The word “cleanse” has always irked me.
garlic caesar dressing
It brings to mind starvation diets, juice fasts and unnecessary deprivation. Our bodies are pretty high-tech; shouldn’t they know how to regulate us properly? Shouldn’t they be able to discern “toxins” from “nutrients,” and pump the bad stuff out while holding on to the good?
bieler’s broth with quinoa
My thoughts have shifted slightly since constant my GI discomfort (you can read the most recent update here). I tried eliminating dairy, and while it seemed to help for awhile, it didn’t last. I even tried veganism for 7 months and while I (sometimes) made more healthful choices, the tummy turmoil remained.
kale salad with a kick
When Holly reached out to me about reviewing The Conscious Cleanse, I was intrigued. The plan focuses on eating good, simple food. There are no mandatory juice fasts. Instead, the “cleanse” focuses on potential food allergies. Could ADHD, anxity, IBS, fatigue, and skin rashes (a personal demon of mine) be caused by some of the common foods we eat? Could I learn more about what makes my body function (the cleanse’s creators emphasize that everyone is different, and what works for some might not for others)? And- here’s the biggie- could going without gluten (one of the program’s “no no foods”) make my stomach feel better? I was excited to find out.
brown rice porridge
There’s a kind of Facebook group support group for people to share their experiences and struggles. There are weekly calls with the cleanse creators. There are daily emails with words of encouragement and wisdom, like how to go out to eat or pack a day’s worth of meals and snacks to go.
I’m on Day 2 of the cleanse, and so far, so good! You can look at the above photos to see how good the food is. I’m excited to have some new dishes in my repertoire! The cleanse actually started on January 13, but I was on the cruise. It would have been impossible to follow the guidelines while I was on the ship, but it was during this time that things were the worst I can remember, stomach-wise. So I stopped drinking coffee, and stopped eating wheat. I still ate rice (our boat actually had really good sushi!), and alternative grains like buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth make up a lot of the recipes in the Conscious Cleanse handbook.
raw apple walnut porridge
So how am I feeling without dairy, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and gluten, among other things? The biggest change I’ve noticed so far is that I’ve gone three days without feeling like I have to run to the bathroom. Three days without stomach cramps. Three days without trying to replay all that I ate and figure out what made me feel bad.
The most important thing I’ve found is that planning is key. But isn’t that true with normal life, too? When I plan out recipes to make and go to the grocery store with a list, I’m less likely to order take-out after a long day or binge on cookies when I’m bored. Make things in bulk, and make them in advance.
I’ll update you as I continue with the cleanse these next two weeks. Of course I will still be going to my GI doctor (this week! is it weird that I’m excited for that?) and pay attention to what my body tells me. I will make sure I’m eating enough, and enough of a variety, and getting all my nutrients. Again, for me, this is not about deprivation, but about learning.
What do you think about “cleanses”? Have you ever tried one?