The book Clean, by Alejandro Junger, has been sitting on my nightstand since December of last year. Over the last months, I have read parts of it and “toyed” with some of the recommended practices (eliminating aluminum pans from the kitchen, drinking clean water, etc.), but it has taken some time for me to actually embrace the full-on detox program.  I started last Wednesday.  And when I say “started,” I mean hardcore:  no coffee, no dairy, no wheat, no red meat, no sugar, no alcohol, and as much organic as possible.

Cold turkey.

I will be 50 years old in about six weeks and while I am not scared of reaching that milestone, I want to reach it in the best physical shape possible. Everyone I know who is 50 and beyond guarantees me that this will be the best decade of my life, so I want to be able to enjoy it in the best possible way. Meaning I want to be the best (healthiest) Natalie I can be.

Truth be told, I have been feeling my age recently.  I have been suffering from frequent migraines, which sometimes cause me to lose a day or more of this very beautiful life.

I feel aches and pains in my knees, my eyesight seems to be getting worse, and I recently bought my first pair of reading glasses. Sigh. That’s the truth.

So, I made a resolve.  Two months ago, I decided that my birthday present to myself would be to start acupuncture for migraines; a few weeks later I purchased a set of Pilates Reformer training sessions at the YMCA and last Wednesday I started Clean.

The real crux of the matter is that I have been making excuses now for 5 years (or more):

I had a child at 45 years old – and am still carrying “baby weight.”

I don’t have time for exercise since I am more-or-less a single mom, my days are filled with making lunches, housework, office work, yard work, stuffed animal tea parties and reading Dr. Seuss.

I can’t do yoga at home anymore because my daughter uses me as her own personal jungle gym the moment I settle into any yoga pose.

I travel a lot and it is difficult to eat well when traveling.

You get the drift.  Excuses.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do have a healthy diet.  I buy organic and locally.  I cook at home much of the time.  I spend most Sundays cooking and preparing food for the rest of the week. We don’t often drink sodas or eat too many sweets. And still, those extra pounds, the migraines… Something needs to change.

Day 1 – I start the Elimination Diet.  Easy. (Except for tomatoes – which aren’t on the plan, but I eat them anyway as we have too many growing in the backyard!)

Day 2 – Feeling good. La. La. La. I have lost 2 pounds.

Day 3 – I hit the wall. I have all of the symptoms: a headache, fatigue, nausea, shakes, and insomnia. Yesterday I was sure that I was going to be one of the few people who didn’t get headaches from caffeine, carbohydrate AND sugar withdrawal.  Wrong.

(My advice: plan this as a day to do nothing.  Stay in your pajamas, read a book, and sew.  Rest, drink lots of water, stretch and meditate.)

Day 4 – I am feeling slightly improved. If possible, stay in pajamas, read a book, and sew.  Rest, drink lots of water, stretch and meditate. Sound familiar? Later in the day, I go to the farmers market and grocery shopping for delicious additions to my new and improved kitchen.

Day 5 – Feeling somewhat better and I am still going. I am committed to 50 in fine form.

If you are doing a detox program now or have done one in the past, I would love to hear from you in the comments section – tell me about your experience, share your stories, recipes, and techniques to help the rest of us make it through.

I will be posting an update once-a-week.

P.S. Healthy living rubs off on those around you.  My Pilates trainer sent me a text after our training session on Friday; she went home inspired to make a beautiful salad with flax oil dressing for lunch.


(Photo above from Day 1 – will keep you posted.)

12 comments on “DETOX DAY 5

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  1. Sara Gottfried MD

    Natalie, I love that you are D5 in Clean. You are doing your Great Work by helping us detoxify with the clothing we put against our skin, but we all still need a cleanse periodically. I met you recently at your trunk show in Berkeley and wanted to thank you for your generous spirit and beautiful organic clothing – a new paradigm, really, of how to make and share sustainable clothes. Also wanted to invite you to a free webinar with the Clean author, Alejandro Junger on August 11. Details here:

    1. Pamela

      In my case, it would be “stay in bed, read a book, and knit” but I certainly agree with the gist. As someone who has had migraines for years, I can totally sympathize with your plight. Really good nutrition has always been a priority for me. It does help with the migraines a bit (as does getting enough sleep!…crucial.) plus it guarantees really good skin! Eating regularly is essential for me as well. Skipping meals is tempting fate. But, and here’s the good news… I’m about your age and the migraines have begun to retreat over the mountain of youth! Another good reason to turn 50, I’d say!

      1. suzanne d weidie

        Hi Natalie,
        Your story is interesting and just in time for me to start my own detox regiment. August is my me month which will evolve into a healthier me. Just have not had the time, like you, life is so busy and fulfilling. I will keep up with your progress and post mine as well. suz

  2. mari

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I am so looking forward to your progress and seeing your posts. I wish I had advice or comments but I’ve never done a detox – hence why I’m so interested in how it works for you. I’ve suffered from migraines for years until I took up yoga. But since having a baby (sound familiar?) I too no longer have time to do the things I need to take care of myself. The migraines have returned with a vengeance! But in two weeks, I will finally have the time to slowly return to the things that make me feel healthy – home cooked meals, yoga, full nights of sleep. I am lucky enough to have a husband who has decided to take 6 months off to take care of our 18 month old. Maybe the final part of this new plan is to detox. Thank you again!

