I am starting a 10 day cleanse tomorrow. I am not just anyone doing a cleanse. I have 20 years of being a professional cook behind me. I have spent over half my life mostly vegetarian and at times vegan. I was an assistant to a well known macrobiotic chef, Nadine Barner. I am a yoga teacher.
So, my cleanse is in good hands.
Actually, I am not feeling so excited about it. Being lethargic and spaced out is never appealing. Nor are hunger pangs, insatiable cravings, mood swings, possible headaches and bad B.O. All side effects of when the body starts relinquishing it's dependence on sugar, caffeine and extreme foods.
Eek. Just writing that made me grab some chocolate and put on the kettle. Really.
The ironic thing is all those side effects are precisely why I am doing a cleanse. I already experience them but I use caffeine or sugar or fats to modify the symptoms. It's a bit the chicken and the egg. I drink coffee because I get tired but do I get tired because I drink coffee? And what's wrong with letting myself feel a little tired? Why the pre-occupation with always feeling energetic?
Cleansing is taking away the underlying causes of my tiredness and food cravings and allowing the symptoms to manifest without altering a thing. Cleansing is never easy but there is a huge pay-off at the end. I will no longer be addicted to sugar, my appetite will be less erratic, my moods will be steadier. I will be coming out the other side feeling grounded, lighter, clear-headed and relieved. Most importantly I will have lots of energy. A more sustained even energy instead of the spikes and lows I experience now. I know because this will not be my first kick at this can.
I am starting this blog now because maybe my journey right now can be of service.
Maybe you are wondering how come a person like me needs to cleanse at all? Basically, I also have had a job as a chef in the film industry. In this job I cook 'normal' food. I have to taste what I make and honestly, 'normal' food has the drama, energy and excitement to keep me going for 15 hours on end. But like drugs or alcohol, what feels so great to begin with, ultimately stops working and begins to have the opposite intended effect. I always start a contract with a strong will to eat as well as I can but the hours are so erratic and long I soon succumb to what's easy, what's fast.
One can work hard physically on vegan and vegetarian food but you have to have the time to prepare it and in my film job it's sometimes enough of a struggle to find time to pee. Also, it's one thing to be vegetarian and its a whole other thing to do it well. It defeats the purpose if you find yourself guzzling bottles of maple syrup because you feel run down (haven't done it personally but I have seen it done).
'Normal' food, in my mind, is cooked in a way that maximizes flavour, generally through fats and seasoning. It almost always has a component of eggs, dairy, sugar or meat. It appeals to the taste buds and generally to the emotions. It can be called 'comfort food' or 'occasion food'. Something eaten for a rite or ritual, like hot dogs at a game, turkey on Christmas and popcorn at the movie. None of these are illustrations of bad food but they are foods eaten out of emotional habit. Not because they make us feel particularly well. In my experience it helps to be conscious of the strong emotional component to our food choices when first making a switch to eating a more whole foods diet.
So, the shopping is done.
Day 1 tomorrow.