Here it is. The time has come. The countdown is over and now it is cleanse time. Almost 29 years in to life and I'm finally doing a cleanse. What is this cleanse I speak of, you ask? Well, I'm doing the 'Standard Process Purification/Detoxification' program which focuses on eating real, organic food (fruits, veggies wild rice for the first 11 days, adding deep sea fish and chicken for the last 10 days) while taking whole food supplements to support detoxification of the liver, kidneys and intestines. I have to thank my friend and fellow detox buddy Sarah for talking me in to this (I thank her now, but we'll see if I'm still thankful a few days in!). I may not have ever attempted something like this by myself.
For 10 days (of the 21) I will essentially be a vegan. No gluten, caffeine, alcohol or dairy is allowed the entire program. For the first 10 days my eating will consist entirely of veggies, fruits and a very limited amount of rice (1/2 cup). It is a bit intimidating but something I'm willing to do because what I eat has changed so much over the last year. I will not be experiencing the negative effects of withdrawing from caffeine, processed foods or sugar because I eat very little, if any. If you are interested in the program and following along with me (and my detox buddy!) check out the .pdf of the entire program here. I will be having a rice protein mixture to blend in to my fruit smoothies (twice a day) so I don't anticipate being terribly hungry but we'll see.
First, you have to find a standard process kit - normally they are only supplied by nutritionists, chiropractors etc. But you can find them on Ebay or Amazon for around $200. You get everything you need for the 21 days and a nice booklet about the program including the food journal. You'll also need a blender for smoothies, which I had to purchase.
I bought some detox lemon tea as I can't drink green tea or any other tea with caffeine in it during the 21 days. It's highly recommended to taper off processed foods, sugar and caffeine prior to starting to avoid headaches. I had already pretty much stopped drinking coffee already (save one latte/week) and cut myself off from green tea two days before the start of the cleanse with no headaches. I don't normally eat processed foods or anything with refined sugars so it was an easy one there. I can see how it would be a horrible first few days of the cleanse if you try to quit everything at once - I heard that sugar is just as addictive as some illegal drugs (or more so) but I'm at a good point nutritionally to start this cleanse where I hope not to be miserable from withdrawal.
I started shopping a few days before, stocked up on wild rice, brown rice, frozen blackberries, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, green beans (all organic, of course) to have for my smoothies. Then came the day before the cleanse and it was really time to load up on the veggies. In the last year I developed a love for almost everything green. I don't like mushrooms, however, but there are plenty of green veggies that I LOVE. I am one of those people who prefers spinach over iceberg lettuce for a salad. I think Kale is one of my all-time favorites. I decided to shop for only a few days at a time so everything would be fresh. In a perfect world I'd love to be able to shop at open-air markets each day for my food like they do in so many other countries. Ideally I'd like to stop shopping at grocery stores all together and depend on local farms mostly for my food but that's a whole other thing to tackle. Anyway, I'm loaded up on veggies, fruits, high-quality oils, rice and am ready to go. Here's what my spread looked like on day 1:
Prepare yourself as I walk you through my journey, I'm providing advanced apologies for any cleanse-induced rants that may happen. Read along, if you dare.
I've been told the key to this cleanse/detox is preperation. So I packed my breakfast and lunch smoothie ingredients and a snack in containers for the work day. I woke up pretty stoked to start, actually munching on some raw kale to curb my hunger until I made my shake. The deal with this cleanse is you have to eat twice as many veggies as fruit, though they don't limit you on intake.
Breakfast Smoothie: 1 cup fruit (strawberry, rasberry, blackberry), 1 cup veggies (kale), 2 scoops SP Complete
Snacks: Carrots, Apple
Lunch: HUGE SALAD (meatless, dairy-free w/vinaigrette), Smoothie with 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup mango, 1/2 cup peaches & fresh ginger
Dinner: Stirfry with garlic, onion, olive oil, wild rice, asparagus, green beens & carrots
The shake was OK although I'm a big fan of kale or spinach in smoothies anyway. The protein powder came off of chalky to me, which I also expected. Not too bad, wishing it was a little sweeter but completely drinkable. Also snacked on a cup of carrots too, might as well keep eating while I have the appetite. Downed the supplements with water at each meal (10 capsules total of organic whole food powders/herbs, 3 times a day) which was a bit difficult. Ginger tastes like sunshine. It's probably going to end up in all my smoothies from now on.
