Monday, June 17, 2013

The Conscious Cleanse--Jo Schaalman and Julie Pelaez with Josh Dinar

Lately I've been looking a little . . . how should I say it?
Which I'm not. Not in any way, shape or form.
I've never had a weight problem, but the middle-aged middle has settled in with a vengeance, and it's starting to bug me. Not to mention the fact that it's really unhealthy. I decided it was time to take action.

Taking action means that, as usual, I went to the library. I pulled eight or ten books off the shelves and brought them home to peruse. Sexy Forever (Suzanne Sommers....and too commercial), The Drop 10 Diet (I kept this one around to use later), Making the Cut (too much hardcore fitness), and a bunch more that I glanced through and returned to the library.

I ended up deciding to give The Conscious Cleanse a try. This book appealed the most because it had a solid plan that looked doable to follow. It's all very good to say "eat more vegetables!!" I've been hearing that all my life, and I try, but that's not going to stop me from eating a chocolate chip cookie or five when someone puts a plate of them in front of me (or beside me.... or behind me....or around the corner from me). The Conscious Cleanse says, "Here is everything you will eat for 2 weeks. Here are the recipes! They will be delicious and filling!"

My husband wasn't enthusiastic about the concept, but here's another thing I like about The Conscious Cleanse: most days for the main meal the authors recommend a specific veggie-heavy entree (with no eggs, dairy, gluten, sugar, or other common allergens), and then give you a choice of adding a protein like chicken or fish, or a gluten-free grain like brown rice or quinoa. On the cleanse, you're not supposed to have both the protein and the grain in the same meal--but there's no reason why the rest of my family can't have both. Looking through the recipes, most of the meals I'd be fixing for my cleanse would work out fine for everybody if they have the added protein and rice/quinoa. In fact, Ben decided to do the cleanse with me (he's interested to see if there's any effect on his allergies and asthma).

The first chapters of The Conscious Cleanse are full of background information about the health reasons behind doing the cleanse (which inspired me to take the plunge). Next there is a chapter for each day of the cleanse, and finally, 70 pages of recipes in the back.

The authors suggest taking five days prior to starting the cleanse, to gradually adjust and give up items that aren't on the cleanse diet.

Day 1: Add more fruits and vegetables (I skipped this day because I'd been working on that anyway).
Day 2: Eliminate Sugary foods and alcohol (this was yesterday for me. Surprisingly, giving up the sugar wasn't as hard as I expected.)
Day 3: Eliminate or reduce caffeine intake (I skipped this, too. I like coffee and tea, but I don't drink it every day, so I don't feel that I need a day to adjust.).
Day 4: Eliminate Dairy, Eggs, and Soy (this is where I am today).
Day 5: Eliminate Gluten.

Then we jump into the cleanse, on Wednesday.
Or, I might go ahead and start it tomorrow, because once I give up gluten, I'm a little at a loss as to what to eat so it seems like I might as well eat the foods on the book's cleanse menu. This is my one criticism of the book, so far: if they're going to recommend a transition period prior to the cleanse, why not include that period as part of the program, with meal suggestions?

I've never followed a diet before, so this will be a new adventure for me. I'll be interested to see if I feel any different. I really don't want to give up any foods long term, so I'm kind of hoping I don't see a drastic change. In any case, I think it will be a good way for me to examine my relationship with food and get a handle on the mild case of over eating that I've been able to get away with for 45 years. If I lose an inch or two around my middle in the process, so much the better.

Have you ever done a cleanse? I'd love to hear about your experiences with it.


  1. You'll probably do fine - because you are treating it like an adventure? I find that if I totally do something 'different' I succeed because the focus is intense where if I just try to cut things out or reduce intake, I fail. Have fun with it.

    1. Yes, exactly. I think that's why I settled on the cleanse, rather than the Change Your Diet strategy.

  2. I've never done a cleanse. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, avoid sugar and caffeine, don't eat much gluten, but giving up dairy would be hard for me. Good luck!

    1. Giving up dairy long term would be horrible for me. I figure I can do anything for 2 weeks!

  3. I hope this goes well for you. I've never done a cleanse before, but I've always been curious to see if I'd have the willpower. I don't think I would. LOL. Honestly, I'd have to throw out 98% of the food in our house, and, for me, that would be the hard part. I would feel guilty about wasting all that stuff, even though so much of it is junk. On the other hand, it sure would be freeing...

    Let us know how it goes. For inspiration along the way, you might watch "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead". It's good motivation for all those fruits and vegetables, and it really is very inspiring. Good luck!

    1. I've never heard of that documentary--just put in on my Netflix queue. Thanks!

  4. I know this would be a great thing, but I do not know if I have the willpower right now! Will mark it for later though.