Monday, February 28, 2011
40 Days: Day 24
Today marks a new chapter in the 40 day yoga challenge: the Cleanse. That is Cleanse with a capital "C" used mostly to emphasize my feelings of both awe and fear toward the process. "C" might also refer to the loads of vitamins I'll be getting in the process, but for now it's all about the fear.
To begin, it is not the master cleanse nor is it a fasting cleanse. Honestly, I can't imagine doing either while having a 9-5 job. Our cleanse is geared towards removing toxins for our bodies in order to achieve balance and nourishment during our intensive yoga practice. As part of the cleanse, we give up sugar, caffeine, alcohol, meat, dairy and gluten. While moving away from those inhibitors, we nourish ourselves with vegetables, healthy fats and clean proteins. The cleanse should last no less than 3 days (I'm seeing if I can go for 5) and is structured and supported through meal plans featuring whole foods, essential nutrients, herbal remedies and, of course, lots and lots of water.
In preparation for Week Four of my personal transformation, my first step was to visit Rainbow Grocery for what turned out to be a food shopping spree. As I told the cashier that I was stocking up on food for a cleanse, we both laughed at the irony. However, like I said, this is not a fast. This is merely a method to strictly incorporate healthy foods into my system. Something's got to tell the toxins take a hike.
Here are the things I'm fearful of giving up:
-coffee (this is a big one)
-the occasional sweet treat
-did I mention coffee??
Here are the things I'm excited to spend the week with:
-clean, fresh produce
-spices (cumin, my new favorite)
In the center is white willow bark, an herbal remedy for headaches - which I will most likely be experiencing given my addiction to/love of coffee.
Learning about different grains, seeds and beans! Instead of brown rice, I'll explore millet. Instead of pumpkin seeds, I'll explore sunflower seeds. Instead of beans from a can, I'll spout them. Actually, just kidding. It's important to pick our battles and this week, with the coffee detox and work, etc, I just can't do it. It's okay, though, I'm proud of what I will do...
Salivating over herbs, like thyme and rosemary - which is a key ingredient to the Tuscan White Bean and Kale soup I will make.
Tea as a warming, comforting treat. During the half-marathon training (which also will go on hold for this week), I was craving a big glass of chocolate milk every night before bed. Well, that's not a very sustainable habit - so I've started enjoying a glass of licorice root tea. Lately, it's been reminding me of the homemade Chai we had every morning on my yoga retreat last July. I enjoy it now because it brings me back to that special time.
It's suggested that we take a supplement such as Triphala, a gentle formula designed to support the body during its cleanse. I need all the support I can get, so bring it on Trip!
Finally, no cleansing, vegan soup is complete without a homemade vegetable broth. Yesterday, I made 12 cups of this delicious recipe I found in an old soup cookbook. Now that I have my broth, I can make my soup!
One more thing...in order to handle our sweet cravings (hello chocolate milk, hello frozen yogurt), our nutrition coach encourages we seek the natural sweetness in life, those that come in non-food forms. Whether through friendships, a nice hike outdoors, a massage, or just some down time, we can nourish ourselves in many ways. I thought using my heart-shaped Le Creuset would add a little "sweetness" to my millet.
Voila! Homemade veggie broth. Ready, set, Cleanse! Next time you'll hear from me, I'll either be floating on air or crying from a headache. Hopefully, it's the first one :)