The overindulgence inherent in the holidays certainly took its toll on me. When we finally returned home from our travels, both Rich and I were feeling run down. I did battle a fairly mild cold while we were en route, and Rich got hit with it full force once we got back to L.A. Those extra cookies, and glasses of wine, and late nights combined with early mornings slowly had worn us thin. Even though we were still eating lots of healthful, whole foods throughout our travels, we were also eating rich foods, processed foods, "fast" food (this only happens maybe once or twice a year, while on the road, so it's a bit of a shock to our systems). The combined effects of all this don't exactly leave you feeling energized to start a new year. But I had a plan....a plan for some shodana or cleansing. That's right, I'm the next contestant on the shodana showdown.
January is a very popular time of year to cleanse or make other dietary shifts. All that resolution setting usually includes something of this nature. There are so many different ways to bring greater awareness to our habits and diet. Some friends are doing juice cleanses, others are swearing off sugar or booze, for a finite period of time, others still may be partaking in herbal, Ayurvedic or macrobiotic cleanses.
I chose to do an herbal cleanse that I have done twice before, though quite some years ago. This cleanse combines herbal detox tablets, and a tincture with a specific diet plan. It's called the Wild Rose Cleanse, and if you've never heard of it before that's because (as I recently learned) it is only available in Canada. So, while we were in Vancouver visiting family and friends, I made sure to hot-step it over to Whole Foods and pick one up for myself, anticipating my desire to start the year off fresh.
The diet specifications are totally doable and still leave you with a lot of room for variety (no dairy, no flour, no sugar, no tropical fruit, no dried fruit, nothing fermented or yeasty) , but I certainly am finding myself struggling in a few places. Namely, going without flour and sugar. I'm presently on day 10 of this 12 day journey and find myself craving bread, tortillas, even pancakes! To further complicate matters there is an amazingly huge, varied and delicious looking assortment of Sjaak's Chocolate at our house, a sweet and thoughtful anniversary gift from family, that I have to wait until Thursday to dip into. Have you ever had the feeling that a box of chocolates is staring at you? That's how strongly the sweets are calling me!
I'm not cleansing to punish myself, to lose weight or to drastically change my diet. I'm cleansing to wipe the slate clean, to re-energize and to give myself the opportunity to consider my food attachments. I don't see this cleanse, or any cleanse for that matter, as an end in and of itself. It is instead a powerful opportunity to investigate our habits, our behaviors, our preferences as they pertain to our food, that which sustains us. In spite of the dark and the cold weather, there is a spark that this cleanse is re-igniting within me. That spark says, "practice, listen, keep moving forward, seek and play". As excited as I am to have a nibble of chocolate on Thursday, I'm so grateful to feel this clarity, to feel the power of the commitment I've made and kept to myself.
If you're considering a cleanse, discern first, what it is you hope to gain from the experience? Chat with your doctor or do your due diligence before embarking on any program, and listen closely to how your body and mind react, throughout the process. There are both appropriate and inappropriate times and life circumstance for cleansing. Allow yourself to make mistakes, to be human, that is all part of the journey. Most importantly, be kind.