Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Diet Cleanse (or not)

The Whole Living Challenge should be entering into week 3 in our house right about now, but instead I just finished a latte and a muffin. To be perfectly honest, the cleanse lasted all of four days before I looked at Niek and told him we were going out for coffee and a croissant. Go ahead, tell me that I was wrong and it was a stupid idea.  I won't disagree with the assessment.

The first day was horrible, and I was hungry all day long. The next few days were okay, but I still couldn't ever reach a point of feeling full. I wasn't missing the dairy or caffeine, and while the carbohydrate cravings were present, they weren't overwhelming. It was the protein I felt was lacking. I just wanted to tear into a steak or a piece of chicken or a can of chickpeas. Overall, I was just hungry and felt that I wasn't consuming enough calories. I almost fainted a few times during the last two days. When it got to that point, I admitted that it was stupid and that I wanted to stop.

These foods never tasted so good.
I had my doubts about the efficacy of a cleanse before we even started, so I am not surprised that I ended up disliking the experience so much. Some people swear by them, but I am not a believer. Niek and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that our diet is already a well balanced one, and there wasn't much need to cut out the "bad." The experience wasn't for naught, even though it sounds that way. Without my normal breakfast (two pieces of bread, one with jam and the other with cheese) I felt less bloated in the mornings. I've stuck with smoothies most mornings since then and am enjoying it for now. Niek, realizing that he didn't miss coffee as much as he was expecting, has cut back to about one espresso a day. I'm now more likely to reach for dried fruit and nuts for a snack than a piece of bread and cheese or a cookie. That's something, I suppose. However, I didn't need to attempt a "cleanse" to come to this conclusion. A small adjustment in my routine would have been enough.

Routines need a little shaking up every now and then. I gave the issue of our eating/cooking routines a lot of thought these past few weeks. Before embarking on the cleanse, my habits had felt so deeply ingrained, and I was having trouble figuring out what I needed to change--if anything. Did you miss the NY Times article about shopping habits from last year? Since reading that article and becoming fascinated by the research behind habit formation, I've spent too many hours examining my own habits, especially those surrounding the food in my life. By shaking up my routine (ever so briefly) I feel like I've been pushed out of a rut I felt stuck in. Although I'm not happy that I attempted doing a cleanse that left me cranky, tired and hungry, I am glad that I now feel better. I hated banishing foods and all are now welcome at our table again. Life is back to normal.


  1. Just for you - I was the only one who liked Lucy Liu's dress at the Golden Globes. Here's what it looked like on a model (on the right):
    Others hated it, but I think it worked for her.

    1. Thanks, Steve! I adored that dress on Lucy Liu. Way to pull off a floral pattern.