    1. Blakely

      You are doing great! I turned 50 this year. This age has inspired me to do better too. I have changed my diet and am staying very active. I just finished my first triathlon – finished 5th in my age division. I am training for another in September. You go girl.Oh! I am a mother to five and grandmother to one!

      1. Pamela Tuohy Novinsky 2ETN


        Thank you for sharing this part of your life (for being real)…your work has been an inspiration for the work that we do and sometimes we forget that in this beautiful world of design and fashion that we must remember to keep our own “engines” tuned!

        Must be the power of Like minded folks…but like you and many of those above..starting my own version of detox on September 15th…A “40 Day Transformation” thru my local yoga studio (Zuda Yoga)…a combination of diet and yoga and mediation. From now until then, slowly eliminating alcohol and “bad” carbs from my diet and adding more exercise. Like you I already have what most people consider an ultra- “healthy” lifestyle..eating from the garden, biking, swimming, no processed sugar etc. However, I find that because I run my own business from a studio in my home and that I am a mother and homemaker, I always feel a bit out of sorts and like I am juggling many different worlds at once….hoping that this “Transformation” will encourage me to slow down a bit and focus.

        I so enjoyed meeting you at the “Harvest Festival” last year in Alabama and have a memory of all of the smiling faces, battling the chilly night on that beautiful lake, enjoying good food and conversation. Who would have ever known that you suffer from migraines.

        Wishing you the very best on this road (and for a cure)and also looking forward to your updates…you are always so inspiring!!!!!


  3. gayle

    natalie may i suggest that you reconsider your reading glasses for eye exercises and drinking more water? if you do not have a medical condition requiring them treat your eyes as just another muscle and strengthen and care for them. once you have glasses your eyes will continue to weaken. i am almost 60 and do not wear glasses. if i am tired or spend too much time crafting, reading or on the computer i have to do exercises to keep my eyes flexible BUT IT WORKS. thank you for sharing yourSELF with us and have fun geeting cleaner. cheers gayle australia

  4. Maria Ricci

    Natalie, I too suffer from migraines. I am now 52 and have had them since I was 42. The onset was seen when I enjoyed a rich chocolate cake with some friends and was ‘hungover’ with nausea for two whole days! From what I am discovering about my migraines is that stress in ones personal life may create them. Also hormones will play a role. I have used blood and saliva tests to determine what is going on with my hormones. I am currently on bio-identical hormones and have been for the past five years. Recently, feeling VERY exhausted, and gaining 10 lbs in a year, I went to my N.P. with my concerns of fatigue. After checking my cortisol levels and thyroid (with saliva tests and blood tests) she determined I had mild hypo-thyroidism and my cortisol levels needed a boost. She recommended vitamins! Surprise! She also recommended the book, Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson. The past two weeks have been spent going cold turkey with my food. No coffee, sugar, flour, grain or meat. I am slowly re-introducing a bit of fowl back into my diet. I use a blender to make juice drinks with cucumbers, celery, apples, kale, spinach and a lemon or orange. I do use the peels in the blender. Makes a lovely concoction. I do still have occasional migraines but this past year they are becoming less and less. My best to you in your endeavor to reach a happy and healthy 50! You are a precious blessing, dear lady!

  5. Angela

    Hi. I have suffered sever migraines for about 20 years. I was also told I had fibromyalgia and all of the illnesses that go with it, IBS, Arthritis etc… Anyway, I found out I can’t eat any wheat, gluten or dairy. I stopped all of it – which took a good three months to really not make mistakes. I also started taking magnesium which drops drastically in many women with migraines. Now, 7 months later, I have lost 30 lbs, have none of the old symptoms and my migraines are so much better.

    I also do qui gong and yoga, if you don’t have time to really do yoga, you could learn the moves that are best for neck/ back / migraine pain and do them a bit through out the day.

    Perhaps get a food sensitivity test or really seriously do the elimination diet to see what bothers you on your own… Your new diet will get easier and one day you will realize you feel great! Also, get your vision tested again, I need to wear glasses when I sew and read now, which helps a lot with the eye stress that can lead to migraines.

    Good luck and I cannot wait for the new book!


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  7. rachel

    been following for a while and love your books/work/all of it. just saw that you’re doing a detox: same here. lots of celiacs and dairy intolerances in my life for 4 years now, so i started a new blog about it. i’m in the middle of a detox (day 14) but i cheated on vacation with potatoes and iced tea and some wine. after years of elimination diets, it’s hard to stay motivated when you know what’s wrong. your detox looks similar to mine, only i think mine is even more restrictive. that said, i found out 7 months ago i had celiacs and dairy and soy intolerances, so i’ve been on a cleanse diet for months anyway. it does get easier! you will be great. it’s just hard to make it through the first few weeks. best of luck!

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