The WomanCode cleanse is four days long and is intended to clean your system of built up estrogen and toxins that may be disrupting hormonal balance in your body. Here is a detailed look into what I ate, how I felt, and what I learned.
I mentioned a few weeks ago on Instagram that I bought WomanCode, a book that educates women about their hormone health, helps connect our symptoms, biochemistry, and food, and offers holistic strategies to solve hormone-related problems, including everything from cramps, fatigue, and skin issues to energy, mental focus, and moods.
A brief history: I was diagnosed with PCOS by a doctor many years ago. Another doctor told me I didn’t have it. Yet another doctor told me I was borderline PCOS (is that even a thing?), so I honestly have no idea if I have it. I do know I have a history of troublesome blood sugar levels. I remember when David and I were first dating I’d sometimes get so hungry on our way to a restaurant, I’d feel like I was going to pass out. I couldn’t talk, and sometimes I’d cry. I think he thought I was a crazy person. Since then I’ve learned to completely control my blood sugar levels with eating the right foods, so it really hasn’t caused me to be symptomatic since.
However, I tend to have irregular periods varying anywhere from 28-40 days and furthermore, I feel fatigue, brain fog, cramps, bloating, and can have other stomach issues not only with period, but during ovulation, too. This means that every other week I’m generally not feeling my best. It’s not terrible, but I was intrigued enough by the WomanCode’s promises to regulate blood sugars, reduce symptoms, and embrace the different phases of my cycle rather than to push through them that I decided to give the methods a try, beginning with the cleanse.
The WomanCode cleanse, outlined in the book, is four days long and is intended to clean your system of built up estrogen and toxins that may be disrupting hormonal balance in your body. The book explains the delicate balance among our hormones and how a liver congested by environmental toxins (household cleaners, toxic makeup, body products), food toxins (pesticides, herbicides), and excess hormones (cortisol, estrogen) essentially wreak havoc on our bodies and result in issues with PCOS, fibroids, cysts, heavy periods, PMS, etc.
Vitti lays out in detail what you are to eat for each of the four days, giving small choices for each portion of the meal (for example: mung bean soup or vegetable soup). Essentially you are eating a lot of fruits and vegetables with small amounts of unprocessed grains (brown rice, quinoa) and healthy fats (ground flax seed, avocado) in designated amounts.
As with most cleanses or healthy eating, prep day is essential. I made the mung bean soup, the liver cleansing vegetable medley, washed my fruit, and made a batch of brown rice. This was imperative because when I was super hungry was when I was most likely to want to quit, so having food ready to go was cleanse-saving.
A Day of Food on the WomanCode Cleanse
The first two days on the cleanse are identical, then things switch up slightly for days three and four. These are the details of what I ate on day one, but for details on all four days, I highly suggest buying the book.
Breakfast on day one was 1 1/2 cups of fruit salad (granny smith apples and berries) with 1 Tbsp ground flax seed with a squeeze of lemon, 8 ounces of water, and a green drink. The author recommends this powdered green drink in the book but says any will do, so I chose one that I liked more. More on this green drink in the “likes” section.
She also recommends a fiber supplement with breakfast or digestive enzymes. After a lot of helpful suggestions and feedback on Instagram on digestive enzymes (spoiler alert, people love them!), I decided to do some research on celery juice. After really loving the information I found (again, more details below), I opted to drink 10-12 ounces of celery juice in place of a fiber supplement each morning.
Lunch was 1/2 cup of sprouted brown rice, 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed, 1/3 cup of cannellini beans, and unlimited liver cleansing medley (a vegetable blend I chopped up during my meal prep). I dressed it with a little olive oil and a apple cider vinegar.
A snack is allowed, but not required. However, I needed a snack every day. She suggests another serving of lunch, approved fruits and veggies, water, and hot tea. I opted for the fruit and hot tea route. In fact, I drank organic ginger tea almost constantly throughout the entire cleanse because it’s great for digestion.
Dinner was 1 1/2 cups Mung Bean Minestrone. The simple recipe is in the book and despite being warned that mung beans were not great, I thought the soup was delicious! Perhaps it was just my hunger talking? But in all seriousness, the soup was good and supposedly mung beans are great for cleansing because they are a high source of nutrients including: manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins. They are also a very filling food, high in protein, resistant starch and dietary fiber.
With dinner, you are allowed unlimited leafy greens. I joked a lot about this on my Instagram stories- UNLIMITED KALE- but I guess it was nice to have an unlimited option of something. I alternated between bok choy, kale, and collard greens. I have my cleanse experience saved under my highlights of Insta if you’re interested.
Vitti recommends eating dinner 3-4 hours before bed, which gives your body time to digest the food but (supposedly) you aren’t hungry enough to want another meal. LIES. Sorry, that was my hunger talking again because I went to bed early most nights just to stop myself from eating again. And two of the nights I snagged a few berries anyway.
