“I would never do that!”
“So what DO you eat?”
“I’d try it if I didn’t have to give up my coffee”
That’s what I typically hear when I talk about a cleanse. Most people are completely intimidated by doing a cleanse, and rightly so. The number of gimmicky diets and cleanses on the market have skyrocketed in the past several years and they can be intimidating and downright unhealthy.
I’m a big supporter of whole foods cleanses. I’m talking the fill-your-belly-with-real-and- delicious-food-and-not-starve-all-day-long type. Think you could never do it? I bet you’d surprise yourself.
I just finished the most amazing week with nearly 30 woman supporting and cheering each other on throughout the 7 Day Clean Food Challenge. For one week, these women challenged themselves to cut out processed foods along with foods that typically inflame the body, giving themselves a chance to clean out and get a fresh start.
The results were empowering and inspiring and left these women feeling energetic and healthier. When you’re that in touch and aware of your body and your food for a whole week, it’s almost impossible not to learn a few things. Here are 3 things (you might be surprised) to learn about yourself by doing a cleanse:
1. Even the most die-hard coffee/chocolate fans can survive without caffeine and sugar. Really! No, really. You’d be amazed that your taste buds will change and you won’t be craving caffeine or sugar by the end of the week. Instead, you will crave healthier food, and eating it won’t be a chore. When you reprogram your body with healthy, good food, everything starts to work better and as a result, you feel lighter and more energized. It’s super empowering to learn what makes your body feel that way.
2. You get out of your rut and try new things. It is oh-so-easy to fall into a tired food routine. You probably rotate the same few foods nearly everyday, because they’re easy to make and you know what you’re doing. Doing a cleanse or challenge like this gets you to open your mind and try something new. You add simple recipes to your rotation and you probably will surprise yourself with food combinations you wouldn’t have otherwise tried You’re less intimidated shopping for ingredients you wouldn’t normally buy and as you know, once you’ve tried a new meal, it’s so much easier to make it in the future. It’s good for you to try new things! It keeps you sharp and energized.
3. You learn to check in with yourself and trust your body. Most of us get used to eating lunch everyday at noon or grabbing that square of chocolate after dinner, even when we’re not particularly hungry. It’s just a habit. Shaking up your routine forces you to really check in with yourself. Are you really hungry? What are you really craving? You’re forced to listen to your body, think about what you’re eating and trust that you won’t end up wildly hungry.
Similarly, maybe you’ve been on the “low fat” or calorie counting diets for years and understandably adding in natural fats like oils, nuts or avocado can be scary. This gives you an opportunity to get away from the calories or the fat free products and trust that your body can handle these natural foods and they won’t make you fat. It’s a big shift but you’ll find that not only can you handle it, you’ll thrive (because it’s actually these low fat/fat free foods that are keeping you stuck and making you fat.)
Healthy whole food cleanses like this can serve as a guide and a jumpstart to practice listening to your body, giving yourself what you (truly) need and then making choices that will bring you closer to the healthiest version of you. I hope you try it someday. I think you’ll surprise yourself.