Apr 10, 2009

The Beginning

I woke up with that thought this morning. This is not just the end of my fasting, it's the beginning of the time when I need to do better than I have done. To treat my body better, and by doing so, feel better.

I admit that brings me some anxiety. Ten days is the "normal" term for the Master Cleanse, and so on the one hand I'm proud of myself for getting this far and for being true to my intentions. On the other hand, I am fully aware that the same temptations are out there awaiting me. Sugar, bread, late night eating, emotional binges - all the things that I was battling before didn't magically disappear in a week and a half. Just as I made the decision to take a break from food, I now have to make the decision to reintroduce food that nourishes, fuels, and sustains me.

One of my online buddies has chatted and blogged about the importance of perspective when it comes to eating right. She has been a Weight Watchers counselor fors some time, and she counsels that it's key to look at healthy eating as a choice you're making for a better you, and not so much as a denial of all these things that are tough to give up. That resonates with me.

Because I have a laundry list of food intolerances and have trouble with some foods that for other people are beneficial, I often wear that like a heavy cross. When I'm more rational, I think of it more like a gift. Most of the things I'm allergic to or can't tolerate well (dairy, eggs, wheat, corn, caffeine, chocolate, wine, vinegar, yeast) just bulk me up or make me downright sick when I consume them. Admittedly they taste good, but if I see them as the system clogging substances that they actually are, they hold less appeal. My ideal eating plan includes all the vegetables I can stand, and most meats. Not bad, right? So many options there.

I am grateful for some of the clear and complete thoughts that have come to me over the last 10 days. One in particular I will carry with me. The way I use (or abuse) food is my choice. I'm blessed to live in a time and place and financial standing that allows me to eat the way I want, the way I should. I can choose to be reckless or responsible with that blessing. So at least one resolve has come of this realization: the way I eat must be a choice I renew EVERY day.

I am going to work at putting food in it's rightful place - something to be enjoyed in moderation, and to be used as fuel for all the things I want to accomplish. When traveling for work, I will find good alternatives to airport food and hotel vending machines (Anywhere I travel has a local grocery store). When good options are not available, I will drink plenty of water and wait until it is. I will take my time when deciding what to eat, and I will not eat late just because it's been several hours since my last meal.

I don't know if I'll write again about this experience today, so I'll finish up with a big THANK YOU. So many of you have reached out to send your support and it has helped more than I can express. This is one of those endeavors that might seem crazy to some, but in typical fashion you have only been kind and shared just the positive feedback and encouragement that I needed. Thanks for sticking with me while I externally processed all this.

For my friends still on this journey over the next several days, or for those considering a start - You CAN give yourself this gift. I've got my pom poms out for you, and a ready and willing ear.

Kapalua Coastal Trail, Maui

Kapalua Coastal Trail, Maui

Have a FANTASTIC weekend all!

Apr 9, 2009


I've started this post in my mind several times, and just didn't have the spare moments to string together sentences. Today has been a tough one, surprisingly so. I hesitate to write that lest I discourage someone, but there it is - today was tough. I've been really really hungry for much of the day. Not the kind of passing tummy rumblings that I've already learned to take in stride, then ignore. A real, gnawing hunger. The kind that won't be ignored, and the kind that the lemonade hasn't been quenching for long. It has caught me completely by surprise.

Even more surprising? I still don't feel tempted to eat. I really think my brain wrapped itself around the idea that this is a necessary reset for me right now, and that sacrifices must be made. The growling I hear now reminds me that my digestive system is fully functional, and it makes me mindful and aware. So much of my eating is often done unconsciously. I was at a point of snacking so often a few weeks ago, that I can't think of a time when I waited to feel anything resembling hunger before feeding my face. That right there is the BIGGEST habit I need to break. Eating for fuel is necessary. Eating out of boredom, as relief from some activity I resent, or for temporary distraction is counter-productive.

