Guest blogger & Yoga Instructor Mary DeCaro gives us the 411 on what a 7-day Bone Broth Cleanse really feels like. Spoiler alert: it's worth it.
It’s almost summer & I was feeling like I needed to hit the reset button on my diet. I wanted to give my digestive system a break because despite my mostly healthy diet, I just felt kind of weighed down & low energy. So I thought, now is the time for a cleanse of some sort!
First off, I love the concept of cleanses. I love the idea of putting nothing but incredibly clean, light, healthy & pure ingredients into your body, and giving it the time & space to lighten up, repair, & heal. I’ve done a few juice cleanses in the past, but as a pretty active person & yoga teacher, who teaches & practices in a heated studio daily, I have a hard time sticking to them for more than 2 days because I need more protein, & fuel in general. Even so, I was determined to find a cleanse that fit the bill, so I did some more research into various juice & master cleanses, detox supplements, etcetera, but the reoccurring problem was that it’s generally advised to minimize physical activity which is really hard for me because not only is my job physically demanding, but being active & dripping sweat daily keeps me grounded & is a big component to this “ultimate detoxification” quest that I was on.
Plus, I really didn’t want to have to sacrifice my daily endorphin rush! I even searched for the cleanest protein powders on the market & tried adding them to my juices but they didn’t dissolve & made the juice undrinkable.
Back to the drawing board! I did some more research, and came across some highly positive articles & reviews about bone broth cleanses. For quite a while now, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about bone broth. People are calling it a “miracle elixir” that improves joint health, immunity, & thyroid function, heals leaky gut, fights systemic inflammation, along with being a great source of protein annddd…bone broth does wonders for your skin, hair & nails thanks to all the collagen in the broth! Sign me up!
I was referred to the brand BRU Broth by a friend, and took a look at their site to check out their cleanse (RESET) options. BRU offers several different RESET options (3-day, 5-day & 7-day). I decided to take the plunge (into a big vat of steaming broth ;) and try out the 7-day RESET because…well, go big or go home, right? The folks over at BRU Broth were so kind & helpful and they shipped out my 7-day supply right away, & in less than 48 hours I had 7 days’ worth (21 bottles) of organic pastured, grass-fed bone broth delivered right to my door!
BRU provides 6 different flavors: Cayenne Zen, Hot Greens, Hug in Mug, Turmeric Ginger, Beet Blush, and….wait for it…BROFFEE! Broffee is a combination of organic grass fed beef bone broth, organic fair trade coffee, organic unsweetened cocoa, organic coconut aminos, organic chickpea miso, spices & coconut oil. Even though it sounds a little bit crazy, I was actually the most excited for this one because the ingredients are all so lovely & I always assess food in terms of individual ingredients, so to me, I found it to be a mindful & sensical collaboration of ingredients. (And, as someone who is constantly attempting to quit coffee, I loved that this cleanse allowed me to have my caffeine fix, yay!)
Three broths a day: one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for an afternoon snack.
Dinner is actual “dinner”, meaning they recommend eating 4-6oz of lean protein, 2 servings of vegetables and 1 serving of a low-glycemic fruit, such as berries. Since I’m mostly plant-based, & don’t usually include a lot of meat in my normal diet, I made a lot of tofu & veggie stir-fry for dinner, along with Beyond Meat veggie patties, & several times I cracked a couple of eggs into the broth as I heated it on the stove & squeezed in a ton of lemon for an egg drop type of soup.
I made some simple 2 veggie salads from a rotation of various lettuces, kale, cucumber, celery, beets, carrots & avocado for the two allotted veggies. I also did make some chia pudding which wasn’t exactly on the plan, but I kept it super clean & healthy just using almond milk, chia, honey & berries so I was able to rationalize it... ;)
So, since I’d done some research and had attempted several cleanses in the past, I had an idea of what I would need to do in order to set myself up for success; part of the preparation is physical, & the other part is mental.
A lot of people think that because they’re starting a cleanse, it’s ok to binge prior. I read one article about a guy who ate something like 6 big macs before he started a green juice cleanse. This is a really terrible idea, because when you’re cleansing, your digestive system slows down due to the decreased food intake & so everything you’ve eaten will stay in your digestive track a lot longer. That means that any junk food you gorged yourself on is going to basically be stuck inside of you for even longer than it normally would be. Ew, right? So basically, it’s a good idea to do a “pre-cleanse” cleanse 2-3 days prior to starting. If you’re going to commit & go through the process of a Reset, set yourself up for success & get the most out of it! So, about 3 days prior to my 7-day BRU Reset, I went on a mostly raw diet high in water & fiber; cucumbers, celery, apples, grapefruit, lemon cayenne water, plain kale salads, & tons of green & detox teas.
