The kids and I went to a garden up at the University of Utah this afternoon. I took 125 pictures in a little over an hour. It is an incredibly beautiful place. Peaceful, yet still approachable enough that the kids could run crazy.
Yeah, I know. I'm a hypocrite and a loser. Not really, but I thought I'd say that to avoid any "I told you so" comments. Yesterday, at about 4:00 PM, Heather called to tell me that she was leaving the doctor's office and she had big news. Her doctor told her to stop the cleanse IMMEDIATELY as it was definitely the cause of her sinus infection. Apparently, doing the cleanse so thoroughly, and purely, from Day One, we actually shocked the hell out of our bodies and caused our immune systems to fail. We thought that maybe we gave each other the flu, but have learned that each of our illnesses are unique, and not contagious. I have bronchitis. I've had it enough times in my life to know. I've been sleeping upright in a chair for two nights, and probably will again tonight, because the amount of phlegm in my lungs is monumental and when I lay down it becomes hard to breathe, thus causing coughing fits. My family doesn't dig the coughing fits. So, getting back to the topic, I took the doctor's words of advice to Heather to heart. I decided to quit the cleanse at 7 1/2 days in. It felt great and awful at the same time.
As I look back on the last week I have several reflections. I have been physically ill the entire time. My fatigue was so dramatic that I was unable to work out some days, while others I exercised below my potential. A positive thing that came from the cleanse - really positive - is that I have learned so much more about food. One of the basic tenets of Kathy Freston's Quantum Wellness is to reflect on food and it's sources. She wants us to think about where food comes from, what conditions it was grown or raised in, and how it will affect our health. I learned that agave nectar rocks. I'm not a honey fan, but love this stuff. It looks and acts very similar to honey, but doesn't have the glycemic level that honey does. I put it on toast (now that I have chosen to eat it), in oatmeal, tea - whatever. The kids didn't even squawk when I put it on their whole wheat waffles the past two mornings.
After Heather gave me "permission" to quit the cleanse, I felt guilty and thrilled at the same time. I am typically not a quitter in the areas of food. I would have stayed ill, and suffered the cravings, to the end if the other two did it. However, when a doctor tells someone that it might be causing all the health problems I'm suffering, which I didn't suffer prior to the cleanse, I have to give it some serious merit.
After I hung up with Heather yesterday afternoon, I immediately had a Nutter Butter cookie. It was the only sweet in the house. After ingesting, it only took about two minutes - literally - for the headache to start. I began to worry that every new introduction of caffeine, alcohol, gluten, animal products and sugar would cause the same reactions as when I quit them. I'll admit that I had a few stomach aches last night, as I slowly added a few whole wheat crackers and natural ice cream to my diet, however today has been better. I haven't gone hog wild. I think that's the point. I actually loved some of the foods I learned about. I also still have a pantry full of quinoa, rice pasta and sugar-free marinara. I will probably continue to enjoy these items. I have always eaten fruits and vegetables, so this will be easy to maintain.
It's hard to admit that I quit to the world (all 1,000 of you), but I have to be honest. I had a much better workout today than yesterday, and I have to attribute this to a more balanced menu. Will I become a vegetarian or vegan? Probably not. I am definitely more aware of ingredients, and love legumes, so I could probably do it, but I don't think restricting myself to that level is what I want right now.
Chris and I talked after I told him I quit. He refrained from finger-pointing and hysterically laughing, and instead agreed that incorporating vegetarian recipes into our regime would be great. We have been fish and chicken people, but that's only because they're easy to grill. I plan to find a great vegetarian cookbook (any suggestions?) and learn from it. We also plan to cut out as many processed foods, and foods with added sugar, as possible. That one will be tough. Nearly everything has added sugar. It's amazing when you start to examine ingredient labels.
I am grateful that I read the book and tried the cleanse. It showed me that I have the tenacity (a small amount, but better than nothin') to take on something this huge. It also taught me about balance in my life and about revering my home. I continue to de-clutter and clean daily. I don't have the maniacal desire to finish everything this week, but know that my entire perspective on how I want my home to feel, and look, is entirely different because of this cleanse.
I'm heading to bed now as I can hardly keep my eyes open. It could be the multiple nights of broken sleep due to my coughing, or it's the shots of rum I added to my smoothie tonight.
Balance. I have to incorporate it into my life more consistently. Extremes have never been a great idea, but they sure teach lessons.