Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Cleansing, part one (not a horror story... yet)

That’s how I felt most of the time. Occasionally ugh - meh on good days - but mostly bleah. Tired, even though I was in my bed at night for eight hours, sometimes more, and always bleary in the morning. Waking at 2 a.m. to pee and have a snack was a regular thing for me. Only the promise of a strong cup of coffee got me out of bed. Most afternoons, the kids were used to me saying “I’m going to go put my feet up for a while.” They knew that meant a nap. Then I’d wake up, and have more coffee, or an iced tea, or a diet soda, hoping the caffeine would keep me going.
After meals, my stomach would ache, or I’d be super gassy and bloated, or I’d become exhausted – sometimes all three. Food cravings were a vicious circle: I’d eat something, feel like crap, then eat something else to try and soothe myself. Usually sweets. I’ve always said that I thought Chips Ahoy cookies were baked with heroin, because I always wanted more, more, gimme the bag already.
Then there are the numbers. My cholesterol had been an issue for about fifteen years, and I also had about 20 extra pounds to deal with. I was cranky, fat and sick. One day, not too long after my 51st birthday, I woke up and said to myself, I don’t want to feel like this for the rest of my life. It was that simple. So I made an appointment for a physical.
Dr. Yoshi Rahm is what you call an “integrative physician”. He’s the best of both worlds: board certified in traditional “western” medicine, but also a holistic practitioner. He looks at the whole picture. Where a regular MD might look at your cholesterol numbers and scribble out a scrip for Lipitor, Dr. Yoshi looks at everything – especially diet and physical activity level – and will have you try Red Yeast Rice, Omega-3s and Chia Seeds before talking about statins. (Plus, his name is Yoshi. For real.)
When my blood tests are back, we sit down and look at the results. This time total cholesterol comes in at 223. Worse, my LDL (bad cholesterol) is 151; it should be around 100. Other numbers show an increased risk of coronary disease, "adverse cardiovascular events," metabolic syndrome, and pre-diabetes.  
He asks me how I feel. I tell him about feeling crappy all the time.
“So the question is,” he says, “what do you want to do about it?”
I’m two inches from the end of my rope. "I need you to kick my ass," I say. "I’m not good at moderation. I need a plan, I need structure. I can’t just do it on my own – I’ve tried."
“Okay.” He gets up and grabs a brochure. “I really think you would benefit a lot from a cleanse.” The brochure is for a 21-day program, which he would supervise, and which comes with online support. He goes over the details.
No dairy.
No grains or starches.
No sugar or alcohol.
Nothing but fruits and veggies and brown rice and lentils for the first 7 days. Then add lean protein. Take supplements to aid the detoxification, and protein powder to add to fruit smoothies. A plan. Structure. Twenty-one days.

Now, let me digress here for a moment. You may have picked up on the fact that I see a holistic doctor and thought, hmm, okay. Well, she lives in California after all. Let’s just look at the facts, and you tell me if Leanne will decide to go on a totally awesome holistic detoxifying cleanse.
Are YOU a New-Age California Hippie? Take this test to find out! Do you:
  • Practice yoga? Check.
  • Practice meditation (bonus points if it was on a red rock in Sedona)? Check (several bonus points).
  • Study Eastern Philosophy? Check.
  • Wear Birkenstocks (and call them "Birkies")? Check.
  • Own any clothing made from hemp? Ooh, no… does a purse count?
  • Ever visit psychics (bonus points if it was in Sedona)? Check (two bonus points).
  • Drive a Prius (bonus for hippie stickers)? Check (plus 3 bonus points).
  • Buy organic food and fair-trade coffee, use cloth shopping bags, contribute to an environmental charity, own a pair of Toms shoes, etc. Okay, okay, we get the point already. 
(note: if you now hate me because I am apparently a total stereotype, you can head on back to Facebook. Thanks for hanging in there this long.)

So, of course, because this is who I am, I tell Dr. Yoshi I’m in. We arrange for me to start the day after Dan & I return from our long weekend in San Francisco, a trip that turns out to be a real bacchanal, punctuated by In & Out as my last pre-cleanse meal. At home we haul the 15 bottles of wine we bought in Sonoma into the house, and I am a little sad, because I will miss them.
Coming soon: will she survive Week One? Or are Chips Ahoys the most powerful force in the Universe? Read Part Two here!)
(p.s. I don't own any Toms. I need more arch support.)


  1. Very cool, Leanne ! I can check off most of that check list so I'm with ya, chick ;)! I'm excited to hear how it goes. I'm envious of you having such an awesom doc that is the best of both worlds. I'd love to find one here in the Midwest. Best of luck to you you are on your way to much bett health I'm sure.

  2. You'll feel the difference by the second week

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