This past week, right after Memorial Day, I brought an online group through a Whole Foods Spring Cleanse, with great results for all who participated.
But this isn’t about celebrating my coaching skills. Nor is it about the group getting the results they hoped for. Instead, I like to think of it as an exploration of what we actually did together.
What do you think of when someone asks you “Would you like to do a cleanse”? Do you conjure up images of protein powders, supplements, juices, detox teas, or cabbage soup? What comes to mind?
If you google “cleanse” you get all of this and more. Price points are all over the place and you can get liquid, capsules, gummies, you name it.
I don’t know if these things work. But they are not on my radar as something I would promote for your health and wellbeing. I will share with you “why” in a minute.
That being said, I would like to get back to the Whole Foods Spring Cleanse. The cleanse we participated in was all about eating in season, nutrient-dense foods, that work to detoxify the liver and kidneys, your body's two big filters.
There were very little animal products in the meals, and we ate (2) meals per day, with smoothie or green drink for breakfast. The snacks allowed on the cleanse were primarily vegetable or fruit, in limited quantity.
The goals of the cleanse at the outset are:
1. Remove sugar, caffeine, gluten, dairy and processed foods from your diet for five days and observe how you feel.
2. Follow a shopping list, meal schedule and recipes to ensure you are eating a whole foods healthy meal 3 times per day.
3. Prepare food for yourself and your family at home (although there are tips included for eating out, if you can’t avoid it).
4. Engage in self-care practices such as baths, dry brushing, journaling, and light movement during the cleanse (nothing too rigorous).
5. Belong to a community to give you the support you need during the cleanse.
6. Observe bodily changes such as weight loss, clarity of thought, energy renewal and better sleep – all of which can occur during this cleanse.
7. Observe other changes that can occur, such as headache (caffeine withdrawal) or aches and pains (detoxing).
All of these activities are really incorporating mindfulness into your relationship with food. Many of us have complicated and conflicting interactions with what, how and when we eat. Some of us, when stressed, reach for the comfort food of choice (sugar, caffeine, gluten, dairy, and processed food). Guilty!
When we make a conscious choice to eat purposefully, even if only for a few days, we are deciding to care for ourselves.
When we replace our standard American diet (SAD) with nutrient-dense foods, we are choosing to nourish ourselves fully.
When we go to the store with a list, and only buy the items on the list, we are choosing to eat differently, anticipating a different outcome.
When we follow a meal plan, we know what to expect and are prepared for each meal, instead of defaulting to a less than desirable choice, such as chips and dip.
When we prep our meals for ourselves and our families, we are infusing our meals with love and care.
Cleaning, chopping, sauteing, and blending ingredients, in itself can be a meditative practice.
When we treat ourselves with a delicious lavender-infused bath or foot soak, instead of some ice cream or chocolate, we are choosing a different reward system.