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Spring Cleanse 2011 – Captain’s Log

Spring Cleanse 2011 – Captain’s Log

This post will be updated daily (or almost daily) with my adventures during the Spring Cleanse 2011 I’m about to begin.

Cleanse Preparations 1

Today I had my first call with Vanessa Kudrat, who will be guiding a group of brave souls through our upcoming cleanse. We discussed timelines and logistics, and I filled in a short questionnaire, asking me, among other questions, what I am willing to give up.

Since I knew this experience would be documented, and I wanted to make it interesting, I circled everything. I will be giving up meat (that won’t be a problem), sugar (tough one), cigarettes (I quit smoking a long time ago), gluten (I’m still not sure what it is exactly, but I have a feeling I’ll find out soon enough), caffeine (another tough one), alcohol (no big deal), fried foods (I can live with that) and dairy (hold on, is there anything left??).

Now I’m waiting to get the shopping list so I can go to Whole Foods and check out the gluten-free section. I heard it’s a blast. My assistant has been shopping gluten-free for years, which I only just found out. Now it all makes sense, why she would cluck disapprovingly under her breath at me when I ate a sandwich for lunch.

I will gratefully take her with me to Whole Foods. Maybe we’ll even take some pictures!

Cleanse Preparations 2

I got the intro email from Vanessa, including recipes, itinerary and other attachments. I didn’t have time to open it until now, and tomorrow morning I have my second meeting with Vanessa. I’m not sure which of the two makes me feel more guilty – is it because I’m not ready and I didn’t study the material and I didn’t do my grocery shopping yet, or is it because over the last week I’ve been overcompensating with snacks, meat and ice cream of various forbidden flavors?

So, even though it’s late, I’m going to be a good boy and open those attachments.

Ok, I’m opening the first attachment. The first thing I see is a powerful quote that I won’t repeat here without Vanessa’s permission. A good start, I think. Then there are recipes and things that you should avoid and things you can eat. It is immediately clear that anything you’re allowed to eat, isn’t actually food, but rather the stuff you put next to the food. It doesn’t make me happy, but I kind of knew that would be the case.

The second attachment contained a fascinating article about Ayurveda, explaining Vata (the energy of movement), Pitta (the energy of digestion and metabolism) and Kapha (the energy of lubrication). This is something I would love to learn more about and perhaps publish this text in this website.

The third document was named “Healthy Chocolate”. To be honest, I didn’t read it, but the name was encouraging. There may still be cleanse-safe ways to indulge.

Then there was a millet recipe, with nice step-by-step pictures. It looked simple and I’m curious to find out how it tastes.

The last attachment was the itinerary. It became obvious that things are going to get serious very soon.

Overall, I’m still committed to and excited about taking the journey.

Spring Cleanse Day 1

Today I have officially started my cleanse.

On Thursday, two days ago, I went to Wholefoods with Heidi to get the required groceries per Vanessa’s directions. Yesterday, Heidi cooked a Mung bean stew and some Quinoa. The smell was great and I was looking forward to trying it. The taste was just as good.

Last night I was invited to a Shabbat Dinner at a friend’s house. He is known for his excellent dinners, so I decided to embrace life and start my cleanse the following day. Dinner was as awesome as the company and I had no regrets.

This morning I skipped coffee and had only fruits for breakfast. For lunch I had the Mung bean stew with some Quinoa, and a garlic tomato salad to boost my immune system. In between I had fruits and vegetables for snacks.

So far (8 hours into the cleanse) I am still excited and do not feel deprived of anything. So far, the only thing I will look to replace are “flackers” – gluten free raw flax seed crackers by “Doctors in the Kitchen”. It may be very good for me, but I didn’t like the taste.

Spring Cleanse Day 2

Today was a little more challenging, but not for the obvious reasons.

I woke up a little more energized than usual. No coffee – no problems! Dealing with breakfast for the first time was interesting. On regular days I just have coffee, but today was Sunday, and I usually have a real breakfast with egg and toast and salad. It took me a couple of minutes to improvise a piece of fruit and some trail mix. Just to be extra sure, I also had a Kellogg’s breakfast cereal bar. I may have bended the rules a little with that bar, but it was the last one and I figured it’s probably best to make sure I don’t have any left.

