Imagine… being stuck on a beautiful, tropical island. For 2 weeks. With nothing but fresh, young, sweet, delicious, nutritious coconuts to drink. Oh, but there’s amazing massages too, psychics who guide you into a spectacular new future, the best facials in the world — that make you whisper sweet endearments of love to your facialist — and colonics, to make sure everything is moooving, just the way it should. That’s what my coconut island cleanse looks like.
Bali is the perfect place to do a cleanse. The coconuts and tropical fruit are fresh, cheap and plentiful. The weather is warm, even in winter, and life can be very, very easy, if you let it be. I hadn’t “planned” to do a cleanse while I was here. It somehow just happened. I was chatting with a good friend who is a nutritionist, and the thought came up, and I hadn’t had much of appetite for a few days, and so I felt into it, and asked my body, which replied with a resounding yes.
I chose to do it with coconut water because its easy — easier than pressing 45 vegetables each time you want a glass of juice — cheap: at $1 a coconut, when I’m drink 3-4 per day, and coconuts are rich in nutrients that include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Since it is isotonic to human plasma, coconut water can be used in extreme emergencies to quickly rehydrated the human body if administered intravenously. Essentially, it’s the perfect liquid to do an extended fast on.
I’m not new to cleansing or fasting, and it’s something that I like to try to do about once a year. Cleansing promotes autophagy, which is like a “spring cleaning” for your cells. Since your body is essentially eating itself, it has a chance to get rid of any junk or waste material that may have built up, and repair the damage of oxidative stress. This is one of the biggest benefits of fasting even for people who are at a healthy weight, since it has powerful anti-aging and muscle-building properties.
I really enjoyed reading this article on cleansing and fasting, and this one too. They might help you get a deeper understanding of what’s involved and how it works. I couldn’t find much information on coconut water fasting — it looks like not that many people have done them — but to me it seems like the perfect in-between straight water fasting, and juice cleansing.
Next to the wonderful physical healing effects from cleansing, one of the main reasons I felt to do this cleanse, was for the emotional and spiritual reset that it provides. The past year and a bit have been emotionally and spiritually colossal. This time last year marks the end of a really challenging experience with my mother, that left my heart torn, and while I have been clearing it, through many of my emotional and psychological techniques, part of the hurt was still trapped in my body. I had thought I’d resolved and worked through this already, but when I went to Ecstatic Dance at Yoga Barn in my second week in Ubud, and a friend asked me about the situation, I burst into tears, surprising both of us. I also entered a whole new realm in an intimate relationship that is unlike any that I have been in before. I want to protect and honour this delicate connection by clearing out any past residue that may still be present in my body from past relationships, to give this one the opportunity to blossom and flourish in its own unique way. Also, my business has beautifully stretched and grown over the past year, and with that have come challenges and massive learnings. This is an opportunity to slow down, press reset on everything, and design a whole new future for myself, and my world.
What I’m sharing with you is purely my personal experience. I do not recommend or hold any authority around health practices. I am simply a huge believer in the body being the most effective and efficient healer that each of us have, and use the knowledge and resources that I have to support it. Everything I do, I do as an experiment; always, always intently listening to my body and to what it tells me it needs. If you are interested in doing a cleanse or fast like this, remember that this is all about taking personal responsibility for your health, life and nurturing an intimate connection with your body, soul and mind. Nobody knows your body better than you do.
Coconut Island | My 10 Day coconut water cleanse in Bali.
Prelude: I prepared for the cleanse by eating very lightly on the days before. I had stopped eating meat about a week earlier, then stopped eating animal products completely, and then juts had one meal of steamed or lightly stir-fried vegetables with rice on the 3 days prior to starting my cleanse. Ut’s really important to be gentle to yourself and ease into these sorts of things. Also, because I didn’t want to mention it on each day, I was still having once or twice daily bowel movements throughout the entire cleanse, which is good, because it means things are moving despite not having anything solid to push them around.
Day 1 is always easy. There’s plenty of food in my stomach from the days before, so I felt completely normal and full of energy. I drank 3 coconuts and 4L of water, went for an hours hike, and worked. By the evening I started feeling a headache come on, and a bit tired, and went to bed early.
In the morning I woke up feeling super energised and excited about life, as if I had just had a double strength coffee. I drank 4 coconuts and 2L of water, did 20min of yoga and a 1 hour walk. By the time the afternoon came around, I could feel my body starting to detox already: headaches, bad breath, sore throat.
As I shared on Instagram, Day 3 was the roughest, hardest day yet! As I was moving into ketosis, from burning the glucose stores in my body for energy, to burning the old, excess, dirty, fat and dying cells. This is what I want when I cleanse, but the transition period is really rough. I had a busy start to the day with coaching calls, and didn’t have my first coconut until noon, so I was feeling a little bit shaky by then. I went to meet a friend and work together at a coffice (cafe + office) but couldn’t concentrate, even on a single word she was saying to me, and had to go back home. Then I started getting flu-like symptoms: swollen glands, sore throat, headaches, phlegm in my throat and mouth, tired eyes, and lethargy. Also, my tongue is getting covered with a white, weird film, feels thick and swollen and tastes metallic. I couldn’t do any exercise on this day and had 3 coconuts and 4L of water.
