Twice a year, I do a seven day cleanse. Normally, I like to do one in the Fall and one in the Spring. With COVID-19 showing up this Spring, I didn’t do the cleanse. Now, for the first time ever, I am doing a summer cleanse. The best part about cleansing in the summer is all of the fresh fruits and vegetables. Today I stopped at a local produce stand and was happy to choose plums, peach cots, cherries and a melon. Little things like this bring me an abundance of joy on the cleanse.
How I Learned About the Cleanse
About 18 years ago, my oldest son was recovering from a severe case of pneumonia. I took him to a Naturopath to learn ways to boost his immune system. She recommended an elimination diet for seven days. We would need to remove almost everything from his diet. Then, as we added foods back in, we could see how his body tolerated them. I was open to anything that might help. She handed me a sheet of paper titled 7-Day Detox. I went home feeling optimistic and a little excited to begin.
I chose to go through the 7 Day Detox with my son, who was not quite three years old at the time. If I was going to be restricting his foods, I needed to do the same for myself. In hindsight, I had no idea what I was doing. The guidelines for each day seemed simple and clear. I dove in head first without much thought or preparation.
The very first day of the cleanse, I felt terrible. My head throbbed with the worst headache I had ever experienced. I was tired and grouchy. Soon, I realized I hadn’t given much thought to what we would eat. Hardly any of the foods I had at home fit the cleanse. Somehow, I made it through the first day eating canned beans, frozen corn and green beans with my son.
I can’t remember what we actually ate that week. What I do remember is how surprisingly good I felt at the cleanse. My headache was gone; my energy was up and my grouchiness had disappeared. Even better, I was also sleeping well and feeling rested each morning.
As tough as the first cleanse was for me, I saw the value in the process. The headaches, I realized, came from sugar and caffeine withdrawals. The grouchiness, too, was from sugar and caffeine withdrawals. After the first four days, my body lost its’ cravings for these substances and my energy level improved. I was aware that the cleanse had made me feel better, even though the process felt excruciating as I went through it.
After my first experience, I took the knowledge and tried it again. Then I tried it again, and again. Over the years, each Spring and Fall, I made time for the cleanse. As the years passed, I learned how to make the 7-Day Cleanse a wholistic experience. I accumulated recipes , made shopping lists, and learned how to prep my foods for the week. Being prepared and having what I needed to support the process allowed me to feel more successful. Each time I did the cleanse, I was able to receive more benefit from it.
Benefits of the Cleanse
- Reduce cravings to sugar, caffeine, and alcohol
- Become aware of patterns and habits around food
- Treat yourself with self care – taking a bath, getting a massage, going for walks in nature, practicing yoga, meditating, journaling
- Notice how foods make you feel
- Shop for whole foods that are bright, colorful, and healthy
- Reset your tastebuds and discover the true taste of whole foods
- Improve your energy level
- Improve your sleep
- Spend time cooking and preparing meals in your kitchen
- Reduce your appetite
- Small weight reduction
- Reset your eating habits
- Discover the difference between eating by habit and eating to fuel your body
As I sit here writing this blog on Day 2 of the cleanse, I am a bit tired. My energy level always seems to drop the first few days, then rise high after Day 4. I enjoy this quieter pace and take more time to rest. I will keep a journal of my experience this week and share it with you next Monday. Stay tuned…