I had this big plan, you guys. This really awesome super duper fabuloso plan to write every single day during this diet thinger. Like NaBloPoMo, only um. Not national, just me. Also not a month. So MeBloPo… nevermind. Anyway, the point is, I was TOTALLY going to do it. I had it all worked out in my head, how I’d guide you through my experience of the Standard Process Wholesome Medley Purification Cleanse (go to page 13 of the .pdf pamphlet, and no I’m not making up the name), take it day-by-day and even break down what I was eating, how I was making it through, and so forth.
THEN A GIANT ANVIL FELL ON MY HEAD LOL
OK so seriously. Somewhere in the middle of the first week it occurred to me. If I had updated you every day, this would have turned into a horrifyingly boring food and exercise diary, combined with the following commentary:
DAY 1: “Hi! I’m Leah! Read along as I enjoy torturing myself and self-righteously assert how it will be NO BIG DEAL WHATSOEVER to eat nothing but steamed vegetables, salad, fruits, and lean proteins for three weeks! Watch as I mistakenly assert it will be easier this time, since I know what I’m doing! So convinced am I of my all-mighty powers on this first day I am going to march right off to join a friend at a Thai restaurant for lunch and then hang out with Molly at the farmers’ market and a bakery in the afternoon! Okey dokey!”
DAY 2: Man. I want a snack. And chocolate. I should have been more organized. This blows already.
DAY 3: Holy crap, I am so hungry. SO HUNGRY. So goddamn hungry. And yet I am eating constantly. Plus my muscles are tingly after only 30 minutes of walking. I forgot about all of this. The first week sucks.
DAY 4: OH. MY. GOD. THE GAS. Was it this bad last time? What did I do wrong? Whatever it was, God forgive me and stop the explosions.
DAY 5: Oh, I feel better. Mmm, smoothies.
DAY 17: I do really want a cracker but I feel SO much better. Cheating sounds fun, ending this sounds fun, but… feeling better, well, feels so nice for a change.
So I realized: I should have done this daily blogging business when I did the cleanse/diet/detox/whatever the first time around. I was SO STRICT and dedicated the first time, and I was really focused on the diet. I mean I was basically living like a monk: I stuck to the prescribed supplements and foods with no deviating. Not one single cheat. Every day I wrote down what I ate, including meals, snacks, and smoothies. Every day I meditated and took notes on it. Most days I exercised and I made notes on that too. I was a model participant and the experience was almost fully documented. But as with everything, the first time was different. I was basically living alone (my roommate was not around a lot and anyway, roommates are different from significant others and/or family), I was able to work at home almost the entire time on a schedule almost entirely of my own making, and it was late summer and the weather was rather conducive to constant outside activity. I was also not in a big socializing mood, so “enjoying” my steamed kale with lemon was a lot easier. This time, I’m not as focused on the cleanse, for many reasons. So even though I knew what to expect, it’s not as easy. Even though I publicly announced I was going to, I almost wasn’t going to write about it at all, until Penny e-mailed me.
Penny’s a reader who found me while searching for information on the Standard Process three-week purification diet. She tried it once before and gave up after a few days, but she’s giving it another valiant go, starting soon. To this I say: PENNY, YOU CAN TOTALLY DO IT! I know you can. Herewith, some hints and tips to keep you on your path.
1. It is not easy. The first three to five days are the absolute hardest. Your body feels kinda whacked out, you’re hungry, you’re craving different foods (especially sugar). Just get through those first five days. Set yourself that little goal. You can do that much. Then once you’re through five days, you’ll say to yourself, I might as well go to seven, now that I’m here. And then you’ll have done a whole week!
2. Get organized before Day 1. Buy the following things: flax seed oil, juice, bananas, and frozen fruits for smoothies; eggs; frozen raw shrimp (find the recipe on my blog for an easy way to make them); at least one or two lean proteins like a steak or some chicken; lots and lots and lots of veggies and fruits. Get yourself situated.
3. When you steam your veggies, make extra so you have leftovers for lunch. Make your salads enormous so you fill up. And get creative. It’s spring! New fruit and veg are popping up all over the place! Ask if you’re allowed to use a little olive oil and vinegar; if not, use some lemon juice. Get creative. See that photo at the top? Fry an egg on high (in healthy oil) and put it on a salad like the photo below; it wilts the greens slightly and the runny yolk becomes part of the dressing.
4. Mix it up. DO NOT eat the same thing every day. You will want to kill everyone around you and yourself. Eat a variety of proteins (shrimp, scallops, calamari, fish, chicken, steak, etc.). Some days eat more steamed veg, some days eat more salads, some days have an extra smoothie.
5. Resign yourself to the fact that you are not going to be able to socialize as much during these three weeks, because socializing on this thing is hard. It requires an enormous amount of will-power. If you do socialize, it will not be in the way you normally do. You’ll have to drink only water (or, if you’re allowing yourself some coffee or tea, during your one coffee or tea moment of the day). You’ll have to eat whatever you can eat and not share the yummy stuff your friends are having. You can’t snack like everyone else is doing, unless there’s a fruit and veg plate out. You’ll have to be the pain in the ass person who dictates where you go because “um, that place? I don’t know if they have anything I can eat there.”
6. If it’s important for you to do it, and you feel you’re getting benefit from it, try to ignore those who want you to cheat or end early. Friends and family might think you’re crazy, or you’re not getting benefit, or you’re getting too skinny. But the thing about this “cleanse”? It’s not a crazy fast, it’s just a really strict, somewhat boring, very limited diet full of healthy, clean foods. And a lot of supplements*. If you’re following along — meaning you’re eating plenty of vegetables (especially the leafy green kind), fruits, and lean proteins — and if you’re feeling good, then stick to it. Listen to yourself and your body. You’ll know if something is wrong. And if something is wrong, then talk to whoever is monitoring your progress, and see if you should end it early.
7. Take notes! Keep daily progress reports. Not just what you’re eating, but how much physical activity you’re getting, whether you’re meditating (which I highly recommend, right after you wake up, starting with five minutes at a time), how you’re feeling. That way you can see your progress in writing and feel like you’re getting somewhere.
8. YOU CAN DO IT PENNY!
Me? I’m almost done. I don’t want sweets, except maybe a square of dark chocolate. What I want are basic carbs, like a piece of baguette. But I’m glad I did it, because I feel so much better. This time around I plan to maintain more of the “cleanse” diet in my everyday living. Unlike last time when it was a rather rapid descent back into bad habits. That way, maybe I can keep the cleanse for a once-a-year
Healthy living, kids. Even that should be done in moderation.
*I can’t vouch for the safety of the supplements, nor do I have any scientific or clinical proof of their efficacy. I’m just going on my personal experience of this process, and I know that I feel much better, physically and mentally, after the three weeks than before. But as with anything of this nature, CONDUCT YOUR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL(S) BEFORE PROCEEDING. Seriously. Don’t be an idiot.