Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting Clean

Remember November?? Of course not. A bazillion things have happened since then.  I'm pretty sure I'm not even the same person. Well, that might be a little extreme. But you get the point.

I spent the first three weeks of November undertaking "The Cleanse".  It seemed like the perfect way to prepare for the holidays and celebrate moving into our new home - and to combat the missteps I'd made while we were in transition.

Anyway - Here's the overview of what I did:

Week 1: fruit, veggies, beans & nuts
Week 2: add whole grains like quinoa, barley and brown rice
Week 3: add white fish

  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • processed food
  • sugar, artificial sweeteners, candy, packaged snacks
  • fried foods, meat or dairy
Maybe some of you eat like this all the time. I don't.... and my heart healthy diet happily has room for coffee, wine, meat and dairy (even if sparingly so).  But, I sort of wanted to see if I could do it, just for the sake of doing something good for my body.

I went to Trader Joe's and stocked up on the Week 1 necessities - frozen fruit, almond milk and vanilla flavored protein powder for the daily shakes I'd be calling breakfast, a rainbow of vegetables and bags of dried fruit and raw and unsalted nuts. 

Truthfully, none of this looked like a "meal" to me.... but there was nothing in the cleanse about counting calories or balanced plates and so I forged ahead.

For the first 7 days, my meals looked like this:

Let's be clear - the first day sucked. I even puked after dinner. I'm pretty sure I ate some bad apple sauce. Brian was appalled as he brought me ice water and painkillers and kept saying pointedly "babe, I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to go like this." But as the week continued, things got much better.  I think I was scared about how I'd feel without the stuff I was used to - like coffee in the morning (And truthfully Brian was a little scared too - who wants to live with someone quitting coffee and wine cold turkey? He's a trooper!).  What I learned is when you stop putting the less good stuff in your body and replace it with the really good stuff, everything changes. You feel soooo good, and it's not "fake" energy - from caffeine or sugar or alcohol. It's a very internal, "clean" energy.  I slept better.  I didn't hit a wall after lunch. Even my skin looked better. One of the hardest things about it was having to really REALLY plan out my meals - I am totally "that girl" who makes bad decision about food when I get too hungry.

As the days turned into weeks and I could start adding more foods back in to my diet, I got a little cheaty.  One day I splurged on a decaf soy latte (I'm pretty sure there's caffeine in decaf). Another night, I was out with my former neighbor and we wound up stopping at a restaurant where a cheeseburger was the healthiest thing on the menu (I paid for that red meat splurge for days. ugh). Happily, there were other nights where Brian and Cam were stealing nibbles off my plate because I'd found great ways to make my cleanse food delicious. I had consulted lots of friends - vegans, gluten-frees, and vegetarians - about their faves. I tried lots of things I'd never had before or tried the things I like in new ways (try roasting root vegetables in pure maple syrup. Total YUM. Or tossing chick peas in olive oil and spices and baking till crunchy!). On the whole, it was such a good experience - so much so that I'm doing it again (Who wants to join me?) for the 21 days leading up to my birthday in June. 

All of this is the really long way to make this point - just freakin' do the healthy thing you've been putting off. I run into so many people, who when they learn about my heart attack, always say they need to be healthier. Or they wish they were healthier.  And then come up with a million excuses about why it's not the right time. It will never be the right time. Do you really want the right time to be after you've had a heart attack (because you might be kind of dead at that point)? Or some other horrible scare? 

I do like to slip on my bossypants now and then.  Summer is here, friends. Do something good for yourself :)

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”  ~Doug Larson

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