| OWL Venice
My experience on the 21 Day Group Reset
WHY I DID IT
No matter how “healthy” my diet was, I always suffered from gut issues like bloating and constipation. It seemed like no matter what I ate, I always felt bad afterwards. And then I was diagnosed with SIBO, which was treated with antibiotics, a standard treatment for that diagnosis but an ironic one given the negative effects those drugs have on the gut microbiota. After a year filled with lots of change, including a move from NYC to LA, I promised myself once I got settled I would focus my energy on finding a solution to these problems. In a twist of fate, I would end up living in Venice, around the corner from OWL’s Abbot Kinney shop. What drew me to OWL was their philosophy of improving digestion and repairing the gut through healing and nourishing. I tested the waters by doing two 4 Day OWL Resets over the first three months I was in LA, but for me neither time really kick-started a mindset and lifestyle change like the 21 Day Group Reset would end up doing.
I debated whether or not to do the 21 Day Reset for a few days. I wondered if I could stick with something like this for 3 weeks (turns out I could!) and if it would be “worth” it (it was!). What ultimately made me pull the trigger? The fact that it wasn’t just about food - OWL offered weekly group health coaching (which were actually quite personalized given the small number of participants), Yoga and Lunar Astrology sessions via Zoom. I wouldn’t be on this journey alone and it was just as much about making mental improvements as physical! I would learn how to make tweaks to my diet and lifestyle that would improve my overall health and well-being. I started this journey mostly hoping to eliminate bloating and yes, I emerged with a flatter stomach, but what I gained ended up being so much more than I lost!
THE DAY BEFORE
I loved that our first Health Coaching session was the day before the Reset started. We were encouraged to take detailed notes of what we ate, how we felt and what we learned each day to track our progress. Each week we were given worksheets to help guide us, suggested rituals to incorporate into our daily routine and a well-planned menu incorporating specific foods for specific purposes based on where we were in the Reset. I felt excited, super prepared and very supported for what was to come!
As someone who doesn’t mind eating the same thing for days in a row, I didn’t find it difficult (and actually kinda loved) that the first three days followed a mostly mono-diet. This was made even easier because the main dish, Kitchari, is a delicious, detoxifying and nourishing one-pot Ayurvedic meal (a friend would inform me it is considered Indian comfort food after I posted it on IG!). The idea behind a mono-diet, and specifically one consisting of Kitchari, is that by keeping meals/ingredients simple and consistent, you allow your digestive system to rest, reduce inflammation and heal while still getting the nutrients you need to go about your normal day without feeling depleted. Not to mention there is something refreshing about taking the guesswork out of mealtime!
Over the first few days, I also started incorporating some new rituals which, at almost a month post-Reset, I can say I’m still doing!
Full disclosure: I have since become a bit obsessed with Kitchari, continue to make it weekly post-Reset and have now perfected the texture with the help of my new Instant Pot (not a necessity to make this dish, but after being influenced to buy, I am officially a convert and highly recommend!).
Over the first few days, I also started incorporating some new rituals which, at almost a month post-Reset, I can say I’m still doing! These include daily tongue scraping, enjoying a morning mug of hot water with lemon, and at least a half hour of reading for pleasure daily!
The next four days consisted of the classic OWL Reset – a different Broth Elixir/Mylkshake combo for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having done this before, I knew what to expect, but yet I still had a completely different experience this time around. The first two times I did the Reset, I ate normally right up until the start of it, which I now know is not recommended, and also makes the Reset itself harder. By easing into this portion of the journey with the mono-diet, you prepare your body (and mind) for 4 days of liquids. Overall I had a ton of energy and mental clarity, but I’m human and 4 days of liquids still came with a few challenges for me.
This really reminded me that every body is different and you really must take the time to be intuitive with your diet.
I found day 2 the hardest – I was a bit cranky and hungry (even though I generally feel that the plan is quite filling, which surprised me the first time around). Oddly, I did not have regular/normal bowel movements and was feeling gassy during these four days, which after our weekly health coaching session I learned was not the case for everyone. Lillian Jacobs, one of OWL’s resident Health Coaches, suggested on the last night (which coincided with one of our Zoom coaching sessions) I eat a sweet potato for added fiber, which definitely helped. This really reminded me that every body is different and you really must take the time to be intuitive with your diet.
Before the Reset, I had gotten into the habit of having something sweet (mostly dark chocolate) after every meal, and that’s something I was hoping to kick. I did find myself still craving this here and there, but what I realized when I took a moment to pause and ask myself why I wanted this treat, was that I wasn’t even eating it because I was hungry, but more of some sort of reward or because I was bored.
