28 days without caffeine. My review of The Simply Raw detox manual

April 24th, 2009 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

I have known about Natasha Kyssa for the past few years because I’ve always wanted to attend the raw pie contest she hosts in Ottawa every fall.

This April she published her The Simply Raw Living Foods detox manual and with some reservations I decided that I was up for the challenge.
Here the basics of Natasha’s plan:
Week 1: vegan and 80% raw foods
Week 2: vegan and 100% raw foods
Week 3: 100% vegan living foods (no oils or concentrated foods)
Week 4, day 1 and 2: 100% vegan living foods (no oils or concentrated foods)
Week 4, day 3-5: 100% blended living foods
Week 4, day 6 and 7: 100% vegan living foods (no oils or concentrated foods)
The first step for me was cutting out the caffeine. I began my love affair with coffee while I was writing my Master’s thesis. It was a great reason to walk away from the computer screen. Since then my intake has fluctuated but generally sits around two cups a day-complemented by other black teas (chai and early grey are my favourites).
Now I really enjoy the flavour of coffee but I am also a sucker for the ritual. I love strolling along the sidewalk in the spring with a steaming cup in hand or sitting down on a weekend with a hot cup of coffee to read through the paper in my bathrobe. It isn’t that warm water with lemon and cayenne can’t play the role of coffee in these scenarios. But it really isn’t the same-and isn’t prepared and sold on every street corner in Toronto.

However, when I put my mind to something I can usually make it happen. So I unplugged the coffee maker and walked quickly past Starbucks, Second Cup, Tim Hortons, Avenue cafe….etc., for 28 days. I was lucky that I did not experience any headaches and after the first couple of days my feeling of lethargy subsided. I was able to function quite well without my morning Java, although starting my day with a run helped to boost my energy on our grey April mornings.

For the last 28 days I have learned to appreciate this new routine. I was told that my personality has been more calm, warm and relaxed. Which I assume means that coffee makes me mean and jumpy. I’ve felt more consistently energetic and haven’t missed the ups and downs of the caffeine rollercoaster I often ride. Over the past few weeks I have noticed that my afternoons no longer find me sitting at my desk struggling to keep my eyes open. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been tired during this cleanse but it is a different kind of tired than the withdrawal of coffee induces. It could also be because I’ve been sleeping much better.
Natasha’s plan is inspired by her respect for Ann Wigmore and encourages everyone to eat Ann’s energy soup and salads every day. She also suggests wheatgrass and concentrated powdered greens become a part of your daily diet for the month. I did my best to incorporate huge amounts of sprouts but I didn’t take wheatgrass shots. It just seemed like a little more than I could afford to spend on this experiment. Instead I did devour numerous green smoothies, sauerkraut, papaya, spirulina and huge salads throughout the month.
Simply Raw provided a great introduction to her plan with helpful tips about sprouting, creating rejuvelac, and other fermented foods. I found the plan really pushed me increase the variety of foods in my regular diet. I have come to enjoy sauerkraut in a whole new way. When you use it to dress salads (when avoiding oils) it adds a bright, refreshing flavour. This plan really shines in the impact it has on digestion.
On a regular basis I avoid processed foods, sugars, flour and eat the majority of my calories in their raw form, but I still noticed an improvement during this detox. Everything moved efficiently through my system and provided me with great energy.
The only significant challenge I experienced was on the third day of blended foods. I was running out of ingredients (you do need to shop often on this plan for produce) and had to take a couple of trips for work and volunteer events. Its hard to eat blended foods when you’re far from your blender. I did my best but I did have to add some fresh raw fruit to the day.
The first day after finishing the detox plan I had a small bite of a vegan muffin (banana chocolate chip), everything else I ate was raw. The next morning I woke up with a sore throat and swollen glands. Now, I fully accept that this may have been a coincidence but I certainly felt healthy throughout the entire 28 days without wheat, soy and sugar. So, I will continue to be careful about how often I consume these common allergens.
Simply Raw provides delicious recipes to eat during the detox and beyond, as you work to maintain your fabulously, healthy self. I enjoyed experimenting with many of her suggestions in my kitchen and will continue to integrate her ideas into my everyday eating routine.
I can’t say that caffeine has been banished for good. In fact a warm cup of earl gray tea sounds delicious, but I will continue to monitor how I feel as I allow some of the excluded foods back into my diet.
I’ve learned a lot from the last 28 days:
1. Sauerkraut is a great new addition to my regular grocery list.
2. Rejuvelac is a taste experience I won’t soon forget.
3. Banana ice cream (blended frozen bananas) is an amazing breakfast.
4. I don’t NEED coffee, although I may WANT it sometimes.
If you have experienced digestive issues, lethargy, headaches or other symptoms you’d like to eradicate, Natasha’s manual may significant improve your quality of life and your longevity.


  1. Posted May 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Wow. I’m very impressed. I’m currently doing a MUCH less restrictive cleanse and find it challenging so I’m impressed that you were able to do a vegan/raw/blended food detox.

    I’m blogging about it here: http://whatsonmyplate.wordpress.com

  2. Posted June 2, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Great stuff! Living witout caffine is a HUGE plus.
    I enjoyed reading your journal… delicious looking food!

    raw food detox

  3. Posted June 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I found I missed the routine/habit of drinking coffee more than the caffeine. I just need to fill my life with a more satisfying ritual! I’m really glad you enjoyed the post.

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