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Taking a Clean Break

27 Feb

This morning, for the 35th consecutive day, I made and drank a green smoothie for breakfast.  Today’s smoothie defied the laws of physics for concentration of swiss chard in an unusually tasty beverage!  For 35 days in a row I’ve had a green smoothie for breakfast; and for about 30 of those 35 days, I’ve eaten ‘clean’ (no dairy, wheat, soy, corn, sugar or processed food)

In those 35 days I’ve had the initial challenges of: what do I eat, how do I shop, how do I hang-out with friends.  I’ve experienced incredible highs in feeling good.  I’ve witnessed my body systems improving in their functioning. I’ve enjoyed a remarkably easy pollen allergy season.  I’ve eliminated most of my sugar and carb cravings.  I’ve learned some amazing new recipes and have re-friended my kitchen.

But now I need a break.  As I was riding my bike around the waterfront this morning, and in spite of the breathtaking natural beauty all around me, I could not quit obsessing over the idea of melted cheese over a burger and sweet potato fries.   I’ve been on the program long enough that I’ve started to take for granted how good I feel while following the clean program; and it no longer feels like a triumph to eat clean or make the smoothies or snack on kale chips.

So I’m going off the program for a while.  I don’t know how long a while will be; probably long enough to feel really lousy from eating cheese and ice cream, pizza and beer.  But I need a break; I’ll be back when it’s time…  For now I have to get to lunch with my bff at my favorite local greasy spoon; I’m going to have a veggie burger covered in cheese, sweet potato fries and beer!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and (erstwhile) Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com.

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Top 10 Signs You’ve Been on The Clean Program Too Long

20 Feb

Day 28 on The Clean Program, and I’m wondering what all these signs mean:

1.  It’s not even 9 a.m. yet and you’ve already made two recipes featuring  kale.

2. You talk to friends, family, complete strangers, anyone who reads your blog about how great your ‘digestion’ is on Clean.

3.  Trip planning involves seriously contemplating packing a blender and a cooler full of veggies. (does anyone know how to get a blender through security in your carry-on?)

4.  Dinner out with friends on Saturday featured you ordering 3 sides of veggies for your meal.

5.  Every night about 10 p.m. you check the fridge to make sure there are enough greens to make morning smoothies. (and if there aren’t, panic ensues)

6.  You’ve already burned out the motor on one blender and give some thought to splurging for the $400 Vitamix.

7.  Chocolate cake recipes that include avocados seem reasonable; and actually sound tasty.

8.  You ponder the merits of making happy hour martinis from celery, kale, cucumbers and vodka.

9.  Eating two pieces of red pepper with hummus before breakfast feels like a ‘splurge’.

10.  You know that your ‘Clean’ behavior makes you even more freakish than ever, but you feel so good on the program you decide to keep going.

So here’s to another day, week or month on the Clean Program!

(and an update on the allergies; my spring/oak/pollen allergies have not been bad so far this year. Even when others around me have been sneezing and congested, I’ve been feeling pretty good.  I’m getting a much smaller array and weaker forms of the symptoms.  I chalk this success up to Clean; not eating dairy, wheat, soy, corn, sugar are seeming to make my body less reactionary to whatever allergens come along!)

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and  Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com.

Cravings

17 Feb

Without a doubt, the biggest change I’ve noticed in myself since beginning the Clean Program has been my food cravings.  During the first week or so, my cravings were pretty much as they’ve always been; chocolate, sugar, sweets, carbs.  But a remarkable change has developed over the last 2-3 weeks; I’m no longer craving the chocolate and sweets.  I have to believe it is because I’m nourishing myself so much better while following the clean eating plan.

By eliminating all dairy, corn, wheat, sugar, soy and processed foods (plus I’ve been vegetarian for nearly a decade); my entire diet is basically vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds and a few grains.  And I hypothesize that by eating all these simple, whole foods and not polluting my system with any empty calories, I am finally getting the nourishment my body needs so I don’t have random, chronic, insidious cravings.  Now when I’m hungry, I have a pretty good idea of what will best fill the gap; and my cravings are varied.  Sometimes I crave the heaviness of beans, sometimes the sweetness of dates; yes, I’ve even craved kale!

This article echoes the lessons I’m learning with my own cravings; chronic cravings for things like sugar, carbs, chocolates may just be my body asking for some specific nourishment it isn’t getting.

http://www.dailytransformations.com/food-cravings-here-is-what-your-body-really-wants/

So the next time you find yourself obsessively wanting pancakes or brownies or a martini; stop and check to see if maybe your body really needs something else. Then the trick is to not just add in the needed nutrient, but to free up enough space for that nutrient to do its job; but more on that in a future post.

