SPRING CLEANING: The new and improved spring cleanse & detox

Alaya & Chad's experiment with a new variation on the Spring Cleanse
DAY ONE 5:56am

Spring is upon us! I've been playing with the idea of cleansing for awhile but there is something about this weekend's exposure to sunshine that popped the idea into action. I'm always learning healthy, new recipes, reading articles and research on new ideas on all things health, fitness and wellness. Over the years I've experienced a variety of cleanses either as a participant or an onlooker. The variation that I have been loving for the past few years was co-developed by myself and acupuncturist and digestive health guru, Senia Tuominen. Like often happens in our lives, I THOUGHT I had tweeked and retweeked the "metabolism retraining program" that it is born of, to perfection. At the time Senia and I were collaborating on a program integrating exercise and traditional chinese medecine to help people lose weight so I gave her the former (and much longer…) version of this program to critique and she did. She elucidated me on dampness and digestive fire and made some suggestions. I also had a toddler, was running my own business and had to be practical about eliminating time and labor. I laugh when I think about the complexities (sprouting of grains and seeds), expense (prepackaged juices and supplements) and craziness (bentonite clay and daily pH tests) various cleanses over the years. With subsequent cleanses, not only do I need to make it work for me but I want others with rich lives to make this work! The content of this cleanse has, as one of the goals, eliminating dampness. Disclaimer- only a doctor of chinese medicine or acupuncturist can craft something specific for your health and healing needs, this is just affected by Senia's wisdom and our collective experiences. Dampness is the most common problem in a typical American diet.

Why would you want to cleanse/detox? Well, I'm deferring this to experts like Megan Telpher and the ladies at Blondes Eat Clean for the answer. I actually took inspiration to try this before we put the whole thing online and available for our students from Mary Cope who recently finished a juice cleanse herself. Afterwards she posted all her insights on to those who may consider the same juice cleanse. We will give you daily insight and make changes so that all ya'all can decide.  I figured after spring break a detox may be in order... 

I'm practical (to a fault sometimes) this is indeed a detox/cleanse and has limited calories but my HOPE is that like me, you expand your culinary horizons in the process and grab some of the recipes for future use- open your mind and you might be wowed, like I was this morning. I'm just going to go right out there and say it. I STRONGLY DISLIKE CHIA SEEDS. This cleanse has lots of them and I reluctantly tried a recipe as a kickoff this morning that I would normally never eat for breakfast and was pleasantly surprised except for the fact that I am still picking chia seeds out of my teeth! I'm normally an eggs-and-green-smoothie-for-breakfast-girl but today I had a YUMMY beet bowl laden with apples, chia seeds and sprouted almonds. Our initial reaction was that it was remarkably yummy and satisfying. There is so much green in my day today I thought I'd diversify and beets are a great indicator of your body's ability to process. I've been concious of making this doable and creating complete proteins and I think that was the key to this morning's satisfaction. Since Chad's workouts are intense and he outweighs me by 100 pounds, he is adding more protein in the form of eggs and chicken this week. I'm going vegan. There are things I'm doing that you do not need to do but may want to consider. We will both check back in this evening with a little insight on day one.

8:27pm Alaya's day
So the satisfying beet bowl left me hungry in about 2 hours so the almonds that I intended to bring with me as a snack were nearly eaten by the time we left at 7:50, my eggs usually hold me just as long but I tend to sip my smoothie into the morning.  I had little pockets of time with which to eat today so around 11:40 I ate some of my ginger carrot watercress and beet salad and finished it after 1:00. Knowing I had a barre class to teach, I broke the vegan-ness around 4:00 and had an egg AND a Raw Rev 100 snack. I felt like I needed fat so I also had 10 more almonds and began thinking about my dinner waiting at home.... I was looking forward to it, so imagine my surprise when Chad told me that we were going to FunQuest before I would get home- yes, FunQuest where a very hungry person could eat chili cheese fries.  LUCKILY, I had my emergency hemp protein powder (20 g worth of protein baby) so in my state I went to Fresh Market and grabbed a Suja green drink WITHOUT looking at the back.  The juice fiends I happened to be travelling with, gladly drank about 25 g of the 40 g of sugar that was in said juice.  I had half a lemon to squeeze in about 8 oz of water and topped it off with about 4oz of the juice stirred and enjoyed!  I joke about the "emergency" hemp protein in the cabinet but this was the ideal situation to use it and I was pleasantly surprised that it was creamy and tasty.  I still needed some of the aparagus and quinoa that Chad made when I returned home.  So I learned 3 valuable things on day one of the cleanse. 1, Beet bowls and hemp protein will be part of my life.  2, I need more than 800-1000 calories on a workout day,even if cleansing.  3, Nothing stops a man with new inline skates (on the verge of roller hockey games) from going to FunQuest!

