Spring Cleansing

Every spring for the last 15 years or so, I do a cleanse of some sort. It started with one month of no sugar, and I did that several years in a row. It was such a great reset. I had been finding it hard toIMG_3294 resist all the wonderful sweet treats available everywhere. Quitting sugar for a month was like hitting the reset button and afterwards I definitely found I craved sugar less and was able to resist the sultry temptations. And now to this day, I can walk into Stone Soup and admire the piles of sweet yumminess, pay for my savory selections, and go on with it, without a second thought. Success!

Since then I have probably done about five different cleanse programs, each one a couple times, including Clean and Restart, and now I am 25 days into what I call a Whole 30-inspired month (the Whole 30 with some modifications – and perhaps I will do it for longer than a month).

What these cleanses all have in common is simple – eat lots of vegetables and protein & fat rich foods including meat, fish, and some nuts – and take out sugar, alcohol, breads and processed grains. Restart and the Whole 30 are pretty similar to the Paleo diet, which means eating mostly meat and veg, and cutting out grains, legumes and dairy. Also with these cleanses you can eat minimal sweet fruit, but all the avocados and cukes (fruits that we think of as vegetables) that you want.

The key to success, besides┬áspending lots of time in the kitchen prepping food, is getting plenty of fats. Drizzle Saratoga Oil Company olive oil on your steamed broccoli (sprinkle on some sea salt, too), cook eggs in coconut oil, ghee or strained bacon fat, reheat roasted root veggies and add some extra ghee. Eat bacon and avocados whenever you can ­čÖé┬á You get the idea.

This time cleansing is extra great for me, because my husband is on a very similar plan. He is doing mostly meat and vegetables with some fruit, nuts, and dairy. His plan is not limited to 30 days and he gets one “cheat” a week, which makes it more sustainable for the long haul. He is finding that he is feeling amazingly well and noticeably stronger in his work-outs. He is really focused on getting plenty of protein and it seems to be positively affecting his muscles. He looks slimmer even though the scale is slowly dropping.

With these cleanses, you have the option of making them an elimination diet. If you suspect that you have some symptoms related to certain foods you can take those foods out, ideally for at least 3 weeks, and then add them back in one at a time and see how you fee. The most common culprits are dairy, gluten/grains, eggs, and night shades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tobacco). Nightshades can cause joint pain and stiffness in some people but since those foods are so ubiquitous it can be hard to see a pattern until you completely take them out and then try them again. If they turn out to be a problem for you, it is possible to take take them out for a few months, while eating quite clean-ly in general, and then put them back in without having problems. In this case it is not a true allergy, but an intolerance due to an overloaded system. Cleaning it up can make a big difference.

Happy cleansing.


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