16 November 2011

a cleanse before the holidays

Surprise! I am on Day 15 of a little 21-day cleanse. Yes, I am just ridding the system of some junk and getting it ready for a holiday season full of junk. (Wait, that seems wrong. Let's instead call it a jump-start to a healthier holiday season. That sounds much better.) I've also timed the cleanse to lead me almost up to my 27th birthday and the start of a healthier, more incredible year.

For 21 days, I am not eating animal products (including all dairy), gluten, soy, peanuts, caffeine, alcohol, or added sugar. I'm also staying away from nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes, and some fruits like bananas and strawberries because they are telling me to. I've been a tiny bit less stringent with that part. So what do I eat? Lots. Every other vegetable; non-gluten grains like brown rice and quinoa; fresh and frozen fruit, beans and lentils; cashews, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts and sunflower seeds; herbal tea, seltzer and mineral water; stevia and brown rice syrup for sweeteners; carob and raw cacao powder for a chocolate fix; and all spices and seasonings. I didn't purchase any of the Clean supplements, but am instead making my smoothies with a scoop of Vega Whole Food Optimizer, which is a vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, blah blah blah-free protein powder that also takes care of the fiber, probiotic and digestive enzyme supplements. With some almond or hemp milk, a cup of frozen berries, a scoop of cashew butter and a spoonful of cacao powder, it's a tasty way to start your morning.

This has been a nice opportunity, much like last year's Whole Living 21 Day Action Plan, to clear out possible trigger foods and to see how I feel. And I am feeling really good. The start was rough, partially because of a nasty cold that had me pining for classic comfort foods instead of smoothies and hyper-quantities of leafy greens and brown rice. I stayed on track and by day five, I was feeling much better. Cleaner, lighter, less hungry and more energy.  I'm being very intentional with my eating and, for the most part, have strictly adhered to the Elimination Diet as laid out in Clean. My good friends were married last weekend in a gorgeous ceremony, so I planned an conscious departure from the cleanse, because I wasn't about to pass on a delicious dinner and evening of celebration. By that point in time, I had already successfully navigated three work-related functions, quietly and easily skipping the alcohol, coffee, dinner rolls and dessert. You have to remember that it isn't a purity test. You have to live your life and make priorities-- a stale cookie at a buffet lunch? Not worth it. Cocktail hour, a multi-course dinner and wedding cake with dear friends? Worth it. I held back on portions, skipped the extra cheesy hor d'oeurves and had two glasses of white wine. After a few additional nibbles at From Scratch Club's table at the Delmar Farmers Market the next morning, I was back on track.

So. That's that. I'm 2/3 of the way through and feeling great.

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