Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tools and Lessons Learned from Doing the Conscious Cleanse

Eating well and moving enough have always been important to me. Unfortunately, there were also a few times in my life when I made not-so-healthy choices, usually because life got stressful. During one particularly stressful and difficult period in my life more than a decade ago I ended up gaining a lot of weight, and it wasn’t easy to lose the weight and get back to my “old self."

After I lost that weight, things went pretty smoothly, but 2012 was not an easy year, and by the end of the year my workouts were half-hearted, my food choices not as good as they could have been, and I didn’t make time for myself. I still ate plenty of veggies and got some form of physical activity every day, but it just wasn’t enough to make me feel my best. When I was approached and asked if I wanted to do the Conscious Cleanse - a food-based cleanse - to review for the blog, I didn’t have much time to think and said “yes” (which I almost regretted as it seemed like I didn’t need one more thing to worry about in my hectic life; plus I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a cleanse, which sounded a bit like a fad to me). But doing the Conscious Cleanse turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done.

The Conscious Cleanse is certainly not a weight loss fad. In fact, when I did the Conscious Cleanse for the first time, I didn’t even weigh myself. But I felt so much better at the end of the cleanse. Most importantly, it led to permanent lifestyle changes, and I acquired several new tools to get me back on track quickly whenever I veer a bit away from choices that are best for my body and mind (which has happened a few times in the past two years; each time I was very glad that I had the tools to turn things around before they got out of hand). Here are some of the things that the Conscious Cleanse taught me:

  • Warm lemon water is a great way to start the day and truly replaced coffee for me (I know coffee works for some, and I know people who do fine with coffee and can limit it to a reasonable amount. However, I am unfortunately not one of them. One cup turns into two. Two into three. Three into four… You see where this is going). 
  • Getting plenty of greens and some protein first thing in the morning makes me eat better all day. I started having green smoothies with plenty of greens, 1/2 banana, and hemp seeds for protein when I did my first cleanse, and I still have one most mornings. Other mornings I have smashed avocado with raw veggies or lots of sautéed veggies and a little leftover meat.
  • I have always eaten a lot of vegetables, but doing the cleanse made me realize that I sometimes fall short on raw veggies (especially in the winter). I have since made a conscious effort to eat raw veggies every day.
  • Prep work is critical to eating well. I’ve always shopped and done some prep work on the weekend. But while doing my first cleanse, I learned that always having food that is allowed while cleansing ready to grab was essential to make the cleanse a pleasant experience. This has translated to always having healthy food ready to eat. 
  • The Conscious Cleanse really made me look at sugar. I don’t really have a “sweet tooth,” and I never really added sugar to things myself, but I had to acknowledge just in how many products a lot of sugar is hidden. I learned to let go of ketchup and other sauces, which seemed hard at first but became easy very quickly. Before doing my first cleanse I thought of myself as eating pretty “clean,” but since then, I have reduced packaged foods even more. Now, eating packaged foods and sauces happens very, very rarely.
  • I also was reminded of the importance of self-care. Starting the day by journaling for just 10 minutes makes such a difference! I also got back to yoga and meditation. 
  • Since the Conscious Cleanse is really an elimination diet, I was able to confirm that I am very sensitive to gluten, and taking gluten out of my diet has left me feeling so much better - gone are daily stomach aches, foggy brain, and joint pain. 
  • Finally, I realized what a difference support makes. During the cleanse, cleansers receive daily emails and have access to a cleanser-only private Facebook page. In addition, there are six live tele seminars that I found very helpful as they provided support when I needed it the most. In addition, they served as “me time” and allowed me to focus only on myself.  

Conscious Cleanse8

Life isn’t a straight line but an at times messy journey with turns, twists, detours, dead ends, and failures. It’s easy to not take care of yourself the way you should in times when life isn’t “perfect.” I love that the Conscious Cleanse gave me tools to getting back to taking care of myself the way I should quickly. It’s truly a gift that allows me to live my best possible life.

Andy and I are looking forward to cleaning things up a bit again (he had quite a few indulgences over the holiday break…). The January cleanse starts on the 24th. If you are interested in a no-nonsense, food-based cleanse, click here for more information about the Conscious Cleanse.

Questions: Are you good at taking care of yourself? What tools do you have in place when life gets stressful? Is self-care a priority in your life? What is one thing you will do for yourself in 2015? 

I plan on getting outside every day, even if just for a short walk. Whenever possible, I look forward to long walks and hikes. Here are some pictures from a recent family hike. We plan to hike at least once a week as a family in 2015:

Family Hike 07

Family Hike 02

Family Hike 06

Family Hike 05

Family Hike 01

Be well,
Andrea

[Disclosure: I’m a Conscious Cleanse ambassador and will earn a commission if you decide to sign up for the cleanse using one of my links. Links to clothing items are affiliate links, and I may earn a commission on actions taken on the links.] 

27 comments:

  1. That's wonderful that you have a way to check in with yourself and a tool to use when life gets stressful! I know I've mentioned how you inspired me to start my day with warm lemon water, which has been such an enjoyable way to start the day. One thing I will do for myself in 2015 is knit more! It helps relieve stress like none other :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you are enjoying starting the day with warm lemon water, Jessie!

      I've been wanting to start knitting for a while (sounds so relaxing), but I honestly don't know where to start...

