Greek goddess Artemis is the deity of feminine spirit. Mythology says she was the protector of children, the reliever of pain, and the one who embodies wholeness. In today’s day and age, we might say she’s a woman who has it all.
Those feminine qualities that Artemis is known for provide the foundation for a detox created by Andover-based naturopathic doctor Amanda Tracy. A holistic lifestyle enthusiast, Tracy co-owns Advanced Health & Wellness, a center providing various treatments ranging from massage to alternative medicine practice.
Her latest detox program, called the Whole Health Goddess Detox, is geared toward women who want to influence their hormones with healthy food choices. The goal of the goddess detox, Tracy said, is to correct any hormonal imbalances. These imbalances, experts believe, are caused by processed foods that are everywhere in the standard American diet and by man-made products in our daily lives, such as plastics.
“People might be surprised that you can do a lot to influence hormones with diet and lifestyle changes,” Tracy says. “I wanted to create a program that incorporated detoxification and cleansing practices with a scientifically backed nutrition plan.”
A Walpole native and current resident of Amesbury, Tracy opened her practice 11 years ago, so she has long been interested in nutrition. She studied biochemistry at Boston College and naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle.
“I was interested in what was causing symptoms,” she says. “I wanted to treat the root cause not just the symptom, and focus on health rather than disease. I found naturopathic medicine combined those.”
For several years, Tracy has offered similar detoxes that vary in duration from two weeks to a month. The Whole Health Goddess Detox has been around for about a year. The Goddess detox costs $350, and the program includes classes consisting of four to six women that are held once a week at Tracy’s downtown Andover office. Women drink protein shakes daily, and there’s an infrared sauna in the office that is free for use. The sauna helps speed up detoxification, Tracy says. For convenience, Tracy provides recipes, so there is never a question of “Well, what can I have?”
The group gives the women an intimate platform to share what is working—and what isn’t—in regard to the detox. One common struggle is giving up regular indulgences like coffee and wine.
“A lot of our food supply has addictive additives, but it’s often difficult for people to change habits on their own, and they need support to do it,” she says.
In the program, Tracy acts as a sort of concierge naturopathic doctor for the women in the program, “giving tailored advice to the group,” she says.
As with most detoxes, the common culprits are first to go: alcohol, sugar, refined flour, and even caffeine, excluding green tea.
“Coffee is usually the deterrent for people, but it has some phytonutrients that block a few liver enzymes,” Tracy says, adding that illness sets in when the liver isn’t functioning optimally. Still, the Goddess detox is more than just taking foods away.
“We go a step deeper and fine-tune the diet,” Tracy explains. “The education people get in the class gives people the tools to do this beyond the four-week period. People feel empowered.”
Each of the four weeks is themed with a Greek goddess. The first week revolves around the goddess Artemis and is devoted to setting goals for the future. Week two focuses on the goddess Persephone and being open to change. It’s in this week that big changes are made, such as removing refined flour, caffeine, and sugar. In week three, which is represented by the goddess Aphrodite, the women take the detox deeper and restrict all animal products, eating a vegan-only diet. The final week, symbolized by the goddess Demeter, is about reintroducing foods and watching how the body responds.
Boxborough resident Wendy Carlson tried the Goddess detox, hoping to lose a couple of pounds before a high school reunion and holistically treat some perimenopause symptoms.
“I got a healthier regimen out of it,” Carlson says. “I learned about eating or not eating animal products, and that I don’t have to have caffeine every day. If I do, I can have green tea. And by the time I went to my reunion, my pants were fitting nicely.”
Tracy agrees, many women do lose weight on the Goddess detox, though that is generally not the main reason people choose to do the plan. Women also notice better sleep quality. But to see lasting changes, Tracy says, women must continue after the course ends.
“The one-month detox is just setting the stage; to start seeing real change takes about three months,” she says. “But they have all the tools they need to continue.”
Advanced Health & Wellness
76 Main St., Andover 978-475-7676