When designing our surroundings holistically, the entire landscape comes into play: our physical space, our bodies and our minds. I believe that our inner and outer worlds are seamlessly interlinked. It is thus imperative that we not only consider our “outer” surroundings, when making these transformations, but also strengthen the foundation of our inner architecture.
Every year, my family and I undergo a 21-day “Body Reset” that helps re-trigger positive eating and general healing habits while helping us get in touch with some of the habits that are not-so-obviously causing us harm.
So how do we tackle this tricky topic of cleansing with care, in this crazy world of fad diets and dangerous detoxes?
Customize and design your cleansing, according to the experience you want to have – in a way that suits YOUR body!
Here are some of my personal secrets about how you can plan out your cleanse and I’ll demonstrate these ideas using examples from my experience with the Body Reset.
Step 1: Design Your Time…
Choose your timing wisely.
– When choosing our 21-day Body Reset timeframe, we make sure there are no upcoming weddings, birthdays, holidays for the full 3-week duration. We’ve attempted the “I’ll go to the party but won’t eat anything while everyone stuffs their face with beer and cake” route, and it doesn’t work… it leads to a fabulously guilt-ridden faulting.
– We have chosen our frequency to be a bi-yearly affair: The 21-Day Body Reset occurs in early Spring and again in early Fall.
– Just a small tip, should you decide that 21 days is your ideal time-frame, start on a Sunday… this way you will end on a Saturday and won’t feel as though you have to “get through” 3 full weekends, which are the toughest…
Step 2: Design your Absolutes…
Choose the elements in your cleanse that you will undergo, no matter what.
For us, the absolutes are:
– The cleanse lasts a FULL 21 DAYS. Even when we start to feel better, we have found that 3 weeks is an amount of time that truly allows us to feel as though our healthy habits have become second nature.
– We absolutely DO NOT get back into old habits as soon as the Body Reset comes to an end… all this work was established for a reason! Re-integrating the elements that we cut out slowly, allows us to get in touch with those that cause reactions, whether it be digestive, sluggishness, headaches, etc. and allows us to keep on top of those elements between Reset periods.
– We do not cheat unless they are pre-established, no matter what. See Step 3.
Step 3: Design Your Cheats!!
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but cheating, or essentially, rewarding yourself throughout your cleanse is s GREAT way to keep the momentum going.
This time around, our cheating plan is as follows:
– We allow one chocolate-based dessert once per week, on a weekend (the first time we attempted this Reset, our cheat was a glass of wine once per week… but we’ve moved passed this and can go the full 3 weeks without).
– We end on a Saturday and allow the last meal of the Body Reset to be less restrictive, which usually means we will have a glass of wine with dinner.
– We cheat on the gluten-free restriction by allowing spelt… it has much less gluten and makes our lives a MILLION times easier – our chosen trade-off.
Step 4: Design Your Variables…
Choose which foods to cut out, limit or increase – Be effective, yet realistic!
We tend to be quite strict on ourselves, having undergone this Reset many times before. We choose to eliminate foods that cause sensitivities or inflammation in the body, as well as make the liver work harder.
We cut out:
– Coffee and black tea
– Refined and processed foods
– Deadly Nightshades
– Gluten (but cheat with this, using spelt only)
– Cow dairy
– Red meat and pork
– Seafood and tuna (other fish is OK)
– All sweeteners except honey and dried fruits – read the ingredients of every label, it’s shocking how much sugar is added to absolutely everything in the grocery store!
– White rice and white potatoes – sweet potatoes and brown rice are great
Now… I have to tell you: this is after having done the cleanse for several years and getting more and more refined towards what we want to keep as positive habits. If the above sounds completely impossible for you, start slow. One very important factor here:
Don’t shock your system
For example: If you are used to eating candy bars and frozen pizza every day, jumping into the above strict diet for 3 weeks will leave you feeling really shitty and can have a negative impact on your blood sugar balance.
Choose your variables according to YOUR body and how you want to experience your cleanse. You want this to be a good enough jump in the right health-direction, without leaving you feeling guilty about not being able to get through your chosen time-frame! Again, the point is to initiate a positive habit, not just go through heck for 3 weeks…
My husband is a total coffee-lover. He hates having to quit coffee twice per year for 3 weeks… but he does it anyway! He gets through the initial 3 days of headaches and sluggishness and really looks forward to that first sip of coffee as soon as the Reset comes to a close…
Step 5: Design Your Compliments
Choose how to compliment the nutritional aspect of your cleanse
Our preferred compliments:
– When undergoing our 21-day Body Reset, we also undergo a 21-Day Sex Challenge – why not add some zing to this thing!
– We ensure to use non-toxic skincare, hair and household cleaning products (this one sort of stuck so we don’t even have to think about it anymore…) – if you want to keep on top of these elements, here is a GREAT website that will help you make the right choices for you and your family: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
– Dry-brushing – I’m the only one in the family that does this.
– We integrate a more strict exercise routine than usual – for me that means meditation daily, without fail, and yoga a minimum of 4 times per week.
– Drink enough water! This one is quite undervalued… very rarely do we drink the daily recommended amount of water and having a 21-day-long reminder, instills this habit wonderfully. Here is a link to a site that can help you calculate what your daily water intake should be: http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm.
Again… if you are not someone who exercises regularly, choose a form of exercise you will enjoy. Don’t jump into a boot camp model – unless that’s what floats your boat!
Step 6: Design Your Fail-Safe
Get into the “No-Fail” mindset.
If you took on this challenge and have found that your initial restrictions have led you to a little mishap along the way, don’t get frustrated with yourself. You did not fail, you simply stumbled and are ready to get back on that horse – right?
Every time you try, you learn a little more, and get a little bit stronger. Keep going and finish your pre-established time-frame, even if you side-tracked. Next time you get on that horse, you will be a pro at it.
Step 7: Design Your “Damn-I-Did-A-Good-Job” Reward
We don’t do enough of this.
Once you have achieved your goal, reward yourself with something nice!
In our case, we tend to purchase a bottle of bubbly or wine that is outside our budget range. It’s simple, yet effective and helps us get through that really challenging last haul.
At the end of the day, a Body Reset is such a personal adventure. We all have different bodies and different ways of approaching what those bodies need. Once you have undergone your cleanse successfully, notice how the elements you bring back in affect you… and when it comes time to get on that cleansing boat again next season, tackle a new challenge or two! Slowly, and pleasantly, you will achieve your goal of getting healthy and staying that way!
If you are interested in a more personalized, guided approach to your daily diet, I highly recommend contacting Dr. Samantha, a licensed naturopathic physician who does distance consults. She has 18 years of experience working as a family doc specializing in integrative medicine and nutrition. She’s smart, funny, and blunt- and works relentlessly to figure out not only what you need to do to feel your best, but also the easiest way to get there. Visit her website here: www.DrSamantha.com