Here’s to another few days of Clean!

 

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and  Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com.

21 Days of Clean

14 Feb

The Clean Program has helped me feel better than I’ve ever before felt in my life!  Really,  no exaggeration; I’ve felt better while following the Clean Program than I’ve even imagined in the past.

Being a vegetarian for nearly a decade now, and then having also given up dairy and caffeine 8 months ago; I thought I ate a pretty healthy diet.  I had been eating healthier than most people I know and much better than the standard american diet; however, the clean program, with its morning smoothies, raw salad lunches and soupish dinners has completely transformed my cravings, my digestion and my energy levels.

As mentioned on this blog before, I was concerned that eating only a green smoothie in the morning wouldn’t provide me with the energy needed to do hours of  Thai Yoga Massage with my clients.  Prior to Clean, breakfasts were usually protein-loading affairs filled with eggs and Ezekial tortillas, avocados and nuts.  Amazingly, the green smoothies give me more energy through the morning than the protein loaded breakfasts do.  Further, I’ve learned that eating just 1/2 handful of nuts if I get hungry between meals provides me with all the energy needed to make it another hour or two.

I love the feelings of lightness and energy in my digestive system when eating Clean!  On Clean, there is no post-meal bloating or indigestion.  There’s no heaviness in the intestines; and freeing up all that energy the body normally uses to digest food means feeling more vibrant, awake and excited through the days.  This extra energy has meant I wake up feeling refreshed, feel excited and engaged most of the time through long work days, and I can work or play much longer into the night.  Also, I’ve not been getting the mid-afternoon slumps which used to trigger a desire to eat.

Who knew I’d end up craving smoothies?  To celebrate my successful completion of the 21 day ‘cleansing’ period on Clean and to celebrate the chocolate and food-laden holiday of Valentine’s Day; I indulged every craving.  I ate spinach pie, a big chocolate muffin, chocolate candy, hot chocolate and pizza & tiramisu for dinner.  Woke up this morning craving a green smoothie with some lovely kale and chia seeds!

My first 21 days of Clean have been a superlative experience: I’ve felt better than I expected to feel, the program is easier to follow than anticipated, the recipes taste better than expected, my body has transformed faster than I’d dreamed.  I want this to be the way I eat now. Period.  I love feeling this good and want to live my life going forward feeling like I’ve felt the last 21 days.

So onward!

 

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and  Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com.

Day 15 = Star Fruit Smoothie and Progress Update

7 Feb

Two weeks into the Clean program, and day 15 of a green smoothie for breakfast every morning;  I’ve discovered my favorite smoothie blend yet, the Star Fruit Smoothie:

  •  Apple
  • Star Fruit – Carambola
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Ginger
  • Chia Seeds
  • Local Raw Honey
  • Coconut water

Half the fun of star fruit is finding a tree in the neighborhood to harvest from; and most trees are overfilled with ripe fruit this time of year.  This smoothie is light and refreshing with a great sweet, citrus taste.

So two weeks into this Clean program and I believe I’m going to try to adopt the Smoothie for Breakfast plan permanently.  I enjoy the feeling of lightness and energy in my body that the smoothies seem to be creating.  It is nice to have much of the energy usually used for the digestion process available for other uses; and I like the idea of front-loading each day with a large dose of macro-nutrients found in the greens, the fruits, the seeds.

Two weeks of Clean means my clothes are all looser, my sleep is better and I’ve not yet been hit with seasonal allergies.  Usually, I’ll start noticing allergy symptoms as soon as the first azaleas bloom; and so far, none.   To combat seasonal spring/oak allergies, I’ve been taking local raw honey daily since mid-January, started taking nettles when I feel congested and made quercitin (via apples and red fruits/veggies) part of my daily diet.  My goal is to use diet to manage seasonal allergies; hopefully by having a diet without meat, dairy, soy, wheat, corn, caffeine and sugar, my body won’t need to have so many allergic reactions.

All that stands between me and the perfect diet are all these cravings; and so my attention in week 3 on the Clean program will be on using all my accumulated meditation and yoga tools to better manage my cravings.

So here we go – week 3!

 

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com

Making the best of a bad craving….

3 Feb

I woke up hungry this morning.  Not that usual peaceful, easy, empty stomach, ‘I wonder when and what I should do about breakfast’ kind of hungry.  I woke up with stomach growling, rumbling, urging me to jump out of bed, run to the refrigerator and devour the first thing inside kind of hungry.  Yes, the Craving Monster woke up with me this morning!

