Let’s talk cleansing!
I know – not a normal subject around here, but a few weeks ago, I participated in The Conscious Cleanse, and I LOVED IT.
Just over two weeks ago, I was starting my two week trial on the Conscious Cleanse – a program that focuses more on mindfulness than deprivation, which is common to see in other cleanse programs. My friend Holly asked if I wanted to try the cleanse for free in exchange for a review, and, since I’m usually up for exploring new healthy eating programs, I agreed.
So… what is it?
This was my first question, too. I’ve seen and read about other cleanses. Just juice for days on end? No thanks. This is where the Conscious Cleanse is different – it’s more of a learning process than a diet. The two weeks on the program give you the chance to really focus on food and how it nourishes (or causes issues in) the body. For me, I definitely noticed how different I felt after cutting out certain foods over the two weeks.
The cleanse is run by nutrition coaches Jo Schaalman and Jules Peláez. By eliminating things from your diet for two weeks - gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, peanuts, corn and caffeine - it gives your digestive system a break. And I know – it may look restrictive, but doing this cleanse actually got me OUT of a cooking rut and excited about planning meals again! Plus, I didn’t miss those things as much as I thought I might.
How do I prep for this? The planning process was a bit of a doozy simply because you really do have to have meals and snacks planned out…and because meal planning is one area that I’ve really been slacking on for the past couple of years. I used to be on top of things when it came to meals, but I’ve been struggling to get back into a good routine, so this was really, really helpful for me.
To plan, I simply read through my manual and the book, listened to all the support calls (these were really helpful to me and kept me motivated during the two weeks), and then planned out two weeks worth of meals and snacks.
The biggest question: What did I eat?!
For breakfast: Most mornings, I made a smoothie of some kind. Some of these recipes came from the Conscious Cleanse manual or book; some were just ones I made up with what we had in the fridge. One of my favorites was water, spinach, frozen peaches, pineapple, and mango. Yum. I usually made enough for me and Nick in the mornings. This went with a big mug of warm lemon water, which is great for clearing skin and jump starting your metabolism in the morning. I also had hot herbal tea most mornings that I took to work with me. I didn’t notice any big drop in my energy without coffee, but I had already been cutting down on caffeine before starting the cleanse.
Lunches and Dinners: These meals were either a big salad or leftovers from dinner. Of course, all of these were made from scratch and were cleanse friendly, meaning they were dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, peanut, and corn free.
Some of my meals?
An adapted version of this Almond “tuna” salad, which I’m completely obsessed with.
Chicken with a celery / radish / olive salad and asparagus (first ever from our yard!).
Brown rice with broccoli, lemon zest, avocado, and olive oil.
Spiced chicken with sauteed kale and carrots over mashed cauliflower.
Bison meatloaves with cauliflower, mushrooms, green beans.
Snacks/dessert: I made little almond joy balls Jo and Jules created for the cleanse that were made of nuts, dates, and almond butter. They were SO good. I purposefully only made one batch during the two weeks, just to keep myself from reaching for those instead of other non-sugary options.
How I felt:
Honestly, for the first week of the cleanse, I was battling horrible allergies along with a sinus infection and a viral respiratory thing that was going around. So I felt like crap and couldn’t really taste anything. But I stuck with it. And into week two, once my head was clearing up, I felt amazing, especially in the last few days. Clear headed, lighter, way less bloated, sleeping better, more energy, more mindful – all around feeling great!
But the biggest change in how I felt? My daily random pains (thanks to a history of endometriosis and cysts) were gone. Completely gone. Since eating this way is basically taking out things that can cause inflammation, I’m sure it gave my system a break from all the things that make the pain even worse. I couldn’t believe how great I felt!
So…what do I really think?
After doing the Cleanse for two weeks, I felt like my body and mind began working together – maybe the best they ever have. It was a mix of moving past bad eating habits I’d fallen into, getting rid of foods that were doing my body more harm than good, and giving myself foods that heal and work together rather than against each other.
Did the changes stick?
Even though the official cleanse is over, I’m still mostly sticking with the foods I was eating during the two weeks and limiting everything else. In the book, Jo and Jules note that an 80/20 approach is one of the best ways to keep your diet mostly clean/allergen free, while still allowing for the things you enjoy in moderation.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I’m so grateful for the experience I had on the Conscious Cleanse and was surprised (and excited!) at how different I felt even within the first few days. I cannot recommend the cleanse enough.
And one of my favorite things about the Cleanse? Besides the support calls, there is a Facebook group for everyone that’s doing the Cleanse, so you have great support and a place to voice concerns, ask questions, and get/give encouragement if you’re having a hard time. Both Jo and Jules contribute in the group, and they also have coaches for the Cleanse there to answer questions and give tips.
If you’ve ever considered doing a Cleanse for any reason – to see if you have food allergies/sensitivities, to clear out some bad habits, to fall in love with good food again, even to lose a few pounds – I would suggest this in a heartbeat. In fact, I already know that this will become a regular thing for me. I never felt deprived – or hungry!
If you’re interested in joining the next round, it starts on June 7 and registration is opening officially on May 12. If so, make sure to use code RFCC614 at checkout to get $25 off! If the timing works out, I might be doing it again, too ;)
I was given the opportunity to try the cleanse for free, but I was in no way compensated for my time or for this review. My opinions remain my own.