Recap of Day 24: I think my taste buds have finally grown up. In the last 24 days everything literally taste different. Examples, I used to tolerate tomatoes because I knew they were good for me and now I crave them along with jalapeños. Who am I? I am half Cuban and half Canadian, born with no spice in my blood other than garlic and cumin (and that's not even spicy).
So last night I go into the fridge and have everything set for the family dinner except a meal for myself. I look around the kitchen with my normal "what can I do tonight without being totally bored?". I saw a vine ripe tomato, avocado, green onions, basil and a jalapeño and then heard "I think I can make a caprese salad with this" (I swear a "Food God" spoke to me at that moment). Holy amazeballs...it was so delicious. I just sliced a tomato like you would for a caprese salad, added a thick slice of avocado on top (instead of cheese) and then diced the onion, basil and jalapeño and sprinkled them on top. Not only would my mother be proud of the color and look of it, it tasted beyond amazing. This is something I could serve at any vegan or lactose free event (cause you know I do those often...hahaha). 2nd keeper for the books.
Day 25: I slept great after a long day at the shop and a wonderful late night "kids are asleep" conversation with my husband. This cleanse has shown me how to slow down and connect, not only with myself but also with my own family. Sometimes we feel like passing ships in the night. Why was that ever okay? I know sometimes there's seasons of life when you are just surviving the moment. But enough is enough. I don't want to survive any moment. I want to embrace it. My husbands favorite buddhist saying is "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional". I finally get it now. I seem to be "getting" a lot of things lately.
Fact: Flavor profiles do get better with age, even though science says our taste buds are dying off rather than regenerating (or growing up as I thought above). But thankfully our taste buds are not the full picture here. Here's a great Bon Appétite article almost everyone can relate to about our sense of taste and it's evolution from childhood. "The big predictor of whether someone will like something like bitter melon or hoppy beer isn't their sensitivity to bitterness," Marcia Pelchat, a sensory psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. "It's their exposure to it, their motivation, their interest. It's all cultural stuff." When I was researching about gardening, I found the same feedback on taste evolution. Actually growing your own food helps kids like vegetables more because they are exposed to it and the emotional experience with it is positive. I totally get the "exposure" thing now.
Recap of Day 23: I realized this cleanse makes me feels like a kid again, especially getting to eat all the fruit I want. It's fun to have the option of having a smoothie breakfast, lunch and dinner. The grocery shopping and veggies are the only adult part of this cleanse.
Yesterday, my sister brought up that a friend of ours was confused by my switch from an anti-candida eating lifestyle to eating a ton of fruit (2 polar opposites). For those that don't know an AC diet is no fruit but green apples, no starches and heavy on the proteins. I did this for almost 3 years to control the candida overgrowth happening in my gut. It worked for me while I was on all those prescriptions drugs for 3.5 years. New season of being Rx-free and this is working for me right now. I should've listened to my inner kid a long time ago!
Day 24: Manic Monday. It's 3:10 as I write this and I am wide awake. I think this is only the 2nd time I have woken up this early ready to start the day on the cleanse. This used to be a daily occurrence (it's a very normal symptom of Lyme). You wake up and the brain is lit up and there's no turning it off. I however know my triggers (falling asleep before 9:30pm or waking up hungry).
Well, this is my last week, so here are my cleanse goals being set into motion:
Fact: Gardening is good for the soul and the stomach. It's been proven to be a stress reducer, excercise that compares to weight lifting, improves mood and boosts the immune system. And of course if you grow it you will eat it. "Many studies have found that people who eat more fruits and vegetables suffer less from cancer and chronic diseases such as heart disease, gastrointestinal disease and impaired vision." It also encourages stronger relationships and compassion. Gardening here we come.
Recap of Day 22: I've lost my mind...or at least my some of my hair. My husband says I have the strongest will power of any human, but I also have a tendency to be very impulsive. I was shaving my husband's head and said "just shave some of mine...let's see how it looks". I've always wanted to shave my head since I was 16, after seeing my doppelganger with a shaved head...I thought she looked amazing. This cleanse has made me want to live more in the moment and shake things up. Well, I did just that and it felt so good to take a risk and have no clue how it would turn out. Curious to what I think...I think it's fun, different and liberating. It's just a chapter in a much bigger book.
And while in the bath last night I read a quote that hasn't left me..."Life's very temporary, so don't let time just pass. Let moments fill you - the ones you judge to be good as well as bad.". I feel that in this cleanse I've had more "moments" than before. Is it because I am aware or is it because something really is physically changing inside me to be more alive? Hmmmm.
PS - I did make a pretty sexy looking salad for dinner.
Day 23: My favorite day of the week has arrived...Sunday. I stock up on amazing food for my family, I get to hang out with my community that stands for what I stand for and I get to reflect on the week behind me and prepare for the week ahead.
Fact: Fasting has been scientifically been proven to help regrowth of damaged cells. John Hopkins Magazine wrote another great article on fasting that helps the body heal (especially the brain). And while this cleanse is not considered to be a fast to many, I have found it to have the same benefits. I've also found it to be a spiritual experience as well. Now I can understand why my religious friends fast. No wonder it's been an ancient technique for spiritual and physical healing for thousands of years.
