This is Your Body and Mind on a Raw Food Cleanse
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
You’re wondering if you can do this. Just raw fruits and vegetables for 28 days, albeit as much as you want. The spirit of a cleanse is fresh and living foods, eaten, sipped from smoothies, spooned from gazpachos or in juiced form.
One of my goals was to do a cleanse like the one in the book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal. I have little follow-through, but I did it! I lost 8 pounds without exercise, but did the cleanse for healing purposes. I also quit caffeine. The following reflects my experience and only my experience. These may not be everyone’s results but here’s the perspective someone might have during a cleanse.
***Warning – talk to your preferred healthcare practitioner and research if you should consider any type of temporary cleanse diet. Cutting calories on a cleanse can be counterproductive – it’s about nutrition.
During the prep days
You prepare for the raw cleanse by having 1-2 raw meals a day and by cutting out heavy foods like burgers. You might have steamed veggies or a baked potato on these nights. You’ve begun to wean yourself off of caffeine as soon as you opted for a cleanse. (You can do these things at any point for a quick clean-out – it doesn’t have to be for a strict cleanse.) Your body doesn’t resist, but you do! You find yourself in the bathroom more, and there may be a slight headache. Don’t confuse irritability and moodiness with the actual you. Don’t confuse this with your body not liking the change – it’s happy that you’ve obliged with easy-to-digest meals. It’s already starting to dump! You forge ahead.
At the start of Week 1
If you’ve never cleansed before or were eating the Standard American Diet, this week might be rough. It could also be a breeze. You could find yourself saying, what’s the big deal – you got this!
By the end of one week with fruit/green smoothies, salads and spinach green soups, you cannot believe how many times you’ve used the bathroom. But in the mirror you notice a glow to your face…and some blemishes. You recall with excitement how you bounced out of bed with a noticeably muted level of pain and stiffness. And with a smile you relish seeing a number on the scale that you haven’t seen in a long time.
At the start of Week 2
Now it’s getting tougher. Sure, 7 days is doable but now your mind wants every single comfort food you ever enjoyed in your life. It’s personal to you. It could be McDonald’s, Italian pasta, and my god, the cheese – ooey gooey, addictive cheese. You never thought you’d kill for it before, but…
If you’re watching a show, you’ll be able to smell what they’re serving up. You’ll long for your partner’s french fries and pizza… We’re not going to lie, this week’s tough. You may dream of your favorite foods like fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. You may wake up fearing that you’ve broken the cleanse. You can eat the raw fruit and green meals until you’re full but still feel this emotional gaping hole inside that you were previously using food to plug up. You’re besought by brain fog and forgetfulness. Still, you’re starting to recognize the value of calories over macronutrients like protein and fat. And you recall that it’s temporary.
Your skin, weight and pain levels may be better this week, but really it’s something deeper within you that keeps you laser-focused on continuing the cleanse.
By the Start of Week 3
We’re sorry to say that you’ll probably be going through more intense cravings. This is an intense cleanse! You may cry about pizza! pasta! (I sobbed for french fries) But suddenly it dawns on you how starkly different emotional cravings are from intuition. You rethink some of your past food choices. You try to remind yourself that every time you have these cravings, it is toxicants and toxins leaving the body. You are assured of this through the dropping pain levels and the new digital numbers beaming at you from the scale.
By the end of this week, you can’t help but notice how many billboards and coupons there are to get you to eat crap. You recount how difficult it would be for someone to choose to eat the way you have been eating for weeks now. And how easy it is obtain something dipped in old, fried grease. You are startled to find that this image churns your stomach a bit. But you may resent the cleanse, especially with all the football parties you’ve sat through, unable to eat that jalapeno popper dip or drink beer.
Yet you can’t help notice the ways that fruit and vegetables profoundly quiet your hunger for a spicy chicken sandwich! You’ve been empowered with a knowledge no one can ever take from you – that you you’re not going to starve. You intuit when you need more naps and you don’t ask for permission or wait for your family’s support. In the quiet hours of the morning, you reflect on this new connection with your body with gratitude – and you hear the small voice inside thank you back. You realize something bigger is happening in your life.
Towards the End of Week 4
Junk food cravings are starting to die a little – one by one. They left. Vamoose! Instead of saying, when I get off this cleanse I’m totally going to eat that – you think, then again, maybe not….
You may be rising from sleep earlier unless a major health issue is the reason you’re embarking on a cleanse. Still, you may find that you need less sleep during the night. You may need more rest during the day or more breaks.
You might be getting more breakouts on your face, or they may be clearing up at this point. Your body reminds you to drink more water, especially to help with swollen lymph glands that have been in full force this whole time. You may rebound, walk, or start doing chores you neglected before. You suddenly find yourself cleaning effortlessly. Organizing. Paperwork seems to do itself. You discover that you do have a personal style when it comes to your clothing and home design. With the inner clutter out, you are amazed at how the clutter around you disappears as though Mary Poppins were there, snapping her fingers.
It’s not just the food that has less hold on you, it’s other addictive habits like TV, gaming and shopping. It’s hard to explain! You’re just inexplicably different now. Those distractions are no longer the fulfilling part of your life. Neither is food! You may even have those difficult discussions with loved ones after the cleanse. You’re getting into a good headspace now!
You are thoroughly satisfied when you see that last number on the scale and you also know that it’s just a number. It’s not who you are. You know who you are now. You are incredibly empowered. You know there will be more cleanses in the future and you actually embrace the idea. After all, you’re no longer sabotaging your efforts to heal. You work for you now and you realize that real self-love is about self-care. You’ve never had such compassion for yourself and others before. Fear doesn’t run your life.
Your energy is different – even at the job now. You don’t let anyone take advantage of you, yet there’s no power struggle. You are showing up in all areas of your life and people are noticing your new vibe. Real self-love is the type of self-care that allows you to live out your purpose here and have the energy to contribute to the world – to your soul, to the people you love most.
Be extremely careful getting off any type of cleanse. Now is not the time for greasy enchiladas or even extra helpings of lentil soup. It is also possible to gain weight back after a cleanse – trust your body to recalibrate with your new lifestyle which can include a little or a lot of raw produce. Getting off a cleanse can be a bit of a downer, but you’ll never be the same – in a good way. No one can take away the knowledge that the living foods telegraphed to your body and mind. You will trust your body and it will trust you back.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.