So today marks the end of a week-long nutritional cleanse. For one week I’ve eaten a completely vegan diet and cold pressed vegetable juices. I had no coffee, no alcohol, no refined sugar, no gluten, no processed food, no dairy, no meat (this one was not unusual for me). I will not bore you with the details of exactly what we ate every day but it was filled with nutrition and one day consisted of entirely juice…no chewing.
I feel AMAZING. I commend the folks at Nourish
and Viva Raw
for doing such an awesome job of putting this together, especially considering this was the first time they’ve offered anything of this kind. Their support and availability for questions has been outstanding.
The biggest thing I learned about myself as it pertains to my eating habits are the better prepared I am and the better I have planned ahead….the better I eat! The cleanse made it easy not to stray from the path because my next meal was already prepared, there waiting for me. Knowing ahead of time exactly what was on the menu made it very easy not let the poor diet choices sneak in.
The next thing I learned, well I actually didn’t learn this, the fact was merely reinforced, is that I have a high metabolism. I burn a lot of calories. The first half of the cleanse I refused to eat anything that was not on the prescribed diet. I forbid myself from adding a few extra veggies, nuts or a piece of fruit. For some reason this mentally felt like cheating, even though it had been made clear to us we should supplement if needed. I was starving and would sit with my tummy grumbling as I stared at my empty bowl. My friend, who was also doing the cleanse, couldn’t finish her portion…wtf? As I watched my scale numbers go down I knew I had to give myself permission to eat. I had to start taking in more calories. As I added in some almond butter here, a kiwi there, a sliced cucumber now and then, things started to get better and I noticed a HUGE increase in my energy. I’m still 6 pounds lighter than I’d like to be but I feel hopeful that will come back as I increase my quantities of food over the next week.
The third pretty refreshing thing for me was how little I craved sweets. I am a sweet-a-holic and love love love cookies, cake, candy and especially ICE CREAM but for some reason this week I was not tempted. Passing up the plate of brownies on the break room table was no big deal. Thinking of running to the quick mart across from the office to grab a candy bar never even crossed my mind. And on the same note I am AMAZED how sweet things taste that didn’t used to. After just one week of no refined sugar, suddenly carrot juice is like having dessert and a little bit of baked oats with banana is a decedent treat, instead of “just breakfast”.
A lot people at the end of a cleanse claim these phenomenal physical changes. Skin conditions clear up, chronic congestion or post nasal drip (which I have) go away, allergy symptoms are gone and biometric numbers are all in normal range (mine already were). I had none of these but I did notice an increase in my “normal” energy level when I started eating enough and I psychologically LOVED myself for doing this.
There are two things I really miss. The first is my chicken’s eggs. I like our eggs, I feel good about the food provided out of our own back yard. I don’t worry about the eggs being “bad” for you. Mine are delicious, fresh, orange in color, produced by happy chickens that are fed a mostly organic diet with no antibiotics. I fully anticipate I will have some in my belly by the end of the weekend.
And finally……COFFEE. I’m way beyond the want/need for the caffeine it provides. In spite of this, EVERY SINGLE DAY of the cleanse I have missed my cup-of-joe. I love the ritual of coffee, I love the taste (and I drink it black), I love the aroma and I love the habit. Post cleanse what do I do with this information? Is it my one vice that I allow on a daily basis? Do I still enjoy a cup from time to time but treat it as an exception? Do I stay off it, knowing I can? Honestly I’m not really sure yet.
All that being said I set out on this cleanse to hit the reset button. I like to live by an 80/20 rule or at worst a 70/30. Meaning 80% of my food is plant based, full of nutrition, not loaded with sugar and not processed. Towards the end of last year I got away from that. The holidays had me eating out more than I was preparing my own food and just in general making poor choices about my nourishment. Not to mention the amount of sweets and alcohol consumed during November and December. Today I feel good that I will be right back in-line with how I enjoy to eat and what I know is good for my body.