Since several of my friends are doing three day cleanses right now I thought it would be a good time to talk about going back to eating after a cleanse. But what I want to address is not so much what to eat, but how to go about eating to get the most from your cleansing experience.
Food is all around us almost all of the time. The choices are endless and when we are stuck in a certain cycle of eating that may include a lot of processed foods it is very hard to tell what our bodies really want to eat. Especially if we are not getting proper nutrition our bodies get hungry, and what food at that time may sound like it would be satisfying to us may in fact just leave us hungry for more. What I am trying to say here is that undernourishment leads to questionable food choices which leads back to undernourishment…..and round and round we go.
After doing a three day cleanse of mostly juices and a little bit of raw food (thanks to my favorite the Revitalive Café!) I found that my body could finally tell me what it really wanted to eat. It was finally truly nourished and it could talk from that nourished, satisfied standpoint. I didn’t come off my three day cleanse (or my 30 day juice fast for that matter) craving sweets, pasta and cheese (three things which I do in fact love). Instead I was craving sushi and black beans with salad. Hmmmmm…..could these really be the things that my body wants to eat??? It seemed foreign but when I followed my body’s wisdom I was much happier, as was my body!
It really is a wonderful thing to have the inside scoop on what our bodies need. Doing a few days of cleansing floods the body with nutrition that it may have been longing for and clears out enough residual toxins that our body’s real needs can shine through. At that point all we have to do is listen. This is a great space to be in!
There is something our bodies might not convey to us at this point though, so I am going to let the cat out of the bag. In addition to eating the nutritious foods our bodies are asking for, we also need to slow down and eat that food in a mindful way. That’s right—no more eating at your desk while working. No more shoveling food down in front of the TV. Really, even though it may seem peaceful to sit and read a book while eating—stop it!!
If we don’t realize we have eaten, our bodies won’t either and they will be looking for more. Also, if we are working and stressed while eating our bodies are unable to digest and assimilate the nutrients from the food. So even if you have that lovely salad with black beans and an avocado dressing (YUM!) if your body can’t extract the nutrients from it because you are stressed and in fight of flight mode, guess what….once again you will be looking for more. When you eat nutritious foods mindfully, you will be surprised when you have only eaten half of what is on your plate and you find yourself almost full, and already satisfied. No key lime pie needed! (ok, another of my favorites).
I would say slowing down and eating mindfully is really more important than what food you choose to eat. Remember, judging ourselves for eating a particular food that we may have labeled “bad” causes stress and shuts down digestion. So whatever it is you choose, eat it, enjoy it and let it go. And if you have tried a cleanse and let your body reset, it might just be yammering for some peas and quinoa!
To sum it all up I like to say, eat good food, and feel good about what you eat!