This past week I brought an online group through a Mindful 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 the principles of intuitive eating as opposed to trying a new diet.
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? Do you think you will eat gross things, that make you want to throw up? Or such a strict regimen you are starving? And how many pills or powders do you have to take?
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 Mindful Cleanse. The intuitive way of eating we all 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 vegetables or fruit, in limited quantity.
The goals of the Mindful Cleanse 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 actually 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 choose a different reward system.
There are just so many benefits beyond eating nutritious foods that fuel us properly. It is a practice in mindfulness. Choosing, preparing, and eating in a mindful way, rather than mindless snacking.
Getting back to why I would not promote anything other than a whole foods type of cleanse, I know the value of getting you to the point where you have the “aha” moment of clarity and understanding in regard to your own health and wellbeing. I can’t make you do anything. You make those decisions yourself – all I can do is educate you to make the most informed and beneficial choice for your own health.
If you are curious about how intuitive eating changes your relationship with your food and your body, then you owe it to yourself to register right now for the next Mindful Eating workshop coming up on Monday, June 19 at 8pm EST. This will delve further into intuitive eating and how you too can participate in the next Mindful Cleanse.