Sacred Heart Cleanse- What they don't tell you...

What motivated me?

I decided to Challenge myself by completing a cleanse this week. My motives? I felt like an unhealthy fat ass. By no means would I consider myself overweight- but i felt sluggish. I was binge eating and couldn't stop.

My excuse- Christmas. The holidays are always a good time to pick up bad eating habits. I mean after all- its the holidays! If there was ever a time to be bad its now- and of course: on weekends, you're birthday, a friend's birthday, you've had a bad day, a bad week, your period etc...And so forth... There's always a reason to eat uncontrollably ( I find winter the worst- my body tends to fight off any attempts to shed the extra layer of warmth)! Regardless of the excuses I felt compelled this time around to just do it! My cleanse of choice: the sacred heart cleanse. This is a variation on the cabbage soup diet. I decided to pick this one for a few reasons:

(a) I love soup!
(b) You can still eat solids. Different days allow for treats. For a beginner cleanse this is important I feel.
(c) My friend just handed me the recipe and directions. Easy breezy!
(d) Its cheap- unlike the wild rose or isogenix which require you to purchase supplements/shakes.. Oh yea which reminds me another reason for starting this cleanse- the holidays emptied my pockets! When I looked at what was left for my two week budget- $100 for food. So, basically I can feel good, detox and stay on budget. I will likely want to hibernate during this period- avoiding rich foods- so I'll save money that way as well!

Preparation

It's Monday. I had decided the day before to drag my friend into this so that I wouldn't feel so lonely. She was recovering from a cold and wouldn't start until the week after. This suited me fine since I had a birthday party to go to on that weekend (day 5 of the cleanse). But, on a last minute whim I decided just to start and get it over with. Monday evening- straight after work I hit my local fruit & veg grocer to stock up. I picked up canteloupe, honey dew, bananas, spinach, grape tomatoes, persimmon and ingredients for the soup. Grocery bill for all of these fresh fruits and vegetables amounted to $40. I was all set. I decided to boil some beef bones to make a tastier stock and I included fresh green beans instead of canned ones. Do not skip the stewed tomatoes- those add a lot of flavour. The soup itself I have to say was really delicious. I cooled it down and put it away for the next day.

Days 1-3

So far I have done three days. The routine is the same. In the morning I heat up a large bowl for breakfast. I boil some herbal tea and add lemon to go.

At 10:00 AM I'm falling asleep- normally I'll have had a strong coffee by this time with full cream and honey. I opt for a strong espresso with almond vanilla milk. Is this allowed? I'm not sure- probably not! I refuse to drink coffee black so...

At lunch I have another big bowl of soup- while my coworkers look at me incredulously. I supplement the soup with whatever is required. For example on day 2 I had quickly boiled spinach with hot sauce. My coworkers also decide to tempt me with chocolate, but my resolve is strong- it's actually suddenly easy to say no. I opt for a walk around the block instead. Throughout the day you'll find yourself peeing a lot- thanks to all those fluids your consuming! I drink a lot of water and herbal tea with lemon. Even though I feel pangs of hunger at times- I can usually quiet those with some fruits or vegetables depending on the day. Day 2 I rush home to bake my potato- it takes so long I decide to nuke it- such is my excitement. It says you can put butter- I opt for this avocado dipping sauce instead. I instantly regret it- is this considered cheating again? Ah well. Truth be told- I did not even need the potato- but since it was my only chance to consume it- I just had to.

It's now the end of the day. I'm tired- I was going to go out to listen to a jazz band but I think I'll stay in instead-resist the temptation. Again, for dinner I have another bowl of soup. Although I had made a huge batch- I'm running low! I do a quick mental calculation and I realize I'll have to make another batch. This is good- apparently. The more soup you eat- the better the results. But, seriously, I can't be bothered to make another batch when I can barely look at it anymore. It's not that bad- really.

I think about people who've done the master cleanse (the one with the lemon, cayenne, maple syrup) and that's all they consume for weeks or whatever. How do they do that? It does comfort me though- I can still eat quite a few things come to think about it. And now, all I can think about is that steak i get to eat the day after tomorrow. Can I add Dijon mustartd?

Let's Jazz up the Challenge!

Just because I'm detoxing my body doesn't mean I need to detox out my social life. As I mentioned a huge part of this cleanse is to exercise my discipline. My girlfriend coaxed me into coming out just for an hour- and I couldn't say no. I got dressed up and we headed out with a crew to watch a contemporary jazz band play at the Fairmont- Lobby Lounge downtown. The place was lovely and we sat by a cozy fire. Our server was terribly awkward- and I was nervous about solely ordering a tea. Oh well- it was a 5$ tea and everyone else ordered a bevvy. I have to say it was surprisingly easy to say no- even if the sushi bar was whispering my name.

