Well, today I started a new cleanse. I’ve cleansed several times before, so this isn’t anything new to me, but it always amuses me to see the reactions I get when I tell people I’m on a detox. I alternately get reactions ranging from horror (“Why would you do that to yourself?!”) to pleasure (“Doesn’t it make you feel amazing?!”) to confusion (“Does that mean that you don’t eat anything for like a week?”). But the reaction I get most often is curiosity: people want to know what a cleanse is like. So I’m blogging about it.
I should preface this by saying that a cleanse is NOT a fast. I am not the type of person who can go without eating for very long, and I get worried about the metabolic slow-down that accompanies a fast. I prefer, instead, to cleanse — which simply means that I only put fresh, all-natural foods (entirely plant-based) into my body for a period of time. While I’m detoxing, I usually try to take it a little easier: I sleep a bit more, I do some moderate (but not intense) exercise every day, and I try to avoid spending too much time in front of the computer or TV.
This time, I’m trying a new cleanse: Zrii’s Purify. It’s a 100% all-natural 7-day cleanse, and consists of an Ayurvedic blend of herbs, oils, and fibers. The verdict after Day 1? A-plus. After my first day, I have to admit that I am having a better cleansing experience than I ever have before. Usually, days 1 and 2 (and sometimes 3) of cleansing can be rough: I feel lethargic, tired, and irritable … and my skin and eyes often get very dry. It isn’t until days 3-6 that I usually start to feel clean, energetic, and happy. Even when I’m feeling good at the end of any cleanse, howeber, I usually have extremely dry skin that needs constant moisturizer. Today, however, I feel great — perhaps even more energetic than usual. I’m attributing this to the fact that Purify uses a combination of gentle herbs and oils rather than harsh, drying ingredients. I also believe that the inclusion of a detoxing oil into Purify’s system is keeping my skin from drying out. This is really good news for me.
For most people, the hardest part of any cleanse is the diet. I advocate eating a solely plant-based diet while detoxing, with some limited grains thrown in for good measure. I do not consume any animal products (including meat or dairy) while cleansing, and I eliminate processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol entirely. When I eat a grain, I limit it to quinoa, which is higher in protein than other grains. I also try to eat only freshly made food — which means there is a lot more prep and cooking time involved when I cleanse compared to any other normal week.
I usually prepare for a cleanse by doing a massive shopping spree at Whole Foods, where I buy almost every fruit and vegetable under the sun (except for bananas, pineapples, and mangoes which are higher in sugar content than other fruits; I also try to reduce “nightshade” vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes). I stock up on lemons (which are great for flavoring almost everything); raw nuts and seeds (almonds are my saving grace; look for nuts and seeds that have no added salt and are not roasted); unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, apples); and oils (look for cold-pressed organic olive oil, which you’ll put on everything). You’ll want to think about your meals ahead of time, so that you have all your ingredients stocked and ready to go. I generally tend to make some recipes ahead of time, and improvise the rest of my meals based on what’s local and in season.
Here’s one of the keys to detoxing: drink lots of water and eat when you’re hungry. It sounds simple, but people forget that a lot of the symptoms that might come up while detoxing are a result of dehydration or hunger (or sometimes caffeine withdrawal, or sugar cravings). I sometimes get headaches while detoxing, which seem to go away when I eat regularly (note that I have both a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack). I also can get irritable if I don’t eat regularly enough. Interestingly enough, I found that the fiber beverage included in my Purify kit keeps me feeling satisfied and full for a few hours after I drink it! Which helps stave off hunger pains.
Unsure of what to eat while cleansing? I’ll post my meals to this blog every day, and let you know my general routine:
Before breakfast: AM detox pills
Breakfast: Fiber beverage with detox oil; mixed fruit (I slice up apples, strawberries, raspberries, and kiwi and toss in a bowl).
Mid-morning snack: Handful of raw almonds
Lunch: Bowl of vegan minestrone soup that I made last night (contains no dairy and no grains), with a dollop of vegan pesto mixed in. My “dessert” was a shot of Zrii Amalaki, which I take every day to maintain my general healtha nd wellness.
Mid-afternoon snack: Handful of raw almonds
Dinner: Fiber beverage with detox oil; roasted vegetables (brussel sprouts; baby carrots; string beans roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper); steamed artichoke with vegan pesto. My “dessert” was a sliced grapefruit and a handful of organic flame raisins.
After-dinner: PM Detox pills.
Had enough energy today to take my dog for his usual 1.5 hour hike too! Tonight I’ll get to bed early and shoot for 8+ hours of sleep.
Keep checking back for more posts … I’ll be cleansing for the next week and posting regularly!