Cleanse it to Wins It — Day 6

Apr 19, 2012 by

Hello, friends.  I am cleansing.

I would like to tell you I have spent the last six days meditating and turning my desire for bad foods into positive energy, but mostly I have spent the last six days working like a crazy person and daydreaming about fried things.  I’m doing a much more intensive cleanse than the one I did before the wedding, which was essentially just cutting out a few foods like cheese and white bread, and taking Skinnygirl Green Tea cleanse packets twice a day.  While that was pretty great for the wedding and all, the main thing it achieved was to rid me of water weight, which of course came screaming back as soon as the packets ran out and I started eating like my normal self again.

The cleanse I am currently enduring is called The Clean Program, and it is based on this book:

The reason I picked up this book in the airport coming home from Louisiana two weeks ago was because the first lines of the first testimonial on the first page caught my attention and hit annoyingly close to home:

I always thought I lived a fairly healthy lifestyle, but then I think as it is with a lot of people, one situation started me down the slippery slope to bad habits.  The outcome was chronic insomnia, dull and puffy skin, a few extra pounds, headaches, and more colds.  I had absolutely no energy or lust for life, and a terrible sweet tooth to boot. — Sally-Ann Webb, 47

Now, I don’t identify with her lack of lust for life, but boy-howdy, do I ever have a sweet tooth.  And puffy skin, extra pounds, trouble sleeping — all me.  Part of the trouble is that I have taken on several new clients with my fledgling New Media Business and I’m now doing some phone consulting as well, which means I’m working nonstop all day, which means I haven’t been writing, which means I’m stressed about how much I’m working and how little I’m writing.  It’s all good news and I’m glad that the exciting business I didn’t really intend to start is picking up steam, but I haven’t yet figured out how to juggle it all.  The result is that sometimes I don’t take even 10 minutes to shower, much less do yoga or go for a walk, or cook myself a healthful meal.  I had been feeling bloated and heavy and not quite at home in my body for about a month or so, since I got back from my last Chicago trip, and I knew it was time for another cleanse.  One that might be a real kick-in-the-pants metabolism restart this time, instead of an easy quick fix without lasting results.  And when I read Dr. Junger’s book, I knew I had found my answer.

In case you’re wondering what the Clean Program entails, here is a chart I made that I keep in my purse, on my bulletin board, and on the refrigerator.

Notice all the delicious things are on the right.

You might notice that most of the foods that make life worth living are in the “NO” column.  Essentially, I am to avoid: gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, soy, and most animals.  Which means no milk, no coffee, no bread, no eggs, no prepackaged veggie burgers, and even no corn, potatoes, strawberries, or bananas.  The rationale behind all this is complex, but part of it is to eliminate any potential common allergens from your system, such as peanuts, and irritants, such as caffeine.  The overarching goal is restore all your intestinal flora (bacteria) to their natural state, so they can process your food as they were meant to.  We do live in a toxic world, and I haven’t been helping my body by eating crap lately and not exercising.  So it feels nice to know that everything I’m putting into my system right now is good for it, instead of trying to eat some veggies and fruits to “make up for” the sugar and cheese and coffee.  There is nothing to balance out.  For the last six days, it’s been all good.

In addition to the food restrictions, the “Elimination Diet,” there are some daily practices that complete the Clean Program.

  • Eat only one solid meal a day (preferably lunch).  The other two meals should be smoothies or soups.
  • Drink a lot of filtered water, as much as twice the daily recommended amount.
  • Allow 12 hours to pass between dinner and breakfast, so your body can completely digest the day’s food.
  • Snack between meals on raw fruits and vegetables, and a few nuts.
  • Take a supplement or two as needed (I’m taking garlic and fiber supplements)
  • Meditate and exercise daily.

Did I mention that there is nothing gradual about the three weeks of this cleanse?  You don’t get to add back in any more stuff as time goes on.  It’s all in, from day 1 to day 21.

CLEAN is — I can testify — INTENSE.

