The first time I did a fourteen day clean eating challenge, the experience prompted me to start this blog. My first entries revolve around the physical and mental effects I navigated during that time. I always remembered how great I felt and did my best to stay as low sugar/non processed as possible afterward, although some of the recipes weren't sustainable for us (monetarily).
Several times I brought up the idea of doing it again, but Dean pretty much bluntly said he wasn't going to. It was so difficult to get through the first time with him doing it too, I wasn't sure if I could make it through on my own. Also, I'm pescatarian now and didn't know if that limitation would make it even more difficult to go through the cleanse and get adequate nutrition.
As I write this, I'm seven days in. I put up a post on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in joining me and then moved those people over into a group. We set a date around a month in advance (with flexibility for people who needed to start a few days later because of big events). I started sharing recipes and asking questions and we went from there. I'm not sure how many of them are still with me and are going to do the full time as communication in the group has been sporadic, but it gave me the confidence I needed to get this far. (We set a shorter time of ten days, I'm doing twelve.)
I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that a lot of what Dean and I eat is now already very low in sugar and processed ingredients. I haven't felt very deprived in the food area. (I mean, yes, there have been a couple of times this weekend that I almost suggested we go out for coffee and then realized that I couldn't enjoy any of the pastries and that my coffee would taste like crap because I couldn't even put my beloved oat milk in it, but those have been tolerable disappointments.) Reading labels is a skill I've kept up with since the first cleanse, so that's something that's been easy also. There was one instance where a meal we planned on didn't work out (oops, soy sauce has added sugar) and I was able to default to my trusty Mary's Gone Crackers and homemade cashew cheese. The cashew cheese has really been a life saver.
Physically the differences haven't been as dramatic this time around. Probably because my diet was already pretty low in sugar. I also didn't have as acute and injury as I did last time where I really felt the lack of inflammation. I have felt trimmer, slept better and my skin is looking fresher.
I still struggled with the no booze on Friday and Saturday night between 5 - 8pm. Outside of that time I was fine. It was interesting. I knew I wasn't going to have any because I would have been disappointed in myself if I had, but I still really had the desire. I'm not sure what it is. Is it the taste? Is it really that loopy relaxed feeling that I miss? Something to think about further.
Regardless, it's been a nice reset. After a long, fun summer, it's been nice to start paying attention to what I'm putting in my mouth again rather than just having 'I'll run it off in training' in the back of my mind. After all the final rooftop parties, I admit that I was actually looking forward to a break from booze when the cleanse started.
On day twelve, what I've determined to be the final day of the cleanse, I'll be in Louisville, getting ready to run my first out-of-state race. I'm excited to see if I feel any different during the race. And I'm excited for the bourbon after I'm done!