So I'm doing something a little different. I'm normally not one for gimmicky detoxes and cleanses, but I became really intrigued by the CLEAN Program. Developed by a cardiologist who started experimenting with detoxing for his own health problems, this program is designed to improve intestinal health and decrease allergies. I've been having some issues with chronic post-nasal drip, allergies, and intermittent indigestion, so I figured I'd give it a go.
If you're interested in learning more about this program, check out their website. Here's the gist: it's a 21-day program that consists of meal replacement shakes, low-allergen foods and supplements. I'm using my favorite protein powder (Sun Warrior raw vegan sprouted brown rice powder) instead of what's included in the program, and I'm also using my own probiotic (Genestra's HMF Forte). Every day, I'm supposed to do a shake for breakfast and for dinner and then eat a "clean" lunch. According to this program, "clean" foods are most vegetables and fruits, gluten-free grains, organic chicken, fish, wild game, turkey, and beans, and olive/coconut/avocado oils plus nuts and nut butters. This also means that dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, strawberries, bananas, grapes, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants), sugar, and caffeine are prohibited. Sounds fun, right?
Word of caution: if you've ever had an eating disorder or have a strained relationship with food, this is not the program for you, as the "clean" versus "unclean" thinking can be destructive. I personally am not doing this program for weight loss, and I don't love the label of "clean" when it describes food, but I'm also doing this for medical purposes. If the program begins to create destructive "diet" thoughts, I will absolutely stop, since I myself used to be a dieter.
For the next three weeks (if I make it that far), I will be writing a daily update on the program that I'll post once a week. Most, if not all, is organic, and supplements were taken as indicated by the CLEAN program. Additionally, I took Carlson Labs fish oil, Dr. Ben Kim's Greens, Douglas Labs CoQ10, vitamin D3, and Pure Encapsulations MSM powder.
Day 1 (August 9)
So far, so good! Here's what today's food consisted of:
Breakfast - Shake with 1 scoop Sun Warrior, 1 scoop fiber powder, 2 tsp. cashew butter, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
Lunch - Organic chicken with quinoa and roasted vegetables, sliced cucumber; green tea
Snack - Organic cherries (from the Farmers' Market!)
Dinner - Shake with 1 scoop Sun Warrior, 1 scoop fiber powder, 2 tsp. almond butter, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
I took all the supplements as indicated and walked for 1 hour with the dogs this morning. I still need to sneak in some meditation.
I felt a little strange this afternoon, and I think it's the beginning of the detox process. I'm already starting to feel some improvement in my throat, and I haven't really had any cravings at all. In fact, the combo of the insulin modulator supplement and the fiber kept me full and satisfied all morning until lunch. I was pretty hungry for dinner, and I noticed the shake wasn't quite what I was craving, but I made sure to really pay attention to it and savor it while I drank it. Now here's to 12 hours of no food while I allow my gut to rest and detox...or so they say!
The interesting thing about this process is it forces you to examine your own relationship with food and re-evaluate food's role in your life. Food is such a big part of our culture and our social scene, so it's going to be interesting when I arrive at an event where I don't eat. We'll see what happens...
Day 2 (August 10)
Pre-workout snack (prior to 1 hour walk and P90X Cardio): apple with cashew butter
Breakfast - shake with frozen raspberries, protein and fiber powders, almond butter, almond milk, chia seeds, and ice; Teeccino with stevia
Snack - sliced cucumber
Lunch - brown rice, mixed beans, mixed greens, avocado, cucumbers, and olive oil salad; green tea
Snack - coconut Lara bar
Dinner - shake with protein and fiber powders, cashew butter, almond milk, and ice
I'm feeling pretty good today, though I was very tired and lethargic around dinner time. I had less dizziness and "weird" feelings than yesterday. I'm shedding unnecessary water, since I notice that my rings are much more loose. I really don't mind this plan thus far, though I do get very hungry by dinner time. I think I have to eat a bit more to be able to sustain my intense workout regimen.
Day 3 (August 11)
Pre-workout snack - brown rice cake with almond butter
Workout - 1 hour walk, 75 minutes P90X yoga
Breakfast - shake with blueberries, almond milk, cashew butter, protein powder, fiber powder; Teeccino with stevia
Lunch - salad with greens, kidney/black/garbanzo beans, avocado, olive oil dressing, brown rice; green tea
Snack - fresh cherries; 1 apple slice with pecan butter (the latter was a sample from my boss' snack)
Dinner - shake with raspberries, almond milk, almond butter, protein powder, fiber powder; green tea
Revelation of the day: I just don't care about food. I get hungry and have the desire to eat, and the food tastes good when I do, but it's just not that big of a deal. I had much more energy this afternoon than yesterday, and I met up with friends for dinner and didn't care that I drank green tea and water (and didn't actually eat). I was very satisfied from dinner, and I honestly had absolutely no drive to eat. I really expected to be thinking about food a lot because I thought I'd be hungry, but it's honestly not a big deal. It's actually kind of fun to "go out to dinner" when you can just focus on your friends and the conversation!
