two weeks of cleansing: the good, the bad, the hungry

Hello, hello! How is Monday going for you? Today I am semi-celebrating because today I made it to day 14 of my cleansing goal. I am psyched. Plus, I feel great too.

I want to back-up for a minute and briefly explain why I started this clean-eating cleanse.  My Mom recently started a ‘clean-eating 30-day detox’ plan with her clients, and since it’s a part of her business, she practices what she preaches. Personally I think it’s wonderful that she participates in it right along with them, even though she doesn’t necessarily have to.  Anyway, at first, I really was not into the whole “cleanse” or “detox” idea. I never have been simply because I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. I always eat 3-5 fruits a day, I drink a lot of water, I do my best to eat healthy fats at each meal, etc.  You know the drill…however, after hearing multiple testimonials regarding how great people were feeling on the cleanse, I decided it might be a good idea for me to try. Besides, since I live with my parents right now and basically eat the same meals as my Mom anyway, it was a lot easier to do the cleanse than to not do it.
These are some of our cleanse-friendly dinners: (please excuse the Christmas plates!)
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Another reason this was important for me to try out was for health reasons. A couple of years ago I underwent serious testing for celiac disease (all of which came back negative), but some of my issues surrounding it haven’t gone away. I figured two weeks of this cleanse might help me self-diagnose myself. Am I gluten intolerant? Is my dry skin a result from that? Is dairy affecting my skin?
So I began. Two weeks of no gluten, no caffeine, no dairy, no artificial sweetener, no corn.
At first, I was like um…can I eat anything? Little did I know, I could eat a lot of things!
These foods became my staples:
-Almond milk
-protein powder
-gluten free oats
-fruit (blueberries, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, clementine’s)
-Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, squash, cucumbers)
-Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
-grains (quinoa, brown rice, lentils)

The good of cleansing
-The cleanse forced me to try new things.
I am pretty much a creature of habit when it comes to food. For instance, I have eaten oatmeal and fruit with yogurt for breakfast about 6 days a week for the last 4 years of my life. I never imagined drinking a protein shake for breakfast would be appealing to me. However, after doing this for 2 weeks straight, I now look forward to making my daily shake. A few of my favorites are blueberry vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, both made with Arbonne vanilla protein powder (recipes coming soon!)
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Plus, I am now a fan of vegan cheese, gluten free pizza crust, rice chips, and more.
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-My skin improved
May I just say that this is the thing I am most happy about? The past few months I’ve had some skin issues, including breakouts, dryness on my face and hands, and unwanted bumps, all of which caused me serious frustration. Why was I have skin issues at 27? My answers: dairy and gluten. I’ve never had clearer skin and my dry hands are 10 times better. I’m certainly not going to cut dairy or gluten out of my diet completely, but I’m going to lower my intake of them, and stick to almond milk!

-I broke some habits
I was well aware I had a caffeine (iced coffee) addiction before this cleanse. It was such a habit for me to make a stop at Dunkins’ on my way to class. Well, not only have I shaken my caffeine headaches, I’ve also saved a lot of money by eliminating my coffee shop trips. Since coffee wasn’t an option for me on the cleanse, I branched out and drank a lot of caffeine free tea. Well, I am happy to say I now have a new favorite. Have you ever made a chai tea latte at home? I hadn’t, but now I am addicted. Here’s how:
Ingredients:
1 cup vanilla almond milk  ( I used almond breeze)
1 decaf spiced chai tea bag
Directions:
1) Warm almond milk until steaming on the stovetop.
2) Place teabag into mug, and then pour the steaming milk into the mug with tea bag. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.

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Voila, you now have an 80 calorie chai tea latte. You can thank me later! Smile

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-You become much more aware of what you’re putting into your body
I love meal-planning and food-planning, so I enjoyed this aspect of it. Plus, I’m now much more conscious of my choices and the nutrients I’m consuming.

The bad of cleansing
-Breaking food habits is HARD. For the first few days, I felt like I couldn’t be in the kitchen. I was having peanut-butter withdrawals, I just wanted a peppermint patty, and I really wanted to snack on my skinny-pop popcorn. Also, the lack of iced coffee in my life was not fun for the first few days. Caffeine headaches are some of the worst headaches in my opinion.

-You have to be prepared
If you’re normally an organized, prepared person, then this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! However, if you’re not, you have to be aware that preparation is a key to a successful cleanse. I packed my food bag for classes every night before bed.
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If I hadn’t prepared, I would have been hungry, and most likely would have deterred from the cleanse. Packing ample amounts of fruit, almonds, almond butter brown rice tortillas, overnight oats, gluten free crackers, and protein bites for my long days helped me to stay on track, even when I wasn’t home.
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-Socializing can be challenging
How hard is it to go out to dinner and drinks and not have your favorite cocktail or glass of wine? It’s pretty hard for me. Luckily, I’ve laid pretty-low socially for the last couple of weeks due to my exam schedule and family commitments, but there were a few nights in particular (ESPECIALLY on the Super Bowl, when I REALLY wanted a glass of white wine).

