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I spent much of the weekend preparing to start a 2-week cleanse tomorrow morning.

Here’s what my friend and wellness mentor Anna Dvorak says about why we should cleanse:

Why do a cleanse? To give ourselves the freedom from cravings, addictions and a break from our typical diet. What’s so bad about a typical diet? We get stuck in a rut – and limit ourselves to a smaller variety of foods than is optimal. The more – and different foods we eat, the better off we are.

Why give up caffeine? Coffee/caffeine has a powerful (and stressful) effect on our cardiovascular system and nervous system, blocks the absorption of calcium and iron that we take into our system, and only gives a short burst of energy (well-appreciated most days, I know). It’s also hard on your liver (I just got a gentle reminder about that from my acupuncturist).  It’s good to try and give all addictions a rest once in a while – to give your body a break from the stress of deep fatigue (which is more intense when you’re caffeine-dependent) and rebounding stimulant from caffeine “energy”.

What to expect? Some emotional and physical challenges – we might feel angry or afraid. Totally normal. You may feel very tired for the first few days – again, totally normal. Be prepared to reduce the intensity of your exercise practice and just be gentle. You might need a few naps, especially in the beginning. Gradually, we’ll start to feel better and better – more free, clearer and lighter. We may see big improvements to our skin, our energy levels and our sleep patterns.

When you experience sugar cravings, tiredness, and cravings in general, pay attention to balance in your meals: a LARGE amount of vegetables (the biggest proportion on your plate), a modest amount of whole grain carbs (think 20% of your plate), protein (avoid red meats to ease digestion), and a small amount of good fats (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter or ghee, flax oil).

Make sure you’re drinking enough water – dehydration can mask hunger signs, making us think we’re hungry when we really need fluids.

Grounding Thought – Focus your thoughts on what you’ll be gaining instead of what you’re giving up.

Here’s the cleanse cheat sheet I’ve created:

Anna Dvorak Cleanse

Anna Dvorak cleanse cheat sheet

Yesterday afternoon I shopped. Today, I chopped and cooked.

I made big pots of black beans and garbanzos (chick peas), quinoa, brown rice, porridge made of quinoa, millet and amaranth, red peppers sautéed with garlic scapes and shallots, granola (recipe here), hard boiled eggs, a container of celery and cucumber sticks, another of carrot sticks, started soup and some salad dressing.

A few photos:

cleanse-friendly food

Eggs, chick peas, granola, greens, black beans, cucumber and celery sticks, corn off the cob, snap peas, porridge

More cleanse-friendly food

Quinoa, brown rice, red peppers sautéed with garlic scapes and shallots

I am both tired and energized. And I’m prepared. Tomorrow after work, I’ll make carrot soup and a millet cashew pilaf.

If you want to join the growing group of us participating, visit Anna’s page on Facebook. You’ll have access to all kinds of free recipes and tips and support!

Rachelxo