A Cleanse Finale

Last day of cleanse! In many ways it was much easier than I expected. In others, harder. Overall, it was definitely beneficial and many of the habits I have formed, I will continue.

Like green juices in the morning. Lovin me my morning veggie juice! A huge pile of whatever I have in the fridge- kale, spinach, carrots, beets, celery, parsley, peppers, radishes- and a large glass of nutrients downed that I would NEVER have had otherwise. There is just no way I could eat that many vegetables, or be inspired to.

Two bonus benefits of juicing are 1. Brennyn thinks it’s hilarious to ‘steal’ mommy’s juice so she too has been enjoying some added veggie delight. Kaya- not so much.

2. There is absolutely no waste anymore. I don’t know about you, but I could never finish a thing of celery before it went bad. Or lettuce or even broccoli (especially their stems). Now, the first sign of it getting old and it’s tossed in the juicer. Love it!

Along with juicing, this cleanse guided me in the multitude of ways to enjoy veggies. I thought I would be eating salad, after salad, after salad, and I did actually, but the salads were so varied and diverse that it didn’t feel repetitious at all. Here’s an idea of my daily eats:

(Most recipes found online at allrecipes or here or by googling, or by modifying from my own recipe books (instead of cream, using almond or coconut milk for example)

  • raw veg with hummus (or lemon white bean dip or edamame dip…)
  • nori rolls
  • rice bowls with shredded veg mix
  • stir fry’s with brown rice or rice noodles
  • quinoa salads
  • lentil quinoa spinach soup
  • pesto with gluten-free pasta
  • baked tofu & asian salad
  • moroccan stew
  • black bean burgers topped with guacamole and yam fries
  • Indian korma
  • veggie chili

Many of these were accompanied by big salads. I mixed these up by adding things I normally don’t (radishes-thought I didn’t like them but yum!- and beets or different nuts, seeds and/or dried fruit) and switched up the dressings all of which were super simple and delish.

By far the biggest challenge of the cleanse was no coffee. I made it two weeks and then it turned nasty and cold out and all I could think about (obsess about) was coffee, so I caved. Once I caved once, I caved again. And again. In the last week, I had one coffee a day four out of the seven days.

This, though totally cheating, did help in the meditation part of the cleanse. With no coffee in me, my attempted meditation times were filled with coffee daydreams. With one coffee in my system, I managed some true moments of a calm mind. Yay!

The exercise part of the cleanse was a no-go. The first week was seriously impossible. After that, the weather turned nasty and I wasn’t about to go for a run in -20 weather. Oh, okay, yes, I could have turned on Jillian Michaels. I should have. But I did not. I feel like sticking out my tongue and spitting now…

Despite that, eating all those vegetables did increase my energy. Dinners were easy because most everything was what I would normally eat. However, having the juice and then a whole lot of veggie goodness for lunch transformed my energy levels in the daytime. Not only do I have more physical energy, but my creative energy has been soaring. So many ideas, thoughts, plans, writings, and readings in the works. So much so, that there has just been so much going on that I’m having a hard time focusing on one thing. Right now I have got two novels, a biography, a spiritual book and a kids book on the go. I am immersing myself in three writing projects I want to explore. It is time now, to slow down and focus (always something to work and improve on in life isn’t there?!)

Okay, how else did I cheat?

  • I did not go out and buy vegan soy sauce.
  • I used yogurt in a couple smoothies
  • I had milk in my coffee (though a couple times I did also use almond milk which was good.)
  • I made corn muffins with the veggie chili for the fam but could not resist having one myself.
  • Bailey’s and coffee at the City and Colour concert (it was that or wine and it was coooolllddd so went with the hot + alcohol!)

Maybe kinda-sorta cheats:

  • Larabars. First off, YUM! Second off, I don’t think this is really a cheat since it’s dates, nuts, unsweetened cocoa and unsweetened coconut only but it’s not the raw veg that I probably should have been eating!
  • One Lindt 75% cocoa bar over the course of 2 weeks. One or two squares at night as opposed to the one chocolate bar (or cookie or bar or cake or donut) nightly, that December saw.
  • Probably more soups and cooking the vegetables than the cleanse would like (instead of raw) but hey, I was LOADING those dishes up with veggies.

