I’m A Cleanse Quitter

Photo by hellojenuine

So hey, I quit the cleanse. I’m officially a quitter. And I’m OK with that.

When I quit smoking in 2005, it actually wasn’t that difficult. I was sick as hell for two weeks at the end of the semester, and I figured that if I’d gone that long without smoking (or doing much of anything aside from lying on the couch and watching TV from Netflix), I could stick it out through the holidays. And once I’d made it that long, I was done. I’ll have a cigarette now and then, but I’ve stayed quit.

I reached a similar turning point in this whole cleanse business yesterday. In week two, I added back beans, soy, and seafood. I made several delicious meals. And I felt terrible. Like, really terrible. Canceling plans, not going to yoga, lying on the floor with a heating pad terrible.

Part of this was to be expected. After all, part of cleansing is ridding your body of the bad stuff that has accumulated. But after a week, give or take, of that, I’m ready to throw in the towel. I’m OK with making inconvenient changes. I’m not up for electing to do things that make me very uncomfortable. I mean, other than distance running, but at least in that case, I feel great before feeling really uncomfortable.

So today I’m calling it quits and starting to reintroduce dairy, eggs, meat, and whole grains. I’m going to keep eating hella veg. I’m going to do my best to continue avoiding sugar and processed foods since hello, that’s a good idea anyway. I’m glad I tried it, and am equally glad to be done.

Some thoughts in parting:

  • I’m surprised that the WLAP didn’t include any guidelines on caloric intake. I would wager that most people need more than 200 calories of juice to get started in the morning, especially if you’re used to eating a full breakfast. I struggled the first few days because the recommended meals were so light – if the menu was followed explicitly and with no snacks, you’d be taking in less than 1000 calories.
  • I’m also surprised that the WLAP didn’t emphasize – or even mention – fermented foods, which are very good for you for a variety of reasons. I strongly suspect that one of the reasons I had digestive problems was that I generally have (plain, unsweetened Greek) yogurt every day, and eliminating it from my diet meant eliminating my primary source of beneficial bacteria for 2+ weeks.
  • I am newly infatuated with tahini, miso paste, and Marcona almonds.
  • I have a newfound respect for vegans and other friends with dietary restrictions. It’s really, really hard, and you guys are awesome for making it work by choice or by necessity.
  • Here is some green juice:
    Day 7: Green juice

On Cleansing

May is all about getting my shit in order after six months of chaos. Between job hunting, moving, moving, teaching, job hunting, leaving my job, moving, moving, starting a new job, and other things that I will talk about eventually, my day-to-day life has lost all sense of order. An important part of fixing this is getting my diet in order – and getting my ass back in the kitchen after months and months and months of not cooking.

The Whole Living Action Plan seemed like a good way to kill a few birds with one stone: get my food stuff under control, eliminate foods that might be causing me trouble anyway, and help my body bounce back from a few months of abuse. I started on Monday, and will continue with it for two more weeks.

Biscuits & Gravy
Everything in this photo is forbidden. Including the silverware.

Week One (right now): no dairy, eggs, meat, seafood, animal fats, beans, soy, grains, gluten, processed food or beverages, or added sugar. I’m also not supposed to be having caffeine or alcohol, oops, so I’m enjoying the latter in moderation, and the former at the normal rate of consumption.
Week Two: add back seafood, beans, lentils and soy.
Week Three: eggs and gluten-free grains, yum.

Some observations thus far:

  • Juicing is fun! And noisy! And messy! This week’s breakfasts are all about juice, and I’m very thankful for Steph‘s loan of her beast of a juicer. I’ve had carrot-grapefruit, beet-carrot-apple, and carrot-grapefruit-ginger. Tomorrow’s juice might involve mangoes.
  • Monday night I was so grumpy and hungry that I nearly started crying at Home Depot while trying to find the right bolts to mount my new Illinois license plates.
  • Man, I really don’t like drinking water. And I really need to drink a lot of water or else I get headachey and dizzy and my contacts start behaving weirdly.
  • The monstrous headaches from Tuesday and Wednesday have finally subsided – only to be replaced by terrible abdominal cramping, which may be due to the cleanse, or may be due to the questionable avocado I ate Wednesday night after walking my bike 3 miles home after getting a flat on my first ride out of my neighborhood.
  • When I weighed myself yesterday morning, the scale claimed that I’d lost 7 pounds since Sunday. That isn’t actually physically possible, and is a good lesson in why you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day. Today showed a much more reasonable 4 pounds, most of which is probably water weight from pre and post-race carbs.
  • If you eat a lot of beets, your pee might turn pink. Apparently this is less common than I realized.
  • I appreciate that the meals were built around produce that is readily available in the winter – citrus, root veg, and dark greens – though I think the menu would be more fun in the summer.
  • I feel like a giant pain whenever I try to order something at a restaurant. Next week should be easier.
  • Running has been OK but not great. I had to walk a little on Wednesday, but was fine this morning. I couldn’t do this while training, which is another reason it’s perfect for May.

