Yesterday I graduated from Karyn Calabrese’s detox program. Karyn is a Chicagoan and a wonderful woman that you should know. She owns three restaurants, has been a health advocate and wellness counselor for over 35 years, and most importantly, at age 65, she looks amazing. Karen has helped thousands of men and women with her 28-day natural healing system. As a raw food diet advocate, Karyn’s mission is to promote healthy eating and living. I learned so much from her and I want to share my top 10 lessons:
1) No dairy! I met Karyn at a WVON radio seminar at the DuSable Museum. I have long suffered with terrible sinus problems. Karen was a keynote speaker and I was impressed with her knowledge. After the event, I purchased her book and asked her what she recommended for me to do to alleviate my suffering. Instantly she said, “Stop eating dairy!” That was tough for me because I used to drink milk and eat yogurt and cheese every day. I took her advice to cut dairy from my diet and my sinus problem has decreased significantly.
I learned from Karyn that dairy causes weight gain, sinus congestion, and other symptoms like acne, constipation, headaches, indigestion, and rashes. Cow’s milk is designed to feed an animal that will grow to 800 pounds. Human beings are not intended to consume and digest cow secretions. Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, coffee creamer, cottage cheese, sour cream….Just say no. Milk does not do a body good.
2) What goes in, needs to come out. And if it doesn't, where’d it go and what’s it doing? You should have a bowel elimination after every meal. Irregular bowels and constipation are the primary reasons so many people are unhappy and in foul moods. When a driver has road rage or a clerk has a bad attitude, it's probably because they're constipated. They are so full of shit they’re taking out their frustrations on the world. In the detox, you’ll talk a lot about going to the bathroom. It's uncomfortable at first, but everyone's doing it so after a while you don’t care. (Talking about bowel movements at Karyn's detox is like asking “How’s the weather?”). But proper elimination of waste is extremely important for your body to function correctly. If you’re not pooping at least once a day, then your body isn’t in balance.
3) The human body is designed to heal itself. If your body cannot heal itself of whatever ails you, it’s because you aren’t giving it the tools to do so. You’re eating foods that don’t agree with you, you’re not eliminating waste, and you’re unhealthy. Jesus preached “Physician, heal thyself.”
4) Sugar is bad for you. There is sugar in everything. Real sugar, artificial sugar, semi-fake sugar. It's in everything and it’s bad for you. Sugar is addictive as nicotine and just as poisonous. There are ungodly amounts of sugar in soda pop. There’s even more sugar in so-called “healthy” energy drinks. Sugar is the cause of hyperactivity, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses. We need to be mindful of how much sugar were consuming and start gradually removing it from our diet. The human body is only designed to have a little pinch of sugar. Not the massive amounts we're pumping in our systems.
5) Eat when you're hungry and stop when you're satisfied. For as long as I can remember, I eat on a strict schedule. I eat three meals a day. Breakfast at 9 AM. Lunch at noon. Dinner around 7 PM. I have two snacks in between. One at 10:30 AM and the other around 3 PM. Karyn taught me that I’m not eating because I’m hungry. I’m eating because I’ve created a habit. I'm eating because the clock tells me I should eat.
The stomach is a muscle and if you keep feeding it, it will expand. Conversely, if you stop feeding it, it will shrink. The first two weeks of the detox, Karyn gradually steps your diet down so your stomach can shrink. The third week you fast. I was terrified of the fast because I love to eat. But during week two, I noticed that I could go all the way to 11am before I had my first meal of the day. By the end of week 2, I was ready for the fast because I stopped eating out of habit. I only ate when I was hungry. Furthermore, I stopped eating until I reached that uncomfortably full feeling. I stopped eating when I was satisfied. There's a big difference between feeling full and satisfied. Karyn recommends fasting for three straight days. I was able to fast for five days.
6) Forgive yourself. We’re not perfect. The detox is a huge undertaking. You might not be able to do everything perfectly but Karyn encourages you to stick with it, go at your own pace, forgive yourself if you slip up, and keep going. She repeats that over and over again. If you have to cheat, then cheat. Give yourself a hug and try again.
7) Soak your nuts. That's the name of Karyn's book. She says it’s important to educate with humor. Wellness is a serious topic that can be very overwhelming and challenging. Karyn likes to teach in a way that’s lighthearted. By infusing her great sense of humor, wonderful personality, and vast knowledge, it’s impossible not to fall in love with her.
8) You don't need a medical degree to be a student or a teacher. Karen has studied the human body and the science of herb healing extensively. With the detox each week, she gives you a huge booklet that explains every pill and treatment she's recommending so you can feel comfortable with the program. She encourages you to not just do as she says, but to do your own homework and research.
9) Teamwork makes the dream work. Karen teaches in a group setting. She has many students who have taken her detox class before. She encourages the new students to get the phone numbers of alumni so that they can call them with questions. The classes become like a family. Who else can you feel comfortable discussing your bowel movements with if not family? There is a sense that we’re all in this together. We’re looking for answers and searching for our higher and better selves. Part of Karyn's genius is that she encourages this group dynamic. She builds a wonderful support system to help everyone get the most out of the experience.
10) Put you first. Karyn closes every class with this reminder, “if you don't take care of your body, the most magnificent machine you'll ever be given, where are you going to live?” Truthfully, the detox, all in all, was kind of expensive. But, I think about the money I’ve spent adorning the outside of my body with clothes, perfumes, manicures, pedicures, hairstyles, and etc and all that adds up. I decided that I needed to spend as much money, effort, and energy working on the inside of my body as I do on the outside. You only get one body and it needs to last at least 80 to 100 years. I need to treat my body right. The detox was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever done for myself. I lost 10 pounds. My skin looks amazing. I have energy for days. My knee doesn't ache anymore when I run. My sinus problem isn’t 100% under control, but it’s considerably better. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I feel blessed to have met Karyn Calabrese and to be able to call her my teacher and my friend.
Karyn has a host of free workshops and events. Visit www.karynraw.com/events for more information. Or contact Karyn's Inner Beauty Center at 312-255-1590.
Deanna Burrell is the author of Single Girl Summer.Described as “If Waiting to Exhale and Sex and the City procreated, the bouncing baby would read like Single Girl Summer,” the novel tells the story of three women navigating the ups and downs of life during one special summer in Chicago. Find out more at www.SingleGirlSummer.com.