This week I did something I never thought I’d do: a cleanse.
Sure, they are quite popular lately along with “juicing” and “detoxing” and all that jazz.
Miraculously, I lost the weight I had struggled to lose for so long by getting to the root of the emotional eating. So now I eat whatever I want, until I am satisfied.
However, my stomach has developed its own personality over the last two years. His name is Hank.
Hank is a husky little seven-year-old that likes to eat burgers, mac and cheese, popcorn, sweet potato fries, and beer (not that seven-year-olds drink beer, but we’ll stick with the visual).
Anyways, Hank has been happy eating what he likes and generally splits his meals with Sophie.* Which means I have been able to eat whatever I like without gaining weight by eating smaller portions, running a few days a week, and consuming some foods not listed on Hank’s Top 10 List.
Be that as it may, over the past few months I have noticed that I have looked good but didn’t necessarily feel amazing. Chop it up to the En Fuego burger I had on Sunday.
So after promising myself a million times over that I wasn’t doing this so that my ego could “lose weight,” I talked Mr. Lively into doing it with me.
If nothing else I thought it would be an interesting adventure for us and would snap Hank out of his burger coma.
Just hours later we went to the Trader Joe’s and stocked up. We knew we needed to do this thing before Sophie* and Hank had any real clue as to what we were planning.
We bought the 17 pounds (okay, I exaggerate) of fruits and veggies and also swung by Bed, Bath, & Beyond for a blender. Because despite all the wedding gift cliches, we didn’t get a blender.
Bright and early on Monday morning I got into smoothie mode and made myself and Mr. Lively our breakfast and lunch smoothies. Unfortunately, we did not escape the blender cliche. It did indeed explode on me after two smoothies.
We had read enough terrible things about the lunch smoothie online to know that we should ditch the celery in the lunch drink. Which meant the drinks weren’t gross.
Not quite Hank’s “jam,” but not too bad.
Sophie on the other hand was loving the smoothies. Since Mr. Lively got his wisdom teeth out last week he enjoyed the chance to continue to eat blended foods as he recovered.
As the first day went on we were both really satisfied and rather energized (I’ll also admit that neither of us was avoiding caffeine, which was recommended). Instead of the suggested afternoon snack smoothie, I ate the banana and almond butter listed in the breakfast shake on their own in solid form. This hit the spot and I felt great the rest of the day.
By the time Mr. Lively got home for work we were blending our dinner smoothie and espousing the wonders of cleanses. Things were great!
We were that annoyingly cute couple in the kitchen scene during <any rom-com title here>.
Then came day two.
Day two started off pretty well. We pre-blended our first two drinks of the day the night before. So it was all about chugging it down.
For me, the breakfast one had lost a bit of it’s charm the second time around. I only drank 75% of it.
Then as I sipped tea at a coffee shop during a meeting, I found myself avoiding the walk home. Not because of the cold temperature, but because I really didn’t want to drink that lunch smoothie.
This is where things started to go awry.
Quickly the “cleanse” turned into an unintended “fast.”
Instead of eating the lunch smoothie I scarfed down another banana and almond butter.
Hours later, I started to get hungry. Very hungry.
The idea of eating anything fibrous in a semi-solid form remained horrifying.
So I continued to not eat. Instead, I dreamed about the leftover En Fuego burger and fries frozen in the freezer. The pesto and pasta we had on Sunday, again frozen in the freezer. The pumpkin cheesecake that lay chilled in that da*n freezer.
Heck, I woulda settled happily for pretzel chips and spinach, kale, and Greek yogurt dip. That’s close enough to a smoothie, right?
Meanwhile Mr. Lively was going on six days of soft food since the surgery. By the second afternoon he started to feel lightheaded at work from the hunger and jaw pain still present after the procedure. He came home from work and ate clam chowder to revive himself.
So then it was just me. On the cleanse alone. Jonesing for some mac and cheese.
Anyways, long story short I finally did eat a bit of the lunch smoothie and decided that for dinner I was going to go solid state with the suggested food list.
The winning ingredients turned out to be an avocado, homemade salt-less kale chips, and spoonfuls of almond butter.
But even this strange dinner was no substitute for “real food” (read: cheese and bread).
I seriously considered throwing in the towel at that point. I was hungry, nay, lightheaded and I wasn’t about to eat another blended drink.
To ease my pain I decided to complain to Facebook.
Jill, my cleanse inspiration friend, chimed in right away.
Jill called out my ego pronto. And even though my hungry, carb-craved
mind ego disagreed with her, it made me pull away from that freezer full of awesome food.
Instead, I spent some time reading up on the effects of the cleanse. (And yes, I googled for negative reviews about the cleanse. Hey, misery loves company.)
Once I had a broader understanding as to why this might be a good thing to do beyond just a fruit and veggie boot camp for Hank, my resolve strengthened enough to get me through the night.
I’ll also mention that I discovered full episodes of Sarah’s House last night as well which made this whole thing a million times easier to handle. Well, apart from the DiGiorno’s pizza commercials every four minutes.
After four hours of Sarah Richardson, I was ready to go to bed. Hungry? Yes. But I was also proud that I hadn’t caved.
Miraculously, true to all the reports, I did wake up feeling really good this morning.
The worst of it was over.
Still wary of smoothies, I decided to make my own variation on the breakfast drink and added blueberries and extra almond butter in place of the banana (since we ran out). Much better tasting, in my opinion.
For lunch I wasn’t about to drink the green concoction so I settled on a bowl of blueberries and almond butter.
Which brings me to this moment.
I haven’t honestly decided what I’m doing for dinner yet. I may go with more solid versions of the suggested foods since I’ve stayed true to the list so far. Or, I might let myself off the hook.
Either way, I thought I’d share what this experience has been like for me, for Hank, and for Sophie (who is loving herself some chocolate protein powder in her smoothies).
Will this experience help me to con Hank into eating more plants and fulfill my ultimate intention all along?
Though Day Two was far from easy, I do feel “cleansed” enough that the idea of returning back to my old habits completely does not sound appealing. My body is liking this more fruitful approach to eating.
Even if Hank is still skeptical.
* We call Mr. Lively’s stomach Sophie. She is a little seven-year-old French girl that likes to eat dark chocolate, baguettes, cheese, and red wine (again, not sure why she’s drinking at seven years old).