Day 4- Almond Milk and Bananas

It's Friday and I have a feeling this is going to be the true test. A colleague of mine just came back from Japan with all sorts of tasty treats. As I watch everyone gather to savour madeleines, green tea lattes and chocolate my resolve strengthens. I have about three bananas before lunch and I'm still hungry. In the evening I decide to stay in. Although the diet claims you'll gain tons of energy- I actually feel exhausted. I prepare my second batch of soup and buy a roast and a steak to prepare myself for the next couple days (grocery bill = $35). A couple of friends come over and we watch movies. They snack on potato chips and dip- now this is the real test! I love chips and dip-they are my weakness. Instead I sip on tea and I have a bowl of bran in warm almond milk. The bran softens into an oatmeal like substance- it's actually quite tasty- might have it for breakfast in the future.

Day 5- Meat, meat, meat!

I prepare the roast: A lovely 2lb roast of prime Canadian beef. I season it with cayenne, salt and thyme. I puncture some holes to insert slices of garlic. I coat it with olive oil and fry it in the pan lightly on each side to lock in the juices. Then I place three tomatoes in a small pan with onions and garlic (again seasoned), I cover it with tin foil and place it in the oven for an hour. Hmmmmm... what a treat! Since this is a protein day I think I'll force myself to the gym for some cardio.

Last night reinforced the fact that this was more about completing a challenge- testing my willpower. And, I feel proud of myself for doing it- or at least I will when this is all over. I've been wanting to quit smoking forever. Will power is like a muscle in our body- the more you exercise it the stronger it gets.

Tonight I'm going to hang out with a good friend of mine and we're going to map out our short term and long term goals for the near and far future. This will be week 2 I haven't binged drank and that alone has given me a spurt of energy. Not to say that I won't be binge drinking in the future....But it's nice to take a break!

Day 6- More meat, more soup :(

Had a discussion with my brothers girlfriend who is one day ahead of me on the diet. We've both agreed that cleansing is not for us. Our love for food will motivate us to stay active rather than limit our diet. After making that conclusion we rambled on about all the foods we missed (getting seriously fanatic now) and how much of them we were going to eat once this was over. Yeah... most definitely not for us if we end up gaining back twice the weight to compensate us for that awful week!

No. But really. What is life without food? It's our most basic need but more appropriately- for those who have the luxury- it's a pleasure. I love everything about food- the process of planning and perfecting the perfect meal. The indulgence in dining out with friends. The comfort from your mother's home-cooked meals. Having to unbutton your pants after all you can eat sushi. Falling into a deep food coma.

So anyway, I cheated with some cream and honey in my coffee this Sunday morning. I had a lazy good start to my day. And then, I was extremely productive- bounding with energy. Finally, that boost of energy they were promising. But, honestly that could have just as easily been due to abstaining from a weekend drink ;) Either way, the coffee was a great idea and so was the warm cup of authentic chai I sipped on while listening to the sounds of the spanish guitar later that evening. I shrugged it off- life is too short. And come to think of it- the greater challenge in eating healthy is knowing when to stop not depriving ourselves from everything. And, that was really the issue these last few months. So, maybe after this is all over i can practice enjoying that one piece and leaving the second.

Final Day

The last day was terrible. I was over it. The thought of eating that soup again made me nauseous. Meat didn't appeal to me- what I was missing most was cheese! I made it through another round of chocolates at the lunch table. I was moody, I had a bad day at work and the only way I could find solace was with food. After work- I call my girlfriends and tell them that it's over. I survived the weekend and that was enough self-discipline for me. All I want now is a pizza and chips. I pass by my house to grab a large bag of sour cream chips- I'm drooling. My mouth is salivating and my stomach feels sick- I feel like I'm about to take a hit of heroin which I've been fighting off for weeks and have finally succumbed. The initial hit is dizzying. Then we order a pizza and pop. I barely ever drink pop- and it's never tasted so good. The food starts to settle in my stomach and guilt sweeps over me. Couldn't I just have waited until tomorrow?Fuck it- I think to myself. Again, this dieting this is not for me. I'm too extreme- and what I really need to do is level out my eating habits.

Conclusions:

1) I feel lighter- perhaps 5lbs less at the most- definitely not the 10-17 lbs they promised.

2) I felt proud and accomplished (lets just tell everyone I actually completed the 7 days) well technically I started a half day early...

3) After the initial binge my eating habits have gone back to normal. Maintain a well balanced diet- and don't feel bad about enjoying some naughty treats- once in a while! This is the biggest lesson. Exercise! I rather be active and eat more :)

4) I saved some money.

It's over now. I don't think I'll be doing this one ever again. But I'm glad I tried it!

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