Holy cannoli, one-third of the way there!
I was fearful of what the end of the week would bring. My weekends usually involve a lot of social gatherings with friends around meals. And this weekend being the Super Bowl weekend, I was extra nervous. But luckily it was a really low key weekend for us spent mostly at home. Maybe I was subconsciously avoiding making plans.
Since the last update on Day 3, things have really been on an upswing! On Day 4 (Thursday), I felt my energy coming back, the itchies were subsiding, and my head was less foggy.
And then it was like a light switch flipped on Day 5 (Friday)! I got such a good restful night’s sleep (a rarity for this girl) leading into it and woke up with a burst of energy. I sure needed it too because I had a group training session scheduled bright and early with Kate the Great at Wholistic Fitness. Typically, these mornings involve me rolling out of bed at the last possible minute (6:27am) to get me dressed and to the session on time, stumbling into the center half awake, giving my workout buddies (Hi, Ali and Dorrie!) a nonverbal greeting with a wave, and then cringing just a bit at Kate’s morning cheeriness as she warms us up and I fully wake up. And on this day, I showed up EARLY, perky, and happy. I think Kate might have thought we were in the Twilight Zone for a second. Being my first workout while on the Cleanse, I thought for sure that I would need to be peeled off the floor at the end of it. Luckily I survived and was a little surprised I had enough strength and energy to get through it! I guess that Popeye guy was onto something. All this spinach I’ve had this week must be fueling me pretty darn well. So have no fear, you are able to Cleanse and exercise at the same time!
Getting an early morning workout done with my buddies. Planks…. of course.
Day 6 (Saturday) and Day 7 (Sunday) were similar to Day 5. Any previous symptoms I’d been feeling are pretty much gone and I’m feeling great. It’s amazing to look back and realize how “not good” I was feeling all these years and thought that it was completely normal! Who knew there was this extra level of energy and clarity? I had some extra energy to burn so I even went out for a 2.5 mile run/walk on Sunday morning. I would have run more it, but holy cow, I was feeling the effects of Friday’s workout settling in. My legs were a little sore and felt like lead weights. I’m just happy that the lethargy from the first few days have worn off.
My Lessons Learned from Week 1:
1) It is amazing how much easier it is to lose weight when you’re not interrupting your body’s functions by flooding it with impurities. I’ve been weighing myself every day just to track progress in that area. It’s actually kind of fascinating to see a daily change. It’s almost unbelievable that I’ve lost 6 lbs since starting. (Dr. Marston, if you’re reading this, I know you suggested that I hide or ditch the scale and I promise I will, but it’s all for the sake of scientific blog research. I hope I’m pardoned. ) And it doesn’t feel like a drastic or extreme approach to weight loss and the purification is so gentle. I’m always full from the shakes and veggies and I can eat whenever I want so it doesn’t feel like I’m suffering to lose these pounds.
2) Your body will tell you what it wants. Seriously. I’ve gotten the “Listen to your body” advice from both Dr. Marston and Katie Marger at Wholistic Fitness, and I was always skeptical. I’d always respond to them that “My body will always say that it wants ice cream.” But after the first couple of days, I didn’t have any cravings. Yes, really! In fact, I craved of all things…. roasted broccoli. I’m obsessed. Okay, sure, there are my temptations like those delicious boxes of cookies that those cute little Girl Scouts are pushing. Or I may be coveting the tortilla chips that my husband can enjoy with guacamole as I nibble on sweet potato chips. When in these situations, I just need to take a step back and check in with myself. “Self, what is it that you really want? Are you even hungry? If you are, what do you really want? Talk to me!” And every single time, I found that my body never actually craved the food I was pining over but my mind just wanted it because it’s temporarily off limits. If I did give in and “cheat”, I’m pretty sure the cookies/chips/etc. wouldn’t satisfy anything my body really needed since it wouldn’t get the nutrients it’s really wanting. So thank you, Dr. M and Katie, you were right all along.
3) It is possible to eat out and have a life while cleansing. Trust in your own strength! You don’t have to hole up and be a hermit for 3 weeks. Don’t avoid making plans for big events like the Super Bowl like I did. I went out with my husband for dinner on Saturday night (Day 6) to a sushi restaurant and there were options available for me to eat. I just had to get creative, and make smart choices. We also came up with alternative recipes for me to enjoy during the game and I was perfectly happy with my veggies. I even went out on Saturday morning with my girlfriends for our usual post-workout coffee date. Do you know how hard it is for this girl to be in a coffee shop and NOT get a latte? Apparently not that hard. I had some tea! ;) After seeing progress and making it through the week, I had no desire to want to cheat myself out of everything I’ve accomplished so far.
4) It is hard at times, but not impossible. I won’t lie to you and say that the first week didn’t test my will a couple of times. It took planning, it took preparation, it took energy and time to make the meals. And holy cow, I swear my dishes are multiplying! My sink is always full because I’m always chopping up something since I’m constantly eating. But trust me when I say, it is worth it. To feel as good as I do right now, I’d do it all over again. Well, I have to anyways. I have two weeks left! Seriously though, what I’m realizing is how much the lack of thought was negatively affecting my eating and how much mindless eating I used to do. How many times did I grab an unhealthy snack just because it was there or kept noshing just because I was distracted by conversation, a movie, or my own thoughts. How many times did I just grab a pre-packaged granola bar or run out for fast food because I “didn’t have time” to prepare anything else. This cleanse is forcing me to be mindful and focused when it comes to choosing what I eat. I overthink everything else in my life – what to wear, what to do, where to go – why not do some critical thinking about my health and diet?
