Hey all! Today I’m sharing about my recent two-week experience on the Conscious Cleanse. Before you equate the word cleanse with dieting hell, don’t run off! It was a positive experience I’m almost certain you’ll enjoy learning about.
Just two weeks ago now I was starting my two week trial on the Conscious Cleanse – a program that’s emphasis is more mindfulness than it is depravation. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have signed up. My good pal Holly asked if I wanted to try the cleanse for free in exchange for a review, and, since I’m generally up for exploring new healthy eating programs I agreed. To make things simple, I hope to break my thoughts into the primary things I took away and why I would recommend the program to anyone interested in achieving more mind-body connection with their food. Let’s begin.
WHAT IT IS >> As I’ve explained it, the Conscious Cleanse is more of a learning process than a diet that aims to challenge participants to focus on food as medicine and how it nourishes the body. I feel it helped me realize how I’d grown so very unaware of how food and the body work together to achieve health, and how grabbing for cheap, easy snacks like cereal, PB&J toast and granola bars had become my downfall.
The cleanse is run by nutrition coaches Jo Schaalman and Jules Peláez. By eliminating things from your diet for two weeks - like gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, peanuts, corn and caffeine - it gives your digestive system a break from the heavy foods it’s used to. Though it seems restrictive, I felt it offered so much more than it took away.
HOW I PLANNED >> The planning process was a doozy and one that snuck up on me, because you really do have to have every meal and snack planned out and almost all of my go-to foods were eliminated. It felt like being stripped naked. Though I had access to a Conscious Cleanse Facebook group for support, I found it almost intimidating at first when I’d see women who’d already mapped out their two week meal plan before I ever cracked the manual!
Even worse, as I read through the foods I couldn’t have I began growing internally angry – angry at the book, angry at Jo and Jules, angry that I couldn’t have wine or chocolate for two weeks. To me, this was a sure sign of food addiction and something I (stubbornly) knew I needed to address.
To plan I simply read through my manual, skimmed the book, listened to as many support calls as I could (you can ask questions and interact or just listen as Jo and Jules talk), and then planned out two weeks worth of meals and snacks. Then, I went to the store and got to prepping.
WHAT I ATE >>
For breakfast >> most mornings I had a big bowl of gluten free oats made with almond milk and water. I sweetened it with dates – since you can’t have sugar – and heated up some frozen berries to lie beneath. I topped it with flaxseed, pecans and a drizzle of honey. This went alongside a big hot mug of lemon water, which is great for clearing skin, jumpstarting metabolism, and balancing pH levels, among other things. It took the place of my morning coffee and I found it a refreshing way to start my day. I surprisingly didn’t have any less energy without my morning caffeine and felt clearer headed throughout the day.
Lunches and Dinners >> were either a salad, hummus and veg, banana almond butter in brown rice tortilla, or soup. Of course, all of these were made from scratch and were cleanse friendly, meaning they were dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, peanut and corn free.
hummus, carrots, radish and almond butter (radish almond butter is my new favorite snack!)
this amazing salad (seriously my new obsession) minus croutons.
more falafel + hummus and a green smoothie (- strawberries + mixed berries)
green smoothie – recipe via Conscious Cleanse – with mango, berries, spinach and water.
Snacks/dessert >> I made little almond joy balls Jo and Jules created for the cleanse that were basically nuts, dates and almond butter. HEAVEN. They were so good, however, that I became a little addicted and began eating multiple a day – no good. After I finished my second batch by early week 2, I knew I should eliminate those altogether as they were becoming a pacifier and milking my insatiable sweet tooth. Dangit!
HOW I FELT >> Honestly, I felt amazing, especially in the first few days. Clear headed, lighter, less bloated, sleeping better, more energy, more mindful, more in tune with my body, feeling less guilt about my food choices – all around positive reactions.
The second week was rougher as I fought more cravings, but they tapered off the more I mentally focused on the benefits I was drawing from the cleanse. All in all, the cleanse really did help me feel better, lighter and more aware of my choices.
WHAT I TOOK AWAY >> I felt like my body and mind began working together to bring about mindfulness in my diet. It was a process of purging bad eating habits I’d fell into, eliminating foods that were doing my body more harm than good, and realizing once again that food really is medicine. I not only felt lighter physically but also mentally, having more energy, focus and resolve. For example, one night at 10:30 – when I’d usually grow exhausted and want to crash – I felt a second rush of energy and decided to sort through my closet and get rid of unwanted items! It was such a cathartic, refreshing activity and one that almost came out of nowhere. In that, the cleanse affected more areas of my life than just my diet, and extended to my actions, thoughts and my daily routine.
HOW I’VE CHANGED >> I’m not swearing off gluten or dairy or sugar just because it helped me feel better. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just that I don’t want to longterm. I know myself and the minute I say “I’m going off gluten,” I’ll read a contradicting article and decide to cut out meat instead. So, with that in mind, I’m going to:
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Yes yes and yes. I’m grateful for the experience I had on the Conscious Cleanse and found myself pleasantly surprised at how different I felt even within the first few days. I cannot recommend the cleanse enough for anyone who is feeling a little less than themselves lately, who forgot that food is meant to nourish and repair instead of stuff and bring guilt and misery, who wants to lose a few pounds, or who just wants to feel good for once.
I could’ve said much more but I’d go on forever! Thanks again to Jo and Jules (and Holly) for letting me experience the Conscious Cleanse for free. It really has changed me for the better and I’m so happy that you’re out spreading the knowledge about food and body mindfulness – it’s a message our overfed, undernourished culture very much needs right now.
Though I was given the opportunity to try the cleanse for free, I was in no way compensated for my time or for this review. My opinions remain my own.