Day 18. Journey to Freedom

Well on our way to being finished with the detox portion of our cleanse. I thought I'd take some time to answer questions that continue to pop up about this journey we're on. This is a rather wordy post, but I think if you're wondering at all about this cleanse, it'll help answer some of your questions.

Q: You've been doing this program for over 2 weeks now. What changes do you notice, if any?
A: Besides the bonus of having lost 10 pounds and over 9 inches in two weeks, here is a list of all the things I notice. 

Honestly, I notice a BIG difference in my body. And I started noticing a big difference around Day 3. DAY THREE. But was nervous to say anything about it because I wasn't sure if I was dreaming it all because I wanted it be. So I've waited to list the ways I feel better until now because I am confident that these changes really have - and are - happening.
  • I have WAY more energy. Leaps and bounds. In past years, I have just felt lethargic and weary a huge portion of the time. I cannot stress this enough. I would have given anything to just have a nap every day but, well, I'm an adult and that's just not an option for those of us in the real world. I can't even begin to tell you how much more energy I have. I'm actually a bit saddened by the fact that I've lived for so long in a state of less than optimal energy. I'm reclaiming those years of weariness! This side benefit alone is worth EVERY day of healthy eating.
  • I have DEFINITELY been able to focus better which translates into WAY more productive each day. I think I have just been in a fog for a long time. And I don't think I would have really known that until I started doing this cleanse and could actually see the difference.
  • I'm not taking any Aleve any more. And that's huge because I would say probably 3 or 4 nights a week I would go to bed needing to take Aleve for leg aches. Just a general achiness and the Aleve would take care of that right away. So I'd pop a couple of those and drift off to sleep. There were only two nights over the past two weeks that my legs ached (both those days I was on my feet an extra amount of time) and just laying down solved that problem, with no need for the Aleve. Between Jack and I, we've gone through a lot of Aleve in the past years and voila, there's no need.
  • I feel lighter when I move. And not in a 'weight' sort of way. It's hard to explain but I'll try. So in the past, I've just sort of felt every step. Like every step took effort. Like every step I was heavy-footed. Does that make sense? And yet now, I just feel lighter. Steps are easier to take. And it's not because of 10 pounds lost -- so it's not a weight thing - it really is a heaviness feeling in my legs being gone.
  • Bloating is 100% GONE. Do I still have a big tummy. Yep? But it's totally different. And here's the crazy thing. I never really knew what people were talking about when they said they were bloated. I mean I just knew that I had a big tummy and didn't really know if I was bloated or not. But then, through this, I've figured out that I've basically been bloated forEVER. And here's the difference;  so before, my tummy was sort of just big and sort of rock-hard. But now, my tummy is big, but I can actually squeeze the rolls. Whereas before, there was no squeezing of the rolls because the rolls were just all one big knot I think. So that's cool.
  • And with that comes GAS and I'm passing it SO much less these days. And again, I didn't think I was overly gassy in the past and yet now, in comparison, I was TOTALLY gassy in the past. Because now I might toot maybe once a day. And in the past, oh boy howdy, you don't want to know how many times I tooted. 
  • My skin feels healthier. More alive. Perhaps a glow. Or maybe I'm on drugs and it's none of the above. But seems to be healthier.
  • Forgetfulness? Verdict is still out on this one. I think I'm not as forgetful but I'm not willing to go to the bank on that one. Maybe it's wishful thinking? Maybe I am? Time will tell. But I am more focused, which I think is translating into less forgetful.
  • I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting, which lends me to believe that my forgetfulness has not been cured just yet.
  • I feel HOPEFUL that changing what I eat really is making a difference in how I feel. And I believe that if this can happen to me, this can happen to you.

