Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 21 - We Did It!

Congratulations on 21 days well spent!

I hope this day finds everyone feeling refreshed and energized and really proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Many of you have shed some pounds, most of you have said you’ve felt more energetic and have been sleeping better than usual. And I think we’ve all realized that we don’t necessarily need those habits, behaviors, foods and beverages we’ve clung to as much as we thought we did before this process began. In my opinion, that’s the most important lesson to take away from this cleanse – that food doesn’t control us and that how we approach it is a choice.

Many of you have said you felt empowered by doing the cleanse. What a potent word that is! And accurate! We accepted a challenge, faced it, worked our way through it, and completed it. For that alone, let’s be proud. But we’ve also learned that by simply modifying our diets for a short period of time we can restore balance in our bodies and create a chain reaction of wellness in every aspect of our lives.

The body is so grateful and responsive when we do what it needs. Good health doesn’t just happen – the more active role we take in our own well-being the better off we’ll be. You’ve all proven that in just three weeks. And that’s incredibly empowering!

This process is so opposite of the mainstream way of approaching food. And it can be daunting and isolating. So I thank you all for agreeing to do this together. Knowing that we were all out there “together” and facing the same issues and challenges was a great comfort to me – I hope it helped all of you too.

And now, we ease our way back into the real world, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Some of you have said you’re going to look at food differently from now on and give greater consideration to your choices. That’s perfect! As we’ve said many times now, this is about being aware and mindful; giving consideration to what’s in a food and how it got to your plate.

Anyone have any thoughts about going forward? Anybody gonna splurge tomorrow? And I wonder - would any of you consider doing this again? All answers are welcome, so let it all hang out!

Well, here’s to the last day of purity together! I am so grateful that you all have become my healthiest friends! Thank you for your courage, your determination, your humor, and your support! I know I couldn't have done this without you! I hope to see you next time!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 20 - Why We Do It

For centuries shamans have been going into the wilderness on vision quests. And now that we've got only two more days to go I'm starting to see some visions of my own - pizza napoletana, crusty bread and manchego, and a snappy red zinfandel, to name a few. 

But the truth is, after I've finished cleansing I approach food with more awareness and care than I did before I started. And each time I walk away with a little more wisdom that helps me make better choices about food during my non-cleansing life.

Cleansing is an ongoing learning process with cumulative results. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back - there's always room for improvement. I can buy more organic foods and seek out more local suppliers, I can experiment with more recipes and raw foods, I can drink more water and incorporate more good habits into my life. And all of that seems more easily accomplished during the cleansing process, probably due to the added discipline that we require of ourselves during that time. So I look forward to cleansing, not only for the physical benefits, but for the chance to improve other aspects of my life at the same time.

During this cleanse I was more social than I've been before. And it felt natural and easy to be alcohol-free in social settings and everything-else-free in restaurants and at parties. I also committed to waking up at 5:00 every morning to work out and put this blog together. So I added some new positive behaviors to my daily routine; at the same time, I simply enjoyed feeling alert and aware and healthy. What could be better than that?!

How about you? For the first-timers, is this a one-time deal for you? Or will you do it again? What would you do differently if you did it again? And for the veteran cleansers - why do you keep coming back? How does the experience change for you each time? Let's hear your thoughts!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 19 - Cleansing the Closet

During a previous cleanse our veteran cleansing buddy Kathleen sent this email out to everyone:

"Anyone up for a challenge to take a bag of things to Goodwill, ARC, or wherever else you donate before the cleanse is done? For me a good cleanse includes cleansing my space as well as my body. I started to go through my closet last night and put a few things in a bag to donate and I already feel lighter."

What a great idea! It's the perfect time to transition our closets from winter to summer - to pare things down and lighten the load. So take a look at your closet and see what can stay and what can go. Be honest - if you haven't worn something in a year, let it go. And if you're saving things you never wear for sentimental reasons, maybe you can put them into storage. Try to give your closet a little breathing room. Because, as Kathleen said, you'll feel lighter once you clean up the clutter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 18 - What's Goin' On?

By now we can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel and we're all pro cleansers. So, how are you feeling? Any pounds disappearing? Any discoveries? How are you sleeping? Any new favorite foods or recipes? Tips on how to make life easier and eat heatlhier at the same time? How's life? Please check in and let us know!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 17 - I Cheated

During a previous cleanse I met some friends for lunch one Sunday at a spot that serves all sorts of vegan dishes. So there I was, eating my tofu scramble, vegan sausage and hashbrowns when it dawned on me that the vegan sausage probably contained gluten and the hashbrowns may very well have been cooked in butter. But, as Kathy Freston suggests in "The Quantum Wellness Cleanse," I decided to let it go. And you know what? It was really good - and a terrific alternative to a traditional egg breakfast. It was a great discovery.

But then, Mark, my husband who NEVER orders dessert, got three huge cookies for the table to share. And I figured that since I'd already eaten some gluten I might as well let it all go. So I had a bite of the oatmeal raisin cookie with icing. YES! I DID IT! I DELIBERATELY CHEATED!

Maybe it was because I was eating emotionally – I’d been feeling a little down earlier. Maybe it was because I’ve never cheated before and I wanted to know what it felt like. Maybe I just wanted a bite of the damned cookie.

Well, I only had one bite. And I felt guilty about it -  for about a minute. And then I went back to cleansing from that moment on.

I stepped out on that ledge and took the dive, but I popped back up on the surface. It was a minute-long detour in a 21-day program. And I'm not going to call myself a failure because of that.

