Let me start by saying that I am grateful for the incredible privilege I have to choose my food, to choose the most vibrant, fresh and healthful food.
And, I think it’s a good idea to do a cleanse for the body and spirit every year.
For two weeks I relinquished:
- processed foods (including wheat).
What’s left!? I opted for a diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and cleansing herbal teas.
I know you’re thinking, I could never give up my…. That’s why I’m writing this article, to share some surprising insights that may help you reevaluate your own choices.
First, my approach
- I set the dates months in advance in my calendar.
- I got a cleanse buddy, who is also an herbalist.
- I got clear on what I wanted from this: to feel lighter, to lose a few pounds of winter weight, and mostly to see what my body is like without all these stimulants.
With this preparation, I was able to develop a mindset that helped me commit. I didn’t focus on what I was going to miss or on how hard it was going to be. Instead, I focused on how curious I was about what would happen.
My values of curiosity and health trumped my fears of lack or deprivation.
I see how I experience food as a ‘treat’. It’s something I eagerly look forward to. It’s a very creative endeavor for me, this eating, so the week is peppered with food treats:
- Daily cappuccino right away upon arising
- Oo! Let’s make pizza tonight!
- Friday night happy hour with friends – wine! cheese plate, fried treats!
Even though vegetables, grains and salads are delicious, there’s not a lot of ‘treat’.
Bottom line: I am doing that thing I’ve heard of but didn’t think applied to me: emotional eating. But that’s okay. I’m more aware of food’s role in my life, and that’s a start.
Food is life’s best art – one you take into your body – and I plan to relish it for as long as I can.
Easier than you think
This elimination plan may seem daunting.
How will you ever get through the day without caffeine! You probably want to kill me for merely suggesting it. But it’s actually not as difficult as you think. If you find a positive perspective, you can overcome some of the more difficult moments.
I know that sounds very coachy and Pollyanna-ish – ‘Think bright thoughts!!’ but so much of our experience really does happen in our minds, and we truly can change how we think.
I also didn’t go out much. This helped a lot to avoid temptation and also made this time a more sacred, an inner process.
Bottom line: you can do more than you think. You are capable of more than you think. Your will is strong.
Remember my crazy yoga stunt this time last year?
Even keel I’ve often suspected that what and how I eat and drink may contribute to my mood swings.
The first few days of the cleanse, I felt pretty flat. Not HIGH not low, just flat. By day five, I felt more energized but still on an even keel.
Bottom line: if I am feeling overly emotional, I know I can back off on some of these stimulants to enjoy life on the plains instead of the peaks and valleys.
I need things to look forward to in order to feel joy in life. I’ve been planning my autumn trip to Europe and how I will celebrate completion of my novel. (Peek: It involves Amsterdam!)
I can’t say I will stay on the straight and narrow with caffeine, alcohol and sugar. I do hope to be more mindful. The cleanse wasn’t about eliminating these treats forever, just clarifying their role in my life.
My cappuccino will be decaffeinated and I’ll use less milk. I’m trying for as little caffeine as possible.
For over three weeks I have not reading while eating. It’s hard, and I tend to eat more quickly to be done with it and go back to work. I’ll make an effort to slow down and savor.
I’ve lost four pounds, and I feel great without it. This lightness and feeling good in my clothes is the motivation I need to stay moderate in my eating. I’m gearing up to escape the cocoon, and I want to feel and look great out there!
I’m dying for pizza, for tortilla chips, and for yogurt. I’m celebrating the end of the cleanse by feasting with friends. I’ll take it easy, don’t worry!
What about you? I hope this inspires you to think differently about your choices. I encourage small changes. It’s not just radical adjustments that make a difference. It’s the little things that add up. What does this spark you to change? Share it in a comment below.