Review: Whole Detox by Dr. Deanna Minich



Whole Detox is a twenty-one-day detox program developed by Dr. Deanna Minich. She has a very sound, hard nutritional science background, but also found that, when working with her patients in a traditional medical way, she was drawn to working with the whole person, rather than just their lack of nutritional health. This program, then, addresses toxicity on a physiological, mental and emotional level. The most enjoyable, newly introduced aspect, for me, was working with color in this system. It was so interesting to watch the way my visual perception of my food and surroundings became so enhanced. I will address the components of the program in a minute.

I would like to reiterate something that Deanna has made very clear: this is not a weight loss diet plan. This is a plan that pulls out most of the major known dietary items that many people have found to cause allergies and inflammation in their bodies and, in doing so, allows the organs of the body a chance to rest and restore themselves to a quiet state of functioning, free from the dietary stressors that can overtax them and create a cycle of toxicity.

This is a very important point to emphasize in order to help prevent a bad bounce that many people can experience after “dieting.” Bounces generally lead to more weight gain than before and can get you right back into another toxic situation because your focus has been too narrow.

I just thought I would put down some reflections about the first time through this program for anyone who might be interested in doing it.



My overall experience is extremely positive! As my friend, Leah, remarked after her first time through, it is the first detox I have ever done that I wasn’t clamoring for it to end. (Or just plain quit it after a few days.) In fact, as I sit here on the last day I do admit to a strange twinge of the “what next?’s” as my life has been so focused and guided for the past twenty-one days and I just want to keep going! Now, it’s up to me to put into practice all that I have discovered.

There are several components of each level (3 days) of the program:

  1. the diet,
  2. finding our limiting thought around the theme for the three days,
  3. working with an affirmation and visualization to begin to explore another way of thinking and feeling,
  4. a short meditation period of reflection,
  5. journaling,
  6. and a movement to try to incorporate a couple of times into your day.
  7. There is an online PDF workbook that provides the questionnaires and logs you will also be working with.

Does that sound like a lot? It might be for you, but this program is a very compassionate in its approach. Deanna states up front that you need to do what works for you.

I took her up on her suggestion and found that some of these things worked better for me on a daily basis, and some just didn’t. If I had done this during a vacation period I would have had more opportunity to participate in most of it, but, as it was, I did this while working full time. One of the weeks was my 4-10’s week, meaning I worked from 6AM – 5PM every day, Monday through Thursday. That week was a bit of a struggle, but, again, I did the things I felt were very important to do and let the rest fall away without guilt.


Now, onto a short review of the components:


The easiest thing for me to follow was the diet. There are two dietary paths offered, with separate recipes for each. One is for omnivores, the other for vegans. There is no vegetarian path as dairy and eggs are not included here.

This program is extremely varied in its recipes and its daily caloric intake, so it made it very easy to get through the days. Nothing extreme here, everything is balanced and I felt only minor twinges of hunger here and there. I wasn’t crazy having to shop every three days, but, again, Deanna has simplified this process by providing in-depth shopping lists. It got easier by the fourth level’s shopping as I began to have several items already so only needed a few things. Also, since 85% of the diet is fruit and vegetable-based storing everything in my refrigerator was a little challenging. So, shopping every three days was a good idea.

Ninety-nine percent of the recipes were *superb!* I mean, really top quality. There were only a couple of them that left me scratching my head, and the heavy use of raw garlic and shallots at level three was a bit overpowering.  And…..berry sauce on fish. Now that was just too foodie for me. But, really….first class recipes that I will definitely be revisiting prior to my next detox.

I did find that it was a LOT of work for me. Mostly, again, because I was working full-time so lunches and some prep for the next day had to be made the night before. However, I will be curious to find how I will manage on my own without the regime of following something so strictly. I anticipate that it will flow a little better now that I have found a groove I am comfortable with.

Here is a list of the things that you will not be consuming on this detox:

Caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners, gluten-containing grains (inc.wheat, barley, spelt, and non-gluten free oats,) eggs, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, processed carbs, processed meats, shellfish, alcohol.

If you are interested in doing this detox gently begin to release a portion of any of those items from your daily diet before you begin. How much prior to doing this is up to you. You will cleanse deeply and it will be easier the cleaner your body is at the start, making it more likely that you will stick with the program. I was already 80-100% free from those items at the start of my detox. Caffeine was the biggest release for me and I had a low-grade, but a perceptible headache for the first week.

Here is a big caveat: if you are not someone familiar with consuming items like quinoa, amaranth, almond and coconut milks, seaweed, nut butters and things along this line, I would not recommend this path for you until you have tried those types of items and actually know that you will welcome eating them.

A quick note about medications and supplements: Deanna suggests that you continue to take all your meds while on this detox, however, she offers the option of stopping or continuing with the supplements you have been taking prior. She does encourage you to NOT begin adding supplements that you haven’t been taking. I continued taking my probiotics, potassium, magnesium and Omega-3’s, although, the thorough balancing of the foods in this program probably made them unnecessary. I did refrain from taking any pain medication for my headache as those meds do stress the liver and it seemed counterproductive!


Additional components:

I really loved exploring my limiting thoughts and trying to find the affirmation to counter them. This was definitely easier on some levels than others. I had a number of “ah-ha!” moments along the way and that was worth the price of admission.

