The Art of the Cleanse

October 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm 2 comments

Most people, when they hear the word cleanse, get a weird, uncomfortable look on their faces. I can see the thoughts flinging themselves through their brain, “Ew, why would you want to do that?” or “I could never do that! There’s so much I would miss.” They are focusing on the deprivation, what they can’t have, as opposed to the whole world of food that they still get to play with. I prefer to think about the beauty of connecting with what’s in front of me and the artistry of combining real foods and flavors to make something truly taste-full.

If you are going to try a cleanse, first you have to understand your reason for doing it. Is it weight loss? Clearing toxins out of your liver and/or kidneys? Breaking a food habit that it’s time to ditch? Whatever your reason, there is a right way to go about it. You could include a fast, but check with your doctor to make sure that it’s appropriate for you. When you deprive your body of food, it creates stress of a different sort, so be careful.

The Cultivate Health cleanse is a two-week change of pace that gets you back to eating real foods. It’s about all of the above, but done in a gentle way so that you don’t suffer any ill side effects. Here’s what I do:

Beautiful Whole Foods

Spice up your next meal with beans and chiles.

I start by cutting out processed foods and sugary foods such as crackers, cookies, salad dressings and pre-made items. I fill my fridge with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, all organic because, if you are going to cleanse, why would you put something in your body that has toxins on it? I make sure I have lemons to add to my water and ginger or “Detox” tea to replace the caffeine I normally get in my morning tea. I stop drinking alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks. Finally, I focus on incorporating more whole grains and legumes.

On this particular cleanse, I’m also cutting out gluten, which is being reported more and more to directly affect thyroid.  Since I have a thyroid issue, cutting out gluten could help my thyroid readjust so that I don’t have to take medication for the rest of my life.

Finally, I’m going to stick to goat and sheep dairy because the proteins found in those are more gentle and more easily digested by most people than cow dairy.

My goal is to eat this way for four weeks, however, after two weeks, I will start to re-incorporate certain foods. I’m fairly sure I don’t have an allergy or intolerance to dairy, so I will probably bring back the cow’s milk dairy first. I love my black tea in the morning, so I will probably bring back small amounts of caffeine next. I hope to go the whole month eating out of my garden because there’s so much great produce out there. At the end of October, I will consider bringing back gluten in small amounts and

The best way to accomplish something like this is to make the commitment and then take a day to do some planning. Write a list of easy meals that you can make that fit into this way of eating. Examples are:

  • Nachos
  • Yam tacos
  • Rice with stir-fried veggies
  • Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers
  • Polenta with sauteed veggies
  • Mashed potatoes and a side of steamed cabbage and butter or a salad
  • Roasted root vegetables (a mix of parsnips, beets, potatoes, carrots and winter squash is lovely!)
  • Mushroom-stuffed summer or winter squash
Then figure out what ingredients you need and stock up on three or four meals worth of ingredients. If you have time, prep some of the items on the weekend – grate carrots, chop peppers (no more than two days in advance), shred lettuce, cook the polenta or rice, soak some beans, etc. Then, when it comes time to actually cook, it will make it much more quick.
Do this for two weeks and I would be shocked if you didn’t report having more energy, feeling more alert, and tasting your food more deeply. Let me know what you think. I’ve done it and I know it feels great!

Entry filed under: Eating.

Local Food Week 2011 Two Days In…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gretchen Brooks Nassar  |  October 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Sounds great, Michele, and relatively simple and easy-to-do. I like that you’re all about taste, enjoyment, and avoiding deprivation. Too many people struggle with food, when it can be such a source of pleasure as well as healing.

    When we get our diets cleaner (healthier), not only do our tastes change, but our desire for healthier food grows and our taste for unhealthy food diminishes. This, in addition to getting healthier, feeling better, and becoming more empowered around your health! It’s all good stuff!

    • 2. The Butternut Hunter  |  October 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      It’s sort of crazy how good real food tastes when you get away from all that sugar, salt and fat that coat your taste buds. Doesn’t mean I don’t ever want to eat that stuff…I love butter…but in smaller amounts.


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