Diary of a KX Detoxer | Kathleen Baird-Murray | Part Two
Day Four: Monday
Lunch in the office consisted of butternut and sweet potato soup – spicy and filling, with an enormous plate of vegetable stir fry served with cashews. I am seriously doubtful I’m going to lose any weight at all on this – it seems enormous! Gulped down two new juices – one consisting of beetroot and green vegetables, the other a berry-based smoothie, which made a welcome change from the green juice. These are the maintenance shakes, which have frozen blackcurrants as one of the key ingredients, (rich in a host of phytonutrients which as well as being integral to the detox process, help protect cardiovascular health and are a powerful antioxidant – Aidan Goggins, the pharmacist, tells me in a follow-up email. Aidan works with Glen Matten the nutritionist, Gideon Remfry the health and fitness manager and Alessandro Verdenelli the chef at KX – it really is a joint effort.
I managed to stave off any mid-afternoon trips to the vending machine (actually, it’s a pretty healthy vending machine, it has olives and nuts, coconut juice and salty popcorn in addition to the usual KitKat offerings) with mugs of herbal tea.
Supper was strips of tofu with a raw courgette and carrot salad. Tofu has been something of a discovery on this diet. As I’ve said before, I used to really dislike it. The only place I could eat it was at E&O where it’s crisp, lots of chilli, just delicious. Alessandro uses smoked tofu, and chargrills it, (I’ve been warming it up with a little olive oil in a pan, not sure if I was meant to do that, but wanted something hot). It was absolutely amazing, and I’m definitely going to have this by the box-load ready in the fridge for when I need something that feels like a meat-substitute. (The dreaded Quorn sausages can step down. Job over). Another discovery – wild rice – it’s filling, and I’ve noticed it takes a long time to chew (good for digestion).
Day Five: Tuesday
Lunch today was a green salad with broccoli, which looked a little dull, until I put it on the plate, added the dressing, and tasted it – incredible. Equally, a tomato stuffed with quinoa, which came with a coconut cream dressing and another dressing that tasted a little like pesto, was amazing.
These small details brought both dishes to life – it’s made me realise how important both presentation and those finer details are. I have no idea how I’ll continue this level of attention to detail in “real life” – I guess you have to be organised, cook dressings in advance, keep them in the fridge. And maybe some little pansy flowers too – Alessandro likes to make the dish look pretty with a flower garnish. After instagramming this, someone commented about how she uses an “arsenal of grated ginger, a minced garlic clove and chilli flakes on top” – I might try that. My go-to dressing of olive oil and lemon juice is clearly going to have to step-up.
Supper was cauliflower soup and poached egg with chargrilled veg – I especially loved the green peppers, which were soft, hot, but not burning the roof of my mouth off. The evening was a challenge – I had some friends round for dinner so had cooked for them, including a chocolate cake for pudding. Luckily, I find the act of cooking sometimes takes away my appetite for whatever I’ve just cooked, but not licking the chocolate cake mix bowl felt really unnatural – I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember. Eating something different to my friends goes against the grain of every social code. I think if I’d just been on a diet they would have found it odd, but being able to say I was writing about it for the FT seemed to make sense to them.
Socially, it is difficult not eating what everyone else is eating, and saying “no” to food that’s being passed around. You have to do a lot of explaining. What has definitely made things easier is doing this while my family is away. Also, while it’s aroused a great deal of curiosity among colleagues in the offices at Net-A-Porter, it’s also provoked a lot of helpful discussion, particularly among those of us in our 40’s. Everyone’s been intrigued by the combinations of food, about how it works, and what the best ways are to lose weight while staying healthy, and fit. It’s busted a few myths and provoked a good deal of openness – no bad thing.
Day 6: Wednesday
Nearly there! Just as I was thinking how easy this detox was, I was hit by a whole host of minor symptoms – headache, fatigue, heartburn, gut complaints, somewhere between lunch (a delicious pineapple carpaccio and courgette gnocchi – which wasn’t gnocchi at all but instead was little button-mushroom shaped courgette pieces) and supper. I feel recovered now, and tonight’s hummus and plate of smoked tofu and wild rice was one of the best meals yet.
The day started well enough – Gideon has been gently nudging me all week to get down to the gym and do some “gentle exercise”. Usually when people say “gentle exercise” they mean anything but, but he has devised a special routine that works well with the detox – you do 10 minutes on the exercise bike at a very low level, then 10 minutes in the sauna (still wearing your gym kit – weird) and then repeat the process three times.
Of course, I arrive late, so mine’s reduced to 20 minutes, but I reckon even if you did the whole 60, at the pace they set the bike to, it’s really no sweat (sorry).
Gideon emails me pretty much every day to ask how I’m getting on – when I tell him about the symptoms I’ve experienced he immediately contacts Aidan and Glen, the KX Nutritional Medicine team, who say they think it might be linked to the supplement that goes with the diet – N-acetyl cysteine – which you take from day 4 onwards. Apparently if you’re prone to bowel disorders (i.e., irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis etc.), which I am, there is a small chance you can react to it, if you don’t take it with food. It’s an amino acid derivative that is used to build up the liver detoxifying enzymes. I took them with the juices, so perhaps that has something to do with it.
Day 7: Thursday
Usually the final “weigh and measure” comes the day after you’ve finished, mine was brought forward to day 7 – in the morning – because of my schedule, and I’m pleased to say I passed with flying colours, 2 kilos down of actual fat loss (as opposed to muscle or water loss).
Lots of follow up information and advice with an emphasis on kale, blackcurrants, lovage, matcha green tea, and prebiotics, as well as a detailed menu, which I’ll use as a guide for the following week, (although I have a weekend in France ahead of me, which usually involves copious amounts of pastries, bread, cheese, wine – your basic dietary nightmare.)_
Gideon goes through the results with me and follows up with an email – the statistics break down into a loss of 3.1kg in 6 days, with 2.7kg of that being actual body fat. He encourages me to think of this as a re-boot for my system. Next week it’s back to finding my way round healthy options in Westfield, where my offices are. I’ve been utterly spoilt by the little black bag arriving every day and am slightly nervous about being able to maintain it, but for starters sugar, white carbs and dairy will go (for the first week only, dairy can be re-introduced thereafter); I’ll halve my portion sizes, and cut out the snacks. Oh, and eat kale whenever I can.
Kathleen Baird-Murray is the beauty director at Porter magazine, published by Net-A-Porter. She reviewed the KX 7 Day Detox for her column for the Financial Times Life & Arts section