Q: What program are you following?
A: There's a book called "CLEAN" by Dr. Junger and in it he has 1, 2, and 3 week detoxification cleanses. Basically, getting rid of all the toxins that have built up in your entire body. By the time both Jack and I got to the end of reading this book over Christmas break, we KNEW we needed to give this a try. It just makes sense. He's got a down-to-earth approach. He's not trying to sell you his product (although he does have product but we felt no obligation or pressure to buy anything he offered). He says do what you can with the money you have and the time you have, etc. [ As an aside, he's on the New Age spectrum, so when he starts talking about that kind of stuff, I just insert my own faith journey and prayer and it's fine. I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. I think this guy has a TONNE of great stuff to say and he's totally legit. ]

Q: What's the basic gist of this guy's program?
A: Dr. Junger, a cardiologist on the East Coast, is a huge believer in the body being able to heal itself naturally if we let it. But because we are constantly eating lousy, chemical laden junk, our bodies are getting sicker and sicker. More allergies, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc. His premise really is "stay away from processed stuff, eat as clean as possible and give your body the time it needs to actually do it's own detoxing each day, which it was designed to do. He thinks that if people eat clean, it would solve HUGE medical issues for most people. And honestly, I believe him.

Q:  What do you mean by 'clean eating?'
A: Clean eating really is making a lifestyle change and eating more raw, more veggies and fruit and trying REALLY hard to stay away from processed food. A huge piece of this is actually LOOKING at the ingredients. READ LABELS. Things might 'say' they are natural or healthy and yet, if the ingredient list is more than 5 ingredients and has things on there you can't even pronounce, you're really dumping chemicals into your body. Period. I used to say, "YA, whatever." But now, I am SOLD on the connection between how we feel and what we put in our mouths ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SOLD.
 
Q: What are you NOT allowed to eat on this detox?
A: You're not gonna like this. Nothing processed. That's HUGE and time consuming because everything is made from scratch with real ingredients. And then, also not allowed is: no wheat, no sugar, no dairy, no eggs, no gluten, no soy, no red meat, no pork, no caffeine. I am SUPER glad I kicked my Diet Coke caffeine habit a year or so ago. Thankful I didn't have to add that into this mix.

Q: Are you starving on this detox?
A:  Nope. Definitely hungry from time to time and most nights I go to bed feeling a little hunger, but honestly, as Americans/Canadians, I feel like we have programmed ourselves to think that if we are even remotely what we perceive to be hungry, we shove food down our throat. It's actually okay to not be stuffed to the gills. I'm not gonna die if I feel a bit of hunger.

Q: If you are feeling really hungry, can you snack on something healthy?
A: Yep. But here's the catch. He wants you to actually evaluate if you ARE actually hungry or if you just want to eat because you're sad or frustrated or celebrating, etc. And he says if you're actually hungry once you've stopped to analyze, then by all means, grab an apple or carrots or something on the plan. I LOVE this part of the program because it makes me get to some of the root of why I'm overweight in the first place. It's helping with my 'emotional' eating habits. Very cool component to the program if you ask me. This isn't a 'quick-fix-weight-loss-gimic.' It's a 'eat right so you feel better' type program.

Q: What exactly are you doing?
A: For these three weeks, we are doing two liquid meals and one regular meal a day. Liquid is in the form of shakes or juices or soups (I prefer shakes where I hide my greens in them and it still tastes yummy.) and is at breakfast and supper. The regular meal is at lunch and it is strict in the food you can/can't eat, but you can make whatever sounds good to you. I don't like fish, so I don't have to eat fish. You might not like chicken, so you wouldn't have to eat chicken. There are recipes in his book AND his blog has been SUCH a huge help and resource. Lots of variety. I've made a huge amount of recipes from his blog. And often they're very yummy. Pleasantly surprised.

Q: What are other things you're changing?
A: We're not drinking tap water any more. Dr. Clean talks a lot about the chemicals that are in our tap water that affect our organs and health in devastating ways. For these 3 weeks, to get the maximum benefit of the cleanse, we basically bought a bunch of purified water at Whole Foods and then I just refill those every few days for 59 cents a gallon over at Whole Foods. We're in the process of figuring out a long-term solution as we really do feel like he is spot on in his exclamation of the damage drinking tap water can do.

I'm trying to read labels on EVERYTHING I buy. EVERYTHING. It's shocking what is in Goldfish and all those things that we just grab for our kids to eat or for us to snack on. And quite frankly, I'm ruined because there just are not a lot of good easy options out there for snacks for kids. BUT, I'm learning that it should be worth the effort and extra time to feed my children things that are not chemical laden.

We're also buying organic when possible, especially meat, eggs and milk and at least these 3 weeks and we'll be buying organic for sure on the "Dirty Dozen". Basically, if has a skin of its own (like a banana), I feel like that is a way I can save some money so I won't buy organic. But on berries and apples, the amount of pesticides and chemicals they spray is HORRIFYING so I really am now a believer in paying extra for those things.  

