Four weeks ago I made the decision to 'get my glow back'. A couple of comments from my husband about looking tired, and generally feeling worn out gave me the final push. Over all I eat really well, but I had noticed the 'creep in' of daily treats and the escalation of my coffee consumption. I was only having 1 coffee a day - but that was a triple shot long black!!
I recommend a cleanse for clients at least a couple of times a year to give the liver and digestive system a break. It had been over a year since my last cleanse so I was well overdue.
Whilst eating right is essential, another important aspect of cleansing is listening your internal dialogue and taking note what you say to yourself daily. Its really hard to feel fantastic and glow when your biggest critic is yourself, and you can't send her packing!
I followed an elimination diet and supported my liver, adrenals and digestive system with herbs, vitamins and probiotics. I believe these systems need to be supported during any kind of cleanse or detox. I had a plans to eliminate all dairy for a week and then introduce some butter and goats cheese. However I ended up omitting it for the whole four weeks. The protocol also removed refined sugars (mainly fructose), caffeine, alcohol, gluten and most grains.
Every morning consisted of (and still does!) of a big glass of warm water with lemon, or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Packing a large bottle of filtered water in my bag (it's hard to keep the water consumption up in winter!) and choosing a little variety pack of herbal teas to put in my bag (this made the coffee cravings manageable).
In addition to changing my diet my daily rituals included, skin brushing, coconut oil pulling, meditations, positive affirmations and writing down in a journal my daily thoughts - no matter how mundane they were.
Daily movement was another element I included in the cleanse. Some days it was a 15 minute walk and a few salutes to the sun, others a 7km run. I listened to my body and didn't push too hard when I felt tired.
So how did it go? Weeks 1-2 were the toughest with the coffee cravings. The headaches only lasted for a day or so, but the brain fog lasted for a week! I don't miss coffee now, it turns out I crave warm drinks more than the caffeine hit.
Sugar however is another beast!! I thought I didn't eat a lot of sugar, but the daily intake of dried fruits, fresh fruit and chocolate had been adding up. Cutting all of these out for the first 2 weeks was hard and I found myself eating a lot of coconut, avocado and cacao mousse to compensate. I have since tried a sweet treat or two and realise just how sickly sweet some foods they are. I'm pleased to say the tastebuds have recalibrated so just 1 date is enough, not 5!
- I have energy to get up and go in the morning. Unless I have been up all night with a sick child, I wake up with a clear head and I feel good.
- My skin is much clearer. I no longer have the constant lumps around my chin and cheeks.
- My eyes are brighter and whiter.
- My jeans are looser, I didn't aim to lose weight, but I lost 2 kgs.
- My mind is a lot clearer, I was actually getting scatty not focused with coffee!
- I don't have the bloated belly feeling anymore, and I take note of what I have eaten if I do feel this way.
- I had absolutely no pain with my period this month, it was almost a 'non-event' rather than an aching back and severe chocolate cravings. Having balanced hormones begins with a nourishing diet.
- I'm much more aware of the food I consume, and the effect of it on my body and my mood.
Where to from here? Over the next few weeks I will be adding foods back into my diet with out going overboard, and taking note of how I feel. I don't have any desire to eat a huge chocolate bar, a bliss ball is enough to satisfy a sugar craving. I have a feeling that dairy, sugar and gluten are no longer my best friends. If this is the case I will be making a few minor adjustments to my diet and moving forward to find yummy options. I will continue eating lots of fermented foods which are great gut health, I love sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir. I want to make kombucha too, but I think my husband is at his limit with strange things bubbling around the house!
Something to always keep in mind is that a cleanse is not about deprivation. There are plenty of things to eat, you just need to have an open mind to trying new foods. Food does not always need to involve the usual staples of bread, cheese and milk. Get adventurous - surprise yourself with what you can achieve and know you can feel fantastic doing it.
If you are interested in learning more about my cleanse, or want to do one yourself contact me and I can help you get your 'glow' back!