Since the Clean program doesn’t generally include breakfasts of assorted crackers and nut butters, leftover quinoa, old Christmas candy, take-out from Tuesday, etc.  I had to come up withe another plan.  My rational brain had one good idea: wait.  Eat your breakfast smoothie and then see what you want.  If you’re still craving more food, you can have it after the smoothie.  While making the chard-celery-cucumber-apple-chia seed- coconut water smoothie all I could think about was how much I wanted a ‘real’ breakfast – eggs, an ezekial tortilla, sliced tomatos, salsa – a real breakfast! Again, I bargained with myself: if you still want the ‘real’ breakfast after the smoothie, you can have it for lunch.

Since I had to see clients all morning, the craving beast was forced to stay quiet in the corner for a few hours.  Then lunchtime came.  Because all the ‘Clean’ meals are already prepared and pre-packed sitting in my refrigerator (I cooked earlier in the week)  it seemed like the easiest thing to just grab a salad and eat that for lunch.  Great, I was doing great; salad for lunch, some sparkling water and vitamins for desert, I was doing great.

Then the Craving Monster decided to wake up from his nap in the corner.  And I just had, had, had to have something; something sweet, something heavy in my stomach, something filling and slightly decadent.  (yes, I know at this point I should see a therapist…)  So I decided to surround (justify, I suppose) fulfilling my craving with as much healthiness as possible.  So I walked  a mile to the local health food store instead of driving. To be honest, I could have walked to some local fast-food pastry shops much quicker, so one more point for health.  Standing at the health food store in front of the bakery case, drool oozing our of my mouth, I did not choose the lemon bars.  I did not choose the blueberry muffin.  I did not choose the kiwi tarts.  I did not choose the pound cake.  I did not choose the apple pie.

I walked 2 miles to the health food store and chose to buy a vegan, gluten-free spelt flour chocolate muffin made with applesauce, beets, coconuts and other healthy things.  Granted it was a big muffin; and my stomach is uncomfortably full right now.  But the Craving Monster has been fed, and while it may not be in the spirit of the clean program; I do believe the chocolate muffin fits within the Clean guidelines.  Even if it doesn’t; I ate it, and I’m happy about that.    When I totally ignore the Craving Monster, he’ll poke his head out and make me completely derail from the program for a whole meal or a whole day.  I know I’m justifying this; but I think I made a good choice, and I know this will allow me to spend the next few days on the program without being teased by temptation.

Making peace with what is.

Suzanne

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com

Status Check: Week 1 on Clean

31 Jan

After 1 week on the Clean eating program; having a green smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch and soup/stew for dinner, I felt surprisingly good.  Actually, my body felt more vibrant and alive than I remember it feeling ever.   Avoiding all dairy, soy, wheat, corn, sugar and processed foods while adding in even more greens, seeds and fruit than I normally eat is having positive consequences in so many ways.

First, I’ve never before understood how much of my body’s energy is wrapped up with digesting food.  In the past, when I’ve fasted, it has always been so extreme and unpleasant I wasn’t able to be fully aware of things like digestion.   I’ve been so much more energetic this week; much of the energy previously used for digestion has been available for the rest of my body functions.    And without the ups and downs of hunger, eating, bloating, hunger, eating, bloating; I’ve felt a much more consistent level of energy through my day.  The mid-afternoon energy crash seems to be gone!

It has been amazing to me how much fuel the morning green smoothies provide.  I expected to feel hungry in the mornings, even after having a smoothie.  Frankly, with doing thai yoga massage as my work, I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough energy or strength to physically manipulate my clients.  Actually the opposite has proven to be true; I’ve had much more consistent energy through the day and am able to approach each client with more to give than when I’ve eaten a heavy meal.   The fact that the ingredients in the smoothies are all fresh, organic, raw foods – whole, living foods seems to make the smoothies sort of vibrate in my cells for 3-4 hours after drinking.

Then I’ve started noticing some of the bonus gifts of eating clean; some weight loss, minimized dark circles under my eyes, lack of achiness in the gut; and hopefully what will be fewer allergic reactions going through oak pollen season.

So after having this amazing 1st week on the program, it was easier and far exceeded my expectations for feeling good; I went out various groups of friends all day yesterday and completely blew it.  I ate conch fritters and chips & guacamole, a chimichanga and lots of beer.  And while I enjoyed the socializing aspect of my day and my meals; I didn’t really enjoy all those comfort foods as much as I’d anticipated.  By the time I got home last night, I felt bloated and icky, fell into a fitful sleep interrupted every few hours with indigestion; and learned my lesson.  This morning, I work up ready for another collard green smoothie!

So I’m back at it, imperfectly, but enthusiastically.  I want to feel good. Period.  And the Clean program is giving me a path to feel really, really good more of the time.  I’m staying on it; and working to figure out how to make it a permanent lifestyle choice.

 

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com

Alkaline Foods: What’s in Your Smoothie this Morning?

