Monday, February 6, 2012

Cleanse, Day 21!

Image via Flickr user nutrilover
So, it's been officially 21 days since I started juicing fruits & veggies daily, since I last had meat or dairy, since I've had most varieties of processed food, and since I've had high concentrations of gluten. I splurged twice during the past three weeks and had a drink, but other than that I haven't touched alcohol. I've had no caffeine. My sporadic indulgence has been a piece of dark chocolate.

And what's the result?

I've lost 5+ pounds, but the weight loss was not my initial goal and is ultimately not the most exciting result. More so, I'm just excited that I feel pretty damn awesome: more energy, improved mood, sleep, and skin, less aches, increased focus. Should I go on? :) 3 weeks is not long enough to flush all the toxins out and properly rebuild, but it certainly is a giant step in the right direction. Sometimes you just need to be unabashedly proud of yourself, and today I am - for researching and sticking with a new lifestyle even when it felt super challenging. The next challenge, of course, being what do I do moving forward?

Doing a 3 week cleanse might feel too extreme for you right now and that's totally understandable. Giving up meat, dairy, caffeine, gluten, and alcohol is no joke, especially when you top that with changing your personal care products! I've been nervous about what elements of this diet I'll keep and what I'd like to start eating again, but here are some definite truths which I'd like to remember in the weeks ahead:
  1. I don't want to rely on meat as my dominant source of protein, and would like to continue exploring vegetarian options many nights of the week. It would seem I'm not the only one thinking along these lines, as seen in this recent opinion piece on the NYT site. PS. Tempeh is delish, seriously.
  2. Juicing or blending fruits and vegetables is important, friends. See some of the benefits here, and also join me in eager anticipation of Kris Carr's new recipe book of juices and smoothies, due out soon!
  3. I don't want to revert back to tons of processed food, just because it's there. It's super easy to have a pb&j or french fries or whatever sugary snack food is free at work, etc etc etc. It's not as easy to plan ahead and make sure there's extra quinoa / beans in the fridge, plenty of lettuce on hand for salads, raw almonds and herbal tea at work, or my stockpile of apples for the commute home. These are habits I've begun to cultivate via the cleanse and I don't want them to fade away.
  4. Eat whole, raw fruits and veggies every day! Beyond the cooked food, making room for salads and fruits is key. I have just felt overall better when eating more leafy greens - it's the truth.
  5. Approach dairy and gluten carefully. I'm honestly not sure how my body would react if I tried to eat pizza right now. I'll have to slowly reintroduce things and see what happens.
As a final note for this week, make this recipe! It's the chili which Eric and I made, and it's super delicious. We did make some adjustments: we removed the bulgur (it's a wheat product), added some tempeh cooked in olive oil, and replaced the jalapeño pepper with one poblano pepper and an extra red pepper. We then added some cayenne powder to garnish, in addition to salt / pepper. NOTE: pour leftover chili onto quinoa for an awesome next-day meal.

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