Cleanse gives new perspective on what and how writer eats

Clean eating

A couple weeks ago I did a healthy living retreat that involved a cleanse. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a cleanse but for someone like me who savours a variety of cooked food and drink, this was a big step outside my comfort zone.

I approached the whole thing with an open mind, wanting to learn as much as possible. I was reassured to discover that our household’s philosophy of eating unprocessed foods in season whenever possible was a very good foundation. I was lucky not to be someone with a daily hankering for junk food or coffee or chocolate.

Let me pause here and say that I am not espousing any diet plans or eating regimes. I have no authority in the subject of nutrition, this is merely my opinion after participating in a program. Oh, and I reserve the right to be tongue in cheek about it.

After five days of drinking my full body weight in ounces of water, I felt a bit like a jellyfish - all jiggly. But even just that felt very cleansing. I have never been so well hydrated in my life.

I was also drinking another forty ounces of fruit and vegetable juice each day. The smoothie recipes were tasty, and I can see the attraction for people rushing in the morning to start their day. I prefer to chew my food though. I spent a month mostly drinking everything as a teenager, after having my jaw wired shut for orthodontic surgery. That put me off liquid meals.

We also ate all raw foods for the five days. I do love the flavours of fresh fruit and veggies but I was glad we weren’t in the dead of winter doing the cleanse. I would miss having a heartwarming stew or even a bowl of oatmeal for a whole week of winter.

There was one liquid experience I found especially exhilarating, and that was the ice bath. Anyone who knows me has seen how little I enjoy being cold; this was the exercise I was most freaked out about. “What do you mean I need bags of ice (as in more than one, even!) to make my tub of water colder?” But I had accepted the challenge of the full experience, and I told everyone I’d be doing it.

We did Wim Hof breathing (link: https://youtu.be/0BNejY1e9ik ) beforehand. This guy holds the record for time in cold water so his advice seemed worthy of following. But I was still very nervous looking at all that floating ice.

I can tell you I managed to get in and stay submerged for more than my one minute goal—all the way to three minutes. Maybe knowing there were hundreds of others going through it at the same time was part of what kept me going. (This was a virtual event with about 2,000 people around the world participating.)

It sounds corny, but the key is this:

1. Get all in, cold turkey (yes, pun intended)

2. Surrender to it - you can’t control it, so don’t try. (I know, I could have just not gotten in, but, well then, there’d be no story.)

3. Don’t overthink it. Just relax.

The longer I was in, the more relaxed I felt. When I got out I felt the coldness of the air, but I didn’t shiver or feel cold. It was amazing. And it is apparently an excellent exercise for the lymphatic system.

We did plenty of other activities during the five days—yoga, rebounding, dancing. I also continued my workout program of weights and stretches for 45 minutes a day. I won’t lie, I was hungry. It was a test to stick to the fruits and veggies alone but I did it.

We had exercises in mindfulness as wel—meditation, journaling, rhythmic dancing and a beautiful experience called a “sound bath”. I can highly recommend taking time to let yourself slow down and listen to the world spin. It gives us a chance to review our perspective.

The perfect balance was achieved when they added in humour. We had plenty of laughs along the way and even a comedian who spoke, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously in anything but having fun in our search for our best lives.

After five days of living this way, my body and my mind did feel “cleaner” and my energy was positive. I wasn’t tired or cranky at the end of the day, just bored with drinking and chewing only fruits and salads. On the last day, the menu included a half avocado and I have to tell you, fat never tasted so good.

The event ended on a high note, with a great virtual dance party and plenty of high fives for the feelings of accomplishments. It felt very rewarding to share new experiences and learn new things.

I went gently back to my eating habits, being more conscious of any processed foods I eat and where all my food comes from and how it’s made. I continue to feel cleaner than before and happier that I found new friends who have the same newfound respect for their bodies and their lives.

That was my big takeaway on the food front, that deconstructing our meals and really caring about each ingredient is not a fad or a diet technique but rather a better way to feel connected to our community and to the earth.

Being grateful for those connections helps us respect the value of what we put in our bodies. The most interesting thing to learn over those five days was the same principles work for our minds too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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