“Fasting will bring spiritual rebirth to those of you who cleanse and purify your bodies. The light of the world will illuminate within you when you fast and purify yourself. What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Recap of Day 21: My arse is killing me from yesterday. I literally sat on the couch all day yesterday doing my "other" work (I am a Photo Director for a company called FoundArtists.com - my secret life) and the administrative work for the juice bar. I sat and sat and I was stiff as a board. My body isn't used to sitting all day anymore and it's kinda nice to see the immediate negative impact to remind me this isn't the "lifestyle" I want. It's good to have a little contrast in one's life to remind us to stay on course.
Day 22: So the goal today is to move. I woke up too late to do yoga today (bummer) but I plan to move my tush somehow. My other goal is to "sexy" up my food. My mother always said presentation is the key to enjoying a meal. I have one week left and I want to create more recipes that I will want to continue in my non-cleanse world. Even a smoothie can be sexy...passion fruit, ginger and mint can do the trick. Yum!
Fact: My mother was right again (damn it)! Here's a study by Oxford researchers that confirms that food presentation does make things taste better.
Recap of Day 20: Holy Deepak! Yesterday was an amazing day filled with wonderful new and old friend interactions and the amazing Deepak Chopra. When you are aware of love around you everything else subsides (aka the normal daily stressors of life)...that's how I felt yesterday.
Last night felt like a scene out of a movie. Crescent Park, in Laureate Park, is set in the center of the neighborhood surrounded by large modern, yet quaint looking homes. The crowd was intimate and excited. When DC arrived, you could feel the energy shift. The temperature had just dropped, but during the seated meditation the temperature didn't even matter. I felt a buzz throughout my body and the emotions and visuals he guided us to conjure up were beyond cathartic. I felt as if I was the only person there, yet in a sea of energy from the people around me. I am grateful for that experience for sure!
Day 21: What is that saying..."It take 21 days to create a habit"? Well I definitely know a new "mental habit" has been created or maybe it's been broken. I still have the same food beliefs that food can heal, but probably stronger than before. However my "unconscious" food beliefs that were passed on from generations and even by that damn ignorant food pyramid we were shown as a child, have been brought down to the ground...especially the idea about "proper proteins" that one needs to be "properly fueled". 21 days with no meat protein and I have never felt more energized. I am also owning the feeling of having more peace about my health and my approach to my own health. The voice in my head is quiet and less seeking, which means I've come to a very monumental place of peace. When you are constantly seeking, just being in a peaceful place is non-existent.
Fact: Our frontal lobe is activated during meditation. I feel the change, but I was curious how to keep that change active during my non-meditating parts of my day. Psychology Today puts it simply for us: "To achieve all that you do – to think, to plan, to reason, to manage your emotions, to make decisions, and to problem solve – is a major feat of your frontal lobe." This article provides 3 basic tips to engage that part of our brain: avoid going on automatic pilot, decrease the information overload & move beyond memory (this part I can check off...hahaha). Here's to lighting up that frontal lobe and bringing a little bliss to my normal day.
Recap of Day 19: I am finally hungry. After 7 months of treatment and no desire to eat, feeling hungry is such a welcomed feeling. I used to despise hunger, now it's like an old friend I am thrilled to see again. At first I was so numb to eating that smoothies were just easy and did the trick. But actually eating something (even if it's a big fat salad) really is the most satisfying. Is it the masticating part? Not sure, but my mind and body seem more fulfilled.
Day 20: Today is the day I get to hear Deepak Chopra live in person, someone who has been part of my own healing journey for years (through guided meditations). I am beyond excited. I think "isn't it serendipitous to be doing this cleanse and get the chance to hear Deepak live." I love little "God Wink" moments like this. This event is free to anyone who can make it. Register here.
Fact: Are you chewing your food? I never really did. I am usually done before everyone else. But there are actually websites dedicated to discussing how to properly chew your food. The benefits seem common sense, but I was never taught them. Everything from healthier teeth, digestion support, less bad bacterial in the gut to better nutrient absorption. Those all seem pretty darn important. WikiHow even has photo tutorial on how to chew (I am laughing as I type this). Step 3 seems pretty important and somehow I have missed step 3 my whole life. "Step 3: Chew thoroughly. Although the exact number of chews vary with the texture of the food and the salivary glands of the person, the food should be a complete liquid and lose all texture.". Let the chewing begin.
Recap of Day 18: I am proud to announce I am not pregnant. However, I woke up looking at least 5-6 months pregnant yesterday morning. This was a look I was used to rock for the past 4 years. I hid it well (I think). Thankfully it had gone away since the start of this cleanse. To have it come back was upsetting. For vanity reasons to not look pregnant is an obvious one, right?! Thankfully I was telling my friend how my stomach bloat was back and her immediate reaction was "what did you eat brussels or cauliflower?". Bingo, that damn freak'n delicious cauliflower, which I ate again last night. I had to laugh. And sadly, it was so good I will do it again.
