Clean Eating Detox And Withdrawals

Is clean eating detox and withdrawals a thing? You betcha! And if you’re new to clean eating, it’s best to be aware.

I’d like to use this blog post to talk to those of you who haven’t yet gotten started with clean eating, but are definitely moving in that direction. Or even those of you who are trying to get back into clean eating. There are a few things you should expect if you plan on diving into this head first.

Clean Eating And Detox Withdrawals

While I personally tapered off the junk and eased myself into clean eating in the beginning, there is no shortage of times where I fell off the wagon and threw myself back in cold turkey just to get back on track. It’s happened more times than I can count and it’s not a fun process.

I noticed this a LOT when I did the No Sugar Challenge. It was the most uncomfortable part of getting [back] into clean eating. It was a  feeling my body (some of which was in my head – old habits die hard) like I was missing something and I was desperate to get it. I also had headaches and was very cranky.

It’s detox, and it’s not comfortable. It makes you want to run to the nearest bag of chips or jug of ice cream like nothing else.

If you are throwing yourself headlong into clean eating, and your normal food intake had a significant amount of processed foods in it, then you need to also brace yourself for the first few days. They won’t necessarily be pleasant. Everyone is different, of course, but for many it’s not a great experience.

I find that the hardest part is the first 3-4 days, while others say it can go on for up to 2-3 weeks. It’s different for everyone in its duration and if you can prepare yourself mentally, it’s your biggest hurdle.

I kind of look at it as if I were starting a new crash diet (lets face it, we’ve all been on one at some point in our lives). You know how you get really amped up and excited and you dive right in and starve yourself for about 2 weeks before falling off the diet? If you can get into that same mindset and just get through the first 3-4 days, it will be much easier after that. Your body will relax a bit and even though you will probably still crave stuff, it won’t be as hard to ignore. One incredibly helpful approach is to avoid ALL added sugars. Even clean ones for these first few days. A couple pieces of fruit is fine, but read every ingredient list and avoid any type of sugar.

After you get through those few days, the release is amazing. You really don’t crave much of anything. And if you do, it’s a mental craving rather than a physical one. At least that’s been my experience.

Also, be sure you are eating enough during this period. I forget about calories and portions during these first few days (unless you shouldn’t if have medical instructions to do otherwise). I just focus on getting the junk out of my eating plan. Once I get through the withdrawals, then I can focus on calories and portions. But the main thing is to not let myself get hungry.

Lastly, I drink plenty of water to help with flushing out toxins.

It’s definitely a yucky process, and if you’ve been through it, you know exactly what I mean. Processed foods are not addictive by accident. They are manufactured that way. They are created to make you want more. There is a lot of science that goes into creating fake foods and being addictive is high up on the priority list simply because it ensures corporate profits. Removing these fake foods from your eating plan is no small undertaking. So don’t diminish what you are going through if you experience it. And if any medical issue arises during this period, please do seek medical help.

Clean Eating Detox And Withdrawals

Here are just some of the issues my readers have experienced and shared with me.

  • Fatigue/tired/exhausted/lethargy
  • Frequent and/or different bowel movements
  • Passing gas
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Cravings
  • Chills
  • Acne
  • Anxiousness
  • General crankiness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. So at the moment I’m giving up caffeine and sugar (excluding fruit) AND wheat.cold-turkey straight after the sugar fest that is Christmas. I’m at on day 5 and feel absolutely dreadful: so drained I can barely crawl out of bed before 10, a persistent headache for the last 5 days, my back aches, my neck aches, I’m cranky as hell. I’m lucky I’m on holiday so don’t have to do anything constructive because I have literally no energy to do anything – All I want to do is sleep. Cant wait for this to be over so I can get my life back. i did 2 months vegan (from die hard carnivore) last year and have given up caffeine before and felt fine so I’m assuming a majority of what I’m experiencing must be down to sugar. No way am I ever putting that back in my body if it can do this to me and floor me for an entire week.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tash – Yes!! It can be a really tough process. But hang in there, this too shall pass! Just remember what a good thing you are doing for yourself.

  2. Cathy Hugenberg says:

    Do you think there is such a thing as reverse detox symotoms? I have been eating clean all year and Thanksgiving was out of my control and I had stomach like flu symptoms for 2 days. Nobody esse was sick or got sick.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cathy – Totally possible!! If your body has adjusted to healthier foods and then you fill your tummy with not-so-healthy foods, ya. Your body will definitely react!

  3. Dolores Olivier says:

    I started Dr. Gundry’s lectin-free diet and I am so tired each day but I also stopped coffee and replaced with white or green tea.

    When will my body adjust to the changes and have more energy?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Dolores – Everybody is different. For some, it’s a couple of days, for other’s a couple of weeks. It really just depends.

  4. melissa dimarzo says:

    Just started eating clean, and for a while now nothing was “off limits” I ate anything and everything! I am a mom of 6 and was looking & feeling awesome after baby number 4!! Now, at age 42 my youngest is 4 and I am back to work full time. It is not easy to balance it all but I am determined! I honestly have 100 lbs to loose!! Due to medication & horrible food choices & lack of exercise! 🙁
    I am so miserable like this. Today is only day 2 of portion control & clean eating BTW my husband runs a gym & we are both personal trainers with nutrition education (so sad) lol I am now working back as a healthcare professional and I love what I do but can hardly climb a flight of stairs without feeling so winded! I hope I can accomplish my goals, and get through this “sick” withdrawal stage
    thanks, Melissa D.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Melissa – You can do it!! Just remember not to be TOO strict. Following the “rules” is always a great guide, but if you are too strict, you’ll never make it long term. I like to focus more on being kind to myself, as well as taking care of myself. It avoids the whole diet mentality that makes everything feel like one big punishment for gaining weight. You got this!

  5. Hello
    So thankful to see this blog. I am on Day 8 of 21 day kidney and liver detox. All bad stuff has been eliminated out of my diet.. sugar, dairy, meats, fish, carbs , caffeine….etc…and have not cheated…feeling proud….my biggest challenge has been not having my morning cappuccino…..finally started on green tea now ….. Felt terrible for the first 3-4 days….then awesome and energized….now back down feeling cranky and all other symptoms mentioned. Quick personal question: I am assuming it is normal and good to have green stools????
    Please confirm if possible…..hoping to be arriving to a new level of health After this. Praying more people learn of this and stop poisoning themselves with fake food. I know this will be worth it in the end but still waiting for my sustained new energized body…ups and downs of this is rough……emotionally and physically…..hard to find time to make meals at home as I am/was a restaurant person…..miss my food but realize now what I was eating before was not actually food….

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kathleen – I’m afraid I can’t confirm that sort of thing. Your best bet is to talk to your doctor. I’m not a medical professional. Good for you for detoxing though! It’s quite the process….

  6. This Is great information! I just started a 3-day detox cleanse yesterday, where I am only consuming fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I have all of the symptoms listed above; detox is no joke!!! Nausea, insomnia, and exhaustion have been the hardest part so far. Now that I know I am not dying, lol, I will push through this detox and start my total clean eating on Saturday.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Chiquita – If you really feel there’s an issue, you should definitely contact a doctor. But yes, detox can be intense. Best of luck!