Back in October 2008 I embarked on my very first cleanse and wrote about the experience.
For the last five days I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with tea. I have not looked, have not touched, nay have not even thought (much) about another. It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of convincing. After all variety is the spice of life and I was having far too much fun with my other food flings to even think about going steady with just one. But after the benefits were laid out for me: Feeling healthier both inside and out and flushing out all those nasty toxins that 22 years of eating have accumulated, I decided to give it a go.
I had to ease into it slowly of course. The first day I farewelled sugar, all processed food (read: almost anything in a can), dairy, bread, pasta, red meat, chicken and white rice. The next day it was time for my dalliance with proteins to cease. Then it was time for the grains to go. Although I was never all that close with amaranth, quinoa and millet anyway so this was not too difficult. Two days of only fruits and vegetables before I took the plunge, pledged my commitment and went liquid all the way.
DAY 1: Stop eating any processed food, dairy and most carbs. Think smugly how easy this will be while tucking in to a tasty omelet. Later, as I try and do my five minutes calming meditation, tears come to my eyes. A mourning perhaps for all those delicious treats that are so bad for me. (But oh so good…)
DAY 2: Have a big bowl of fruit salad for breakfast and try not to think about my toasted muesli sitting all lonely in the cupboard waiting for me to call. Contemplate being domestic goddess and whipping up some amazing dish using amaranth (a food until now I had never even heard of). Settle in the end for a salad with only lemon juice for dressing. Ignore the come hither stares of my balsamic vinegar.
DAY 3: There’s only so many ways to jazz up cabbage and carrots and I have tried them all. Have started closing my eyes when I open the refrigerator so as not to be tempted by all the food I can’t eat. Get creative with the blender and make guacamole, and later pumpkin and kumara mush. That mush was as tasty, as could be.
DAY 4: My first day of liquid only. Have a big cup of tea for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. Carry my bottle around with me all day and every time I take a sip try and pretend its food. Stop doing this after lunch when I realise its only making me hungry. Take it for what it is and the day ends smoothly. Consider the ethics of marketing this cleanse to models.
DAY 5: Have my first try of Evergreen, plant chlorophyll, and find it gives me extreme energy. Fly through my six hours of class regaling my confused students with stories of my liquid diet. All think I am very strange. I have never peed so much in my life. There is a stomach shaped hole in my chest where my belly used to be.
DAY 6: Wake up feeling nauseous and lethargic. The first time since forgoing solids. Takes me till midday to feel normal again. Find my olfactory senses are going crazy. I can distinguish smells on the breeze at 60km/h down to a T. I know what families are having for dinner, what they had for dinner and what they plan to have tomorrow. Daydream about all the food I will be able to eat in….sob, 8 days time.
DAY 7: Dreamt I ate food and wake up feeling guilty. Drink 1 litre of lukewarm salt water (Grandma’s homemade enema recipe) and throw it all up ten minutes later. But it does what it’s supposed to do and I feel fantastic again. All thoughts of yesterday’s lethargy are gone and I am a new woman. Have the energy to scoot for an hour, hike to a waterfall and swim. Test my willpower by attending a BBQ. Feel strong at first as the meat doesn’t test my resolve one bit. But when the beers come out I grit my teeth and sip at my peach tea. Spend an hour with fellow cleansers talking about food. Mistake. Guzzle a whole bottle of chlorophyll to try and fill my belly.
And here I am on day 8. Having just eaten my first food in five days, honeydew melon covered in cinnamon. It was blissful let me tell you. But at the same time, looking back on it, five days without food was far easier than it sounds. I discover a new found appreciation for food and the way I eat it. Over the next five days I will slowly reintroduce all food groups back into my diet. And eventually come Saturday I will be able to eat whatever I like again. Monogamy was great while it lasted but I’m ready to start playing the field once again. With a little more discretion this time around.