Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cleaning Up Me: Kaeng Raeng Detox and Program Review

This is a post like no other I have ever written, but I really wanted to share this experience...
I'm perfectly fine, Mom and Dad, so please don't yell at me for "not eating right"...
My husband and I have both been researching what could/should be the perfect eating lifestyle for us, and experimenting with our mostly healthy diets.  (Yes, I said mostly. We live in Buffalo, people.  Land of the chicken wing, home of the beef-on-weck.) Yes, we eat our share of meat, but most of our meals are now meatless with the occasional vegan dish thrown in (Go, us!).  The Internet is an amazing thing... add Pinterest and google searches to my love of experimenting in the kitchen and I've come up with (and tweaked) some great animal-free recipes ...and some not-so great ones, too. (Beets are not my friend).

Without diving too far into my three-and-a-half-years-post-pregnancy-body-image blues (I'm sure we all have them, and I applaud those of you that can just let them go),  I will share that I have intentionally changed my eating habits and exercise habits over the past couple of years, but I still stuggle with portion control. Big time.  Eating, well, I mentioned it before - overall, more healthy.  If it comes from the earth, we tend to choose that over something insanely processed. (Not the easiest thing for a recovering McDonald's addict, but I'm working on it.)  We try to read ingredients, and eat organic when we can.  We try to eat products with ingredients we know, and the fewer ingredients, the better.  As for exercise, well,  I started.  Exercising.  That's right.  I've never really exercised until a couple of summers ago when I started jogging (post-twins).  I jog/run, and do a few other cardio type workouts as time allows (Zumba, yoga and cross-spin: 1/2 cross fit, 1/2 spin), and I'm embarrassed to say I hate every second of it (with the exception of Zumba, which I love).  I get it, I get it... No pain, no gain.  I'm just not a fan of pain.  Or more specifically knee pain.  Or inflamed nerves in my feet.  Or gasping for my breath.  ...and I'm not seeing the "gain" equivalent to my input and pain.

So where am I going with all this?   I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  My husband is trying a Vegan Before 6:00 -type diet and I decided to do a detox.  A fast, of sorts.  A cleanse.  Something I was determined to do, yet confident I wouldn't be able to complete (Yes, I have that little faith in myself when it comes to food.  I.  Love. Food.   It's all I think about.  For reals.)

After doing some serious research, I decided on Kaeng Raeng, which means "Be Healthy, Be Strong," in Thai.  It's a US made, all natural, vegan, gluten and caffeine free detox program.  You dump powder made up of freeze dried fruits and some other good things (like probiotic cultures and vitamins)  into water, blend and drink.  You can do a 3 day or 6 day cleanse, both options include 3 beverages/meal replacements per day.... and the best part is (and the main reason I went with the Kaeng Raeng cleanse) is that you can eat raw fruits and veggies if you need to.  The idea of not being able to chew something weirded me out a bit.  Think about it.  ...and to be honest, I thought I'd eventually pass out (or worse, die) from not eating anything over a 6-day period.   Little did I know that I'd eventually be passing up "allowed" foods that I'd normally eat, just to eat out of boredom... I realized I didn't need them, or just wasn't hungry.

After chatting with a health conscious friend, I decided to purchase a few samples to see if I could even palate the stuff.  The stuff doesn't taste awful, but it's not great either. I'd be lying if I said I looked forward to each drink.  I looked forward to each of them being ingested and filling me up, that's for sure.  I made it through the three sample flavors (not really noticing that much of a difference in taste) and decided to go ahead and order the 6-day 'veteran' cleanse (Hey - don't judge - I made it through the samples, so that puts me waaaay past the 'beginner' level, doesn't it?)  I flipped between the 3 and 6 day, but the 6 day is recommended if you are looking to 'jump-start' weight loss (see above comment about me not mentioning my post-pregnancy body image issues), so I went for the gold.

