Three years ago I did a cleanse that kick-started a healthy eating and exercise regimen where I lost 20 pounds. This past weekend I did another cleanse, mainly to eliminate the post-holiday toxins in my system. For 3 ½ days I fasted until noon (water, herbal tea and homemade smoothies excepted), and ate only veggies, fruits, raw nuts and wheat-free whole grains (namely, brown rice).
For me, it was a kind of spiritual experience. I feel “cleaned out” not just physically, but emotionally as well. As if I’ve confronted the illusions of reality, reconnected with my essence and am now ready to take on anything.
Or you could just do it for health benefits. Here’s what else I enjoyed:
- A dietary “high.” Okay, Day 1 sucked. I was hungry and crabby around people who could eat anything they wanted. Salads aren’t so wonderful when it’s the only thing on your menu. However, on Day 2, I woke up not hungry (surprisingly) and a bit lightheaded. The “I’ve had a few beers” kind of lightheaded where all the world seems happy and slightly out of focus.My husband said it was a sign that my body was already breaking down fat for energy because its food stores had been used up. A nice side benefit.The high continued for most of Day 2 and 3 and I found it like being in a meditative trance. I felt super mellow, calm and slightly detached. Not the best condition for high energy tasks but perfect for handling child tantrums or bill-paying anxieties.
- Dropping 6 pounds. Getting rid of toxins and extra holiday weight is the perfect way to start the new year.
- Saying “goodbye” to cravings. This was my main reason for doing the cleanse, and on Day 3 it seemed to kick in. It helps that I don’t have many sweets in the house, of course, and I hope to maintain that for Sofie’s benefit as well. But with the limited food selection of the cleanse, my body began to get excited about the prospect of a ripe pear or raw almonds for dessert. This is not a diet; I still plan to eat cheesecake and bagels and Chinese food, but without that gorging-so-you-barely-taste-it energy. The cleanse reminds me to listen to what my body really wants and to eat when actually hungry instead of when I’m feeling anxious, bored or depressed.
- A deeper appreciation for simple foods. I thought I’d be bored by plain brown rice, but each bite (with a hint of sea salt) was scrumptious, especially when it was my only warm meal of the day. Because I had such little variety during the cleanse, I ate my food slower and relished each morsel. Enjoying a cup of tea or sliced veggies – slowly – made it almost a spiritual process. I really tasted the flavor of the rice, the radish, the blood orange.
- Apple banana smoothies. Yum!
- 1 banana, peeled and chopped
- 1 organic apple, peeled and chopped
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 1 tsp flaxseeds
- 1 cup ice
- Toss into blender and enjoy!