I'm in the process of just getting educated about all this. I follow Food Babe on Facebook and her blog and her information ALONE has been incredible. From great recipes (that I often can't try YET, but will be able to once the cleanse is over) to information about evil companies like Monsanto and information about regular foods that we have eaten in the past that are loaded with awful things for our bodies, etc.

We've also watched a couple of STARTLING food documentaries (Food Inc. is one and I can't remember the other). Worth watching if you're wondering if this is all a bunch of hog wash or not. The things revealed in these types of programs are just maddening and enlightening and helpful and while you're watching your stomach is literally doing a twirl-a-bout because you realize, "Wow, I'm not going back to that junk because it is DESTROYING my insides."  

Q: So what will you do after the detox?
A: That's a great question. Definitely working on a plan NOW, so that when the time comes, (next Wednesday night will be the official end) that I don't go hog wild with food. My desire really is to continue to focus on eating clean. Part of the reason I went on the cleanse was to figure out if I had any intolerances to wheat or dairy. When I was training for my half marathon I realized that with all that great exercise I still felt totally lethargic and heavy-footed and had no energy and once again, lost about 20 pounds and hit a wall and couldn't get past that. I had enough people say, "You ought to see if you have gluten issues or dairy issues" so I finally listened to my friends! 

So for me, I will slowly introduce wheat back into my eating, to see how I react and if there's an issue, I'll know that from here on out, bye-bye wheat/gluten. After I figure out if that is an issue, I will slowly introduce dairy to see how that affects me. And as an aside, the wheat thing really is a HUGE thing for a lot of people. You see, the wheat today is not the wheat of our parents' generation. It really is a tricky thing. Google it and do some research and you'll see why even wheat breads that claim to be natural or healthy really, often, aren't. The book Wheat Belly was very informative - I read that this summer up in Canada. The author is a bit extremist in his view but I think what he shares is eye-opening for sure!

Honestly, my bottom line is to eat healthier. To continue on with little processed food. To choose veggies and fruit over burgers and fries. To find healthy options for the occasional sweets or chips, etc. To be a SMART eater instead of an uninformed eater that eats when I'm emotional. I want to take care of my body. And I should take care of my body. After all, I only get one.

Q: What would you say to someone considering trying this?
A: Oh, I'd say lots of things.
  • Find a chunk of 3 weeks where you really can limit your outside activities/parties/social events, and then commit to just trying the cleanse. You could definitely do this if you have social activities but it'll make it a whole lot easier if you can say no to some social things. I mean, what could it hurt? 
  • If money is an issue, I'd say don't buy organic but wash the tar out of your produce and see if you don't feel better just NOT eating processed food and eating real food, even if it isn't organic.
  • Get the book Clean from your library and read it. I found it fascinating and helpful and REALLY eye-opening. It was a book that radically changed how I look at what I eat. And I've put this off for a long time and sort of stubbornly refused to join in the bandwagon of 'organic' or healthy food. I was like -- ya, they're just trying to make money off the veggies. 
  • Get educated. Watch documentaries. Read books. Follow blogs like Food Babe.
  • Read labels. And if you can't pronounce the things in your food, it's because it's a CHEMICAL. And the chemical companies like Monsanto are making billions on people making uninformed choices of food. 
  •  Don't give up before you start. And even when you get overwhelmed, don't give up. It's WORTH the time and effort to at least try it for 3 weeks to see if there's some validity to the program. I would be SO curious to hear from you to see if some of your health issues go away or get better, etc.
  • Stop drinking tap water if at all possible. It really is awful for our health.
  • Do what you can with what you have.
So that's the non-condensed version but since I've had countless people asking about all of this, wanting to know more, I thought it might be helpful to put all the information in one spot. If you have other questions I'd be thrilled to answer them. And if you're serious about starting this, I'll go to Whole Foods with you and help you get started. Helping my friend on Monday was the highlight of my week. Just seeing the hope and determination to make some changes was totally inspiring.

And if you've been around this blog for long you know that I wholeheartedly believe that if I can somehow tackle this issue of weight and food, then you TOTALLY can, too. I promise! But you have to be ready to tackle it and you have to be willing to do the hard work. And if you've got those two things, then you can do this, too!

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