I’ve recently started a 21-day vegan cleanse through the yoga studio at my gym, Lifetime Fitness. As a guide, we are following Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston. It’s a really good explanation of why giving up the “Dirty 5” (sugar, alcohol, animal products (including dairy), gluten and caffeine) help detoxify and alkalize your system, making it a truly an anti-inflammatory diet. In addition, I also follow Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. I love her humor and her explanation of the science behind why this diet works, in easy-to-understand terms. Things like what free-radicals are and why antioxidants are good for us. Plus, her juice and smoothie recipes are very good.
One other invaluable resource that I wanted to mention, if you are suffering from psoriasis, or really any inflammatory condition is the book Your Healing Diet, by Deirdre Earls. Ms. Earls is a nurse and dietician, who cleared herself of terrible psoriasis after years of failed treatments, including chemotherapy. This book is small enough to carry in your purse and she’s got some simple & convenient meal plans to follow, along with shopping lists for places like Whole Foods and Costco. Another reason I like this book so much is that it really explains why healing a “leaky gut” will heal your skin.
This is the third year I’ve done the cleanse and its always gotten me back on the track of clean eating and help to clear my psoriasis. This year though, something has shifted in me. I can’t explain it in words. This year it’s gone beyond just my skin. I feel truly alive — almost to the point of vibrating. I have more energy and I don’t get as frustrated with things. Sure, I’ve snuck a few GF brownie bites and some green tea here and there and yes, it’s nearly impossible to be a gluten-free vegan here in the heart of the Midwest, (where when you tell someone you don’t eat meat, people say “well, just have chicken then” ha ha.), but I really think eating in this way is something I’d like to continue once the 21 days have passed. I said this last year too and I just went back to my same old habits. 🙁
I never thought I was that into caffeine, but giving up coffee the first five days of the cleanse made me want to die, my head hurt so bad. I do miss having wine while I’m cooking dinner and I know I’ll be tempted when I got out to dinner or to the casino with John. The way I eat during the day has not really changed, as I’ve been gluten-free and mostly dairy-free and I don’t eat much meat during the day. But, I’ve found that most of our evening meals center around turkey or chicken again, so this year I want to shake things up and try new plant-based recipes for dinner. Plus, my husband and daughter are pretty opened minded about my vegan lentil stew, as long as I get bread and sandwich meat for them – hee hee.
So here I am on Day 10, sitting in my car in the 18 degree temperatures of Michigan. My eyes are clearer and my skin on my face is much less red. My psoriasis has actually gotten worse though, but I remember in my consultation with Deirdre, she mentioned that her psoriasis flared and itched as it healed.
After the 21 days are up, will I eat meat or have a glass of wine? Yes. But I know I will not make it so much of a daily habit anymore. And, after my caffeine withdrawal from hell, I will be rethinking my coffee. As they say in yoga, “it no longer serves me.”
Another thing that is different this year for me is that I’ve been practicing yoga for three years (I started during my first cleanse) and though I love it for the fitness aspect, I’ve found that practicing even just a few days a week has slowly, over time, allowed my mind to calm and helped me to understand that uncomfortable situations, like this cleanse, won’t last forever — just like holding a pose won’t last forever. And just like in yoga, if I fall out, I have to get back up and try again.
And again. And again.