Good Sunday Evening Everyone,
Right now you've probably just finished watching the Grammy Awards and eating luscious amounts of food. I am very delayed in talking about the past 4 days, so I will do my best to summarize in a short manner, and then make my way over to discussing what I've learned from the cleanse, what I am including in my daily life moving forward, how I feel, and what I've learned.
Over the past three days, here are the highlights from my meals (and before that, a cool pic from my window, notice the icicles and the sunset-- what a great combo ; ) ):
I made these little almond "Healthy Fig Newton" balls the other day. They were very mildly sweet as figs naturally are less sweet than dates, but I think they were pretty good and they got good reviews.
Thursday, Day 11: All You Need Is Love:
Here's the rundown:
- 1 qt warm lemon water
- frozen grapes
- goji berry smoothie (almond milk, goji berries, banana, cinnamon)
- Brussels sprouts
- salad with balsamic
- boring soup-- with kale chips, quinoa, chicken broth, carrots, spices
- green fruit puree pouch
Friday, Day 12: Conscious Creativity
Inspired by a healthy local juice bar, which I've mentioned before, and ecstatic that I finally found my misplaced strainers, I decided to make ginger shots!
They are sooo yummy. I just put a shot of water with a one inch cube of ginger, and the juice of half a lemon in the Nutribullet and strain it. Instantly feel amazing. At One Lucky Duck they also add cayenne to theirs, but I didn't have any on hand; luckily they taste so yummy even without so it's all good! The flavor of ginger is so good and the lemon adds sweetness; it makes me happy because I know ginger is one of the most powerful things you can consume for your health. It aids in digestion, is amazing for your immune system, and is even used as a medicine in many cultures.
- 1 qt lemon water
- My breakfast Friday morning was a green juice before I left for the train at 6am, and then when I arrived in the city I had beet/carrot juice and kale chips as my mid morning snack. I kept my avocado in my bag, and later, at night for dinner took it out and cut it up on my salad at the bar I went to with my friends-- because I was quite hungry!
- Speaking of One Lucky Duck (the name of this amazing place!) I was reallly feeling lucky the other day at my internship when I drank this. Blueberries, cashew milk, coconut meat, vanilla, cinnamon, bananas. Heavenly!! This one's called "The Spanking" and it is spanking good. In fact, just made cashew milk today for the first time because I have been so inspired by the way it makes smoothies like this one taste.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts (same as last time I posted)--sooo yummy
Mid Afternoon snack:
- 2 Healthy Fig Newton Almond Balls
Some exercise: Sprinting 9 blocks and 3 avenues to catch a train while carrying my ridiculously heavy bag (hahaha... lame I know... but it felt like a workout!) Side note: That totally reminded me that I have been horrible about exercising lately-- I neeeed to step that part of my life up! I miss how amazing it feels to workout all the time, running is an amazing drug!
Yesterday, Day 13, Purification (Optional) Weekend: A Clearing in the Forest
Yesterday I started out doing Purification ( no protein, just fresh fruit and vegetable juices) but then, by 4pm felt so horribly tired and cranky and hungry that I went for a regular cleanse-friendly day with protein from chicken and nuts. Purification weekend is tricky when you don't actually have time to just be sitting around all day doing nothing but watching movies and resting like the book asks. For a busy college student like myself, who doesn't have time to waste two weekends in a row like that, it becomes less of a relaxing vacation and more of an absolutely miserable experience for me. I'm just glad that I turned to cleanse-friendly foods instead of junk as a result of my emotions. After I ate some protein I felt a million times better instantly. That frown turned upside down!
Anyway, the book started to come to a close with some very important messages.
Conscious Focus: Living Your Best Life:
The average American sets some version of an intention, a resolution, or a goal at least one and a half times per year. And we all know how well those typically hold, right? The goal to lose weight, to quit smoking, to eat better, to exercise, to find a more fulfilling job...they don't stick because they often don't take into account the greater meaning of a person's life. They're not attached to a larger purpose.
This is understandable. ....Look how far you've come in just a couple weeks. What you've given yourself is an opportunity. you've come into a clearing, a rise in the landscape of your life. this is a moment of clarity and perspective that not many people experience.
You've given yourself a gift. It can be a small one-- a glimpse, a spark, a 2-week vacation you look back on and draw some inspiration from-- or it can be something much, much more. Now is the time to attach meaning to what you've accomplished, to anchor it to a purpose.
