Sunday, February 10, 2013

This is what happens when you stop eating food...

Song for this post: "Can't Hold Us" ~ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I've been pretty MIA since around Christmas both online and off. It was necessary given the decision I had made about the direction my life and my health were headed. And now that I'm on my last week I'll fill you all in on what the last 2 months has been about for me:

I haven't chewed food since Christmas.

I'm not joking.

I made the decision in December to do a 30 day juice cleanse. I'd spent a lot of time being really unhealthy. Emotional trauma had lent itself to using food as comfort. I wasn't just eating too much, I was eating the wrong things and it had taken a toll on my body. I was tired, irritable, my skin was dull, my muscles hurt...I just wasn't a well person.

I'd thought about eating "clean" for a long time and, after a few forays into vegetarianism, I knew I wanted to go that direction. Something just HAD to change and I knew I wouldn't stick with it unless I reset my whole body...and my life. I decided juice cleansing was the right choice for me. I'm a HUGE advocate of the Gerson method so juicing made sense for me as a way to kick start such a huge change.

Many of you have heard about juice cleansing. Some of you have heard nightmare stories about what an awful experience it was. I don't know about other people but, for me, it was fantastic and I'll definitely be doing it again. I loved it so much that when I hit my 30 day mark, I decided to keep going.

Today is day 43. I'm on my last week of a 50 day goal. Today also marks the first time I've eaten solid food. Let me explain how it is that I have one week left but I ate solid food:

When you're juice fasting, you pretty much give your digestive system a break. So, when you complete a fast, it takes some time to get your body used to digesting food again. To come off of this properly, I'm mixing soft fruits and vegetables in with my daily juicing for this last week. I want to transition slowly and healthily so my body can reap the most benefits from this experience.

What are the benefits? It's pretty simple and comes in 2 parts:

1. Your body uses a TON of energy digesting "dead" foods that are packed full of chemicals. By juicing, you give your digestive system a rest which frees up tons of energy for your body to do what it does best: heal itself.

2. You can't eat enough in a day to get the amount of nutrients you get from juicing fresh produce. Here is a breakdown of a day of juicing for me:

2 oranges
2 grapefruits
6 cups of spinach
1 tbsp spirulina

6 stocks of celery
6 cups of spinach
2 apples
2 pears
1 lime
4 cups of kale

8 large carrots
2 yams
3 oranges

Snack 1:
1 whole cantaloupe
1 whole watermelon

Snack 2:
1 whole pineapple
2 cups of cranberries
3 cups of spinach

See? It's nutrition heaven! Could you eat all that in one day? Not with a smile on your face, I'm sure. So not only am I giving my body the chance to use extra energy to heal itself, I'm removing chemicals and pesticides, and super-charging my body with nutrients so it has what it needs for optimum health.

I have LOVED the experience. I can not express that enough. I will be doing a 20-30 day cleanse in another 6 months. This is because, as I transition to a new diet (rawism + vegan) I'll be learning a whole new way of cooking (or lack thereof). While I do that, though, I'll inevitably be using a lot of soy-based subsitutions and those are FULL of chemicals. So I'll do another cleanse later this year to fully transition to clean living.

Don't get me wrong. This was hard. But if you can make it past the first 10 days you're golden. Everything you read about the first 10 days is true: Caffeine withdrawel headaches, fatique, nausea, muscle aches (because your body is pushing out toxins), you name it. But then, all of the sudden, you feel ABSOLUTELY. AMAZING.

I haven't had this much energy since I was little. My skin looks incredible, my eyes are whiter, I sleep like a rock and wake up before my alarm, my teeth are whiter, I'm emotionally balanced and stable, I think clearer and more critically. Most importantly, though, is that I'm HAPPIER. I can't help but smile ALL the time! There's this new appreciation for my body and the world around me and how those 2 things are connected. I'm hyper aware of the nutrients I put in my body. The idea of putting chemicals in it again makes me feel guilty. I've been there. I don't want to go back.

I heard a quote in a documentary that continues to stick with me:

"When you start taking care of yourself you start to see yourself as something precious. You start to love yourself."

So there it is. I've embarked on an incredible, enormous life change that I couldn't be more excited about and couldn't feel more right about. I'm enabling myself with the tools to live the healthiest life possible. I know it, because I've never felt this outstanding, this alive.

What was the solid food I ate today, you ask? It was an avocado. And it was the most glorious, amazing, life altering avocado I've ever had. 

I'll be spending the next few months in my kitchen learning raw and vegan recipes. If anyone wants to learn more about juicing, rawism, veganism, or just cook a fun recipe with me, let me know. I'd love to share my experience with anyone.

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