Confession: My name is Courtney and I am an addict. A ravenous, binge-eating, steal-the-kids’-party-bags sugar addict. One Tim Tam as a treat? Not me. I’m an all or nothing girl. Give me a whole packet or give me nothing.


Add this sugar addiction to some long-term immunity issues and poor gut health, and you have a recipe for nutritional disaster. I eat clean, train hard, but the sugar monster brings me undone. So I tried Dr Elen’s FF (Fermented Food) Detox from The Medical Sanctuary to improve my gut integrity and kick the habit. I wasn’t trying to ‘lose a dress size by Saturday’ or actually drop any weight at all. The detox for me was about restoring health and kick-starting my tastebuds.


What’s involved? Just one teaspoon of Wise Nutrients Fermented Super Food Powder and 50mls of Gut Restore Fermented Lemon Drink morning and night. Plus lots of water and herbal tea (and by special request, one long black per day – coffee is my drug).


No food for 10 days? No problem. The bigger concern for me was giving up training for 10 days (the caloric intake of the FFDetox is too low for the hour-long weight training I do). But with the option of adding Clean Energy Fermented Rice Protein for extra energy, I was confident I’d smash the 10 day challenge I set myself. Dr Elen ApThomas was more realistic, telling me not to be disheartened if I didn’t make it the full 10 days. Five days are better than three, and three days are better than none, she said. But I’m an overachiever – 10 days was my goal and I was ready.


Day 1

Excited. Energised. Ready to rock the next ten days with my warrior face on. Two hours at the beach this morning (sans kids!) to plan my week, drink my one long black slowly, stre-e-e-tch and whaddya know, I even go for a swim. Which I never, ever do. But if training is off the agenda for 10 days, I need some physical activity or I’ll go nuts. Perfect start to the day. Bring it on!


[That night] Making the kids’ school lunches. I lick a bit of Vegemite off my finger and experience a wave of hunger. I could just about eat my hand. It takes masses of willpower to sweep their dinner leftovers into the bin without a sneaky taste. But I do it. Then have a looooong bath. Because, let’s face it. What else am I going to do? Watching TV invites eating. Being anywhere near the kitchen invites eating. And so it’s bath, book, peppermint tea for me.


Day 2

I’m hot. Hotter than hot. And not in a “so hot right now” kinda way. My body is operating at a higher temperature than normal. Apparently it’s my body detoxing and becoming more acidic. Buckets of iced water with lemon are the order of the day.


The monkey mind goes bananas today. “Gotta eat, wanna eat, gotta eat, wanna eat.” The little voice in the back of my head is constantly on the food path.


Massive headache. Feeling pretty cruddy. But is it caffeine withdrawal? PMS? (I know, right? What sane woman detoxes the week before a massive deadline, and right on cue for PMS?). I break and eat a salad. That bowl of greenery tastes like the best meal ever. I force myself to eat slowly, scared that by eating something – anything – I’ll unleash the beast and attack my fridge like a toddler in the lolly aisle. Stomach sated, mood calmed, I drink yet more peppermint tea and head to bed.


Day 3

I’m going nuts. No training for two days and my legs feel flabby, I am worried I’m losing muscle tone. So it’s an early morning beach jaunt with the kids where I can stretch, swim and feel my muscles working. With another long black. Ok, mind is reset, resolve is strong, let’s start the day right . . .


I can’t help myself. I head to hot yoga to feel the stretch and the release of getting my sweat on. And it’s Ah-MAY-Zing! I feel stronger, lighter, bendier, more powerful. My Warrior 2 is an exercise in focus and energy. My twists are deeper, my breathing more regulated. That monkey mind is banished back to the jungle and I feel released. Excited for tomorrow – Day 4 – when I should start the upward swing of feeling great, enhanced mental clarity and productivity.


Day 4

This fermented drink is so good I could drink it all the time. Perhaps with vodka. Which may defeat the purpose of the drink, but hey, maybe it’s a new health trend? Detox while you retox?


Day 5

Early morning meeting at crazy-o’clock. Crushing deadlines. Three hours commuting. Stress levels escalating. Emotional eating makes a vicious return. All I can think about is donuts. And I don’t eat donuts. I am shocked at how my emotions affect my appetite – I’m voraciously hungry and just want refined carbs and sugar. Hold tight!


[That night] I break. Made it through the whole day and then unleashed the beast. Bread. Dairy. Chocolate. And my tastebuds are zinging. Forcibly remove myself from the kitchen before I attack the fridge. Now that I’ve started, will I be able to stop?


Day 6

Bloated. Sore. Blah. Was last night’s binge worth today’s nausea and lethargy? Not even close. After five days of feeling clear and clean, this is a crushing reminder of what these foods do to my emotions and energy – a constant low-level lethargy. Amazed at how your body tells you what it needs – and doesn’t! – when you listen closely.



I don’t make it to the full ten days. I concede defeat and reintroduce clean and green foods at Day 7 using the guide provided, but keep eating light and maintaining the fermented powder and Gut Restore drink. Much easier to sustain. And less risk of me actually eating my children.



Sugar monster is tamed, tastebuds are re-calibrated to appreciate the natural sweetness of fruit and vegies, caffeine habit culled to just one per day. While I didn’t make it through the full 10 days, I feel stronger, cleaner, and more in tune with my body. Winning.



Interested to find out more? Check out www.medsan.com.au or www.ffdetox.com.au.


Courtney Robinson

Courtney Robinson  

Courtney Robinson is a Gold Coast mum, passionate foodie, whole foods recipe creator and personal trainer certified in holistic digestive health and nutrition. Follow @athletist_ or visit athletist.com.au for recipes, workout tips and training hacks.