So though this hunger is powerful, it's also feeding a motivation that I'm going to need when this fast ends. Eat when I'm hungry. Not a new concept, just one I need to embrace.

Daddy did an awesome science lesson today with the girls on seeds and plants. It was the perfect day for collecting, and I'm proud of how much their little minds can soak up when they are really interested and engaged:

Science Lesson: Plants & Seeds

Science Lesson: Plants & Seeds

Science Lesson: Plants & Seeds

Apr 8, 2009

8 of 10

Last night was tough - I felt so down emotionally and just didn't feel like being productive after a certain point in the evening. Thankfully that resulted in an early bedtime and an early wake-up this morning.

I started out doing some Pilates and was stopped cold by a sharp pain in my lower abdomen (turns out it was some trapped air). I did the salt water flush to help clear things out and it worked like a dream!

Since this morning I have had an energy I can barely describe. I re-started (and finished) the 40 minute Pilates workout, then I cleaned my bathroom, did some work, cleaned up my kitchen, and went back to more work.

I want to remember this feeling - this energy. The way I'm feeling at this moment is exactly why I can/should/will continue to stick with this cleansing practice. I had a thought while cleaning a mirror...I have a fairly high energy level for most activities, but it has to be unlocked. It's always there at the surface, but I need a very deliberate kick start. I want to leverage that more and use it to greater benefit. By keeping my body and mind clearer, I can make much better use of it.

On another topic, but still along the lines of energy and the right kind of stimuli, I'm a BIG fan of spoken word poetry, like the kind showcased on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam.

Saul Williams is one of my favorites - when you have five minutes, use it to digest and enjoy this wonderful poem called Coded Language

Apr 7, 2009

On the Bright Side of 7

I'm updating in a moment when I'm feeling really, really good. I started working this morning and found myself multi-tasking some things that I'd put off too long, and knocking them down one by one without feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I feel some general lightness of mind, no hunger right now, and just generally GOOD.

I cast on for the Sweethearts blanket last night:

(photo swiped lovingly from my friend Shelley who suggested
this great pattern and is knitting this along with me).

I'm stitching all the love and care I can into this for the baby of my darling friend. Soothing garter stitch and a sooooper soft yarn, Sirdar Snuggly DK in a dusky blue.

Apr 6, 2009

Day 6 Part 2 - The Marshmallows

Don't let the title fool you, I didn't cave and go for a fluffy sticky treat (I'm sure my body would reject that as a way to break the fast in no uncertain terms - not worth risking it).

Marshmallows played a part in the start to my morning today. I can't ignore signs, and I think I got a pretty clear one this morning. I didn't know it when I woke up, but today turned out to be one of the tougher days so far. In the late afternoon/early evening, I really started feeling sluggish and discouraged. It was a weird dichotomy - I didn't want to keep fasting, and I didn't want to start eating. Both of those feelings were equally strong and I felt like the struggle in my brain lasted for a good while (couple hours at least).

Back to the marshmallows - this morning I decided to do a short walk/jog to jumpstart my heart rate for the day. As I was getting on my sneakers, I heard the beginning of an interesting story playing on NPR's Morning Edition health segment. It talked about an experiment done in the 1960's to test the will power of children from 4 years old and up. Some very interesting results that I'll let you wander over and discover on your own, but it was meant to explore the idea that will power may be something that some people are naturally born with and others are not.

Fast forward to my walk - I had some podcasts stored up in my mp3 player and I decided to get some brain food via one of my favorites - Radio Lab. The title of the episode I played first? "Mischel's Marshmallows"! Yep - same study, same topic, same LOUD message from the universe. Today was to be a day in which my will power and my resolve would be tested.

At least - that's the way I interpreted it :)

So it was tough today - actual hunger pains, thoughts of specific foods (that's a first since I started) and a nice rosy round ZIT on my forehead that could guide ships into harbor. But with all that, I still sit here committed, waiting to stick my tongue out at Day 6 tomorrow; interested to see what Day 7 will bring. For now, I'm sitting on the patio with my yarn and a new baby blanket pattern, with a lovely breeze that should lull me into sleepiness before too long.

