First I want to give some tips about what made this cleanse mostly doable for me. My top tip is to have easy snackable foods ready-made in your fridge. For me, that was at least one kind of healthful, filling spread for rice crackers or veggies available at all times. When you are hungry, instead of feeling like you have to get by on nuts (which are also super helpful!), you can have a mini meal that tastes delicious, has lots of nutrients, and fills you up. My favorites were homemade tapenade, which is high calorie but has that umami flavor that I craved a lot, plus a good amount of vitamins from the large amounts of parsley and basil I added. I also used a lot of hummus and a white bean and roasted red pepper “hummus” that was really delicious and a bit different.
Tip number 2 is protein shakes. I know Kathy Freston would disagree that I needed more protein, but I got so hungry, and just had a feeling like I was wasting away, which a quick little protein shake cured. I use a protein powder that has some fructose in it, which is like so totally bad for you, I know, but I did not want to buy something new. I am all about not wasting resources and money. Protein shakes were great for me as a mini meal, because these vegan and gluten free meals were filling at the time, but I would end up being hungry a couple of hours afterwards. I sometimes would make them for myself right before running out the door so I wouldn’t have to subsist on nuts while out and about.
Tip number 3 is use umami! Mmmmm, that savory flavor that the Japanese consider the fifth taste, after sweet, sour, salty and bitter is so necessary when you are cutting out the meatiness of animal products. I didn’t realize that beets are considered to have the umami flavor until the last week, so it was just coincidence that I happened to keep a stash of fresh steamed and cubed beets in the fridge that I added to everything from salads to sandwiches. Mushrooms are high on the umami list too, and although I didn’t find any specific reference to this, I believe olives are too. I ate a lot of olives! Other foods high in umami include tomatoes, wine, beer, fermented foods like sauerkraut, dried sea vegetables, and nutritional yeast. Roasting, caramelizing and grilling foods also brings out the umami flavors in foods.
Tip four is drink homemade juice for breakfast! Homemade juice is still high in sugars, but it is also really high in nutrients, so it inevitably, for me, gets my day off to a good start. On the days where I was too rushed or lazy to make juice, I always felt a little less sparkle in my step. We have a fancy Angel Juicer and it was a great investment. We missed our morning juice a LOT when we were on the road.
Now, for the final reflections:
I liked this cleanse. But it is soooooo restrictive that I did hate it several times throughout the process. I was so angry at the limits I had put on myself as well as Kathy Freston´s tone in her book. OK, I was eating vegan without too much trouble. It wasn´t fair to not have gluten, either! And then a glass of wine was forbidden, TOO? REALLY?
I didn’t feel like that the whole time, just occasionally. And I did slip up. This last week especially, I have slid, dramatically, from the 1000% adherence the first week. I ate smoked salmon at a birthday party. I drank wine. I took cold medicine, which is probably off limits even though it doesn’t say so specifically. I drank hot lemonade sweetened with honey for my sore throat and cough. I used chicken bouillon in my soup because we were out of veggie and I was sick and didn’t feel like going to the store. Finally, I ate a veggie burger on normal bread that was probably not vegan. But I don’t feel I did these things in any sort of malicious way to the planet or to my body.
Mostly I was proud of myself. And mostly I felt good about how I was eating and how I was feeling. I didn’t feel like the plan made me thousands of times more energetic or peaceful or clear skinned or some of the things she promised, although I did not follow her meditation schedule, but my own. My skin was quite clear until I started adding in an animal product or two, actually. I was sleeping well, but I have never had a problem with that, except when I was pregnant.
I guess the biggest benefit has been that my body feels lighter. I am lighter. I have lost 3kg, or over 6 pounds. But it feels more efficient or something. I like that. I want to find a way where I can eat out and with family and friends more easily but still maintain that feeling. Maybe it is impossible.
Update: I have introduced everything back in, and I think that dairy gives me eczema. I think that gluten makes me feel bloated, but I don’t want to cut out everything with gluten. I don’t want to eat anything from animals that have not been raised compassionately. I think I might try to be 90% vegetarian and 75% vegan or something like that. We will see how it goes.
Meals week 3
Breakfast: Mushroom and spinach skillet with roasted sweet potatoes.
Lunch: White bean stew and tapenade leftovers (recipes from Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook – WLNC)
Dinner: Brown rice, black beans, avocado and tali sauce (Recreation of the Whole Bowl from Portland)
Breakfast: Vegan gluten free cornbread leftovers with vegan spread; carrot, apple, beet, lemon, ginger and watermelon juice
Lunch: Rice milk smoothie with protein powder and banana; almonds; cashews
Dinner: Leftover black bean quick chili – beans, a can of tomatoes, garlic, onions, red peppers and spices with leftover cornbread
Snacks: Herbal tea, gluten free vegan bread with vegan butter
Breakfast: Beet, carrot, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon juice and cornbread leftovers
Lunch: Bouillon with carrots, celery, garlic and fresh thyme
Dinner: Lentil soup
Snacks: Banana, almonds, herbal tea, dried apricots
Breakfast: Beet, carrot, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon juice and gluten free vegan pancakes.
Lunch: leftover lentil soup and tapenade with crackers
Dinner: Whole meal salad with tofu, beets, carrots, spring onions, almonds, avocado and tahini lemon dressing
Snacks: Banana, almonds, rice crackers, herbal tea
Breakfast: Beet, carrot, cucumber, celery, watermelon, ginger and apple juice and gluten free vegan bread with olive oil and sea salt
Lunch: Leftover lentil soup and cornbread and tapenade on vegan gluten free bread
Dinner: Veggie burger on a gluteny bun with parmesan cheese (meal out, not vegan, not gluten free, but I did not order a shake or fries, which I thought was a victory)
Snacks: Rice milk smoothie with banana and protein powder, Japanese rice crackers, almonds, olives, spinach salad with steamed beets, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and olive oil. Wine. (whoops!)
Breakfast: Gluten free bread with vegan butter
Lunch: Beans and rice
Dinner: Black beans and tali sauce
Snacks: Herbal tea, protein smoothie with banana and rice milk
Breakfast: Homemade juice and gluten free bread.
Lunch: Sandwiches – gluten free bread with organic peanut butter and banana
Dinner: Lentil soup with tomato salad for starter
Snacks: Rice crackers, Almonds, herbal tea, banana