Several weeks ago I wrote about trying a detox cleanse for the first time.
To remind you – I did an 18 day cleanse – six days to eliminate alcohol, meat, processed sugars, dairy, wheat, and caffeine; six days of a mono-diet of kitchari; and 6 days of reintroducing foods back in.
It has been about two months since I began and am well past the reintegration phase, but have chosen to continue leaving most of those items from my diet. There are a few reasons I’ve chosen to do that.
First, I feel great. I have energy – more than I had before – and physically I feel really good. I have been staying up at night, on average, an hour longer that I used to.
Second, I am sleeping more soundly than I have in years. In addition, I’m having lots of vivid, interesting dreams (but that could be the full moon!)
Third, I have lost some weight, and that definitely needed to happen.
Fourth, I do not miss any of the things I have eliminated so why would I add them back in?
Fifth, my life seems simpler these days.I don’t feel that I spent a lot of time thinking about food in the past, but I do know that NOW I am definitely spending less time thinking about food. Because I am basically eating less in general it takes me less time in the grocery store. Because I know what I will be eating – salads, vegetables, fruits – then I go directly to those sections of the store and finish more quickly. I have also ordered a few hard to find items online, so that shortens my shopping trips to the grocery store as well. I do spend more time checking labels, but it’s easier than it used to be. In the past I was checking for carbohydrates or calories, and now I’m only checking the ingredients list. Anything I can’t pronounce or the inclusion of things on my ‘don’t eat’ list, and that product is off limits. Easy.
The idea of simplifying goes beyond the mechanics of food preparation and into the psychological realm. We all have various mental connections with food, I believe. Some people eat when stressed, we talk about ‘comfort foods’, we connect social situations to food…
There are many ways that we are emotional about what we eat. In these past weeks I have noticed that some of the less healthy mental patterns I’ve associated with food have disappeared. A classic example is that feeling of guilt I would have whenever I ate something sweet – a piece of chocolate in a friend’s office, a cookie with my advisory group. . .quite often, I would beat myself up over the things I ate. The voice inside my head would remind me that if I wanted to lose weight I was making bad choices. blah, blah, blah. I used to say that I was a sugar addict, and it may be true. Now I suspect that it’s more likely that I was in a vicious cycle of eating too many sugary things so that my body began to crave those things.
With my current eating habits those issues no longer exist because I am not eating any of the foods that lead to those negative thoughts or physical reactions. Every morsel that goes into my body is healthy. I eat three simple meals a day with no snacking in between and I am not craving anything or feeling unsatisfied. Being more mindful has allowed me to recognize when I am hungry, or not hungry and tune into that recognition, adjusting as necessary.
For me it’s been an amazing journey in just a few weeks and I am excited to continue on this path. I encourage others to try it, particularly if you are recognizing unhealthy relationships with food.