Yesterday, Joe and I decided to end our cleanse three days before the 21 day mark. We hadn’t planned on ending our cleanse early, but I figured I should share with you what led us to our decision to quit our clenase.
When I first became vegetarian, my mom cautioned me to make sure I was eating a balanced diet that was full of all the necessary nutrients I needed to thrive. She told me that if I ever started to crave meat, it was probably a sign I wasn’t getting something in my diet. During the 3 years that I was a vegetarian (I now eat a little fish, as most of you know) I never once craved meat in the “I’ve got to have it” sort of way. Sure, there were times when I thought I would like a chicken tender, but that was more about the crunchy breading on the outside, not the chicken itself. I always felt satisfied and nourished.
However, I had a completely different experience on this cleanse. And yesterday, while at the grocery store buying oats bananas for breakfast, I had a craving for Greek yogurt that was almost primal. I wanted the Greek yogurt. I needed to have it. It was such a strange sensation for me, since I rarely ever crave something that way (other than chocolate.)
The first week I felt incredibly lethargic throughout the day. I thought that might have something to do with “detoxing” or cutting out caffeine. I powered through hoping I would feel cleansed and renewed with glowing skin in week two. During week two I did feel a little better, I slept really well, but as I mentioned, I was really tired at the end of the day. Joe and I were both ready to sleep at 9 each night! And yes, we usually go to be early, but we’re not usually ones to fall asleep on the couch at 8:45.
Additionally, I had high hopes that my skin would be radiating and glowing, free of blemishes (from the elimination of dairy) by the end of the cleanse. However, I didn’t notice any difference between my skin before the cleanse and my skin at day 18.
But the thing that really got me was the fact that my stomach issues were no better on the cleanse, in fact, I think they were the worst they have ever been. Strange, right? I occasionally suffer from a gassy stomach, painful bloating and just general discomfort (sorry for the TMI). I was hoping that elminating gluten and dairy might have positive results and be the solution to my issues. However, my stomach had never been more unhappy on the cleanse. I was constantly gassy, my stomach was always upset, and, despite eating a large amount of whole grains, beans, lentils and fruits/veggies, I was struggling with regularity.
I wanted to be able to report at the end of the cleanse that I felt like a new person, that I was refreshed and renewed and had a new outlook on life and the way we eat. But neither of us really feel any different, other than the fact that we feel lacking in foods that fuel us and make us feel our best.
Pre-cleanse I was a really clean eater. Other than my nightly dark chocolate, I didn’t have a lot of out of control eating habits and felt like I was doing a balanced job of eating for my body and lifestyle. Consequently, I didn’t lose any weight on the cleanse. Joe doesn’t eat bad, but he’s not quite as clean of an eater. He lost 3 to 4 pounds over the 18 days, which I think had more to do with the fact that he was snacking less often and eating healthier when we dined out.
So, that’s that! Sorry for the long post. But for those of you who followed along, I figured you would be interested in a full recap of our experiences. I had always said that I didn’t think cleansing was for me, but now I’m sure of it. I think it’s good to take a step back now and again and re-calibrate when it comes to things like overeating and eating too much sugar and/or processed food. If I were to do a cleanse of any sort in the future, I would think about structuring it by cutting out sugar and processed food and try to eat a smoothie every day in place of one of my meals. But I don’t think doing a long-term cleanse is something I’ll try again.
Have you done a cleanse? I would love to hear your experiences and observations!