“Should we do Dry January?” Daren, my boyfriend of five months, asked me as we waited to board our flight from the Mexico City airport. We were coming off a two-week holiday bender filled with all the good stuff: sugary desserts with his family, salty Italian dishes with mine, greasy tacos in Mexico, and lots and lots and lots of alcohol.
I one-upped him: “Let’s do a detox. An all-month detox.”
Now, listen: I’m not saying that anyone needs to do a detox after overindulging, by any means (and spoiler: After our experience, I’d say that NO ONE should do a detox for any reason). I just wanted to challenge myself to eat more vegetables and maybe skip that nightly pizza slice.
It also seemed like a way to combat the not-so-fun effects of our vacation. Heartburn, nausea, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea….yes, I was a walking Pepto-Bismol ad.
I thought it would literally be NBD, but Daren, on the other hand, was…not so familiar with the lifestyle. The closest thing he had done to putting mushrooms in his morning latte or chowing down on egg drop soup for breakfast was successfully completing Dry January. Once.
Alas, we decided to sample eating plans from Goop, Liz Moody, Poosh, and Sakara. Here’s how it went down:
Detox 1: Goop’s Annual 2020 5-Day Detox
- No caffeine
- No booze
- No dairy
- No gluten
- No corn
- No nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes)
- No refined sugar
- No shellfish
- No white rice
- No eggs
- No soy
For the first time since dating, Daren and I had weekday breakfast dates. This was mainly because we tried to eat as many of our meals together as possible, mostly so we (I) could make sure we were sticking to the plan.
This = lots of quality time together, time that otherwise would have been spent running around in the a.m. looking for a missing sock or something, so it was honestly kind of cute. Goop’s detox started off v well.
Then…it turned. Fast. When we watched The Bachelor together sans our normal bottle of red, maybe it was the lack of coffee or because I was really missing my nighttime chocolate nibbles, but I took his comments about the contestants way too personally. “Oh, you like her dress, huh? YOU SHOULD JUST DATE HER!” (I had literally no chill. I even wrote an article about it the next day.)
Daren assured me that I was prettier than any of the girls on the show, though, and that was the type of validation my hangry ass needed at the time (besides, y’know, a corn dog).
On day three, Daren texted me late in the day that “he dozed off during a meeting,” so he “had no choice but to get coffee with his coworker.” I was pissed, so I left him on read. Later, I learned that his coffee run failed him (he spilled most of his cup on him), which I believed to be the karma he deserved for cheating on me—er, sorry, cheating on our detox.
Oh, and also: My sex drive turned to complete shit. I assumed we were just too tired to get naked, but I also entertained the thought that Daren didn’t love me anymore. (This was def the detox brain talking.) QQ: Gwyneth Paltrow, how do you keep a husband while doing this detox?
All in all, I was a wreck. And yet I never saw Daren get mad about anything—even despite being five days into this detox. What was he hiding? Was that his red flag? 911, I’d like to report a CRIME.
Detox 2: Liz Moody’s 10-Day Actually Delicious Detox Prep
- Mostly plant-based diet
- No dairy
- No grains
- No refined sugar
- No booze
- Only one cup of coffee in the a.m.
- Various exercises
Having just spent a day in San Francisco for our post-Goop-detox “cheat day,” we returned to our L.A. apartment eager to start Liz Moody’s detox, only to realize that my detox brain and I left our only apartment key at our hotel in San Francisco. Cool-cool-cool.
The locksmith saved us from having to call Daren’s ex—who is the only other person in the world who had a spare key (which obviously sparked a conversation as well). But this set the tone for the following few days.
Throughout the week, I genuinely felt terrible. I was hungry and everything was annoying me about Daren (or maybe that was the detox brain talking?). Why did he just respond ‘okay’? Why is it taking him an hour to get home from work? How come he didn’t tell me he was going to be late?
I even asked him one night before falling asleep: “Do you still love me?” He answered my insecurity sweetly and genuinely, though, and I wondered how this guy was such a saint without ice cream.
