Conscious Cleanse Check In

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I am writing this as I round out day seven of my Conscious Cleanse experience. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted. But not from lack of food. Far from it in fact. I am worn out from the immense prep it takes on the weekend since weekdays do not allow much time for anything other than survival. This weekend I shopped on Saturday, prepared a slow cooker meal for Mike and Rylan and roasted beets. I should have done more on Saturday…

Sunday morning brought a rush of prep requiring the Vitamix since our kitchen is so close to Rylan’s room and blending during nap would lead to complete chaos. Homemade almond milk, zucchini hummus, beet hummus, dressing for the roasted beets and sunflower seed dressing for the week. I also snuck in my green smoothie for breakfast. It combined frozen pitted cherries, kale, spinach, banana and pear. Amazing.

Once Rylan was down for nap I quietly carried on with my prep — rainbow chard and white bean soup, salads through Wednesday, wild rice salad, cauliflower mashers (not my favorite), green smoothie packs for the week and pre-portioned veggie snack bags for easy snacking with hummus. Mike also lent a hand by making a batch of meatloaf in muffin tins for Rylan. There are a lot of great recipes on the Conscious Cleanse website if anything sounds appealing! You certainly don’t need to be cleansing to enjoy these.

Prep aside, this is an incredible program. My body is resetting more and more each day and I have never felt more hydrated. I am learning new habits, like grabbing a handful of veggies instead of always reaching for crackers or other carbs. I’ve learned that life is possible without coffee. Forgoing wine for more than a week at this point means I am sleeping sounder than ever.

I know I won’t stay free of coffee, cheese, wheat, wine and sweet treats forever. Life is too short and a hot cup of coffee hits the spot before a long day. Wine will flow through the holidays and I look forward to sharing in a few glasses with family and friends. And if the cleanse ended today, I think I’d opt for a big piece of garlic bread.

But I’ve learned that life doesn’t end when you cut out dairy, wheat, alcohol and processed foods. Reconnecting with salads, veggies and grains is more than possible with pre-planning. At this point of the cleanse I am learning so much still.

Here’s to the home stretch!

A New Journey: The Conscious Cleanse

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 2.07.52 PMMonths ago I was contacted by organizers of The Conscious Cleanse in Boulder, Colo., based on my blog. They gave me background on the concept and asked if I would be interested in participating in the November cleanse for free in exchange for talking about my journey.

 

At first I was skeptical and intended to decline the kind offer. I’ve been lucky post-baby and lost the weight quickly with regular exercise and a mostly-healthy diet. In fact, I struggled keeping enough weight on while breastfeeding in my final months and sought advice from a doctor and a nutritionist. “Cleanse” only meant weight loss to me at first and I imagined Mike and my parents being angry with me for choosing to give it a try.

So I responded to the email with my concerns and anticipated the Conscious Cleanse coach would bid me farewell. However, she responded with a lot more information about the benefits of this cleanse and pointed out that there are no restrictions to the amount of food you can eat during the 14 days. I was intrigued.

It has been a busy summer with lots of travel, adult beverages at weddings and on-the-go eating. I have always had my fair share of stomach problems and the endless summer and fall celebrations did me no favors. I’ve also noticed an uptick in my coffee cravings and sweets have been my downfall for as long as I can remember–made even harder to control while breastfeeding earlier this year.

Therefore, I decided to embrace the 14 day Conscious Cleanse with intentions other than weight loss. My intention is to clear my body of what I know doesn’t agree with me, but I consume anyway…mainly dairy. To take a break from alcohol before the holidays and test how gluten and wheat impact my digestion. To drink a lot more water and determine if my breakouts improve. To see how clean eating impacts my stress and anxiety levels along with sleep patterns. To rely less on frozen and prepared foods. To get out of my comfort zone and reconnect with scratch cooking despite our hectic dual-working household schedule and Rylan’s needs.

I intend to monitor my weight closely during the next 14 days to remain healthy and energized and focus on all of the other intentions that led me to accept the Conscious Cleanse challenge.

Day 1 begins tomorrow, Nov. 1, and I am glad that I’ve followed many of the recommended Transition Day tips. I cut out coffee last Thursday and seem to be through the headache phase. With just a few slips, I have mainly avoided processed sugar, gluten, wheat and dairy as well. The result? I won’t lie. I’ve been pretty fatigued up until today (Sunday) and experienced a lot of frustration at night when I would normally grab a “sweet treat” before bed. But I am committed to giving this my all for the next two weeks and once it is over, again embracing my 80/20 approach to eating that kept me feeling my best through my pregnancy and first months of Rylan’s life.

