Monday, January 30, 2012

Cleanse, Day 15

Images of trees make me happiest
Image via Flikr user Oddsock
We're 15 days into the cleanse! Overall, I feel good. I've lost weight, my skin is clearing (albiet slowly..), and my body feels lighter, somehow. There are random moments when I feel simply on-top-of-the-world euphoric - which I've heard can happen during this cleanse. My mind feels more alert, I get less tired and hungry during the day, and I have more energy. The downsides: I miss wheat, cheese, and eggs. My cravings for meat have been less, as we've experimented with some really delicious vegetarian recipes, but I haven't found a wheat bread substitute which I like very much and veggie burgers just aren't as good without cheese! We did try brown rice tortillas and they were good - I'd eat them again. Eric has been so supportive that he's trying all of these new things with me, even when we're in completely unknown territory (we tried a brand of fake cheese that this guy raved about in the store. The result: it was gross). Other new finds have been a success though: we both really like tempeh, and I can easily see continuing to cook it after the cleanse is over; I have a newfound appreciation for pinto beans; this weekend we made stuffed cabbage wraps with his mom (a mixture of quinoa and sauteed veggies wrapped in cabbage leaves, then baked in a tomato sauce) and they were delicious. So, there's hope for me yet!

Many will tell you it's ideal to eat as many raw, whole foods as possible. Cooking vegetables strips a lot of the nutrients, so large portions of salad are ideal for lunch and dinner (with a smaller portion of cooked foods). Especially during the winter, this is HARD: who wants to pass up a warm meal for a salad? Moderation, moderation, moderation: while I understand that a vegan, gluten-free diet is the ultimate present to your body, I already know that it's not easy to maintain: other people don't know how to cook for you; the ingredients can be harder to find; it takes a lot of work to learn a new lifestyle from scratch. Perhaps it would be easier if I was avoiding just dairy or just gluten - the combination of the two makes for interesting shopping trips! For those friends who maintain this kind of lifestyle happily: bravo to you!

For those reasons, I'm looking at doing a scaled back version of the cleanse once it's over next week. I will absolutely keep juicing in lieu of a more traditional breakfast and will keep eating greens at every meal. I will also try slowly reintroducing gluten / dairy and will monitor what happens - if either makes me feel gross, that's a pretty clear signal. I will cut way back on meat and dairy regardless, will aim for local products when I do have meat/dairy, and will avoid processed foods as much as possible. I'm starting to feel too awesome to go back to my pre-cleanse diet, and it's only been 2 weeks! Of course, I have been using one other secret weapon...

Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar, friends. YES!

Some of you may use this already when you feel a cold or sore throat coming on. I discovered more long-term methods:
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar in warm water (with lemon and honey if you wish) each morning and another serving before dinner
    • Use a straw so as to avoid your teeth as much as possible; don't brush for 1/2 an hour just in case
  • Dilute the vinegar with water 50/50 and use as a toner for your skin
I've been using both of these methods for almost 2 weeks now and am so far pleased - the vinegar has been improving the texture and health of my skin at a far faster rate than anything else I've tried. In addition, drinking the mixture before a meal helps me to eat a more normal-sized portion, as the vinegar acts as an appetite suppresant. I looked up lots of reviews on both methods and people RAVE about ACV as a home remedy. It's available at many supermarkets, as well as GNC (they were having a buy 1, get 1 half off sale). Woo for cheap! Just make sure it's organic, if you try some, and know that it's going to smell.. like vinegar. My skin doesn't smell all day, but I try to put it on about half an hour before leaving the house. :)

That's it for now! On to week 3...

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