A testimonial from Helen Powell following her experience of the Forever Living Products Clean 9 Program

Diary of a Clean 9 programme by Helen Powell

Day 1 Things I’ve learnt so far on my Clean 9:

  • Planning is key. I cannot stress this enough.

Yes that sounds obvious but I thought I’d planned; I’d got some veg and fruit in, read through the guidance and opened all the packages to see what I had. However, I’d not thought about “what happens if I’m going out?” Today I went out for a couple of hours and took 500mls of water and a tub of blueberries, but 2 hours turned into 5 and by the time I got home my stomach thought my throat had  been cut, and the schedule of taking the supplements had gone all to pot.

  • Steamed veg is best eaten singly, i.e. don’t mix it all up into a soup.

It doesn’t taste of anything except a blend of indeterminate green stuff. I happen to like most veg and the recipe* – if I can call it that – for what I created includes some of my favourites, but mixed together I couldn’t taste the individual flavours and so it was bland, even when I added large quantities of chilli, garlic, paprika, and loads of other spices and herbs. It now tastes of garlicky, spicy, bland, indeterminate green stuff.

(*the recipe was broccoli, aubergine, spring onions, leeks, string beans, tomato, green pepper, kale, rocket, basil, chives).

  • Thank goodness for a well-stocked spice cupboard

I used a whole jar of garlic granules in the soup mix and a fair bit of chilli and paprika too. I shook liberal amounts of coriander, cinnamon, oregano, and a good dose of balsamic vinegar in and still it wasn’t too appetising. However, I don’t like waste and I will eat the next 6 portions of it because I made it, so there.

  • Rocket doesn’t whizz up with a stick blender.

Do not, I repeat, do NOT use a stick blender for your rocket. If a stick blender is all you have, and you want to make soup with rocket in, whizz everything else up first and add chopped rocket to the mix. Rocket winds itself round the rotors like a sadistic green octopus and if you continue blending you’re likely to burn out the motor. Use a jug blender if you have one. I have one and wish I’d thought of this first. I now have to use tweezers to avoid slicing my fingers on the rotors while I try to get the bits of rocket off the base of the blender.

  • What are green onions?

I’m a gardener and haven’t heard of green onions before. So I presume the guide means spring onions so that’s what I’ve got. I wondered if it’s an American term, as Forever Living is a US company, but then our friends over the pond say “eggplant” instead of “aubergine” and the guide book says you can eat “aubergine” as much as you want. Must ask my C9 mentor about this one.

  • Frozen fruit is great in the smoothie

I already had some frozen berries in and some figs I’d sliced and frozen a few weeks ago as I’d bought more than I needed. So I got out enough for my one-a-day portion of fruit and blended it up with the vanilla shake mix and almond milk – yummy. (If you haven’t been paying attention to the points above, make the shake before blending the soup and definitely before the rocket).

  • I don’t like Aloe vera drinking gel

There I’ve said it. Confessions are good for the soul and all that. I really don’t like the taste and am dreading the gel on the next 9 days as this is going to be the hardest part for me, although fortunately from day 3 it’s only 1 dose per day. After the 1st 2 doses, I’ve started holding my nose as I can’t taste it then, however it’s really difficult to swallow more than once with your nose held as it makes your ears feel muffled, and of course when you let go of your nose your taste buds still have the aloe on them – unless you can drink a glass of water with your nose held too. I can’t.

Day 2 Progressing slowly and looking forward to day 3:

  • Breakfast was interesting…

I took a container of the “indeterminate green stuff” for my breakfast to a network meeting. Even though it was microwaved for me, it still was fairly unappetising and the smell of other people’s full English was torture. So I just had a pot of blueberries and some herbal tea instead. The rest of the green stuff has now been frozen in portions to mix with curry sauce post C9 programme. It’ll help me (and the family) eat something healthy and I love a curry.

  • Making the free food interesting

I added some frozen strawberries into my shake and whizzed it all up into a thick, cold drink. It was quite delicious – I’m really enjoying the Forever Lite shakes and looking forward to post C9 so I can add more variety of fruits. I also made a plate of steamed asparagus, cauliflower and broccoli sprinkled with cinnamon and ginger which was quite tasty.

  • Feeling drained

According to the guide book it’s normal to have low energy at this stage. It’s not often I’m described as normal but hey… I decided to skip the 30 mins of exercise as a result and I’ve just been doing a bit of housework instead so I don’t tire myself out too much. Other symptoms can include headaches but I haven’t had any problems – maybe it’s because I already dropped caffeine some months ago. Oh and there’s a possibility of “gastrointestinal changes”. By this I think they mean wind; it’s late in the evening now and it’s like storm Doris is in my pyjamas. My mentor says to drink loads of water and keep taking the fibre.

  • Restless night – unusual for me

I was quite restless the first night and don’t know if it’s coincidental or related to the diet. I read in the small print that the Forever Therm tablets contain caffeine so maybe it’s because of that, as I don’t normally consume any caffeine.   I’m peeing loads, though again it could be the caffeine as I have been drinking the same amount of water as normal – I’ve had 2 litres of water daily for some time now. Hoping for a better night’s sleep this evening.