Today started with a shopping trip that kept my mainly to the perimeter of the store, avoiding packaged foods, dairy, etc. Once home I made big batches of quinoa and brown rice for the week, along with pre-portioned salads for dinner and lunch. I also downed the most delicious green smoothie I’ve ever had. The Conscious Cleanse recipe called for spinach, banana, blueberries and a bit of raw almond butter. It was like a milkshake! Then I used my Vitamix to make homemade hummus and pre-sliced veggies for easy snacking. Tonight I’ll broil salmon, make a quick pesto for zucchini noodles and break out the Vitamix again for a raw carrot soup to serve over quinoa on cold nights. My fridge is bursting with vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables. It is going to be a good week.

I look forward to sharing periodic updates here. Let me know if you have questions about this cleanse and I’ll share my honest opinions!

Pin of the Week: A Healthier Slice

 

Cauliflower pizza crust? The pizza-lover in me is quite intrigued. Mother Thyme is a gorgeous blog and I was thrilled to stumble upon it via this pin earlier in the week. When I get brave enough to give this a try, you will all be the first to learn about the taste test results. Mike may need some convincing first!

Gym Guilt

Source: fitsugar.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

I could not get up for spin class this morning. Yet, I laid there in bed fretting about missing spin so how much extra sleep did I get this morning? Not much at all. And my mood is worse because of it.

Isn’t it amazing when we can’t listen to our own advice? I’m also constantly surprised by how much going (or not going) to the gym class impacts my mood. It has finally, for the first time in my entire life, become so much more than about how I look. An hour of spinning, lifting or yoga-ing is my mood booster and stress reliever. It’s where I get perspective and realize I can take on anything at work or at home. I need it badly.

But today, I needed the snooze button…and I have to learn to let that be okay too.

Pin of the Week: Make Workouts a Habit

Make taking care of yourself, however and whenever you can find the time, a HABIT! Motivation comes and goes…just ask any bride a few months after the big white dress has been worn. But a habit can be followed for life, and you’re worth it.

Get to know your gym teachers, schedule workouts on your calendar, plan ahead for meals and other evening responsibilities, and ask your friends, family and coworkers to encourage and respect the time you are carving out for yourself.

Source: fitsugar.com via Alexis on Pinterest

Friday’s Favorite Pin of the Week

Maybe it’s because half of my office seems to be on some sort of cleanse right now. Or maybe it’s because I am committed to taking good care of myself during the next few very hectic months. Whatever the reason may be, this blender full of fresh goodness represents, in one picture, how I strive to treat my body so that physically and mentally I am in a wonderful place.

Do you have a favorite pin of the week?

 

Go Veggie?

VegetablesOkay mom and dad. Don’t freak out. Mike and I are not becoming vegetarian or vegan.

We have however been talking a lot about health and wellness, and questioning what we can and should be doing as we go into our 30’s (Mike in March followed by me in July) to be in the best health, with even better habits established for the years ahead.

I’ve been fascinated by the “meatless Monday” trends for awhile. However, I’ve done little to act on my intrigue with vegetarian and vegan cuisine. I was raised in a household where an easy, last-minute healthy meal always fell back to BBQ chicken. In & Out calls my name when I land in California. I like my pizza topped with pepperoni. I can’t imagine cutting out meat altogether. I’m picky enough about meat as it is, so the occasional chicken breast, burger or meat sauce just doesn’t seem that bad.

But who says it has to be all or nothing? Well, plenty of people do but we are not plenty of people. A light bulb went off for me when I was talking to a client at lunch last week who is vegan. She said, “there is a way to eat meat responsibly.” I appreciated that sentiment from her, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Can Mike and I become more RESPONSIBLE eaters in 2012?

We already get twice monthly shipments from Door to Door Organics–a gift to ourselves in 2011 that we both enjoy. However, on the “off” weeks I almost never buy organic because of the price. But what will that cost us health-wise in 20 years? How will we be leaving the environment for our kids?

Any adoption of a semi-vegetarian/flexitarian lifestyle Mike and I attempt to make in 2012 will be a slow one. We’re both going to be busier than ever so temptation will be high to fall back on what is easy–frozen pizzas, BBQ chicken, turkey sandwiches. I’m going to have to take meal-planning to a whole new level and rely on our freezer to store plenty of healthy, make-ahead frozen dishes…some with meat and some without. I personally am interested in cutting way back on dairy products–not for any ethical reason, but for a “reset” of my system.

It won’t be a surprise to those who know me that I’ve already started to research some new recipes that hopefully won’t cause Mike to run to the nearest Kentucky Fried Chicken. I hope to try one or all of the recipes below:

I also stumbled upon this great About.com resource for freezable, make-ahead vegetarian meals.

Have you cut down on your weekly meat consumption or cut it out entirely? Any advice for a phased adoption of a daily diet that is more focused on fruit and vegetables?

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