I feel really good. I feel really happy that I have worked so hard to accomplish something. Even though I was so done with the process yesterday, and so frustrated, so ready to throw in the towel, I realized it was less about the food and more about the power. I actually felt like a prisoner to the program; I wanted to be able to make my own decisions and choose the foods that I wanted. It was a realization for me that this process has been more of a reflection on my personality and who I am than on what I eat. Being clear of my go-to foods has opened up a mental clarity that has allowed me to see parts of my personality that are incredibly impatient and thoughts of mine that are fleeting by nature but constant in that they always come up. I found myself drinking green juice in the local organic juice shop, The Stand, unfocused, impatient, ready to run away. Run away from whom? Run away to where? Run away from what? What is it that I feel I can't stay grounded in?
I know it sounds harsh, but I came to the realization that it is not the people I surround myself with that I lose confidence in for the most part. It is me. I lose confidence in myself so easily, and I run away from those thoughts by alternate means. I don't love myself enough, not nearly as much as I should, and that is reflected in my relationships too. I need to believe in myself more. Not just in what I can do, or what I can accomplish, but in who I am and in who I am supposed to be. Something that has struck me in the Facebook group for the Conscious Cleanse is how incredibly positive the health coaches are. It makes me really hopeful, because they are so understanding and encouraging. When anyone slips up they don't make them feel worse about themselves than they already feel. They boost their confidence by being positive. I realized that I'm not used to that. I'm used to being criticized by the people who love me, and in turn criticizing myself that much more. It's exhausting feeling like I constantly have to be perfect, when perfect doesn't exist. I think that's been really bringing me down. All of the ideals in my head, and all of the ideals people who surround me have for me. It's not realistic. I noticed that when fellow cleansers reached out on the Facebook group, they bear a lot of worry in their posts. Worry about what the response to their mess-up will be. Fear in admitting they ate a piece of cheese or had a beer with dinner during the cleanse. Immediately after, a coach or Jules or Jo will write something positive, saying things like "What you did well today? Don't let the negatives ruin all of the good you've accomplished!" or "You can still jump back into the cleanse tomorrow!". Instead of "Yeah, you really messed that up, what were you thinking?" or "You never stick to anything" or "I knew you would ". Those kinds of statements only encourage people to have less faith in themselves and make them discouraged and not want to keep moving toward a goal. Seeing the positivity of the cleansers has made me look at myself in a more positive light. When I messed up with food-pairing rules in the cleanse, I focused instead on trying harder for the next meal, and those simple positive thoughts made me feel like a happier person.
Instead of constantly feeling down because you can't be perfect 100% of the time, with cleansing or with life in general, focus on how far you've come, and how wonderful the constant pursuit of positivity is. Focus on believing in yourself so much that you feel closer to perfection than further from it. That, if nothing else, is something I have fully appreciated and learned from this cleanse.
- Lemon Water
- Green juice (kale, spinach, lemon, coconut oil, apple)
Green Juice: The Nasty (all greens, celery, garlic, cayenne, lemon, apple, ginger)
- Protein: 4oz chicken,
- Almond butter with apples
- 2 figs
- brussels sprouts
- lemon water before bed
TODAY, DAY 14: You've Done it!
Throughout the cleanse, I am proud to say, I didn't eat one non-cleanse-worthy item, at all, until TODAY. And, surprisingly, I am totally okay with that. Today all I had was a large salad and lemon water, until 5pm, because I woke up late and went grocery shopping. When I got home, armed with my rewards, I was so tempted, and felt very curious. I told myself that if I still wanted the junk food I bought after my large salad, that I could test the waters and start my transition-out period early, guilt free. And I mean guilt free, I deserve it, I made it to the end, I worked hard for 19 days, and I was ready.
So that's just what I did. I sauteed mushrooms in garlic and olive oil with sea salt and black pepper:
Then I cut up some beets, avocado, and roasted some brussels sprouts. I made a big salad with all of the ingredients, and devoured it, I was so hungry and it tasted so satisfying and delicious from start to finish.
