Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here? - Day 20

Many of you are giving a lot of thought to what happens on Day 22. Maybe it depends on how you see this photo - is it a sunrise? Or a sunset?

Today is a good time to take an hour for yourself and consider what you’ve experienced during the course of this cleanse. Be honest: What was hard? What was easy? What was challenging? what was rewarding? How do you feel today? How does that compare with before you started the cleanse? What are you willing to change? What are you unwilling to give up?

Whatever you decide, know that you have mastered an essential aspect of your life, your health, and your overall well being: Your diet. You have proven to yourself that you have control over what you put in your body. You’ve shown that you can face temptation and overcome it. And you’ve taken charge of – and responsibility for – your choices. Isn’t that empowering?!

Chances are we'll all go back to certain aspects of our previous eating patterns. How far back you go is up to you. In the past, some cleansers went back to eating meat but didn't care for the taste and texture as much as they did before. Others started purchasing only organic or free range animal products and found them to be just fine. Some people continued to eat all their meaty favorites, just not as frequently. And many started incorporating more meatless meals into their weekly menus.

Try things on for size and see what works for you. Maybe you'll eat fish and poultry regularly but keep beef and pork to a minimum. Maybe you'll continue to use agave or stevia instead of sugar or other sugar substitutes. Perhaps you love real butter and want it back. Fine. But maybe you'll continue to use soy or almond milk instead of cow's milk. These are things you can test and tweak along the way. See how you feel after you eat some of those old favorites - you're more in touch with how food affects your body now; let its widsom guide you as you make your choices.

You don't have to make decisions right away - this is an evolutionary process. And there's no right or wrong; whatever you choose to do is up to you. It's all in your very capable hands.

Isn't it interesting how our choices seemed so limited when we started this cleanse? And now that we're almost done, we have more choices than when we began. That, my friends, is abundance at work! 

I'll post an account of what I did after my first cleanse in today's comment section. And I hope our veteran cleansers will share their stories as well – each one is unique and valuable. Vets, if you’re up for it, please tell us how you've handled Day 22 in the past.

And newbies (who have rocked the f#@% outta this cleanse, by the way!), please tell us how you intend to greet your Day 22. Let’s hear about your fears, your goals and your plans! All thoughts, comments, suggestions, and questions are welcome!

I hope every one of us has the chance to savor a beautiful, peaceful, restful Sunday!


  1. I looked at my first cleanse as a 21-day, temporary program in which I would clean out my system, lose a few pounds and go back to life as I knew it, eating SAD (Standard American Diet). But when I felt all of the positive effects of the cleanse I didn't want to give them up. So I adopted a diet that stays close to the cleanse format but allows for a few detours every once in a while…

    Meat – I went vegetarian after my first cleanse. I’m an ardent animal lover but there were countless times when I rationalized ordering lamb for dinner just a few hours after playing with the sheep at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I called all animals “friends”– I knew they didn’t feel the same about me. The issue poked at my conscience but I couldn’t figure out how get protein into my diet without consuming animal flesh. But by doing the cleanse I got my answer. And it was a no-brainer to stop eating my pals after the cleanse. Now when I call an animal “friend” I can look him or her in the eye and mean it. To me, that’s huge.

    Dairy – I grew up in Wisconsin so I’m a cheese girl all the way. But where I used to smother everything in the stuff, now it’s a rare treat. I buy only artisanal cheeses and trust the cheese monger at my Whole Foods to tell me about the farms where the cows, sheep and goats are the happiest. About 4 times a year I’ll have an omelet; on rare occasions I’ll have some ice cream. But for the most part it’s a dairy-free life with soy or almond products replacing all the animal stuff. When it comes to dairy products, I keep them to a minimum, paying close attention to my consumption level and where the product comes from.

    Caffeine – I went through withdrawal hell too. I became all the Cleanse Dwarves - Dopey, Crabby, Groggy, Yawny, Weepy, Sleepy, and Ugh. And there’s no way I’ll ever go through that again. So caffeine’s out, except for those extremely rare occasions when I want to hype myself up – usually when I’m preparing for a dinner party and realize I’ve started two hours too late. And then I hop up with regular green tea (which, I’m told, has far less caffeine than a regular cuppa joe).

    Sugar – This one’s a toughie – I loves me my sugar! And I still eat it, but not nearly as much as before. Every day I used show up at the vending machine to score my peanut M&Ms fix – I haven’t been there in over two years. For me, the trick is to make getting sugar as difficult as possible. So I don’t keep sweets in my house. If I need a fix I have to leave home to get it. And when I treat myself to something sweet, I get just what I need at that moment and nothing more. If I find myself jonesin’ again, I’ve gotta go back to get another fix. It's a total pain in the ass, but it works.

    Gluten – Gluten has stayed on the fringe of my diet. I don’t deny myself of favorites like curried mock duck (I have an incredible recipe for this if anyone’s interested), homemade bruschetta, an occasional bagel or a crispy pizza napoletana. And sometimes I’ll nibble on the goodies in a bread basket when I’m out at a restaurant. But I don’t seek it out. There’s not much gluten in my pantry and I don’t really miss it.

