When I started practicing yoga, nothing much changed.
I continued with my work, ate the same types of food, and hung out with the same people. But with time, the mindfulness that I cultivate on the mat is seeping into all aspects of my life—which includes my eating habits. And these habits — along with my body – may be ready for a good cleanse.
I always equated cleanses with gnawing hunger, weird food concoctions, missing work, skipped daily routines, and an intimacy with bathrooms. Not to mention bread, cheese, yogurt, and sugar withdrawals. In short, enough stuff to strike the cleanse from my bucket list.
But this spring, I found a week-long Ayurvedic Cleanse that struck the right chord — it promised to reset my digestive system to neutral and get rid of the winter sludge with a balanced selection of simple whole foods. So I signed up and here is the scoop …
Normally my eating habits – like breathing — are on autopilot. I eat whatever is within reach and whatever makes me feel good. However, during the week-long cleanse, I only ate kitchadi (rice and mung beans with spices) and assorted cooked fruits and veggies. The rice and mung beans make a complete protein and are very easy to digest. No coffee, sugar, dairy, bread, meat, pasta, or anything processed. Everything that was coming in and going out was carefully monitored. This is intentional eating, not foraging.
My digestive system feels like it’s on vacation. I forgot it existed. No bloating, rumblings, energy dips, or cravings (aside from garlic mashed potatoes and gravy). And I did my business in record time. This is a beautiful thing.
However, eating a mono diet can get old fast, so being creative with the allowed combinations of fruits and veggies is a must. I didn’t set any speed records to the dinner table — like my teenage son who endangers anything and anyone standing in-between him and a meal — but I did get used to the menu.
Extra blessings to my wife who bought and prepared most of the concoctions. May her camel spit nothing but dates, which by the way were the best treats on the cleanse.
But Is It Worth It?
I can’t tell yet. But like any reset, you start with a clean slate and add back what’s worthwhile. Adding is a lot easier than taking away. You quickly begin to realize that it’s not only what you eat, but the combinations of foods you gobble together. For example, did your mother warn you that a fruit salad is a nightmare to digest? I now discovered that fruits are meant to be eaten one at a time.
If nothing else, this diet is an exercise in awareness building. I experienced firsthand the direct relationship between how I function each day and what I ate several days before. So if I want to float and twist on the mat – like I did this week – I will need to carefully select what I eat, or go horizontal on the beach chair and digest away.
If you decide to embark on this kind of gastronomic adventure, be ready to be an outcast. You will be the one trailing your friends into the restaurant with a Tupperware dish loaded with Kitchadi and the one batting your mung beans with your fork, while your family is passing around the lasagna. And the one ready to rock the dance floor while they are all lounging about digesting. It’s a lonely job anyway you look at it. Just make sure it’s the Tupperware that’s burping, not you.