Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Cleanse

I am on the second day of a possible 21 day cleanse. I meant to post this yesterday, but when I passed out from fatigue at 2 pm, well, I didn't get around to it.

This cleanse is the Quantum Wellness Cleanse that both Oprah and Dooce have done. And in all honesty, I didn't know Oprah had done until Dooce started talking about starting it herself.

It is not a fast, or at least what I would think of a fast in a typical sense. Instead, it is supposed to be a "cleanse" to rid the body of toxins. You abstain from sugar, alcohol, gluten (i.e., wheat), animal products (i.e., vegan), and caffeine. The theory is that by not eating these foods, you give your body a break and your body gets to heal a bit.

I'm not sure about the science of that, but I do know, as a psychologist, that a ritualistic event marking the passage from one place to another (maybe unhealthy to healthy eating?) is a useful thing. So in that way, a cleanse is a good thing, a nice marker to start being a healthy eater.

The weird thing is that I have lots of perspectives and ideas about this cleanse, but I'm too freakin' tired and unfocused to do so! I'm not as bad as I was yesterday, but I'm definitely a bit "off" (more than usual!). And it's not because I'm not eating enough or I'm not eating enough protein. We're eating a substantial amount of food, although with a 6'4" beanpole in the house, we're having to double the recipes. I'm also eating a sufficient portion of protein through tofu, beans, nuts, etc.

However, I definitely feel different. That sort of freaks me out. What is it in the (sometimes) minimal caffeine, minimal sugar, wheat, cheese/eggs/dairy that I eat or the alcohol that drink that causes such changes in my body that my body is tweaked when it's gone? That is weird and it bothers me.

Dooce and one of her friends stopped the Cleanse after 8 days because they both got so sick with sinus problems. I have subsequently seen that if you're really not eating well (i.e., eating the regular American diet), you should only eliminate one item for the cleanse--like just the sugar or the alcohol or the non-vegan parts. Otherwise, it could shock your body into a "health crisis" as your body tries to shed all your toxins at one time. After learning that, I have decided I will now eat vegeterian meats that are not vegan (they have some animal product in them, usually a milk byproduct). And you'd be stunned how much food that opens up!

So, there we are. I'm taking this one day at a time. I'm not sure I will go the whole 21 days and if I don't, I think I still will have done enough to pass the "ritual" of moving from bad to good eating. It's just so weird to be eating the same amount of calories and a relatively similar proportion of proteins and carbs and having my body freak out so much. That, to me, feels like it's says something.

Still I think that if eating healthy makes you really sick, you should eat healthy more often

1 comment:

Ricki said...

Hi Anita,
Congratulations on embarking on this cleanse! And thanks for your link to my post.

When I did my first cleanse 10 years ago, I had the exact same reaction as you--the 2nd night, I started to feel faint, weak, nauseated, etc. and had to go to sleep RIGHT THEN. I slept almost 16 hours and was better but still shaky the next day. By the third day, I was okay again, and after that--smooth sailing!

I agree it's a bit freaky to be going through it--your point about how bad we must be eating regularly for this to happen is a great point!

All the best with it,