A few weeks ago, I told you that I was embarking on a gluten-free, dairy-free, animal-product-free cleanse, and I said I would follow up to let you know my results, so here I am…with my “Post-Cleanse Report.”
First, let me say that I kinda ate this way, or tried to, before I cleansed, so for my body, the effect was not as dramatic as it would have been for someone who regularly eats processed foods or someone who does not already eat kale on an almost daily basis. I did not lose weight on this cleanse, but I also probably ate more nut butters, oils etc. than I should have if my goal was to shed a few pounds.
What I gained, first, was a better understanding of why a plant-based diet is the way we ought to eat – at least most of the time. I refer everyone that is reading this to the website of Dana Palumbo, who ran the cleanse and who can do a much better job explaining the benefits of a whole foods plant based diet. Her articles and weekly newsletters are thoughtful and informative and it doesn’t hurt that she’s witty and engaging too (so sign up for the free newsletters now).
The biggest impact the cleanse has had is that I broke my caffeine/coffee addiction — an addiction I have had as long as I can remember. It feels great to wake up and not need coffee to function. Instead, I typically start my day with hot water and lemon. (For more info on why this is a great way to start your day, read this article from the folks at MindBodyGreen). I usually have green tea in the morning, which I have learned has about 1/4 of the caffeine that coffee does.
The other big change is that while I was mostly vegetarian before the cleanse (I never ate meat, but did eat turkey burgers and chicken), I am now totally grossed out by pretty much all meat/chicken/turkey and may have just become an official “pescatarian” (someone who eats no meat or animal flesh except fish). Of course, you may just find me biting into a juicy burger this summer at a BBQ — I’m not swearing off this stuff forever — but for now, I am much happier just eating plant based sources of protein.
I also learned that dairy really does me no good, and that I am going to try and have it only sparingly. I won’t hold the feta when I order a greek salad, and I may just indulge in a yogurt here and there, but I will try to limit my dairy as I feel better without it, and know that I can get all my calcium from other sources. I also understand better that when they strip the fat from dairy, they usually strip the good stuff too, so though its a definite challenge for me, I will try and avoid the fat-free variety.
As a mom who strongly prefers to cook one meal for my entire family of four — rather than be a short order cook — it is surely somewhat of a challenge as the three boys I live with all like and enjoy meat. Still, I can cook up some veggies and brown rice for everyone and they can have the burgers with their meal, and I can eat the vegetarian burger with mine, Oh, and by the way, I am so into the burgers made by Hilary’s Eat Well. They are gluten/egg/dairy/nut/soy free and really yummy (and for my local Brooklyn friends, they are available at the Food Coop).
In the end, is my skin better? Probably no different. Am I glowing? Uh, not really. Do I have more energy? Maybe. Did I learn valuable lessons? Definitely. Did I kick an addiction? Yes, I did. For anyone who is looking to learn how to eat better, how to feed your body the foods it craves to thrive and be strong and healthy, I highly recommend this cleanse. Remember, check out Dana’s blog. She also connects you to tons of other great resources on eating a whole foods plant based diet.