Home stretch!: Lessons learned

The project managers at work go through a thing called “lessons learned” after a project closes. Well, as of midnight tonight, this cleanse project closes (yay!!!) and I want to share our lessons learned and some tips for surviving this or any two-week cleanse.

(I’ve realized that I haven’t posted the actual cleanse to this blog. Click here for cleanse details; as provided by Claire’s naturopath.)

Tip/Lesson #1 – Be prepared: The timing of this cleanse was a bit last-minute so I prepped as much as I could. But you don’t really know until you get into it how your body will react, how you will feel and/or how to substitute almost everything you eat. Find recipes, make a meal plan, and do a big shop one or two days before starting the cleanse. Here is a sample list of items to keep on hand:

PANTRY

  • Canned chickpeas – 4 cans
  • Organic (sugar-free!) vegetable broth – 6 packs
  • Dried lentils – 6 packages
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 1 bulk bottle
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Kamut flour
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Yams (for yam fries and mashed yams)
  • Onions – large size
  • Honey – 1 L bottle
  • Trail mix – no peanuts!
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Sunrype fruit bars – all natural and have 2-3 servings of fruit in each bar; some have veggie servings in them as well. An excellent snack.
  • Multi-vitamin supplement (make sure that it is all natural with no traces of dairy, gluten or any of the other no-no’s; Genuine Health Multi + Daily Glow is mine and I swear by it)

$$$ Saver: The bulk food sections at Save-On and Whole Foods are great. Buy food storage jars/containers from HomeSense or IKEA to keep flour and other dry ingredients fresh. Also, London Drugs sells cranberry juice, canned goods and organic sugar-free vegetable broth. Whole Foods, Choices, etc are the best places for the wheat alternative flours and dairy replacements. Tetra packs of soy milk and juice are cheaper than the cartons.

FRIDGE

  • Fresh berries (for baking and munching)
  • Apples
  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • Baby spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Red and green peppers
  • Fresh thyme, parsley, cilantro, rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Flax seed meal (egg replacement)
  • Deli turkey or chicken
  • Whole chicken or turkey to roast
  • Real juice (cranberry, guava, etc.) – no sugar or additives!
  • Soy milk
  • Kamut or spelt bread

$$$ Saver: Visit your local for fresh produce. They tend to have better quality and better priced organic and non-organic produce.

FREEZER

  • Frozen berries and fruit (for smoothies) – this is a cost saver all in itself as fresh berries can add up in cost. Make sure the packages contain just the fruit and no preservatives or sugar.
  • White fish filets (halibut, basa)
  • Chicken breast

$$$ Saver: Costco!

Time and Stress Saver: PREP, PREP, PREP. Plan and make your day one (and two!) meals the night before your first day of cleanse. That way you have snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner all set for what is, mentally, a super stressful day.

Tip/Lesson #2 – Google is your friend: Google has always been my friend and it certainly went to bat for me this last fortnight. I found some great recipes (most posted in previous entries along with a couple past/present go-to recipes).

Tip/Lesson #3 – Listen to your body: As previously mentioned, our bodies were baffled by this adventure. The key to dealing with it is sticking to the program but knowing your limits. We are active people and have high metabolisms, so we had to tailor the last week of the all of this to include protein all the way through. And while we stuck to adding one grain back in per day, we added fruit in general back in after the vegetable saga. I added my multi-vitamin and omega 3 back in because I felt really horrible without.

Tip/Lesson #4 – Hydrate and chew gum: Seriously. Do it. Water (at least 2L per day) is your friend and gum will save you from wanting to haul out the chocolate stash or hit McDonald’s for french fries (my weakness).

  • Craving Preventer: Hide the junk and not alouds and forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind. Hide them, give them away, eat them all the night before cleanse starts, whatever – rid the junk from your cupboards and fridge/freezer.

Tip/Lesson #5 – Enjoy but don’t overdo: The night before cleanse starts, have a great meal with wine/beer and a fabulous dessert. But when it’s all over, don’t gorge on all of what you missed for two weeks. You will make yourself sick. I have my whole tomorrow planned in terms of breakfast and lunch and we are hitting Cactus Club for dinner; but as much as I am looking forward to my bagel and carbs, baby steps are important otherwise, my body is going to revolt.

Tip/Lesson #6 – Don’t abandon the healthy: Incorporate the healthy aspects from this cleanse to your regular routine. We were relatively healthy before we started the cleanse, but we discovered and re-discovered some great alternatives that we are going to keep in the food repertoire.

I am really looking forward to my bagel tomorrow morning and I am so done with spinach for a while. Happy Sunday, all!

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