Just after Dave and I returned from our fabulous Wickaninnish stay (see previous posts), I decided to follow another Blogger, Bonnie, on a 21-day cleanse. Bonnie's daughter had done the cleanse before and raved about it, and I had been wanting to eliminate certain foods from my diet, so I jumped on the bandwagon.
Basically, you take 3 weeks and eliminate the following 5 foods from your diet:
Wheat (gluten), Dairy, Meat (ALL animal products), Caffeine, and Alcohol.
I was especially motivated because my naturopath had suggesting eliminating wheat and dairy as a way to clear up my perpetually stuffy nose. I had been tested for allergies and had none, so she looked to my diet for ways to help things work better. I had half-heartedly tried to eliminate one or the other for nearly a year, with mixed results; I had never been able to discipline myself to stick with it for any length of time
Bonnie's suggestion came right after a few days of absolute indulgence, and I was ready to "trim the fat" so to speak.
A few other people said that they were going to try the cleanse or that they would be interested in the results, so here goes. For Bonnie's result you may click to the following link:
She has a great blog, so you might want to grab a cuppa and settle in.
My results and observations:
Week One: I was overwhelmed with planning, shopping, and cooking. SO many foods have wheat, gluten, sugar, and/or dairy in them. Read your labels - it will blow your mind!
I ate a lot of beans, rice, tomatoes, rice pasta, marinara sauce, hummus, corn tortillas and corn chips, salsa, guacamole, peanut butter, apples, rice-milk and fruit smoothies, and an agave-sweetened wheat free cereal. It wasn't half bad, but I exhausted my vegan meal repertoire.
I felt headachy the first few days (probably caffeine/sugar withdrawal), and a bit crampy from the sudden increase in fibre. I toughed it out through the headache, and drank more water to help with the fibre processing. After a few days my nose cleared up and I really enjoyed just breathing. My digestive-waste-processing system changed from it's usual sporadic dysfunctional norm to what is probably the perfect system. The way it was meant to be. I won't go into too much detail, but it improved in every way. EVERY way. Poo nirvana. Poo-vana!
I still took a lot of time to plan, shop, and cook, but I went to the internet and other sources to get more ideas. I cooked a lot from "How it all Vegan", a vegan cookbook I had here already. Excellent book! Before I started the cleanse I noticed that my knees sometimes hurt when I got out of a chair. During week 2 I noticed that my knees no longer hurt. I felt a weird lightness - like when you try to lift something up and it turns out to be lighter than you thought it would be, and your arm lifts it higher than it meant to. This is how my whole body felt - as if every cell in my body was just a smidge lighter.
The opposite of sluggish and lethargic. I was not light-headed, just light-bodied! I didn't weigh myself at this point - I had been eating a lot of nuts, avocado, and using olive oil to cook, so I didn't expect to see any significant weight loss.
So, by the end of week 2 I have a cleared nose, better sleep (I can breathe with my mouth closed and not drool or snore), a "lightness" in my bearing, and have reached Poo-vana.
I became so relaxed about what to eat that I didn't plan my meals, but just shopped for more fresh fruits and veggies when needed, and threw meals together from all the healthy stuff I now had in my cupboards. Agave syrup, steel-cut oats, vegan mayonnaise (pretty good!), dried and canned beans, vegetable broth, decaf and herbal tea; these are my new friends. Need a recipe? Go to the internet - milliions of options.
I started to feel really tired. Tired all day, and wanting to nap in the afternoon. I thought it might be lack of protein, but I reviewed my food choices and realized that I had been getting adequate protein. Iron? Maybe - I'll still have to review.
Suddenly I remembered vitamin B12 ! Apparently a vegan-like diet often doesn't provide enough vitamin B12 without supplementation. I had been taking B12 off and on for the past year, but had run out just before the cleanse and hadn't remembered to get more. I quickly bought some B12, and have added it to my daily regime again. Now, a day after the official end of the cleanse, I feel less tired....and I'm still on the cleanse!
I LIKE feeling light. I LIKE not being bloated. I LIKE losing weight without really trying, and I LIKE Poo-vana!
I miss some things: cheese, fudge, ice-cream, to name a few, but it's not the end of the world.
I've lost 3 or 4 pounds without trying. I was never hungry during the three weeks.
I KNOW that this way of eating is good for me. I feel better physically and emotionally. I know I'm now doing what I can to lessen my chances of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, all of which run in my family.
I will add fish and/or chicken once or twice a week, and I will have "normal" food and/or wine at family gatherings and restaurants if there are not enough vegan alternatives. As much as possible I will remain wheat/dairy/sugar free - I think they were the main contributors to my dietary woes.
The cleanse was made easier for me by the fact that my husband willingly joined in. I didn't have to cook differently for him; he added fake beer and the odd real drink of alcohol, but stuck to it other than that. He wants to continue with the new regime - he has no more heartburn and feels better overall, too.
If anyone wants to ask me a question you can comment here and leave your contact information. I'll be happy to answer anything in excruciating detail !