‘Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.’ ~ Chinese inscription cited by Thoreau in Walden
Yoga is a daily practice that is woven into every aspect of your life. Every breath you take is an opportunity to cleanse and create space. Recently I noticed that in my life I had been feeling very heavy, and there were parts of my life that seemed to be weighing me down. That is was more difficult for me to cultivate compassion towards myself. From this I decided I wanted to feel lighter, to rid my body, mind, and spirit of what I no longer needed, which lead me to the 5-day LOVEeasy body & spirit cleansing.
The LOVEeasy body & spirit cleansing is a 5-day program with Organic Avenue. Having never done a detox or fast before I chose this program that was like a stepping-stone towards a more intensive juice fast. It is also a good choice for those who are not already vegetarian and are new to living foods. All of the juice and food is raw, organic, and vegan. Each day you are emailed a menu for the day, instructions, a time schedule, and daily inspiration. In the LOVEeasy cleanse you are provided with 7 items for the day. Each morning you can pick up the food or have it delivered to your home or office. I live close to Organic Avenue so I would walk there every morning to pick up my meals for the day. To give you an idea of what kind of food you would get, here is a sample daily menu:
SAMPLE DAILY MENU
L.O.V.E. #1 1oz Liquid Chlorophyll Elixir
L.O.V.E. #2 Young grapefruit / alkalized water
L.O.V.E. #3 Young LOVE
L.O.V.E. #4 Sunflower Falafel with Tahini dipping sauce
L.O.V.E. #5 Sunflower salad
L.O.V.E. #6 Chocolate mousse
L.O.V.E. #7 16oz Green Mylk
The first item of the day is a shot of Chlorophyll – chlorophyll is responsible for the green pigmentation in plants. A few of the benefits of chlorophyll are that it helps in the growth and repair of tissues, and is an effective deodorizer to reduce bad breath, urine, fecal waste, and body odor. When I first looked at that little bottle of dark green stuff, I thought how the hell am I going to do this? I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom and as I opened it I found that the bottle was filled a little too much and there poured all that green ‘stuff’ onto my beige rug and hands! Just like grass stains, the chlorophyll would not come out. I quickly ran to get water and try to clean it, but it would not work. So I took the chlorophyll, lots of paper towels and myself to the bathroom where I leaned far over the sink and took a swig from the bottle. The chlorophyll not only stained my rug, but also my entire mouth! I couldn’t help but laugh at myself – what I sight I was! There is not an easy way to describe the taste, but I guess you could say it is similar to a wheatgrass shot. After finishing the bottle and brushing my teeth 3 times to get the green out, I thought ‘what did I get myself into?!!’.
Each day of the challenge was very different for me and I am sure is extremely different for other people. The first and second days were the hardest. I was adjusting to no caffeine, and limited amount of hard foods. I had a bad headache and was nauseous as my body was introduced to a new way of eating. When I spoke to the people at Organic Avenue I was told that it would not be easy, and it will get worse before it can get better. The mantras this too shall pass and everything is already okay helped keep my mind from spiraling downward and allowing my hunger and pain to take over. I think that since I am a picky eater this cleansing was a little harder for me. I didn’t like the taste of everything, and for the first few days is was more of a fast. There were many juices and dishes that I did like, the food was so fresh, and I look forward to buying more food from Organic Avenue.
When I made it to day 5 I was so excited! On day 1 I had honestly thought I wouldn’t make it past day 2. Halfway through the 4th day I began to feel lighter and appreciate what LOVEeasy was doing for my body, mind and spirit. The detox was not just for cleaning out my physical body, but it also helped to wash away vrittis (mental agitations) that I no longer needed. I realized how much I am in the ‘doing’ state rather than the ‘being’. Although I work daily to ‘be’ more, to be mindful, present, and conscious, it is easy to stray. While doing this cleanse I was forced to be present at all moments and just be. I didn’t have the energy to do more than that.
Going into LOVEeasy with the intention of becoming lighter, I didn’t really think about what I would do when I was done. Now that I feel lighter, healthier, and more energized I wonder: What now? How can I go back to eat highly processed food? They don’t even seem appealing to me. Don’t get me wrong I couldn’t wait to have a massive bowl of pasta, but I realize that I need to eat more than one meal a day and I am wondering how easy (and how I will financially) it will be for me to keep buying the fresh healthy juices, raw foods, etc.
The first and second days off of LOVEeasy I decided to transition slowly and bought more juices to eat during the day, and at night I would have pasta (which is what I was craving the entire detox!). I also had a small piece of raw cacao with hazelnuts each day for a little caffeine kick. For those of you who know me I am not a chocolate person, surprisingly I really like raw cacao! It was a slow way for me to introduce caffeine back into my body. I really miss my daily morning ritual of my Americano at my desk or in bed. However, I have been amazed by my energy since Friday. So perhaps I will wait until my body gives me a sign that it wants to pick up that addiction again. Going off of coffee was not at all my intention for starting this detox, but it seems to be a side effect. I don’t see coffee as a bad thing; I look at it as a mood lifter, a ritual, and warmth on a cold (or hot) day. It doesn’t hurt my intestines or stomach at all, and I probably just have ignored any other bad effects it has on the body since I love it so much. However, I do not like the idea that I am so addicted to something that my life is ruled by it. That when I wake up in the morning if I don’t have it with in an hour or two of being awake my entire day can be thrown off. I am naturally a sensitive person so that is no surprise, but as I make these changes daily to my life to live more presently, lightly, and fully, I realize that I need to create opportunity for balance.
This process has reinforced the fact that I love food, love to eat it, and love to think about it. The moment I finish one meal/snack I am planning the next one. The thing that the cleanse allowed me to do was not worry about what was coming next, because it had already been planned for me. Too often to I wait until I am starving and craving something in particular to plan my next meal. This is a good lesson that if you plan in advance all of the meals and snacks for the day it is easier to stay healthy and eat things that will energize you rather than deplete you.
Before you go out and try a cleansing or a detox make a clear intention for why you are doing it. Really sit and think what is driving it? What helped me get through was that reminder that I wanted to feel lighter, and that if I had patience I knew by the end I would. Halfway through the 4th day I started to feel the effects, and really appreciated what I had been getting out of eating in such a healthy way. Without a clear intention when the bad days come with headaches, joint pain, and fatigue the easy way out will be to say why the F*** am I doing this and go ahead and eat that food you are craving be it pizza, a bagel, pasta, or whatever else. The hardest days for me were Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t think I would make it 5 days, but I am glad I stuck with it. It was a wonderful learning experience for my body, mind, and spirit.
This is something that I am passionate about, and if you are interested I recommend you try it. On the other hand, this isn’t for everyone, just like yoga isn’t for everyone. It is not about which approach you take to self-discovery and self-inquiry, but being and doing what is right for you.