Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Cleansing, part three: the thrilling conclusion!

Here, I pick up where I left off last time. Read parts one and two if you need to catch up!

Day 11: Friday
Meat today! Yayyyy!!! Cooked up some chicken and had it with wild & brown rice.
Claire and I went to the mall together; she had Panda for lunch and I just watched and talked to her. No cravings, I wasn’t hungry, and had no desire to eat for entertainment. It’s amazing. Okay, there was one exception: walking past the smell wafting out of Wetzel’s Pretzels almost made me lose my mind. So that, and cream cheese bagels, have been my cravings. Bready stuff. Coffee, occasionally, when I go past Starbucks, but I’m pretty sure that’s a Pavlovian response.
I picked up my Trazodone refill. But at bedtime I told Dan, “I would rather have insomnia and wake up feeling good, like I did before, than take meds to sleep and wake up feeling like crap.” So I didn’t take any.

Day 12: Saturday
As expected, a choppy night. I got about 5 ½ hours of sleep. Nevertheless, it’s 6 p.m. as I write this and my energy level has been good all day. If anything, sitting and typing right now is making me a little drowsy.
Charlie and I went shopping for the things he needs for camp. He wanted to go Cheesecake Factory for lunch. I ordered the vegetable medley salad (no cheese) with oil & vinegar. All cleanse-approved. And you know what? I really liked it. And, couldn’t finish it all. Half went into the fridge.

Day 13: Sunday
So, last night I gave in and went back on the regular dose of Trazodone. And it was okay. Slept better and still felt awake. “Don’t you like having a cheerful wife in the morning?” I asked Dan. Which is sort of a rhetorical question, of course.
Charlie and Emma headed off to Camp Fox today; they’ll be gone all week.

Day 14: Monday
(Apparently, I was so busy that I didn’t take any notes. Which is a good sign.)

Day 15: Tuesday
I woke up feeling so fresh and present, as I checked emails and Facebook in the morning it occurred to me that I wanted to meditate. I’ve started and stopped this practice many times. Today I sat for 20 minutes, able to stay clear more easily than ever before. It was pretty cool.
Then I rode the high right to a yoga class at the Y, the first I’ve gone to in about two years. When it was over, I felt like I could slay dragons.
For dinner I made a homemade lasagna for Dan and Claire, something I’d always thought was too hard and time-consuming for me. Organic grass-fed beef, organic sauce – yes it took longer than my old crutch, frozen MichaelAngelo’s, but it was SO worth it! Claire, who never liked the frozen stuff, just loved it. Dan too.
It feels so good to make healthier versions for my family. And you know, since I’m not napping in the middle of the day, I have plenty of time for it. Me, cooking. Who’da thunk it.

Day 16: Wednesday
That is what my scale said this morning. I have lost seven pounds. Without feeling hungry, without deprivation. I just eat different stuff. And I don’t know how it could be water weight, since I’m drinking water ALL THE TIME.
Today I got myself an infuser water bottle. It has a little insert that you fill with fresh fruit, and it suspends inside the bottle when you fill it with water so the fruitiness infuses the water. That orange tree out front is going to come in real handy!
I also discovered La Croix fizzy grapefruit water. Mmmm, reminds me of Fresca!

Day 17: Thursday
My grocery trips are getting a lot shorter now that I avoid processed foods. Not cheaper, necessarily, but definitely shorter.
Worked all day in Charlie’s room, moving his old desk into the back room and the nicer one from out there into his room. This involved disassembling and reassembling them both. Not all Ikea furniture is easy to do alone. My purification support e-mails say sweating is good for removing the toxins. I sure removed some today.
Larry Mantle on KPCC had a segment on his show about the Master Cleanse, which involves nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper in water for ten days. Plus a laxative at night. Sounds dreadful. I am positive that I’m getting all the health benefits that the Master Cleanse claims, without suffering (well, those first couple of days WERE kinda tough… but I AM eating) or depending on a fad.
Oh yeah, and last night I slept in my own bed. All night.

Day 18: Friday
MAJOR light bulb moment.
I cheated last night. In the middle of the night – around 3, I think – I fell back on my old midnight habit and had a chewy granola bar. Actually, I had two. Long ago I convinced myself that I needed this to fall back to sleep.
Remember how I was saying that, since starting this, I woke up so alert even after a restless night? This morning, after my binge, oh my God I felt terrible. An old, familiar terrible. I couldn’t wake up. I couldn’t open my eyes. I wanted sleep -  lots, lots more sleep. Because the house was empty (Claire at her dad’s, the others at Camp Fox, Dan gone for work) I lingered in bed until 9, even though I had gone to bed at 11. I could barely drag myself out of bed, just like the old days, when I could only do it knowing a good strong cup of coffee awaited me.
I rolled out of bed after a good face-licking from Bowie, and when I looked at the sheet it was spotted with chocolate-chip stains from the granola bars. Holy smokes. I don’t even remember eating in bed.
You don’t have to do this, I told myself. You control yourself in the daytime without any problems. It can be done, even if you have to hide the granola bars, because that works and you are worth it.
45 minutes and a cup of blueberry tea later, I started to feel human again. And I don’t ever want to feel as bad as I did this morning. So, no more nighttime eating. The end.
I headed back out to Ikea to get the things I needed to finish Charlie’s room. They get back tomorrow evening.