(All show links will take you to the NPR sites where you can listen online to the programs)

Day 6: The 2nd Half Begins

Making my intent to fast public here and on Facebook has paid off in some really great ways. My friend that originally decided to start with me on April 1st posts status updates on her FB profile and keeps me posted on how she's feeling by chat. Several people who have been considering doing the fast or some kind of cleanse have reached out for information. Writing about it has also given me motivation in moments when I have felt weak or uncertain.

But it was a post by Jessica (Ravelry profile) yesterday that convinced me that not only was it good to be open with my internet buddies about this plan, but that - once again - you never know how much you can connect to another person's experience unless you reach out.

Jessica posted her intention to start the Master Cleanse on her blog and I encourage you to read through it. Whether you're thinking about doing something like this or not, she makes some powerful commentary on our perspective on eating, and on her specific motivations to strive for wellness. Well worth a look, believe me. And if you get a moment, leave her some encouraging words - your kind support has really done wonders for me.

Today officially puts me into the 2nd half of the fast. Feeling good this morning, and surprisingly not sore after yesterday's Yoga/Pilates session. Another noticeable physical change is that my eczema has settled down and the most obvious spots that usually pop up after I eat certain foods are nowhere to be found. My scalp is doing great too, normally a problem area. Too much information?? Perhaps, but a cause for celebration there nonetheless.

Yesterday I spent time finishing and seaming this shrug for one of my best friends:

Criss Cross Shrug - 4 Criss Cross Shrug - Scarf Style

Criss Cross Shrug - 10 Cross Shrug - Back Cross
Criss Cross Shrug - A Lion Brand Pattern
Yarn is Patons' Shetland Chunky
Knit all in garter stitch on Size 11 needles
Size is 15" x 85" - just long enough for multi-wearing options

More details on my Ravelry project page

Apr 5, 2009


*Photos courtesy of our Super Saturday tradition - a day out at Okeeheelee Park

Day 5 dawned well. No headache this morning and the neck/shoulder/back stiffness I'm so used to waking up with was noticeably absent. I've read a lot about how what we eat can affect joints and various aches and pains. This is pretty tangible proof that I needed to do this cleanse - constant pain is something I've come to live with, and the lack of it is very very welcome. It is also a good motivator for the "after" phase of this cleanse. I took the girls out to a park we love yesterday and let them get some sun on their skin. I had some very noticeable up and down moments. What I feel now is no longer really hunger, not stomach rumbling or anything like that.

It's mostly momentary feelings of missing food and the part it usually plays in a day out, or a weekend that is relaxed and fun. I notice myself thinking about what I'll snack on when I get home, then immediately reminding myself that that's not actually going to happen. I've made several meals over the last couple of days so the kitchen is no longer off limits. I do notice that I look inside my pantry with a very different perspective as of this morning though.

For someone who is sort of known for "healthy" eating, I sure do have a lot of snacks in there. I'll have to do better to create a no fail environment when this fast has come to an end. Speaking of the end, I still feel completely resolved to going the entire 10 days, and have even considered going longer. I do have a bit of a hard stop though because we leave for a trip to attend a wedding on the 15th. If I were the bride (one of my closest friends) I might feel a way about someone showing up and politely declining the plate of food I just payed a bunch of money to provide :0) Actually, the real reason is that with the liquid limitations and what it takes to make the lemonade, it's not really practical for a cross-country plane trip. I'm thinking that if I do extend it, I'll go for 12 days at least and then be really strict about what I re-introduce over the period of the vacation. Probably start out with raw foods only until wedding stuff is in full swing.

