These days, it seems like scores of my friends and acquaintances are jumping into an array of different diet crazes. Gluten free, paleo, raw—what’s right for me and how do I know?
When I was in grad school, just thinking about changing my diet made me tired. Simply put, I was caught in a cycle of bad eating habits. I wasn’t unhealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t understand how closely my mood was linked to what I’d consumed an hour or two before. I’d have a cookie or a cup of coffee in the afternoon just to get through a 3 o’clock class. The thought of giving up that habit was slightly daunting.
One day in my final semester of school, a friend of mine told me about the Conscious Cleanse. The goal wasn’t to shed a bunch of pounds, and you didn’t subsist off of only liquids like in some of the more common cleanses. Instead, this program encouraged eating wholesome foods and keeping potential allergens like dairy and wheat off your plate. The cleanse stood out to me because it sounded reasonable and rational. It also seemed like a great way for me to break the bad habits I’d acquired during my 2 years of grad school.
This June, I joined a group of about 60 other individuals as they embarked on a 2-week experiment of eating simple, unprocessed foods. The first few days were tough. I craved that morning cup of coffee and that sugary treat in the afternoon, but instead had to resign myself to lemon water or a handful of raw cashews. I must admit that by the end, I didn’t want to give up this new way of eating and thinking of food.
Things I learned:
- A small handful of nuts is more filling than you might think.
- Former habits included reaching for some type of food when I was tired, not hungry.
- When you break from the old habits, foods like vegetables and fruits actually taste better.
What I liked:
- The cleanse taught me to nourish my body with whole foods.
- Though weight loss wasn’t a goal for me, I did wind up losing about 5 pounds, and as an added bonus, I felt more energetic and positive overall.