What I loved most about the Reset was that it introduced me to new recipes, new food combos and kind of got me excited about cooking again!
The last two weeks of the Reset reintroduced specific foods. It was a limited menu, which varied slightly between two weeks, but still with enough choices to make it interesting. Before the Reset, I found myself eating the same few things week after week (salads with the same ingredients, for example) just because I was in the habit and it was easy. What I loved most about the Reset was that it introduced me to new recipes, new food combos and kind of got me excited about cooking again! These recipes weren’t difficult or complicated to make, yet the flavors were complex thanks to a ton of spices (many of which I had never cooked with before) and really tasty.
I also learned, from a nutrient perspective (but also to keep things interesting!), that it’s important to switch up the ingredients you are using from week to week. For instance, if you buy spinach one week, the next week it’s good to get a different leafy green, like say kale or dandelion greens. In addition to the Kitchari, I’ve become obsessed with the Carrot Soup, Applesauce, Broiled Salmon Spaghetti Squash Bowls, and Matcha Lattes. And if you like Chai Tea, you'll never want store bought Chai again after making OWL’s recipe!
HOW I FELT & WHAT I LEARNED
After 21 days, I truly felt amazing. I could look back and say I had absolutely no bloating AT ALL (probably my biggest personal complaint). I had so much energy and felt so invigorated by my accomplishment. I had learned so much - everything from my Dosha (Vata) and how best to eat for it (hot, cooked foods while trying to avoid eating cooked and raw foods together – no more salads with grilled chicken or cooked veggies!) to the phases of the moon, their corresponding energies and what to do during the phases for Lunar Alignment. What I also gained, which I really appreciated given COVID and being a new girl in town not knowing too many people, was a feeling of community that I know will continue after the Reset is over (OWL’s Facebook group is great if you have any questions, concerns or just want to feel connected to others in general!).
I had so much energy and felt so invigorated by my accomplishment.
One of the principles of Ayurveda is to focus solely on your meals, doing nothing else besides eating - a concept and practice that was completely foreign to me. Sure, I knew that multitasking while eating is not great for digestion, but I never gave myself the gift of really enjoying my meal because I had work to simultaneously do or Netflix to watch! Distraction would lead to overeating, but when I slowed down and was mindful of every bite I took, I felt gratitude for my food and didn’t eat past the point of being full. Obviously this isn’t something I can do for every single meal going forward, but I do try to eat breakfast and lunch during the week like this and have come to really love this mental break from work and quiet time to savor my food! And even when I am at a restaurant with friends, I now practice a more mindful way of eating, taking breaks to talk or focus on what I’m putting in my mouth, but not both at once!
Post-Reset, probably the biggest thing I’ve become aware of is how much I am affected by certain foods. A big one is sugar - one glass of wine or a little desert and I FEEL it the next day! Or take my lunch today for example: When I decided to go against what I learned is best for me and indulged in amazing bread, shared a salad appetizer and then had a little cooked chicken and veggies – it tasted so good but my stomach immediately became bloated like a hard basketball.
But one of the last pieces of advice Lillian left us with, was not to be afraid of food. Because if you stress about what you are eating, that’s just as bad as actually eating something that doesn’t agree with your body. We are human, and sometimes we are going to eat things that don’t make us feel like our best selves. Sometimes the happiness I get in the moment from eating that cake or bread is going to outweigh the discomfort that I know will follow. But because of this 21-Day Reset, I now have the tools to do a mini-reset of my own and get back to feeling great again in a matter of days!
Interested in our 21 Day Group Reset?
Marcy Callahan spends her days working as Chief of Staff to a prominent entertainment lawyer, but it’s her interests outside of her 9-5 that truly capture her spirit. Obsessed with fashion from a young age, Marcy’s unique sense of style and eye for design has led to a side-hustle doing work as a personal wardrobe/closet stylist, interiors consultant and home organizer. In recent years, she has become passionate about sustainability in the fashion world, both reigniting her love for vintage/second-hand shopping and leading to a partnership with Tulerie, a peer-to-peer clothing sharing platform, where she serves as the in-house stylist.
After a lifetime spent on the East Coast, Marcy recently relocated from NYC to Venice, CA. She can currently be found exploring her new hood (and beyond!), hunting for special pieces for her new home, and ending her days with a sunset beach walk!