Spring has arrived, and with it my family and I enjoyed a much anticipated spring break vacation. We went on a Caribbean cruise. It was a really great trip - we enjoyed the warm sun, saw some islands, enjoyed the plethora of entertainment options on the ship, and we ate. And ate. And ate. The food was delicious and abundant. When my podcast partner, Alessandra, mentioned while I was away that she was ready to begin the cleanse we had talked about doing together for many months she had my full attention. Although I was making mostly healthy choices on the cruise, I was eating much, much more than normal and knew my system was working overtime trying to process everything. The pendulum had swung way out regarding my consumption, and I thought it was a great idea to swing it back the other way to try to get back to center.
Thus, the day after our return I began Paramhansa Yogananda's Nine Day Cleanse. I had never done a cleanse before, so I have been pretty intimidated by the idea of doing one that lasts for nine days. However, my mind was eased a bit when taking into consideration that amount of food one is able to eat for the duration of this cleanse. Although the variety of food is pretty small, the quantities seem quite generous. In fact, I thought it was somewhat of a loophole that the cooked vegetable could be in an unlimited quantity. Then when I began the cleanse I realized I only wanted a limited amount of one unseasoned cooked vegetable! :-D
I am in Day 4 of the cleanse, so not quite halfway yet. I plan to have a few blog posts about it because it seems a very dense topic, and as I was preparing for the cleanse there was a lot I wanted to know so I would like to try to share as much as I can think of which might be helpful for future new cleansers who may be looking for more insight. That said, it's important to always note that we all have different body constitutions and chemistries which make each individual's experience different. Also, there is a lot open to interpretation with this particular cleanse, so there's always a chance I have practiced it in a different way than someone else. For instance, I am part of a forum where a handful of us are going through this together. We were talking about the details of the cleanse and were questioning whether avocado was ok to use in the raw salad. Someone had said was ok (the author of the blog I've linked to the details of the cleanse says in the comments avocado is ok), and someone else didn't recommend it because it has a high oil content and wouldn't be as cleansing. I myself have had avocado in the salad the first 2 days but decided to skip it yesterday because I wasn't very hungry (somehow) and didn't need it enough to "take the risk." The first 2 days I did need the creaminess of the avocado to help me get through a salad with no seasoning or dressing.
I hear from others with more experience than me that the first 3-4 days are the hardest. For me, the first day was certainly the hardest so far. It is recommended to do a pretox to prepare the body, so if possible begin avoiding caffeine before you start so you don't experience caffeine withdrawal as you are adjusting to the new diet. It was lucky timing for me because I do have a cappuccino every day or so, but I wasn't having them on the cruise. I don't notice physical symptoms anyway if I take a break from cappuccino, but I had already gotten through that longing for my habitual cappuccino before I began. The first day was mostly getting used to the taste of the food with no seasoning or dressing. I also had to just get used to the limitations. I would feel a bit of hunger and my mind would immediately go to having a snack like a bit of cheese or some nuts, or I would see that my son hadn't finished his breakfast and mentally already be eating his leftovers before I remember the cleanse. My mind was very, very centered on food - not so much what I was missing (although there was a bit of that) as trying to navigate the limitations while not getting crazy hungry. My energy level and mood were ok; my main hurdle was getting used to not feeling substantially full. I had some stomach pains for about 5-10 minutes after my dinner of raw salad and the vitality beverage, and some hip pain which had been coming and going for a few months became very pronounced in the first couple of days than normal. I believe this was due to the effects of the toxins being released and feel it was a good sign.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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