I basically just had to prepare to be hungry…I accepted that I would be hungry, maybe irritable & there would be moments of weakness where I will want to eat a bowl of pasta the size of my head! In yoga, we always come back to the idea of finding comfort in discomfort, because often discomfort is an opportunity for growth. I told myself that this would be an opportunity for growth, and to increase my mental toughness, so I wrote down all the reasons I had wanted to do this cleanse in the first place. I especially reminded myself of all the physical benefits that come from these beautifully & mindfully produced bottles of bone broth. So, I committed.
I started out most mornings with a mug of hot Broffee…and it was delicious, no lie.
It was savory, satisfying & gave me the caffeine boost + the protein that I need to get through my morning yoga practice.
I don’t usually eat breakfast because I’m not a morning person & I usually don’t get hungry until early afternoon, so the Broffee was perfect for me and I didn’t miss anything breakfast related. I did run out of Broffee and so for those mornings I drank the Hug in Mug & had green tea along with it. For lunch I alternated between the Hot Greens flavor & the Beet Blush since I felt the added veggie juice would provide some extra carbs & vitamins to help me power through my day & keep me energized for my afternoon classes. Afternoons were the hardest because by late afternoon, I’ve usually been in a heated yoga room for several hours teaching & practicing, and maybe squeezed in a short trail run between classes, so by this time, I’m usually starving. I definitely experienced some discomfort & hunger pangs when I would drink my afternoon broth (usually Turmeric Ginger or Cayenne Zen) instead of the usual giant Buddha bowl, or veggie pasta salad, I would normally chow down on, but I had already mentally prepared myself, and committed to accepting however I felt without judgement. I was committed to the process & all the sensations that accompanied it! Dinner was easy because…food! The hardest part of dinner was not over-doing it and eating 8 portions because I would be pretty hungry by then, so that mental toughness & self-control was getting some pretty serious exercise.
I think my expectation was that it would be super hard and I would be hangry. Neither of these things were the case.
I felt determined, grateful, and pretty excited to be on this BRU broth journey & really nourish my body, and allow myself to Reset.
I had normal energy levels & was in the “shiny & new” phase of the cleanse. I felt like these 7 days were going to be smooth sailing. Confidence was high, folks! 7 days—no problem, game on!
I was A-Okay the majority of this day, but by the afternoon the reality was setting in that I couldn’t snack when I wanted to, even if it was a healthy snack.
I’m hungry—why can’t I eat all the things? I started thinking about 7 days of this…I wasn’t discouraged I was just realizing that it’s easy to rationalize everything in your mind and tell yourself all the amazing ways this is helping your body and how good it is for you.
But when hunger starts to creep in, I apparently developed a slight form of amnesia to why I was doing this cleanse. To be honest, I found myself questioning basically everything in my life & I started making my grocery list of everything I wanted to cook post-reset when I could eat normally again. (I know, it’s only day 2, I’m pathetic). Also, I noticed that there are a disproportionate amount of pizza commercials on TV.
I woke up today feeling much better. I had a mug of broffee & went for a trail run. I felt light & clean and was able to visualize my day, & got in a quick meditational sesh.
I was feeling a heightened sense of clarity, and I know it sounds nuts, but I felt a sense of euphoria.
I had more energy & felt more focused, & squeezed in an extra yoga practice of my own that day. I wasn’t super hungry all day and made a tofu & kale soup with a Turmeric Ginger broth for dinner because I missed my afternoon broth that day due to work. It was delish!
I woke up and did some deep stretching while I drank a Hug in Mug. Despite the running & physical activity from the day before, my joints felt surprisingly good! I usually experience some soreness & snap-crackle-popping, of my joints in the mornings but today it was much less.
I’m actually pretty shocked at how “smooth” my joints feel today.
I don’t know if it’s from the turmeric ginger broth I had for dinner, or if it’s the culmination of treating my joints to several days of concentrated joint nourishment. Maybe both?? Regardless, I felt good today; light, clear headed & positive but I definitely had a hangry moment when afternoon rolled around and I had to give myself a pep-talk and go back over the list of reasons as to why I was doing this. Sigh…svadhyaya (self-study).
I woke up with a headache today, I think I’m dehydrated which is a constant battle because I spend so many hours in the heated studio but I started feeling better after a Hug in Mug, some light stretching & breathing and a couple of mugs of green tea. I didn’t have an early class today so I spent the morning at home catching up on work & doing some foam rolling.
By afternoon, I wasn’t ravenous as usual, and I felt good!