Before I give a brief summary of each day, I'm sure you're dying to know what it tasted like.  It's like bland (no sweeteners, people), slightly textured (grainy), fruit flavored, thick water, ...with a side of dust.  Yep, it has a dusty taste to it.  How do I know what dust tastes like?  That is none of your damn business.  Luckily, the more you drink, the better it tastes.  I've blended fruit into the drinks and drank them straight with just water and ice (the colder the better, take my word for it).  The further you get to the bottom of your 24oz (minimum amount of H20 used) drink, the sweeter and thicker it seems.  The stuff settles a bit, I guess.  It's really not that bad at all, but if you're looking for a Gatorade or Vita-Water taste (or whatever that sugar-filled stuff is called), look elsewhere.  There are three flavors that all taste similar if you ask me.  I found the blueberry/blackberry/acava one (Juu Juu "into the blue") to be the least tasty, but again, they all tasted pretty much the same.  OK, here goes...

Day 1 - 1st drink was blended with banana and strawberries.  Dan was waiting for me to 'get angry' out of hunger at some point during the day.  I didn't ;)  Success.  Lunch and dinner drinks were straight with just cold water and ice. I did have some strawberries with my lunch and some broccoli with dinner.  I wasn't hungry at all during the day and overall felt pretty good.  I read that sleep is better during the cleanse, so I'm looking fwd to that, as I'm an absolutely horrible sleeper.  Must be hereditary - my dad and I usually compare time frames that we were awake during the previous night and then joke round about how we could have been hanging out instead of staring blankly at late night/early morning television.

What I learned on Day 1
1. You will pee.  Like, a lot.  Let me put it into persepective for you. I had to go more than when I was pregnant with the twins (and I thought that was a lot!).  In the 20 minutes we were in the grocery store today, I ran to the bathroom four times. Four, people.  I'll have to time our my errands better.
2. Use a blender to mix the drinks.  Shaking or stirring just wasn't enough to break up the powder mix, and if you get a chunk of wet powder, you get a chunk of soggy fruit dust (see previous dust comparison.)
3.  These things are FILLING.  Maybe next time I know we're ordering a pizza, I can rememeber to drink 24oz of water beforehand to make less room for pizza.  Just a thought...

Day 2 -  I blended my breakfast, lunch and dinner drink with just ice and water.  Adding fruit to the drink gives it a smoothie texture, but also adds to the volume of the drink.  I'd rather just drink my 24oz, then enjoy some fruit afterward.  I had a banana after the breakfast drink, and a guacamole salad (avocado, red onion, cilantro, tomato, lime juice and fresh garlic  - no salt... I definitely missed the salt!) before my lunch drink.  I used two big celery stalks in place of my tortilla chips.  Yep, I was desperate for salt - but if that's as bad as this is going to get, I'll manage, no problem!  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I ran 2+ miles before my lunch drink. Take that, Kaeng Raeng.  Had the dinner drink and no other supplemental food.

Day 3 - Who goes to a Cinco de Mayo party while doing a fasting cleanse? This girl!  (Who hearts Mexican food? This girl!)  I even brought a plate of my new favorite dessert (Churro Cheesecake - to die for, literally), outside to our gang of vultures without even shedding a tear sneaking a bite.  I didn't make anything to bring to the party, because I knew that would be tough.

All three drinks were just blended with water and ice today and I only ate 4 grapes (yes, four grapes, cuz they were just sitting there in front of me) all day!  I feel great, am not hungry and am sleeping HARD (although I'm still waking up every couple hours like I usually do.)  HALF WAY DONE!  Honestly didn't think I'd even get this far!  Way easier than I thought.

What I learned on Day 3 
1. I am VERY aware of what everyone around me is eating.  I'm not craving anything, but I'm almost judging what I see go into people's mouths (and sometimes wondering how some people stay so skinny and fit.)  I'm smelling and enjoying the smells of food more than ever right now.
2. The drinks are way more palatable at this point. Still not a yogurt smoothie or a milkshake, but they are gone before I know it. No more staring at how many ounces I have left to drink.

Day 4 -  All 3 drinks blended with just ice and water.  Making food for the family without eating it isn't as tough now that I'm 4 days in.  It's actually provoking some serious thinking about food intake and food, in general.  Ate a few bits of celery (not even a half of a stalk) and a banana while having a picnic in the park with the fam, just to 'participate' in the picnic festivities.

I'm mentally consumed with food right now, but not hungry or craving it. A different kind of consumption. Just thinking about the future - what my first meal will be... what my first 'treat' will be... what else I can change on our family roadtrip to Healthytown. ...if and if so, how soon will I fall back into bad eating habits...

