To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse (Part 2)

This weekend kicks off our Detox Workshop, followed (optionally) by the group cleanse. Fuse teacher Allegra Poggio joined the 21-Day Detox when we did it back in January. What was it like? In her words: The first 5 days for me were pretty sucky. The pits, really. I felt like I was turning into a sprout. Not in a good way. It wasn’t even the things that I expected would be tough (like no coffee) that were hard. It was the afternoon pits in the stomach that I filled with tea or sunflower seeds instead of my sugary granola bar, or the moments I’d just got off the phone with a really challenging client and reach for the candy bowl to feel better slumps.
Side bar. Key learning #one thousand of the cleanse for me: turns out, when I am stressed at work, my hand reaches for the candy bowl that I otherwise don’t ever dive into. It was like a Pavlovian reflex. End difficult meeting with the client. Eat Milky Way. I don’t even like Milky Ways. Just awful.
But on day 5, I woke up, and I felt as light as a feather. Awake at 7 a.m. without coffee. Lemon water and probiotic down and ready to tackle my day. Green smoothie in my back pocket for when I got hungry in the late morning - seriously delicious – and ready to attack the day with more energy than ever. There are lots of key learnings during the cleanse and they will be different for everyone. While they don’t all feel like “good things,” it is really good that you are learning them. You don’t know what you don’t know. But you’re better off knowing. At times you feel weak and sad. Other times, you feel energized, like you can carry the world on your shoulders. It is a journey that you need to be willing to commit yourself to. It’s only as good as the energy that you put into it. And it does take discipline. But you have a support network (the other cleansers) to go through it with and that helps. You have an amazing counselor, Ginny, to guide you. So, what did I learn? Too much for one post, but I'll give you the abbreviated version. My body doesn’t like dairy. Gluten (in the form of bread and pasta) is not my bestie. And did I mention I’m Italian?! And alcohol (especially red wine) is very toxic for me. Again, I’m Italian!. So, remember all those things I said I really loved? Yea. I should be sad about this, but I’m actually ecstatic. Ecstatic because during those 21 days, I learned a lot not just about what my body digests well or doesn’t digest well but also about my personal habits, what they are associated with, how I can re-wire my brain to control them, and how food impacts very literally everything we do from sleep, to mood, to energy, to movement. In addition to the things that my body didn’t like, I learned that arugula and broccoli soup is scrumptious. And sweet potatoes, amazing. Cut them up, drizzle a bit of olive oil and cinnamon over them and you’ve got yourself something really tasty. You get to add them in at day 5 or 6 and I started eating them as a little dessert. Perfect. I learned to go out and socialize with friends without drinking alcohol. Novel, eh? Now more than ever, I have an awareness of how food impacts my body. I know what to eat to fuel me. I know what not to eat to avoid feeling sick. Does this mean I am never going to have a plate of pasta again? Or a glass of wine or a cheese plate? Sieti pazzi? Of course I will. At least now it’s a decision I can weigh in my head. Do I really want this? If the answer is yes then I need to be okay with the fact that I’m not going to feel super afterwards and is that all right? Sometimes it will be. And sometimes it won’t. I can’t beat myself up about it but it’s empowering to have the knowledge. I feel more passionate than ever about incorporating these learnings not only in my personal life, but in my professional life as an instructor in a discipline where we connect our minds and bodies with movement. This is why I’ll be doing the cleanse again starting this Monday. I want to keep learning, and I want to be part of the journey with the next group. The 21 days are challenging. They are fun. They are totally worth it. Yes, the weather is turning beautiful. Yes, you have a happy hour or a party or a date with your TV coming up and you just need to do those with an adult beverage or some dessert. You can still participate in all those things... just with a new perspective. If you’re on the fence about participating, then start with the workshop this Saturday from 3-4:30pm at Fuse Pilates in DC. In fact, I’ll even challenge you to give me 21 valid reasons (via the comments below) for why you shouldn’t do this cleanse. If I can’t come up with a counter response for each one, then you win. I’m not sure why that would feel good for you (?) but hey, I’m up for the debate if you are. The cleanse is hard core. But so is everything we do at Fuse Pilates. A presto, Allegra Have a question about the workshop or cleanse? Email the Fuse Pilates’ DC studio at for my personal email address!

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All Comments (3)

  1. Barbara Poggio says:

    Hi Allegra!
    I admire you and you fell like a hero to me … but then, if I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Every time I have given up wine or chocolate for a few weeks it made me feel quite good.
    I have given up coffee only during pregnancies…but you and Martino made me so happy, I did not even notice.
    However, now I wonder how dangerous I am going to be to myself and others without coffee in the morning … I’ll know when I start the real cleanse.
    I have done a round keeping coffee and a few other things, and it was already powerful.
    I’ll let you know what happens when I do the real thing!
    ciao – mom

  2. Ty Johnson says:

    Hello I am anxious to get started at FUSE — I would also love to do the cleanse, but, just stumbled on to this today — is there a way to “join in” 2 days hence? Love your site and the class schedule! As a newcomer to the area, I am excited to (hopefully) have a new Pilates home — I have totally fallen off the wagon in terms of food and exercise habits….

  3. Mariska Breland says:

    Hi Ty,

    We’ll have our studio manager get in touch with you. If you don’t hear from her by email, give us a call. We have several people who have started the schedule on THEIR schedules.