Exactly one year ago, upon my return from the ING Miami half marathon, I tried a cleanse. I didn’t do it (primarily) because I was searching for better health. I did it because my running partner Sandra had just finished week three when we met at Loews Miami and she looked so darned good in her tiny bikini (lounging by that beautiful pool), I wanted a little of the zex appeal that the cleanse might provide for me.

As soon as I got home I bought a juicer. I read the book CLEAN, a cleanse by Dr. Junger, and cut out the “elimination” foods like dairy, coffee, wheat, strawberries and peanut butter (apparently bad for the gut).

I ate garlic sandwiched between apple slices, a ton of kale, and chia seeds for a snack. My one real meal of the day was at the lunch hour, usually salmon and a steamed green, but Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Detox had a delicious chicken recipe that I cooked a lot, too.

Overall I felt great, but there was a weakness I didn’t enjoy. I fully expected to complete the three weeks that the plan called for, but on the last day of week two came down with the most horrendous flu like illness, complete with fever and shakes and all, and the cleanse had to be forfeited. I threw up the white flag and begged for some macaroni and cheese.

I had lost seventeen pounds and as you might imagine, it crept back onto my bones with a quickness.

It wasn’t a complete loss however, because it gave me the opportunity to analyze my diet. The ways in which I thought I had been eating healthily were (in truth) more about deprivation.

For me, food is like alcohol and drugs to those who abuse those things. Once you get off the stuff and climb aboard the wagon, you have to put in the effort to stay there.

I’m a busy girl. I’m a girl whose physiology makes too much sugar in the blood a very bad thing. Running has been used in place of metformin and has allowed me to stop pricking my poor little finger tips. I am addicted to sugar and once I start to ingest it (after a period of near constant analysis of life without it), it’s really hard to stay focused; much easier to grab a donut and plummet back down into Candy Land.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m back on the healthy eating wagon, but not entirely for health related reasons. I’m vain and I like skinny jeans. I’m going to try really hard to stay glued to my seat instead of swinging off the back end like some rodeo rider looking for a quick fix.

Unlike the full cleanse, I’m choosing to continue to drink coffee and dairy. I like peanut butter and strawberries, so those will stay too. Instead of reaching for a bowl of cereal the moment I crawl out of bed, I’m going to follow Gwyneth’s lead and have a glass of room temperature water with lemon to jump start the system. I wasn’t a huge fan of the almond milk that was a staple of Dr. Junger’s plan, but I will have an afternoon snack of chia seeds and chocolate milk, because the enrgy it provides is what I need at 3:00 p.m., otherwise known as the witching hour.

Since the day I joined Jenny Craig at the impressionable age of seventeen and throughout the next twenty three years, I’ve learned a lot about a good diet. Much of what I learned has been tossed away, some has remained, and new things that work for me have been added.

Learning to manage one’s health when it comes to food (and happiness with race photos) is a cumulative effort. A personal and lifelong cumulative effort.

And to that, a hearty, “Hee Haw!”

First this....
...then this.
Yesterday's lunch at Whole Foods. A scoop of black beans, half scoop of rice, a bit of tofu fajita, and loads of greens. My favorite WF's kale salad is hiding under the spring greens. It was delicious, but took effort and thought to put it together. Much better than a handful of tortilla chips and a side of marshmallows, right?
My girlfriends came over one day when my chia was marinating (it has to soak up the liquid). They made such faces at the concoction! Silly girls!
Of course, I'll continue to juice my veggies. The girls like to particiate and I like the clarity that I feel in my brain after a dose of liquid greens. My favorite juice is lots of kale, two beets, two carrots, three celery stalks, two apples, one cucumber and a little broccolini. Isn't that beet juice on Sophie's apple the best color in the world?!
The Loews Miami Pool where I learned about cleansing. It's such a fantastic place!

17 thoughts on “Cleansing

  1. Great posts each day – keep it up and before you know it we will be seeing great pics of you crossing the finish line and new reflections of a journey well traveled.

