Archive for July, 2009

Re-United: 11-Day Yoga Cleanse Wrap-Up

Since beginning a nutritional and yoga cleanse on June 22, I’ve been so busy shopping for new grocery items, finding and preparing new recipes, and taking yoga classes (in addition to a demanding semester at work and marathon training) I’ve barely had time to share the results. The official cleanse finished July 2. sunshine

Really it may be early to use the word “results” to describe differences so far, although I’ve experienced quite a few:

  • The low energy I’d almost surrendered to drastically reversed. All of a sudden I stopped feeling sleep-deprived, despite not sleeping any more than I had been. No longer was it a struggle to get myself going. Though I’m building up a lot of base miles with running daily, I felt like the end of a marathon taper energy-wise. At times I had almost too much energy, but after feeling semi-lethargic for much of the last year, will never complain about that.
  • I’ve been a generally nutritious eater (with an equally healthy appetite for indulgent treats and preference for things that can be quickly prepared, however) for as long as I can recall. During the cleanse eating plan, I was able to feel my body thank me for putting supportive, unprocessed, nutrient-rich, carefully prepared meals and snacks into it. It was almost like my cells were purring. That sounds pretty dumb, but it felt like the cliche “natural high.”
  • I laughed more and was able to more easily be “giving” to others.
  • The nutrition nerd in me had a great time learning about foods that support various organs, new superfoods and supplements to sample, and a little more about how the nutritional detoxification/cleanse process is thought to work.
  • My hair is shinier.
  • Last time I weighed in, the scale read a few pounds lighter. All right!
  • I discovered some delicious foods and recipes that I’ll share soon. It’s a fun process to research and experiment when you have the time, but at times it was also frustrating. I don’t love cooking or grocery shopping or have ample free time anyway, so I hope that the post learning-curve period will not involve so much time in a grocery line or standing over the stove.
  • A negative effect I experienced off and on during the cleanse was feeling more mood swings and negative emotions. Even though they weren’t pleasant, I realized all the extra caffeine and more processed/refined foods I craved were probably masking those feelings, which never works long term despite my stubborn persistence. I can take the insight forward and when I find myself wanting to reach for more coffee or sugar, check in and see if there’s something going on that I could share with a journal, friend, or a few miles traveled under my feet.
  • I re-awakened my desire to continue what I intend to make lifelong study of yoga, nutrition, and holistic health.
  • I brushed off the cobwebs on my poor, neglected asana practice. In 10 yoga classes my body went from stiff, sluggish, and a tad soft to a more defined appearance, stronger-feeling core, and noticeable improvement in flexibility – even those tight runner’s hamstrings.
  • I was able to deepen my yoga practice and study from some very talented, creative, and challenging teachers at Cleveland Yoga.

20081226resetOf course, I can’t revert right back to the “surfing the crave wave” ways of pre-June 22.  Since the cleanse finished I’ve followed the eating plan, but not as strictly. It isn’t a restrictive or rigid program, anyway. I find that I do not want to go back to consuming artificial sweeteners, breads, refined grains, and overly salty or sugary processed foods at this time. I discovered the magazine Clean Eating and its corresponding books and am exploring those and other resources to continue developing this new way of self-care. I’m also continuing to attend yoga classes, though not daily – if only my budget allowed that!

When I began the 11-Day Cleanse, I remember thinking I needed to press my “Reset” button.  It feels comforting to know the next time my body, eating, and energy feel out of balance,  there’s a powerful tool I can access to restore myself.