The How & The Why are the Questions. Walking into a new year somehow allows some of us more fortunate ones who aren’t worried about monsoons, finding food and avoiding gunfire, to take a pause and consider self.
I have always looked at the glass half full, albeit cracked, so to the idealist in me I love this time. Hopes, dreams and marching bands guiding me into growth and onto cleaner canvases. However, here is one thing I loathe about this time of year. “The Ultimate Cleanse.” Who are most of these bloody people who feel like the new religious cult to me. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have tremendous respect for the experts I know in this field – from Mark Hyman, to Jill Pettijohn, Jeffrey Morrison, Barbara Close, Dr. Dean Ornish, Frank Lipman and Dr. Jay Heller, but really who can honestly tell me that the ‘extreme radical transformation’ ones have helped in a sustainable life style way? For decades we all know the rapid weight loss diets, whether its food, exercise or pills simply do not work. So, why would a hose pipe up your bottom, swiftly followed by anal injections of accidophollis and oral consumption of caster oil and epson salts thrice daily, be any exception to the predictions of failure?
I was brought up by a father who insisted sesame seeds were born to be on every portion of food one ever ate, and that on no account should poison (pesticides) be on any food particles. Not a bad philosophy. I also don’t recall drinking any soda’s apart from the occasional ginger ale and club soda and bitters as this meant we’d reached our sweet teens. So, I was fortunate as I now have a pretty well balanced palate and/or understanding of what might be making me sluggish and or grumpy, and what might be making me more manic than usual. However, for the purposes of this article, lets ignore this as I wish to get back to my rant.
With despair, I have witnessed scores of friends going through these ‘exclusive_perfect_rapid_cleanses.’ Being somewhat bossy with my loved ones, I have of course tried to interfere but learnt early on that this is like interfering with someones religious choices. It takes time, focus and a lot of psychology, and then campaigning, and of course my attention span doesn’t allow for such a crusade so I have ended up watching these, highly intelligent, successful and above all, fabulous individuals I love fall into the GUTter. I call it ‘The Cleanse Cow Compost’ versus a more crass yet clearer title: The Cleanse Bull Sh*t.
I watch how my friends lose all this weight and have this euphoric glow for a few days and, solid new evangelists, are harassing all in their paths to follow their new belief – their new doctor or colonic guru’ I watch how their children or partners go from pretending they are interested to plainly looking frightened at their mothers/fathers/siblings/children brand new ‘personality.’ I watch the slightly bigger clothes being given away and new clothes being bought, not to mention the plethora of boxes from their ‘cleanse’ clinic – like the Prozac model, packages of herbs and recipes and apps and dvd’s come rushing through the mail box. After a month, I start to see boredom or frustration or plain cravings begin to etch my friends recently cleansed features. And then the real problems begin. Mood swings worthy of medical attention erupt in bubbles of tourette like bursts. Yes, the big thick shadow of Guilt takes over. Beating out any semblance of self respect. The more the friend rationalizes that apart from the sincere intention they had at the start of getting healthier and clearing of unusual habits, and that the actual entire process has been bogus, the more the Guilt shadow pushes them into feeling it is because they have no discipline or self-respect, and of course the excellent marketing/sales people of these cult type cleanse factories know these triggers and speak to them perfectly.
In short, I am outraged but it all, and would like to suggest we all be a little more gentle, take more responsibility and ask more questions, and of course, listen to our bodies and look at our lifestyles really carefully before plunging (pun intended) into the New Year cleanse buckets. We all know, we will change nothing of our lifestyles unless we truly understand why we are and how to ensure we have a supportive, gentle approach and family around us to allow us to make whatever change we feel we need to make. Otherwise, of course we will not succeed. Its rather like going on holiday. If you are able to turn off your digital devices and truly rest, of course you’ll come back more rested, however if you haven’t had the foresight to manage the re-entry into work, it’ll be double the stress and you may as well not have gone away in the first place. It takes wisdom, timing, self love and above all communication with our surrounding loved ones as well as ourselves to get through anything major.
I’ll sign off by again reiterating that:
- I believe in thoughtful, gentle cleanses and balanced healthy eating
- I have tremendous respect for the expert people I know in this industry who come at it from self experience, love and empathy, as well as deep expertise
- I have enormous love and respect for my friends who make a firm decision and with sincere intentions embark on a cleanse. There are of course many reasons people have to do this due to some illness or major addiction and then there are the friends I’ve been speaking about who feel they have needed to it.
For anyone deciding if they should do a big cleanse, what has helped me is to understand my body, mind and will power more. I offer a very simple suggestion, and of course check with your own doctors etc. as we are all different.
Cut out white food for a week (literally anything white/cream in color which includes sugar; bread; pasta; rice; chips; dough; etc.). T
Then see if you can choose one/few things you cut out to remain out for a month, and then see how you feel.
Write a few notes of how you feel and of course weigh yourself or use a tape measure – but it is how you are feeling that is most important.
Don’t be surprised if you feel like crappolla for a bit as there is detoxing and all of that but do things you like to do around all this.
By the way, I don’t suggest cutting out caffeine until after your own self trial. Its all too much too soon.
And if you wine is part of your lifestyle, and you want a glass of wine with your unwhite dinner, then have one. You can cut that out as a trial down the road.
See more movies; see friends who make you laugh; read trashy books; whatever it is to soften the blow.
Of course, if you are able to start walking around the block when you have a phone call, all this will help move out toxins and obviously help with metabolism.
But, don’t do too much too quickly.
Be gentle with yourself. Then see if you really need this big cleanse or if you only need to experiment with different cooking with your entire family or more group walks with family/friends/colleagues; or simply no white food.
Don’t yell at me if you detest my suggestions or don’t agree with my feelings on the ‘guru cult type cleanses’ — if it all works for you, fantastic. Ignore me. I am no guru.
- Be well, C.