On day four, Daren texted me that he had a bite of a doughnut at work. I never felt more betrayed. “Well, I hope SHE was worth it!” I texted back. Honestly, this felt like he was cheating on me. I contemplated taking myself out to brunch to spite him, but I went with my already made soup, which unfortunately didn’t agree with my stomach. (Daren seemingly had no problem, but then again, no idea if he was actually eating it or not.)
In general, this detox was just completely knocking me out. Daren’s sex drive seemed to be fine, while I just wanted to pass out as soon as my head hit the pillow. “I’m sorry we’re not having as much sex as we used to,” I told him as we were falling asleep one night. “It’s okay, it happens,” he responded. Oh god, was this our life now?!
Detox 3: Poosh 5-Day Sauna Detox
- Sit in a hot sauna for 10 minutes
- After, take a cold shower and stand around for 3 minutes
- After, get back into the sauna for another 10 minutes
- Repeat once a day
This is going to sound bougie, and I promise we’re not, but our building has a sauna in it—so this was super easy for us. If you don’t have sauna access, don’t worry: There’s literally nothing sexy about sweatin’ it out with your S.O. and then taking a cold shower.
In fact, this whole sauna detox thing made me anything but horny as Daren and I stood butt naked waiting three minutes to get back into the sauna after our 10-degree cold rinse. (Would love to know how Kourtney does it.)
But while the sauna def hurt our sex drives (it really knocks you out), I felt more connected to Daren during this time. We normally did our sessions at the end of the day, and it was low-key nice to talk for 20 minutes and decompress without any distractions.
The hassle of going to the sauna was starting to get annoying though. There were a few times when Daren suggested we just not do it, which was super frustrating. Clearly, if we have kids someday, I’d be the mean mom who has to keep order around the house while Daren would be the cool dad for letting our kiddos do whatever they wanted. Not cool.
We didn’t notice any super-big side effects from the sauna, although this detox gave Daren the worst headaches—probably from not drinking enough water post-sauna. And despite his four-ibuprofen-level migraine, Daren was still consistently in a good mood.
I started to feel bad for all the times I had been moody or snappy on these detoxes, while Daren—no matter what—was always kind, patient, and respectful. I think he was secretly sneaking McDonald’s.
Detox 4: Sakara Organic Meal Delivery
- No gluten
- No dairy
- No coffee
- No other snacks/food apart from its meal delivery service
- Herbal tea twice a day
- One probiotic before breakfast
- One probiotic before dinner
The first day Daren and I were supposed to start Sakara, our last—and final!—detox, there was no delivery outside our door or in the mailroom. It appeared my detox brain failed me…yet again. I checked and I forgot a digit in our address. Later that afternoon, Sakara sent me three days’ worth of meals to my office to make up for my own mistake.
I know Daren was at work, but I wished he would’ve been there to help me lug the bags. I started to feel resentful of how I had to do literally all the heavy lifting with these detoxes while Daren just ate. Now, I’m not normally one who opts into passive-aggressiveness, but I definitely made a few comments about how much *I* was doing with little to no help from him. He didn’t catch the hints.
A few of the items supposedly had ~aphrodisiacs~ in them, so I jokingly sexted Daren anytime I ate a bowl with them. But FWIW: It was entirely a joke, as the supposed aphrodisiacs didn’t make me horny, which was kind of sad because we barely had sex on this detox. Oh well!
In general, Sakara was decent. It was nice not to have to think about cooking meals, but I was hungry all the time and jealous that Daren wasn’t hungry all the time. He really got the sweeter end of this deal and that did not do well for my insecurities.
The Final Tea
I’ll be honest, life sans pizza makes you fight with your partner…a lot. And while many tears were shed (some from cutting So. Many. Onions.), I’m still unsure if it was worth it.
As for Daren’s and my relationship: Yes, we fought more this month than we ever did in our entire relationship. I honestly think if we weren’t the right match, this for sure could have torn us apart. Yet somehow, it brought us together? I guess couples who apparently eat kelp noodles together stay together?
Next up: Put us on Temptation Island. (JK, I don’t want to test our relationship anymore.)