Day 19: Saturday
It occurred to me that I no longer have food cravings, I no longer think about food all day, I don’t miss caffeine or sugar, and I feel fan-fucking-tastic. I eat when I’m hungry. But I’m eating good stuff.
I bought the good beef and the good sauce to make crock-pot meatballs for the family. Making fresh meals has become a source of pride and pleasure for me. Which is probably the MOST unbelievable thing to happen on this cleanse. Unfortunately, as I followed the recipe, I realized while mixing the ingredients together that my kids would NEVER eat anything with this much onion in it. So I spent almost an hour picking tiny onion bits out of each meatball as I rolled them. It’s a steep learning curve, folks.
Dan took Claire to see “Despicable Me 2” so I could finish up Charlie’s room. He got a new mattress pad, clean sheets, and a nice new quilt to replace his old brown blanket. There’s still a lot to do, and he’ll have to help me do it, but I think it’s a remarkable improvement.
Unfortunately, when I got him home from the Y, Charlie did not share my enthusiasm. In fact he sorta freaked out. Another benefit of this detox is that I don’t have toxins in my brain anymore – that is to say, I feel steady and more in control. I let him rant, looked at him calmly and said, “I hear you. You are not happy I did this. Now I want you to go take a shower.” (He was filthy from camp.) And you know what? He did. Later, once he had eaten something, he apologized. He still wishes I hadn’t done it while he was gone.
Also, Claire still thought there were too many onions in the meatballs.

Day 20: Sunday
Tomorrow is the last day. My emails from Support are advising me to plan how to re-introduce foods. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Dairy will be my first test; I plan to just have a glass of milk and see what happens. Maybe some cheese. I need to know if it’s okay to put some half-and-half in my decaf. I splurged on some Illy espresso blend, which has “caffeine content no more than %.05” on the can. I'm okay with that.
My beloved flavored syrups will also be an issue. When I have some sugar, even just a little in my coffee, will it set off the cravings? I’m never going to have the Splenda-sweetened syrup again. Although most people think it’s harmless, and I’m sure in moderation it probably is, the stuff is basically chlorinated sugar with traces of heavy metals and I’d just rather not have it.
I’m doing a lot of reading about stevia. It’s interesting to note that the giant agribusiness Cargill applied for patents on rebiana, the stevia extract they use in Truvia. A patent on a plant! Also interesting that the FDA finally approved stevia’s safety based on research by – you guessed it – Cargill and Coca-Cola. Their Truvia product, now on grocery shelves, contains other ingredients including erythritol (a sugar alcohol) and uses an elaborate chemical process to extract the sweet stuff from the stevia leaf. Cargill has done a great job of minimizing these facts and keeping them from the public. But here is a recent article (one of many I found) that summarizes the benefits and dangers of stevia. Buyer beware and all that.
Some nutritionists recommend different sweeteners to avoid sugar and chemicals. Agave is supposed to be low-glycemic – depending on who you ask. I’m really not concerned with the calories, just the cravings. Other suggestions are raw honey or maple syrup. I’m not sure how those would go over in coffee. Although maple syrup might be interesting.

Day 21: Monday. The last day.
I’m starting to feel nervous about eating other things again. Today I enjoyed the foods I’ve become comfortable with, and tried to remember the last time I took an afternoon nap. Charlie and Emma were at home all day while Claire went to summer school. Emma and I ran errands together at the mall. Claire had gymnastics. I made them chicken in a sesame-ginger simmer sauce (okay, that was from a jar, but the ingredients were fine) with rice, which they loved. It was a good day and I want to feel like this forever.

Day one post-cleanse: Tuesday
Ending weight: 166. I can’t believe I lost ten pounds in three weeks.
My biggest challenge is definitely going to be facing my fear of adding foods back in. Today I got so busy that I forgot to even eat until almost 1 p.m. Went grocery shopping and bought chips for Claire’s lunch; I wanted to have some but I’m so afraid I won’t be able to control myself that I just put the bag away.

Epilogue: five days later.
Some of my fears have been realized. I had some (organic, non-GMO, whole grain) crackers with Laughing Cow cheese for lunch one day, and then allowed myself some potato chips. In short order I was prowling the kitchen looking for more food. I was not hungry; I just wanted to eat more. But what was the culprit? Starches? Dairy? Both? I need to be more careful adding foods back in.
Creamer and a little flavored syrup in my decaf are fine. Dan’s birthday cake in my fridge is not. I feel like I want to eat it all. Drinking milk is also a verified no-no: cravings were triggered almost instantly. I did the midnight prowl one night and had the same response as before. So I’ve put the red-light foods in a very inconvenient location to reduce temptation.
Dan made pizza last night in his new pizza cooker, a birthday gift from me. It was delicious, made with quality ingredients, and I handled it pretty well. No tummy aches from the crust or the cheese, and I didn’t overeat.
And so, dear readers, the challenge will continue, and I intend to take it slow. I love having a smoothie in the morning, and as I learn the foods that work best for me it will get easier to plan meals around them. My weight loss will probably taper off, but I plan to hack away at those last ten pounds. I checked in with Dr. Yoshi, and he is very happy that I stuck with it and had such positive results.
What can I give you as a final thought? This experience has convinced me that the processed foods we are being sold by big food conglomerates are, indeed, making us sick. I believe that refined sugar is as addictive as nicotine. Soft drinks are a pack-a-day habit. Breakfast cereals are basically candy. As much as the liver is designed to remove toxins for us – the chemicals in our food, added hormones in meats and dairy, alcohol and caffeine – it’s also very busy doing its regular job of sending the good nutrients where they need to go. So giving it a rest through this cleanse is, in my opinion, a very good idea.
I also believe that a poor diet, as cheap and easy as it is to acquire in America, is the cause of so many of our ailments. The big pharmaceutical companies want you to take a pill. I don’t think that’s the answer.
You only get one body on this journey. It deserves your conscious, loving care. I feel better than ever, no kidding. Just think about it.

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