Days three and four slightly alter your meals (quinoa instead of brown rice, a small amount of avocado or nuts added in, less beans, etc). It’s amazing how much it excited me to switch things up on day three. The half avocado I got for lunch was the highlight of my day!
I was frustrated that there is no explanation in the book about why you are eating these particular foods or why you are eating them in that particular portion size. I was hungry during this cleanse, even though I’m not sure you are supposed to be. However, I really wanted to do it right so I hesitated adding anything else in (even an extra serving of mung bean soup).
Day one sucked. I don’t have any other words for it. I was CRANKY as can be. Whiny, kind of hungry, so unsatisfied, and honestly almost quit. I started on a Sunday and I think having to skip out on family pancakes and my Earl Grey tea just bummed me out. I found it much easier to stick with it on weekdays.
The inability to workout (at least for me). My energy levels were pretty good, but I did not have the will or strength to workout. I didn’t even attempt Burn, but I played tennis one day and felt exhausted from it so I kept my activity to light walking and laundry.
Feeling deprived. This is why I’m not a cleanse person. The moment you tell me I can’t have XYZ, it’s all I think about. I hate the feeling of deprivation, but in this case, I’m glad I stuck it out.
The food was good. I’ve always shied away from juice cleanses because I have the need to CHEW. So I appreciated chewing and enjoyed the variety of vegetables and fruits.
Actually using my ground flax seed. I’ve never used ground flax seed as much as I have over this cleanse and surprisingly I really liked the texture and nutty flavor it added to the fruit. To get the benefit of flax seed (beyond fiber), it must be ground, however it doesn’t typically have a long shelf life (about one week past the written expiration date), so I’m thinking I might get a seed grinder so I can grind my own as needed. Bonus- it grinds coffee beans too!
Green Vibrance Powder. I had a friend ask me what was in this drink mix, but I told her the shorter list may be to list what wasn’t in it. It has over 70 ingredients including fruits, vegetables, enzymes, probiotics, and more to fill nutritional gaps. It doesn’t taste great, but it isn’t bad. Plus, I felt a definite burst of, can I say vibrance?, after drinking this each morning. I love it.
How “empty” I felt. By day three I just felt so much slimmer. Not because I lost weight, but because I had absolutely NO BLOATING for four days. I didn’t even think I was very bloated beforehand, but it was a noticeable difference that my stomach felt the same at night as it did in the morning. It blew my mind and I liked it very much.
How it re-calibrated my hunger. I already mentioned I did feel hungry which was not fun. However, it also made me realize that a little hunger is OK. I thought I was pretty tuned into my hunger cues before, but I think the cleanse help reel in my natural impulse to snag something and eat it just because I happen to be in the kitchen.
Celery juice. I know, I didn’t see that one coming, but it’s true. I think the celery juice made for a great start for the day. In the book Medical Medium, Williams says celery juice, “is one of the most powerful and healing juices we can drink. Just 16 ounces of fresh celery juice every morning on an empty stomach can transform your health and digestion in as little as one week.”
Celery contains compounds called coumarins, which are known to enhance the activity of white blood cells and support the vascular system. It also helps to purify the bloodstream, aid in digestion, relax the nerves, reduce blood pressure, and clear up skin problems. Celery is rich in vitamin A, magnesium, and iron, which all help to nourish the blood. Celery juice is also rich in organic sodium content, which gives it the ability to dislodge calcium deposits from the joints and hold them until they can be eliminated safely from the kidneys. It stimulates stomach acid, reduces inflammation, and supports the liver.
I don’t have a juicer, so instead I bought organic celery hearts, washed and roughly chopped it into pieces and put the pieces in my Blendtec with a splash of water. Once blended, I squeezed it through a nut milk bag and I was left with anywhere from 8-12 ounces of fresh celery juice. I drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then eat breakfast about 20-30 minutes later.
Moving Forward From Here
The day after the cleanse, I found myself still sticking with the basic outline because I felt so good and did not want to lose that feeling. I plan on adopting some of the principals from the cleanse into my daily routine, such as celery juice first thing in the morning and Green Vibrance right after breakfast. I am going to aim to make lunch my heartiest meal and go light on grains and sugar in the evening.
I also am going to follow (albeit not perfectly) the recommendations in the WomanCode as to which foods to eat and which preparations are best during each phase of my cycle.
It sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Eating different foods during each phase of your cycle? I think so, too, but I think if I take a relaxed approach it won’t be too challenging to incorporate these foods each week.
Several of you also recommended I download the FloLiving app, which I did. I am liking it so far and it is helping me track my cycle. Additionally, it offers holistic advice on which foods to be eating and lifestyle tips to support each phase.
I’ve said over and over again I’m not a cleanse person and although I did not find this experience enjoyable (just ask David who received the brunt of my hanger), I did find it very valuable. If hormones and female health interest you, I highly recommend reading The WomanCode. In full disclosure, I found the first 70ish pages to be repetitive and somewhat “fluff,” but the core of the book is educational, enlightening, and empowering.
I hope this review has been helpful and if you have any questions or other resources worth considering, please let me know in the comments!