In the world of wellness, Gil Jacobs has developed a reputation for being particularly extreme—after all, this is the guy who’s been nicknamed “the godfather of colonics” because he’s water-flushed his intestinal tract over a thousand times. (Nope, not a typo!)
So I was admittedly a bit nervous to hear what his idea of a daily cleanse looked like. Turns out, his tips for eliminating toxins are surprisingly simple—raw food and green juice—and far less radical-sounding than some other system resets, like intermittent fasting or subsisting mostly on bananas (an idea that really, well, just sounds bananas).
“If you think that it tastes like death, don’t eat it.”
Salad, on the other hand, sounded like something I could manage when the colonic practitioner laid out his detox plan during a recent intimate gathering at New York City natural beauty destination CAP Beauty. While, yes, he himself doesn’t eat anything until 4 or 5 p.m., he’s quick to clarify that he doesn’t recommend everyone go to such extremes—it’s possible, he says, to effect big change in the body incrementally.
“The way you achieve health is to just do better than you were doing yesterday,” he says. “If you can implement [a cleanse] once a week, it will affect you in a fabulous way. If you can do it a few days in a row, it’s phenomenal.”
And most importantly, don’t put anything in your mouth that doesn’t please your palate. His advice? “If you think that it tastes like death, don’t eat it.”
Those are certainly words I can live by. Detoxing, according to Jacobs, is really a means of cutting the crap and getting in touch with your gut instincts.
Originally posted March 6, 2017. Updated May 7, 2017.
Scroll down to see the not-so-crazy cleanse he suggests doing once a week.
The cleanse guidelines
You won’t be chowing down on any animal protein or sipping turmeric tonics on this cleanse—not even your go-to acai bowl. In fact, Jacobs doesn’t really think food is what’s fueling your body at all, which is why his protocol is based on the idea of dry fasting—going as long as you can without consuming food or water. He truly believes your body can subsist on its own electrical energy and needs very minimal nutrition.
Prevailing wisdom (and your stomach) might beg to differ, but there is research to suggest that cutting back your caloric intake can have health benefits. “Insulin is secreted when food is consumed, while without food, there’s less insulin secretion,” says Lauren Slayton, MS, RD of Foodtrainers. “That means less fat is stored and more is burned. There are also those who feel clearheaded during fasts, so there are mental and physical benefits.” Studies also show calorie restriction can lead to a longer life span, adding credence to Jacobs’ emphatic belief that “the worst thing you can do is eat when your body doesn’t need it.”
When you wake up in the morning, Jacobs wants you to spend some time really getting in touch with your body—listen to it, and wait as long as you can before consuming anything. “If that’s 10 minutes, that’s fine.”
Even if all you hear is your stomach growling, bypass the fridge—same goes for the coffee maker. The first thing you should ingest is water, to which Jacobs recommends adding one teardrop of food-grade, 35-percent hydrogen peroxide for every two ounces you’re going to drink. “This kills everything dormant in your body—yeast, fungus, radiation residue,” he claims. (Research, however, shows hydrogen peroxide to be a catalyst for everything from cellular aging to inflammation to cancer growth—so maybe stick with straight H2O to be safe.)
Wait about 10–15 minutes once you finish your water, and then it’s time for a green veggie juice. Jacobs reaches for kale, spinach, and dandelion, calling them “the best three things for juicing.” He also likes beets, celery, apples, pears, fennel, and Jerusalem artichokes. “Make a quart of this juice and just nurse it for as long as you can.”
Or until you feel the need to make a beeline for the bathroom. “The second you feel lousy, that means the poison has shaken loose from the cells and wants out,” says Jacobs. “That’s what you want when you’re trying to cleanse: [to] get the matter that’s making you feel bad out of the body.”
A solid meal plan
Jacobs stresses that you should dry fast until you absolutely need to eat something when doing this cleanse. “The longer you go with nothing, the more your body will breathe out, pee out, and sweat out the toxicity” he insists.
When you hit a hunger wall, that’s when Jacobs recommends eating something solid. In general, he’s all about only chowing down on what Mama Earth has given us—namely, just raw fruits and vegetables.
“Make a big salad with avocados or beet and spaghetti squash. Steamed vegetables with some spices is fine also,” he suggests. “You want to keep it all raw.” (Studies have shown that eating this way lowers your cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease.) A fruit salad is another option, and a handful of raw nuts is okay if you need it.
“The better you’re feeling, the more you push the envelope.”
This will be your only solid food for the day. “The better you’re feeling, the more you push the envelope,” he says. “If you can skip the salad, stick with green juice and coconut water.” If you’re eating your greens in the afternoon, plan to only drinks liquids after that. And remember: Jacobs advises that you only consume solid food if you’re actually hungry.
Even if you don’t work your way up to this wellness guru’s level of dry fasting and raw eating, he does rave about the difference you’ll notice in your body after just incorporating this cleanse into your routine once a week. And of course: Remember to, ahem, poop.
For other detoxing protocols, here’s a five-day clean eating plan from Candice Kumai. And this is what it’s like inside one of the most extreme system resets on earth.