-It’s really  important to pay attention to food labels
I love reading food labels (guess I’m going into the right career!) but if you don’t, this might take some practice. Reading is key to see if a particular food or product contains dairy, gluten, artificial sweeteners, corn, etc. You will be very surprised at what certain things include…quite frankly it’s frightening!

The hungry (like my spin on the good, the bad, the ugly ? hehehe!)
-For the first few days, you might feel constantly hungry.
I certainly felt like I did, but looking back I think this was my mind craving the things I wasn’t eating (peanut butter, popcorn, chocolate,  yogurt, etc.).

-It may be a bit expensive at first
Buying gluten-free, dairy-free items can tend to be pricey, at least when stocking your cupboard and fridge. However, you won’t have to buy oatmeal, crackers and bread each week either, those things will last. The things you’ll buy weekly, things such as fresh fruits and vegetables ,cost A LOT less than boxed, processed foods, and since you’ll be eating in quite a bit, you’re saving yourself money there, too!
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Our gluten-free, vegan,  homemade pizza

-If/when you tell people you’re cleansing, be wary of the reaction.
People may be excited for you, or wonder what it is about, or may think you must be starving yourself or simply have no interest what-so-ever. That’s okay, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just stick to your goal.

Overall,  I truly never felt like I was food deprived or starving. I’m so happy I followed through with the cleanse, and I’m looking forward to continuing to implement the things that I learned, in addition to trying new cleanse-friendly recipes. Although I will slowly introduce dairy and gluten back into my diet, I’ll eat them in lesser amounts, and choose gluten-free when I can. Oh, and I am most definitely enjoying a margarita tonight with my Mom!

Have a great Monday, friends!

Have you ever tried a cleanse? If so, how did you like it? If not, would you do one?
Are you gluten or dairy intolerant? If so, have any fun recipes to share?

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23 thoughts on “two weeks of cleansing: the good, the bad, the hungry

  1. This was a really honest, helpful documentation of what seems like a really healthy cleanse! Your food choices during this whole time are inspiring and I’m so glad they made you feel so great. I’m an almond lover btw…i’ll never give up cheese but dairy milk is actually pretty easy to replace. Congrats!

  2. Sooo…this is basically how I eat everyday..haha. I never thought of it as cleansing..just healthy! Given I do have some chocolate here and there so I guess that’s what cancels out the cleanse? Either way, awesome job!

    • Haha you’re just on a lifelong cleanse and that is a great thing! I am still doing it, honestly now it’s just a way of eating and I love it (but I sneak chocolate in too) :)

  3. I’ve only ever really done a forced cleanse due to my allergies, haha. But it was very very hard – especially the gluten! Because I didn’t know I was a coeliac until I was 19, I’d eaten gluten my entire life so I had insane withdrawals (and oddly enough, when you’re coeliac you can actually crave gluten even though its the thing that’s hurting you the most!).

    Thankfully I’m not dairy intolerant, but I have lots of GF and DF recipes on the blog!

  4. Good job on making it the 2 weeks! I tried a detox last year, I lasted 1 day, lol! But that one was kind of extreme, like all you could have were smoothies and celery and I HATE celery. This actually sounds like something I could do!

  5. Even though this is called a cleanse, and it surely is, it seems more aligned with a strict way of eating – and I like it! I wish I could buckle down like you did – you did such a good job! I’m glad your skin cleared up! I know that food definitely plays a role in that.. :) That vegan gluten free pizza looks SO good! :) I tried vegan cheese for the first time when I visited Blissful Britt in Seattle! :) AND IT WAS GOOD! :) Enjoy that marg tonight girly!!

  6. I did a month long cleanse 2 years ago and the toughest part was maintaining a social life. I tried to go out a few times and then threw my hands up and accepted hermit status for a couple weeks. Luckily it was right after the holidays so I was totally sick of food by that point, haha. Congrats on making it to two weeks! Like you said, breaking food habits is hard. I’m sure 14 days felt like an eternity :)

  7. I loved hearing your lively and true to the heart reflections on your cleanse journey. I have been on the same program for almost 4 weeks and have seen a marked decrease in blood sugar numbers, reduced congestion and easier breathing with my asthma, less swelling in joints, a serious reduction of food cravings, hunger and weight. I was sceptical when I started but I am a believer now! I applaud you for getting the message out to others.

  8. Loved hearing your recap, Meredith! I completely understand your desire to play around with your diet. I do the same thing to see what works best for me as well. It was interesting to hear about your skin issues being resolved. I’ve noticed a similar thing when I eat too much wheat and dairy. At the same time, I found when I cut both of them out completely (during my paleo week), my digestion was off. I’d like to do a cleanse like this at some point, though!!! I bet you feel so great. Enjoy that margarita!!! <3

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