As some of you may know, I attempted the 21 day cleanse. Not unlike Heather at Dooce, I had no great expectations that it would magically solve all my problems but I did expect it to have an effect on my life that would put me on a new path as far as my health is concerned. Boy oh boy, did it ever.
I didn't suffer any major headaches or sinus infections but I did have a blood sugar reaction (read: shooting through the roof) to some quinoa that gave me pause to reconsider exactly what the hell I was doing to myself. By Day Three I realized that I was in that familiar vicious cycle of feeling the pressure to see a challenge through that I didn't particularly believe in. What I learned by Day Three is that I didn't just want to be thin but I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be able to eat and not feel sluggish or panicky from high blood sugar or, well, just craptacular in general. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of being a cranky mom who didn't have the energy to play with her kids. I was scared of being a fat, unhealthy woman that was aging beyond her years by the second.
When researching Kathy Freston's book, I happened upon a review that pointed me in the direction of another book which I believe has changed my life. I was curious how a person on the verge of diabetes could cleanse their body without suffering the consequences of a diet high in carbs and sugars. How could I get healthy without the risk of feeling so awful? This book answered my questions. After reading it I sat in awe....could it really be this simple?
I also was extremely hesitant at the prospect of giving up animal products. After all, I didn't have any political stance on eating animals and products from animals. I love me some semi-mooing cow. But Dr. Joel Fuhrman presented the facts in such a way that it made me question whether satiating my gastronomical desires was more important than being the healthy woman I longed to be. The thought of giving up my dairy and animal comforts caused me to panic. How could I do it?
I'll tell you how. I simply decided to try it. What did I have to lose? Only weight. Only the bad eating habits I'd developed over the past 40 years. Thankfully, I had experienced a bad encounter with a turkey burger (let's just say it involved some sub-par ground turkey and a not-ground-up-enough-tendon. gag.) which became the springboard to my starting to believe it was possible to dip my toe in the waters of vegetarianism.
Vegetarian. The thought of wearing that moniker made me wince. It conjures up an image of patchouli and Birkenstocks and unwashed hair. Of standing up for those poor little cuddly animals who deserve a happy, fulfilling life. But here's what I hadn't bargained for in my pursuit of losing weight and becoming healthy......it's simple. Giving up the animal products and focusing on lots and lots of greens and fruits and nuts and beans......well, it's how we were built. My body started to feel energized. Fat disappeared from my body like I had never imagined it could. I could sleep better. I could run and play with my kids. My skin cleared up. My mind cleared from the fog of depression and despair. I felt like the me I had always wanted to be.
I'm not ever going to get up on my soapbox and proudly wave my freak flag of vegetarianism. I'm not sure I can ever commit to that fully but I can continue this life change because there, quite simply, is no turning back.
So, while I wasn't able to complete the challenge of Kathy Freston's 21 day cleanse (having Oprah's personal chef, I've concluded, would have made that a LOT easier) I was able to change my eating habits and my approach to healthy living. I still have a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine each night and a handful of chocolate chips if my hormones demand it (I am only human, after all) but I feed my body now like I really care about it. And I do.