Saturday, March 5, 2011

40 Days: Day 29

Clean. Reflections.

Let's see. Where to begin. My 3-day cleanse officially ended when I went to bed on Wednesday night. Eager to keep it up as long as possible, I kept it going for most of Thursday. That didn't last too long though! The cleanse "emotionally" came to a halt Thursday, when at 2 p.m. at Bette's Ocean View Diner in Berkeley, I had a chocolate milkshake and French toast with powdered sugar and fake maple syrup. I'm proud to say I carried my cleanse past the finish line and that the "break fast" was divine. For the record, and to my own amazement, I'm saving coffee for this weekend.

Here are the things I loved about the cleanse:

-waking up in the morning and feeling great, without needing coffee as my "fix"
-following a strict routine and completing my specific goals throughout each day
-enjoying avocado (like I knew I would) and fresh lemon juice (which seems to go with everything)
-using my blender to make green smoothies (banana, kale, apple juice, frozen berries, protein powder, coconut oil, and a few drips of honey)
-nourishing myself with non-food sweetness, like treating myself to a steam and sauna
-sleeping like a rock

Here are the things I didn't love about the cleanse:

-the horrific migraine I got on Day 1 that put me in bed at 7:45 p.m.
-overdoing it on the nutritional yeast (they should have a warning on the package)
-feeling bad about myself when I made instant miso soup (even though it was from Rainbow, I still felt bad that it was packaged and processed)
-depriving myself of eating at restaurants, fantasizing about the food that I wasn't having and generally avoiding the outside world to prevent temptation, all the live-long day
-not being able to run

Let's see. Where to begin. Here's what I've taken away from the cleanse:

Today, in this moment, I feel great. I'm so proud of myself to have accomplished something I didn't think I could. When it comes to food, I've always thought I have very little will power. If there's something delicious in front of me, I will probably eat it - even if I'm full. This has always bothered me because I know that if it wasn't there I wouldn't want it - because I probably don't need it. After completing the cleanse, I can now say, with confidence, that I have will power when it comes to food.

In our 40-days weekly workshops, we talk about how we're often filling ourselves with food products that we don't need because something else is missing in our lives. What is it that we are lacking in our lives that food is an easy replacement for?

Now, don't get me wrong. I think food is a beautiful thing - which is another reason this cleanse was so challenging. (side note: I almost wrote "this challenge was so cleansing" - that would be accurate too!) Anyway, food = nourishment. Whether it's my mom's home-cooked meals, a gourmet dinner in the tree house that is Chez Panisse or tacos in the Mission, food is necessary. However, it's takes two to tango.

I like to think of my relationship with food as if it's a relationship with another person. It can't be a one-way street. Food cannot give, give, give while I take, take, take. I'll never forget what one of my favorite grad professors told me about relationships: that the key to a good one is Mutuality. Two people on the same page, grounded in honesty and communication. Once this structure is put in place, there is room to explore, discover and create.

Anyway, I think I'm getting a little off topic. This isn't brain surgery, I'm just talking a little bit about food - which I am SO not an expert in. Basically, back to the relationship metaphor, we wouldn't intentionally surround ourselves with toxic people, so why would we make a habit of putting processed and un-loved food into our bodies? (it can be fun once in a while but not as a regular thing).

Additionally, and back to mutuality, food is not there to serve me. It's just as much my responsibility to know and care for my food as it's the food's responsibility to give me energy. Whether it's food I buy at the farmer's market, prepare at home or order in a restaurant - it's important to know the following: where did this food come from? how did it get here? why am I eating it? etc. Basically, who, what, where, why, when - applies to food.

I'm talking in circles, but you get the picture. When it comes to eating, we can connect to our food with a healthy approach or an unhealthy approach. From now on, I aim to chose the healthy approach and this approach, my friends, is called mindfulness. It's something we should practice everyday and always, toward everything and everyone we touch in our lives.

From now on, I think that practicing mindfulness in terms of food, will give me all the good feelings I had during my cleanse. I was more aware of my senses (I was smelling memories), I had clarity in terms of decisions I was making (the Libra in me was getting outwitted by the yogi in me), and I thought positively about the future and all that I have ahead of me. Not bad for a little cleanse.

So that's pretty much what I've taken away from the whole thing. Oh, and one more thing: don't keep your apple and your cumin in close proximity in your lunch bag. Cumin is not a good color on an apple.


  1. AMAZING, love. I feel this deeply.

  2. @Jess: I'm so happy this resonated with you. As always, you're such an inspiration when it comes to healthy and mindful nourishment. By the way, FNL. Season 4. Episode 8.

  3. Way to go Megan!!!
    What an inspiration. I've often wondered if I could do a cleanse. If you can do, maybe I can too.
    Love your words about mindful eating, and connection to food. I now feel inspired to start some seeds for the garden. Thank you!

  4. Ooooh, I'm so excited to start thinking about my relationship with food as being mutual. Thanks, M, for giving me a new word to describe good eats. xo

  5. sis, i am impressed and totes going to try that green smoothie. love you.

  6. "Food cannot give, give, give while I take, take, take." Well said, Megan! And might I add that we are on similar wavelengths... (as per usual??)