It all started with Kris Carr’s book, Crazy Sexy Diet. I ordered it on Amazon a while back and it sat on my bookshelf for about a month. In 2003, Kris was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 cancer, which motivated her to embark on a healing journey of clean eating and wellness that brought her back to health. Her story is super-inspiring! I’d been reading her blog and was signed up to her newsletter. So, I consciously knew that at this point in my life I needed and wanted to make some major changes in terms of the way I eat, getting regular exercise, and drinking more water. I was starting to feel tired all the time, which I knew was probably because of all the processed junk I was putting into my body - cakes, candy bars, ice cream, soda (love my bourbon and coke!), plus eating out a lot. But I didn’t yet have a strong enough catalyst. (Nope, not even my mom, a.k.a. DC’s Toughest Trainer had been able to convince me! You know how moms are. Naggy!)
A few weeks ago, I finally picked up the book and started reading one night on my couch. Within the first few pages, I could already tell that it was gonna be a MAJOR game changer for my life. In fact, I actually put it down for a few more days after that because I was honestly afraid that Kris’ words were going to make me change my eating habits! Even though that was what I said I wanted. Weird, right?! Yep, that’s self-sabotage at its best. Avoiding learning new knowledge that you KNOW will improve your life is a huge stumbling block we often put in front of ourselves.
Thankfully, I picked the book back up a few days later and started reading a little bit every day. The great thing about Kris is that she explains the importance of eating healthy from a 360-degree perspective - mind, body and soul. As I read things that I knew I wanted to do or remember, I wrote them down and started doing them right away. The first thing was drinking more water. I went out and bought a bunch of bottles to get me back on the wagon. I used to drink a few glasses a day thanks to my Brita water filter, but I fell off a few months back . I slowly got up to drinking an entire 34-ounce bottle of water over the course of the day, which is HUGE for me. I am not a lover of water or the drinking of it. Never have been, but that is definitely starting to change!
The 21-Day Cleanse
The Crazy Sexy Diet Kris advocates is a plant-based, low-fat, low-glycemic vegetarian diet. It’s mostly raw and there is NO meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol or even animal products like eggs, cheese or milk. At the end of the book is a guide to embarking on a 21-Day “Adventure” Cleanse with tips, tools and recipes from Kris. It immediately spoke to me and I decided to start with the first phase of the cleanse, which is what Kris calls “wean week.” It’s where you wean yourself off the junk and slowly eliminate meat, caffeine, sugar and dairy. I was surprised I was able to go a week without meat! It actually felt good to me.
Now, I’m not trying to lose weight…I’m thin enough as it is. But I AM what my mom calls, “skinny fat,” meaning that I’m not overweight, but I’m also not fit and healthy by any means. So I’m using the cleanse to begin a new culture of self-care in my life, starting with my body.
One huge lesson I learned during “wean week” is that eating healthy isn’t about food. Making healthy choices isn’t even about willpower.
It’s about whether you love yourself enough to take care of your body.
So for me, this cleanse is about self-love more than anything else.
The toughest part for me to face (so far) is realizing that I can’t say I love myself but then continue to put harmful stuff into my body! And what I love about the Crazy Sexy Diet book is that it doesn’t just tell you what food to eat, but addresses the need for inner work as well. The emotional junk inside of us that needs to be dealt with in order to create new habits. I’m ready for all the physical and emotional stuff that’s going to come out of the cleanse. I’ve already begun to make significant mindset shifts, so I’m excited to see how the next three weeks will transform the way I treat my body.
The book? HIGHLY recommend it. It’s less than 15 bucks on Amazon, but it’s already proven to be priceless to me!
A Day in the Life of a Cleanse
Here’s what a typical day looks like for me right now:
- Early morning: Wake up early (between 6-7 am). 15-30 minutes of meditation, prayer and affirmations. Tall glass of purified water with fresh lemon (8-12 oz.) 8 oz. of warm herbal tea.
- Breakfast: 8-12 oz. of green juice. Bowl of berries or sliced apples. Dietary supplements.
- Snack: Baby carrots + hummus, or sliced apples or celery sticks with almond butter. (I’ve fallen in love with almond butter!). Water.
- Lunch: Big salad of butter lettuce, mixed greens or kale with some combination of grape tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, jicama, avocado, or mango. Water. If I’m not at home: Chipotle’s vegetarian bowl with rice, black beans, fresh tomato + corn salsas, guacamole. Whole Foods’ salad bar always wins – sesame tofu, garlicky kale and couscous salad are my current faves. Or: lentils over basmati rice at pretty much any Indian restaurant.
- Snack: Handful of almonds or other nuts. Green juice, lemon water or herbal tea with a little agave nectar.
- Dinner: Stir-fry with tofu + vegetables over brown rice – I like searing firm tofu in garlic + ginger, then adding bell peppers, onions and mushrooms with a light sprinkle of soy sauce + cayenne pepper. Water. Dessert: 1 oz. square (or less) of 70% dark chocolate (not every night!), sliced apples with almond butter, a bowl of berries or a simple fruit salad. I like fresh strawberries mixed with fresh lime juice and agave nectar, topped with crushed
- Exercise: 30 minutes of brisk walking or light jogging outside or on the treadmill. Baby steps!
- Late evening: Go to bed early (before midnight – very early for me!). I have found that I fall (and stay) asleep more peacefully by playing my Lifescapes “Ocean Waves” CD in the background. Very relaxing!
Right now, I’m on Day 3 of the 21-day adventure cleanse and the journey to loving my body the way it deserves to be loved. I’m thankful that my cravings for meat have greatly diminished (thanks to wean week!). The hardest part is kicking my dangerous addiction to sugar and getting used to regular exercise. My goal is to incorporate yoga into my regimen as well. I’ll try to write more about what I’m actually eating, products I’m trying, etc. over the next few weeks. You can also follow my updates on Twitter @happyblackwoman.
Have you ever done a cleanse? Was it useful for you in helping you get on the road to healthy habits?