Day one I was hungry pretty much every 90 minutes - likely because organic fruits and veggies are so easy for your body to process so they would move out of my stomach quickly. Hunger is an interesting feeling. I didn't experience it too often on my current healthy eating plan (prior to the cleanse) because I always ate a fair amount of animal protein with each meal. Eating only fruits and veggies for most of the day was difficult, made me hungry at multiple points in the day and made me look forward to my one meal with rice that was allowed. I think for me, even though I do eat pretty healthy, it's important while going through this cleanse to recognize the feeling of hunger. Because I am drinking so much water I know the feeling is not thirst. And the opposite is true - I need to know what a 'full' feeling is for me. Not stuffed, but satisfied. During day one I noticed that drinking the smoothies did make me full but for a short period of time. I could quickly satisfy my hunger with some carrots, apple or other veggies.
Dinner tasted amazing. It was interesting how just the tiny bit of fat (olive oil) made the meal so tasty. For dessert I made myself a little frozen banana sorbet (just 1/2 frozen banana with a little water run through a blender) and that was also delicious. Day one went really well, I felt great at the end of it and followed all of the cleanse rules. In fact I drank 40 more ounces of water than recommended.
I slept so well last night. Normally I sleep well but last night I don't recall moving or tossing around at all. Just like a rock. Got out of bed early and ready for the day, stepped on the scale first thing - I lost 1/2 a pound in day one. That's pretty reasonable considering I don't really have a lot of detoxing to do (clean eating for the past year or so) and that I only ate about 700 calories yesterday. Half a pound makes perfect sense. Day 2 is likely to look a lot like Day 1. I figured out yesterday that I was eating too little fruit (the suggested fruit serving sizes are generally bigger than the veggie serving sizes) so my shake this morning was huge and thick like sorbet, really yummy. I honestly did not taste the powder.
Breakfast : Banana, Blueberry, Strawberry & Spinach Smoothie
Snack: Carrots, Apple, frozen banana sorbet
Lunch: Mango Peach Ginger & Spinach Smoothie, mixed green salad w/balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner : 1/2 cup rice stirfry w/green beans and broccoli
At some point during my walk today I contemplated vegetarianism. I thought how respectable it was to be on a nutrition plan just like this everyday. A deliberate effort to not indulge in animal meat (or products for vegan). I realized having meat was an indulgence, really, or cheese or milk. They are things other live beings have to give to us. The last two days have really opened up my eyes to vegetarianism as a manageable lifestyle - I had not been too hungry in the last two days and was pretty full of energy, quite honestly. Maybe after this I will start eating less meat...so many other things are indulgences like coffee or alcohol. I am already two days in to this cleanse and trying to better define want vs. need when it comes to what I am eating or drinking, which is EXACTLY why I am doing it.
I felt really good the whole day and was never too hungry. Having a nice big warm meal at the end of the day (even if it was just a little bit of rice and a ton of veggies) was the perfect ending to the day.
DAY 3 :
Again last night I slept very well. Usually Landon gets here around 8am and we nap for an additional hour or two. He got here at 7:30 this morning and I honestly didn't feel tired at all. I do want to note this morning I felt like I had done a really good ab workout and I'm sure that's due to what's going on in my stomach and digestive system right now.
Got on the scale and I lost a pound and a half yesterday (2lbs in 2 days)! Now, I already know that you're thinking it's just water weight or effects of flushing things out of my digestive system but I know it's not either of those things. I am drinking so much water, up to 100oz/day to the point where I thought drinking that much water would make me weigh more. And another reason; this is a cleanse not a flush. There are no strange things coming out of me at a rapid pace.
Now a note about exercise during the 21 days. Standard Process recommends not doing any high-intensity workouts during the three weeks. I have been walking a few miles a day but I'm going a little crazy without my workouts - and I feel great. Today on top of some good house cleaning I did a bit of strength training to test the waters. Still felt fine. I will probably try to go back to my workout classes on Monday, I figure if I feel really fatigued I can just cut out of the workout early.
Breakfast: Kiwi Apple Spinach Smoothie
Snacks: Carrots, Banana sorbet
Lunch : Banana Orange Pineapple Ginger Spinach Smoothie, spicy kale & green bean salad
Dinner : Sweet potato (baked) spicy fries, steamed broccoli, 1/2 cup rice
Here is my breakfast smoothie and the kale & bean salad (sauteed with onions, red pepper flakes & chili powder). Apple and Kiwi wasn't my favorite combo, the smoothies with mango or berries have been better. I liked the extra spice of the kale and bean salad, I had been having a mixed green salad for lunch so this was a nice change.
Taking the supplements (30 capsules/day) is not getting any easier but I find taking them with lemon water curbs the weird taste at least. Another good day on this cleanse. I'm satisfied with what I'm eating and really not that hungry.
Weighing myself at the beginning of day 4i lost another .8 lbs, down 2.8 total in three days - I'd say we can round that to 3!