Now, pass me a cup of my favorite breakfast blend, please. Don’t forget the full-fat coconut milk.
Yes, I had a cup of coffee this morning. Yeah! Actually, it was half coffee and half coconut milk and it was divine.
I’ve been on my spring detox/cleanse for well over two weeks now and other than a couple of itty-bitty exceptions, I stuck with it the whole time. Okay, okay, so I had a piece of bacon at Easter brunch. If it’s any consolation, I regretted it five minutes later. Sort of. Well, not really, but at least I didn’t eat any more or have anything other than fresh fruit and a scrambled egg (from an organic, spa-pastured chicken). I rarely eat bacon during my normal life, why would I fall prey to it now? I don’t know, the smell maybe.
Other than the bacon, a few sips of a wonderful red wine and some home made chicken broth I used for a soup base, I didn’t stray from a diet of organic fresh fruits, vegetables, brown rice, and pastured eggs. I feel refreshed, energized and ready to keep at it with some minor modifications. Honestly, my friends, this is the way to stimulate the body’s natural defenses, boost immunity, normalize weight, clear the brain fog and increase strength and vitality. Not only that, but it puts you on track to renew your resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. Each time I do a cleanse I wonder why I ever stray from this type of clean living. That was a rhetorical question as I do know why. Because I enjoy a glass of wine while reconnecting with old friends. I want to try my own version of Cid’s chocolate macaroons or Miles’ chorizo sausage with potatoes or Shirley’s flourless peanut butter cookies. That’s why.
So, the question is, how do we find a healthy balance between a sincere quest for better health and what goes on in real life?
I’m lucky — I have celiac disease, which makes is easier for me to make healthy choices. No fast food, no junk food, very little processed food. It’s not hard to live a gluten-free lifestyle if you stick to whole, fresh food and learn the simple art of preparing it. I take that back, it’s not always simple to prepare a simple meal. But it’s fun to experiment and the essence of good cooking is starting with good ingredients.
I have learned that the most nourishing foods for me are also the tastiest and most pleasurable to cook with. Thankfully I’m not limited to what’s in the produce section at my local market. I have my farmer friends at Grant Family Farms who carefully grow, harvest and deliver produce that has transformed my cooking. It’s a privilege of which I am most grateful. Not only does this food assure my wellbeing, it also contributes to my value system.
Blah, blah, blah. How do I get off on these tangents? On to a summation of my detox/cleanse.
• To start with, I like feeling good, both physically and mentally, and a periodic cleanse is a perfect way to renew that commitment to myself. My wellbeing is my responsibility and I like to be reminded to take it seriously.
• Increased energy throughout the day. No energy slumps in the afternoon.
• Higher quality sleep, a lack of which is my downfall. After about 10 days of cleansing, my sleep quality gradually increases and now I’m sleeping a full eight or nine hours with maybe one brief stir during the night. Uninterrupted sleep is SO important to good health. Eliminating foods that interrupt that pattern and nourishing the body with foods that enhance rest and rejuvenation is part of my goal with this — and it works!
• My favorite jeans fit again. Yeah! Okay, so vanity does play a role here, but it’s not all about that. I lost 5 pounds and feel better about myself, but it’s also a lot easier to stand on your hands and do arm balances in yoga when you weigh less. In my case, I’m more likely to “work out” in ways that strengthen my bones and enhance my health if I lighten my load. I don’t like going to the gym and working out with weights, but I do understand the need for weight-bearing exercise. I use my own weight as my weights. Does that make sense? There’s a tipping point with what I’m able to “lift,” so losing a few pounds makes a big difference. My type of cleansing is a good way to lose weight in a healthy and lasting manner.
• My liver and its buddies (pancreas, gallbladder, intestines, etc.) are very happy.
• My skin is clear. I have DH (dermititis herpetiformis), which is the skin manifestation of celiac disease so my skin is sensitive to all kinds of things. Detoxing clears it up.
• No more carb cravings. None, honestly. I don’t care about sweets. Right now, anyway, which shows me how much they play a role in my biochemistry.
• This is a perfect time for me to play with some foods I think I might be sensitive to. I’ve in essence been on an elimination diet for almost 3 weeks, now I’ll slowly introduce a couple of foods I’m suspicious of and see how I do.
• I’m doing my own version of genetic nutritioneering, or modifying the expression of inherited traits. Cleansing gets me back on track with improving my genetic odds. Celiac disease is genetically predisposed as are some of the associated conditions that can go with it. I’ll spare you the details, but I have some autoimmune risks that I want to diminish and some age-related diseases I want to totally avoid.
• Whether you’re male or female, hormonal balance is key to good health and vitality. Cleansing helps normalize those ups and downs. With the right foods, your attitude improves and mood swings diminish. Plus, you age more gracefully. Detox, don’t botox.
• My hair looks healthier. Seriously, it even seems like it grew faster the past month.
• I have a tendency to have some joint and connective tissue aches and pains and food makes a huge difference in my range of motion. I’m more bendy, twisty and pain-free. It’s amazing.
• Bottom line? I feel healthy, revitalized and ready to take on my spring and summer outdoor activities. Plus, did I mention my favorite jeans fit again!
• It takes time and commitment to understand the mix of nutrients necessary to sustain your body while detoxing. My activity level required a little more protein than I was getting the first few days of my cleanse — I had to make adjustments.
• Occasional dizziness, irritability and a couple of mild headaches the first few days. Those are detox symptoms, but like I mentioned above with the protein, some of that is caused by low blood sugar, so I tweaked my meals accordingly.
• Not drinking enough water. I had to constantly remind myself to increase fluid intake.
• The detox tea (although it was herbal and contained no caffeine) made me restless and affected my sleep if I drank it in the evening.
• I ate only foods that I prepared and for some people, this can be too time consuming and difficult to figure out. Plus, it gets boring.
Symptoms and problems vary greatly depending on the general health of the person doing the cleanse. Consult your health care provider before embarking on a detox program. If you’re interested the progression of this series of posts, please refer to the following: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7.
Go forth and cleanse your body of icky things!
P.S. I took the above photo last summer on my 240 mile trek of the first half of the Colorado Trail.