      Delete
    2. Come to Oregon and I'll show you how! :) The way I learn any new knitting technique is to look at Youtube videos -- they are so helpful! I'm always happy to chat about knitting whenever you'd like :)

      Delete
  2. I would love to learn more about the Conscious Cleanse! I went on their website and got confused. A.) is there any way to start before Jan 24? I am in the mood to rock and roll NOW B.) do you keep having to shell out $200 or do you walk away with lifelong lessons to apply all year long? C.) I would love to see examples of what you get for the price. I looked around but it seems the don't send you anything until 5 days before the Jan 24 start date. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated! I am on a tight budget with 4 kids and pets and a love of good food. :) I have to be super careful about how I spend. Thanks, Andrea! It really sounds in line with my whole body philosophy. You may remember me from "Little Ladies Who Lunch."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan,

      The group cleanse starts on Jan. 24. Five days before, you are supposed to start transitioning by eliminating sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol, and coffee, one at a time (I don't think it's in this order though). If you want to clean things up now, you could start eliminating these foods at this point.

      With the cleanse comes a manual in the form of a pdf that goes over all the rules of the cleanse (including a long list of allowed foods) and also has quite a few recipes (definitely enough to keep things interesting for the two weeks of the cleanse). While you cleanse, starting five days before the start day, you get daily emails with important reminders and one thing to work on (for example, start journaling, looking at what products you put on your body, what products you use to clean your house, etc. - it's really about more than just food). You also get access to a private FB group, which I found very helpful (there you get answers from Jo & Jules as well as ideas and inspirations from other cleansers) . There are also six live tele seminars (you can listen online and type in questions or you can call in; the calls are also recorded and you can download them and listen anytime). The first one is two days before the cleanse starts and goes over everything you should do to prepare (having enough cleanse-friendly foods ready is a must I think). You can also email Jo & Jules when you have questions throughout the cleanse.

      The cleanse taught me to listen to my body and be more mindful. However, I have found that after about six months or so, old habits tend to slowly creep back in... I did the cleanse three times as a group cleanse (the support is really nice), and as a repeat cleanser you only pay 50%. Each time, I felt I went a bit "deeper" and worked on some new things. I have also done the cleanse several times on my own, and it worked well (but I did miss the built-in support even though I knew what to do).

      Finally, there is a Conscious Cleanse book. You could do the cleanse on your own with only the book. If you choose that, I think it would be a good idea to recruit a friend who will do the cleanse with you so that you can support each other.

      I hope this helps! Email me if you have further questions: andreaswellnessnotes@gmail.com.

      Delete
  3. I will be starting the day with warm lemon water. I need to do the green smoothies too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is interesting! Seems the CC is not the typical program people think about when they hear the term "cleanse."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's not what I thought of when I heard the word "cleanse." It's really about eating real food and eliminating foods many are sensitive to.

      Delete
  5. What a great looking hike! Gorgeous and nice weather too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was a great hike! :)

      Happy 2015, Lisa!

      Delete
  6. I too start my day with a warm lemon water, and then to the coffee...I feel that during winter I do not eat as healthy as I should be...I don't know why...and definitely know that do not "move" as much as during warm weather season.
    Happy New Year Andrea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, being healthy does seem a bit more challenging during the colder months (and it doesn't even get very cold around here).

      Happy 2015 to you Juliana!

      Delete
  7. Getting outside everyday is something I want to do too. And of course more longer hike/walks with Bella this year. We have the same goal this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's make it great walking/hiking year, Fran!

      Delete
  8. First of all, I am jealous of your weather! Second, I've been drinking the warm lemon water in the morning (before my coffee!) and I am actually really liking it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are several disadvantages living here, but the weather sure is nice... :) Glad you are enjoying the warm lemon water!

      Delete
  9. I love that you found what worked for you!!!! You know I do it differently but it is all about finding what works for you always! LOve the outside pics always that you post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jody! Yes, it's all about finding what works for each one of us!

      Delete
  10. I have fallen away from some of my healthy habits lately. We moved again in August, I stopped lifting weights and doing intervals and ate less healthy. I do have dogs so I always hike for about an hour every day but I was doing so much more and it's been hard to re-start (I don't know why because I'm pretty obsessive about exercise, usually). I love green smoothies but I can't do it in the winter here. It's just too cold. You are lucky to be in CA! I miss it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, CA weather is nice and makes drinking green smoothies, raw foods, and outdoor exercise a LOT easier!

      Glad you are back to blogging, Stacie!

      Delete
  11. So glad you've figured out what works best for you Andrea! I do think I'm pretty good about taking care of my health, physically, but my big focus for this year is to have more FOCUS :-) and spend less time checking e-mail and on social media, especially first thing in the morning. So far, so good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Less time online is always good in my book! More living! :)

      Delete
  12. IM in in in with the LEMON WATER starting this week!

    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is the lemon water going, Carla?

      Delete
  13. Hi Andrea, I ate more raw veggies per your previous advice. Yes, ketchup and bbq sauce is full of sugar! I used to eat 100 calories of condiments with a meal. It's very sneaky sugar. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's crazy how much sugar (and other stuff!) can sneak into our diet by way of condiments.... Hope you are enjoying the raw veggies! I know they always make me feel a lot better!

      Delete