Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cleanse Complete

It has been about 1 1/2 weeks since I finished my cleanse. I've struggled with how to put my thoughts and results into words.

Let's start with my habits before the cleanse. I try to cook food from scratch. I can count the number of times I eat out each month on one hand. I don't have any major (or minor, really) health problems. I'm not trying to brag. I do plenty that I shouldn't. My point is that I don't feel like I saw dramatic results, but I didn't really have dramatic potential. Here's what I did see:
  • I lost 5 pounds (I lost another 2 the couple weeks before the cleanse when I gave up dairy so I'm going with 7 altogether).
  • My muffin top is not gone, but it is definitely smaller. Perhaps closer to a mini-muffin than the jumbo it resembled previously.
  • I don't know how to best articulate this, but when I breathe it feels "clean," like there's nothing obstructing my passageways.
  • One of my little blemishes started flaking away. It's still there, but barely. I have another spot on my nose that has been flaking for at least 6 months and I was planning to have the dermatologist look at it. The spot is still there, but the flaking was gone until this morning when it reappeared.
  • My varicose veins, located in an unmentionable area are not gone, but I haven't had any flare-ups (which previously happened when I ran).
My expectations were that I would feel really tired & bad week 1 and possibly week 2. Week 3, I was supposed to feel like a million bucks. The reality: Day 1 I felt horrible. The rest of that week I was mostly exhausted and didn't have much energy, a sure sign that my body was working and healing. Week 2 I didn't feel bad and I started regaining my energy. Week 3: did I feel like a million bucks? I'd say it was more like I felt like myself again, but that's where I wonder if this is because I didn't have the potential to see these astonishing results.  

Perhaps the biggest reminder for me is that everything we put into our bodies contains good and bad effects. I mostly think of the nutrients. We've gotten so accustomed to the nutrition labels that are sorely lacking that we forget (or we don't know) the wonderful nutrients they do contain and aren't listed. I feel like I'm putting wonderful vitamins and nutrients into my body with every bite! During the cleanse, I was sometimes surprised by the basic-ness of the ingredients that were aimed at keeping me nourished. I also sometimes feel like "why bother" with the foods that I know to be bad. I'm definitely not craving them.

Since the cleanse and moving forward, here are some of the steps I am taking:

  • I'm having a shake every morning for breakfast (liquid meals speed up your digestion process and allow the body more time to focus on healing or staying in balance).
  • Wednesday night is liquid dinner night.
  • Monday night is fish night (we were not eating enough fish previously). 
  • I'm trying to ensure I eat some sort of green leafy vegetable everyday.
  • No dairy.
  • Not much gluten.
  • Organic when possible, trying to avoid the "dirty dozen" unless they are organic.
  • Avoiding the 2 top genetically modified foods (soy and corn) unless they are organic (non-GMO).
  • No eating after dinner, which is normally finished by 6 (8PM has been a long-standing rule for me).
You may recall that I LOVE sweet tea! I had 2-3 glasses everyday. I made it myself so I know exactly how much sugar is in it and that makes me feel better about it. I was really looking forward to my first glass, but I forgot to make it that morning. I forgot again the second day. By day three I decided maybe I don't really need it. So, I have been sweet-tea free since the cleanse started, but I'm not promising anything.

During the cleanse, I also realized how little (or how much) I really do need to eat. Previously I felt like there wasn't much opportunity for me to cut-back in the food department. I didn't want my metabolism to slow down. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't lose weight no matter how hard I worked out. Truth is, I was eating more than I should. Exercise helps, but for me, I need to watch what and how much I eat. The cleanse really helped me get in tune with the amount I require. 

Dr. Junger recommends you do what you can to help your body along the way, but strive for a 3-week cleanse once a year. Right now I'm not sure I will do it again. If I can keep up with my new steps indefinitely, I probably won't. But like many things, I imagine life will catch up to me and I'll fall into some of my old habits. If so, the cleanse may be the only way for me to get back into eating the way and the amount that I should. I will keep you posted!

It is also worth noting that so far I have kept off the 7 total pounds!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cleansing Goes Beyond Food

For those counting, I'm on day 16 of my 21-day cleanse. Still going (though I will admit to having 3 homemade mini, dairy & gluten-free blueberry muffins yesterday, which would've been ok sans the sugar and egg they contain. We went to The Berry Patch and picked blueberries that morning and I had to taste my creation, right?)

The cleanse has probably gotten easier. My energy level is back to where it was when I started. I am bored with the dinner shakes. I feel like, "why bother," though often this is when I get my leafy greens and that's important. My hubby is pretty much done. He's feeling starved and has been planning his next steak for at least a week. Tomorrow is the 4th of July and he's decided he's done with the cleanse. We'll see if I make it the next 5 days without him. I may have to take a little break tomorrow in celebration! He can have his steak. I really want a glass of wine. He (and we) do have plans to make changes following the cleanse though, which I'll discuss in a later post.

I do want to mention some of the things I'm doing outside of food in order to help my body get rid of the toxins. The skin absorbs things directly into your blood stream, so it's important to consider those potential pollutants as well. Also, the air we breathe. Here are some of the additional measures I took outside of food:

Lotion: Except for my facial lotion and sunscreen (if I was going to be out for a long period of time), I managed to avoid it. I wasn't sure I could, but now I'm not sure I'll go back. In Clean, Dr. Junger recommends a little coconut oil instead. I tried that. Once. I put it on in the shower after shaving my legs thinking I could rinse some of it off so I wouldn't be greasy. I forgot about the shower floor getting slick. I almost fell. Also I smelled like suntan oil the rest of the day. Gross! Later I remembered when I learned infant massage, the instructor gave us grapeseed oil to use. Not only does it not have a smell, it is high in vitamin E which I know is good for the skin. I tried it and it works for me. Not everyday, but every other day. Just remember a little goes a long way. Too much and you'll be greasy!

Soap: I'm trying to remember when it was no longer good enough to just use "soap" and I had to start buying fancy, great-smelling stuff at Bath and Body Works. What happened to plain soap and what's wrong with it? As a child, I started life with Ivory. It made my skin too dry and my mom started buying me Dove (it's got that 1/4 cup moisturizer) so that's what I went back to during the cleanse. It's nothing to get excited about, but I'm clean and I probably spared my body a few perfumey-toxins.

Make-Up: I skipped it on days I wasn't going anywhere (also deodorant). On days I was going somewhere, I took the "oh well" attitude. No one wants to see me without it! A few years ago I did switch to mineral-based powder and eye shadow. My foundation has SPF in it, but it is made from Amazonian clay so it surely must be a little better than most.

Cleaning: I also avoided this whenever possible, but ok, that's not so possible with 2 small kids! I use Norwex for almost everything, which consists of a special rag or mop made of silver (a natural anti-bacterial agent) that you just wet and go. If you want to learn more about Norwex, I raved about it in another post.

My next test is paint. I promised both of my boys dinosaur rooms and I've procrastinated long enough. I found through Debras List that Benjamin Moore makes a VOC-free paint. I'm going to try it.

Bottom line is I've switched soap and lotion and the cleanse has reinforced some of what I was already doing. That's about as granola as I get.