Normally on St. Patrick’s Day, I am eating corned beef and cabbage. There has hardly been a year that I can remember when I didn’t enjoy that holiday meal. Throw in some Irish soda bread and I am a happy camper. This year, I didn’t even realize it was St. Patrick’s Day until I was in the car listening to the radio later in the day and they were talking about the crowds in New York City at the parade. It simply slipped off my radar. And, yes, this was the year without my corned beef. I didn’t even miss it.

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries, bananas and pineapple
  • Broiled salmon with mustard, lemon, olive oil, basil
  • Quinoa with roasted butternut squash and green onion
  • Sliced Orange
  • 19 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 64 oz water

This is the second time this week that my lunch was so filling that I didn’t have an appetite for dinner. I did cook up some tuna steaks to save for tomorrow. I am learning to love lemon – especially with fish!

How I felt:

I doubled up on the ambien again last night to help me sleep and it worked like a charm. I am going to back it down to one after last night because I woke up really groggy which slowed me down a bit in the morning. My hope is that having a few nights of solid sleep will get me back into a better pattern.  We’ll see. Otherwise, I feel great! I’m like the energizer bunny and seem to be able to get more done in a day than I used to be able to do in a week, which is very welcomed.

Physical Activity:

I had the best workout I have had in a very long time this morning. My friend joined me at the gym and he and I did a really fun core routine that I made up for us. I spent 57 minutes on the elliptical (broken into two segments – 40 minutes before core workout and 17 minutes afterwards). We then did a routine lasting one minute for each cycle that included: paired crunches passing an 8.5 lb. medicine ball including twists for the obliques, squats with 5 lb. weights, 30 second planks and 30 seconds of push-ups. We did that circuit twice (mostly because my friend hasn’t been to the gym in a while and he needed to stop – I would have done two more sets). Then I did a machines focusing on my shoulders and triceps. And then back to elliptical. I felt amazing afterwards and truly could have stayed at the gym for another 2 hours. I love paired workouts like that but I don’t often have a buddy at the gym with me so I usually have to do them myself.  I am now committed to creating a good circuit workout for myself! I will note, however, that by 8pm tonight, my body was really hurting, which actually felt great.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t really cook. I have been fortunate enough to be married to a man who loves to cook and does it well. Before my kids were born and I was juggling motherhood with my commute into Manhattan, I did a bit more of the cooking in our house but never fancied myself a good or adventurous cook. My repertoire was relatively limited to a few dishes and, now and again, I would experiment with recipes I would find.  Generally my big cooking was relegated to holidays and celebrations when I found myself motivated to tackle different dishes. When I first met my husband, in the very early days of us dating, I did make him a romantic dinner in my apartment and pulled out all the stops. He claims to have enjoyed it but it was the beginning of the relationship, the times when we aren’t always as truthful because we have ulterior motives. I don’t hate cooking but, over the years, I have found it more burdensome and time consuming, and my lack of ingenuity when it comes to pulling meals together has kept me away from the kitchen for a long time. On the other hand, I do love to bake. Here again, I have my staples that I make again and again but I love to experiment with baking and feel a bit more confident about my abilities because there are far fewer complexities (in my opinion, anyway) to baking than with cooking, in general. My best friend always teases me because I tend to follow baking recipes a bit loosely, not perfectly measuring everything out. I make it work though.

As I prepare myself for life after the cleanse, I have been trying to gear myself up for some cooking. Because I know some of what I might be eating will be strictly for me and different than what the rest of the family will be eating, I need to start being able to prepare my own dishes.  I’ve done a bit of cooking during the cleanse, creating a yummy lentil soup, trying out some sauces and dressings and getting more adept at cooking fish – something that has always eluded me. Today I spent some time on Pinterest looking for healthy recipes using ingredients that will be part of my post-cleanse life. I’m actually excited about the idea of cooking and having more control over what goes into my body. As the landscape expands and more foods are available to me, I am looking forward to trying out some new foods that never interested me before. As much as I love quinoa, for instance, I have never ventured beyond substituting it for rice. Today I found recipes for muffins and pancakes and oatmeal-like dishes – ways in which I never would have dreamed using it. It may sound silly and naive but I simply never thought that much about food before.  I just ate the things I knew tasted good and kept my diet pretty simple – albeit not entirely healthy.

