How to prepare for a cleanse

So, yeah. Although it is in my nature to have as many "Last Suppers" as I possibly can before beginning any diet, lifestyle change or meal plan — and by Last Supper I mean shoving fistfuls of M&Ms down my throat — this is a cleanse. This is the real deal. I do NOT want to get to Monday and feel like I have the flu because I did not properly wean myself from my 1-2 cups of coffee per day, my something sweet after each meal, my forgetful nature of not preparing a whole grain at dinnertime (I have to step down from gluten, and since all gluten-free bread to me tastes like sawdust, I really have to be on the ball about having on hand and making the time to cook whole grains to accompany basically all my meals). Most cleanse and/or detox experts recommend stepping down your intake of caffeine and alcohol, for example, for 3-5 days minimum before the cleanse. That puts me at now. Like, Now now. I don't want to set myself up for failure, and I am determined to also try to figure out WHY it's in my nature to set myself up for failure, rebel, self sabotage etc.

This takes some mental preparedness. And I still feel rather unprepared. So I asked myself: What are my real weaknesses here? What are my real concerns? What is it with my psyche that automatically goes to this place of deprivation and lack? I know healthy food tastes good. My diet is already healthy to begin with. So the pre-cleanse process may be different for me than it is for you. But here is my plan of attack, just in case any of you will be following along either with Terri and Dr Frank or doing your own New Year's detox at home.

  1. Say goodbye to coffee. No, really. I had one serving of maple syrup left over this morning for my mock mocha, and that's it. I might cry...but I'm saying goodbye to coffe for the next 2.5 weeks.
  2. Part ways with wine (amicably, of course). I'm a mom. I think I speak for most of us when I say I really like watching Brian Williams with a glass of Malbec in one hand and a baby in the other. Or...something like that. And again, there is one serving left in the fridge upstairs. I will FIGHT my husband for it if he asks!
  3. Get back into meditation. I have been asking for ways to help me remember to stop, pause, breathe and regroup before reacting or over-reacting to high-stress situations at work and at home, and meditation is one way to remind yourself what your baseline is — and if you don't know, it's peace. If you've never meditated, try it. There are countless resources out there to help you. I did Terri's self-love meditation, for cleanse participants only, twice today (it's that good)! I don't think I could possibly make it through this without prayer and this sort of quiet time. It stills the soul.
  4. Make a meal plan and a shopping list. I do NOT think I could do a strictly juice cleanse, but maybe some day. Right now I need to be conscious of what I can and cannot eat starting Monday, and I don't want to find myself unprepared. So I've drafted a meal plan, with extra alternatives in case I can't find certain ingredients in some of the recipes — although the idea here is to eat as simple, plain, whole and basic as possible, in terms of fruits, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains and organic lean protein/legumes/beans. I don't want to be making daily trips to the grocery store. If I'm all set Sunday night, next week will go off without a hitch. This I know.
  5. Ease in on Saturday/Sunday. I do think starting a cleanse on a Monday is a good idea, because the weekend gives you that space to get your shopping done, try out some recipes, perhaps, cook ahead some whole grains and experiment with breakfast, which might otherwise get tense during the week if you're trying to rush out the door in the morning. For this cleanse, I will probably mostly be eating cooked quinoa-flake "oatmeal" for breakfast, so I'll be starting this weekend and getting into the routine before Monday rolls around. Friday will see the last of my rye and/or whole-wheat bread. See ya!
  6. Stay away from dairy. I say "stay away" because my dairy consumption is probably limited to a swig of milk in my coffee and a smear of butter on my toast, so for me this won't be too big of a change. But for you cheese lovers out there, and this is just me, but I would go out and really enjoy a nice piece of stinky cheese and then turn your back for two weeks! Get it out of the house; don't leave any reason to be tempted; but indulge in the craving NOW if it hits. I've heard a lot of talk about "moderators versus abstainers" lately, so if it's easier for you to abstain all together forget about the cheese right now. But if you can enjoy it and then get rid of it, have that last bite, savor it and eliminate it for the cleanse.

As Terri says, it doesn't have to be hard. A lot of people go into this fearing hunger, getting faint, parking themselves on the couch and waiting for the cleanse to be over. IT WILL BE LIKE THAT IF YOU THINK IT IS! Don't go there. Instead fill your brain with the truth of all possibilities, that you could actually end up with MORE energy; your energy will be boundless; your mind will be clear and your heart and soul aligned with the purpose of treating yourself right for once and stretching the limits of what you thought you could do and how good you can feel.

Get some rest. Look forward with excitement and anticipation. If you are willing, you can take this opportunity to change from this day forward. That is my hope, and I know the universe has my back.

Filed under: Healthy living, What to eat

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