Ask A Health Coach: Why Am I So Grumpy During My Cleanse?

Q: Is it normal to be short-tempered during a cleanse? During the first few days, I feel grumpy, not energized. What am I doing wrong?

When most people undertake a cleanse, they expect to feel lighter, more energetic, and super-focused – and most of the time, that’s exactly what happens. But sometimes, they also can feel kind of irritable. Though most people associate food with physical nourishment, there’s also an emotional component to food and eating. When you address both, your cleanse becomes the perfect entry point into living a healthy life – body and mind.

When you do a cleanse, you spend one to four weeks eliminating toxins from your body and eating whole foods for your future healthy self. Let’s talk about what happens during that time, and how you can set yourself up for a grump-free cleanse.

Prepare for your cleanse:

  • Get in the right mindset! Write out a list of the reasons why you are doing this cleanse. This will help you to celebrate the benefits, instead of lament what you are giving up.
  • A week before you officially start your cleanse, gradually cut back on coffee, alcohol, sugar, and processed foods. Going “cold turkey” on any of these might make you grumpy. Begin experimenting with healthy alternatives if you need them – berries for dessert, zucchini noodles for pasta, coconut yogurt for dairy, or green tea instead of your afternoon coffee are all great swaps.

Do the cleanse right:

  • The Be Well Cleanse is about eating real, nourishing food and targeted nutrients to rejuvenate your detox organs. It isn’t about being hungry or starving yourself, which can make anyone grumpy! Be sure you are eating enough from the get-go. At breakfast, try a delicious morning shake with add-ins like coconut oil, spinach, and blueberries. At lunch and dinner, focus on healthy fats and quality proteins, along with lots of vegetables (especially leafy greens).
  • Stock your fridge so you are always ready to go. This can eliminate the stress of trying to figure out what to eat or making a grocery store run after work, when you’re tired.
  • When you feel hungry, have a snack. Try an additional shake or foods from our What to Eat list, like guacamole and carrots or half an apple with almond butter.
  • Listen to what your body needs – some people get a surge of energy during their cleanse, while others crave rest. Practice self-care with a gentle yoga class, your favorite cardio, a hike in nature, or an epsom salt bath at night.
  • Be sure to get your sleep, too: seven to nine hours is best.

You still might feel a little grumpy:

  • Your body is always detoxing; the cleanse just takes it one step further by eliminating certain foods and drinks that might overload your system. This allows your body to more effectively rid itself of metabolic toxins and those accumulated from environmental exposure and processed foods and beverages. While your body is adjusting to this, you might feel headachy, fatigued, moody, or even achy.
  • The good news? Those symptoms go away, usually within three to five days. Don’t let them distract you; be ready! Help the grumpy symptoms pass by drinking enough water every day, sleeping at least 7 hours each night, eating when you are hungry, getting fats and proteins with lots of vegetables at lunch and dinner, taking an epsom salt bath, and napping if you need to.


Manage your cleanse well, and your healthy reboot will help you to feel lighter, energized, and more vital than ever!

The Be Well Recipe: Mint Chocolate Freezer Fudge
The Be Well Recipe: Gut-Healing Ice Pops