A couple months ago, I promised my brother that I would go on a cleanse with him and that happened this past week. It sounded simple at the time – only eat fruits and vegetables with a couple of supplements for a week. Easy, right? Wrong.
It’s a lot harder than it sounds because I didn’t realize how eliminating things like sugars, oils, fats, meat, caffeine, alcohol, etc. from my body would change how I react to the foods I consume. For example, having too much fibre and not drinking enough water is a terrible combination. I felt bloated and gassy a lot of the times and it was often mistaken for stomach or hunger pains.
I noticed that my energy levels on the the first two days were extremely low but as the week went by, I woke up more refreshed and no longer waiting for my snooze alarm to go off. I remember not talking a lot to my co-workers on those first two days because I was so grumpy that I didn’t want to offend anyone if they spoke to me. The caffeine withdrawal hit me a lot harder than I thought it would but over time, I became more agreeable.
For the cooking part of it all, my brother and I prepped all the smoothies and lunch salads ahead of time. Dinners were cooked the night of. My meals for the week was pretty much as follows:
- Breakfast: warm water with lemon, smoothie (kale, spinach, ginger, apple, strawberries, mango, blueberries, pineapple)
- Morning snack: celery sticks, fruit or edamame
- Lunch: salad in a jar (arugula, radish, carrot, celery, onion, green peppers, mushrooms, edamame), baked salmon with an balsamic vinaigrette, fruit
- Afternoon snack: celery sticks or fruit
- Dinner: sauteed vegetables with baked salmon or half a stick of Chinese Sausage (it’s my favourite sausage in the world) or soup. Last night I made sauteed tofu with tomato – so delicious!
Note: I couldn’t live without the protein because I was also going to the gym, so I limited myself to how much I would eat.
What I’ve learned about myself. I don’t enjoy not being able to eat meat because I love it so much. However, I should be more picky about the quality of meat I consume.If I’m craving a burger, I shouldn’t go to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac combo (though it is a major weakness of mine). I should either make it myself so I can control what goes into the meat or go to a gourmet burger place that is known to have more quality meat in their burgers – this doesn’t necessarily mean the most popular burger joint. Also, I learned that if you put your mind to something, you can overcome most things. There were a lot of goodies at the office that I had to just walk past them and not eat it. One day my co-worker brought a butter tart – it was homemade from the coffee shop down the road. It was so tempting to walk over and buy one but I didn’t. Curbing cravings is hard, not definitely not impossible.
Would I do this again? Probably not to this extent. I would include some dairy and meat into the diet as well but keep the carbs to a minimum. I’ve been trying to live the 80/20 rule – eat clean and green for 80% of the time and then go crazy for the other 20% (meaning eating clean for 6 days, enjoy on the 1 day).