I hoped at the beginning that 21 days would help to form new habits for me and, no doubt, it has. I still have four days left but I can already see such remarkable differences. I would have never believed it if you told me that I would feel this way in such a short time but now I am a believer!


mandala sand art

I’ve made it through two full days and almost through the third and I think I have begun to accept that there is no real food coming my way anytime soon. I was at the gym today and The Food Network was on one of the TVs and, as I watched a chef prepare a delicious-looking sauteed chicken dish, I realized that I would not enjoy the taste of such yumminess for quite some time. And, I think I am ok with that.

What I consumed:

  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries and blueberries
  • Cleanse Shake with strawberries and bananas
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Asparagus with olive oil and sea salt
  • Quinoa with green pepper, mushroom and onions
  • 1 head of steamed cauliflower with sea salt and pepper
  • 30 gigantic supplement capsules
  • 36 oz water

How I felt:

Today I felt a little better. The intense headache that I woke up with this morning had to be dealt with so I broke my rules on the caffeine and dosed myself with 3 Excedrin.  That eased the pain and I felt better for the rest of the day.  My energy level is not as high as I would like it to be but I think it is going to start improving. I read that the first few days you might feel flu-like symptoms because of the detox. I definitely felt the aches and pains on day one and a bit more on day two. Today was much better. I was out at meetings most of the day so I was also probably a bit distracted.

I began to really feel the disconnect from Facebook today. For the first time, I stopped looking for the app on my phone and didn’t feel all that disconnected. In fact, I had a few friends text me because they knew I was taking a sabbatical from Facebook, which helped to alleviate any sense of isolation I might have been feeling. I’ve definitely surprised myself with my discipline of not even checking the site. I have truly gone cold turkey.

Physical Activity:

56 minutes on the elliptical at the gym.  I wanted to add some weights and crunches but didn’t feel completely up to it.  Maybe tomorrow.

While yesterday’s word in my head was boundaries, today’s was focus.  I’ve read that one of the side benefits from this cleanse is the ability to better focus and I thought a lot about that today. This morning I was in a meeting and one of the attendees was talking about being present and how we spend so much time thinking about the past or planning for the future. I’ve shared before about my challenges with being present. Because my mind is always at work and I am continually processing everything that is going on around me, I tend to spend a lot of mental energy on reflection – looking backward – rather than simply shutting things down and focusing in on what is happening to me in the moment. It feels like I am in a constant state of time travel, zipping back and forth between different periods of my life, rarely settling into the present and never quite sure when I am going to be lured away or for how long I will be gone.

Today, I received several different messages about being present and had the presence of mind to pay attention. The first was at the meeting and the next came while I was at the gym. On the elliptical I was watching one of the episodes from the latest season of House of Cards in which a group of Tibetan Monks was at the White House working on a Mandala sand painting. The sand painting is one of the most unique and exquisite artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism. The monks spend weeks painstakingly tapping individual grains of sand into an etched design on a platform. The resulting image is breathtaking. All I could think as I watched the scenes with the monks is how critical their meditation practices must be to enable the level of focus required to complete these works of art. Watching them, even on a fictional show, was mesmerizing and transformative. I was captivated by the beauty of the work and the process of completing it.

I felt a little liberated from myself as I began to focus on focusing. I typically feel clouded by all the noise in my head and all of the elements of my life that are constantly in flux. Being able to just slow down and, in this case, just watch the artwork developing, was relaxing and calming. I am no stranger to meditation or mindfulness and am fully equipped to focus in on my own breathing to soothe myself. I just don’t do it all that often. Of course, being on the elliptical helped because of all the energy being directed towards the exercise. It was a peaceful hour for me, free of the typical distractions of email, texts, phone calls, kids, and my own self.

So, today I feel peaceful and serene and focused. And that makes this whole process so much easier.