Susan Attel, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC

Hacking the Hormone Detox with Susan

By Susan Attel, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, IFMCP

Have you ever thought, or been advised by a practitioner, that you would benefit from a hormone detox (aka “10 day hormone flush”) but haven’t been able to try?  Or maybe you’ve done it but it was the worst 10 days ever.  If you’re like me, the thought of eating only non-starchy vegetables even just for 3 days made me nervous. I’d also heard stories of roller coaster emotions, and when are there ever 10 days when you’d think, “Oh, that’s fine, it’s a good time in my life to be emotionally unstable?” Like never!

But dear readers, just for you, I did it.  I’m kidding, I actually had some abnormal estrogen metabolism show up on some recent hormone testing and wanted to make a case study of myself!  But I did take notes, so here are my hacks to make it a successful journey.

Pre-hormone detox:

Post-hormone detox:

1: Plan ahead. OK you could have figured this one out yourself, but I didn’t do the amount of prep work ahead of time that I really needed to, like even go to the store in time for my vegetable recipes. Also, learn from my mistakes and don’t schedule lab work on any day of this program (the “essential” 7+ vials for the “Essential Plus!?” – it’s a lot).  I was exhausted from the labs and couldn’t make it to the store for all of the vegetables. So don’t be like me. Schedule your labs weeks after the detox so you can see the benefits of your labor, and have enough energy every day to make the shakes and cleaned up meals.  And if you are concerned about how you’ll feel on the 3 days of shakes/ vegetables only, consider scheduling around a long weekend, or at least know you can make the shakes 3 times/ day wherever you’ll be those middle days.

2: Set your expectations. Remember the threat of roller coaster emotions? Well, I had one mildly crabby day and that was really it. But because I was prepared for the possibility of being weepy, irritable, or down, it made it that much easier to give myself grace. I have had several clients who got emotional, so certainly prepare yourself (& maybe your significant other…) for that. I was also prepared to be hungry, maybe even very hungry, again based on clients’ experiences. But I wasn’t! I honestly had to force myself to have the shake between 1 & 2 for lunch some days so I wouldn’t eat dinner too late. But again, I was prepared and it made it that much easier.

3: Be creative! I am not one who can drink the same shake three times/ day, even just for a few days. I need variety, every single day. I varied the flavor of the shake with different mix ins. I made a big sheet pan of roasted vegetables and a huge pot of vegetable soup (I selected 7 or 8 of the vegetables on the list and simmered them in 8 cups of organic vegetable broth until just tender). The middle three days of shakes and vegetables, I had roasted vegetables or a salad for one meal and for another, I varied the flavor of the soup. Day 1 I added curry and non dairy yogurt. Day 2 I squeezed some lime in, and topped it with cilantro and avocado. And on day 3, I opted to add coconut aminos, sprouts & basil for a “Faux pho.” I was able to have real food each lunch and dinner and truly never went hungry.

4: Bulk up your shakes.  I rarely blended up powders + non-dairy milk and called it a shake.  No, it would have berries, greens, nut butter, cashew or coconut yogurt, & seeds. Sometimes avocado and coconut cream.  The medical food powder has 12 grams of protein in it, so I figured I needed a little more than that for a meal replacement. I just really don’t do well when I’m hungry/ hangry, and I was grateful for the optional mix-ins.

5: 2 birds, 1 stone.  I also paired this with a “Dry January” month, so I was already stopping alcohol completely. You can also do this in the middle of a Whole 30/ AIP month, and since your diet will already be cleaned up adding in the nutrients/ shakes will just feel like an added bonus.

6: Have fun with it. Even with the variety of soup flavors, I craved something different, so I tried a neighborhood vegetarian restaurant mid-detox, on day 7, the last day of “all vegetables.” Did the gutti venkaayaa (delicious eggplant with coconut cream) and vegan Bhindi masala (tasty okra and tomatoes) likely have seed oils? Probably. Did I eat it anyway? Absolutely. I used my own cauliflower rice to pair with it, then saved the take out leftover rice for my kids to have rice cereal the next morning. Win-win!

7: Keep what you like, let go of the rest. After the 10 days, then what? I prefer my collagen protein for shakes, so I completed the UltraClear Renew and did not refill it. I don’t have insulin resistance or sugar cravings, so I’m only using the leftover inositol periodically. However, I like the Advaclear as a multivitamin with additional detox support, and I’m very happy with my estrogen metabolism shifts (impressive lab results and in how I feel), so I’m also still taking 1 DIM Detox every day.

Work with a provider to help you formulate a plan after the 10 days so you can maintain all the ground that you gained.

It can feel overwhelming to look at the handouts and schedule and wonder when you’re going to find time to make all the shakes or how you’re going to feel. And if you’re like me, having heard varying degrees of success with this program, I was honestly afraid to try it for way too long. But I am really glad I did and I can now share these hacks with you to hopefully make it an easier journey for you too! Hormone imbalances are far too common in our society and fairly misunderstood in conventional medicine. Even as healthy as I have eaten for the past several years, I too had abnormal test results mostly without symptoms. I am always happy to partner with you to best optimize your hormones and your health, as I walk this path with you.


Susan Attel is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Her compass has always steered her to encourage individuals and families to thrive, and is passionate to support the next generation to live healthy, balanced lives.

Although she studied music therapy at Florida State University for 3 years, she ultimately felt the pull deeper into healthcare, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Baylor University in 1999.  After a few years working at Parkland Hospital in neurology and epilepsy outreach, a more independent practice called; she obtained a Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas in Arlington in 2003, followed by certification as a family nurse practitioner by the ANCC.  She spent 5 years at an integrative family medicine practice before returning to Parkland at an outpatient women’s health practice where she has been since 2009.

Passionate about holistic women’s health, the background of the integrative family practice has stayed with her through her years at Parkland, and she has grown more interested in the impact of health to fulfill one’s whole life.  Through personal and family health challenges, she chose to pursue functional medicine to learn more a whole systems approach to women’s and children’s health.  To have one’s spirit, mind, body, and history integrated in an evidence-based science approach to whole healing is intuitive, yet rare. Her compass has always steered her to encourage individuals and families to thrive, and she is passionate to support the next generation to live healthy, balanced lives through integrative, functional health practices.