I’m not sure what it is right now, but everyone around me seems to be asking my opinion of cleanses. Many of my clients want to try a juice cleanse or 21 day cleanse, and I tell them to check with their doctor and do their research. I don’t believe in extremes, and I don’t like when my clients do either. (There are many reasons for this, which I won’t get into here…but, don’t start any cleanse without checking with a medical professional. Seriously).
On a personal note, however, I do believe in occasionally really cleaning up my diet, and do so once or twice a year. Before the holidays, I did a 30 day “cleanse”. Not a juice cleanse, not eliminating entire food groups, and not subsisting on just celery for 30 days.
So, what did my 30 days entail? I gave up caffeine and alcohol. Then I gave up refined and added sugars. 30 days of this. As always, it was a little tough in the beginning. Once the excitement of doing something new wore off and I had to conquer the mornings without coffee…I was less than thrilled. Saturday nights out with friends were a bit tough at first as I struggled to find healthy choices to eat and drink. And resisting the temptation of sweets at work and parties, or just after a really stressful day was a bit of a struggle. But all of those frustrations faded as I learned to substitute healthy habits to replace my old ones. I drank herbal tea and liked the flavor much more than coffee. I drank sparkling water and enjoyed conversation with friends rather than wasting time trying to order a drink at the bar. I learned to grab some unsweetened dried or frozen fruit when a craving hit, though I noticed that I became much less aware of the snack cabinet as the month moved on. I also became a better cook…experimenting with new vegetables when I couldn’t rely on pasta or bread to be part of a meal.
And what did I learn from the 30 days, you might wonder? Well, I do still enjoy morning coffee (though a much smaller cup than I used to), and I never consider adding sugar to it. I learned to delay the first drink at a party or restaurant, so I’m rarely tempted to have a second. I won’t lie that I still dipped into the holiday treats at times, though much less regularly than I used to. I realized the benefits of extra energy, healthier looking skin and a better mood was due to reducing the amount of processed “food” I had in my life, and I know that keeping my diet clean will help me feel like a happier, healthier person.
It’s easy to get caught in the busyness of life and fall into habits of preparing quick foods and relying on caffeine to get us through the day. But, as I am reminded every time I reduce the processed foods in my life, it’s not that much harder to eat whole foods and find natural ways to boost your energy. A mid-day, 10 minute walk works as well as a second cup of coffee in waking you up. Making a big salad and some brown rice on Sunday night can get you through 2-3 nights of dinners without relying on pasta side dishes or take out. Before starting any change, of course, it’s imperative to plan, stock your kitchen and establish a plan B for different situations you may find yourself in. But, you can do it…and you’ll be glad you did. So I challenge you all…what can you give up for 30 days?
A little motivation to get you started…love this quote: