I had planned on hitting the road this morning for my first run back, but the pollen that poofed from the pine trees in Raleigh is too thick, covering everything living and dead with a coat of yellow dust.
Instead of pushing it and risking a sinus infection, plus the fact that overall I feel a little “spent,” means it’s a good time to take it easy and do a little cleanse.
Cleansing typically means a hiatus from the gunk that is consumed too often. This equals less empty calories ingested overall as the organs moves to absorb the easily digested juices and nutrients from the whole foods that are being consumed (in my case only at lunch). The body begins to reboot by flushing out the yuck that has been festering inside. It’s a process that takes a little while, which scares some people off. I, having done this once before, have seen the benefits first hand and am excited to give it another go.
With less calories being consumed from sources that are considered to be a problem for some (dairy, red meat, wheat, caffeine and sugar), comes what I describe as the lovely day 1 headache.
Instead of complaining or fixating or reaching for the coffee to make it go away, I have spent my morning at Whole Food collecting the good stuff (more chia, almond milk, flax meal, beautiful greens, etc.) and have an afternoon play date scheduled where I’ll spend my time holding a very small and sweet newborn.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and total health will not happen overnight, but every little step is one closer in the appropriate direction.
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.