My Clean book is tattered, has food stains and wrinkled, bent pages; surely a good sign at the close of my first week on the cleanse. I must admit, I have spent more time at Whole Foods, in my kitchen, and doing research more than anything else this week, but am quite enjoying myself and learning a lot. The Clean website and online forum have proven invaluable, for recipes, tips and support.
My transition from the Elimination Diet (ED) into the full cleanse was smooth. I did six days on the ED, having a smoothie here and there to ease my way into the liquid meals.
Overall, after one week, these are my observations:
- I have come to love my morning smoothies. They are packed full of goodness and keep me full for longer than I thought they would. I usually put two or three different kinds of fruit (favorites are cantaloupe, papaya, mango, apples, blueberries), and two vegetables, most often kale or spinach and celery. I use unsweetened almond or coconut milk and coconut water, as well as ground flax seed and hemp protein powder. The options are endless! It is fun to experiment. Some new ingredients I’m playing with are chia seeds, maca powder and ginger.
- The Vitamix blender is AMAZING. Expensive but so worth it. Highly recommend it. Get one of those 20% coupons from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It’ll save you $100.
- Day 2, after my run, I was extremely light headed. Fellow cleansers in the forum advised to take it easy with the exercise the first week, add a little sea salt to my lunch, and make sure I’m fueled properly. I followed their advice and have been feeling good. Brown rice at lunch has been key for me.
- My favorite snacks are brown rice cakes with almond butter, cashews and almonds, raw veggies and hummus, and apples and pears. Herbal tea as well.
- My lunches are most often consisting of roasted organic chicken, brown rice or quinoa, black and kidney beans, veggies (favorites: asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, cucumber). I like to just throw everything in ‘jambalaya’ style with a little homemade dressing.
- When you’re eating a lot of vegetables, it forces you to branch out and try some new ones. We’re talking squash, cabbage, leeks, collard greens, watercress. I had to YouTube “how to cut a leek.” I actually had no idea what part of that vegetable I was supposed to eat.
- I have struggled with the soup recipes in the book, which are not the most appetizing in my opinion. Essentially the soups are just blended raw vegetables, often served cold, which just don’t go down easily. Through the online forum, I have found some great recipes for warm soups, so I’m excited to try them. On nights I work, I’ve found taking a smoothie similar to my morning recipe is the best solution, so I can drink it cold. (Microwaving is not allowed on the cleanse.)
- I haven’t had any issue with hunger. If I’m hungry, I have a snack, but only during the day. I’ve been disciplined keeping my twelve hour window at night. Dr. Junger’s video for re-thinking hunger pains is also useful.
- I am falling asleep right away at night and sleeping very soundly (aside from getting up to pee since I am so well hydrated). I am feeling a little more energized when I wake up too, not as groggy as I did before.
- The biggest change I have noticed so far is simply feeling more clear headed, motivated and productive. I hope this continues.
- Some of the foods that I really thought I would crave, like cheese, eggs, peanut butter and bread, I have not craved at all. They sound quite ‘heavy’ to me at the moment.
- The allergies I’m trying to get to the bottom of are still evident, despite cutting out dairy, gluten, soy, eggs etc., which is what I thought might be the cause. I’m journaling everything and am now suspicious of avocado and mango. (Say it ain’t so!)
- On Saturday, I went to a concert with friends, which I knew was going to be a challenge. An outdoor concert without a beer in hand just feels wrong! My sweet boyfriend bought me some gluten free beer, so I had one, and drank water the rest of the night. I still had fun and I’m not going to beat myself up over one gluten free beer. I do however, look forward to incorporating red wine and beer back into my diet for my social life’s sake
- I have definitely had moments of, “how am I going to do this for 21 days?” (ie: the food in the VIP tent at the concert), but for the most part, I’m not battling with myself as much as I thought I’d be. I am strong willed and I just give myself a pep talk if I’m having a moment of weakness. Three weeks of my life is not a long time in the grand scheme. My body feels better every day and staying focused on that is key.
So there you have it. Week one complete. I look forward to moving into Weeks two and three. I am getting comfortable, getting used to the Clean routine and I can see that my relationship with food is changing. I am definitely gaining more awareness about how certain foods make me feel physically and otherwise. These are things I will carry with me long after this cleanse is finished. I look forward to trying out some new recipes this week and getting back into yoga.