And . . . I've decided to start easing off of it 5 days early.
The funny thing is, when I first decided to stop, I couldn't quite figure out what food I would add back in, or how. (I guess this shows that I'm not giving in to cravings for one particular food.) I have a menu all planned out through the end of the cleanse, and I was mostly happy with it until the last 2 days when I'd already decided I wasn't going to attempt an all-liquid purification. But I knew that Ben and I needed to cut it shorter than 2 weeks. Here's why:
- I started this cleanse because I needed a kick in the pants to get me back on track with eating healthier. My snacking was out of control and I had zero willpower when it came to portion control. I wasn't technically overweight, but I'd gained 5 pounds in the past year, all in my belly.
- After a week, I figured out that the issue for me is sugar and salt. Cutting sugar, and my go-to salty snack foods (it's really hard to find crackers that don't contain processed sugar, soy, potatoes, or corn) took care of the compulsive snacking.
- I also figured out that I need to double up on the veggies for every meal. Make it a habit to fix two kinds of veg plus salad. When my family isn't filling up on carbs, they actually will eat the veg! (I'd gotten into the habit of basing meals on the pasta/bread/potatoes/etc. because those and meat were the foods my family could all agree on. We can't afford to fill up on meat, so dinner was often pasta or rice mixed with meat and some vegetables).
- Doubling up on veggies is harder if you have to be super vigilant about what you can add to them. The cleanse started to feel counterproductive.
- Eating healthier feels great, and is something both Ben and I want to continue. But, eliminating foods--except for sugar--isn't much more than an inconvenience for us. We don't feel any different, better or worse.
- We're starting to tire of salads. I've been making fabulous salads with homemade dressing for lunch every day. Ben went from a boy who barely touched his salad to an enthusiastic salad eater. As the days wear on, though, no matter how much I change up the ingredients, salad is starting to feel ho-hum to me. If we're looking at making lifelong changes, we need to start adding more variety before we both feel like we never want to look at another salad again.
Then we'll add back dairy, soy, or nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant) on Saturday--I'm going to let Ben decide, since he'll be at a party/sleepover Saturday and I know there'll be something there to tempt him. (We both agree that sugar needs to wait until the end). He's just going to have to text me and let me know what I can eat! And then, something else on Monday, which brings us to the end of the 14-day cleanse on Tuesday.
So far, the cleanse--even this amended version of it--has been really worthwhile. I'm thrilled to see my whole family eating more healthy foods (though Evan still runs on a large amount of pb & j and grilled cheese sandwiches) and I'm inspired to keep it up. Many of the recipes in the book are keepers. I'm totally sold on the green smoothies (I should do a post just on that--in fact, I just took some pictures of my smoothie-making process, so let's call that a plan).
Oh, and incidentally, yes I did lose that 5 pounds.