You know that old adage, "the couple that cleanses together, stays together"? All right, so maybe that's not an actual saying, but when you do decide to put your body through a physically, mentally, and potentially emotionally challenging period, wouldn't it be nice to have a partner by your side? Or maybe the process could really put a relationship to the test.
One Los Angeles–based couple, Angela Asistio and Jeff Cohn, recently put this theory to the test when the pair did the ProLon Diet together for five days. If you've watched The Goop Lab on Netflix, the diet might sound familiar to you. Gwyneth Paltrow tried it and documented her experience in one episode. It's a five-day program that includes plant-based meals (snacks, soups, etc.), and it is supposed to, according to the diet's website, "nourish your body and support healthy levels of metabolic markers, cellular rejuvenation, and healthy aging."
From moments of frustration to celebration, learn what the couple has to say about their experience.
Names: Angela Asistio, music supervisor, and Jeff Cohn, cinematographer
What is the ProLon Diet, and why did you want to try it?
AA: The ProLon diet bills itself as a "fasting mimicking cleanse." While on it, your body is tricked into thinking it's fasting for five days even though you are eating. During that time, your body goes into ketosis and then autophagy. I won't butcher the science, but in short, your body starts to feed on the damaged cells that are roaming around in your body, which is why I did it to begin with. If I can be preemptive about cancer or diabetes, then that in and of itself is a win. I was also starting to feel a little sluggish and bloated and figured this could help. My social and work life are both centered around going out, trying new restaurants, and cooking, so I thought it'd be nice to just have a little reset, especially coming into the New Year.
JC: ProLon is a five-day diet that's designed to give you the benefits of fasting while still eating three meals a day. I've never really been interested in a diet or cleanse before this, and I'm not sure I would have sought it out on my own had I not heard about it from my girlfriend, Angela, but I was really intrigued by the health claims. The clinical trial results were really persuasive.
L-Nutra The ProLon Diet ($249)
Why did you want to try it as a couple?
AA: I wanted to do it, and Jeff was down too!
JC: It just seemed like if we were going to do the ProLon diet, it would be a lot easier if we did it together. Staying in for a week and not having any of my favorite foods seemed like a major challenge. There's so much incredible food in L.A. that the idea of depriving yourself all that for five days of powdered soups and kale crackers was intimidating. But I also liked the challenge and was curious if we could do it.
Have you done anything like this before, and if so, what were the results?
AA: I tried a three-day juice cleanse once in 2015. To be honest, I can't really remember what the results were. What I do know now looking back is that there was probably way too much sugar in that cleanse.
JC: No, never.
What happened during the process? What parts of it did you hate or love?
AA: For five days, I ate a prescribed diet of whatever was in the ProLon box for that given day. The box consisted of a rotation of soups, bars, teas, and snacks. Generally, while there were some hard moments, I thought it really wasn't that bad. The food tasted fine (some even good!), and the convenience of having your meals laid out was nice. I did feel a little weak and low-energy at the office, but it was pretty manageable. I thought I was going to get hangry and super irritable, but there weren't too many extreme moments. That said, the hardest days were probably the second day and the last day. On the first day, you eat the most calories to transition your body into cleanse mode, and the second day, the amount of food drops and that was the biggest shift for me. On the fifth day, I really started to get bored of the food and was missing the taste and texture of food outside of the ProLon box.
JC: Pretty much every day of the diet starts with an L-bar, which is ProLon's version of honey-nut bar that was actually really surprisingly good. Lunch consists of some variety of rehydrated soup along with a pack of olives or kale crackers. Then dinner is another soup and maybe another bar or snack. I think the hardest part for me was actually cutting back on caffeine every morning. Rehydrated soups aren't the most exciting thing to eat every day, but the flavors were usually good, sometimes great. Big fan of the tomato soup, no joke. Also I was lucky to be really busy the week of the cleanse, so time passed quickly, and I didn't find myself thinking about food that much until day five.
Were there moments during the cleanse that you felt relieved or frustrated that you were doing it with your partner?
AA: Never frustrated, always relieved. It's nice to have a support system in place, especially when burritos and BLTs were top of mind. I kept my social calendar completely empty to resist temptation—and also just because I wasn't the most energetic—so it was nice to have someone to hang with that could relate.
JC: This cleanse would have been far more difficult on my own. Having someone to commiserate with, to give and receive encouragement from, is everything. Around day three or four, the repetitive nature of the diet gets a bit maddening, but having someone to suffer through it with makes it easier for sure.
How did you feel afterward? What kind of changes did you notice?
AA: Overall, I felt great. I found myself snacking less throughout the day because my meals kept me full. I usually feel a 4 p.m. crash and/or hunger pangs during the day, but I haven't felt that at all. I've also felt less bloated. Finally, I really wasn't expecting this to happen, but I previously had some subtle yet ever-present acne on my cheeks, and it disappeared!
JC: I lost a few pounds and felt a bit leaner, but the main thing I noticed was that my energy levels were noticeably up throughout the day. Another takeaway for me was realizing how much food I'm accustomed to eating just because it's there. ProLon showed me how little food I actually need each day, so taking that knowledge into my daily life has helped me resist snacking and eating to excess in general.
Do you have any advice for anyone (or any couple) who's thinking of trying it?
AA: If you can swing it, definitely do it with a partner or friend. Not only can you commiserate together, but it also keeps you both accountable.
JC: Check out the ProLon site. Read the article in Science Translational Medicine about the clinical trials. If you're like me and there is a history of diabetes or other chronic diseases in your family, think about the risk versus reward. The health claims are major, so do your own research and decide for yourself.
AA: I did find a coupon online, but the ProLon diet is pricey. They do provide a customer assistance program, but even then, the diet would still be $199. That said, overall, I'm glad I tried it. The gastrointestinal issues I had subsided, it was a good exercise in self-control, and five days is really not that long of a commitment to try out something new.
Editor's note: Before you decide to go on any diet, it's best to check with your doctor a healthcare professional first.
This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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