Cleanse Update, When The Mind Desperately Wants To Control The Body...

Yesterday afternoon I felt like the walls were closing in on me. Even though I could look around my house and see at least 25 things to eat, it wasn't good enough. I had this extreme focus on everything I had been cutting out of my diet. Then after reflecting on my thoughts, I began to convince myself that it was too much. I mean who goes in one day and gives up caffeine, gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and all processed foods? I know the answer, lots of people do, but I felt rather lonely in this sea of cleansing. If I could just have some cheese I would feel better or some protein, that would do the trick. No rice, now I longingly wanted rice (may it be noted, I've never craved rice).

The bottom line is, on this cleanse I have no vices.

Feeling rebellious I downed a half of an avocado right out of the skin. That gently helped me off the ledge, the teetering ledge of just fixing myself a bowl of pasta with meatballs that I was cooking for the girls. Instead I powered through and ate a dish J had prepared the night before, grain free vegan lasagna. In the moment I felt very grateful I had a dish ready to go. Dinner was thinly sliced potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and kale layered in a baking dish. He topped it with a sundried tomato and olive oil sauce. I felt relieved that the dish was warm and had potatoes, it did comfort me a bit.

After dinner I had this strong and overwhelming desire to retreat to my bed, mind you at 6:15. The television playing on 17 was way too loud for me, I quickly noticed that J and I both have shorter tempers with the girls. I was moving slowly and even the glass of water on the table was blah. I was very cranky and started to google symptoms of sugar withdrawal, but simply realized that I could be having sugar, gluten, chemical, dairy, and caffeine withdrawal symptoms. While I feel lucky I haven't had any headaches or spent any morning in the bathroom, those foods leaving my system is leaving a different mark. I was clearly whining and complaining like someone I would imagine detoxing from harder substances. CLEARLY. I was jonesing for just one of the food groups I had given up. I was envisioning the ways that food group would make me feel satiated again. I am sure if I allowed myself just some cheese or a bowl of yogurt, I would've quickly convinced myself that a piece of toast or some crackers would go perfectly with it. Do you see where this is going?

I refrained.

There's some personal truths I've come to realize in these moments. I know this eating situation is only temporary, in just 3 short days I can start adding more foods back into my diet. I've already started seeing patterns of when I find myself wanting food to pass the time, not necessarily when I'm hungry. It's hard to not feel the stark realization when you are crunching on a piece of celery, it's loud and chewing is basically an olympic sport. There's no casual munch, munch on a handful of cheddar bunnies as I walk by the pantry, it's I'M CRUNCHING ON CELERY!!! Another truth I feel very grounded in, which may not align with the purpose of this cleanse, is that I have a hard time coming to terms with food is just fuel for our body. I really believe you can derive pleasure from cooking and eating healthy food. I don't necessarily think eating extremes are good for us (mentally and physically). I've felt this way for a long time, I live in Boulder the food extremist capital of the world. Really, food is a centerpiece of our lives. Food is nourishing not only to our bodies, but also fuels our minds. A mind that can become rather crabby when it doesn't receive the fuel it desires.

I woke to a smoothie today on day 4, when all I really want is a poached egg on a piece of organic whole wheat toast with some avocado. I realize clean eating is a way of life, a delicate balance of variety.  For now the variety has been waning, but I look forward to the next couple of weeks with the addition of foods, maybe it will enrich this experience.

How will this cleanse affect me after day 21? Only time will tell. I'm ready to have my back from up against the wall and feel more comfort when I walk down the hall towards the kitchen. Fearing food is not a way of life for me.
Related: A post written by my friend Connie about her Gluten Withdrawals this summer.


  1. That grain-free lasagna does sound lovely. You're lucky J is not only doing this with you, but is also a wonder in the kitchen. Helps, I'm sure. I'm in awe of your journey. You're doing great!

  2. As someone who has cut sugar out of her diet a couple of times now, I can sympathize. The first 3 days were brutal. A couple months ago on my first cycle of the 17 day diet I was wanting quinoa so bad. Quinoa! A food that's good for you! I didn't even recognize myself.

    As you add food groups back in, I bet you'll feel better. Cheering you on from Seattle.

  3. I remember those withdrawals so clearly!

    I hope the next few days go quickly for you.

    You can do this!!

  4. Stay strong Denise! You can do it! I'm happy J is such a good husband to help prepare tatty things for you to eat.

  5. It makes perfect sense that food would provide a psychological boost as well as a nutritional one. We need to somehow line up the good ones against the bad ones, and then have one gargantuan food fight, with naval attacks as well as air strikes. And may those sinister extra saturated fats go down in a ball of flames for the good of civilization. General Denise is at the command. OK, so I may be overdramatizing the struggle a tad, but it's the principle of the matter: we can't defect to the other side and become traitors to our bodies. Damn the tomatoes, and full steamed rice ahead!

  6. You may not have found any research online about crabbiness during sugar withdrawal but after a few bouts with it myself, I definitely believe it's a real symptom. I can remember walking into Tee & Cakes, to order coffee, and just staring at the baked goods in the pastry case. Like staring inappropriately. Whatever. You'll make it through and you'll realize just how strong you really are.

    (Especially since you're giving up caffeine. That's just crazy.)


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