Some handy tips from Week 1:
- Set a timer for the amount of time you do your meal planning. (Thanks Katie Marger for that one!) Or else you can literally spend hours searching for recipes. And keep it simple. It’s not a cooking competition and you don’t need to try new recipes every day. Make big batches of food and keep some for leftovers.
- Set small goals for yourself. First, I just wanted to make it through the first three days. Then my next goal was to make it through the first week where I can say goodbye to the SP Cleanse pills (the worst part for me). Now I’m shooting to make it to wonderful Day 11 when I can add lean proteins back into the diet.
Ready for Week 2 now! I spent Sunday afternoon doing my meal planning again. I was getting a little grumpy over the fact that I didn’t have many recipes that were cleanse approved. I decided to e-mail my detox e-friend, Allison, over at Standard Prcoess and told her I was struggling in this area. She wrote back a couple of hours later and gave me 62(!) pages of recipes. My whole perspective on this clean eating has changed now seeing all the different possibilities! So yay! A little bit of extra motivation to help me start the 2nd leg of this ride.
Next week’s recipes include (subject to change after checking out my new arsenal of recipes!):
- Vegetable Soup
- Warm Zucchini Salad
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Taco Turkey Lettuce Wraps*
- Salmon and Asparagus*
*I practically danced down the protein aisle at the grocery store. I’m THAT excited.
Can’t wait to share more with you all! Until the next blog update!
Here are some new recipes I tried during Days 4-7! There aren’t too many new ones to share since I had lots of leftovers to keep me held over through the rest of the week. Apologies for the low quality photos, but I was just so anxious to try all of these to stage good pictures!
Frozen Fruit Blend
Makes 2 servings
1/2 sliced banana
1 whole ripe nectarine, cut up
2-3 frozen strawberries
Several slices of frozen peaches
Small handful of frozen blueberries
4 rounded tablespoons SP Complete
2 tablespoons of Whole Food Fiber
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
I enjoyed this one because of its fruitiness, but I also added handfuls of greens (kale, spinach) to all of my shakes. There should be a 2-to-1 ratio of veggies to fruits in this program! I usually only did one fruity shake a day for the purposes of taste testing for the blog and getting my little sweet fix for the day.
Pumpkin Pie Shake
1 tablespoon flax oil
1/2 cup of organic pumpkin
Few pinches each of ginger and cinnamon
2 scoops of SP Complete
1 scoop Whole Food Fiber
This was an okay shake for me. Definitely not as good as a real pumpkin pie!
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 stalks celery, diagonally sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1/2 green pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1½ cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
3/4 cup fresh or 3 tablespoons dried basil leaves
1 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, slightly chopped
1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted or regular crushed or diced tomatoes
Celtic Sea Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare all the vegetables. Heat pan or wok over high heat. Add olive oil and sliced garlic. Stir fry 1 to 2 minutes. Add zucchini, celery, and broccoli while constantly stirring just until vegetables soften, approximately 6-7 minutes. Add the peppers, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and entire can of tomatoes. Cover and reduce heat to medium high for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (post-purification only). Serve as a side dish or use to top fish, chicken, or cooked and shredded spaghetti squash.
1 large Spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Place on baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and shred the squash with a fork. It will look like spaghetti. Add some roasted garlic, butter and/or salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
Spaghetti Squash Accompaniment or Mix-In
Use the following as a side accompaniment or add to Spaghetti Squash mixture.
1 large tomato (chopped)
½ cup of chopped fresh basil (some people prefer oregano)
½ tsp olive oil
½ tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
28oz stewed tomatoes
1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Heat pan on medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onions. Stir until soft then add remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally and reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste
Serve over Spaghetti squash, kale, or broccoli
I loved this meal! It was delicious and the little bit of crunch to the squash was great. I made it without the marinara sauce, and just mixed in the tomato mix-in. I’m a weirdo, but I ate it just like I like my pasta which is dry and without too much sauce. (I know, I know… I’ve already been shamed about this.) Sadly no cheese on this “spaghetti” though!
Kale Chips – CAUTION – Addicting!!!
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.
These came out so nice and crispy, and are by far my favorite snack so far. I make them quite a bit. I almost feel like I should feel guilty for snacking on them so much. But these are guilt-free!!
Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Hummus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for garnish
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, sweet potato, cumin and paprika and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until lentils and sweet potatoes are soft, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer contents of pot to a large bowl and set aside to let cool.
Transfer lentil mixture to a food processor along with miso, lemon juice, salt and pepper and purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and garnish with cilantro and a drizzle of oil, if you like.
This is one of the snacks I prepared for the Super Bowl to have with raw veggies. I left out the miso because there’s no soy in the cleanse program. I wasn’t a huge fan of how this turned out. It just was a little too bland for me. And also, I think I just really really miss hummus and this wasn’t quite up to standards for me.