A few of you have wondered where I've been for the final two weeks of my cleanse, and I suspect there was some worry that I fell off the wagon! I'm happy to report I completed the full 28 days, albeit a slightly modified version. After the first two, relatively easy weeks, I hit some rough road a couple of days into week three. My daughter had an unexpected health emergency and we had to drop everything and run up to Boston to be with her. I grabbed my juicer and whatever fruits and vegetables I had in the house and off we went. Over the next two days I stuck to the cleanse as best I could, making my celery juice in the morning and nibbling on fruit, lettuce leaves and avocado as we supported my daughter back to health. Once we felt confident that she was fully on the mend we packed our bags and sped back to Brooklyn so I could get back to my shop and and catch up on lost time.
I got to Remedies at about 3pm on a Thursday and thanked my trusty side kick Jo Anne for holding down the fort in my absence. At about 6:55pm that evening, right before closing, I suddenly felt very light headed, headachy and nauseous. A regular customer had just come in with his two young daughters and was asking me some questions about herbs and I couldn't focus on him, either physically or mentally. I started seeing psychedelic swirls around the edge of my vision and got pretty freaked out. Thankfully I knew this gentleman and I explained that I was very sorry but I was not feeling well and could not focus on his needs. I asked if he would mind waiting in the shop while I called my husband to escort me home, which I did.
At this point I really wanted to complete the cleanse as it's laid out so I ate some food from the plan and drank plenty of water and eventually my vision calmed down. However, I was still feeling very weak, disoriented and headachy and understandably I was pretty concerned. I knew that a cleanse like this could cause these types of detox symptoms but it seemed much more extreme than anything I was warned about.
Over the next several days I tried to work as best I could but eventually gave up and just stayed home in bed and rested, drinking plenty of fluids and trying to eat the prescribed foods, although I had very little appetite and had to force myself to eat at most meals. I finally decided to add some cooked grains and lentils to my diet - Nick made me his famous red lentil dahl with brown rice and two portions of that much loved meal helped to revive me. I continued on the cleanse with the addition of whole grains (brown rice and quinoa), beans, cooked veggies and eventually some nuts and seeds. In retrospect, I believe that the stress caused by our unexpected trip and simply not being able to eat enough raw fruit and veg led to my problems. This cleanse was never meant to be small amounts of food, but big plates of salads and vegetables and plenty of fresh fruit, upwards of 7 or 8 pieces a day, or more. It wasn't in the cards for me to complete the cleanse in this way, but I am very pleased with how it went. After several days of rest I was able to return to work and continue on the cleanse as planned.
The final tally for those who are counting - I lost 4.5 pounds after week three and another 3 pounds after week four. My grand total for the 28 day cleanse ended up being 15.5 pounds, so not too bad all things considered! I have a long way to go yet and I think the biggest challenges are yet to come. Diets and cleanses and fasts have never been that hard for me in the short term, but rather I find the transition back to normalcy to be the much bigger challenge. What I'm thinking so far is, I am going to stay away from gluten, sugar, dairy and corn, at least 90% of the time. I am still on the fence about coffee and eggs and I fully expect to be indulging in some vino in the coming weeks - perhaps tonight. I also plan to reintroduce animal protein but I am going to make that less of a focal point in my diet. A bit of chicken, fish or beef a couple of times a week, but I actually enjoy lentils and black beans and chick peas and similar just as much, which are all very nutritious and high in fiber. I also plan to continue to drink 16 oz of celery juice each morning, followed by my smoothie with aloe vera gel, chia seeds and various powders, and I'll have plenty of fruits and veg and water throughout day.
I'm not interested in carrying on a raw/vegan diet as I simply don't feel it agrees with my life style. I do think it's possible to be healthy on such a diet, but you have to eat tons of food, and you have to chew thoroughly. The great apes spend 50% of their waking time chewing! I don't have that kind of time to commit, but more importantly, I like cooked food. I enjoy a wide variety of options. I like going out to the plethora of amazing restaurants we have here in Brooklyn. Enjoying a delicious meal with my loved ones is a favorite past time for me and my family and I am simply not willing to give that up. But I have learned a lot on this cleanse and I will continue to incorporate many of these habits in order to live a more vibrant, health-full life! My bloating still exists, but it has calmed down for sure. My energy level is finally starting to improve. And my appetite, without doubt, is much smaller than it used to be. And my nails have grown a lot!
I'll keep you posted on future progress.