Afterwards, as I've noticed throughout the cleanse, I didn't just feel "full", I felt nourished, and really great. My body felt happy. I decided that I would wait a bit, and see if I wanted the junk food still. At 6pm, hungry again, I went for a 1 inch piece of brie cheese...and then grabbed hold of those devious chocolate covered potato chips. Oh. My. Goodness. Gravy. The chips were absolute heaven. Salty, chocolatey, rich, mouthwatering delights. I don't think I've ever enjoyed them that much before. Below is a picture of the things in my shopping cart that I haven't been able to eat for the past 19 days... aka my "healthy" junk food:
Later, about 2 hours later, I was hungry again, and went for quinoa tortilla chips with goat cheese. Felt fine, but then had those chips with salsa, and didn't get halfway through until I felt pretty gross. Almost nauseous. My belly felt a little bloated and there was definitely some mild uncomfortable stomach movements. It was also kind of harder to breathe since there was so much food inside of me. I felt like my body was working really hard to digest, which I've learned in the cleanse is where most of the body's energy goes to, and thus it explains why I also felt quite tired after.
Because, I learned, that eating junk foods (no matter how pure and organic they are) really doesn't make me feel all that great after all. I ate chocolate potato chips and they were heavenly, I devoured them, they were just amazing, but I found myself craving a green juice after.
Closing (for now) Thoughts:
I want to focus on the positives. After writing in my book in the beginning of the cleanse things I have noticed about myself that were problems, here is what I have honestly noticed has changed since eliminating inflammatory foods in my life:
- Lost 7 pounds
- Better, more even mood
- Skin brighter
- Headaches completely gone
- No fog
- More satisfying sleep
- Small breakouts on cheeks went away
- No heartburn, heart pain even after my stressful commute to NYC
- Not achy when I wake up from sleep (I wrote in my book in the beginning of this that I always wake up achy-- my collarbones, shoulders)
- Feet and hands seem to have better circulation
- Better focus on what people are saying to me
- Face no longer feels puffy
- Sensitive skin on chest (which is normally sensitive after I take a hot shower) is gone, skin is smoother
- More reflective
I have not realized until today fully just how amazing I had felt over this entire process, and it took me ditching the cleanse friendly foods to realize that. I noticed this morning that my eyes are just so bright, and that my skin and hair feel softer.
When I caved and ate chocolate covered potato chips I felt AMAZING because I love chocolate and it was the greatest reward ever. Salty, sweet, rich. But three hours later when I caved and ate goat cheese and quinoa chips with salsa I felt pretty gross after. I think that shows me that moderation is a tricky word, but a necessary objective. Take it easy, take it slow. Introduce junk in small amounts, and don't overdo it or it's no fun.
I want to take more notice of the bad foods I'm eating, and make sure that I am not eating them regularly. I want to continue incorporating my favorite foods that I've really enjoyed on my plate throughout this 19 day process.
Here's a list of things moving forward, foods, and habits, that I want to continue:
- Warm lemon water (just maybe not an entire quart-- we all know how much I complain about that!)
- Green smoothies-- I want to become more creative with them and try different herbs, and buy some cayenne!
- Ginger shots
- Reflecting on my day, my emotions, my feelings, my failures, my successes
- Loving myself more
- Nourishing my body with a variety of plants, not just grabbing something quick to instantly satisfy me
- Beets, brussels sprouts, avocados, coconut oil
- Make nut milk every week-- such a fun process, cheaper than dairy milk, and much better for you
- Water, water, water
- Adequate sleep (this is something I didn't do over the cleanse, but I need to focus on moving forward)
- Seriously limiting refined sugar (yes, even chocolate). I've really noticed how it affects my mood and messes with my blood sugar levels making me tired instantly
- Adopt an 80/20 principle. Focus on the greens, veggies, cleanse-friendly foods. Add in special junk foods that I like, when I want a treat, and treat it as a treat.
- Love myself and others
- MAKE TIME for exercise!
Stay tuned for a post about Allergy Testing and the re-introduction of foods. Last but not least, a huge thank you goes out to Katie, Marisa, Jo, and Jules, and all of the health coaches and fellow cleansers; the amazing inspirations behind this cleanse. It has been a life-changing experience, and I'm excited to incorporate the many physical and spiritual lessons I've learned from the process in my own life. Hey, I know it's crazy for me to think, but the competitor in me wants to say that I may even do this whole thing again sometime! : )
Lots of love, sweet dreams to all,
Bon appetit et bonne sante,
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Follow the Conscious Cleanse: www.consciouscleanse.com @consciouscleans