Day 19: "No Cauliflower for you!" (in my soup nazi voice) is my mantra for the day.
Fact: Huffington Post put it best: "Cruciferous Vegetables: Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens have been found to cause bloating. "These foods contain tiny sugars that are difficult to digest for certain individuals, causing unwanted gas," says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator and community health promoter based in Toronto." But by eating slower, drinking more water and even eating fruit with special enzymes can help to break it down.
Recap of Day 17: The negotiation of cheating went down yesterday. I literally went nuts over nuts. I was craving something in the shop and I started mentally negotiating raw nuts over roasted nut butter in my head and then I thought, "WTF is wrong with me?". Raw nuts and seeds are totally permitted on a less intense version of the cleanse. However I committed to no nuts as I wanted to stay true to the pure cleanse experience. It's just funny to catch yourself in the state of negotiation. We all do it..this is when our will is broken. Sometimes it's trivial (reading this mine sounds totally trivial) but for me it's about the principal of sticking to a goal.
After feeling less nuts, I cooked the best "dinner" meal to date. I pulsed raw cauliflower (rice substitute) then I added diced yellow pepper, jalepeño, avocado, mango, cilantro and green onions and then squeezed lime over it. Tossed it and then ate it in a Radicchio wrap. I had enough left over that eating it alone was even better than in the wrap.
Day 18: More random acts of kindness today. Yesterday it was fun being in the shop as it gave me many opportunities to have fun it. But that was safe and easy. Today I feel the need to break out of my shell and go out of my way for someone else. Hmmmm! What to do?
Fact: The Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family. Cruciferous vegetables are known as one of the world's leading anti-cancer preventatives, due to the glucosinolates found in them. Here's 8 reasons from Dr. Mercola why we should all consume raw cauliflower:
Recap of Day 16: I spent all day yesterday working outside and enjoying the amazing day at the farmer's market. I then went grocery shopping, stocked the fridge with what looks like a week's worth of food (reality is it's only 1-2 days worth) and then fed 4 different people 3 different things. In 12 days we will all be eating the same thing again...come hell or hight water. In the evening my husband and I watched Captain Fantastic. What an inspirational movie for any family who slightly has an inkling to go against the grain.
Day 17: Yesterday actually started random acts of kindness week. My intention for the week is to do one nice thing for someone else. Another intention is to enjoy every moment of "right now". I get so caught up in the "future" vision of life, our business, etc... that I miss this sweet moments called "now". I have to constantly remind myself "now" is the only place to be. Every experience and person I meet is an opportunity to grow and be a better person. Okay you can roll your eyes now. But seriously, I myself have to be reminded of these small little things that are really huge in the scheme of life. Here's some great ideas for Random Acts of Kindness. Day 2 Challenge: Put a positive note somewhere around town (car, window, gas pump, desk, mirror).
Fact: Preparation is the key to getting what you want. The days of preparing for something is diminishing. Regardless of what you want in life, you have to prepare for it. But in today's fast paced world it's a want and click lifestyle. The truth is, if we want wealth, we need to prepare to handle it. If we want health, we need to prepare to maintain it. It's all about that last word "maintain". We can obtain pretty much anything we want (I believe) but can we maintain it? The answer is yes if we prepare. We fail, not because we suck or we are lazy. We fail to maintain because we didn't prepare in the first place. Firefighters train. Athletes train. Religious leaders study. Yogis practice. When we are prepared we can be ready for what life throws us, even the "unplanned" stuff. What is your goal? Start preparing for it now. It's not about the destination but 100% about the journey. Here's a light read on Preparation - the keys to success.
Recap of Day 15: I started my morning at Yoga. I have been so sore since I had pulled out my back on a sneeze I was babying my whole body. I was stiff as a board, but by the end I was moving and felt really good. I then had a massage later on in the day. It was my first time with these therapists and I have to say they were amazing. Having a husband who was a licensed therapist you become very picky about massage. Afterwards my body felt like it was breathing again. My butt literally had a pulse...not sure if that is possible but something was moving. I realized at this moment, I can make healthy food choices 24/7, but I also have to keep up the treatments to help move the toxins and detox my body, because it can get "congested" as my therapist said. I liked that word a lot. Why can our noses get congested and not our back or our muscles?
Day 16: Reflecting back on the back 15 days has been awesome. Still with 13 days to go...I feel a need to tackle all of my goals. Food, check! Treatments, check! Epson baths every night, check! What I hope to check off this week is more time reflecting about my future garden and meditation (even if it's mindful meditation). I also would like to get back to working out...but I won't over due the goals for the week...hahaha!
Fact: Detox. The body does it naturally and has the ability to completely heal itself. However, when overloaded with too many toxins, a little support could be just the thing to balance out your body again. Here's a great source on things you can do to detox. Besides my 29 day cleanse, I am using hot tea and lemon, epson salt baths and treatments like infrared, massage, yoga and cupping to help aid the process. Flushing out the system is important. When I overdue it, my glands swell up under my armpits. It's my waste station of junk. It's my body's signal things are getting stuck and need to be flushed. Listen to your body for it's signs, it will communicate to you, you just have to listen.