The trouble with cleanses

My resolution-minded mission hit its first snag last week, when I decided to do a detox diet. It wasn’t my first rodeo, so I anticipated a cleanse would be much easier the second time around. Wrong.

In late 2010 when I was unemployed and newly returned from Argentina (i.e.the land of beef, empanadas, malbec and facturas which you can read all about here), the idea of a cleanse was extremely appealing. Besides trimming a few inches of those choripan thighs, it felt like a way to start fresh and take control of my life — or my cravings at the very least. I settled upon Kathy Freston’s Quantum Wellness plan, not so much because of Oprah’s endorsement as a little blurb from InStyle magazine. Plus, it was one of the few detoxes that did not consist of liquid meals and allowed you to eat as much as you like.

For three weeks, my diet were vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free, and caffeine-free. I had the time to experiment with different recipes, which added a creative twist to the challenge. A few restaurant outings notwithstanding (mhmm, a feast of unbuttered vegetables and plain rice), the overall experience was not as difficult as you would think. It felt good; my skin had never looked clearer, and falling asleep at night was amazingly easy.

Thanksgiving and the advent of the holiday season quickly ended my minimalist diet, but I still retained some goody-two-shoes habit and managed to avoid caffeinated coffee for another three to four months. Again, keep in mind: I was out of work.

This time around, the cleanse, which I initially expanded to nix soy (because it was just too darn easy last time) felt like a hassle that offered few benefits. In July, I had cut meat out while limiting my dairy and soy intake — no rich red meats and pastries needing to be cleared out. And — cue eye rolling — I discovered just how much of a pain it is to experiment with new dishes when you’re working full time. Yeah, duh.

So I cheated a couple of times (caffeinated tea, yogurt parfait, Pad Thai) and finished strong day seven with sushi and cookies (hey, one was vegan).

Moral of the story: The trouble with cleanses is that you really, really have to want to do them. Not having a job helps too.

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