Today was a little challenging because I found myself outside at a Purim celebration where my only options were falafel sandwich, pizza and hot dogs. I had the falafel balls without the pita bread and a salad, and experienced my first cleanse-related lesson in forgiveness and self-compassion. I also had the opportunity to celebrate the fact that I didn’t have any of the candy or hamantashans that were too easily available.

My lesson from today is: carry viable snacks with you at all times, to avoid having to make a hard choice between violating your cleanse and staying hungry.

For lunch/dinner I enjoyed my Mung bean stew and Quinoa, accompanied with steamed vegetables. In between I have been munching on carrots (nice), trail mix (nicer) and celery (not so much). Variety may be needed soon, but not yet.

So far, I am pretty proud of the results. I have slashed my pre-cleanse habits by 80% or more and I am not miserable.

Spring Cleanse Day 3

So far so good.

I woke up today at 3:30am and gave up on going back to sleep around 4:15am. I got about two hours of amazing productivity, writing and thinking, even before the alarm clock went off.

I still need to figure some things out, but I feel like I’m starting to get it. It’s refreshing to find out I don’t have to make a choice between healthy and tasty, and that giving up my old eating habits may not be as hard as I thought. It kind of makes me wonder what else in my life seems harder to let go of than it really is. Which makes me appreciate how the physical process of cleanse triggers cleansing on other levels as well.

I’m still content with my Mung bean stew, Quinoa and steamed vegetables. At the same time, I was excited to read the next batch of recipes from Vanessa. It looks like there are more good things ahead, and we didn’t even start the shakes and the smoothies.

I was focused at work and I had a great class of Tai Chi at Kai Ying Tung’s Academy. At 11pm, as I’m writing these lines, I feel vibrant and productive.

I’m still, however, constantly hungry, and carrots & celery are simply not enough. I may be having a wee too much crackers and trail mix, though I throw in the occasional fruit. I’m curious to discover the perfect quantity of the perfect snack.

After all, it is not about succeeding – it’s about learning what works for my body. As long as I’m staying open and honest, I will succeed no mater what!

Spring Cleanse Day 4

Still no coffee, still no ice cream. I consider this a major achievement and I find it hard to believe how easy it was. I’m also successfully avoiding meat, sugar and gluten.

The Quinoa is all gone and so are the steamed vegetables. I’m suddenly thinking that adding cauliflower would make the Mung bean stew a little more interesting. It means it’s time for something new. I didn’t have any time to cook for a few days so I was enjoying the Quinoa, Mung bean stew and steamed vegetables twice a day for the last 3 days.

I felt compelled to try something new, so I stir-fried the Mung bean stew with a little olive oil. I probably broke some rules and murdered all those poor innocent enzymes that are really good for me. But the shift in flavor and texture was refreshing and fun. Tomorrow new and exciting recipes will be prepared and I’m looking forward to that!

I also had some gluten-free vegan Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus and tahini. It wasn’t bad. Tomorrow I’ll ask Vanessa what she thinks about it.

I’m still hungry almost all of the time. I am also noticing that I don’t get that heavy feeling I usually get after lunch. And the best part – somebody told me today I’m shining.

Spring Cleanse Day 5

The mung bean stew is fading, maybe one more serving left. I’m glad to try something else, but over the last few days I’ve grown fond of this dish and I would be happy if our paths cross again soon.

New and exciting things to eat manifested today. A lentil apricot stew and millet with cauliflower. Both felt a little foreign on the first bite, but quickly embraced.

Even more exciting was a box of two dozen Bliss Bars that magically appeared on my doorstep seemingly out of nowhere. It didn’t come from nowhere, of course. I ordered it a couple of days earlier. Nonetheless, it made me smile in anticipation like a little boy in a candy store.

