Reflection On My Cleanse
Lately, I’ve found it helpful to remember…
The world is not going to slow down, ever. There is no built-in “break” coming for us, no universal invitation to “take time for yourself.”
So, what about you and your needs?
Turns out, we need to prioritize rest and self-care for ourselves.
Truth is, making yourself a priority is often difficult. We may plan vacations with our family, but sometimes these are more like “relocations” and end up not feeling truly restful. They also often prioritize others and I know for me, as a caretaking type, I spend my time focusing on what is best for everyone else.
Can you remember the last time you actually made yourself your priority?
I recently did just this and set aside 8 days to complete an Ayurvedic cleanse with a small group. I made myself a priority for one week.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It was really hard, and at times it seemed there was a much easier way, that the days would never end, that headache would never go away… But, I stuck to it, wholeheartedly committed, and came out the other side feeling incredibly accomplished and clear-minded.
Here’s what I did.
For eight days I gave up all sugar, caffeine, dairy, gluten, meat of any kind, alcohol, and anything processed. I even went as far as making my own almond milk!
Part of the eight days of the cleanse was also a three-day semi-juice fast. I also completed this, and therefore at a truly “whole foods” diet for 8 days.
Because I had been wanting to jump-start a shift in my eating habits for a while, this felt like the perfect opportunity to jump in with structured guidance and support to help me commit.
You may be wondering, “why” one might do this kind of cleanse. The answer lies in the principles of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has been coined, “the sister science of yoga,” it’s an ancient Indian approach to preventative health, centered on balancing your constitution using whole foods, medicinal herbs, and yogic practices. My cleanse was based on these principles and I’ve had a long standing appreciation for this philosophy.
The detox program I completed was not about weight loss…
Rather, my Ayurvedic cleanse was about:
- cleaning house, and clearing out all the crap that accumulates and makes us feel sluggish, bloated, achy, and inflamed.
- restoring the flow of energy and taking care of yourself BEFORE you get sick.
- mental stability and resisting urges to grab french fries off your kid’s plate, or just pop anything in your mouth because it looks good.
- getting quiet and tuning in to what you actually need.
Instead of mindlessly eating, I asked myself, am I actually hungry or am I just thirsty? Am I looking for a snack because I’m bored or stressed or do I really need nourishment?
The detox program was about slowing down and inviting mindfulness into my every meal. I resisted quickly swallowing food and instead chewed slowly, and worked to taste my food while mindfully breaking it down to aid with digestion.
My key takeaways from the cleanse include helpful concepts:
- A supportive, like-minded group of women is like no other.
I participated in this cleanse with three of my Simply Grounded members who had completed it before. After doing so, they shared how amazing they felt after their detox cleanses and I knew I wanted to jump on board for the next one! Having them by my side, knowing that they had done it AND were doing it again with me was probably the only thing that kept me going through that 3rd day. I really wanted to call it quits. But, these ladies texted me to check in, fielded my concerns, and even got on a Zoom call with me to prepare. We all cooked and shared food over the eight days. Finally, we celebrated our completion by meeting on a Sunday afternoon to debrief, discuss, and reflect.
I’ve always been a pretty highly self-motivated person.
But I don’t think I could have seen this through without these ladies by my side. Even when I really want to achieve something, it can be awfully hard to go it alone–having only yourself to hold accountable.
- Eating all day long is not necessary.
I was amazed that I could function on much less food than I was accustomed to eating. Honestly, I could not continue with this way of eating forever, but I was impressed I did it at all. My mind was blown by how I was able to function optimally on smaller portions and juice. On my solid food days, I focused on only eating an appropriate amount of my food at each meal. I learned to stop eating when I was full instead of going back for more because I liked the taste. Have you ever noticed yourself doing this? I began to recognize this as exactly the kind of mindless eating that really makes me sluggish. Our bodies have to work extra hard to digest our excess food. Adding a hot cup of herbal tea to the end of each meal also helped. This ritual helped signify the end of each meal and provided a comforting closure that I began to truly enjoy.
To be clear, the reduction in food required for the cleanse was easier to handle because I took the week off from intense physical activity. I maintained my physical work schedule but laid off any harder workouts to give myself some grace for the increased work my body was doing throughout the cleanse. I took time to rest when I needed to and had extra time to do so–instead of completing other tasks. Most nights, I went to bed earlier.
- Cleaing out the body, clears out the mind.
Once I got past the caffeine and sugar withdrawal, I steadily gained more clarity of mind. It became easy to make the choice to stay on the path because I could easily connect the correlation between my diet and my state of mind. They were becoming more in sync. I felt lighter, more focused, and more content. I thought about how sleepy I had felt after large meals before the cleanse, and considered how much energy it takes for your body to digest! By chewing food thoroughly and eating smaller quantities, our body doesn’t have to work so hard and we can expend our energy elsewhere. For me, the energy was funneled into clearer thinking.
Yes, it is over now. What happened after the cleanse, you ask?
For the most part, I really haven’t gone back to my old ways.
I reintroduced one cup of coffee back in the morning (because I LOVE it and it’s part of my ritual) but now I drink it after my lemon water.
I’m going to try my best to keep gluten and sugar out of my diet as I find these to cause the most distress in my body. Though I learned a lot about honoring my body and taking time to practice patience with my habits, I’m also trying to not be overly rigid with myself. I know at some point I’m going to want to indulge in dessert (or pizza will be for dinner!) and I do believe that finding moderation is a key to healthy living.
However, I’m in for the next detox cleanse that comes my way!
Are you interested in bringing more mindfulness into your daily life?
Reach out and connect with me today and get quiet, get still, and get grounded.