My Cleanse Experience

Day 16 of 21 Days

Surprisingly, I’m still going strong. I wasn’t so sure how long I’d last when I first started out. I decided to do this cleanse because there are certain areas where I am not seeing the results I want for how much dedication I put into Boot Camp classes. My trainer suggested that it might be my diet and it could be beneficial to eliminate certain foods that cause inflammation or can be harmful to my body. My initial reaction: No way! No way would I be able to give up peanut butter sandwiches, pizza, wine. Not even for 3 weeks. But as he got more people from the gym on board, I thought that maybe I could accomplish this hurdle along with a support system. So I jumped in.

Here are some of the challenges I’ve faced and some of the things I like about this experience.

Challenges

Cooking – I happily hand over all cooking responsibilities to my husband who is awesome and passionate about it. I am not. I suck at cooking and have no desire to do anything other than boil water for pasta. But pasta is not allowed. On this cleanse, I’ve been prepping and cooking all of my meals. I’ve made tons of rookie mistakes such as burning bacon and adding too much chili powder to the chili. I have to look up how to do the simplest things like how to hard boil eggs.

Time – I started waking up 15 minutes earlier so I can prep my breakfast and lunch for the day.

Dining Out – Never noticed how many menu items include cheese. I miss cheese.

Social Awkwardness – Alcohol is so entwined into social life in NYC it’s hard to avoid – whether it’s meeting a friend for a drink after work or going to brunch on the weekend. I love it. And I enjoy a good drink. I expected this to be the biggest challenge. The first weekend I had friends visit from out of town. It was very uncomfortable to tell them that I couldn’t drink with them while they were here. And my most recent favorite – my mom encouraged me to cheat on the LAST DAY of the cleanse so I can have a beer with my dad when he’s in town. I’m on the fence about it.

Benefits

Diet – I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I like the diet. The food is good and it makes me feel even better when I know how clean and healthy I’ve been eating. I’m fuller longer and haven’t ever felt starving. I don’t mind not eating Greek yogurt every morning and I’ve found it generally easy to say no to foods that aren’t approved on the cleanse. (Although when offered a muffin from Magnolia Bakery, I was tempted. But I resisted.) There’s only been a few times where I longed for peanut butter pretzels or chocolate. Happily, I’ve had no adverse cravings or thoughts of murder if I don’t have a bagel right this instant.

Recipes – The recipes are solid. I don’t always make them well and it takes me 3 times as long to chop an onion than it does my husband, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are generally easy to follow and made with delicious ingredients. They’re also reshaping the way I think about preparing food for myself and have introduced me to new things that I was afraid to try before.

How I Feel – This is the biggest benefit, and the reason I choose to take the challenge. The results I was looking for? I’m seeing them. My pants fit the way I want them to again. I feel I look good and that’s what is most important to me.

Recently, I found out that I’m only on Phase 1 of 4 Phases of the Detox Challenge. It’s not a 21 day cleanse, but 100 days! No thank you. 21 days is plenty long enough! I’m proud of myself for sticking to it and know I will end the cleanse feeling like I completed something worthwhile. I plan to reintroduce foods slowly, like dairy for the first 3 days, then grains the next couple of days. My hope is that in doing so, I will be able to pinpoint exactly which foods cause me to feel bad and eliminate them entirely from my diet.

To celebrate the end of the cleanse, I’m going to toast myself with an ice cold craft brew. I cannot wait.

Cleansing

I never thought these words would ever come out of my typewriter, but I’m doing a cleanse. Not one of those ridiculous juice cleanses, but a hard core protein and veggie 21 Day Detox Challenge. I slightly hyperventilated when I read through the thick packet of instructions: no grains, no dairy, no coffee, no alcohol, no peanut butter. This is serious. I mean, what is left?

GroceryListHowever, after reading what I can eat my breathing started to slow down. Chicken, bacon, shrimp, avocados, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes – I like all these things. And the recipes actually sounded delicious! I began to think that maybe I could do it. It helps immensely that a group of people from my gym are also participating, including my trainer. So he’ll completely understand my need to punch him when he makes us do 20 more burpees at 6 am bootcamp.

So I committed to it. 21 days. Started Monday. I had fun writing out my grocery list and shopping (see picture at left.) Cooking is not my forte – I hit a stumbling block when I wanted to make lemon dill salmon and realized I had to mince all the fresh herbs I bought. I’m scared of knives. But my husband helped me through it and I think it turned out okay.

I’m not sure what my biggest hurdle will be. No beer at Oktoberfest? No bagel and coffee on Saturday morning? No post-workout chocolate? These will all be challenges. So far I haven’t had any adverse cravings or side effects, but, hey, we’re only 3 days in!