To prolong the foreplay and for entertainment, I held back all day until this very moment, when I can unwrap the chocolate goji treat and describe the sensation in real time. Incredible. Blissful indeed. It says at the end of the ingredient list on the back “love & light” and if “love & light” can be packaged, sold, shipped and eaten, they would surely taste like this.

Spring Cleanse Day 6

Today I opened the box Vanessa sent a few days ago.

I didn’t open it right away. I was busy and I wanted to give it proper respect and attention. So I put it aside and waited for an opportunity. By the way, I like doing it from time to time – when there is something I want, I get it but then put it aside, so a few days later, when I feel open and deserving, it’ll be there for me.

I’m not going to tell you what was in the box, because I want you to experience the childlike delight of opening it and discovering all kinds of fun, tasty and sometimes unfamiliar things that somebody thought you might like.

I am, however, saying that opening the box was a lot of fun, and experiencing and experimenting with some of what was in the box was very enjoyable and appreciated.

Spring Cleanse Day 7

This cleanse is about to move to a whole other level, and things are going to become much more extreme.

I’m about to embark on a 3-day ‘Greenfest’ (I just made the term up). Greenfest is when the only foods you’re allowed to eat are green vegetables. Green M&M’s don’t count as vegetables. I asked just to be sure. Apparently neither is avocado. It looks like my options are limited to things like asparagus, spinach, green beans, broccoli, kale, chard, edamame, zucchini, celery, snow peas, green beans, lettuces, cucumber, green peppers and a few other vegetables and herbs.

The little boy in me is pushing me to seize the moment and indulge, and I give in. I know the symptoms, it’s happened before, but this time, instead of ice cream, I’m consuming gluten free organic toast with a thin layer of sunflower butter, so it’s not as bad. I will probably go as far as having one more bliss bar, and I’m happy to discover that I don’t miss ice cream, cookies or any other form of processed sugar.

The truth is that I feel great. My mind is clearer and I feel more vital. And it makes me feel good to know that I am taking care of my body.

Tonight is my night off. I’ll take a bath and go to bed early, but before I go, here’s a note from Heidi that moved me:

“Mmmmmmmm, yummy yummy greens!

You are so lucky to be able to indulge in such fresh, organic, highly nutritious food. Many people in this world have no access to such delights.”

Her note transformed my fears and doubts into deep feelings of gratitude and appreciation. Isn’t she incredible?

Spring Cleanse Day 8

I haven’t started my 3-day Greenfest yet. I have too much colorful food left and I don’t want it to go bad.

So today I’ll finish the rest of the Lentil Apricot Stew and the mashed cauliflower-millet, and I’ll focus on the non-green vegetables like carrots and red pepper.

I also watched today the documentary “Juliette of the Herbs“, which was sent by Vanessa in her treat box.

A beautiful and moving film, on several levels. It shows the incredible genius of nature, the joys of living simply and simply living, and how far we can go when we follow our hearts and our true passion.

The movie made me want to plant things and grow them. It made me want to learn more about the unique quality of our common herbs so that this treasure of magic recipes, nurturing potions, and healing tonics would be accessible for me on a daily basis. It made me want to create a website like this one and then share my inspiration and excitement with other people.

Spring Cleanse Day 9 – Greenfest #1

Today was the first of the 3-day green only Greenfest experience.

I started off with fresh cucumbers and green pepper. Easy & accessible. Very quickly I realized I would need more than that to carry me through the next three days, so I browsed through the cleanse documents Vanessa sent a few days ago and the notes that Heidi left for me.

I discovered I had the luxury of variety and choice, and was looking forward to exploring them.

But first, I wanted to do something else. Since today was Sunday, I decided to go the 11am service at Agape International Spiritual Center. I haven’t been there for over two years, and I figured I could use some elevating inspiration that would open my heart and uplift my soul. And so it was.

On my left sat Erin and Jared, a sweet and genuine couple I just recently connected with. It was their first time at Agape and I was a little concerned they would find the experience weird. It turned out they loved it!

On my right sat a beautiful woman named Arija (pronounced Aria) who breathed at all the right moments. Deep breath helps me open up my vessel and take in more of the love, so I was grateful for her being there and reminding me.

