Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cleanse. Detox. Fast.

Why would anyone want to give up food (glorious food) for a few days?  I'm asking myself that same question as I sit here.  Hungry.   Sleepy.  With a fuzzy brain.

Well, no one really wants to go through the process of detoxification.  It's the results that make it satisfying.  Because after the fast is over (what're a few days anyway?), food tastes like heaven, your skin and eyes are clear and bright, and you just feel lighter -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically.

Cleansing your body flushes it, so that only the good stuff remains.  If I feel like hell right now, it's only because I have toxins, and they are coming to the surface, wanting out.

After all, I'm sure you -- like myself -- enjoy the occasional indulgence:  a few drinks with friends, a cupcake or two at a baby shower, the overly carb-ed meals.  I'm sure also that you -- like myself -- may have over-indulged during the holiday season, feeling perhaps sluggish or ornery or downright unbalanced.  

Well, imagine all that over-indulgence adding up to years of over-indulgence.  I mean, your system's not going to clean itself out all by itself (well, accept when you get sick -- that's your body's way of saying: "Help!  You are not taking care of me!")

I used to cleanse more frequently, say once a year.  But due to Precious Baby's birth two years ago, I haven't in a long time!  (Fasting while pregnant or nursing is a no-no.)  And honestly, let's face it, when is it ever a good time for a cleanse?  There's always something going on in our non-stop society that makes it very, very, very inconvenient.

Anyway, lucky for me, I eat a pretty darn clean diet so I'm never too out of whack.  I don't eat meat.  I have caffeine only when I want a treat or I'm desperate.  I drink a lot less alcohol than my friends do.  (ha!)  And I happen to love feeling good, so that means fruits and vegetables, hopefully organic.  Smoothies, salads, yummy vegetarian dishes, you get the idea.  I do eat seafood (salmon, yum) and dairy, but not every day.  I have a sweet tooth, so don't think I'm a total saint.  (Getting hungrier...)

I've been putting this cleanse off, but this week, I made the commitment.  It's not going to be anything too extreme.  I have done the Master Cleanse several times, and one time, for the entire ten days.  While I felt great afterwards, I do think that's a little intense...

This time, I'm mixing it up.  The basics for any cleanse are as follows:
  • Lots of water, with a little lemon squeezed in
  • More water
  • Some sort of "flush" in the mornings 
  • Try to sweat a little
  • Take some salt baths
  • Drink some detox tea or herbs known for their detoxifying qualities.
  • Nothing too strenuous exercise-wise.  Walking and yoga are perfect.
Sometimes it's nice to ease into a cleanse.  For this cleanse, I am preparing by eating kitchari, a dish that came from India.  My dear friend, Cristina Urioste, turned me onto this meal after we met at Mount Madonna Yoga Center in Santa Cruz, California.  I could not get enough of the stuff.  Supposedly the gurus fast on this for days because of its healthful properties.  Made well, it's delicious!  Check out these recipes for kitchari.  It's basically rice and mung beans and some Indian herbs.
Kitchari with carrots and parsley (source)

I'm also drinking some juices here and there, for prep.  Crazy enough, I was in Whole Foods yesterday, and they don't have a juice bar there!!  Something about an Alabama law not allowing unpasteurized drinks to be sold... (What?  Can we please change this?)  I was planning on a fresh apple, carrot, beet, ginger, lemon concoction for a treat, but nooooo.  Anyway, sips of my daughter's smoothie sufficed (thanks, Vitamix!).

Tomorrow, I will start the flush.  I'm going to use Cristina's recommendation of mixing olive oil, Redmond Real Salt, horseradish, and lemon.  (Ask her about her Natural Energy Eating Guide that she wrote!)  I know, it sounds awful, but it's better than the salt flush that comes with the Master Cleanse!  Then I will drink the Master Cleanse lemonade all day as well as water and Yogi Detox tea, if I feel like it.  I'll do the same thing the next day.

Master Cleanse concoction in the works
Soooo if I'm moody these next two days, you'll know why.  Flushing your body also helps flush away emotional debris, so a good cry may be on the agenda.  Then by Friday, I hope to be high-flying??  We'll see how toxic my body really is!  This is usually how it happens, although for people with less-clean diets, it will take a good four days of fasting to get "the high." 

On Friday, I'll break the fast with a day of juice and perhaps a salad or some fruit.  Anything raw will work.  After that, I'll try to stick to as healthful foods as possible, maybe even go raw for a week afterwards to really set my body right.  And, of course, I'll avoid too much (if any) alcohol this weekend.  

While I do think a four-day cleanse would be better, I'm just taking this one as it comes.  If I feel like my body needs more, I'll reconsider next week's eating, maybe throw in a day of just juice.  Because that's the beauty of having all that gunk out of your system:  you KNOW what your body wants and needs.  (See the movie, SuperSize Me, for more on that.)  The flavor of food will be more intense because my taste buds will be more sensitive.  Any cravings for the bad stuff will dissipate because the bad stuff will just make me feel bad.  My thoughts will be clearer as a result of a clear system.  

Yeah, looking forward to that...

For other good reads or good folks on eating well, check out:
Spork Foods  (Heather is a good friend of mine -- sign up for her online cooking class and your life will change!  They've got a new book too!)
Andrew Weil's books  (I like Spontaneous Happiness.)
John Robbin's books  (Diet for a New America and Food Revolution are just plain must-reads if you care about your body and the planet.  And animals.)

Actually, check out Spork's links -- much more thorough and very right on.

Happy eating!  (or not eating)

1 comment:

Meredith said...

Not exactly fasting/cleansing but I am attempting gluten free. I am amazed at how I don't have that yucky bloated full feeling (never realized it was a yucky feeling until now) but I do feel hungry all the time so I know how you feel!