DETOX DELIVERY: CRU8
Lydia Bell’s Five-Day Diary Sampling The Innovative New Detox Plan From London’s Top Superfood Pioneer
Since food delivery services has taken off, practically anything edible can be spirited to your front door. But although I’m no stranger to a detox, for some reason I’ve never tried one at home. And so I jump at the chance to test-drive Cru8’s home-delivery option. A front runner on the raw-food, clean-eating scene, Cru8 are known for paleo breads, mueslis, porridges and superfood snacks stocked in stores such as Planet Organic and Whole Foods.
Their home detox plan is dairy, gluten, wheat, refined sugar and caffeine free. The course ranges from five to 21 days and is based on live, whole and superfoods, especially ones with naturally cleansing, nutrient dense, fibre-rich and alkanising properties. They are heavy on nuts and seeds and quality fruit and vegetables and feature ‘pseudo grains’ – carbohydrates similar to ancient grains that are technically seeds, but provide the ‘feel’ of grains while keeping things gluten-free. The diet also follows food combining principles.
I wake up feeling excited (partially I just like the idea of someone else figuring out my meals). I’ve been told by Alexi Von Eldik, the owner, that the first three days will be the most difficult then I’ll start feeling light, vibrant, energetic and happier. To help things along, it’s important to drink lots of water, she says, and start the day with a slug of warm water with lemon to flush the liver. Coffee, tea, and other drinks are off the table. Symptoms, she tells me, include headaches, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, skin breakouts ‘and the like’.
I step out to collect my first stash of food from an Uber. There’s a smallish muesli, a neat mid-morning snack of blueberries and passionfruit, a substantial salmon nicoise, some almonds for the afternoon and a lentil and red pepper soup for supper.
Day one was a breeze. Today is a different story. On the menu is cinnamon buckwheat granola, a sludge-green cardamom smoothie mid-morning (slightly Fungus the Bogeyman-looking, but tasty), a harissa chicken salad for lunch, crudités with turmeric hummus for an afternoon snack, and then an evening meal of Moroccan butternut squash and chickpea tagine with a side of ‘cauli-rice’.
This was my favourite day’s menu of the week (apart from the ‘cauli-rice’, which tastes and smells like rotting horseradish). But by about 11am, I am flailing with a nuclear head and brain fuzz –what feels like a hangover. I come home and crawl into bed before picking up my daughter from school. I sniff the tagine in the fridge that evening and retch. After texting Alexi with the message ‘Is paracetamol okay?’ (and receiving the chirpy response that it’s better not to, before listing a list of preferable options, one of which is a colonic) I get back into my bed at 8.30pm, now with a dodgy tummy.
The next morning, the banging headache has gone. I am left only with a vague sense of malaise – and hunger.
I devour poached eggs on Paleo Kale Bread and pomegranates and pink grapefruit, the beetroot and falafel salad lunch (the salads are magnificent, colourful and substantial, with delicious cashew-milk-based dressings) and the trail snack in the afternoon.
That evening I cannot escape a parents’ pub quiz. I eat a broccoli soup and head out the door, and spend the evening watching my friends get pizza and crisps and beer and heckle the compere.
Thursday means Bircher muesli, cacao and spinach smoothie (delicious); a beautiful prawn tikka salad, for lunch, an afternoon snack of kale crackers (I try to like them, but cannot) and the evening chicken bone broth with courgetti.
By now, I am back in the gym doing weight lifting, and things are looking up.
Friday – my last day! Sweet-tasting paleo bread with apple compote (delicious!), pears and raspberries mid-morning (ditto!) and another one of their exceptional salad lunches – the Mexican Chicken. In the afternoon, a small, raw chocolate chip cookie.
Fridays are a problem. I tend to take my daughter swimming, and one of the mothers invites all the children to hers for fish and chips. The mothers sit around drinking prosecco. They smirk at me as I eat spinach and courgette soup. One of them wafts a box of chips under my nose. “Mmmmmmmmm,” she says. I look at her and bite smugly into a raw carrot and sesame cracker.
After five days, I can report better energy, a clearer head, a sense of calm, and a de-bloating. My upper abdomen looks like someone pulled a pin out of it. And apart from the undeniable hell of day two, I haven’t felt hungry or deprived.
It takes 21 days to change the palate so you start craving healthy foods, and that’s why most gut cleansing programmes advise you to aim for that. But I’ve done five. So, what does Alexi suggest? She advises me to go with an 80-20 approach, and to stick to protein and vegetables, supergrains and low-sugar fruits. A week on, my silhouette is more streamlined, and my skin has a glow. I’ve not been totally abstemious, but I’ve upped my intake of vegetables and lowered my caffeine. I’m feeling less tired, and more focused. I’m on my way.