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Archive for April, 2011

Ah the cleanse is over. Sort of! After doing such a nice job of cleaning up our insides, we couldn’t exactly jump right back in to eating everything we ate before. What a waste that would be! Not to mention rough on the digestion after it had such a nice, long break. I ended my vegetable cleanse with a gentle gravity colonic so I think I put my colon through enough exercise without adding a sudden rush of all sorts of food right away.

Ah yes, I really did a colonic. They sound intimidating but if you go to the right practitioner they are a relaxing, soothing and rewarding experience. I felt great afterwards! While doing a cleanse without finishing it off with colon therapy is not a waste, it makes sense to me to get out all of those toxins. I’d cleaned up all that trash in my system, so I wanted to be sure to clear it out from my body. Otherwise you run the risk of getting all that garbage out of your cells and letting it stagnate inside you. I went to Kim at Nadha Brahma and she was fantastic.

photo by graur codrin

My biggest focus was to make sure I drank tons of water. During the cleanse and definitely after the colonic! The first food I brought back was quinoa. I felt like I needed some more texture and specifically I was craving a bit of grains. But grains tend to give me problems so I stuck with only quinoa. It was definitely time to add some fat back in to my diet – my skin was getting really dry – so I started using some olive oil to my raw veggies and coconut oil to the cooked ones. I’ve never had issues with nuts so I added them back in too. Finally, I really missed fish so I had some last night with dinner. And I’m back! There isn’t much more to add.

photo by Salvatore Vuono

One other thing to note is the importance of chewing. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but especially after a cleanse and colonic you want to help your digestion out by doing your part!

One thing I am trying to be careful about is something that I adhered to during my cleanse. The rules of food combining can be extremely helpful for your digestion. Basically, you never combine nuts, starches or meat and dairy in one meal. Any of those categories can be eaten with vegetables but not with eat other. For example, if you have vegetables with your fish, you wouldn’t want to eat grains too. Fruits are only meant to be eaten on an empty stomach so they are best in the morning and not for the rest of the day.

You may not be interested in getting this vigilant, but I find it really helps me. Plus, it’s not that far from how I have been eating anyway. In case you’re intrigued, here’s a quick rundown of the reasoning behind the rules. First of all, fruit breaks down much faster than any other food. So when you add another food at the same time, it causes the fruit to stick in your system longer even though it’s broken down and thus it starts to ferment. Not something helpful to have sitting around in your gut! Also, different types of food are broken down by different groups of enzymes. For instance, when you eat meat you secrete pepsin to digest it; when you eat grains your system sends out an amylase to break them down. Send out both of these at the same time and they neutralize each other, making it difficult to digest properly.

photo by Arvind Balaraman

Doing a cleanse is a great time to experiment with an elimination diet. In other words, reintroduce foods one by one to see how your digestion reacts. I’ve done this in the past and it’s what led to me finally discovering which foods were responsible for my digestive troubles. To narrow it down it might help to focus on the common contributors to health issues – dairy, eggs, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts, shellfish and other fish and soy. Of course if there are any other foods that you have ever thought might not agree with you, try to add these in one at a time as well. As for things like processed, packaged foods, refined sugar and flour and the like… it’s safe to say we don’t need to add those back in at all!

Time for a run!

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That’s not quite accurate. Diary of a mostly raw fruit and vegetable cleanse. Much better, right?! 7 days of fruits and vegetables, piece of cake!

photo by Suat Eman

Cleanses seem to be a big topic these days. You see people with their Organic Avenue or BluePrintCleanse juice bottles everywhere you turn. Some people are aggressively, and I mean aggressively, against them, some people swear by them, some people try them out of curiosity (especially lately with all the attention they are getting) and some to lose weight. Personally, I wouldn’t say you need to do them regularly to be healthy but I do think they can be a great addition to a healthy diet. And while the pre-packaged juices are convenient (I like Organic Avenue best), you can pretty easily make your own at home.

Ideally, you would get all the right nutrients in the right ratios and whatnot. Certain vegetables in unique combinations to get a variety of vitamins and minerals and some nut milk to add fat, etc. Really when you are embarking on a three- or five-day cleanse, you don’t need to be that worried. As long as you follow a healthy diet overall, you will get the nutrients you need. The cleanse is supposed to give your digestive system a rest so your body can devote its energy to repairing the rest of your body. If you don’t get the right amount of Omega 3’s for this short period, it’s not going to harm you. (Of course, if you are currently underweight or have a known health concern you should consult your doctor or refrain from doing a juice cleanse.)

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There are plenty of ways to go about cleansing, it doesn’t have to be juice-only. You could just eliminate certain things from your diet, like common allergens or all white forms of sugar for example. Or you could eat only raw vegetables until dinner and then eat a healthy, balanced cooked meal. There are tons of options! I am not going to get into the specifics of how and why to cleanse here – it would need to be a series of entries! But let me just say I think it can be very beneficial if done right.

After seeing Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, my husband agreed to do a cleanse. It’s an inspiring movie, I recommend it if you haven’t yet. Of course, without hesitation, I jumped on top of his willingness! Seeing him not eat pizza or burgers or heavy foods for an entire 7 days? Sign me up! In the movie, Joe Cross lives on nothing other than smoothies for 60 days. That’s way too extreme for us – let’s just say Joe had a lot more ‘stored energy’ than we do. But to keep things simple and free of lots of complicated rules, we stuck to the raw fruit- and vegetable-only idea. It’s not the most balanced but it’s easy and gives our digestive systems a nice break. Juices, smoothies and good ol’ chopped up raw produce. Our friend Kathy just recently found out she has cancer so we decided to do the cleanse in her honor. If she can fight that beast and keep up her amazing positive attitude, the least we can do is a quick cleanse!

Today begins Day 5 already, I can’t believe it! The first couple days I was a bit tired and had a slight headache, not to mention a rumbly stomach. My husband, who was missing coffee and tends to eat a much heavier diet than I do on a regular basis, was suffering a little more. By the end of Day 3 we were so sick of raw produce. It was 7, 7:30, and then 8 pm and we were still sitting around saying we were hungry but couldn’t get motivated to eat any more vegetables. There was no way we were going to make it through 4 more days. We almost threw in the towel. Veggie sushi rolls across the street at Whole Foods was calling my name.

Out of desperation, at the last minute we decided we would add in some cooked vegetables and WOW I can’t tell you how good they tasted to us! Steamed vegetables with a bit of garlic and thyme? I would never have found this so exciting in the past. Not a trace of oil or salt? Boring! Our taste buds seem to be re-adjusted, which is reason enough on its own to do a cleanse in my opinion. When you eat foods with extra salt and sugar your taste buds start to need these things to find foods satisfying – but salt and sugar make you want more salt and sugar. Without them, we are finding so much pleasure in the natural taste of foods and able to stop eating when our bodies tell us they are full. There’s no getting confused by our heads telling us they want more even though our bellies are busting.

I’m totally rejuvenated and thrilled to be eating this way – not feeling trapped or limited at all! Day 4 I had tons of energy and continue to feel that way this morning. Tons! No help from caffeine or sugar or any other stimulant. Mr. Honey B is feeling great too!

It will be nice to add some fat soon, as my face is getting very dry. This way of eating is way too restrictive and missing in nutrients to continue for much longer, but it’s great for now. My digestion is loving it! Husband is almost giddy with his success in this department too – who knew I would be getting such details!? For two people who tend to have issues (and differing ones, at that) with this when not eating carefully, this is quite an achievement!

Come back in a couple of days to hear how the rest of the cleanse went! I’ll also talk about food combining, colonics and how to end a cleanse and re-introduce foods back into your diet.

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