14 Daze of Detox

That’s right.  14 days of cleansing.  Are you ready for this? (am I ready for this?!)

Every year I do a cleanse, no salt, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meat, breads, or foods cooked in oil.  Actually the only things I can eat are fruits, veggies, raw soaked almonds and sunflower seeds, certain oils, herbs, dates, and undistilled vinegars.  The cleanse is supplemented with alkalizing mixes, a greens mix, herbs, minerals, probiotics and cleansing shakes.  Previously, I’d chosen to do one-week liquid cleanses.  This year, it’s a whole new ball game.

Here’s the first entry in my Cleansing Journal . . .

Memories of Cleanses Past

Here I am, on day three of a five day pre-cleanse and so far, so good. I’m having flashbacks to the last two cleanses I did, both on the Arise and Shine products.

Ahhh, sweet memories . . .

The first was in Tucson, I was 27 years old and juggling yoga teaching and a marketing consultancy.  With a home, a car, great health food stores, and all the kitchen appliances you could desire, the cleanse was a helluva lot more . . . convenient.

Determined to do a seven day cleanse on my first go, I consulted my friend Wendy, who was once a fasting coach on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand.  As instructed, I got the psyllium husk and bentonite clay to make my own shakes.  I took them 5 times a day.  By the third day, I was pretty much over the shakes.

Mmmm. No, really, I love drinking this much goo and water.

I topped off the shakes with a ‘Chomper’ mix – a blend of herbs to keep your peristalsis workin’ as it should do.  I had only fresh fruit and veggie juice, or a vegetable broth with no salt or solids.  It was intense.  My yoga practice had to be adjusted considerably, and the hike I did at the end of the week was no easy task!

Imitating the high voltage warning character, Mt. Lemon

Over the course of seven days I probably lost some weight – but that wasn’t my main goal.  I decided to cleanse 1. For the pure experience of it, 2. To prove to myself that I could do it, 3. For the health benefits.  What I didn’t realize, is I’d also discover my relationship to food and how much mind space and time in planning, prepping, and actually eating took up in my day.

At first, listening to my thought process, I could easily see how so much of the action of eating is really just habit.  Your mind tells you it’s time to eat, even when you’re not hungry, simply because this is what its used to.  I never craved anything, even when the smells would waft into my personal space – with the exception of chocolate.  I really missed chocolate.

Sometimes I’d go to the supermarket, just to be near food.  I’d always liked going food shopping as a kid and it grew into something I’d do with my partner, sometimes for hours at a time.  At the Foodland in Hawaii, skipping along with my mom, the whole world was available to us, a menu of infinite combinations ahead.  On the detox, I realized food had been ingrained in my psyche not just as sustenance, but as a way to show someone you care, and more than that, as a friend.

Hot diggidy damn, thems some big papayas!

When people ate around me, it wasn’t as bothersome as I thought it might be.  I actually enjoyed watching my friends take down a steak burrito.  I’d eat vicariously through them, imagining how the texture of the grilled meat would feel against the soft flour tortilla.  Or how the cold of the sour cream oozed so deliciously into a layer of cheese and hot black beans.  I felt no animosity, just pure enjoyment.

When I broke the fast, and started introducing goodies back into my munching regiment, I appreciated the flavors of my food like never before.  A simple carrot salad with raisins, lemon and honey was like a party in my mouth!

The second fast was much more organized.  I spent 8 days in the Ananda Yoga Spa on Koh Phangan in Thailand for my thirtieth birthday.

The humble Ananda Spa pool, sauna and massage rooms off to the side ;o)

A sweet dude who worked there made all my shakes, all the broth, and was kind enough to set up my daily enemas.  Hehe, yup, enemas.

The shake maker.

Since it’s so hard for your body to poop, having so little intake, enemas are usually necessary during a liquid-only cleanse.  Many cleansing coaches recommend colonic hydrotherapy to aid in the deep cleansing of the colon, where it’s widely known toxic remnants of digested food may still be lurking.  Having the nerve to stick a lubricated enema tube up your bum and then lay in the fetal position in the tub while warm water from your enema bag supposedly whooshes into your you-know-what was no easy task.

Thankfully, at the spa, it was easier.  Homeboy would set up the water, tubing, and lovely bed to lie in. The rest was up to you.  A private room, yes, though none of us could say we really looked forward to that time of the day!

Another difference was the camaraderie involved.

The ladies of the cleansing crew, 2009.

This time around, I had 6 other ladies doing some kinda similar cleanse who were on some kinda similar schedule.  We’d chat poolside or in the sauna, mostly about travels and how much men in our lives had sucked recently.  With all the girl chatter going on, I hardly noticed when my friend and possible potential lover strolled onto the grounds to surprise me for my birthday!  Of course, the series of events quickly following that tiny gesture soon reaffirmed the Cleansing Crew’s original theory: 80% of men do actually suck.

Let’s Get This Party Started

So this is my third cleanse, and for the first time I’m doing it proper.  And I mean, proper!

Three friends and I have committed to 5 days of a pre-cleanse, 7 days of a gentle cleanse and 7 days of a master/power cleanse.

Alexandra, Bridget, Emily and Me. Cleansing Crew 2011. The low-energy 'before' picture!

This being the pre-cleanse stage, we’re to eat no meat, alcohol, breads, cakes, dairy, chocolate, and a host of other things.  Which hasn’t been so hard … except for the chocolate.

Living in a hotel with no kitchen or accoutrement to speak of makes this cleanse a little tough since food is actually allowed at certain times in the day.  There’s a lot of preparation time, especially if you want to make more creative and elaborate dishes – the only way to stay sane on a diet so limited!  So, we borrow blenders, make meals for each other, and share as many herbs and little extras as possible.  It’s been a real team effort.

Even the hotel staff are pitching in, and agreed to make us special steamed veggies to go with our fruits and salady bits at dinner.  Thank  Jah for garlic, ginger, olive oil, balsamic and apple cider vinegar, and herbs – mo’ flavahs mo’ bettah.

Click here to check out a raw vegan pudding I concocted this week.

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