Aspen Times Weekly: Suck It Up, Buttercup!


I WAS LICKING the sticky remnants of chocolate cotton candy from my fingers when I

got the text: “Ready?!?!?”

I swiped my hands with a napkin and snapped a photo of the chocolate cherry mousse sundae with liquid-nitrogen “exploding” whipped cream that I was about to devour at The Inventing Room in Denver. “Happening now,” I replied, to my childhood pal Amy on the East Coast.

Tomorrow, we agreed, we would start the Purium 10-Day Transformation Cleanse, the popular wellness program formulated more than two decades ago by author and “nutritional coach to the stars” David Sandoval. The daily plan consists of three “power shakes” mixed from nutrient-dense, plant-based vegan superfood powder brimming with slow burning carbs and highly digestible protein. Participants intersperse these meal replacements with regular doses of amino-acid supplements, a nighttime scoop of fiber, and tart-cherry concentrate before bedtime, all combined with at least 102 to 124 ounces water at two-hour intervals throughout the day.

There’s an option to add “flex foods,” such as ½ cup spinach or broccoli sautéed in coconut oil; single servings of hydrating produce such as celery, cucumber, apple, berries, and watermelon; and avocado or unprocessed almond or coconut milk, both rich in omega fatty acids. Optional seasonings are lemon, garlic, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and organic honey or cinnamon. Decaffeinated tea, kombucha, and vegetable broth are OK, too. Everything else — sugar, caffeine, artificial additives, foods containing GMOs or pesticides — is forbidden for 10 days.

“By eliminating processed foods during your Transformation, your metabolism will reset itself, and you will train your cells to seek nutrition instead of calories,” Sandoval explains in Purium’s brochure. I’d heard about the “clean and green” cleanse last spring, when I purchased the kit as part of Aspen chiropractor and functional medicine practitioner Dr. Amy Denicke’s spring-cleaning special offer. The big tubs of green powder have sat, untouched, in an overstuffed closet ever since. Life, you know.

Back at the Denver dessert lab, I was relieved to realize that I wasn’t the only one unprepared for P-day. “I just pulled out the stuff and the first thing I read was to start adjusting your diet 3-5 days before starting,” Amy wrote. “Oops.”

I’d already postponed our target launch last Sunday — my heart was set on an all-night DJ show in a downtown warehouse, but dancing until the wee hours on Day Six of a restrictive liquid cleanse sounded like a recipe for suffering, disaster, or worse. Turns out that was more than fine with Amy, who had admitted to texting me from a pub outside of Fenway Park.

“This is really the best time,” Amy says now. “Things can’t get any worse, stress-wise.” A high-school Spanish teacher in Connecticut, Amy will be married in three months. Her dog died unexpectedly recently, and the cold, gray, rainy New England spring climate isn’t helping her headspace. Meanwhile, I feel like I’ve been clawing my way out of a muddy, open grave for months.

Despite Sandoval’s instruction that we don’t binge-eat beforehand or start the Transformation during a hectic personal time, Amy and I make a pact to stick to the new schedule. Planning a wedding or coming off a weekend bender in the Mile High City may not be ideal circumstances, but sometimes extreme measures are necessary to create change.

“I think its good to give your digestion a break, to clean up a little bit,” says Denicke, who compares the Purium cleanse to dipping in a toe to test the water. “It’s a really good kick-start to breaking bad food habits, like quit eating chocolate or ice cream or a glass of wine every night. It helped me to break patterns. It sets the ego aside.”

Later, I receive a pic of Amy’s grocery basket: celery, cucumber, watermelon, avocados, apples, lemons, and three cartons of vegetable broth. Maybe it’s the mild ache in my head after that afternoon sugar high, but the image is sadder than any “before” shot on Purium’s website testimonial page.

“They say to buy all organic, but if I can get cukes for .59 cents over $3.99 I’ll break that rule,” she writes. I spit back something about the toxic effects of pesticides — even the Purium Power Shake is free of those and GMOs — but my words are no match for a schoolteacher’s salary.

At $205 (through a sales rep; $290 elsewhere), Purium doesn’t seem cheap. Break it down, however, and it costs $20.50 per day, plus any flex foods, which I estimate amount to $3 or less per day. Amy found the Purium method — a short-term anabolic detox designed to increase energy and digestion, with a weight-loss side-effect — the simplest and least sketchy she’d pay for. Financial investment upfront might foster accountability.

“Some people struggle through the first few days, some people don’t struggle at all,” Denicke says. “It depends on your body composition, awareness, and personality. Ten days is not that long. A lot of people feel so good they don’t wanna stop.”

A guy I know drank Purium for 20 days straight, supplementing with little more than an avocado and a handful of spinach each day. Then he continued the modification program, supplementing fewer replacement shakes with whole-foods meals, for 50 days. Result: total beefcake. Another friend despised the sweet apple-berry flavor and quit after 10 days to the letter; still, she lost eight pounds and has kept it off for two weeks and counting.

Amy and I have similar goals: reset wonky eating issues, boost energy, and slim down enough to rock a wedding dress/bikini with flashy confidence. I once subsisted on the cayenne-lemonade Master Cleanse for almost six days, so I’ve been daydreaming about the manic, light-as-a-feather euphoria that kicks in after a few days.

Amy, meanwhile, is a first-time cleanser with a busy schedule. Her main concern: fitting in a shake or flex beverage every two hours. “Today has been a pretty light load, easy for me to stay on top of it, but tomorrow is jam-packed,” she says when I call to check in on Monday morning. “I’ve already gone to the bathroom twice and I usually don’t, so I might be, like, running out of the classroom….”

The good news: “It’s not starving you,” she says, convinced already. “It kind of tastes chocolately. The leftover dust at the bottom [of the shaker] is the worst part…but it’s not as horrible as I expected. I don’t think I’m going to be super hungry. You can eat all the, uh, celery, you want!”

The petite friend who dropped 8 pounds told me it was easy, “as long as you don’t go out at night.” Thankfully, Aspen will be quiet for the next few weeks.

“There’s never a perfect time, even with our planning,” Amy concludes. “I’m going on a field trip on Friday that is known for having awesome food. But whatever, I’m just gonna be miserable for one day. It’s one day.” Or 10 days. Stay tuned…

After just one day of Purium, Amanda Rae is impressed by how much time has freed up from cooking, cleaning, shopping, and eating.

Aspen Times Weekly

Jack’s Jitney: Coors Field

Baseball is for everyone; hipsters, gamblers, and drinkers, it doesn’t matter. It brings people together sans the hostility of most sporting events, maybe it’s the calming effect of the greenest possible green that is the field’s grass.

See more