    Alcohol – I used to have an average of two glasses of wine at the end of the day; I’ve kicked that habit completely. I still drink; I just don’t do it as frequently. Maybe a glass of wine or two at a Friday happy hour or a glass with dinner on Saturday night, but that’s about it. I just feel better when I’m not drinking.

    I’m more actively engaged in how I approach my diet. I ask questions at the grocery store, the farmers’ market, and the restaurants I patronize. I’m not a nazi, but I do want to know what I’m consuming.

    I don’t look at any of the choices I’ve made as permanent – that’s a little too absolute for me. Everything could change tomorrow. All I know is that today I choose to be a vegetarian, today I choose to be caffeine free, and today I choose to take control over the things I consume. As Trish has said, today is all we have. One day at a time, right?

  2. I do no caffeine, little sugar, dairy or meat products (although I do return eggs and cheese for protein). I don't care one way or the other about gluten so I mostly stick to the GF stuff. Alcohol is returned, but my relationship to it has changed. It's a CHOICE, not just SOMTHING I DO...that ritual/habit thing.

    Thanks again, Ivy, for facilitating this cleanse and supporting eveyone every step of the way. It's remarkable, and I can truly say that cleansing has changed my life. I no longer want to commit homocide or suicide! (that's a joke)
    I feel so much better in so many ways.

    And by the way, try cheeseless nachos if that's your thing. REALLY, just make them like you normally would, top with chopped avocado and NO they are not as good as with cheese...but I can't stand any of the cheese substitutes, so I went for it! And they hit the spot!

  3. P. S. Use organic refried black or pinto beans...check the label for sugar...and some really great jalapenos and hot sauce, too.

  4. So here I am the changes are positive. The energy is unbelievable and the support I have received stupendous.In the beginnig I thought this was not something I could complete(I'm a great starter but not a great finisher). I think the only thing I will change is a little yogurt and some fish.
    Ivy, I found out from Maggie that you live in Mpls. I went to the U of M and have a lot of family in the area. I ran the Twin Cities Marathon two years ago ( If you can call my forward motion running)I would really like to not have people pass me and say I'm an inspiration. Why they put your age in plan site is beyond me. I did the Turtle Lake Tri this Aug and I was an inspiration in that one too but I finished. Maybe we can meet next time I'm in the Cities
    I want to thanks everyone for their support and suggestions

  5. Hey, Gang - Vicki has been having trouble posting on the blog so she asked me to add her two cent's worth.I'll let it speak for itself...

    As a fairly recent cancer survivor, I have wanted to adhere to Dr. Keith Block's anti-cancer diet. I have successfully completed the cleanse and feel great. I will be eating fish and eggs but have learned so much about alternative protein sources. I will intermix gluten free products with other breads , cereals and pastas. I will not go back to having coffee/caffeine which has been really tough. 1-2 glasses of wine a week will feel like such a splurge! The cleanse and all the info that went along with it has been invaluable. Thanks for all the recipes, postings, and comments!

  6. Jeannie - you are so wonderful! I am SO happy about all the positive effects cleansing has brought into your life! I know we'll be cleansing buddies until they take away our teeth. Ah, but even then we'll be slammin' down smoothies together! Thanks for the great nachos idea, too. I got hungry just reading your description!

    Trish - you ARE an inspiration! But not for the reasons the marathoners are telling you - you're a great storyteller and your stories are hysterical! I have loved reading your posts and hearing about your discoveries. And it's great to hear that you're going to continue on a path of more mindful eating than when we began. I would love to meet you face-to-face! I'll send you an email with my contact information and we can figure out how to meet!

    And Vicki, I wish it had been easier for you to post on the blog. But thanks for sharing some of your story today. I'm honored that you joined us and so glad to learn that you've had some good results. And I hope that your proactive stance on nutrition continues to serve you well and that your health is sustained and bolstered by your thoughtful approach to your diet. I believe the body is designed to heal itself - that's what it wants to do. As long as we get out of the way (meaning "stop clogging everything up with unhealthy food items"), it can do its work. If we give our bodies clean, natural foods that they can digest and utilize, our cells can work at their optimum levels. Pretty simple, I know, but I think there's some validity to it. Please keep us posted on how you're doing!

  7. Here's a post from Christine...

    I am a first-time cleanser....but haven't eaten red meats for years, drink soy or rice milk, love whole grains and salads, and have been alcohol-free for 5 years. BUT, the cleanse brought new insight that the cleanse way of eating eliminated food cravings and the mood swings that follow "normal" indulgences like birthday cake, ice cream, chocolate, pancakes, semolina pasta, queso and chips, italian bread and butter, etc. So, my plans for Day 22 and beyond: no sugar, no gluten, lots less cheese, lots more brown rice and veggies suppers. I may continue to eliminate meat altogether, but not fish. I really missed grilled salmon and plain yogourt the most...but grew to love my morning "gruel" of Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal with yellow raisins and walnuts, which kept me satisfied until 2 PM! Thank you again for all the hard work you put into the posts and recipies and for leading us into this new adventure.

    I will definitely do this again...I think it's an excellent program.