I like up with headaches in the morning, followed but intense clarity, and the most productive day at work that I had, had in ages! I went for an hour walk and drank 4 coconuts, a big pot of fresh ginger tea and 3L of water. In the afternoon when my energy wore down, I started to feel physically and mentally really tired and a little bit dizzy. Better than the day before however.
Ahhh, sweet, wonderful Day 5. How I loved you! Despite waking up 3 times to pee during the night, I had the deepest, most wonderful nights sleep ever, and woke up feeling super excited and enthusiastic about life. At this point I felt like I could go on forever. It amazing how I haven’t had a single craving or felt hungry at all. My friends sit around and eat entire meals beside me, and it doesn’t phase me. I had 4 coconuts, 3L water, and went for a 1 hour walk. I almost felt at full strength today: alert, awake and inspired. I did continue to have detox symptoms: my joints hurt when I first woke up, which is really common when cleansing as the toxic are pulled out of the joints; headache; and sore throat and a really white tongue. I started to feel tired towards the evening but not like on the days before. I also noticed that, each time I do a cleanse or fast, it seems to feel easier and easier, as if the body knows what’s happening and gets straight work.
In the night I awoke at 1am with a lot of pain in my stomach, especially on my left side. It felt like my reproductive organs were having a healing crisis. I’ve had some hormone imbalance issues in the past, so I’m not surprised this is being addressed during this cleanse. I also have a lot of discharge coming from there, it’s mucous and old blood mainly, I think. I’m so grateful that the body has the ability to heal itself in this way, and that I can take the time out to do it! I drank 3 coconuts and 4L of water, did 1 hour of yoga, and ran some errands in town, which felt really hectic as I was feeling very sensitive. My body was still showing pretty serious detoxing symptoms: my skin broke out and my tongue still coated in white, but the headaches and extreme fatigue and lethargy had gone.
I was feeling so much gratitude for everything in life this day, as I shared on Instagram. By this day life and I had slowed down considerably. My breathing became deeper and slower, and I felt very much at peace and centred within myself. I went for an hour walk and had 3 coconuts and 4L of water. In the afternoon I started having a really, really sore lower back — where the back meets the bottom essentially — and had to lay down and place my hands there, practicing some Reiki, for a while. Despite this, I actually had a ridiculously productive day of work again, which is quite amazing at this stage.
My tongue started to getting pink again on the edges! Yay! This means that things are cleaning and clearing up and I can start thinking about finishing the cleanse soon. My stomach also started making lots of rumbling and grumbling sounds which was weird. I have no idea what that means. Even though I felt really full of energy in the morning, Day 8, like Day 3, was super, super hard. I stared feeling really anxious and emotional for no obvious reason, and had a big cry. I was also really agitated and restless and indecisive.And I was missing my love terribly, and felt like the day that I was going to see him again, was almost an eternity away, even though it really was only about 2 weeks. I had an appointment with a psychic that afternoon, luckily after my emotional breakdown, which took me on a wild journey of what life might look like for me in the future. I felt like I was on acid during the entire session, and came away with some pretty deep and insightful information about myself and my life. But having had the session during my cleanse meant that I wasn’t as grounded as I usually might have been, so it had an incredibly strong effect on me. This day was so weird and crazy to me that I forgot to write down if I went for a walk and how much I drank. I just remember meeting my sweet friend Belinda in the evening, to talk all the had happened out, and having some ginger tea with honey in it, to calm my nerves.
I had a colonic today, just to give my colon a good cleanse out, and discovered I’m actually quite blocked. Eek! So I woke din two more session for the following days. But after the colonic I felt amazing! So light and free, almost as if I could fly away. By now I had noticed that I had lost some weight, though I have no idea how much. I could just tell by the way my body felt and my clothes fit. The colonic did wonders for my stomach. Afterwards it felts so flat and toned! I had no idea how much gas was stuck in there! What the… I also, for the first time, started to feel hungry today. This is a good sign because it means my body is ready to end the cleanse. I was also having trouble drinking coconuts now. Even the day before was a struggle to get them down, and people were surprised when I turned their offers for coconuts to drink down. (Like, who does that, right!?) I decided that Day 10. would be the last day of my cleanse. My body clearly had enough. I went for a 1 hour walk and dark 3 coconuts on this day.
Yay! Last day! I was so excited to transition to light fruit the next day! I woke up feeling amazing in the morning. I also felt like the colonic had done some kind of wonders for me. Something had definitely shifted, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. I was totally, and utterly sick of coconuts by now, and couldn’t even imagine having another one. I kept looking at the one I had left sitting on my table and felt sick at the thought of drinking it! So I stuck to lots of water all day, and got a watermelon juice in the afternoon to tie me over, and went for a walk in the evening. I also had an amazing day working: my Manifest More program is coming together so beautifully, I’m so delighted with every single part of it, my writing was flowing and I was generally delighted about life.
NB: I transitioned out of the cleanse very, very slowly in the days following. I started with a few bites of papaya because it’s full of enzymes and natural probiotics plus lots and lots of water. Then the following day, I ate little pieces of watermelon every few hours, before adding a light salad meal the day after that, and then finally after 5 days, adding in steamed or stir-fried vegetables. It’s really important to be really gentle and take great care when coming off a cleanse, to give your body ample time to adjust to digesting again, and not fill it up with crap. One of the best parts of doing cleanses is that they give you a whole body reset, which means that when you start eating again, you just stick with the healthiest choices, and keep taking really good care of you.
Image from FreePeople.com.