Yahoo I did it! 21 days with no animal products, gluten, alcohol, caffeine or sugar. It was a roller coaster 3 weeks but I made it through and I’m feeling great. Here are a few insights from my 3-week cleanse to offer a little inspiration and information:
1. Gluten and sugar are in so many of the foods I eat. It is shocking really. Did you know that there is a good amount of sugar in most tomato sauce, granola bars, ketchup, gf pizza crust and salad dressing? And that aside from bread and pasta, there is often gluten in french fries, veggie burgers, flavoured potato chips, salad dressings, soy sauce, cereal, soup broth and bouillon?
2. Going away for the weekend during a cleanse with girlfriends who love to sip wine and eat at fancy restaurants is a very, very bad idea! Thank goodness for the toddler who provided the perfect excuse for not joining in on all of the fun.
3. The Happy Cow app on my iphone is a lifesaver! It offers up a list of veggie restaurants and markets in whatever city or town I find myself in with links to websites and additional information. This came in super handy when I was away from home.
4. It is hard to meditate in the morning when your toddler is yelling “MOM – try to find me!”, your older son is watching hockey highlights at full volume and your daughter is stomping around looking for her favourite shirt. Meditating in the afternoon while the kids were in school or in the evening before bed turned out to be much more enjoyable.
5. I am super fortunate to live in a community with easy access to an organic market (Goodness Me), 2 fantastic vegan/raw restaurants (Kind Food and The Naked Sprout) and a Whole Foods. On those days when I just couldn’t muster up the energy to cook for myself, I could simply stop in to one of these places and grab a filling and nutritious meal to take out.
6. The best way to shake off the blahs was to get my heart pumping with some kindness missions! I am telling you I felt like a spy and my heart was racing when I tried to execute my kind acts in secret. I had so much fun dropping flowers with notes at strangers doors, leaving chalk messages at a local park and leaving sticky notes with encouraging messages around town (on change room mirrors at the mall, at the grocery store, in bus shelters, on books at the library). This is one habit that I’m definitely going to keep doing and I’m excited to get the kids doing it with me.
7. My munchies alarm seems to go off regularly mid-afternoon and in the evenings. Even though intellectually I was poo-pooing the idea of a handful of walnuts or an apple or a banana to replace some chocolate or a bowl of chips – it actually worked! Who knew? (I also popped up some popcorn in my air popper one afternoon and sprinkled on some sea salt and nutritional yeast flakes. Mmmmmm…)
8. It’s really not all that hard to cook vegan and gluten-free. Honestly. All it takes is some planning and the willingness to try out new recipes. And there are so many amazing cookbooks and blogs devoted to plant-based eating. Some of my favourites are: OhSheGlows, Alicia Silverstone, The Savvy Sister, Meghan Telpner, Plant-Powered Kitchen and Healthy Happy Life.
9. I can’t even count the number of people who asked me “What do you eat?!” There is a bounty of amazing foods that get completely overlooked when meat is the focus of a meal. I ate a rainbow of fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, rice, tofu, quinoa, almond milk, hummus, amaranth, chia, green smoothies, coffee-less lattes, oat flour pancakes, rice crackers, stir frys and many more yummy foods. Now that being said, I did miss a good old hunk of bread and a piece of chocolate ; )
10. I’ll share my biggest lesson from the cleanse on Wednesday. I had a huge “aha” moment this time around and I thought I’d devote an entire post revealing it. I’m also thinking about a new challenge…maybe 21 days of yoga. Anyone wanna join me?
***Before I wrap up I want to send a special shout out to my mom and dad who did the cleanse for a full week. Awesome! Way to go! It was great to have someone riding the roller coaster with me and I appreciate your support.