Last Friday I started the Clean Program. The Clean Program is a 21 day cleanse designed to build healthy lives through a mindful connection to food. After 5 days of an “elimination diet,” I started a shake and supplement ritual. The elimination diet meant that I would immediately stop drinking alcohol and caffeine. The elimination diet meant no tomatoes, bananas, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. (The list of forbidden foods goes on.) The elimination diet basically means you eat from a very limited selection of protein and vegetables. Portion size is not the issue. I embarked on the cleanse because I wanted to reboot the computer of my life, beginning with food. I had been diagnosed as prediabetic years earlier, but that did not make me live any differently. I wanted to find new intention in food, finances, and love. I wanted to understand my relationship with food. I wanted to stop craving, emotionally eating, and looking for relief in food and wine. I wanted to find a new peace with my body and spirit. I believed down deep all that started with food.
Detox was hell. No joke. From throwing up in my bathroom at work, to sweating and shaking on my couch while wrapped in a blanket, to a headache that felt as is if my eyes were being gouged out with a jack hammer, every moment of that period was awful. I called the Clean Program help line to find relief. I talked with a friend who had done the Clean Program to see if she had any suggestions. The pain lasted for three intense days. I am not sure what caused the initial violent storm. I think it was my body’s unwillingness to let go of old crutches and excuses. Maybe it was the way in which comfort food and drink was being replaced with stark awareness. As my body rid itself of whatever it was holding onto, a gradual peace emerged. Despite the previous pain, I entered the first week of the actual cleanse feeling strong.
The actual cleanse is easy. A shake with supplements for breakfast. Lunch is a meal from the elimination diet and supplements. Dinner is another shake and supplements. The Clean Program provides recipes for shakes and meals that abide by all the “clean” rules. I have enjoyed making these recipes. Shakes combining things like avocados and almond butter, blueberries and spinach. Butternut squash and apple bake. Spicy vegetarian tacos. Millet risotto with artichoke hearts. I love to cook and had stopped taking time to do it prior to the cleanse. I am now back in my kitchen. (Perhaps that is a lesson I have already learned in this process.)
What else have I already learned? I have learned that I have not really ever paid attention to what I eat. I have never been a bad eater. I was a mindless eater. Particularly mindless about ingredients. I have also already learned I used to eat a lot. If some food was good, more was better. If something tasted really good, even more was better. I am not sure I will ever eat as much as I did before the cleanse. Basically, the cleanse has already demonstrated the value of mindfulness of what and how much I eat. So far, my energy level has been amazing. I have also found my thoughts to be clear and focused, even in the midst of great stress. I weighed 139 pounds before I started the elimination diet. I now weigh 134.