I'm not big on cleanses. In fact, I think (most) juice cleanses wreak havoc on your system. They are loaded with more sugar than you should ever have in a day and have no substance and fiber to sustain you. You are essentially going from one sugar crash to the next. No wonder people are crazy cranky and hate life on these things! I can tell you first hand that it's actually my personal hell.
But when I came across a soup cleanse my interest peaked. As the weather in LA gets a bit more... weather-y, I decided that soup (and it's substance) was a bit more doable. Plus, I've got a very real addition to sugar (hello dark chocolate!) that I'm attempting to kick. What better way to get off on the right foot than by completely cleansing the system of all inflammation causing foods? A real one to punch if you know what I'm saying.
A friend and I decided we were going to try it on for three days. Three days. That's all. You can do anything for three days, right? And with much hesitation and self talk about all the ways I could cheat (bulletproof coffee) to keep up with my active lifestyle, I committed. I've given a little overview of how I was feeling day by day, juuuuuuuuuust in case this whole soup thing tickles your fancy.
Spoiler alert: I say go for it!
Normally I wake up with a modified bulletproof coffee and then a (vegan) protein smoothie after a workout. Well, all was fine and dandy with my bulletproof but the thought of soup for breakfast was throwing me off. To my surprise, the "soup" in the morning is actually a delicious nut-milk packed with good fat to get your system moving. Now, technically you're not supposed to have caffeine but there is no way I would make it through a workout and a full workday without face planting into my computer. So yeah, baby steps. Sugar first. Mayyyyyyybe caffeine next. Maybe.
The first day I felt surprisingly well. Actually astonishingly well. I was preparing myself for the hanger to set in come mid-day. Nothing hit. Not once. I couldn't believe it! I definitely wanted to hit the afternoon snack board at work but refrained. I took a step away, a deep breath into my body, and realized that I was not actually hungry. I was simply on auto-pilot. Screw that snack plate. I don't need you!
I woke up in a fog. Ahhhh there's that cleanse feeling. My mind was ready to get up but my body was in complete rest mode. It was as if the bed was physically attached to my back side. Again, it was time to work with what was in front of me. I peeled myself into a seated position and turned on a meditation app. Surely this would get me out of this funk. Quite the opposite... I couldn't even finish the meditation (rare)! My thoughts wouldn't quit leap-frogging through my mind. There was clearly some mental baggage that was weighing me down. It's amazing when you give your body the reset, you're able to actually feel all those things stored inside of you. They are called feelings after all. You are meant to FEEL them. Your subtle body is always paying attention, it's just that when you're cleansing you can actually hear it speak. Well, there she was, in all her subtle body glory just waiting for me to deal with it. Damnit. I eventually got out of bed, made my bulletproof coffee (cheat) and went to a spin class. Because that's all I know what to do with emotion. Work that shit out.
From there is smoooooooth sailing. I was actually feeling great all day. Again, no hunger just annoyance that I couldn't indulge in something to chew on. I genuinely wasn't hungry. Not having to think or plan the next meal made some nice space for the emotional clearing that needed to take place. I pulled myself into bed quite early, awaiting the final day to come. Certainly I could do just one more day.
One more day. Repeat. One more day. Repeat.
Day 3 was a much more delightful start. I popped out of bed and found myself in a down dog in a sweaty yoga class. And oh, hot damn, my body hadn't felt this good in a long time. I felt strong, focused and seemingly more flexible. Is that possible? It felt so good in fact, that I decided to swing the cleanse into 5 days instead of three after that class! Everything was on point. World domination, here I come.
The rest of the day was a bit tougher though. I wanted food. Solid, hard, soul-soothing food. The soup was fine (actually they taste really great) but you know... chewing. I went to an event this night and indulged in a small cup of cacao nut milk (bc in LA you can get these kind of things at events) and called it good. Mentally preparing myself for the extra lap around the cleansing pool, I went to bed determined to go strong.
DAY 4 and DAY 5:
So, well, ummmm let me just say doing something (anything) with someone else makes it easier. A lot easier. In fact an entire industry has been built on it (health coaches, personal trainers, even fitness classes)! And while my friend decided to dip out after three days (as initially planned) I thought I could keep going. Turns out, the moment I was rolling solo my determination slipped. I ended up doing soups until dinner both nights. It was more of a graceful exit from the cleanse rather than actually sticking it out for 5 days but hey, I tried.
The cleanse ended up being everything I was hoping for... a punch in the right direction, a clearing of the sugar addiction, and a gentle softening of the mind. This definitely isn't about weight loss (I may have lost a little, but nothing that stays off) but more so about reconnecting to your body, remembering how much (or little) food you actually need to sustain yourself, and giving you digestive system a much deserved break. Sometimes the body just needs a little TLC.
Give it a go. I highly recommend it (surprisingly)! As always, I'm here for any questions that may come up along the way. Don't be a stranger my friends!