About once a year, I do some sort of cleanse. I have this notion that it is a good idea to give my digestive system a break from the onslaught of treats that I send its way over the course of a year - from triple cream brie to single vineyard Pinot Noir to Kobe short ribs - and let it recover a bit.
Every time I do it, I'm so glad I did. I feel more energetic, healthier, leaner - everything good. Every time I finish a cleanse, I resolve to do it more frequently - every quarter, for instance - but I rarely do. In any case, it has most certainly been a year or longer since I've done a cleanse, and this month seemed like the perfect time. New year, new perspective: time to cleanse. I had plenty of time to think it over in Mexico, while doing backflips in the pool and sipping palomas in the mid-afternoon. By the time I got back, I was ready to go.
Here's what I chose this year: the Elimination Diet. Though it is called a "diet," the main goal is not to lose weight - rather, the idea is to eliminate every known allergen from your body in order to "reset" your system. In theory, you would then begin adding back in one item at a time - dairy, wheat, etc. - in order to see which items your body is sensitive to. I chose the Elimination Diet for a myriad of reasons: I wanted to follow a couple of my hunches on suspected food sensitivities, but I knew from previous experiences that something too severe would distract me to the point that I wouldn't be able to focus on work. Essentially, I wanted to be able to keep a normal routine and high energy levels throughout while still giving my system a break. This seemed to allow for both.
The parameters of the Elimination Diet are, in summary:
Processed meats (sausage, etc.)
Sodas or any other soft drinks
Brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet
Olive oil, flax oil, almond oil
Nuts & seeds (except for peanuts)
Wild caught fish
Doesn't sound terribly hard, does it? After all, I've done cleanses with simply juice, and the mother of all cleanses - The Master Cleanse. This one seemed tame in comparison. I was bummed to give up oranges and grapefruit while they're in season, but it was a loss I could bear.
I decided to do it for a minimum of 14 days, with the option to extend it for longer if I was feeling great.
Ready, set, eliminate!
Next up: this is way harder than it seemed at first.