Day 3 Yippee I can eat a proper meal tonight:

  • Enjoying inventing new recipes

Even just adding things to the shake is interesting. Today I had sliced fig in one and kiwi in another. Yes you get to have 2 shakes daily from day 3 which is great as I love them. Mid afternoon I had a salad of free food – pepper, cucumber and tomato with balsamic drizzle. I’m also enjoying the fact I only have to take the aloe vera gel once a day from now on.

  • More energy

I managed a couple of brisk walks to get my exercise in on a busy day, going to and from a meeting instead of taking the car. I haven’t had time to get to the gym much lately but even a bit of walking is better than nothing, and with a bit more energy I enjoyed the fresh air.

  • Meal out with friends

I went out to celebrate my bestie’s 60th birthday this eve. There were 4 items on the menu which were under 600 cals and I chose the chicken and kale Caesar salad. It was very tasty (even though there were no anchovies) and I really enjoyed it. Normally I would have had a pudding but we all decided we didn’t need it and just had coffee instead (decaff for me). More and more eateries are now providing “under 600 cals” meals on their menus which is really helpful for doing the C9 programme.

Day 4 A third of the way there:

  • Gym day

Friday is when I can generally get to the gym so I made up for doing little on day 2 and spent 50 minutes there; the treadmill (speed walking on an incline) and rower are my go-to for cardio and I’ve been doing loads of weight repetitions at 10 to 40kg per machine. I go to an over 50s gym with no young gym bunnies to make me feel fat and frumpy and it’s great being able to go at my own pace. I felt so good when I came home.

  • Treat for tea

I froze a couple of veggie bakes a while ago and discovered them today. It was a recipe I’d done at Christmas for a vegetarian relative and perfect for my C9. It was roasted aubergine, courgette, cauliflower, green beans, peppers, sweetcorn, broccoli, leeks with a slice of halloumi and a crumble of cashews on top. Delicious with some steamed asparagus on the side and a small baked potato.

Day 5 & 6 Half way and feeling fitter:

  • Gardening days

I spent 4 hours digging and planting on Saturday until my arms were so tired and achy. I’d brought a shake out with me so I didn’t have to go back indoors. Wonder how many calories that worked off?

On Sunday, another 2 hours of gardening and a short walk.

  • Adapting family favourites

One of my family’s fave meals is salmon marinated in maple syrup, soy sauce and garlic, then baked in a foil parcel. So I adapted it for me – my parcel had lemon juice and garlic instead of the sweet and salty version. Basmati rice and steamed broccoli and kale to accompany it, and a pear for afters.

My shakes are getting more interesting too – I’ve added chia seeds and maca powder (1 tsp each) as well as fruit, but I’m leaving out the ice and going for fresh fruit more now.

Day 7, 8 and 9 Towards the end result:

  • Alas aloe

I finished the 1st bottle of aloe vera juice and stared at the 2nd one, willing myself to open it but I just couldn’t do it. I hate it so much – even holding my nose isn’t helping. So I made the bold decision to really relish the last 3 days of C9 without the torture bit.

  • Easy eating

I’m finding now that the low cal veg-filled meals and fruity shakes are quite tasty and that I don’t even miss the bread and biscuits I used to turn to. I feel a lot less bloated without the bread, even though I’ve been mostly on gluten free for a while now. I also haven’t missed chocolate or sweet things so hopefully I’ll keep this up. I’ve discovered lightest mayo – at 1/11th of the calories of normal mayo – and brushing a light oil over sweet potato wedges and roasting them, means you can have the semblance of chips without the high calorie intake.

On the last night of C9, my hubby took me out for a meal – again there was plenty of choice for dieters and I chose a veggie filo parcel on a bed of ratatouille with a side salad.

The end and beyond

  • Where did my menopause go?

Strangely enough I haven’t had many of my menopausal symptoms. The hot flushes have been a lot less and my mood is improving too. My skin is glowing – several people have asked if I’ve been on holiday – and my face is noticeably thinner. The disturbed sleep is gone and I’m sleeping pretty well again. Because of the supplements on C9 I didn’t take the supplements I was taking before, including oil of evening primrose for the menopause, I’ll start that again but I feel amazing even without them.

  • Some new fave foods

Now I don’t have to stick so rigidly to the calories, I’ve been playing around with the shakes. Apricot (4 ripe ones) and a banana, with a teaspoon of maca gives you a really filling and tasty shake for about 350 calories which will keep you going for hours. I’ve really got into having kale instead of other leaves in my salads – I’m allowed anchovies now too which I find delicious.

  • And finally my weigh in…..

I have made huge progress towards my health and fitness goals! I look and feel so much better and I know this is going to be start of a much healthier happier me. Overall, this has made such a difference to me and I’m determined to keep on losing more weight and eating healthily. I’ve ordered more of the Forever Lite shake powder as I enjoyed it so much – I love adding different fruits to it to make a really healthy and tasty shake.