Monday, January 4, 2010

#80 I Survived the Quantum Cleanse

Originally Posted 6/08 - A new year is always a good time to look at the way you take care of yourself. Here is a re-post of babble #11 for those of you who didn't get to read it the first time, or for those who would like to think about doing something new and good to get your year started in a clean and healthy way.

I don't get to watch Oprah as much as I would like, but I do get an email from Harpo [Oprah spelled backwards for those of you who don't know this] studios everyday telling me what's going on and what's coming up. When I read about the 21-day cleanse that Oprah was planning to start, I thought, why not. Since January, I have been struggling with a healthy 6 pounds that go away with weeks of watching my calories and then pops back on in just days. Maybe this is what I needed.

Oprah's cleanse is based on the book, The Quantum Cleanse, by Kathy Freston. It says to spend 21 days without caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten [wheat products] and animal proteins. I believe that somewhere in there is cutting out white flour too. I decided to go ahead and give it a try, but I also decided to keep eating egg whites, fish and chicken. I've learned from past experience that I need that kind of protein in my diet.

I brought the idea of this cleanse to my women's group, but everyone had their worries like, "No way I can give up caffeine" or my worry, "How am I NOT going to have my evening glass of red wine?". Even though nobody was willing to do this with me, I decided that 21 days isn't that much, and that at least I was allowed to eat solid food. Other cleanses I had read about were liquid or other yucky concoctions. So, lucky for me, I have a friend who keeps a dairy free/gluten free house and she took me to Whole Foods. She patiently showed me what to look for and what she has learned from hers and her family's experience. She showed me the the better gluten free breads, pizzas [remember I can't have dairy either so I needed to find one with soy cheese], etc. We got in line and $136 later I had at least 2 weeks of staples.

Day one started out well, but by 1:00 PM I had already hit a snag. I was playing in a tennis tournament and afterwards lunch was served. On the table were tuna and egg salad hoagies [mayo is a no, no], chocolate chip cookies and a fruit salad with whip cream and those yellow cake things. I was ready to let myself just go ahead and eat and start the cleanse the next day, but somewhere I found the strength and ate just the fruit salad. Truly, I don't know how I did this, but I just did.

After that meal, the rest of the three weeks was pretty easy accept for 2 instances. The first time I "fell" was when I spent two days visiting my pantry on and off looking for something. I hadn't been having any cravings after the first week and couldn't understand what was going on. I finally gave into a large bowl of ice cream and voila, the next day I got my period. It seems my body keeps track better than I do. The second time was for a birthday dinner party. The dinner was at a restaurant that doesn't use utensils [you use very thin pita bread to pick up the food] and since I was grabbing food from platters with 10 other people, I decided it would be o.k to drink some alcohol for medicinal purposes. I figured that if I drank enough the alcohol would kill any germs that my have hopped from someone's hands into the communal platter. Let me just say without getting into quantity detail, there were no bugs that could have survived in my body that evening.

Ok, so what happened to me and what did I learn over these 21 days? First, nothing changed. My skin didn't get all aglow, my pores didn't shrink and miraculously my wrinkles didn't get less wrinkled. My output [numbers one and two] stayed exactly the same, my hair didn't get shinier and thicker and my breath and body odor didn't get better or worse [at least nobody told me]. Pretty much right away I lost about 5 pounds and ranged 5-7 pounds during the cleanse.

My friend who keeps the gluten-free house had been telling me for a while that some people can't digest wheat products well and get bloated from them. Perhaps that is what happened/was happening to me. I definitely lost my belly bloat. However, what also happened was that it got warm out, and on certain days unbearably hot. My eating may have changed because of the heat. Who knows. I lost the weight and feel much better. Surprisingly I didn't miss my evening vino as much as I missed my daily Trader Joe's diet black cherry soda. And, because I continued to eat 5-6 small meals like I usually did, I wasn't really ever hungry. And, I did make myself gluten free, dairy free, egg free brownies for those moments where I really needed something sweet and fruit just wasn't going to cut it. Even though the brownies had sugar, the author of Quantum Cleanse said that quantum changes happen incrementally. Knowing that the brownies were there for me gave me such a feeling of freedom. In the past, I had never been able to keep brownies in the house without slowly polishing them off over the course of 48 hours. These survived for almost 10 days in the fridge out of site and a lot of the time out of mind.

If there is meaning to be gotten from this experience it is that I realized that I have a strong will. It's been a long time since I've taken on a challenge that needed almost a month's dedication. I've started many things in the past and have let myself down many times too. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I did this for reasons of health and not for weight loss, but I can truly say that what I discovered was that I am more proud of myself for sticking with this than for the pounds that I was finally able to to lose.

If you are feeling that you need to make a change for reasons of health and/or weight, or just want a challenge, but are scared of failing because of past failures, then perhaps your goals were set too high. This just might be the thing for you. Pick a number of days that you think you can handle, adapt the cleanse to your needs and allow yourself to feel victory.

Kathy Freston's Comments: External "fillers"—like soda and chips—leave you feeling empty and wanting more. Yearning, dissatisfied. To really feel substantially filled and nurtured and cared for, it has to come from something that is not outside of us.

Kathy Freston's Comments: It's okay to have a glass of wine and enjoy it. It hurts no one. This is not about deprivation, so feel no guilt. 'Leaning in' sometimes means you have to stop, take a rest and look at the view.


Chris H said...

I know for a fact I could not do that cleanse ... simply due to my addiction to Diet Coke! I would suffer from withdrawal headaches fit to kill... it's just not worth it!
Good post though.

Anonymous said...

I'm at the point, i have to change my diet dramatically, because of health reasons.
I need to go gluten free. I'm preparing myself to stay away from chocolate, and baking goods. I cook a lot and now have to find the way to eat separate from my family. I don't drink coffee, soda, only herbal tea, eat mostly fish and chicken. My weak spot is sweets, and i read after 1 week my craving will go away, like you said. I admire people who can accomplish things and be proud. I hope one day i can be proud of myself too.