I’ve never been a fan of doing a cleanse. It sounds good, right? Actually it sounds dreadful because it involves deprivation and I’m not big on that. A few weeks ago one of my yoga students reported her success with a 30-day no sugar challenge. I was impressed and proud of her for taking this on. At the same time I knew I wasn’t ready for anything like that. Just the thought of giving up sugar stresses me out. I love sugar.
Meanwhile, my attention is focused on connecting with spring and letting go. I am sipping hot water all day with the intention of flushing out impurities and releasing from within – letting go of what I no longer need. Flushing the system is a physical act that reminds me to not just cleanse my physical body, but my emotional and mental bodies as well. One thing leads to another and I feel motivated to cleanse my environment – getting rid of excess stuff and creating more space. Momentum from this connection with spring and clearing out the clutter keeps building and suddenly for the first time I’m intrigued by an Ayurvedic spring cleanse that I come across.
The cleanse involves eating a special rice and bean mixture called kitchari for 4 days. I’m not sure I can do that. But I’m curious about how kitchari tastes, so I decide to cook some up. Turns out its not too bad. The recipe makes a lot so I put leftovers in the frig and then heat more up for dinner. I feel full and satisfied and have no sugar cravings that night, which intrigues me. I eat the kitchari again for breakfast and lunch the next day. By now I’m amazed at how full and satisfied I feel. Curiously I don’t feel deprived. It occurs to me that I could probably do this for 4 days without a lot of effort. Unfortunately I have social plans over the next few days so I am not able to continue with the cleanse. But now I am hooked. I look ahead on my calendar to mark off 4 days without social obligations when I can commit to a 4-day kitchari cleanse.
I actually did it! I completed my first cleanse! I’m not going to lie – I did get tired of eating kitchari meal after meal. However, so many interesting things happened so that I was motivated to stay with the cleanse. First – I always felt full and satisfied and had no food cravings. That blew my mind. It was so freeing to not crave sugar or a glass of wine or chips and salsa! Imagine not having to use will power to avoid indulging! So much energy was freed up in not having to make food choices, in not having to make food plans, not having to shop for food and not having to prepare food (except for making the initial batch of kitchari – and one more batch). Instead of feeling pulled by food desires and food “shoulds” and “shouldn’t’s”, my focus changed to simply nourishing my body. Feeding my body felt more like brushing my teeth – which has no emotional charge to it. This completely changed my psychology and emotions around food – giving it all a rest for 4 days. The food part of the cleanse – although boring – was so freeing.
The fun part of the cleanse was paying attention to how my body felt between meals. It felt great! I had this sense of ease and calm energy that pervaded my system. It was a total Zen feeling – a nice little hum of tingly energy coursing through my system. No bloating, no gas, just a sense of ease and abundant calm energy. Sweet!
It’s been a little over a week since I finished the cleanse and I’m still not feeling sugar cravings. I’ll be curious to see how long that lasts. I’ve had a few days recently where I started to feel hungry between meals and so – much to my shock – I realized I was starting to crave some kitchari! I cooked up a batch and served it along with roasted veggies for dinner last night. Perhaps this will become a regular staple in my diet. I’ll keep listening to my body and see what it tells me as I continue to connect with spring and this sense of letting go and making space for new beginnings.
~ Sue Hardman-Conklin
Note: If you have any interest in learning more about the 4-day kitchari cleanse that I did, go to https://lifespa.com/cleansing/short-home-cleanse/and download the free eBook on the Short Home Cleanse.
Additional Notes: I followed the cleanse instructions except I did NOT give up my black coffee in the morning and my green tea in the afternoon and I did NOT take any of the suggested herbal formulas. A friend also did the cleanse but kept her coffee and cream and she added cooked veggies to her kitchari. She also did not take any of the suggested herbal formulas. We both felt it was helpful to adapt the cleanse to our own preferences and needs and we both experienced benefits from the cleanse.
Questions To Ponder:
- Are you aware of any emotional charge you have around the food you eat? How much are your food choices driven by your emotions?
- How much energy do you put into managing your food? Does the idea of taking a short break from managing food sound good? Or does that sound stressful?
- How does your body feel after you eat?