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21 Day Functional Medicine Detox: A Review

Hello! Here is my experience completing the 21 Day Dr. Cabral Detox from Equi.Life Nutrition!


Before I share my experience and results, let's go back to how this all even started. Way back in 2017 I woke up one morning with a terrible head cold. I was so congested to the point I was actually too dizzy to even drive. After doing the usual over the counter meds and a trip to urgent care, I had still made no improvements after taking a week off of work. Unable to take off any more time and no signs of getting better, I just toughed it out and spent the next few months in a fog. This would be the event known as me "getting sick" that would change the course of my life forever.


This was the year that everything changed for me. My health had deteriorated so dramatically that I eventually had to take a four month leave of absence from work to try and focus on my health. I have written about my experience with sinus surgery in previous blog posts, so feel free to check out that story if you are interested!


Over the next five years I would come to find out that the root cause of all of my symptoms was a seriously imbalanced nervous system, mold toxicity, chronic stress, intestinal permeability (leaky gut), bacterial overgrowth and decades of poor diet + lifestyle choices on top of monthly antibiotics (for recurring UTIs) starting when I was about 10). In other words, my toxin bucket or "rain barrel" was overflowing and I was experiencing a multitude of symptoms.


I had spent years researching health and trying all kinds of diets and cleanses to try and alleviate my chronic symptoms and feel well again so I could actually enjoy my life. I have tried a LOT of things including juice cleanses, raw vegan diet, parasite cleansing, a never ending list of supplements, acupuncture, the list goes on.


I came across Dr. Cabral on social media somewhere and started listening to his podcast, The Cabral Concept. I really loved the way he explained health and the reasons behind so many chronic illness symptoms. He also has a very inspiring personal experience of being incredibly ill at a young age and finding his own path to health, that he now shares with students in his Integrative Health Practitioner Certification program.


I had also seen people share about his supplements online and after a while I decided to

give some of them a try. I purchased the Daily Nutritional Shake (DNS) about a year or so ago, because I wanted a protein powder I could add to my smoothies. I don't think I fully appreciated that the DNS is way more than a protein powder, it's a complete multivitamin that is formulated in a way that your body can actually absorb the nutrients and they are practitioner level doses so you are getting the real deal, unlike most store bought "multivitamins".


Fast forward to March of 2022. I had recently moved across the country, in search of a drier climate, and was ready to take my healing journey to the next level. I knew that Dr. Cabral and the Detox community did a quarterly detox as a group and I felt it was a great time to give the 21 Day Detox a try. Since I was really looking for long-term, lasting health benefits, and since I was pretty symptomatic, I decided to do 21 days. There is an option to do a 7, 14 or 21 day detox, depending on your goals, needs, what feels right for you.


I got my supplements and my shake powder and I was ready to commit! The first two days of the detox are fasting days where you only drink the DNS powder in water, four times a day. I also eliminated coffee because I thought I had to (you don't). I had some pretty bad headaches those first two days and didn't really feel that great. I was pretty tired and had a lot of anxiety. I upped my magnesium and made sure to get in the sauna or take baths when I could. Day 3 came and I could finally eat lunch, woohoo! It was pretty great and I continued with the meal plan for the next week. Week 2 started and I wasn't sure I could do the fasting days. I honestly can't remember if I was able to complete them but I don't think that I did. I had also reintroduced coffee on day 3.


After 14 days I ended up stopping the detox, and I'll tell you why. I felt terrible. I hadn't lost any weight, I was bloated, irritable and my anxiety was getting worse. I felt so much tension in my body and honestly just felt miserable. Why am I sharing this? I feel it is important to understand the impact of stress + mindset on the success of the detox. I also think it's important to let people know that not everything is an instant success and it's okay if you don't get results the first time, you are not alone.


So, after a few months of settling into my new space and doing some really deep inner work, I decided to try the Detox again. The results were astounding.


Even though I hadn't gotten the results I wanted the first time, something in me just knew that I needed to try and complete the detox again. For one, I really wanted to feel better and two, I had recently enrolled in the IHP program and knew that this would be something that would be a game changer for myself and future clients. The more I learned about the body and how it stores toxins and the more I listened to Dr. Cabral I just had this intuition that this was what I needed to do.


