I Couldn't Even Make It One Day On An "Ice Cream Cleanse"

This was not as fun as I thought it would be.
Publish date:
March 13, 2014
cleanses, failure, ice cream cleanse, coconut ice cream, don't be like me

Oh Los Angeles, you really are so you. Of course you would give unto us the Ice Cream Cleanse. Who else would? Who else could?

Kippy's ice cream cleanse consists of 20 pints of raw, organic, coconut-based frozen dessert for $240. (Though you also get free yoga classes next door.) That is $12 per pint. I don't know that any ice cream is worth that, especially ice cream that isn't even ice cream. I've had some expensive ice cream, but it was the full-fat, super rich and delicious kind. In an orange scented cone.

The premise of the cleanse is very simple -- you eat five pints of this "ice cream" per day for four days. Brent Rose did a great job researching and documenting his experience with the cleanse. He made it seem not that bad. Upon reading his account, I was like, "Uh, I could totally do this. I could do this with actual ice cream," and emailed Emily all like, "I got this Emily. I'm just going to eat nothing but ice cream for a few days, it will be great."

I knew that my ice cream cleanse wouldn't be representative of the Kippy's cleanse, but this was also the only chance I would have to only eat ice cream and blame it on "my craft."

Meanwhile, my husband told me in a very calm, reasonable voice that this wasn't a very good idea.


Since I don't live in Venice Beach, I was unable to obtain Kippy's dairy-free, raw, coconut-based "ice cream" used in the official ice cream cleanse. I just went to Publix and bought a wide variety of frozen things that came in pints. I bought gelato, frozen yogurt, Cherry Garcia, sorbet, and some So Delicious Coconut "ice cream." I love all of these things, so I was excited to start this experiment -- I knew would be much more fun than that juice cleanse I tried that one time.


But before we get to my experience, let's do the obligatory unpacking of why this is/was a bad idea.

First of all, there is no scientific reason to do this at all.

There's no study or science or anything to back up any claims made, but this is a fairly typical complaint when discussing cleanses.

The theory behind the cleanse seems like it could be plausible, if you squint your brain, but it just proves that you can make ANYTHING sound like it's good for you with the right buzzwords:

When you cleanse from eating Kippy's Ice Cream, you are feeding your body not only the raw saturated fat from the coconuts, but living nutrients from the fruit and Superfoods present in the ice cream. The raw honey used to sweeten Kippy's Ice Cream is a double whammy of amino acids and living enzymes, which aid digestion and reduce inflammation. Fat solubility will help your body more efficiently absorb the nutrients present in the ice cream. Your body, in the course of the cleanse will also release heavy metals, plastics and other toxins, and the raw saturated fat will function as a carrier to rid your body of them for good. The metabolically active properties present in the raw saturated fat (think coconut oil) will increase your metabolism and help you to actually burn fat.

Based on what? What plastics? What toxins? What mechanism is being utilized here? HOW does saturated fat function as a carrier? Does it really take this much saturated fat? By eating four pints of this stuff a day, you are consuming 180 grams of fat per day, 160 of which are saturated. Brent calculated that it comes out to 820% of your recommended daily value of saturated fat. That seems like overkill.

The doctor that Brent talked to had this to say:

While virgin, cold pressed coconut oil has a high level of saturated fat -- a characteristic that has made it a controversial food source -- numerous studies have found that high quality coconut products may contain health properties that far outweigh any health implications associated with a high saturated fat content. In fact, while other oils with a similar level of saturated fat (e.g., butter) are associated with heart disease and cholesterol issues, regular coconut consumption can improve the cholesterol ratio (decrease LDL, increase HDL). Evidence suggests that it actually may reduce risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis -- the precursor to heart disease.

OK. So coconut oil is good for you. Brent said the good doctor also added that it's possible to have "too much of a good thing" and that "balanced diets are important." So.

I'm sure I could science this for a few more hundred words, but we all get why this is a bad idea, right? I feel like we're on the same page here. Eating something that is basically sugar and fat, no matter where said sugar and fat are derived from, is probably not great for you.

I'm also not sure what the goal of this cleanse is. I guess it's the same as juice cleanses. Brent said he lost some weight but gained it all back. He did say he liked it better than juice cleansing though.

Another reason that this was a bad idea: I go insane if I put myself on any sort of restrictive diet. The moment I tell myself to abstain from anything, the thing I am trying to abstain from is the only thing I can think about. I get really grumpy and sad, like I'll never be happy again. This has happened with every single "diet" I've ever tried to do, which is why I try to focus on additive goals instead of subtractive goals. Eat more green things, drink more water, go to the gym more times, etc. As long as I'm adding instead of subtracting, I'm usually fine.

I thought that because we were talking about ice cream, my favorite dessert in the entire world, it would be fine. Who could be sad about eating ice cream?

ME. I CAN. And in a very dramatic fashion.

This is how I failed the ice cream cleanse:

Monday, 10 AM

I wake up late because I stayed up watching Cosmos and then the True Detective finale while drinking a total of seven Cosmo Cosmos. I usually eat only savory things for breakfast (can't do red velvet pancakes or anything like that in the morning) so the idea of eating ice cream actually seemed pretty terrible. I had a glass of water and opted for the lemon sorbet, the most hydrating option. My inner monologue went something like this: "Ugh, this is cloying. Why do you hate yourself? Who are you doing this for? Oh, god, my teeth feel weird. What will this do to my perfect teeth? I didn't think this through. I didn't think at all."

Sean: How's it going?

Claire: Fine. I'm fine. MMMMMMMMMM I LOVE ICE CREAM.

*Sean continues to type quietly, pretending the above interaction had not occurred.*

Monday, Noon

Feeling quite hungry, as I only managed to eat about five bites of sorbet, I lumber downstairs like a hypoglycemic bear and open the coffee chocolate chip gelato. "It's basically coffee. I love coffee. Damn it, I LOVE ICE CREAM. What have I become?" I think to myself.

I eat the gelato, trying to reach fullness, but fullness never comes. Instead, its cousin nausea comes calling and gets real comfortable.

"I just want a salad with some kalamata olives," I whimper.

Just then, Sean strolls in and VERY CASUALLY says, "I'm gonna go get a salad."

"That bearded traitor," I think, "Doesn't he know what I'm voluntarily making myself do for no real reason other than to maybe entertain a few people? Asshole."

I contemplate opening the mint chip So Delicious. I read something in the Hunger Games about the taste of mint making Katniss feel full. Instead I drink some water and stare at my computer screen for a few hours, clicking in between the same four tabs I always have open.

Monday 2:21 PM

I send out an email to the other xoEditors titled "ice cream cleanse oh my god I can't do this." Lesley, Tynan and Marci respond with words of encouragement and Marianne texts me "YOU CAN DO IT" accompanied by a row of ice cream emoji but it is for naught. The war is already lost. I am walking to the hippy grocery store near my house to get a salad.

There it is. My failure. My shame.

I don't know why this was so hard. I think it was a combination of physical and mental factors. Depriving myself is a terrible idea it would seem, even when I'm allowed to eat all of the ice cream I want. That, coupled with the fact that I knew that there was nothing even remotely healthy about what I was doing made it a nearly impossible task.

My body wanted a salad, damn it, and it seemed ridiculous to deprive it of one.