  2. I love your blog. I’m running, eating healthy, and juicing myself. Provide more insight on new recipes for juicing.

    1. Danielle! Yay for all of that! The healthy eating is clearly my biggest struggle. As far as juicing, I really had to try different things to see what I liked best. Turns out I’m not a huge fan of carrots in my juice, so I tend to use less of those and more of other things. I love beets and use them a lot. Once I made my kale AND beet juice (that I posted under the photo today), but I forgot to add the apples and it was horrible!!! It’s totally trial and error! xo

  3. I’m trying a bit of a cleanse now too! My goal is 5 days and I’m just shooting for nothing but fruits, veggies, and whole grains, trying to avoid dairy as much as possible because it tears up my stomach. I also hope to avoid meat and sugar too, but we’ll see how long that lasts! I’ve been off coffee for a while now for the same reason. I don’t expect to lose weight in the form of fat or muscle but if I can just clear my system and get my stomach right I’ll be happy. Never had kale or chia seeds but I may look into it…Day 2 today…
    Good luck to you!

    1. Cleansing is really good for the very reason you mention…to get the stomach right. I never had a problem with dairy or peanuts, etc. more so with sugar, so getting off that helped me a lot!

      As far as kale, I love the stuff. I tried other greens and could not stomach chard or collard greens (too bitter no matter how I cooked them).

      Chia seeds take a little getting used to, but when you let them soak in something yummy, it’s a little like pudding.

    1. 28 days, oh my goodness! Isn’t it funny the things you miss and the things you don’t! I’m going to have to look into that cleanse. I’m not eager to do another one, but you never know!

    1. So you should definitely try Chia seeds,but be warned that it is a crazy looking concoction that takes a bit of getting used to. They are so good for you though and you can mix them with just about anything. They are a little more crunchy than flax seed (that I get ground), but I have put them in smoothies before in place of flax and it works. As far as juicing goes, I am just like you in regard to vegetables. They bore me and I don’t eat them enough. At least when I juice I feel like I’m getting some nutrients into my system. It’s also said that juicing is much easier to digest, so it is better for the gut.

  4. Absolutely love chia seeds and chocolate milk! So good and it hits the spot! Just read a bit in Runner’s World about soaking chia seeds in water 15-30 minutes and then adding to water or a sports drink to have before or during a long run. Gives you extra energy.

    Good luck on your pseudo – cleanse!

    1. Interesting! I might try it! It’s funny how many responses I got about Chia seeds. I guess a lot of people don’t know about them.

  5. Hi Martha, I am actually a cleansing coach, here is my short story and the system I use . When I wrote that I wasn’t really into coaching but have gotten into it since so many friends and family have started using the products and I just keep getting referrals b/c of the good results. I will tell you thought: it is important to remove caffeine while cleansing, I have a good article on why that I can send you, but I only cut it for “deep cleansing days” which I usually do for like 4 days or 9 the most. But yes! to cleanse there is no need to go into one of those crazy cleanses where people starve themselves is all about re-newing the body with good clean nutrition. You can email me for more info or so that I can send you the article. Good luck and happy cleansing!

    1. Thanks for all the info!

      To be honest, I probably shouldn’t have titled my post “Cleansing,” because clearly I’m not really doing one if I’m still drinking coffee etc. I may want to do another one after the race, but I just need to slim down a little to make the running distance less torturous! The principles I learned while doing that Clean cleanse helped me feel much healthier, so hopefully adding some of them to a better diet over the next few weeks will help me meet my goals.

      I’ll definitely look into your program!
      Thanks again!

  6. Great post. I have a terrible time with sugar. Its almost like all or nothing for me. If I have kind of sugar I just crave it more!!!!! I have never done a cleanse but just might consider it!!

    1. I think that those of us who truly have trouble with sugar know what a difficult thing it is to stay away from. Cleansing is interesting. You should look into the Clean Cleanse. I liked it because it didn’t require much more than the juicer and the book, but they say you should do it a couple times a year. I’m not sure I liked it THAT much!

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