Lupus Girl Thriving said, healing is a slow process. She also advised we should avoid nightshade vegetables. That includes tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers. Why? They are inflammatory and not suitable for people with autoimmune issues such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Ironically that day, I met some friends at a restaurant. And guess what one of them ordered for us. Potato fries! While the accompanying salad had tomatoes and sweet red peppers in it.
Did I eat them?
You bet I did.
And I got a brain fog immediately after. Couldn’t think clearly or remember simple details. And I woke up the next day with a slight headache – a sign of overeating. It showed that even though I have the discipline to eat raw vegan for a week, my old habits persist. It might take longer for them to die hard.
I continue to take psyllium husk and sea moss daily. They seem to have regulated my bowel movements i.e. every morning. And drink stinging nettle and hibiscus tea during the day for an energy boost and natural detox.
I want to try the anti-inflammatory turmeric and black pepper in coconut milk aka golden milk since I’m dairy free. Which means I need coconuts. And brown rice. And cauliflower (rice). And celery.
City Park Market, here we come.
Out of my daily four meals, at least two are raw. That’s a fruit (sea moss) smoothie and raw carrot salad. And a green salad every other day.
Instead of eating seconds at midnight, I’d rather chew ginger before bed to chase away the cold and fire up my digestion.
I’ll continue fasting weekly. For the past year, it’s the best way I’ve found to reset my gut and reduce bloating. Before I find a full-time fix.
The biggest task ahead is avoiding white ugali, white rice and potato fries which are everywhere. My trigger foods. The only solution is to cook my own brown ugali, brown rice and sweet potato fries.
That’s the only way I can heal my leaky gut.
Am I still as fatigued as I was before I started the natural detox? The answer is no. But I’m not 100% yet. However, I feel more capable of showing up for myself and my family. And for now, that is enough.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Ayurveda, Healing, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Plant-based, Wellness