It has not been as miraculous as I had hoped.  I mean, I did not wake up on Day Two 20lbs lighter, as I had planned to.  But I haven’t completely followed to program to the letter in an important way — with the except of one two-mile walk, I haven’t been very active.  I’m also not drinking filtered water.  But I can already tell that my body is going through a some positive changes, and that keeps me going.

  1. My clothes are feeling looser.  Always a good thing.
  2. My mind craves crap, but my body doesn’t.  I want bad foods the same way I want a new dress or a new purse.  One of the things that really stuck out to me in reading the CLEAN book was the phrase “You are what you eat, but also, you eat what you are.”  This basically means that if you’re craving sugar and bread, that’s probably the majority of what you’ve been eating and what’s kicking around in your body.  Not good, in my case.
  3. I’m never starving.  I will admit that I haven’t been very good about making sure to eat three meals a day.  I’ve been averaging about two, with a lot of raw snacks and a BUTT-TON of hummus in between.  But one thing I learned from reading the book (that echoes Naturally Thin, come to think of it) is to take some time with my hunger and suss out what it really is.  Where is the feeling located — my stomach or my brain?  Is it actually boredom or anxiety, and I think if I eat something right away I can dull those nervous feelings?  Most of the time now when I think I’m hungry, after a few moments of questioning this way I realize I’m feeling something else entirely.  So I have a cup of tea (not chai — dammit) and go on with my day.

But just because I’m not starving doesn’t mean I’m not craving crappy foods.  I feel pseudo-pregnant, the way my moods shift and I have very specific food desires.

Ah, happier times.

To wit, here is how the first six days have gone:

  • Day One : Feeling good, pretty hungry, but it’s okay.  Really really want a Cadbury Egg.  Feel true defeat at the supermarket and wish for the billionth time we lived anywhere near a Whole Foods.
  • Day Two : Still hungry, headachy, and OMGWTF my skin is breaking out?  I mean, they said that might happen, but crap!  Have some fish with olive oil and wish like anything it were butter.  I just want some butter.  Is that wrong?
  • Day Three : Energy TANKS.  Wake up with a headache that doesn’t go away all day.  Shuffle around limply.  Go to happy hour at a restaurant in Bristol with Miles and some friends and feel very stabby watching people eat wings and drink beer.  Order a flatbread veggie pizza with no cheese or sauce and eat only the veggies.  Fantasize about a big, fluffy biscuit, preferably from Popeye’s.  Again, butter.
  • Day Four : Skin clearing up, thank Jeebus.  Also have more energy than yesterday.  No headache today, which is great.  Take a long walk to the Post Office to mail our taxes.  Want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread — hell, I’d take wheat bread! — like nobody’s business.  Ate some pasture-raised, grass-fed lamb for dinner and felt amazing.
  • Day Five : Hardly feel hungry at all, all day.  Energy back to normal.  Realize that my go-to foods are now avocado (cheese of the veggie world), hummus (bread of the bean world), and pineapple (Cadbury Egg of the fruit world).  Despite not feeling physically hungry, daydream all day about pizza.
  • Day Six : Drinking a lot of herbal tea, and looking forward to some Indian coconut curry soup and pastured, organic chicken tonight.  Noticed a change in the mirror for the first time while brushing my teeth this morning, around my middle section.  Feeling really cleaned out, really light.  Craving portobello mushrooms?  Which is good, but preferably fried and stuffed with cheese, which is bad.

So, that’s it.  That’s how it’s going.

Tomorrow I’m going on a short 4-hour road trip for work without the benefit of any coffee, and then I’m making the same uncaffeinated trip back  on Saturday.  Midway through week three of the cleanse, I’ll be heading to Chicago for previews/opening of my new play DEVOUR, and then immediately on to NYC for business meetings and a reading of another new play.  Life does not slow down ever, which is why the daily meditation bit of the program has kind of fallen by the wayside.

I guess what I’m saying is, even though I feel pretty good today, please pray I don’t cut someone for a cupcake.

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