Day 4 - August 12th
(This was a special day because Baby Reegan Harding was born!)
Breakfast - shake with blueberries, protein/fiber powders, almond butter, almond milk, ice
Workout - 1 hour walk with intervals
Snack - raw broccoli, cauliflower, and squash with lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper
Lunch - Salad with spinach, salmon, beans, mixed veggies, olive oil vinaigrette, brown rice; green tea
Snack - raw pineapple and honeydew
Dinner - shake with protein/fiber powders, cashew butter, almond milk, and ice
I was not as hungry today and felt more satisfied...until night time. I just wanted some solid food for dinner, but I got my shake and really paid attention to it. It turns out when I sat with how I felt, enjoyed some "Calm" Yogi tea, and watched some Jersey Shore, it went away and I was fine. I have been noticing a weird thing - my jaw has been hurting. I used to hold a lot of stress in my jaw, and I'm wondering if my place of stress (usually internal organs) is shifting back to my jaw. Sounds weird, right? I'm going to my acupuncturist in the a.m. to see if he can help me along with the detox process and help me relax. In case you were wondering - and this is NOT why I'm doing this - I'm down about 5 pounds. It's crazy how much water weight we carry around. This is not what I'm focusing on, however. I want to reduce allergies and improve digestion, and I'm already noticing great improvements! Also, the whites in my eyes are whiter, and my skin looks more radiant already!
Day 5 - August 13th
One hour walk
Breakfast - shake with protein/fiber, blueberries, almond butter, water, ice, cashew butter
Lunch - Salad with salmon, beans, mixed veggies, avocado, Bragg's olive oil dressing, 1/4 cup brown rice
Snack - Apple; smashed avocado with sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder and sliced carrots
Dinner - shake with protein/fiber powders, almond butter, ice, almond milk, frozen cherries; herbal tea
I had the day off and enjoyed lots of exercise, a wonderful acupuncture appointment, and visiting Baby Reegan in the hospital before leaving for Prescott for the weekend. Turns out my jaw tightness, according to Chinese Medicine, is related to the large intestine - no surprise! My acupuncturist looked at my tongue (one method of "diagnosis" in Chinese Medicine) and it looked "much better" than usual. I feel much better than usual too!
Day 6 - August 14th
Lots of exercise again today! 45 minute walk and 1 hour of P90X Kenpo
Pre-workout snack - apple with almond butter
Breakfast - shake with protein/fiber powders, frozen peaches, almond butter, almond milk, ice
Lunch - shake with protein/fiber powders, berries, almond butter, almond milk, ice (I switched the liquid dinner with lunch so that I could go out for dinner with family)
Snack - smashed avocado with sea salt, garlic and onion powders, and pepper with sliced cucumber
Dinner - dinner salad with vinegar and olive oil; grilled salmon atop sauteed spinach with steamed vegetables and wild rice (not sure if wild rice is OK on the plan, but it's all that was available); herbal tea
I was very satisfied after having a full dinner, and I noticed that I was more hungry than normal. My skin is starting to clear up, the whites of my eyes are definitely whiter (my parents even noticed this), and I feel really good! My digestion is absolutely improving as well, with heartburn completely gone.
Day 7 - August 15th
Pre-workout snack - raw almonds; Teeccino with stevia
90 minute walk/hike
Breakfast - shake with protein/fiber powders, frozen cherries, almond butter, almond milk, ice
Lunch - leftover salmon, spinach, mixed veggies, almonds, avocado, and watermelon
Snack - Brown rice cake with cashew butter
Dinner - shake with protein/fiber powders, frozen raspberries, sunflower seed butter, almond milk, ice; herbal tea
I definitely noticed a surge in appetite today. I've been working out a lot, mostly because I was with family members who like to exercise, and my body is responding by asking for more food. Since I've started this, I really haven't been more hungry than normal. It's amazing what happens when blood sugar and insulin levels normalize, as I would have thought I would be very hungry with this amount of food. However, today definitely brought more hunger. What do I do when my body tells me it needs more? I EAT. Simple as that. I am so amazed at how fast my body has responded to these diet changes. It's truly incredible what nutrition can do to help the body perform optimally. Of course, I'm not going to eat like this forever, but it's so nice to give my body a break.
What is most interesting about all of this is that I just don't think about food that much. When I used to diet, I would be consumed by food and thoughts of food. Since I am now an intuitive eater and am doing this to try to really take care of some medical issues, this is much different than dieting. I just don't think about food all that much, except to plan what to buy at the grocery store. I was worried that I would have those same thoughts as before, which is why I was concerned I wouldn't be able to do this program. However, it has truly changed my mindset about food already. I feel grateful that I've had such a positive experience up until this point. Week 2 starts tomorrow!