A few weeks back I decided to explore a different way to find nutrition for a week. I got out the juicer, and prepped enough juice for four days of juice only for me, and lunches for my partner.
I don't want to call this adventure a cleanse or a detox as neither of these terms feels positive to me, but it's hard to find a different, concise way to describe why I did this. For me it was more about exploring hunger and nutrition in a different way. With the stress that comes from forging my own path in self-employment I have found some old patterns of emotional eating coming up, and fast food is just too convenient when my day is full of appointments and driving between three different cities.
The first day of this "uncleanse" was tough. I had told myself I "couldn't" eat. Therefore all I wanted to do was eat chocolate and french fries. I found myself obsessing about food and saying things like some outside force was causing me to not be able to eat. The act of denying myself food to chew was causing me to feel panicked and deprived. But, this really wasn't serving me. I felt guilty that I wasn't strong enough to drink my meals without feeling deprived, and I felt angry that I wasn't allowed to eat.
Interesting emotions to come up through juice in other words. But really, there was no one saying I couldn't eat. And there would be no one judging me (besides myself) if I decided that chewable nutrition was important to me.
Day two, I chilled out a bit. I drank the juice and tried to taste every flavour present. I really felt the juice and the sugar in my mouth and tried to think about how the different fruits and veggies went together in the blend. This helped. It helped me to find satisfaction in the flavour. It got even better as the days went on.
The verdict? Radishes aren't very good juiced. Ginger is lovely and essential. Fruit and vegetables together are better than vegetables alone. I am totally okay being hungry and I need to remember that.
I feed my emotions. I know this about myself and have found that the guilt that I have about this is so much worse than the food I choose to eat. In drinking my meals for a few days I was reminded that it is okay to be hungry. Having extreme fatigue and experiencing hypoglycemia throughout my teen and early 20s being hungry often meant being faint and feeling nauseous. I am much healthier than I was then, and this process was a good reminder that I can be hungry without that hunger resulting in illness.
Drinking my meals also resulted in increased focus in the afternoons as the sugars helped my brain get quick energy. I did eat one small meal a day, and it was the most satisfying egg on avocado toast I've had in a while. I genuinely enjoyed the meals, the flavours and the convenience was super.
This adventure reminded me of my patterns, and helped me to refocus my energy on enjoyment. When I pick foods that lead to bloating, digestive discomfort and sugar spikes they give me pleasure for the moments I eat them, but make me uncomfortable and agitated as they digest. Doing this experiment reminding me that there are better ways to feed how I feel, and better ways to tune in to my intuitive eating patterns.
Would I do it again? Yes, I think I would. The prep time was long, but the lack of doing dishes through the week was fantastic.
I wouldn't do it as a cleanse, as a way to detox, or as a way to lose weight. I say this because I am trying to feed my body positivity rather than feed it in order to punish it for not being what society tells me is "ideal". I would do it again because it gave me quick energy for focus in the afternoons. I would do it again because it was helpful on my busy days to have something quick to grab, throw some protein powder in and drink. I would do it because kiwi fruit creates tingles in my mouth and ginger, apple and carrot taste like heaven. I would do it because it fed my emotions in a super healthy way. I felt good once I stopped telling myself what not to do and told myself to drink the juice and enjoy every sip.
When you choose to cleanse, or diet, do you do it as a punishment? As a what not to do? How would it feel to shift this narrative to say that you are eating the way you are because you love yourself? Maybe this change will help you to taste the food more, to feel satisfied, to find the foods that feed your emotions in positive ways instead of restricting yourself, instead of beating yourself up, instead of doing it as punishment.
You are enough, just as you are, even if some of those bits aren't what society says is perfect. The more we focus on the imperfections, the more we will never be happy as we are. How would it feel to shift this?
If you are curious about trying a different way I offer an eight week Mindful Lifestyle course for exploring ways to eat intuitively, to eat in ways that serve you, and helps you to rediscover ways to eat that are about loving yourself just as you are. If you are curious, be in touch.