Back to the cleanse: As I came home it was time for cooking:

  • Steamed Kale and Chard
  • Steamed brokoli with spinach
  • Green soup
  • Soybeans
  • Green salad
  • Fresh green vegetables

I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t as bad as I thought (this is happening to me often with this cleanse). Making the food was enjoyable and the steamed vegetables were not only edible but actually quite tasty.

I was also surprised to find out how my very limited seasoning options (lemon, a little salt and a little olive oil) make a huge difference in flavor. One drop of lemon juice would transform the flavor of an entire Kale leaf.

I also discovered that eating this kind of food makes me want to eat with my hands, which is exactly what I did.

PS – I’m interested in learning and understanding the reasons for this 3-day cleanse. If I have some time, I’ll look it up and maybe add a special post just for that, but if you have any knowledge, please share your wisdom below.

Spring Cleanse Day 10 – Greenfest #2

I am not enjoying this green period. My body craves some variety of culinary stimulations. The only good thing about it that I can think of right now is that it ends in 24 hours.

I can probably go on for a few paragraphs about how bored my taste buds are and how long it takes to prepare, or about how I feel a little weak and how I miss my mung bean stew.

But I’d like to take these sensations to a different place. Instead of going for sympathy, I’d like to take a step back and remind myself that I chose this, and I chose this because it is good for me and it is what I want. So I am allowing myself to enjoy these unpleasant sensations that remind me that I’m alive and this excited anticipation for the feasts that await on the other side of this Greenfest.

As a matter of fact, I am pretty grateful for getting exactly what I signed up for.

Spring Cleanse Day 11 – Greenfest #3

My last green day. I’m thrilled to go back to my “normal” cleanse diet tomorrow. Vanessa was right: those strange and alien dishes that were new and exciting at the beginning of the cleanse, now seem familiar and comforting.

This is a very good sign, since for me this cleanse is not just about eating differently, but rather about changing habits. Who knows, by the end of this cleanse, ice cream and meat may seem to me like furniture – you know they are there, you understand they have a purpose, but they simply aren’t meant for eating.

Over the last three days I was shifting often back and forth between experiencing and observing the experience. As a result, I had two takeaways:

The first is a reminder of the obvious truth that you appreciate something more if you don’t have it for a while. True, it is pretty obvious when you think about it, but in order to actually experience the appreciation and gratefulness in your body you have to actually experience the lack, so my recommendation to myself is to periodically take things out of my life so that I can be grateful for having them and not take them for granted.

The second has to do with food preparation. As simple as it may be, preparing the green food is a laborious task. You have to wash, peel, steam, cut, boil and blend, and since I wanted the food to be fresh, I had to do it all over again almost every meal. In addition, I couldn’t help but notice the ridiculous amounts of peels, leaves, roots, pods, stems and other kinds of organic garbage I was creating.

This process made me present to the incredible genius of nature. How food grows, and how the systems, materials and mechanisms that support, nurture and protect this food (e.g. the roots, stem, flowers, leaves and pods) are easily recyclable and go back into the ground to start the entire process all over again. Opening a plastic container that is only used once and is then thrown away to be piled somewhere forever suddenly seemed like a pretty unwise thing to do. It also made me want to take all those peels and leaves and roots and organic waste I’ve created and put it gratefully back into the ground.

As it turns out, I’m not changing eating habits only, but also (or mainly?) thinking patterns.


Spring Cleanse Day 12

Greenfest is over and I’m glad. It was a good experience but not the most pleasant one. Some would even say it is more challenging than the upcoming colon cleanse. I’m trying not to think about it and simply enjoy the present moment.

Gluten-free toast with sunflower spread for breakfast. Delicious.

For lunch, sweet and wonderful Heidi served me with a beautiful and colorful Safron rice and Burdock Lentil Stew that she made the day before. Other than a small piece of parsley on top of the lentil stew, there was nothing green on the plate. I appreciated the gesture.

I emptied my plate completely and without even being aware I pushed the parsley aside – It took less than 12 hours for me to look again at green leaves not as food but rather as food decoration.

