People often ask me why I became a vegan in the first place. Well to start with, I honestly never really loved meat. I would always cringe when meat was served as a child and I’d pour over each piece looking for icky fat and gristle. However, animal protein did make up a part of my diet until about 5 years ago.
It was after a particularly crazy trip to Vegas with my husband and our fun-loving friends (you know who you are!) where we ate, drank and partied like we were 21 that I came home wanting to cleanse my system. I had seen Kathy Freston on Oprah and I was immediately drawn to her beautiful spirit and her gentle approach to leaning into veganism and embracing a more conscious way of eating. Her message really resonated with me – make slow and easy shifts in thinking and consuming that ultimately result in increased overall health and wellbeing.
I rushed out and bought her book Quantum Wellness and it changed my life. Not only does she address food choices in the book, but she also advocates for 8 Pillars of Wellness including: Meditation, Visualization, Fun, Conscious Eating, Exercise, Self-Work, Spiritual Practice and Service.
Kathy suggests a “Jump Start” cleanse on chapter 5 of her book so I decided to give it a try and I roped my husband into doing it with me. There are no funky powders or weird pre-packaged foods or supplements involved in her cleanse that often contain questionable ingredients and leave most people feeling starved and miserable. Instead she suggests 3 weeks completely abstaining from:
- Animal Products (meat, dairy and eggs)
I know what you are thinking – then what the heck did I eat??? Trust me, I thought that too (and so did Oprah for the record who embarked on the cleanse with her staff shortly after Kathy’s appearance on her show). But having done the cleanse several times over the past 5 years, I can tell you that there is a bounty of healthy and nutritious food available that kept me feeling satisfied for the duration of the cleanse. Kathy breaks down each food category above in detail in the book and suggests that 3 weeks is the optimal time to give our bodies a chance to eliminate the most common toxins and allergens that we all have the most difficulty processing.
Kathy herself says:
“If you have never done a cleanse before, this may sound a bit daunting. I completely understand. It’s always challenging to put the brakes on what feels comfortable, especially in so elemental an area as eating. But any time you disrupt a pattern or meet a challenge, you create an enormous space for a quantum leap to happen……Remember a cleanse is only temporary: it is a short-term vacation for your body, giving it time to rest and detox. No one’s asking you to give up anything forever, unless of course you discover that you want to. Just try to stay open and willing to go the distance.”
Yes it is a steep learning curve. On my first Kathy Freston cleanse I basically knew nothing about vegan food except for tofu dogs and Tofurky (neither of which I consume nowadays btw). But even though the first few day were brutal as my body detoxed from caffeine and sugar, I felt absolutely amazing at the end of 3 weeks.
Here are just some of the benefits that I have personally noticed from doing this cleanse in the past: better and deeper sleep, increased energy, clear skin, calmer overall attitude (once I came down from the caffeine addiction of course), weight loss, clear eyes, reduced under-eye puffiness, reduction in allergy symptoms, disappearance of my hemorrhoids (hey – I pushed out 3 kids people!), better focus, more patience and my frequent tummy aches completely vanished. Plus I got a huge education in cooking with quinoa, barley, flax, nuts, seeds, gluten-free oats, beans, fresh fruits and veggies, organic tofu and a plethora of delicious vegan foods. And ultimately I learned a lot about myself, my cravings and my relationship with food.
I always like to embark on a cleanse in the spring when it feels like the perfect time to toss out the gunk in my house and in my body. I am going to begin the 21 Day Jump Start Cleanse on Monday, April 1st and I will post a few times a week to share my recipes, meal plans and my trials and tribulations as I muddle through this journey.
I hope you’ll follow along and perhaps try out one or two of my recipes -if only to prove to yourself that it isn’t really all that hard and that the foods aren’t actually boring and tasteless (come on – you know that’s what you are thinking). And even if you aren’t interested in a spring cleanse at this time, I highly recommend Kathy’s book as an interesting and informative read. If you aren’t careful -it might just change your life too!