Also, I noticed my abs were popping out much more than before, so even though it wasn’t my intention to lose pounds, I’ve definitely lost a couple (I didn’t weigh myself prior, so I don’t know exactly how much.)
My skin LOVES bone broth!
I woke up this morning with actual glowing skin. Clear, hydrated, dewy, smooth, soft, supple skin! And for someone in their mid-thirties, this is an achievement.
Even though my skin is (for the most part) ok, I always have little areas that are prone to blemishes & clogged pores. Even though the daily sweat seshes help a ton, I still constantly deal with little breakouts & dry/oily skin. I’ve pinpointed that the majority of my skin issues are related to sugar & dairy products, so even though I’ve mostly eliminated those things from my diet, sometimes excessive amounts of fruit sugars & the cheese that I sneak here & there, still manages to wreak havoc on my skin from time to time.
The fact that I had only had the tiniest amount of sugar from the berries and not a drop of dairy, plus the incredible wonders of all that collagen & skin loving ingredients from the broth really started to shine through. Hunger factor? A little high, I’m not going to lie, but to be honest, my skin looks better than it has in YEARS and that fully overshadowed my hunger. I was also dipping back into a heightened sense of focus, clarity & again with the euphoria!
The final day, guys! So, I had mixed emotions today. I was genuinely seeing & feeling all of the great things that were promised & more!
I’m no longer puffy/bloated, or sluggish feeling, my skin is clear, radiant, & happy, I feel light, clean & refreshed along with a stronger & more heightened (slightly indescribable) sense of clarity & calm.
My joints still feel REALLY good & the lessened degree of pops & clicks that my joints typically experience is shockingly significant! I’ve gotten used to the schedule & even though I’m still hungry by afternoon, I’m definitely not starving like I was on several of the days. My body & mind feels on the same page, & for lack of better words, I just FEEL GREAT.
I was sharing my experience with a friend from yoga who’s a big advocate of resetting & cleansing, and when I told her I was surprised at how amazing I felt, she laughed & said “that’s how you’re supposed to feel—amazing is how we should all feel all the time!” I was thinking about it, and realized how right she was; we all deserve to feel our best, because feeling our best, helps us BE our best! Our bodies know what we need, we just need to listen to them more.
Was I hungry? Sure, at times. Did I get cranky? Of course. Did I have to remind myself multiple times throughout the 7 days why I wanted to do this, and psych myself up to stay on it even when every fiber of my being was screaming pizza & tacos? YES.
But above & beyond all of that, this bone broth cleanse ended up being everything I thought it would be, and more.
All of the reasons I chose to do it were 100% achieved, additionally, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do something nice for myself. We put our bodies through a LOT and we aren’t machines, we have to nourish ourselves & make self-care a priority, if we expect our bodies to continue to do the things we demand from them.
Resetting & cleansing with such an incredibly lovely, nourishing elixir such as bone broth is just one way to practice self-love & gratitude for your physical temple. It does require a certain level of mental toughness that you have to consciously & continuously tap into during the process. For example, if you’re serious about going on a diet, you understand that there’s going to be a certain level of discomfort when you can’t eat that cheeseburger, or that slice of cake; there’s just no way around it.
In the same sense, if you’re serious about honoring your body & being mindful of what it truly needs rather than what you THINK it needs, you accept that discomfort will come along with it! I think one of the tricks is to be really honest with yourself, and to be willing to be uncomfortable for your greater well-being, & for your journey, in becoming your highest, truest self.
In a heartbeat! In full transparency, I think if you live a really active lifestyle I would recommend the 5-day RESET rather than the 7, because I did feel a little bit more tired than usual. I wasn’t performing at my optimal level around day 6 & 7, just because I was in a caloric deficit; however, this BRU Broth RESET was by far the most accessible, realistic cleanse I’ve yet to try.
After all of the research on different cleanses, I feel like this one makes the most sense due to the extra protein in the bone broth & the fact that you’re allowed to eat real (healthy) food for dinner.
I’m not knocking a green juice cleanse, but with my lifestyle I tap out around day 2 and it’s never long enough for me to experience the full benefits. With this BRU RESET, I was able to stick with it for the full 7 days while (mostly) keeping up with my normal fitness & work regime, and I literally experienced all of the benefits that had led me to try this Reset in the first place. I’m going to make this cleanse a part of my regular self-care routine, and I’d like to ideally implement either the 3-day or the 5-day RESET once a month.
Give it a try, you definitely won’t regret it!! After all, we all deserve the chance to hit the “RESET” button here & there, in order to recognize & honor our highest potential!
Thank you BRU, you guys are the best!! I’m already looking forward to my next RESET!
Health & Wellness Expert