I ate the parsley eventually, as an homage to Greenfest and as a symbol of unity with Nature and the Universe.

Spring Cleanse Day 13

Nothing new to report. I’m comfortable with my cleanse diet and do not miss my old and unhealthy habits.

That’s the kind of change I like: not forcefully imposed but gracefully invited.

So at this point, since I have nothing too exciting to report, I’d like to share with you my new breakfast ritual.

I used to drink a cup of coffee for breakfast. Then have another one around 10am, and have my first solid food for lunch around noon. Now I drink a glass of water to lubricate my system, then I have a piece of wheat & gluten free rice almond bread with a little bit of sunflower seed spread and tomato slices. And I drink chai tea with a little soy milk in it.

It’s delicious, it’s nutritious, it’s healthy and I love it!

Spring Cleanse Day 15

Yesterday I had my weekly session with Vanessa and we reviewed the content and directions for the colon cleanse. I’m hoping to go out of town next weekend, so I had to coordinate the start date of the 5-day fast. I could start it the following (today) or closer to the weekend. Neither was convenient.

Today I considered the options and went back and forth about 20 times. I got uncomfortably confused and even nauseous, and almost gave up on the entire cleanse. I also went back and forth on whether or not I should go to this costume party tonight and I had a really hard time trying to decide which side of the street to park on. I drove around the block three times trying to make up my mind. Today I embodied the meaning of the word “indecisive”.

Maybe it’s mercury retrograding, or maybe these are side effects from Greenfest I just completed. Maybe it’s just me being a typical Gemini.

Either way, I ended up choosing to keep my focus and attention on the cleanse. I didn’t go to the party. Instead, I started the pre-cleanse process today, taking special herbs and reducing my food intake gradually over the next couple of days, with the intention of starting the 5-day fast on Tuesday the 5th.

We shall see.

Spring Cleanse Day 16

I’m still in doubt. I’m following protocol to the best of my ability but I’m constantly thinking of skipping the colon cleanse.

It’s not that I’m worried about being able to handle a 5-day fast. I’ve done the Master Cleanse which is a 10-day fast and I’ve successfully faced bigger challenges in my life. It’s that this week is incredibly important for reasons I won’t share at the moment, and I need to be fully present and alert to make sure nothing gets out of hand.

I’m noticing that the main diet of the 40-day cleanse is growing on me. I enjoy how I feel, I enjoy the new flavors, and I don’t miss the highs and lows of meat, dairy, sugar and wheat. The “extras” however, like Greenfest or the colon cleanse, throw me a little bit for a loop, which is not what I need right now.

As I said, I’m following protocol just in case I’m worried for nothing. But I’m staying alert and staying open to the possibility that doing the colon cleanse may not be the right thing for me right now.

On a different and unrelated note, I’ve spent a few hours today supporting a very interesting project: Strange Weather by Ghostlight Gypsies. I can’t wait for this show to open!

Spring Cleanse Day 18

It is as I suspected. Doing the colon cleanse this week was more than I could swallow (pun intended). So I’m continuing with the regular cleanse diet but skipping the herbs and the fast.

Insights and mental notes:

  • Next time I plan a 40-day cleanse, I should make sure I have the bandwidth to invest in it. It takes time and attention to be conscious about the things you eat, and the physical & emotional roller coaster can sometimes conflict with the rest of my life
  • On the other hand, who in the world can take a 40-day break from life to do a cleanse? It’s probably more effective to simply accept that things don’t have to be perfect, and that doing your best is much more than good enough. As a matter of fact, doing your best is perfectly perfect all by itself regardless of the result.

Spring Cleanse Day 20

All done.

This has been an incredible opportunity for me to experience a more conscious way of eating. I have learned a lot about myself, about eating habits and about how important it is to eat the kind of food that supports a healthy and vital lifestyle.

I am looking forward to incorporating what I have learned and experienced in my life.

And I can be proud of myself – I’m so talented I managed to complete a 40-day cleanse in 20 days!

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