Day 5 - 
I woke up super duper tired today. What gives? I did play our season opener for volleyball yesterday evening, so maybe that's why?  Winning 3 games in a row must have totally tired me out. (Yep - you heard me.  All. Three. Games. That's how the Notorious D.I.G. rolls.)  I also had a dream last night that I ate one (just one) M&M and was mad at myself for 'falling off the wagon'. Crazy, huh?  The end is near.  Really near.  Am I actually doing this?  Is it way easier than I thought?  Do I feel good? Yes, and I'm not even getting paid to say this, nor did I get my detox for free.  I haven't even cheated. 

All drinks just blended with water and a few ice cubes today.   This method totally works for me, and it's the suggested way for reaping the ultimate benefits of the detox.  This is also my first day at the office since I started my detox.  Not knowing what to expect, I planned this around a break from work.  Now that I know what it's all about - there was really no need to do that.  The only thing I had today was a tomato/avocado salad with some lime juice at dinner time.  I watched the rest of the family eat pizza.  From my favorite place.  The ultimate test, and I passed ;)
Day 5 Learnings
I know the end is near, and my thoughts of food are coming back today for the first time since I started this.  I'm all of a sudden really missing food, wanting food and wanting this to be completed.  It's amazing how my mind works.  Maybe it's because I was at my desk all day, instead of keeping busy with the boys.

Day 6 -
Last day!  I have had some really good sleep the past few days. So good that I woke up around 1:30am last night, and went in the backyard looking for 2/3 of our dogs that I *thought* I let out mintues before.  When they didn't come back to the door, I went out to look for them.  When I couldn't find them in our completely fenced in back yard, I woke up Dan, who informed me that they were laying in our bed.  They totally were.  What?  Did I dream letting them out?  I was completely awake when I was looking for them, but apparently dreamed or hallucinated the 'letting the out' part.  That's a first, and I'm blaming Kaeng Raeng.
Good news is that Dan said my body appeared slimmer today. Yeah! My weight has always fluctuated in a 5 lb window, but I'll do a final weigh-in tomorrow morning and let you know the loss from the morning I started.  Even knowing it was the last day, I didn't miss food today.  Yesterday must have just been a mentally trying day.

All drinks made with just water and ice again.  Actually really enjoyed each one today!

Final Weigh In
Morning of Day 7- I'm down 7.5 lbs from the weigh-in I did the morning I began the program! Wow!  Not too shabby.   Might I add that I feel great, accomplished and I'm looking forward to my first decaf coffee in a week!


Are you up for the Kaeng Raeng challenge?  If I can do it, so can you!
Shoot me an email if you are interested in Kaeng Raeng and I'll send you a referral.  If I refer enough people, I get a free cleanse, and I'll do a Kaeng Raeng give-away!


More about Kaeng Raeng
Each pouch contains a full serving of real fruit, non-gmo soy protein, probiotic cultures, a full serving of fiber (don't be scared by this...  You'll use the bathroom as you normally would - minus the extensive peeing part. There are no laxitives here, people, just natural fiber).  There are also some daily vitamins and amino acids thrown in. 

The benefits to this are cleansing your innards, relieving bloating (although I only noticed this in the mornings - lots of water intake means lots of swelling for me), jumpstarting weight loss, improving digestive health and bolstering immune the system.  They even claim to clear up your skin.  I'll add to what 'the box' claims and say that my sleep was way better during the detox, itself, and I actually felt less lethargic and sluggish (dare I say ENERGIZED?) than this momma of twins usually does.

Go to their website for more specifics.  You can add any raw fruits and veggies to the drinks, and even soy, almond milk or yogurt if you need to.  the best part of this is that you can easily tailor it to you!  ...and if you are interested in doing you own cleanse, I'd suggest getting a sample or two first.  Just so you know what you're in for, taste wise, and to make sure you don't have a sensitivity to the soy-protein (some of the reviews I came across proved that this problem is out there, and you definitely won't have a positive experience of you are sensitive to it.)  You can use the code SPRING15 for 15% off a detox program (discount not available on sample sizes.)  I lucked out and there was a 15% off sale on the veteran and master levels when I purchased mine, and I was able to save an additional 15% using this discount code.  Much more affordable than some of the other cleanses out there.