Last week I wrote about beginning a cleanse for the first time. The cleanse I chose was a traditional one and I did six days of preparation, six days of active cleansing, and am now in day four of the reintroduction phase.
Over the course of the first 12 days I eliminated the following from my diet:
All of the above were part of my EVERY DAY menu for a very long time. I never thought they would ALL leave my diet, and certainly not all at once. However. Now that they have the hard part is before me. The reintroduction phase of the cleanse is my opportunity to slowly add in other foods again, and now I must make some decisions about what foods I want to include.
I did not do this cleanse because I was having adverse affects from eating any of the foods on the elimination list. I chose to do it because it’s spring time, I am in yoga training mode, and I am open to new ideas. The idea of detoxing substances from my body seems like a smart idea.
You are probably wondering what foods I have introduced back in. Well, a cupcake is one. Here’s the story: we had a birthday gathering on the second day of reintroduction so I tried a new recipe. Instead of a birthday cake I made whole wheat carrot and maple cupcakes with coconut cream cheese maple icing. So. . .for that day I added in a tiny bit of wheat and a very tiny bit of cheese. I have also added back in salads and other vegetables, like broccoli (one of my favorites) and zucchini. Here was my diet on day two of reintroduction:
1 c decaf
Smoothie (strawberry, banana, pineapple, spinach & coconut milk)
1 1/2 c kitchari w/1 oz cashews
1 1/2 c tossed salad w/1/2 cup cole slaw
1 cupcake (see above)
and LOTS of water.
Some observations I’ve made throughout this process include the idea that simplifying one’s diet can simplify one’s life. Driving home one day near the end of the active cleanse phase, I came to the realization that I like the monodiet, but not for the reasons one might think. After getting home from another hectic day of work I was looking forward to not having to worry about what was for dinner (though my dear husband may be feeling just the opposite). Right now I’ve been taking care of myself – trying a cleanse for the first time – focused on detox and better overall health for the future and have left him to figure out his own meal plans. I offered him kitchari but he didn’t bite (:) pun intended). My first thought was poor Dave but I dismissed that because there is nothing ‘poor’ about him having to prepare his own meal in the evening. Really.
Anyway, I like the idea of a simple diet that doesn’t require a lot of brain power – I have spent the day using brain power and once I leave work it is nice to not have that one more thing to think about. Many days previously, I could subsist mostly on meat and wheat and processed wheat at that. I prepared my day’s worth of kitchari in the morning and so all I have to do is heat it up when I am ready for it and done. That’s made me realize that humanity has really complicated the food thing. While on the one hand it is wonderful to have many many choices at times, it may be at the expense of our general health in the long run. With so many options we may not take in enough of the essentials we need to maintain a good balanced level of health. Ironic, isn’t it, that with MORE food choices we are less healthy. And then there is the idea of so many processed foods, which I feel I may be done with after this cleansing experience. The first week of the cleanse, when I was eating no meat, no wheat, no sugars (no sugars especially) I realized that my diet had been composed of a lot of these things. As I move into the reintegration phase and life beyond I may convert to fish, instead of meat, and my sweet treats will probably consist of fresh fruit concoctions with honey or syrup. Dairy – I’m not sure on that. I may continue with the yogurt 2-3 times a week with my granola. I do love some cheeses – the Dubliner – brie – maybe I will opt for an occasional splurge of a fantastic cheese as a special treat. And then wine. Not sure on the wine. Definitely no caffeine. Here’s a truth – throughout this process I have not been craving anything and I have not snacked between meals.
Another important observation was realizing how tied to social events food is. During the preparation phase of the cleanse I went out to lunch with my mom. The place we were going, I was sure, offered a variety of salads or soups that would work. Surprise. Not so. The closest thing was a Caesar Salad, which also had croutons and Parmesan cheese. Honestly, it was my only options, so I picked out the croutons and ate the cheese anyway, because it was a good quality Parmesan. And it was the prep phase, not the week of the active cleanse. When I think about all the places I have enjoyed going out to eat, and socializing, with friends and family I am not sure there will be many food choices for me. At home last weekend I had a birthday gathering – remember the cupcakes? – and I had to be sure to include the things most people might enjoy as well as something that I would enjoy as well. The menu ended up being pulled pork sandwiches (none for me thanks, even though I had made homemade maple wheat rolls), tossed salad, cole slaw, and potato salad. Condiments included homemade pickles and applesauce. So, that worked out. What about invites to other people’s homes for dinners they prepare? Many things to think about.
What began as a relatively simple idea – a detox cleanse – has become an opportunity for me to rethink so many things in life. It’s a wonderful journey. . .