And just like that, I’m done with the cleanse!
*cue fan fare*
Wow, I learned a lot. I did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. But who’s perfect, anyway? Certainly not me. I may be a Health Coach, but I am on a health and wellness journey just like everybody else and perfection, especially in health and wellness, is not possible. What is possible? Balance. Feeling good without being perfect. That’s possible.
It’s difficult to grabble with the imperfect mindset in the midst of an intense detox, which is all about sticking to “the plan”. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted to quit a couple of different times and eat an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips or order pizza and drink beer. But I didn’t. Instead I asked myself: “why do I want to quit?” And in both instances it was to eat my feelings; to forget about why I had an emotional or bad day. This is my go-to bad habit and always has been since I was the new girl in my third grade class coping with a tragic death in my family in addition to moving 12 hours away. It was a lot to deal with as a 7 year old. So, I turned to food. Bread, in particular. And that’s been my pattern for the past 20 years.
I mean, I’m not a little butterball anymore:
Instead of caving and satisfying my cravings, I (begrudgingly) made myself a dinner (it always happens around dinner-time, interesting to note) that I thought would satisfy the craving I was having in a healthy, clean way. That I am familiar with, but not with as many restrictions as I was on with the elimination diet. But I made it work! And guess what? I felt satisfied and proud of myself. Win-win.
What else went wrong? Well, I’m pretty sure while being out and about a couple of times I accidentally had sugar. I had the famed Unicorn Latte at THE END in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and it most definitely had honey in it because I felt extremely buzzed and I thought it was the E3 live, a nutrient-dense blue green algae, but then I realized that it felt like a sugar high. Oops. I was really mad at myself, but you know what, sh*t happens and I moved on.
I also didn’t plan well for some long days at work and some outings with friends and instead of packing food I could eat to tide me over until I could cook at home, I didn’t eat. That’s not okay either. There were a couple of days that I didn’t have lunch and I felt so freakin’ hangry (hungry and angry aka my favorite word) and annoyed with myself. “Who am I? A Health Coach who doesn’t meal prep properly and doesn’t come prepared?!” . Again, no use in trying to be perfect because we all have flaws, and one of mine is that I sometimes neglect planning ahead and like to live spontaneously which usually works out just fine, but on a cleanse, it clearly does not. This lead to a desperate Anne searching for something to eat off a random subway stop on the Upper East Side. I luckily found some baby carrots, hummus and green juice. I survived! Side-note: this is never a cheap situation to be in. I think I paid $15 for the hummus, carrots and green juice. UGH. Not worth it. Lesson learned.
I only dealt with a few days where I felt like crap, had a headache and was going through withdrawal. The second week was pretty much a breeze in terms of cleanse symptoms which was great. I will say that one symptom that is bewildering to me is my gassy-ness. Sorry, TMI, but we’re talking about digestive cleansing, farts are going to come up. I started to become really gassy by the third day and it’s ranged from fine to horrible for the rest of the cleanse. I can’t really pinpoint exactly why, other than the major increase in veggies in smoothie and juice form, which is difficult for your intestines and bowels to break down because of the massive, quick, rush of nutrients and the temperature, hence the gas. That’s definitely a thing, so I tried to back off the delicious avocado smoothies and came up with the most delicious PB&J Chia Porridge recipe because of it.
Before the cleanse I was experiencing a lot of gas and bloating and thought it was because I wrecked havoc on my digestive system by eating pizza and cheese just a little too much for the past month, but now I’m not so sure. I was also curious about eggs, so we’ll see how the re-introduction phase goes.
Wow, I’m a horrible salesman. I’m talking about all of the problems I had. What went well? Many things!
- Clearer skin
- Increased clarity and conciousness
- Regular bowel movements
- Satisfied longer
- Hair is softer
- Eyes are vibrant, not bloodshot
- I feel lighter
- SO much more energy
- Experiencing almost no cravings
- Increased yoga and meditation practice, because I felt like it!
- Tried making new things: Chia Porridge, Sweet Potato Toast and homemade Golden Milk and Matcha Lattes!
- I discovered new places like Pressed Juicery Freeze, aka ice cream without sugar or dairy, Hu Kitchen and Bluestone Lane Coffee with plenty of clean options!
I am very glad I did this cleanse for numerous reasons, but mainly because I kept a promise that I made to myself. It was incredible practice in self-love and self-care. I realized how personal cleansing can be, and how close you become to your body, senses, mind and intuition. Because you’re eliminating common dietary irritants that cause inflammation, your body is working harder to detox all your systems of toxins and irritants. When your body is rid of all that crap, you’re left with a more conscious version of yourself. And it can be painful, but it can also be fun. Getting a front row seat to my body’s innate healing abilities made me really appreciate all of the hard work it was doing. I was amazed. The body will get well on it’s own, if we let it. And I let it. And it brought me closer to myself.
I’ve now been elimination-diet free for one day and I want to go back! I seriously messed up today and reintroduced coffee and sugar. I didn’t think it was a big deal to have a small cup of coffee and a little bit of granola sweetened with coconut sugar (low glycemic index) but it was clearly not a good idea because I’ve been in bed for the past 5 hours. My heart began to race, I got a terrible headache and I felt nauseous which induced a small anxiety attack. Wow, right? On one hand, I’m glad I got rid of a lot of inflammation and cravings caused, and related to sugar, but now I have no tolerance to it. I felt like I had a very, very bad high.
Lesson learned; do not reintroduced two YIN foods at once after an elimination diet. What I should have done was a yin food, coffee, and a yang food, eggs. Yin and Yang, aka a yin-yang, is a macrobiotic dietary tool that helps establish balance in your diet and lifestyle. Pairing yin (energetic) and yang (grounding) foods together should help maintain a sense of balance in the body and in your mind. I actually didn’t grasp this concept until today thanks to this experience. So, that’s another plus I guess! Now I know what to tell people NOT to do! Ah, the sacrifices of finding your bio-individuality.
Tomorrow I will probably go back to matcha and try to reintroduce eggs. We’ll see how that goes. Given today’s experience, I’m going to continue to leave sugar out of my diet for the time being because I feel better without it. I never thought I’d say that. I also never thought I’d be comfortable in my own skin so, you just never know.
Be well, friends.
Until next time.
Sugar Free PB&J Chia Porridge
- 5 tablespoons Chia Seeds
- 1/2 cup culinary full-fat coconut milk + 2 tablespoons
- Handful of blueberries
- 1 date, pitted
- 2-3 figs, halved
- Dash of cinnamon & nutmeg
- Dollop of nut butter
- Whatever toppings you’d like. I used unsweetened coconut shreds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds. Other ideas: dairy-free yogurt, nuts, banana, more fruit.
Directions: Warm up the milk over medium heat until it’s bubbling. Add chia seeds slowly, stir consistently. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the additional milk and bring back to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Add blueberries, figs and date. Stir consistently for about 4 minutes until the porridge is thick and tinted from the blueberries. The blueberries act as the “jelly” so you want them to liquify to get all the natural sugars out! Pour into a bowl, add peanut butter and your choice of toppings!