The Cleanse (or the attempted cleanse)

Thinking the same thing as everyone else, I presented myself with the notion of starting this new year off right.  A cleanse to get my body realigned was the idea that Oliver and I agreed upon.  The plan was as follows: keep it whole foods based, meaning primarily fruits and vegetables and nothing processed, while eliminating caffeine, alcohol, spices, and sugar.  It sounded so do-able.  Of course, until we started that is.

As a nutritionist, I strive to maintain a healthy, balanced diet that nourishes me and keeps me happy and healthy.  Now, unlike what people think nutritionists eat (bark & berries?), I generally eat a whole foods, organic and unprocessed, but delicious and full of delights as I am a passionate food-eater and proud.  For this reason, I don’t really buy into the detox phenomenon- we have organs that perform that function. That said, I understand that consuming alcohol, caffeine, and sugar do increase the work necessary by the body to process these elements. I do buy into the idea that our body puts a great deal of energy into digesting and absorbing nutrients from our food, and thus with this cleanse, the idea was to give the body a break and provide easily assimilated nutrients with less work.

The cleanse was set for 6 days long.  Days 1 and 2 were to be clean diet (meaning allergen-free, non-processed), days 3 &4 were to be a liquid fast, and days 5 & 6 were to be clean diet.

A clean diet day would begin with steamed fruit and herbal tea, and then fruits and veggies for a snack, lunch was a spinach salad with red pepper, broccoli, and mushrooms with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then a sweet potato with ghee for dinner.  Vegetable juices, lemon water, and a blueberry smoothie could be had whenever throughout the day.

A liquid fast day would be comprised of vegetable juices, broken bone broth, and water with lemon.

What actually happened: Well, I was really, really, really hungry.  The first day of the clean diet I did not have any protein, which for me was a mistake.  I was shaky with low blood sugar my head was full of negative thoughts.  I couldn’t deal- with anything.  Laundry was overwhelming.  Driving was a heavy task.  It was kind of ridiculous.  I lasted 2 days.  2 days.

My main issue was the feeling of restriction.  I hated the feeling that I was limited, that I was no longer of free will.  I know this sounds dramatic, but not being offered a choice or not feeling like I had a choice in what I ate (of course, my mind should have reminded me more fervently that the cleanse had in fact been my idea) made me feel like I was powerless.  I really hated feeling that way, and for me that was the hardest part of the cleanse.  This not only makes me sympathetic to the dieters of the world, it makes me wonder, why was this such a big issue for me?  Something to look into…..

What I learned:  I have a solid day of a cleanse in me if all I am required to do is lay on the couch and watch TV on DVD.   I remembered how great many vegetables taste just as they are, and I took in some elements that I plan to incorporate daily, like warm lemon water. The main thing for me is keeping an awareness of the choices I making on a daily basis, keeping in mind that with time, these choices become patterns, and also making sure that I enjoy all of the wonderful food choices I have available every day, for which I am grateful.

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About Whitney Johansson

This blog is created by Whitney Johansson, a Nutritionist, Western Herbalist, and a believer in moderation, reckless abandon, bountiful joy, PBS, the wonders of good soil, blueberries, and feeling at home in our bodies. View all posts by Whitney Johansson

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