“I’m really concerned about the no-coffee thing.” Those were the first words that flew out of my mouth when I got on the phone with Dr. Charles Passler, nutritionist to the stars—his roster includes Adriana Lima, Bella Hadid and the Victoria’s Secret Angels—and founder of the Pure Change Program. If you know me, that line doesn’t phase you, but for those who don’t, it may signal a red flag that something is up with my nutrition and caffeine intake.
Polite in every way, Dr. Passler took the opportunity to ask if he could make some “personalized suggestions” for my diet instead of speaking generally about the plan. I started taking quick notes, trying not to miss any of the information he was giving me, and it suddenly seemed like my seven-day challenge began before the call had even ended. But little did I know the true challenge would come as soon as the Program’s box of goodies arrived at my desk and I summoned enough courage to begin.
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Simply put, the Pure Change Program goes like this: You’re eating something every two and a half hours, whether it’s a protein shake, protein bar or vegetables—no exceptions (or caffeine, hence my reluctance), only water (2 liters of it daily, to be exact)—and almost everything you’ll need is in the box you’ll be mailed upon purchase. However, the proper nutritional supplementation is also of high importance during your weeklong challenge, as a “Detox Support Pack” should be taken with every lunch (which consisted of a 100-calorie portion of vegetables with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, as did dinner) plus the probiotic and magnesium supplements required before your head hit your pillow at night.
After the week was over—yes, it was was difficult, yes I lost seven pounds in just one week and yes I cheated on day six (you can’t not have a piece of cake at your nephew’s birthday party)—I surprisingly learned more about myself and overall nutrition than I did about portion control or hunger. Below, the top lessons Dr. Passler told me I would learn when trying the Program, and they’re sure to stick with me (and you!) for far longer than the cravings or caffeine headaches ever could.
Your p.m. pills are just as important as your morning ones.
Multivitamins are an essential part of any morning routine, but after incorporating magnesium and probiotics into my diet at night, I realized that a p.m. supplement routine was something that’s barely been tapped into (with the exception of melatonin) and I’m not sure why. The probiotic helped with digestion and keeping a flat tummy (though the all-veggie diet did, too) while the magnesium aided with relaxation, sleep, healthy bowel movements and better muscle function. Dr. Passler explained that ingesting a combination of the two every night drastically aids with metabolic and enzymatic processes, along with helping the body make the “switch” over to a nighttime rhythm.
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Never underestimate the power of water—seriously.
We all know the benefits water bring to the skin, digestive system and overall health of our bodies, but I still wasn’t full-on relying on it until I had absolutely no choice but to quit or go thirsty. “If our cells don’t have enough water to operate, they, and in turn, we, become dehydrated,” Dr. Passler told be before I started the Program. “Even at 2-percent dehydration, your cognitive balance will suffer.” To combat any sort of dehydration (or thirst, really) the plan suggests you intake a minimum of two liters of water a day, which will leave you walking to and from the restroom like a maniac all day, but your skin will glow, you’ll feel fuller for longer, and you’ll feel more awake and alert, too.
Read your protein shake’s fine print.
There’s so much more to your protein shake then whether or not it’s plant- or whey-based. Dr. Passler explained that his formulation contains a blend of pea and rice proteins plus branch chain amino acids to help build up overall health and “feed muscles exactly where they need it.” He compares drinking the shakes to “putting fertilizer on a plant that didn’t have any before,” which is so true, that many of his patients ask him why they built up so much healthy muscle in a week when they stopped working out and cut their diets in half. (I have to say, my arms had an impressive amount of lean muscle mass after just one week of using this protein powder—I’ll absolutely be ordering more once I run out).
Cut down on the caffeine.
Before I got started, Dr. Passler told me that the two areas where people always report feeling a night-and-day difference are the caffeine and alcohol departments. For me, caffeine obviously meant coffee, and because only water and herbal tea were allowed during the week, my withdrawal migraines were serious the first two days, but it left me feeling great the third and fourth days. I had more energy throughout the work day, especially in the mornings, and now when I have a small iced coffee (I would drink two ventis a day pre-cleanse), I feel like my fingers are moving too quickly for my body. If you’re looking to reset your body, a few days is truly all you need.
Eating late is never a good idea.
When Dr. Passler let me in on the secret that the first tip he gives his celebrity clientele that are looking to bulk up for an upcoming role is telling them to eat late at night and snack if you ever get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night, my eating habits immediately changed (whose wouldn’t?). According to Dr. Passler, it’s also crucial for your body to “fast” for a full 12 hours at night—he calls this a “microfast”—so if you eat dinner at 7 p.m., the first time you eat should again would be at 7 a.m. the next morning. If not, your body will seriously suffer.
Not all vegetables are in the green.
When I first found out that the Pure Change Program relied heavily on vegetables, I thought I would eat sweet potatoes and be fine (that’s a true story)—until I read the “approved vegetables” list, that is. Among those approved are asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, mushrooms, romaine, tomatoes and zucchini (there are 31 in total), so it was definitely doable (maybe even easy!) if you’re a fan of vegetables, but if you’re not, my tip would be to become very familiar with Pinterest. Either way, definitely know the nutrition value behind your favorite veggies—just because you can find it in the produce department, doesn’t necessarily mean its healthy.
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