When I first met Gabrielle Francis, ND, it felt like my health was beyond my control. I was a graduate student at Columbia with no room in my schedule for self-care. I was also stressed AF basically all the time.
I joke about my "near-aneurysm" baseline back then, but in all seriousness, my unsustainable lifestyle was causing my health to deteriorate. During my 20s, I dealt with adrenal dysfunction, inflammation that left me visibly puffy, hormonal fluctuations up the wazoo, low thyroid function, as well as anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia.
It all changed when I met Francis. Along with her wisdom, guidance, endless patience, and gentle encouragement, I began to start making sustainable changes in my life. The very first was committing to drinking a detox shake each morning as part of my holistic treatment plan. Throughout the ups and downs of grad school—falling off the wellness wagon and then getting back on—my adherence to Francis's detox shake regimen was constant.
There were other changes, too—like taking naturally compounded phyto-T3/T4, following an anti-inflammatory diet, regular acupuncture appointments, and more—but for a long time, that detox shake was what kept my commitment to my wellness an everyday decision.
Until I moved to California, that is.
Since the precious ingredients need to stay refrigerated, calling, ordering, and shipping the ingredients became a costly struggle I soon lost interest in. Then, Francis's book, The Rockstar Remedy ($22)—aka the detox shake bible—came out. If this wasn't somehow a sign from the universe to get back on my doctor-prescribed breakfast plan, then I don't know what is. I reordered the health-loving bundle faster than you could say superfood.
You might know that naturopathic medicine treats food as medicine and considers gut health to be of utmost importance. Why? It is the root of bodily inflammation, the underlying cause of many diseases and illnesses, including mine.
For an objective opinion, know that my boyfriend—who is not obsessed with wellness like I am—loves when I make him his own shake; not because of how it tastes, but because of how it makes him feel.
Now that I'm back on my regimen, each day I blend up:
GI Revive Supplement ($77)
Organic almond milk or water
An adaptogen by Sun Potion or a beautifying blend, like The WelleCo's Super Elixir ($80), optional
Here are a few of the things I noticed right away and some of the long-term benefits I remember well:
Sustained energy: Most mornings, I wouldn't eat breakfast otherwise, so I always notice an immediate boost and sustained energy throughout the day.
Improved concentration and focus: It keeps me—the ADHD queen—alert, attuned, and writing all day long.
Digestive regularity: I am talking about BMs.
Settled stomach: My boyfriend frequently suffers from painful and upset stomachs, but this leaves him feeling nourished, calm, and pain-free.
Feeling full: This is designed to be a meal replacement, so you will stay full for a while. I usually can't finish mine.
A sense of accomplishment: Beginning my day with ultra-healthy food medicine is like checking off an important goal first thing in the morning.
Thick, shiny hair and strong nails: This was a noticeable perk over the long-term.
Improved skin: Improving your intestinal lining and preventing toxins from entering your blood can prevent breakouts, as they will otherwise purge through your skin. (So don't scrimp on the GI Revive Complex!)
Reduced stress: It is really nice not to have to worry about meal-planning for mornings or grocery shopping for breakfast foods. (Hence I usually skip.)
Empowerment: Making medicinal shakes provided me with proactive involvement in my treatment plan (versus eliminating the foods I once loved) and a sense of ownership in my wellness.
These shakes are my medicine, but most importantly, they help me feel in control of my wellness. For so long, I was told that the most important thing I could do for my health was to eliminate gluten, dairy, inflammatory ingredients—and anyone who has dieted knows giving up foods is insanely hard to do.
Dietary slip-ups are so normal on this path, so having something I could actually succeed at made an incredible difference. For years, I felt like a failure—one who would end up diabetic, at that. But by helping me incorporate a detoxifying wellness shake into my life, Francis provided me with something concrete and proactive that let me choose to put my health first every morning. After feeling helpless for years, the sense of mastery over my health problems is what encouraged me the most to continue with my treatment plan.
Since then, my life has transformed and it has become easy to prioritize my health and wellness. I live in Los Angeles, which is arguably the wellness mecca of the Western world. I can walk to yoga from home and order clean food for delivery just as easily as I can hit up local restaurants with kombucha on tap. My stress level is totally manageable—my ultimate claim to fame was getting called "the most chill girl ever"—and I haven't had insomnia in years. Plus, I write for a living, which is my favorite thing ever.
I am holistically happier and healthier than I have ever been, ever since Francis showed me the way. Gentle encouragement, baby steps, and patiently guiding me back onto my pro-health track is what taught me how to be my own advocate moving forward. I've learned that wellness isn't about mastering the perfect lifestyle and diet 24/7. Instead, it has been about learning the ways to get myself back onto the wellness wagon, which I still fall off of sometimes. For me, the lifestyle really does start with a morning detox shake, which inspires me to keep making pro-health choices from the very start of my day.