Did I miss stuff? Coffee, obviously. Wine, occasionally.

Like Tuesday nights watching Parenthood. I kid you not, there had not been one episode that I hadn’t got all teary (if not full-out blubbering) at but the last two episodes, during the cleanse, with NO WINE, not a tear shed. Coincidence? Don’t worry, I will test this out this week by having a wine in hand. If I do cry, well, I will continue with my Tuesday winetherapy thank you very much!

We had friends over one night and there was wine and cake, both of which felt horribly awkward not to participate in.

Meat, I didn’t miss terribly, though I am craving a chicken pot pie. A couple of years ago, I started, unofficially, doing one night a week as no meat. This quickly turned to at least two nights a week. Now, I think I can quite easily transition my family to 4 nights meatless after seeing, and eating all the delicious vegan meals out there.

I thought no cheese would affect me more than it did. What I learned though, is a flavourful hummus or spread with veggies makes a far superior sandwich than cheese and mayo with veggies. Having said that, I will be enjoying a cheesy casserole at some point this week!

So yah, that was my cleanse. More a lifestyle transition than diet. Rather than fasting (although that is an option one day a week on the cleanse that I did not partake in!), starving, eating strange foods or limited to one or two ingredients, this cleanse introduced me to new recipes, alternate choices, and woke me up to the fact that I need to take better care of myself for 3 meals a day instead of just the dinner.

Looking forward, I expect I will be drinking coffee and wine, but also green juice. I will be eating meat and dairy, though much less than before. I will begin running again, with water and Larabars by my side. Oh, and I see a certain local BBQ pulled pork in my near future too…Mmmmmm

Yeses and Cleanses

My sister-in-law totally pissed me off yesterday when she said “Wow, you sure are starting the new year with a whole lot of ‘No’s’. Fortunately, I keep my bitchiness in check since time was all I needed to process that what she said was so totally true.

You see, too many glasses of wine for my birthday (and New Years) left me starting 2012 with nausea and a pounding headache. With the in-laws in town, there was no laying in bed for the entire day to recover (because at 36, one really needs the whole day to recover from even only a slight bit too much booze) No, we got up to go to Whistler for some skating and outdoor fun.

To which I said No to skating and playing on the snow mound. While they are ‘wowed’ at the Village and how cool it is, I begrudgingly walk along dreaming about my bed and more coffee.

Once we make it back home, I say No to Wii Just Dance 3 and playing our marble game with my nephew. I ditch out of half the movie we are watching and completely crash out in bed.

Yup, a whole lot of No’s indeed.

Not how a new year should begin for sure.

Several friends in the past few weeks have told me they are going to give something up for January. Whether it’s coffee, alcohol or sugar, I was pretty adamant in my belief that they were all INSANE.

But after my day of No’s and a particularly gluttonous month of food, drink and sweets, I am feeling so very bloated and blah. Thus the motivation to begin a cleanse. Clich├ęd perhaps, but also needed.

No sugar, alcohol, coffee, meat, dairy or gluten for me for 21 days. Hey, if you’re gonna cleanse, go big! Part of my brain is sing/yelling

INSANE IN DA MEMBRANE

INSANE IN DA BRAIN…

But mostly I’m just excited. I’m actually craving vegetables and excited to learn how to make green juices and smoothies. So I bought myself a boxing week deal on a juicer and once it arrives, I will begin Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Adventure Cleanse.

The ‘adventure’ part more intriguing then worrisome at this point, though ask me again on Day 3…

Reading through what it entails, I’m not so worried about lunch or dinner. Quinoa, beans, wild rice, salads and soups are regular meals in our home. It’s surviving the morning without coffee and PB on toast that is going to challenge me. And the after dinner wine or chocolate (or both!)

But it’s 21 days right? A chance to cleanse and adopt new habits and discover new loves. My goal is not to lose weight or become vegan or give up coffee forever (Lord NO!) My goal is to give my body 21 days to rejuvenate and adopt healthier habits that I can carry on at a more moderate level.

Wish me luck friends. Better yet, join me!

PS. If you’re a really good friend, please note that Bal may be calling. He is already lining up where he can camp out for 21 days of me without coffee… Depending on how scary it is, he may bring along the kids and the dog too! Screening your calls is totally justified.