Wellness Program Update

As I mentioned in a post from last weekend, I began a 10-day wellness program at my favorite yoga studio, Living Yoga Aurora.

What edged me over to finally try out a juice fast and a restricted diet was a need to obtain mental clarity and this adventure has certainly broadened this ability noticeably.

I think I was ready to experience the various lessons that accompany a detoxing program. Because of my winter blues, I had begun drinking heavily in November, and I realized it was only going to get worse before it got better.

I chose this particular program out of comfort with the yoga studio and familiarity of the practices involved: diet cleanup, yoga, journaling, and meditation.

I've taken many a yoga class at this studio so I'm comfortable with the teachers and have my favorite classes. I began journaling back in May, so it's very easy to keep this going during this program. Also, I took two meditation classes at the studio, which illuminated the value and ease with which I can delve into meditation--whether for a quickie or for lengthier times.

To recap what the program entails:

  • two days of a juice fast plus one meal per day (nicely portioned and filling soup and salad from Two Mothers in Naperville)
  • four yoga classes during the 10 day period (including the kickoff and closing program sessions)
  • journaling
  • 2-30 minutes of daily meditation (perhaps in combination with the journaling, pre or post meditation)
  • a watchful whole-plant based diet free of sugar (excluded: maple, honey, rice syrup), wheat/gluten, and animal protein (exceptions: scallops and fish, but no shellfish or seafood)

The two day fast was hell for me starting in the afternoon of the first day. I felt my sugar drop too low and fell asleep on the sofa around 4:30 pm. I never take naps during the day unless I'm ill.

The next morning I was moribund and decided to cheat by making gluten free slow-cooking oats with some brown rice syrup and 1/4 of a cup of chopped mixed dried fruits.

Later that second day, I made my first ever two-bean chili and it was AMAZING. However, I didn't know spelt has gluten, so I inadvertently included a few tablespoonfuls with each serving of chili.

As a consequence of the juice fast and watchful diet I now enjoy being more attentive to whether I'm eating out of an emotional or clock need rather than personal satiety.

I've also begun to understand that "filling" means volumentric quantity and stomach size, not overstuffing to the gills, that's the portion they gave me, or mindless eating during the workday. It's enlightening to experience pleasure with smaller portions. I missed that satiated but unbloated feeling!

I believe detoxes of any kind must be accompanied by a TON, and I mean A TON of pure water intake to assure bodily functions continue with the least amount of disruption. In addition to any tea (especially naturally-diuretic green tea). This is definitely one of the more extreme types of diet and lifestyle modification that I have ever engaged in since I was 23 and I lost 58 pounds on a similar lifestyle change.

An excellent point that the wellness program nutritionist made, is that a large majority of world cultures feature some sort of fast as part of their spiritual traditions. This is actually recommended for well being, both physical and mental. Growing up Catholic I can remember strict and not-so-strict versions of Lent penance and abstinence.

One of the important points to make here is that the sense of community and support one gains from doing this as part of a group (religious or yoga studio) is invaluable. There's an unconscious sense of safety, support, and comfort.

I haven't had any trouble preparing quick and healthful/filling recipes to keep my diet varied. There's a few recipes on my Foodie Blog that I'm now labeling "wellness" as I develop them during this journey.

Whatever you chose to do this 2013 to help your health and lifestyle, may you find joyful and yummy success in it! Cheers!