9:01 Chad's day
So I forgot my lunch, LUCKILY Alaya brought it in addition to more snacks to hold me throughout the day.   I drank about 24oz of coffee but apparently coffee is "not on the cleanse", so.....none tomorrow? I was definitely hungry when I got home around 4:00.  Stella was eating potato chips and while I had less than one serving, I still could not resist.  I got to work making dinner and found it to be the perfect pre-skating meal. By the end of the day I came to know that I eat unconsciously and this directed cleanse is really helpful to keep me on track. Today I ate about half the amount of food than normal and I felt satisfied, but it was also a rest day in my workout schedule. I ate about 5x the vegetables than normal. I'm energized

DAY 2  Alaya
I decided that I would consume more water before my first caffeine in general and this cleanse kicked it off.  I never got around to eating my lunch OR drinking tea until 2:30 so I was DRAGGING. I had to work hard to not eating something I'd regret.  I must say that I am not made to be vegan.  I had about 2 oz of beef and 20 oz of kombucha tonight and I was a totally different state 30 minutes later. I was completely energized. I'm so glad that I am doing this in advance and have been making notes on exceptions in the directions ;)

DAY 2 Chad
I felt like an angel today.  I felt stronger in my workout.  Alaya and I are making the same opposite discoveries.  I thrive on veggies and she needs meat.  I had less coffee but it IS in MY cleanse, so those of you who are afraid of needing to quit it, I say you don't need to quit it during the cleanse.  I LOVE coffee and if you have love for it, why quit it?

DAY 3 Alaya
While I did not get nearly enough sleep, my morning workout (the toughest of the week) went SO WELL.  It had actually been 2 weeks since I did that workout and I felt like a super hero, as a matter of fact I used a heavier kettlebell for my 3rd and 4th round.  My detox began and it felt good to have my body releasing what it didn't need. My lack of sleep caught up to me and I was totally out of it by 7:30. While I have found a need for meat and eggs, a small amount has been enough.

DAY 3 Chad
I'm enjoying eating like this. I feel SO good.  I just need more sleep to feel like I can apply my new found energy to my workouts.

DAY 4 Alaya
Another awesome workout! I feel like my waist may be smaller.... My GI has been working and I feel great, underslept, but great.  Chad feels the same.  We are both thinking that we want to do this for 7, instead of 5 days.

DAY 5 Alaya
I had my first MINOR deviation today as I was not as well prepared as I have been today. I had a Raw Rev Glo bar.  Very clean ingredients and low in sugar but it has added rice syrup and I did not want anything packaged or processed.  It didn't seem to make a difference... I still feel like an angel.   I had a reception and awards ceremony for my daughter and becuase of my tight schedule, I did not eat as much as I had planned to eat prior to the event. I went there and only grazed on a few pieces of fresh fruit and I ate the garnishes (parsley and fresh mint).  We celebrated afterwards by taking her to Isabella's and we were hungry.  There were a few options that were 90% cleanse and detox-worthy, so there is the 2nd slip of the day. I chose the eggplant stack and got a side of sauteed spinach.  There is minimal goat and buffalo cheese on this dish and the eggplant is breaded but all good.  It is possible to keep it clean eating in Lynchburg.  You just have to make the right choices.

DAY 6 Alaya
Yet another busy day for the Sexton family. I had a great breakfast, brought some (but not enough) healthy snacks and survived extreme hunger with an iron will while I was at Science Fest for 4 hours.  I had another event where food likely to not be on the cleanse was served, so I pre-ate and resigned myself to do 90%.  I broke down and told Chad that hoppy beer was bitter and therefore a gray area in the cleanse.  His input for today? "Bitter is on the cleanse? coffee and hoppy beer? Now this is a cleanse  I can get behind."

We really did not do this EXACTLY by the directions but I think that it is an important thing to note.  We will refine it and make changes (again) so that by the time it is in your hands, it is easy to follow and comprehensive. I consider myself a healthy eater but my body DEFINITELY benefitted from this cleanse and I feel GREAT and inspired. A 3 week cleanse is truly optimal with the first 2 weeks being a cleanse and detox and the third about strengthening your system.  I plan to keep many of these recipes in my life. Keep your eyes peeled for its official release.  We will put it in our newsletter and can send you the directions upon your request.