Arbonne 30-day Cleanse, Day 1

A couple of months ago, Mom and I were at an Arbonne party. Actually, it was a bunch of those social selling things— a lip thing and a skin-care thing and the Christian bags thing all at one party. The Arbonne rep presented about the product line, and it wasn’t a great presentation, but I know Mom loves a silver bullet. She’ll buy a weight-loss thing off TV now and again, and then be disappointed when it doesn’t work as advertised.

What the woman said about the Arbonne line sounded good. It’s not, specifically, a weight-loss system, so they don’t make promises about that. And it’s shake-based, which I hate (I don’t believe in drinking calories, because they don’t fool you that you’ve eaten, so in my experience, you eat more to compensate. Also, they suck.), but they focus on protein and fiber and probiotics. Everything is all-natural, super good for you. But the thing that I really liked is that they recommend a food program that gets you off gluten, dairy, alcohol, soy, and refined sugar for awhile. And with Mom’s range of digestive complaints, combined with aches and pains, I’m wondering if modifying her diet won’t let us be more systematic about identifying her triggers. So magic bullet for her, healthy diet she wouldn’t eat otherwise for me.

So I told her that if she was at all interested, I’d do it with her. Since I do the cooking, that’s what it would take, anyway, and I’m fairly confident I can do it because the first two weeks of South Beach has you turn down a lot of these things (though not dairy, which I’ll miss.) At first, she said no, but before we left, we ordered it.

Arbonne is crazy expensive, in my opinion. They’ll tell you it’s their exhaustive research and premium quality, but to me, the advantage of seriously overpaying for things I don’t value (protein shakes and fizzy water pouches and “detox teas”) is that it provides a financial incentive to follow through. We ordered this months ago, and at first, I was the hold-up. We ordered it in the last couple of weeks of Lent, and I didn’t want to do it be on it during Easter, or to have to do it while I traveled. I said I’d do it after I got back from Ohio. We talked about it at the beginning of June and Mom said that she didn’t think she could do it at all. But we talked about it again when we got home late last week. She’s got family coming out to stay with us briefly at the end of the summer (I know she’ll want to a-be on the other side of it and b-look nice for their visit), and we’re each into this box of crap for more than $100, so… we agreed to start today.

I spent the weekend preparing. I made trips to Sprouts, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and our local Kroger affiliate to buy stuff for the healthy food we’ll eat when we’re not drinking shakes and fizzy water and detox tea. I’m not a menu planner, but I planned our menu (anything on there that seems like it has gluten in it, like the ramen noodles is either a brown rice or a brown rice and quinoa variant) and made a compliant lentil and turkey salad for our lunches a couple of times this week. I also made compliant mayonnaise (not that I eat mayonnaise), dairy-free ranch, and chimmichurri.

This morning, I fumbled a little. I wanted to start by weighing myself and taking my measurements, but I couldn’t find the measuring tape. Then, I ended up spending 40 minutes in the kitchen trying to figure out the shake situation (two scoops? How much is in a scoop? If you’re going to say that and not include a scoop, you have to tell me how much a scoop is! [Mad flurry of googling to figure out how many grams in a cup only to find a scoop when I reached in with my half-cup measuring cup] Aack—- the liquid measuring cup is dirty from my prepping! And so is the immersion blender!) It’s frankly a wonder that I made it to work at all.

The shake was nasty-ish, but I’ve had worse. I knew when I did the meal-planning that the first two days would be the hardest, because we did Slim-Fast when I was in high school (not that I needed to lose weight in high school— I was a cheerleader and a trackster and inarguably at a healthy weight, but it was a solidarity thing) and I think we did some kind of Amway variant, and we discovered then that the vanilla was nasty on its own and the chocolate was also nasty on its own, but that half chocolate, half vanilla is tolerable. High school was awhile ago, though, and I thought it was conceivable that the technology had improved, sufficiently, so I thought we’d bite the bullet the first couple of days and try each on its own. It’s better than it was then, and I drank it without a straw, which I knew was a mistake. It was a little gritty early on, but shockingly, it got better as I went. I also mixed the fiber powder into the shake because I did not want to drink it separately, and that might have been a factor.

About 90 minutes later, I can say that I’m still full, which is a start. (Edited to add: I went 4.5 hours before I ate lunch, and I can’t say I was even a little hungry, just that it was convenient for me to eat lunch then, which is a huge improvement over my expectation. Historically, meal replacement shakes last me until 10 a.m. and then I’m starving to death. I was thinking about food for a chunk of that time, because I also went cold-turkey on Diet Coke, and I’m trying to distract myself from the big withdrawal headache I’m working on.) We’re splitting one 30-day cleanse, so each doing one shake a day instead of two, and splitting all the other stuff. I think I’m going to give Mom the stuff that doesn’t split evenly— there’s a 7-day cleanse thing and a probiotic thing— I have probiotics unrelated to the program I can take. (I thought about just ordering extra boxes of those things, but it turns out that each piece of this is like $50 on its own, and I just am not that much of a purist that I need to sink another $100 into magical potions. To be clear, I’m happily forking over a lot of extra money for whole foods to eat on this journey (to say nothing of the time researching and preparing it), it’s really the magic bullet I am skeptical about.) If Mom wants to split the 7-day cleanse thing, I’ll do it, but I suspect we have one shot at this (because I’m skeptical, as much as for any other reason), so I’d like her to get maximum benefit.

Have any of you done Arbonne before? Done a dairy-free, gluten-free thing and have tips for me? Share in the comments!

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