Results so far? Loving the way my skin looks - already down 9 pounds, and sleeping very well at night. I haven't had any epiphanies or significant moment of clarity yet, but I'm looking forward to that based on past experience. Starting today, I'll be doing some aggressive exercise too (Pilates) to firm up the areas that are looking a little less wobbly than they were last week.
Today was also the 2nd day I did the salt water flush - more on that in another post...

In the meantime I'm indulging some major startitis and casting on for whatever moves me at the moment. I think my new resolve is not to let UFOs stress me out anymore unless they are for a gift deadline. So much easier to dive into my stash and put some things on the needles whenever the mood strikes.

I'll spend some time today on my Slouchy Copy Cat Hat.

Really happy with the color of this yarn. I'm using some mods posted by Carlybee on Ravelry.

Happy stitching all!

Apr 3, 2009

Day 3 Rears It's Ugly Head

That's a direct quote from a friend of mine who is doing the Master Cleanse with me. She's sitting in an office surrounded by the aroma of a pizza lunch, and I'm trying desperately to stay away from my kitchen. Much of what I have read confirms that day's 3, 5, and 7 have proven to be the toughest days when doing this fast.

Spring Cleaning

I was fine this morning - energetic, confident, feeling lighter already in body and mind...I even got in a tennis game with hubby without collapsing on the court as I feared (I have to do exercise during this fast because I still want to feel firm and strong, not just light). But now, it's early afternoon and I'm waaaaaaay more hungry that I thought I would be today. I think that my body is no longer ignoring what's going on and it's an abrupt awakening.

The guidelines I follow say that the key during these "lows" is to drink more of the lemonade and water and to limit activities until your energy level goes back up, so I'm trying that.
In my downtime, I'm also trying to distract myself by pattern stalking on Ravelry. I'm pretty sure that this very cute beret will be my next new hat. I caught the beret bug earlier this year, and like all things fiber related - it's just better in triplicate...

Morning Stroll

What a great way to quiet the brain in the morning before all the noise begins...

Apr 2, 2009

Day 2 at dawn

Master cleanse Day 2 and I thought I would put some of the thought streams I'm having out here...I've resolved to keep these posts unedited so take them as they are -

Jamaican Caper Blossoms

Yesterday was tough at points. The main thing that tells me I'm ready to do this particular type of detox is that I become super aware of all my thought patterns, and my habits become exposed in such a way that I can't ignore them. Most of the time when I eat against my "plan" it's because I'm (a) bored, (b) lazy, or (c) reacting emotionally to something. I know these things are common for most of us, but for me, all of those reasons are always somewhere in the back of my mind. "You're only eating that because that last conference call/conversation/task was a tough one". When I remove the food, the feelings still come, but I'm forced to deal with them differently.

Hibiscus Close Up

This morning I woke up feeling capable. Day 2 is usually the stage for me where I realize that this "no food" thing is for real - it's intentional and not just a result of forgetting to eat something for several hours. It amazes me each time, and every morning that I don't wake up hungry. It also surprises me what we're capable of when our minds are in the right place.

Pineapple Close-Up

I have high hopes for my productivity during these next 10 days. Speaking of that, I'm going to get a jump on my work day.

Today's photos are courtesy of the gardening skills of my darling husband aka Mr. Green.

Apr 1, 2009

Spring Cleaning

THANK YOU to everyone who has sent such lovely compliments on my Tropicana Jaden. The joy of finishing was just about equal to the effort to get it off the needles. I really appreciate that you took the time to come by and celebrate its debut with me.

Today marks the 1st day of the month with the clearest signs of spring showing up everywhere. This change of season has many of us clearing out, cleaning up, and feeling renewed.

For the next several days, I'll be doing some internal "clean up" using this plan. My body and brain tell me I'm ready. I may use this blog space as a log of how things are going, or I may just stick to our regularly scheduled knitting content, not sure yet. Likely it will be a mixture of both.

Happy Spring!

(And no, this is not an April Fools Day joke, I actually am going to fast from food for 10 days. Knitting therapy don't fail me now!)