I had also talked with a friend of mine about doing some kind of detox before the holiday season started and so we planned on doing it together. She wanted to do the 7 day since it was her first time doing something like this and I was ready to do the 21 days. I ordered it on a Sunday, it came on a Thursday and I started that Friday, September 30, 2022.


I work retail and so I work very odd hours. I share this because I want you to know that you have to make any protocol work for you and your life. I decided to start my fasting days on days I actually worked, which might sound like a lot, and I could be for some but it was the best decision for me. I woke up that morning feeling great, I was motivated and ready to go! I had my shake to go and one for later. I still enjoyed a cup of coffee with a splash of almond milk - really sticking to the guidelines right off the bat (sarcasm). I knew that I was dedicated but not overly concerned with perfection. I did not want to stress about this or feel the need to be extra restrictive, because that leads to more stress, trust me.


That would be the morning that my boss made a full breakfast for everyone, and yet, I wasn't really hungry, I didn't really want to eat that food because I knew it would make me feel bad and I was tired of delaying the inevitable. Something will ALWAYS come up. There is not a perfect time to detox, heal or really do anything. You just have to start and go from there. So I stuck with the shakes for the first two days, right on schedule.



Week 1:


I had some very mild detox symptoms, mostly just headaches the first two days. I used peppermint oil to calm the headaches as well as magnesium glycinate. I took warm epsom salt baths to help relax and drank plenty of water + electrolytes. It is recommended to drink some natural "gatorade" made up of water, lime juice and sea salt. I really benefit from electrolytes such as Redmond's Re-Lyte, and I continued these throughout the detox. I also really enjoyed ginger tea, multiple times a day, especially on the fast days.


On day 3, I enjoyed my first solid food in two days and believe it or not, I wasn't even that hungry! I thought I would be starving but I honestly felt pretty good. I enjoyed the lunch I had prepared but didn't even finish it because I was full and satisfied. I made one of my favorites, a chickpea salad with radishes and herbs, topped with avocado and sea salt. I also had some steamed broccoli and baby bok choy. Dinner was baked salmon with steamed veggies.

I started off the detox in a really good place and my results came very quickly. Since I know that's why you're here, let's get into the BENEFITS!


After only 4 days I had lost 5 pounds. At 10 days I had lost a total of 10 pounds!

Other benefits included:

-increased energy (by a LOT)

--better sleep, deeper and less waking during the night

-improved mood

-reduced brain fog

-mental clarity

-overall happiness

-reduced cravings, zero really

-no more bloating

-higher connection with myself and those around me

-improved breathing

-less joint stiffness and muscle aches

-better digestion

-healthy bowel movements

-ambition to pursue goals

-more zest for life

-not needing to snack

-better relationship with food

-more free time, less time worried about meals

-glowing skin

-whitening of my eyes


When I tell you the results were more than I could have hoped for, I really mean it. There were days where I felt so good I cried. One day, around day 5 or 6 I went outside for a walk and I started crying because I actually felt connected to the world around me. I didn't feel like I was in a fog. It was like I had been blind for 3 years and now I could see. Colors were brighter, I just felt so much hope! I know this may sound a little out there but if you have been sick for any length of time and then felt relief, you will understand. Imagine someone sticking you with a needle all day, every day and then finally one day it just stops. The world opened up and I felt like I might actually be able start enjoying life again.


This all occurred with the first 10 days of the detox.


Detox Symptoms:

-headaches (only lasted 2 days)

-fatigue and lethargy around day 5, only lasted a day


Week 2:


I felt really good going into a second week and starting the two fasting days over again. I was ready to dive deeper into the detox and benefits of fasting. I completed one day of fasting with no problems. In fact, I had so much energy I was able to continue with my daily walks even after being on my feet for an 8 hour shift. The second day of fasting I even went on a long drive though the canyon in Utah to take advantage of the beautiful fall foliage. I went on a little trail walk while I was out there as well. That day I walked over 17,000 steps. The energy I had was insane, I hadn't experienced anything like it since I first started healing and was juicing.


