Yes folks, by unpopular demand, I am back on the cleanse. A big champion of “Better late than never” the cleanse is my belated effort to ring in the new year while leaving the toxins of 2011 behind. This is the second time I am metaphorically cleaning out the closet, the first “closet cleaning” taking place five months ago in September. I am surprised to see some notable differences. (For those of you who missed it and want a recap, here are Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)
Some readers asked how the post-cleanse experience was. The next day, the Husband and I were fortunate enough to board a plane to Oahu for some close friends’ wedding. Slowly easing back into non-elimination diet items while in vacation mode was super challenging (try eating breakfast at LAX). Plus this wasn’t just vacation mode, it was vacation PAR-TAY mode, as we shared a house on the beach with 6 close friends who, because they are in my life, love to eat and do it oh so well. Within the first 24 hours, I had consumed red meat, huge amounts of cheese, seemingly lethal amounts of wheat, alcohol, sugar, gluten and god knows what else (BBQ pineapple sliders on mini Hawaiian Bread buns, anyone?). My system was definitely out of whack during those five (still wonderful) days on the island. I no longer felt like the best physical version of myself. In fact, I felt like sh*t. I experienced headaches, stomach aches and fatigue and I resolved to at least try and ease back into the swing of things the next time around.
Upon my return to the mainland, I endeavored (and maintained) small but daily lifestyle changes. These included using beauty products without parabens (I have rediscovered The Body Shop), replacing 90% of my plastic Tupperware with glass containers (can’t seem to get rid of those beloved pop-up containers though), no longer using the birth control pill (perhaps the most significant lifestyle change), switching to a natural toothpaste (I prefer Nature’s Gate, since Tom’s of Maine gave me Year of the Dragon breath) and striving to use household detergents and cleaners that are natural (always a challenge to find satisfactorily foaming dish soaps if anyone has any good recommendations).
As I mentioned above, there are quite a few differences between this cleanse and the first one. So many in fact, that I compiled a list entitled…
Things that are Different on Cleanse #2
1. We in it for the long haul. Instead of 14 days, I am tacking on another full week to bring it to a grand total of 21 days, which is the suggested length of time proposed in the Clean book and program manual (page 8 is a good snapshot). I remember actually being a little sad having to end the last cleanse prematurely, as I felt so good and (why, yes) clean and I wanted to continue that feeling. Interestingly, today is day 13 and I can honestly say the two weeks have passed by much more rapidly than last time.
2. Can’t get off the juice. After a week of the same ole’ morning smoothie, I began to tire of brain freeze and my love affair with the blender. I wanted to mix it up a little and get more vegetables into my breakfast if possible. Intrigued with juicing, I bought a compact juicer and have since been on a bit of a juicing kick, with a morning ritual of carrots, apples, celery, kale and ginger that I alternate with the smoothies. Little did I know that there is an entire philosophy behind juicing, and that not only should we, the public drink responsibly, but also juice responsibly. I learned things I had no idea about, like to avoid juicing fruits and vegetables together because of the different enzymes needed to digest them (apples are neutral and are an exception), and trying to limit juices mostly to vegetables (even better, to limit vegetables containing high sugar like carrots and beets although they are delicious). Also, one should vary the juices they consume so that the body doesn’t become dependent on those particular nutrients, and that beet juice in particular, should be consumed in moderation and never alone. I found this juicing site very helpful with great recipes and loads of information.
3. No hunger, no cry. As before, I experience the same feelings of hunger and satiation which gradually arise (they call this true hunger) over the span of a few hours, instead of becoming ravenously hungry at meal times. For some reason this time around, I am not as hungry. Previously, I would need to snack during the day on carrots, almonds, hummus, flaxseed crackers, and avocado, but now there is no need. Perhaps this is why the pounds have dropped much more rapidly than last time. Ironically though, this cleanse experience really highlights the deep emotional bond I have with food, indicated by the crazy overwhelming food cravings I have. Never am I hungry, but often times throughout the day (mostly when I am bored or unmotivated) I think of random food items that I would kill to eat: chow mein, s’mores, a tray of brownies and some rare rib eye (that was today’s list before noon). The hardest thing about this cleanse is the fact that food becomes less of an immediately gratifying experience, but more of a long-term sustaining commodity.
4. These pretzels are making me thirsty. I have perma-cottonmouth. I am forever thirsty. I don’t know why, but I am. I am not taking psyllium and going au natural instead, but still, I….am….so….thirsty.
5. Soy, what? To my dismay, I realize the fish oil supplements I’ve been taking have soy in them so I stop taking them during the cleanse. I am pleasantly surprised however to discover that fermented soy (miso) is different from regular soy, and therefore okay to consume during the cleanse. I am so having miso soup everyday next week.
More next time including some cleanse recipes for those of you who’ve been asking.
Signing off, Dubu Darling.