The meditations were always good to do. I found that doing them in the morning was best for me, right after I got out of bed and before I did my formal meditation periods. She gives a three minute time and that was just right. Sometimes I continued on with what came up in my normal meditation period. I tried to blog every day but ended up just keeping notations on my iPhone as they arose during the day. I will try to go back to the blogging and finish it with my notes later. That was what I considered journaling as it was more spontaneous.

As I mentioned, adding the color component to the diet and just as a daily reflection was really inspiring. I began to see whatever color I was working with everywhere! Colors became much more vibrant to my perception. Fun!

The movement component and filling in the daily emotion log were the least utilized. I just found doing my own gentle yoga stretches were best. The daily emotion log quickly got subsumed by my mind. I found my mind trying to “create” emotions because it was aware that I had this checklist to fill out at the end of the day and it wanted the check marks to all be looking a certain way! Nope. I just set that aside as it became a forced exercise and completely outside the purpose of the whole detox!


My least favorite thing:

My least favorite part of the detox was the monetary outlay. It was expensive even though I had a number of things on hand initially. Additionally, I chose the omnivore path and bought everything organic, free range, no hormones or antibiotics, or wild caught. Ninety percent of all my produce was organic, as was my protein powder. That right there was a huge boost in the budget. It was worth it to me but you could always go with the standard items for a lot less. Next time I may do some days omnivore and others on the vegan track but worry that I would have too many food items left over that would spoil. However, since both tracks are always offered it’s completely up to you how you structure your meals.

My total for all three weeks was: $730. (Did I just hear you catch your breath?? 🙂 )

This is spendy but there are definitely a couple of things to consider: first, although I don’t go out to eat I certainly have been known to buy at least one or two coffee drinks a day, spending roughly $30-$50 a week on that alone! If I did take out or went out to eat at a restaurant every now and then, that’s even more money. I know that most people probably tend to spend more than that a week in the take out.

Second, I had very little produce left at the end of the detox due to two very important reasons: produce bought is quickly utilized across multiple days. Nothing lingered for long as it was readily incorporated into future recipes. Additionally, dinners were made with two meals in mind so there was half your lunch for the next day already prepared! I absolutely appreciated these features!

Here is a breakdown that might also help keep the cost of expenses in perspective:

$70 – There were some staples listed to purchase that would come up often in the recipes. These were things like the milks and staple oils, like coconut, sesame, olive and flaxseed oils. Garlic, ginger, lemons, balsamic and apple cider vinegar.

$201 – This was for all the meat and fish needed. I sat down with all the shopping lists and gathered up all the types and quantities for everything and did a single shopping. I then came home and weighed everything into portions, seal-a-mealed them, then put them right into the freezer. I will also say that I paid an unbelievably high price for that fresh, wild caught halibut! $44 for 1.75 pounds! But I love halibut dearly and felt I was worth the treat! To be honest, though, next time around I might just go with the cod all the way. One third the price and since I continued taking my Omegas I didn’t need the heavy dose of fish oil you get from halibut.

$60 – Protein powder. I chose to keep to the organic brand. One thing that was confusing to me was that Deanna suggests whey protein power for omnivores. Yet she has removed diary from the program. I decided to just stick with the alternative powder without the whey.

$400 – The remaining balance went to all the produce and incidentals needed for each specific level. For things like nuts, I looked ahead and determined which ones would be coming up most often and bought more quantities. But I also just bought what I knew was going to cover what was needed and then a bit more.

Here is a list of the items I have remaining at the end of the detox (these are just the items I specifically had to buy for the program as I did not have them before I started):

  • Modest amounts of all variety of raw nuts: cashews, walnuts, macadamia, almonds, pecans, pine
  • Chia seeds: 70% of the bag.
  • Sunflower seeds: 85%
  • Flaxseed meal: 60% of the bag
  • Tapioca flour: 98% of the bag
  • Br. Rice flour: 98% of the bag
  • Small jars of cashew, almond, sunflower butters and tahini: all about 90% full.
  • Coconut water: 25% of carton
  • Coconut milk: 40% of carton
  • Almond milk: 40% of carton
  • Various amounts and types of produce, but nothing outrageous and easily used.

I am going to guesstimate that all those items would ring up to at least $100 as most are specialty items. Luckily I will be able to find uses for the remainders of most, though NO idea who I will ever use up that much tapioca flour! Could have skipped that entirely and just used the brown rice flour.

Deanna also reminded me after reading this review that this detox program is not solely based on the dietary component. You can work through this program free of charge simply by incorporating the other components into your life while remaining on your own dietary path. I LOVE this perspective and might explore that further during the next six months!


Going Forward:

This is one of my favorite parts of the plan – the after-plan. Deanna doesn’t just leave you to figure out how to strategize your way into re-introducing the foods eliminated back into your world. She gives you a very clear, step by step process. Since she advocates only doing this detox but once every six months, she makes sure you have an outline about how to use the six months in-between for further exploration of what works and doesn’t work for your particular body. Again, that is a very compassionate approach. I also recommend accessing her Facebook page for further support.

I hope this review has helped you determine whether or not this detox plan is for you. I am confident that will be a regular part of my overall health plan in the coming years as I can only see benefit from it.

A sante!

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