I did end up having dinner on the second day of week 2. I had been up since 3:30 am, worked a full shift and gone out for 3 hours exploring and going for a little hike. I was feeling it, and wanted to make sure I nourished my body. It's completely up to you if you want to rest during the detox days, it's probably recommended but I felt so good I didn't want to just sit around the house on a beautiful fall day. I made the choice to push myself a little and it was the right decision for me. I have spent years on the couch with no energy and no drive to experience the joys of life, I felt like going out so I went for it.


I did feel some mild constipation on day 2 of fasting and later in the day struggled to have a BM. It kind of took me back to the days when it was painful to go to the bathroom. I was also very thirsty on day 2 of the second fast. I put some sea salt on my tongue and instantly felt relief.


I want to make this point because it's important. Be gentle with yourself and do the best you can. I have been through so many healing protocols that have felt very restrictive and you can start to develop a resentment towards healing and "having to do" all these things to get well. I didn't want to bring that mindset into this detox which is why I wasn't worried about being perfect or eliminating coffee or a little almond milk here or there.


Week 3:


The final week! By now I was getting pretty used to my eating schedule and meal prep routine. After a week of meals I was actually looking forward to a couple fast days. The first fast day, done, no problems. The second fast day was a little different. I had some outside stressors and some things going on in my personal life that were starting to have an effect on my mood. I decided to enjoy my favorite lunch of garbanzo beans, herbs and avocado and not worry about "breaking my fast" a day early.


It's all about making the detox work for you, not the other way around. I knew I was still getting a lot of benefits simply from eating non-inflammatory foods, taking the detox supplements and spacing my meals out.


Day 19. This was a particularly challenging day for me. I was riding some deep emotional waves and more or less hitting a breaking point. I had my shake that morning but ended up reaching for sugar in the form of mini peanut butter cups, left in the break room at my day job.

I want to take a minute here and walk through my thought process, becuase I think it's important. When facing our emotions, we often turn to comfort (which is entirely normal). I had used many calming practices throughout the detox and sometimes they can still come up short. Sometimes you give in, and that's okay. We are human, we don't have to be perfect.


Later that day (after trying my best to come back to center) I decided it would make me SO happy to just Doordash a sandwich, watch some TV and go to bed early. So that's what I did. I didn't feel guilty at all and I really enjoyed my food. I woke up the next morning ready to go, no cravings for other foods and had a successful detox day 20.


Day 21. The Last Day! Woohoo! I made it! I enjoyed my smoothie in the morning, followed by a magical cup of King coffee. I had a nice lunch of warmed chickpeas and herbs with butternut squash on a bed of fresh greens and a healthy serving of olive oil. For dinner I had baked wild salmon with sautéed broccoli and baby bok choy.


I DID IT!


I set out to complete the 21 Day Detox and I was successful! After three weeks of commitment I was seeing and feeling the results and it was amazing. Final weight loss was about 8 pounds and a big reduction in puffiness and bloating. I actually felt "cleaner" too. The 21 Day Detox is a Functional Medicine Detox, which means it detoxifies your liver. There are too many functions of the liver to list here, but let's just say it is responsible for just about everything from hormone regulation to skin health.


Life After Detox:

After weeks of not having fruit or grains I was excited to try re-introducing these beloved foods into my diet. It's not that these foods are bad, they're just omitted for the detox. To my surprise, I actually had a good bit of bloating from the bananas in my smoothie and the oatmeal I had for breakfast. I felt heavy and dehydrated after eating breakfast.


One of the nice things about a detox is you are basically following an elimination diet of the heavy hitters that can cause issues in many people. This really can help you narrow down what foods may be causing issues and which foods are not.


I have to say, I enjoyed a good bit of snacking after the detox and enjoyed some bread, sugar and nut butters! Overall, I still really enjoy eating healthy and still incorporate all of my detox meals on a regular basis. I just feel better when I am eating real food and when I minimize snacks. I hope this review was helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have questions or feel free to message me on instagram @allnatwellness.


Until next time!



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