Who Tried It: Lindsay Kimble, People.com Associate Editor
What It Is: Pure Change 7-day program
The Pure Change detox was created by Dr. Charles Passler and promises weight loss, improved energy, decreased cravings and a total diet reset. I chose the 7-day program for $199.95 (there’s also a 21-day option), which included the following:
- Lean Body Protein Shake (14 servings)
- Detox Support packets (14 servings)
- Protein Bars (7 bars)
- Probiotic (7 servings)
- Magnesium (7 servings)
- Shaker Bottle
I chatted with Dr. Passler about the program before kicking off my week. “It gives the body a chance to reset while being able to adjust very easily to process food items.” In creating the program, he said, he wanted to avoid people having to do “a lot of meal prep,” instead being able to rely on vegetables and a little olive oil. “The rest is provided for you,” he said.
The detox support packet comes with supplements formulated to improve liver and kidney function and provide cellular detox support. There’s also fish oil in there. The shake is designed to “maintain your muscle while on this lower-category program,” said Dr. Passler, who recommends that people do the program twice a year. The timing “depends on lifestyle,” he said, “but once in the spring and once in the fall is ideal.”
While Dr. Passler kept mostly mum about his Hollywood clients, we know that Victoria’s Secret models Bella Hadid and Sara Sampaio are fans — which is why we decided to give it a try. VS model Bridget Malcolm has also worked with Dr. Passler leading up to the Victoria’s Secret show, according to the Pure Change site.
Level of Difficulty: This is tricky because the level of difficulty changed for me with each passing day. I’d give the first two days days a 3/10 — after that it was a 10/10.
Let me start off with a disclaimer: I’ve never done a cleanse before. Going into this experience, my idea of a cleanse involved brightly colored juices. This is decidedly not that.
It’s also important for me to state that I’ve always struggled to maintain a healthy diet. I like fried things and junk food and cheese — so much cheese — and wine. So this was a BIG change for me.
Each day started with a protein shake — either Vanilla or Chocolate — at 7 a.m. and continued with meals spaced out by at least two hours. After the initial shake, I could eat half of a protein bar, followed by a lunch of 100 calories of raw or cooked vegetables, eaten with the detox support pack. Around 2:30 p.m., I could drink another shake, and a few hours later, the other half of the protein bar. For dinner, 100 calories of raw or cooked vegetables with another detox support pack. Finally at bedtime, I took three magnesium tablets and two probiotic capsules. The next day, rinse and repeat.
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The lengthy vegetable list included everything from green beans to bok choy and could be consumed with a tablespoon of olive oil – or in a soup. Though caffeine was not allowed, a combination of decaffeinated and caffeinated black coffee was okay in moderation to treat headaches.
Ahead of the cleanse, Dr. Passler told me that Day One is “peculiar for most people,” but I found it pretty manageable. For lunch and dinner, I riced some cauliflower — which was bland, I have to admit. But it felt good to be eating something, anything, rather than just sipping on a shake. At one point I had a headache, so I had some black coffee which seriously helped (tiny cheat).
Day Two was similarly low-key, but I found myself starving for that second half of the protein bar (which was actually pretty tasty). That night, I opted to make a little soup with some chopped-up onions, celery and carrots. This was the least painful meal of vegetables that I ate throughout the experience. I also took the option of putting unflavored almond milk in my shake rather than water — which is allowed! — and really enjoyed that.
By the third day, however, I was NOT feeling it. Dr. Passler told me that mid-way through the program I might feel “tired, moody and foggy.” I felt all of that on Day Three. For lunch I had spiralized zucchini and I could barely finish my 100 calories. Then, after work, my boyfriend and I went to the movies. He got a large popcorn for himself, and my emotions were so out of whack I started to cry because I couldn’t eat it. He was not amused. I snuck two pieces.
The fourth and fifth days went better, and I woke up feeling energized. My skin, however, still did not have the desired result (it was supposed to clear up). Instead, a gathering of fresh pimples appeared on my chin. For all four meals these days, I stuck to simple spinach salads with tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers.
Dr. Passler told me that the final two days leave most users feeling “better than they’ve felt in a long time.” Unfortunately, my body missed that memo.
I was so light-headed during work on day six that I almost went home. I resorted to black coffee again to make me feel a little better, but by the end of the day I was feeling so exhausted and starving. Even the soup — which I’d liked earlier in the week — didn’t help my situation. I bought some portobello mushrooms to grill for dinner on night six and seven, which felt more sufficient.
This is a challenging program. As someone who hasn’t exactly made clean eating a priority, I struggled. Though it was a plus to be able to actually eat something (rather than just chug away on juices and shakes), vegetables start to look very unappetizing after four days straight.
That being said, I felt like the shakes were tasty and the bars not too bad. I did find I had renewed energy when I woke up toward the end, and ultimately lost 4 lbs.
Since the cleanse, I’ve referred to the vegetable list for dinner inspiration and used the leftover powder post-workout.
Looking back, I wish I’d more properly prepared my body the week before the cleanse by cutting out non-healthy foods in my existing diet. That way, the total removal of bad stuff would have come as less of a shock! But as long as you’re ready for it, I think the Pure Change program is a great way to recharge and reset your body — and shed a few pounds.