For the last 10 days I've been on a sugar-free, grain-free cleanse. This has also meant no natural sugars, including fresh and dried fruits. The night before I started it I had a huge fruit smoothie - does that tell you anything about my relationship with fruit?!
This choice was made for several reasons:
- I'm presenting an In Balance wellness and weight loss program that has a gentle dietary cleanse as part of Finding Your BALANCE, and I thought I should experience the process to understand what I'm teaching/asking the participants to do.
- I've never done a cleanse for an extended period
- I live in a real world with real toxins so my body could use some house-cleaning
- I wanted to start a habit of eating more vegetables than fruit rather than the other way around
- I wanted to test my self control
- I wanted to see how it would affect me - physically, emotionally, mentally
- I was curious to see how my body would react without grains
I've discovered a few things:
- it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be, (i.e. I'm not feeling continually hungry and craving foods )
- when my husband grinds the coffee in the morning, it doesn't bother me all that much, that instead of java I will be drinking caffeine-free, herbal tea (I've renewed my friendship with Rooibos)
- as much as I love nuts and seeds, I have my moments when I feel like a squirrel
- I rarely go out for lunch but two times in the last week it happened. One little cafe had the best roasted veggie soup that I could have asked for. (Well, thinking on it, there was more oil in it than I would have used.) Everything in it was legit - and the roasted flavour was delic. (Probably thanks to the oil :)
- the preparation and planning period has value, and not only in practical terms, (i.e. even though my pantry and refrigerator was stocked with cleanse food ingredients, the first morning it took a few minutes to shift from my almost-daily default menu - home made granola or cooked hot cereal)
Here's what I whipped up: sauteed leeks and red peppers, scrambled in a couple eggs and served it up on a bed of greens. Protein and veggies - yummy!
- I have plenty of energy (even without eating grains) - I was a little concerned that my running and other fitness activities might need to be curtailed. Thankfully, not so.
- I can't help but think how very blessed I am. I decided to use self control in my food choices (which meant eliminating some regulars) - compared to the huge percentage of people who exist on the barest of nutrition and food options because they have to.
- will I do it again? I might. After today, I have 3 days left of my two weeks and I don't foresee why I will cave now.
- I fortunately had only one day of a very low-grade headache (can a habit of one- (sometimes more) - cup of coffee/day really make you that addicted?)
- my mental alertness and stamina has been at par if not better than normal.
- I got to digging through recipes to add some variety to " how many ways can you eat broccoli, cauliflower, greens, carrots, etc." and there are many delicious options
- I miss eating quinoa and brown rice and sweet potatoes
- would I recommend a cleanse? A variety of variables weigh in here: the type of cleanse, the reason for the cleanse, if a person has strong cravings for refined sugar and other refined foods, the timing of doing the cleanse, etc. Generally, I'd say most people would probably benefit from an occasional cleanse.
- Has it been dreadful? Not at all. I have understood the feeling of being even more intentional about what foods I eat. And it's not about denial, but understanding some of the recalibrating my body can do when I say "no" to foods that I thought, "But I always have .... for breakfast."
- And this week I found an acceptable substitute for granola. Yeah!! So of course I'm going to make it to the end.
Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola
1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes (could also be shredded)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pecan pieces
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger powder
Pulse ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Scoop 1/4 - 1/3 cup of granola into a bowl.
Pour 1/2 - 2/3 cup almond mik or yogurt over top and let sit for about 5 or 6 minutes.
Spoon fresh (or thawed) cranberries on top and enjoy!
- sprinkle with hemp seeds for extra protein
- lightly toast granola before serving, using heavy stove-top skillet
Have you done a cleanse? I'd be interested to hear your experience and if/what you felt were the benefits.