28 Jan

Here’s a great article outlining the 7 most alkaline foods; and most of them can be easily added to a morning smoothie.  If you can’t wait to scroll down and read the article, here they are:

1.  Spinach

2.  Kale

3. Cucumber

4.  Broccoli

5.  Avocado

6.  Celery

7. Bell Peppers

Eating more alkaline foods is one of the foundations of the Clean Program.  Inviting more alkaline foods in the body helps us avoid acidosis, which is an underlying condition of many chronic diseases.  Further an overly acid system makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, to detoxify, and to repair damaged cells.   Environmental toxins, chemical build up and emotional stress all contribute to a less alkaline, more acid state in the body.    So we can use the food we eat to help us maintain balance.

Here’s the article about alkaline foods, plus the author encourages the morning smoothies:

http://www.energiseforlife.com/wordpress/2012/01/24/the-7-most-alkaline-foods/

Here’s to a celery, cucumber, kale smoothie for breakfast!

 

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com

Socializing and Food

26 Jan

So instead of having dinner out with my friends right now, I’m at home writing this blog.  Following the Clean program is forcing me to confront how much of my socializing time is spent over meals; from lunch with business associates to dinner with the gang, from girls-night-out with the dinner and the bar to heart-to-heart girl talk over tea and muffins at the coffee shop – my social life is filled with food consuming events!

I’m single, live alone and mostly work from home, either alone or with one (often silent) client at a time; yet I am a very social person.  I have a gazillion friends and truly enjoy keeping up with them either alone or at parties and gatherings. I love socializing; yet, it seems, far too much of my socializing revolves around food, eating or consumption.

I’ve not yet developed all the skills with this eating program to be able to go to a restaurant when I’m hungry and just order a bowl of soup when everyone else is eating a hearty dinner.  Perhaps that day will come; but just being out at restaurants with others generally derails my best intentions for eating healthy.

So here I sit, blogging instead of chatting with my friends over a lovely Indian dinner.  And I don’t have the answers to these questions floating around in my head:

*How do I continue socializing as much with my friends as I ever have while on the program?

*How do I continue socializing as much with my friends as I ever have while following a sane, long-term eating program?

*How can I make more of my socializing include activities other than food?

*How can I decline to eat or drink when it is available and what everyone else is doing?

*Is the fact that my socializing often revolves around  food is covering up something else?

*Is it better to make the best choice among bad options or to avoid the options all together?

I like to hang out with my friends, I like to take day trips and travel where there is often just restaurant fare available.  So I don’t know how this will unfold; but I know my eating has to change for the long-term; and that means different choices and a different lifestyle.  If I call you up and ask if we can take a walk instead of going to lunch, please say ‘yes’!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com

The Official Start of Clean Start 2012

23 Jan

Here we are! Day 1 of the Official Clean Start 2012 Program

After reading the book and becoming inspired to clean out my body of toxins, then spending the last several weeks preparing in mind and body; I’m ready to embark on the Clean Program for at least the next 21 days.  After much contemplation, my main goals for the Clean Program are:

1.   Lose some more weight.  I’ve been losing about 10 pounds a year for the last 6 years or so; it would be nice to lose another big chunk and get closer to my ultimate goal.  I have about 25 pounds to go.  Even if I don’t hit the pound goal, I’d like to lose at least one more clothing size and hopefully watch my stomach flatten a bit.

2.  Reboot my cravings.  Coming out of the holiday season, I find myself craving fats, sugars, carbs constantly.  Don’t get chips, cookies, cake, muffins, candy near me or I’ll hoover it up.  21 days of sanity in my eating, eliminating sugars, carbs and bad fats should help reboot my cravings.

3.  Decrease Seasonal Allergies.  This is a big one for me this time of year.  In the spring when the oaks bloom, I struggle with seasonal allergy symptoms.  When I used to have health insurance I took a prescription drug to manage the symptoms.  The last several years I’ve managed the symptoms with nettles and local raw honey.  Truthfully, the nettles and raw honey do as good of a job as the drug ever did, without the side effects.  But I’d like to minimize my allergic reaction to the environment.  I am hopeful that by avoiding dairy, wheat, soy and corn through the spring allergy season will decrease my allergies.  I’ll keep you all updated on this one; it is truly an experiment.

So we’re off!  I’m off to work on compiling my clean recipes and buying lots of produce.  And I’ll keep you all posted!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher and Anxious Devotee of The Clean Program.  Visit her websites at: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or www.Structural-Healing.com

And if you still need a copy of the book (and everyone should read it, whether or not you’re ready to do the program)

Clean

Alejandro Junger

Best Price $8.50
or Buy New $10.19

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