Yeah, maybe you've lost some respect for me. And maybe you think my cleanse cheerleader pep talks are bullshit. That's fine. I guess I might, too. But I learned a great lesson by doing what I did: That food doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition; that a teeny bit of something can be satisfying enough - there's no need to eat the whole thing; and that one or two bites of a taboo food doesn't spell the end of the world. You just have to dust yourself off and start over again.

Our cleanse buddy Jenny says that every day and every moment is an opportunity to turn back in the right direction – for both the small and the large detours. So that's what I'm did – I turned back and started over.

And I learned that no cookie (or any other food) is going to make me feel better about - anything. But spending time with my friends and hearing from my cleanse pals later that day was more satisfying than anything I could have put in my mouth. 

Each time I cleanse I learn something new. I guess that's why I'm still so enthused about the process. I hope you feel the same way!

Have a great Day 17!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 16 - Dining Out

It’s difficult enough cleansing on your regular schedule. And chances are many of you are curbing some of your social activities just to make things a little easier. But you can’t live your life in a controlled environment – the reality is you’re going to have to learn to eat mindfully in the real world. At first you’ll probably spend most of your time and energy sidestepping all the landmines out there, but once you get your balance you can skip through it gracefully and have a good time doing it. And that means you’ll be able to do it whenever you choose – not only while you’re cleansing.

The first thing to remember about any event is – it’s usually not about the food. Let’s say that again – it’s not about the food. Instead, it’s about the people you’re with – your mate, your friends, your family, your colleagues. So concentrate on the people around you – and because you’ll be alcohol free and less focused on food you’ll be able to concentrate on what your companions are saying; you’ll be more engaged. You might just have a better, more productive time than you would have had otherwise.

When you’re headed to a restaurant it’s fairly easy to check most menus online and devise an eating strategy long before you get there. That way you won’t have to agonize over the menu while everyone else is watching. If you can’t find the menu online, call ahead and ask about finding something that will accommodate your needs. Most restaurants are very amenable to working with you to provide you a delicious, cleanse-worthy alternative. And if your destination isn’t able to help you, just fix yourself a hearty protein smoothie before you head out for dinner. That way you won’t feel hungry or deprived when you’re forced to order a dinner salad with no dressing.

I know most of you have sophisticated palates and take your dining seriously. However, this article from The Healthy Voyager calls out some national restaurant chains that have great healthy items or alternatives on their menus. Even if you don't patronize these particular restaurants, this article might spark your imagination about how to navigate a challenging menu.

For events that feature a pre-planned menu, you’ll have to be a little more creative. But you can usually expect a salad, and vegetables with the entrĂ©e. If you can, have a smoothie beforehand; if not, drink water to curb your hunger and then work with what you have. But chances are you can ask for extra vegetables or an additional salad so you won’t go hungry.

No matter what the case, when you’re cleansing it’s good to have some nuts or gluten-free crackers in your purse, pocket or desk drawer. Come to think of it, it’s good even when you’re not cleansing – keeping healthy snack alternatives on hand can keep you from making choices you might regret later on.

Here's to a smooth Day 16!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 15 - I Believe

You may be finding yourself feeling a little bored, a little antsy, and a lot ready to be done with this experiment. That’s not uncommon – the initial discovery phase has waned, you’ve made it through two full weeks and now your freedom is just seven seemingly endless days away. But remember that it takes 21 days to learn new habits so there’s a reason we’re still at it.

Why not make this last week something special? Try some new recipes, give yourself a reward, make a plan for what you’ll do after the cleanse is over. And know that this is temporary – if the cleanse feels a bit like a prison right now, know that you’re going to be paroled very soon. Hang in there – you’ve come so far!

I found a greeting card one day when I was slightly down in the dumps. Now it's on my desk. I just read it this morning and thought about how it applies to all of us. We're two-thirds of the way done with the cleanse, and that's a fantastic accomplishment! Here’s the card…

I believe in mind over matter.

I believe in the human spirit to prevail.

I believe in miracles and blessings, both great and small.

I believe in possibilities.

I believe that hurdles in life are meant to be jumped over, not as something to stop us.

I believe in you.

Be proud of what you have accomplished and have a wonderful Day 15!

“I believe” by Brian Burns and George Harris/Card by Recycled Paper Greetings

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 14 - Drama

One of my favorite things about cleansing is that there’s nothing fueling my emotions. I know that what I’m feeling is real. It’s not blurred by alcohol, which is a great drama driver that makes me tired, crabby and headachy in the morning. My emotions are not propelled by sugar, which makes me completely bipolar – I get totally fired up after I eat it and then completely crash after my body has used it up. And I'm not crazed by caffeine, which just makes me plum loco – zippy to the point of being panicky and paranoid. Now I face issues with clarity instead of clouding them with chemicals. And that makes them much easier to deal with.

  When you think about it, drama serves no productive purpose. It’s a waste of time and energy. Drama is useful only if you want to play the victim, wallow in a problem, or be the center of negative attention. But no matter your reason, when you stay in the drama you’re part of the problem.

By doing this cleanse you’ve chosen to be part of the solution. You’re empowering yourself by making healthy nutrition choices which are enhancing your overall well-being. You’re more awake and alert, you’re seeing things with clarity and experiencing them with a level head. And you’re probably feeling more energetic than you have in a while. Now you can direct that positive energy toward being part of the solution when dramas arise.

When an issue arises with your mate, your kids, your coworkers or anyone else, pay attention to how you react. Now that you’re leveling out the chemicals in your body you’ll be more able to think it through, resist from escalating the situation, and focus on becoming part of the solution. And your peaceful disposition will probably set a good example for everyone around you.

We’re already traveling lighter by doing this cleanse – our bodies feel it on a cellular level. Now we can lighten the load on an emotional level. Drama is too heavy – it’s excess weight we don’t need to carry. So here’s to dropping the drama today!