Over the last couple of years, I’ve increasingly thought about doing a cleanse, knowing it could do my body good. But a fear of extreme hunger kept me from ever taking the plunge—until last month, when I signed up for one of the monthly cleanse programs offered by local company Kitchen Witch Bone Broth.
For five days, I drank bone broth twice a day, which is said to soothe and coat the digestive tract, and ate their savory soup three times a day. Each morning, the first thing I consumed was fresh lemon juice with two ounces of warm water, and each day I received email support and tips.
Kitchen Witch co-founder and cleanse leader Magali Brecke, LAc., refers to the program as a “genuine hush period for the gut.”
“While we do use the word ‘cleanse,’ we like to skew more toward the idea of a ‘reset,’” says Brecke, who started Kitchen Witch Bone Broth in November 2015 with Rhiannon Henry, LAc and Missy Woolstenhulme. “Our modern world bombards us with fake foods, environmental toxins, and unnatural stress that affects us from birth to death.”
One of the main goals of the cleanse program, which they launched in February, is to reduce inflammation, which can be caused by factors like stress and poor eating. Like a few others in the cleanse, I added “optional foods” when I absolutely needed to, like steamed veggies and salad, and made sure to avoid gluten, dairy, sugar, grains, legumes and nightshades—anything with a possibility of being inflammatory. The cleanse leaders offer simple “infusion ideas” to add if people crave a little more sustenance or variety. After experimenting, I mostly added grass-fed butter and cinnamon. While I was hungry some of the time—especially during the first two days—overall I had a positive experience. I felt much lighter and more energetic afterward.
The Kitchen Witch Bone Broth soups and broths provide macronutrients, protein from bone broth, healthy fat from coconut oil, some carbs in veggies, “and crazy-high antioxidants and minerals,” says Brecke.
Aside from the five jars of organic bone broth—our choice of chicken, pastured ginger pork, beef or “almost veggie”—we received a personalized combination of 15 jars of soup. The soups were satisfying and flavorful, with choices like Healing Greens—which contains cilantro, ginger, Meyer lemon, kale, broccoli and Japanese white sweet potato—and the beautiful orange “Warm Glow,” which includes coconut milk, carrots and turmeric. The varieties rotate, and all are made with organic bone broth, plus fresh organic vegetables from Santa Cruz farmers markets, herbs and spices, and coconut oil. After cooking the soups, Kitchen Witch purees them for easy absorption and easy transport—they travel well in thermoses.
Brecke developed the broth and soup recipes, which she continuously refines, and all three of the Kitchen Witch founders have a background in traditional Chinese medicine.
“The gut reset was born from my practice as a private anti-inflammatory chef, and the desire to give people a true gut-healing space, rather than a sugary juice cleanse,” says Brecke.
As the Reset evolved, she made changes, including adding superfoods (which she calls “soup-er foods”) like reishi, beets, turmeric, and chlorella to each soup. “These ensure a dose of antioxidants and micronutrients in every jar, three times per day,” says Brecke.
During the cleanse, I occasionally felt a bit foggy, which I noticed when driving or doing other activities requiring concentration. I emailed Brecke, and she explained this was likely mild detoxification setting in, and recommended activities like dry brushing, and adding small meals.
I also noticed that my body doesn’t need as much food as I thought it did—I was hungry during the cleanse, but after the cleanse I wasn’t eating as much as I had been prior to it. Also, my body wasn’t craving sweets and sugar, which was a nice surprise. I slept a lot better on the cleanse, and even for a few days after.
I plan to do the Reset again in the future, utilizing more of the suggestions that Kitchen Witch provides for cleanse enhancement, like dry brushing and tongue scraping, and “bulletproof drinks” (a couple tablespoons of coconut milk with ghee/grass-fed butter/coconut oil and a pinch of cinnamon added to teas, since drinking coffee on a cleanse isn’t desirable.).
Sandra Kenzler, a four-time cleanse participant, says this cleanse helped her reset patterns and rhythms, and she was even able to do the program when training for a race.
“I have tried other cleanses, but with this one I didn’t feel so hungry, and had energy to sustain the physical and mental activities that I needed to participate in,” says Kenzler. “I was surprised that I felt so energized in the morning like I could pop right out of bed.”
Kenzler likes the fact that the results last, and that she discovers something new about herself each time. She now knows the impact that foods like dairy and bread have on her body, and doesn’t crave sugar or sweets. Also, her normal eating patterns, exercise, and healthy sleep cycles have returned. This aligns with one of Brecke’s goals— that people will learn that their health is in their own hands.
“When we take a pause from three-square-meals, we nudge our body to reset the barometers for satiation, for sweet, and for nutrient rich foods. That reset can be long-lasting, and the beginning of bigger change,” says Brecke.
Info: Price for cleanse is $275. Offered once a month. Visit kitchenwitchbroth.com/cleanse/ for more information.