Foods I have been craving like nobody’s business:

  • Ice cream, but that’s pretty normal.
  • Cheeseburgers.
  • Pizza, especially after reading this post.

Five days (almost) down, sixteen to go. And then maybe I need to see a man about one of those burgers at Kuma’s Corner.

Cooking Light is running a feature where each month is dedicated to a new healthy living challenge: exercise regularly, eat more whole grains, etc.  This, along with the 30 day trials on this site and my total inability to stick to any kind of fitness routine since 30DS, has got me thinking about taking the punch card approach to establishing good habits.  You know, sort of like a Lunch It Punch It for exercise.

I want to make my routine more, well, routine.  When I’m not sick, I will typically run about 3 days per week, and will get in something exercise-like on at least 2 of the other days.  That may be 30DS, walking home from work, digging in the garden, riding the bike, etc.  All of these are good things, but they don’t really constitute a regimen, which I’m increasingly noticing that I need in order to stay on track.

I also want to decouple exercise from indulgent eating.  You know what I mean: the “I ran 5 miles so I deserve this ice cream” or “I biked to work so I get a donut with my coffee”.  To some extent, this is fine.  I do legitimately need more fuel before and after my long weekend runs.  Eating a 300 calorie donut in place of a 300 calorie healthy breakfast isn’t the best choice, but it’s not a terrible one either.  But that shouldn’t be my mindset whenever I exercise.

I want to start exercising before work.  If I get up when the alarm goes off (instead of snoozing an additional 30 minutes), I should be able to get in a 3 mile run or a round of 30DS.  This will get my day off to a good start, and will get my workouts in before the day heats up.  I’m going to make up a punch card, and plan for non-food rewards at designated intervals.  I’m going to intermittently post about it here in hopes that it’ll keep me honest.  Wish me luck.

hardcore workitude

A few things I’ve learned at and about work:

  • My health insurance is shit. I can only go to doctors that are “owned” by our hospital. I can only fill prescriptions written by doctors “owned” by our hospital. I can’t get in to see a specialist until I have a primary doctor (again, “owned” by our hospital), and even then it will take months. Oh, and my birth control isn’t covered.
  • Each day I have approximately one hour in which I want to throw things at the wall and just walk out. So far I’ve restrained myself and have instead gone for coffee. This will work out as long as I have $1.63 to spend on stress relief.
  • We park in the fairgrounds behind the hospital complex. Next week is the fair, so instead of parking near work and walking four blocks, we have to park at the mall – and not the one that’s close by, the one that is 5-10 minutes in the opposite direction for me. I will be taking the bus.
  • My coworker is really nice, but really, really, really fucking loud. Loud to the point where I can hear her laughing in the lobby. Loud to the point where automated voice-response numbers will pick up her voice rather than mine when the mouthpiece is against my face. I like her, but for fuck’s sake, it’s like she never learned about the “indoor voice”.
  • I feel bad checking my email at work, but for the amount of time that other people spend just fucking around, talking on the phone, repeating the same inane stories – really, I’m much more productive.
  • I can not do this for more than a year.OK, enough whinging. The couple of days have been decent – avoiding the heat whenever possible, reading a lot, spending quiet time with Shawn and girl time with Sarah and Hannah today at lunch. I thought about a rush trip home this weekend to see Diva Kate and to return the errant cat, but I’ve heard nothing from Kate, so Gambit will have to wait another few days. Mainly I’m just hoping for peace.